Saturday, 8 December 2018

The San Franciscan's Kitchen - Part 1

So while I've been away from the blog for a while.. I have still been mini-ing from time to time.. in between nursing Wrigley and caring for our new puppy, I managed to get a few little things completed.

I started working on the San Franciscan kitchen back in September. It was a sad time after the loss of Wrigley, but did keep my mind occupied.
First step was to figure out the floorplan. It's a small narrow room so I knew it was always going to be difficult to furnish. But I still went through several options before settling on the last one below.

First, I tried a wall of cabinetry down the outside wall. The one thing I did know, is that I wanted a window above the sink so it would have to go on the outside wall. I felt that the best spot for it was next to the back opening so I cut a hole with my oscillating saw and so everything else needed to accommodate that. I didn't mind this wall, the intention was for their to be a hood over the stove (a stand in Christmas cookies hallmark ornament, that I had a disaster with trying to heat it up to remove the accessories. It is now only good as a place holder for furniture placement. I have another so all is not lost. :)  I also have a K&J metalworks one that is exactly the same width so I could use either in the design.)  I did not, however, like the opposite wall with the double fridge and dresser. I also didn't like how the wall of cabinetry encroached into the bay window which I would like to put a breakfast table and chairs in, or maybe a banquet window seat.

 Next I tried the cabinetry on the interior wall with the stove, the dresser and a vintage style sink on the outer wall. Nope, nope nope.. again I don't mind one wall (though the fridge is overbearing) but I really dislike the sink wall. So back to the drawing board.

Next I moved the stove to the interior wall between the cabinets with the intention of a hood in between the uppers again, leaving the sink and dresser on the outer wall. This left space for seating in the bay but where would the fridge go. There isn't enough room on the inner wall with the stove moved over and the doorway shortening the wall.

I changed out the vintage sink for a built in unit (a stand in from the apartment and added a less obtrusive white fridge beside it. I didn't mind this, but my Instagram friends steadfastly voted it down. :)

I tried the fridge at the end of the inner wall, which proved more popular, even though it doesn't fit. After some precision measuring, I have about 5 inches to play with in that spot, so I hunted around the web and found a couple of tall narrow fridge options. I've ordered a cheap stand in from China and when I can save some mini money I'll splurge on one from Delph miniatures. They have a nice model that I believe will fit the space nicely.

So here we are at the finalised mock up. On the inner wall I'm using ouseworks lowers and some re-purposed House of Miniatures kits for the uppers. I'll be building a custom hood to fit the space. For the outer wall I won't be using Houseworks kits as seen here. I'll be making a couple of House of Miniatures chests of drawers into the cabinetry that will run almost to the dresser. Above them on the wall between the window and the dresser will be some open shelving. The chairs in the breakfast area are a stand it, I'll likely build a banquet or paint up some shabby chairs.

I was contemplating using the mosaic glass tiles you have seen on the floor throughout this post as flooring. I love the idea of a shiny tile floor, but none of them were square and I could just not find a way to cut them without shattering them into a million pieces. Back to the drawing board on floors.

I originally wanted an all white traditional kitchen, but this was just looking a bit.. blah, to me, so I decided to try some wallpapers in the space to decide if some colour would be better.

I tried a multitude of papers, but narrowed it down to these two.

The stripe was really pretty, but I just wasn't feeling it.. It felt a bit too pretty for a kitchen?? I didn't want it to end up looking like a french patisserie and I just was really taken with the dark indigo paper. Nothing like what I wanted.. was I game?? I was a little worried that it wouldn't work with what I have planned for the rest of the house, but I just really wanted to do something different and I feel like the occupants of a townhouse in San Francisco would make bold design choices.

I decided to paper one wall and see how I felt about it. I also taped up the aged grey "tin" ceiling I intended to use to see if it worked.

I quite liked how striking it was. I put the dining rooms white washed flooring down.. but I didn't really like it with the blue.

I decided to add a tile pattern I had printed in my stash as a test of whether the back-splash would break up the blue. And it does, but it's a lot of contrast... Do you like my little fridge place holder consisting of the apartments bar fridge stacked on it's oven.. lol

 I held up a bit of white cornicing to see how it would all look together...

It might be altogether too nautical for this house so I felt some changes needed to be made. I did decide to paper the rest of the room in indigo though. Miniatures aren't for the faint of heart!

Moving on to the floor and after the glass mosaic not working out and me thinking that a white floor would be too much with the indigo walls. I tried to make gray stone tiles out of thin foam after seeing someone make travertine tiles using foam on Instagram. I didn't mind how the actual tiles turned out and they were super easy to make, but finding an adhesive that works with foam and grouting them proved to be difficult and in the end I just didn't like the look in the room.

 Feeling a bit stumped I went looking for inspiration for kitchen rangehoods and I happened upon this stunner of a kitchen.

Hello Beautiful!

 I fell in love and decided that apart from the hood, my stove wall needed that wood wall. And my upper cabinets had to have that corbel detail on the bottom.

So I made one out of Basswood strips.. :)

Then on to to the hood. I used some of the wood left over from punching the kits windows out to build the basic frame, then wrapped that in cardstock

Then I cut the smallest balsa stripwood I could get to size to use for the detailing.

Then I gave it a first coat of Rustoleum aged copper. It's quite a dark colour with a bit of a brown undertone but still a good substitution for the hood colour above. I did want it to look like a metal hood on first glance and hopefully it will look like that in-situ.

Testing it out in the room. I may have to think about a little battery operated light inside of this. I love the idea of a hood light. :)

I decided that I needed to add a little length to the top of the hood to allow cornicing to go around it. But first I moved onto the floors.

The inspiration kitchen had wood floors which I railed against for a while but eventually gave in to because it just seems to suit the house's vibe. The room is becoming a bit bohemian and I like that.

I made a template and went back to my trusty popsicle stick stash. This is a good job to do while watching a movie. :)

After a good sand with my trusty mouse sander, I stained the floor with a mix of Jacobean Oak and Swedish blonde stains. It's the same mix I used on the wall with a little bit more Jacobean and less Swedish.. I didn't want them to be the same and as they are different woods they turned out quite differently.

This photo shows the colour a bit better.

I'm a lot further along than this which you will know if you follow my Instagram.. (I've been remiss not updating my blog.) But I will sign off here, for continuities sake.. I needed to move on to the ceiling paper installation and cornicing the entire first floor before I could proceed any further with the kitchen. so my next catch up post will be on that. :)

Hopefully, I will get back into blogging after my extended break and keep you all updated on my build. :)


  1. I'm so loving your thought process, Sam, and can totally relate to having an original vision not work, starting to panic a bit, and them coming to the realization that you have to let go of original ideas and be lead where your heart takes you. I know where you end up and it's awesome, but I can't wait for the rest of the story to see how you got there!

  2. I really love how your floors turned out and your kitchen layout is wonderful! Can't wait to see more.

  3. Great post Sam! I am falling in love with your kitchen. Thank you for posting your process. It is fascinating for me to see how others problem solve.

  4. VA-VA VOOM!!!! I LOVE the Drama of your indigo blue paper and I also liked the tiles you had for a backsplash. HOWEVER, when you chose to go with the wood wall I was SOLD! It gives a glowing warmth to the room as well as being an easy care wall treatment. It look Wonderful with your white upper cabinets AND with your FAB black stove hood too!
    By laying a warm wood floor in your kitchen, you will not only give the cooks an easy surface to work on, but have visually tied both side of the room together.
    This room is already Stunning and I LOVE every inch of it!! :D

  5. Yeah, that inspiration kitchen is gorgeous! It really is a process getting a house finished, isn't it? :D