Monday, October 19, 2015

Renovating In the Spirit of Lyman

We've officially started referring to our new house in Maine as "Lyman Cottage." Lyman was a carpenter who owned the house with his wife several decades ago and we think he's the man responsible for crafting many of the quirky additions throughout the house that we have a love/hate relationship with. But rather than spend lots of time and money trying to disassemble these creations to bring the house back to its original 1898 state, we've recently taken on a new mindset of basically throwing a lot of paint at everything and embracing the weirdness.  Friends who knew him have shared stories with us about what a fun man Lyman was...he was a huge prankster, threw hopping parties on his glass porch with live bands, and could often be found at the island dump salvaging original turn-of-the century windows, cabinets, and other beautiful architectural pieces. He really sounded like our kind of guy. In the spirit of our predecessor, our new plan moving forward is to keep things light, playful, and utilitarian.
We may have said goodbye to Lyman's DIY bar, but his glass porch will stay for now, and we plan to throw a few parties that get the porch rocking like it used to :-)

When we first closed on the house, we came up with a simple game plan for the kitchen that slightly reconfigured the space to improve its functionality but stayed within the existing footprint. For a brief moment we considered taking out a staircase that sits adjacent to the kitchen to free up space to expand into, but when we found out the actual cost of taking out the staircase, the added square footage for the kitchen just wasn't compelling enough. The architect I met with on Friday thought our original kitchen plan was a good one, so we're putting the finishing touches on that plan and getting the ball rolling very soon.

We've spent some time figuring out how we want the kitchen to look. Over the past few months I've collected images of kitchens I love that feel very "Maine" to me. Here are a few favorites: 


A few common threads in all the kitchens I'm drawn to have emerged:
  • Shaker style cabinetry 
  • Soapstone or wood block countertops 
  • Shiplap walls
  • No upper cabinets
  • If there are upper cabinets, they're placed directly on countertops like a piece of furniture
  • Farmhouse sinks 
  • Wood floors, painted and not
I'm pretty excited because after doing a little research I realized that I may be able to achieve most of these features on a pretty reasonable budget with an Ikea kitchen. My only hesitation with Ikea used to be the finish of their cabinet doors, but I found a company called SemiHandmade that creates custom Shaker style doors that are made to fit Ikea cabinets, and are priced similarly. So we may buy the cabinets at Ikea and fit them with custom fronts. I hope it works out!

Before we can start ordering our Ikea kitchen, we're waiting on a quote to remove the chimney in the above photo. The chimney also takes up a lot of space in the bedroom that's directly above the kitchen, which we plan to turn into the master bedroom. If the price isn't prohibitive, our plan is to remove the chimney and re-route the basement steps so that we can put the refrigerator where the door is, and some cabinets along the wall where the chimney is. I'd also like to re-purpose these Lyman-salvaged upper cabinets from the living room and use them to store glassware either next to the refrigerator (though I'm not sure they'll fit) or on another wall.
Pushing all of this back will also open up space for an island, which I've already started scouting vintage stores for!

Do you have experience with Ikea kitchens? Taking out chimneys? I'd love to hear what you think of this plan! 

xo, Christine