Stoney Lake Cottage: Kitchen Progress

Cottage Kitchen - In Progress
This cottage kitchen is nearing the end of an extensive transformation.  When my clients purchased this new to them cottage late last summer, my first impression when I saw the photos was that it had great bones, and when I visited in person I especially loved its tall vaulted and cathedral wood ceilings.  It had several bathrooms and a large kitchen which were looking dated and more suburban in flavour perhaps than lakeside cottage. Without undergoing a complete gut of the interior, my challenge was to give the entire interior a complete update that would inject it with classic cottage charm that reflected this young family's modern lifestyle. The cottage would not be used in the winter so light, relaxed and summery vibe was in order.

Carpeting and narrow strip maple flooring (installed on a diagonal) would be the first to go.  Next up; new wide plank pine flooring, fresh wall paint, all new light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, hardware, countertops and appliances would complete the to do list.  But before we concentrated on all the new finishes and fittings for the kitchen, I recommended we rethink the layout.  The cabinetry was solid wood, great quality and in excellent condition but I saw a lot of potential for improvement and was convinced I could rework the layout using the existing cabinets but make it more functional for cooking and gathering.

Before - Kitchen Plan View

This cottage has no shortage of angles, while I do love the slopes of its dramatic cathedral and vaulted ceilings I wasn't crazy for the multi-angled kitchen island so this became my first target.  The island consisted of a cooktop, a prep sink, 3 different counter heights and despite its size, had seating for only 3, maybe 4.  There's nothing I dislike more in a kitchen than a cooktop in an island, especially where there's seating so my first goal was to find a new place for the range.  As you can see on the plan above, there wasn't a lot of wall space to work with.

After - Kitchen Plan View

Here's a view of the new kitchen floor plan I proposed.  The entire layout was created using all of the existing cabinets plus a new open section for the microwave.  Although there's still a few angled cabinets in the island I straightened out the island's orientation. The range now sits against a wall complete with a range hood. The fridge moved to the opposite wall, so now the fridge, sink and range are in a nice efficient configuration.  The island becomes a great pre-dinner gathering place (out of the way of the cooks) with lots of room for snacks, beverages, buffets, and seating for 6.  The family of 4 can also enjoy meals here dining style around the open end of the island. The new undercounted microwave frees up counter space in the work area.  There was much debate over the microwave vs second dishwasher vs wine fridge here. : )

Once the layout was nailed down, I selected an entirely new palette of finish materials and fixtures.   

Before - Kitchen Left Side 

I also did some editing by deleting the heavy wooden light valance above the kitchen windows, as well as the ruffled fabric valance.  This immediately brightened and simplified the space.  Next, the solid knotty pine wood cabinets would all get painted.

Before - Kitchen window and light valances.

Kitchen Left Side - In Progress

Fresh white walls and deep navy painted cabinets would compliment all the amber wood tones in the cottage and set the tone for a classic navy and white scheme throughout.  A new farm style sink and articulating antique nickel wall lights above the windows add vintage character.  The tall cabinet on the left will house the new stainless steel fridge.  The new counters and industrial pull-down faucet will be installed shortly....

Before - Right Side of Kitchen

  The old panelled fridge with black trim and counter top microwave were permanently removed as was the diagonally laid narrow strip maple flooring.

Moving the fridge to the opposite wall and shifting some base cabinets around made room for a new 36"wide range and exhaust hood.  A relocated glass door wall cabinet will work well beside the range for plates and bowls.  The existing solar shades, previously hidden behind the ruffled fabric valance now look perfectly simple and crisp set in the wood framed windows and provide light control from the afternoon sun.  See, I didn't get rid of everything. ; )

A pro style 6 burner range will be perfect for large family gatherings.  The entire cooking area gets a new full height stainless steel backsplash. New satin nickel cup pulls on the drawers complete the old cabinetry facelift.  New white and grey 'marble' quartz counter tops will wrap up to the underside of the window sill.

Before photos of the island, front view and back view.  A sea of wood.

The proposed new re-design of the island.
Initially the plans called for a second dishwasher in the island but later the homeowners opted to add a microwave here instead.  Amore recent change was the deletion of the raised countertop behind the sink, the island counter will now be all one level.

I completed all the design plans in December and the deconstruction started right away.  The contractor has been working non-stop all winter in effort to get the cottage ready for use starting May long weekend.  While all this reno work has been going on I've been working with the homeowners selecting all the new furnishings - no small task for this 7 bedroom, 4 bathroom cottage, plus boathouse!  Its been exciting to see it all coming together this past week, the rest of the fixtures and countertops will be arriving soon.  I'll be posting more updates and after photos in the coming weeks and months - I can't wait to share the dramatic bathroom transformations that have taken place not to mention the newly painted, all white (stunning!) boathouse.

All photos and drawings by:  Carol Reed Interior Design Inc.

Log Days Of Summer

Its that time of year, perfect summer weather - day after day of HOT sunny temps........when I'm in the city working on deadlines and I get emails from friends and family who are up at their cottages.  You know the kind of emails - with photos of them lounging on their docks cold drinks in hand, or floating on a lake, with the subject line "wish you were here".  It happens every summer.  Summertime is always the busiest time of the year for all types of construction, including interior renovations and their project designers.  Like me.  Like last summer little bro's spur of the moment house purchase in need a complete interior reno as fast as possible - meant I spent much of my summer in the city emailing design plans to him .....on his dock.  I'm sure it was very stressful for him. ; )

This past week he and his fiance, I'll call her "M" are up at the cottage enjoying some vacation time and truly relaxing now that their city house reno is behind them.  Its everything summertime should be.  M is a also a designer and you know us creatives are always dreaming up design ideas even on vacation, sometimes, especially on vacation!   So this week having the need for a new drinks table for the dock and the sight of some beautiful maple logs spurred the urge for a little cottage DIY project.  There's generally a rule at the cottage that no DIY project can require more than an hours work, or require a special trip into town for supplies.  And if its the kind of project that requires a chain saw, lil bro is more than eager to accommodate designer requests.

M's vision for this inverted log table,,,began like this....

A tree log from a fallen maple tree on the property.  
Here are the seven  eight simple steps they took to complete this table.

Step 1.  Using a chainsaw, split the log off centre 
Step 2.  Cut one piece shorter than the other
Step 3.  Remove Bark
Step 4.  Set four 3" lag bolts in the top of the base piece of the log
Step 5.  Drill four holes in the underside of the top log piece to align with the bolts
Step 6.  Place the top over the 4 bolts and adjust lag bolts to level the top of the table
Step 7.  Sand the top to desired smoothness, or not
Step 8.  Fetch a couple of ice cold drinks from the fridge and test table

The cleverness of this simple design is that the bolts are adjustable for leveling the table and you can leave the bolts exposed if you like, as lil bro did for a more 'industrial rustic' look as he calls it.

First test round.  Appears to work perfectly, nothing fell off or tipped over.  No adjustments needed.  

Its long enough to hold drinks and other dock essentials.

Perfectly fits between a pair of teak loungers.  
Can be left outside, maintenance free.
Its all natural.
Looks beautiful.
Cost nothing.

DIY well done!   Thanks for sending the pics.

I wish I was there. : (

I hope everyone is lucky enough to be enjoying some relaxing summertime projects like this. They are the best kind.  But for me,,,back to the non-diy type projects and the frustration of working around summer 'shut downs'.  Imagine, summer shut-downs.  So civilized, If only we could all indulge.