victoria | oak house

kitchen plans

when we were getting ready to move last spring, my mom asked if there was anything she could do to help. i’m sure she meant packing, cleaning, taking care of frankie or making some phone calls for me, and i was like, “yes — can you please go to ikea and buy me 25 packages of cabinet hardware?”

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i have always wanted cup pulls on my kitchen drawers, but our toronto house didn’t have any kitchen drawers. our new house has kitchen drawers upon drawers and — despite what you see here — i could already picture the finished product. and it included cup pulls.

if you’ve ever shopped for hardware, you know it can add up — especially when you have no fewer than 50 drawers/cabinets in your kitchen! so, leading up to the move, i had been stocking up on a few things at ikea (there’s no ikea on vancouver island) when i saw these pulls. at $7.99 for a package of two, i wanted to horde them and pile them on the moving truck. my mom went to ikea and bought them all for me, alongside these knobs for the cabinets. (she actually went to ikea twice, since the first time she accidentally bought me the chrome finish.) thanks mom!

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similar to that time that i changed my first door, i didn’t really realize that drawer pulls come in different sizes. when you swap out a knob (single hole) obviously the size of your new knob — might be a little bigger, might be a little smaller — doesn’t matter. but, not having kitchen drawers before, i’d never changed pulls that had spread holes before and didn’t realize there wasn’t just some sort of “standard width” between the screws.

alas, the space between the holes on the fågleboda knobs is 2½″ and the space between the holes on my drawer fronts is 3″. so i did what any reasonable person would do (ha!) and started talking to our carpenters about drilling new holes into all of our drawer fronts and plugging the old ones, staining the plugs to match the existing colour. i’ll let you stew on that for a minute while i backpedal and explain that, before changing out the knobs on the cabinets, i had also planned to prime and paint all of that kitchen cabinetry, but once i’d swapped out the dated (1993) knobs for the fåglavik ones in the dining room and on the pantry doors, the oak really grew on me. the oak paired with the black had a very modern scandinavian look to it, i felt, whereas the oak paired with the oak knobs just looked old. so i scratched all the priming and painting off my to-do list, thank god. but back to the carpenters — this was my plan for months.

then, i was in canadian tire, in the hardware section, and noticed that they sold some cup pulls and that the spread between the holes looked to be about 3″. the package didn’t say one way or the other, so i brought my measuring tape with me next time i happened to be in the store. the spacing was 3″! but the pulls only came in pewter, so i bought one package ($8.99 for two) and a can of black spray paint. over two days i spray painted the cup pulls and they turned out great. so i returned to canadian tire and bought out their inventory. i was out the $100 or so for the ikea pulls that didn’t fit (they’re up on varage sale if anyone reading this is local and wants them), but that’s really nothing compared to the cost of the carpentry work to make the pulls fit on the drawer fronts.

but then, pierre pointed out that the cup pulls wouldn’t actually fit on the top drawers that run around the perimeter of the kitchen. if you scroll back up, you can see that our kitchen drawers are two deeper drawers with a shallow drawer stacked on top. and the panel where the pull sits wasn’t tall enough to accommodate a cup pull. no problem, i thought — i’d just get a handle of some kind for all the top drawers and then do the cup pulls on the middle and bottom drawers. so off to home depot, where i found these richelieu pulls that i liked and would fit. i bought ten to cover off the short drawers and then realized that the cup pulls would just look silly underneath. three types of hardware in one kitchen is just too much. so i returned all the unopened packages of cup pulls to canadian tire and went back to home depot to buy more of the richelieu pulls and my new kitchen will not have cup pulls after all. i want to cry just reliving this experience.

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you know what else my kitchen will not have? upper cabinetry. these nine cabinets have been sitting empty since we moved in in may and now they’ve gone on to live out a new life in sooke. the vent fan coming down wasn’t part of the plan, but it turned out to be attached to the cabinet over the stove and not to the wall like we thought it was. it’s a good thing it’s 11 degrees here; we’re cooking with the back door open for the foreseeable future.

i was inspired to remove the uppers because our new kitchen appliances are being delivered in the middle of december and i 1) didn’t want to remove heavy cabinets overtop of a brand new stove and 2) wanted our electrician to deal with all the electrical in the kitchen while he was here to install a plug behind the stove. (we’re converting from natural gas back to an electric stove. i know it’s an odd choice, but i’ve cooked on both and i miss our stove from our old kitchen!)

there’s a lot of patching, cleaning and painting to do — the colour on the walls and ceiling can only be described as flesh — and i have a couple of light fixtures coming while we wait for the gas and electrical work to be completed and for our three new appliances to arrive and be installed.

next year we’ll:

  • have our carpenters replace the baseboards and door and window casings in this room
  • order a window shade
  • install a new hood vent
  • replace the back door and
  • maybe get to the countertops, sink and faucet — but that’s not on the list officially

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i should have another kitchen update ready in a month or so, after the appliances have been delivered. the kitchen will still look not great — that countertop is hard to ignore — but the early ’90s appliances, massive holes in the walls and flesh colour will be gone.

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5 thoughts on “kitchen plans

  1. I had cup pulls in my old kitchen (I had wanted them for years and we made the upgrade). After a couple years they were pretty banged up though. While you couldn’t tell just standing in he kitchen my eye caught the dings and scratches and it drove me nuts!! I love the pulls you bought 🙂 we just moved and I’m wanting something similar when we redo our kitchen.

    1. well that makes me feel a little bit better about not being able to get the cup pulls! another friend mentioned the undersides getting really dirty/greasy so maybe it’s all for the best.

  2. I wanted to quickly say I am loving your new house! It’s a fantastic layout and you are making it shine! And I agree about cup pulls getting dirty underneath. I had cup pulls on a large buffet I’d used in a kitchen for just over a year until we could get cabinets built. They got dirty underneath and a pain to clean. I think they’re great in a kitchen that doesn’t see a lot of cooking (I’d use it on furniture NOT used in a kitchen) – otherwise something like you have that you can grab with your hand up or down is more practical in a kitchen. And I do love the look of the black hardware on the wood! It’s amazing how a small change can change the look. When we moved a few years ago I also planned on painting the Wood cabinets white (they’re a bit orangey and it was the height of the all-white kitchen trend). But by changing the wall colour and switching out the black counters and “Highschool shower in the 80’s” backsplash for white (just subway tiles and “Frosty Carina” quartz… a good solid stripper name for our counters) – the whole effect of the kitchen changed and felt very mid-century which matched our furniture/decor. I’ve even been seeing the colour combination showing up in kitchens on Houzz…. so I feel chuffed. Because the kitchen was hugely updated for minimal cost and disruption. And I got points for being more green. And the other upside: it’s not obviously off-trend now as some all-white kitchens done at that time are! In the last house I changed out the hardware so I felt your pain. It was an ordeal!!! But also completely updated the kitchen so worth it. But it was such a pain that I’ve left what I have now. It’s ok. Not perfect but ok. I couldn’t face dealing with matching the holes (last time I did drill new ones) and getting enough hardware to do the whole kitchen. Nightmare!

    1. Jenifer! Welcome back. It’s nice to hear from you 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement on the kitchen. I was really happy/surprised that changing the hardware had the effect that it did. I feel you on the mid-century vibe that came about all of a sudden and couldn’t be happier about not “having” to sand, prime and paint all the cabinetry. There’s so much of it, plus the stain is matched on our fireplace mantle and in our bathroom, so it would just be so much work. I, too, am hoping for a kitchen transformation with minimal effort/budget — countertops, backsplash, sink, faucet, appliances and new trim are all that’s left on the to-do list. I’m keeping the early ’90s linoleum floors (I think they’ll come back in vogue). Maybe I’ll keep my eyes open for some Frosty Carina countertops… sounds like they’re made for dancing on at any rate.

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