Bucktown Kitchen Refresh: Behind The Scenes

We are back with our final post about the Bucktown Kitchen Refresh. To recap, Domino shared the before and after,we posted our full reveal, and now we are back with a few behind the scenes notes. So often (and we are guilty too) you just see pretty photos, but there's a lot more to the thought process, back and forth communications, not to mention the skilled field workers who make the project happen. Many of our projects start with pumping the client for info about what they are looking for, how they live in the space or want to live in the space, how it should feel/what their style is, and then creating a concept mood board. The above was the initial concept mood board we presented the clients over cocktails (the best way!) to kick off the project. You will see below in the final photos that they pretty much loved it and we really ran with our original ideas, including:

Oh heyyyyy backsplash and hardware! Samples are key. We purchased a pull to test out the size and always get tile samples to check with counters and the paint color.

What ended up being a really key piece of this project, didn't come about for weeks until we began to talk about the fireplace. At project kickoff, the scope included replacing the black granite surround and the vague hope of toning down the glass block. How do you tone down two eight foot tall glass block windows???

Then I created this ridiculous concept sketch right before a meeting to talk about some of the other items.

I know, pretty wonky, but it got the point across! Instead of pasting some lighter stone around the fireplace and either ignoring the glass block or adding some window treatments, let's embrace them as part of the fireplace. The clients were on board and somehow saw the vision from this sketch. Tile floor to ceiling, crazy long mantel to tie the windows in, plus extra shelves above. Onto the line drawing and trying to figure out how to build this thing.

The original concept was to build the mantel out of the same wood as the countertops. After pricing that out, and scaling back, and pricing again, it was still a no-go. The cost to build the mantel and shelves out of lumber was still about half the cost if we had done it out of the wenge wood we used for the island. Painted lumber won out and in retrospect, everyone is glad it did! It keeps the whole perimeter light and bright and white and the warm island is it's own centerpiece. Pro tip: per the GC's recommendation, we had them turn the single pantry door into two. This way, we could extend the mantel and not interfere with operation of the pantry doors. Plus then we got the opportunity to double down on those glass pulls!

Unpatterned-Bucktown Kitchen-4.jpg

One more behind the scenes sketch that we did was to verify the size and drop of the lights. The Rejuvenation Hood pendants have something like 24 shade options and a customizable drop. We knew we wanted a clear globe. Those come in 12, 14 or 18 inch sizes. We went 18" and never looked back. We ruled out the 12's right away, but were curious if the 18's would be TOO big.  The sketch above confirmed the size was just right and was approved.  The electrician re-centered the original junction box on the newly extended island and added 2 more. We went with the polished nickel finish on the lights, the cabinet hardware and the faucet as it has a slightly warmer look than chrome. It seems a little obvious in the after photos that big was the way to go, but when your client is spending the cash to move electrical and buy 3 custom made lights, it's worth a quick schematic drawing and really helped them visualize more than holding up a tape measure in the field (which we did that too!)

And voila! There we have from concept, to drawings to finished product. Obviously there were a lot of steps in between. And not everything stuck to the original script - adding the crown molding to the cabinets was an afterthought, but made so much sense. And the counter stools were originally pictured a bit edgier or industrial, but when we saw these, they just made sense for the softness of the space. The clients even ordered a 6th to squeeze in on the end for the times they have a crowd in the kitchen, which is really quite often.

What's your favorite part? We are pretty into how the fireplace turned out. 

That wraps up our Kitchen Refresh recap! Coming soon: a lighting round up and powder room reveal! In case you missed it:

Peep the original Kitchen Refresh Before and After on Domino.com

Read the Unpatterned Reveal

See the Roof Deck from the same home

Photography by Lori Sapio