The old kitchen

The demolished kitchen

The new kitchen

My kitchen was complete after Brian and Joe received some missing trim from the cabinet supplier and finished the top of the upper cabinets. That same afternoon I wiped down the counters, unpacked my dishes, and filled the fridge with groceries. I loved handling the wood cabinets, resting glasses on the stone countertops, and opening and closing the handsome new fridge. I began spending more time in the kitchen in the mornings, lingering over a pot of tea as soft light filled the room.

But my kitchen did not really feel complete, not really feel like my own, until my friends Kristin, Robert and Jean came over for brunch one day. For this, The First Meal, I planned to make broiled salmon. I shopped for groceries the day before and, the night before, studied the oven’s operating manual. Among other things I learned that the low drawer below the oven, which I had thought was the broiler, was actually a storage compartment. This was a crisis narrowly averted!

Turning on the broiler for the first time the next day was quite dramatic. As I opened the door and turned the knob there was an distant clicking noise, the whirring of a fan, and a soft blast of heat. When the broiler reached full heat the stove began to give off a funny rubbery smell. Robert ran inside to ask if something was on fire. Kristin, whose own kitchen was recently remodeled, reassured us that a new stove often gave off a funny smell.

We ate in the living room. When I returned to the kitchen to prepare coffee the others followed, carrying in the dishes. Because of the new layout all four of us were able to to hang out inside. It was really something to see Robert, who is over six feet tall, tucked into the corner near the refrigerator, Kristin leaning against the door frame, and Jean take a seat right on top of my radiator. At the moment she sat down I realized that my kitchen had become the new center for my apartment, a room where I and my guests would enjoy spending time.

Another view of the new kitchen

(Photography by Jeffrey Kilmer)

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Posted by: Categories: Before and After, Inspiration, Kitchens 18


  1. Posted by Josh on March 2, 2010 | 10:04 PM

    Nalina, the space looks beautiful! I like the floor tiles. It reminds me slightly of your mom’s kitchen in Stratford. I love broiled salmon and I made the same mistake once – plopped two filets right on the lower storage compartment confused when after 20 minutes they did not seem to be heating.

  2. Posted by Nalina on March 3, 2010 | 11:53 AM

    Thanks! Interesting that the design reminds you of my mother’s kitchen, as she was a Chief Advisor for this project. And funny that we both made the same mistake with the broiler compartment. Maybe it’s a lesson we all need to learn–

  3. Posted by Ge'em on March 13, 2010 | 4:28 PM

    “….a sane view of life is, after all, elaborated mainly in the kitchen”.
    Joseph Conrad

    Wishing you and your guests many sane and sweet moments in your beautiful kitchen!

  4. Posted by Nalina on March 14, 2010 | 9:07 PM

    That’s a lovely quote from Conrad, and so true! Having a clean, well-organized kitchen helps ground your day-to-day life.

  5. Posted by james on March 17, 2010 | 4:27 PM

    wow, nalina. don’t know what your mom’s looks like, but that is one sexy kitchen.

  6. Posted by Nalina on March 18, 2010 | 9:44 AM

    Thanks! There’s an open invitation for you to visit and serve as Guest Chef–

  7. Posted by Justine on March 24, 2010 | 8:23 PM

    What type of tiles are you using in your kitchen?

  8. Posted by Nalina on March 25, 2010 | 10:15 AM

    The floor is finished with a 12×24 porcelain tile called “Pietra Serena Graphite.” It has a soft finish and reflects light nicely.

  9. Posted by Jina on June 16, 2011 | 11:24 PM

    Meh, you tried to cram way too much into a tiny space. I don’t like it at all. Too claustrophobic and busy. It looks as if you couldn’t even fully open the oven or dishwasher without having to stand to the side of it. Sure, you’ve got all the bells and whistles but more isn’t always better.

  10. Posted by EJ on September 1, 2012 | 11:24 AM

    This is a lovely kitchen. Please would you share the dimensions?

    Thanks in advance!

  11. Posted by Julie on November 28, 2012 | 12:58 PM

    Is the refridgerator ‘cabinet depth’? Looking for one similar – would you please share the brand (and model number if possible)? It’s great looking…as is the WHOLE space!! Congrats!

  12. Posted by Elllen on November 28, 2012 | 12:58 PM

    Would you please share what the countertop is made of?

  13. Posted by ss on November 28, 2012 | 1:50 PM

    Your before kitchen looks a lot like mine. The finished product fills me with hope and inspiration. Great Job!

    I’d Love to know more details, if you’d be willing to share :) The room dimensions would be a great start…

  14. Posted by Julie Black on November 28, 2012 | 3:55 PM

    Can you share the cabinet source.. just what we want to do in our craftsman house.

  15. Posted by Nalina on November 28, 2012 | 9:03 PM

    Thanks for all your comments!

    Kitchen Details:
    The room is 7′-6″ wide and 9′-6″ long. The cabinets are Diamond, available through Home Depot and other retailers. The refrigerator is a 24″-wide cabinet-depth Leibherr.

  16. Posted by Nalina on November 28, 2012 | 9:05 PM

    And one more detail: The countertop is a honed black granite.

  17. Posted by Sara Giguere on December 3, 2012 | 9:12 PM

    this is amazing! i’ve pinned the before so i can remember where to find it. i cannot believe how simply adding the counter space and opening access to the window makes the kitchen look so large and inviting. what a wonderful work space. i have great respect for designers and architects who innovate and use existing space. well done. my only question – is the only eating area in the living room now?

  18. Posted by Nalina on December 5, 2012 | 11:17 AM

    Hi, Sara. There’s a small ledge over the washer/dryer in the Kitchen where one person can pull up a stool. But the only true dining space is in the apartment Living Area.

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