Friday, January 31, 2014

My New Kitchen (a la Dan-and-John)

I have a new kitchen!!!  My little Manhattan kitchen was miraculously transformed last month by the brilliant work of my friends Dan and John.  I’m totally over the moon.

I’d wanted to make improvements for years, having struggled with motivation to cook and create for this blog when I felt claustrophobic in my own kitchen, but I knew I couldn’t delay this project any longer after barely surviving the busiest CocoaRoar truffle season a year ago.  Frustrated to tears by the lack of functional counter/storage space, I honestly considered giving up my truffle business. Either I had to move to an apartment with a better kitchen, or I had to make serious changes to my existing space before the next December truffle season came around.


Enter Dan and John.  As they say on their website, “We believe space matters—and that a well-designed environment enhances well-being and promotes the enjoyment of daily life.”  


Any home improvements I’d made in the past were always very DIY.  I’d never experienced having a fully realized vision for a room and then executing it, but sometimes you need to turn to the pros.  I’d seen other beautiful design projects that Dan and John had done in the past, where they excelled at finding clever functional solutions that also looked incredibly cool.  I couldn’t have imagined how far they’d exceed my expectations for my kitchen project!

I felt like I was in an HGTV show, doing a Before&After Kitchen Makeover story.  During our initial consultation, we discussed at length what was working in my existing space (not much) and what was frustrating (a LOT). My kitchen is decently sized by Manhattan standards, but you enter the apartment through the kitchen off of which three additional doorways lead, thereby eliminating a lot of potential cabinet and counter areas. I was also tired of stacking all my pots and pans a la Russian-nesting-dolls, therefore having to take everything out at once just to access one little pan at a time. 

While John took many photos and exacting measurements of my kitchen, Dan sketched out the space from various perspectives.  They returned the following week with a PowerPoint presentation of their vision for optimizing my space.  I laughed my way through their entire presentation, giggling with delight at all of their fabulous ideas:

+ A shelving panel above the stove for hanging my most frequently used skillet and saucepans   (Yes please!) 

+ Another shelving panel for jars of oil and vinegar bottles, plus the spices I reach for most frequently  
(Oh yes, let’s do that too!)

+ Putting my shelving storage unit on casters and adding a butcher-block top, instantly doubling my counter space whenever necessary  (Oh goodness, when can we start?!!)

+ A sleek knife block, ingeniously created out of several maple cutting boards, to anchor the edge of my counter and free up precious counter space  (I love it!)

+ Creating a great first impression upon entering the apartment by moving my white dishware to the shelf between the two rooms, rather than seeing a chaotic jumble of pantry items that formerly lived on that shelf. 

(Yes, that is a gigantic wine glass housing dozens of Nespresso capsules atop the wall-mounted shelf!)

+ Applying festive orange paint in strategic places—with a metallic bronze creating a backsplash effect—to bring warmth to the room without overwhelming it.  The front door was also painted in this glowing metallic color, and how fun is this wooden spoon now acting as a peephole cover?!

+ Installing under-cabinet lights to transform the feel of the room while providing much-needed task lighting

+ Creating a new stemware shelf in the living room where cookbooks used to live, continuing the same festive orange and beautiful lighting  (This shelf makes me ridiculously happy!)

+ A TRUFFLE STORAGE SHELVING SYSTEM!!!!  Okay, this is truly my favorite part of the kitchen overhaul! Custom-built to hold six trays at a time, this makes use of the space above the refrigerator and it totally saved me during last month’s CocoaRoar season.  The left side of it is on a hinge so I can fold it flat against the back wall whenever I need the space, but frankly I’m already using it as additional storage when I’m not in truffle-production-mode.

I can’t say enough good things about Dan and John.  Their beautiful work and attention to detail along with their fabulous and intelligent designs—not to mention a liberal dash of good humor—made me feel I was in the most capable hands.  Up until they worked their magic, I was bound in a proverbial straitjacket trying to function in here.  Now I am happier than I’ve ever been in my kitchen, and I’m definitely inspired to cook more and share these new culinary delights with all of you here on Kitchen Fiddler!

Panorama shot taken the first night the new kitchen was all set up!

For more photos and details about this project, please click here and there.

One Year Ago:  A Proper Vesper
Two Years Ago:  Killer Chocolate Sauce
Three Years Ago:  Cornmeal Arugula Soup
Four Years Ago:  Ruby Port Cocktail


julia mckenzie said...

Just fabulous...and that exciting, appetite-stimulating orange!

cenovia cummins said...

Fabulous! So much accomplished without having he headache and enormous expense of a tear down. I'm so very happy for you and kudos to Dan and John !!!(