Now we’re cooking with gas

Hello all. Busyness at work and in our home lives has kept me from posting here the last couple of weeks, but now that the three-day weekend has arrived, I’m excited to catch you up on the progress we’ve been making around here. Since we last spoke, we’ve come quite a bit further on the kitchen. If you know me, you know how much I enjoy cooking, and though I have a home office in which I draw pictures for my day job, the kitchen is my real workspace. We moved into this house on March 25th, a little over two months ago, with no kitchen counters, sink, or cooktop, so for eight weeks, we used the oven and barbecue for all our cooking (our gas grill has a single burner in addition to the grill surface, absolutely saving us on this count). I am happy… no, THRILLED to report that as of last weekend, we now have a fully functional kitchen!

Kyle and his dad Wayne worked a full day on the kitchen last weekend and got a ton accomplished. I had sanded, sealed, and cured the very last piece of butcher block (thank god!), so the first piece of business was fastening down the last three pieces of countertop. In building the cabinets, we somehow slightly increased the height as we went around the U, so some shimming was necessary to get all the counters flush.

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In addition, the last piece of butcher block from IKEA turned out to be a slightly thicker piece than the rest (WTF, IKEA?), so we had to make some slight adjustments. Even though we had dryfit the cooktop in place, the sealed countertops seemed to have shrunk slightly (is this even possible?), so we also had to shave a little off the inside of the cooktop hole. I had a minor freakout about this, worried about exposed unsealed wood cracking and being vulnerable, but I quickly laid down a couple more thin coats of waterlox to cover any exposed wood and didn’t worry any more about it.

Doweling the counters

Wayne had the great idea to dowel the two large pieces of butcher block that form the large peninsula together at the seam, to minimize any height differences or bowing. Since we wanted a 10′ long penninsula with an overhang for bar stools, we had to fit two pieces of IKEA’s butcher block together. With the minor warping (not to mention slightly different thicknesses!) we were concerned about the countertop being flat (which it has to be, since the cooktop sits right in the middle of the seam). The dowels worked perfectly, and the process was much quicker than I thought. Basically, drill a hole on each side and fit a dowel in between, just like the rest of IEKA’s furniture!

Doweling the counters

With the countertops safely down, the big goal of the day, gas cooktop installation, began. Wayne wired the outlet behind the stove for the ignitor (even a gas stove needs an electric ignitor to start the fire) and the guys connected the gas. There was a minor issue when we realized that the ignitor had been wired to the top of the under-sink electrical box (meaning, to the garbage disposal) instead of to the bottom (the dishwasher). The fact that the stove would only turn on when the garbage disposal was running posed a bit of a problem, so once we figured out the issue, the wiring was reversed and we were on our way.

Chipping out the cabinet

Remember how I mentioned previously that the cooktop cabinet that IKEA sells doesn’t fit cooktops properly, including their own? We went with a Kitchenaid cooktop, which was 29-1/2″ wide and needed to go into the 30″ cabinet. With 1/2″ side pieces, that meant routing out the top few inches of the side panels. We had done most of the routing before, but had to make some fine-tuning adjustments on this day. With no router on hand, the guys resorted to doing it the old fashioned way, which worked just fine.

Cooktop

The easiest part of the day was connecting the new cooktop to the gas. In just a few minutes, we had gas to the cooktop! We finished out the day with a few more details (a stabilizing panel above the dishwasher, for one), and finished up. We had installed our handles earlier in the week, since once you have countertops down it becomes very difficult to get into cabinets and drawers without them!

Hooking up the gas

Kyle also humored me by hanging the industrial pendant lights we’d purchased two months earlier. They have beautiful eight-strand filaments, and I love the way they look! I looked at quite a few of these around the web, and finally decided on these, from Etsy, because of the lovely detailing on the metal fixture and the cloth-covered wire.

Light bulbsCooktop

A day or two later, we hung my new magnetic knife block. We’ll have to take it off and re-hang it when we install the backsplash, but since that may be months away, and it’s in constant use, it was an immediate need. I love this piece, which is maple instead of the metal magnetic knife blocks that you usually see. I love magnetic knife blocks anyway, because they’re better for blades and keep knives within arms reach, but I especially love this wood one. The wood means it’s a lot nicer on my knives, and it’s made in Michigan with sustainably-harvested USA hardwoods and an embedded magnet.

Knife block

So the kitchen truly is almost done now. A few more details (like the backsplash!) are still forthcoming, and hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you the cool treatment that our friend Mike is helping us with for the front of the counter. But this kitchen is completely functional, and we’ve even hosted a couple of events in it now, and it really held up. The counter space is a dream – we could easily have 4 or 5 people working at different prep areas in this kitchen without being in each other’s way. Perfect not only for parties, but some other big plans I’m dreaming up.

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I’m happy to report that the wood sealer is performing perfectly so far. So far I’ve spilled barbeque sauce, strawberries, peaches, beer, and god knows what else on it, and though I try to wipe up quickly, the barbeque sauce spots that I missed still wiped up the next morning with no lingering damage. The one thing we try to avoid doing is dragging heavy objects across it, since that can scratch the finish. But, even if we were to get terrible scratches, they could be easily sanded out if needed and another light coat of Waterlox applied. So, I’m loving it so far.

Kitchen!

I’m going to try to put together a slideshow of kitchen progress to really drive it home 🙂

Kitchen

A summary, for those who have asked:
Fridge: LG french door refrigerator
Oven and microwave combo: IKEA Nutid
Dishwasher: Kitchenaid
Cooktop: Kitchenaid
Range hood: Kitchenaid (special thanks to Mom and Don for buying this for a song from a model home sale several years ago and gifting it to us now!)
Countertops: IKEA oak Numerar butcher block
Cabinets and handles: IKEA Adel off-white with Metrik handles
Sink and faucet: IKEA Domsjo double bowl sink and Hjuvic faucet
Pendant lights: Blue Moon Lights on Etsy
Wood knife block: Mag-Blok by Benchcrafted
Blue bowl: Heath Ceramics
Salt Box: Bee House Salt Box by Black Ink
Kitchen Conversions poster: Whimsy and Spice

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6 Comments

  1. Natalie May 29th, 2012

    this is the most beautiful kitchen i have ever seen

  2. Angela May 29th, 2012

    Awww!

  3. Chris May 29th, 2012

    Catalog-worthy

  4. Emily May 30th, 2012

    Angela!! This is beautiful. Well done! And that kitchen conversion art is genius!! I’m probably maybe going to make my own, stat.

  5. Angela May 30th, 2012

    Thanks Emily! She does tea towels too 🙂

  6. Neil June 14th, 2012

    Excellent job, of course! I look forward to seeing it in 3-D. Keep on rolling.

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