Kitchen renovation – materials
Whoa. I’m seriously surprised by how many comments I got asking to see our kitchen renovation. Nosy little devils. I kid, I kid, I like seeing people’s kitchens too. Tells you a lot about how they cook. Or don’t.
I thought I’d start off with the materials we used. We live in an area with sometimes-zero, sometimes-one-bar cell service. We don’t use wifi, never have. No mould in our house, no chemicals in house or on humans. No smart meter. We are going for sanctuary from the madness here so why introduce problem materials?
To that end, we chose unfinished, solid wood for everything. The floors are locally sourced 10” wide plank solid, raw white oak. I finished them myself, one board at a time, with a traditional lye and soap method. They’re more upkeep than a plastic varnish coating but they are oh so lovely, don’t off-gas, and feel lovely underfoot. Shoes are strictly forbidden inside our house anyway.
Our cupboards are built by a fine carpenter gentleman in our area. They are all solid wood as well, finished with natural oils and beeswax. No pressboard stuff with who-knows-what glues and weird stuff. They’re built out of solid white oak and black walnut.
The walls are traditional lime plaster. Actually, even the new shower is a traditional Moroccan lime tadelakt shower instead of tile. It’s completely waterproof and sealed and maintained with a simple castile soap.
The stone wall behind the wood burning cookstove is locally milled limestone with a slate base. The old boards and doors used for shelves and random doors throughout came out of our barn.
The kitchen island is an old general store counter that is the love of my life. It’s ten feet long and fits a war chest of cooking paraphernalia. We bought it a few years ago and had it pushed up against a wall, waiting for its time to come. I am so grateful for that foresight. We also built in an old library catalogue as my spice and herb drawers. Reusing what’s already here is the best way to make something uniquely yours and have something of quality and character without using more energy intensive resources.
The backsplash tiles are handmade, terracotta zellige and not local at all. They’re all chippy and rough and uneven and I absolutely love them.
All the wiring was upgraded to sheathed cables so we didn’t introduce any new problems after having our house completely mitigated for EMFs/dirty electricity a few years ago.
All mouldings and baseboards are solid wood, sourced from a local fella’ that is truly the magic man of custom moulding profiles. A great trick to getting yourself to total meltdown is walking into a lumber mill and seeing thousands of baseboard moulding samples on the wall. Why would there ever need to be such decisions to make? Alas, we wanted to go with original to our old farmhouse.
Ceiling is pine shiplap also given a lye treatment by yours truly. This keeps that pine/orange colour from developing. I’m not a fan of that orange colour. Countertop is honed marble without sealant. I’ve already chipped it and marked it and that’s the way I like it. No shiny stuff for me.
The sink is cast iron. The two windows antique and one original and redone to make it more friendly in the winter. The others are all wood built here in Ontario. The lights are all hand thrown porcelain, perfectly rough and imperfect. We use incandescent bulbs in everything because mercury isn’t my jam.
I’ll show you what’s behind those cabinets later. I think I’ve blathered on long enough for now.