Bernard Kitchen: Inspiration+Progress

[image via Oracle Fox]


Just a little inspiration.

Well, I haven’t been around here for a bit, but you better believe I’ve been busy. I flew home 2 weeks ago, packed up the rest of our belongings in truck and trailer and my brother Travis and I drove it up to Thunder Bay. Did it in a day again, although this time around, we had a solid 4 hours of sleep (unlike the 2 hours Dan and I had when we did it the first time. Flight delays, yada yada yada) so it was pretty much a breeze. I mean, as breezy as a 15 hour driving day gets. We were ushered into town around 10pm by John Denver (I was hoping Take Me Home, Country Roads would get us there, but it fell a little short. So we just kept that record rolling), singing (yelling?) along to keep our spirits high and to not fall asleep. Dan was home to greet us with cheese, crackers and beer. All in all, a successful trip.

Luckily for us, Travis’ extensive knowledge goes beyond the John Denver song collection and he is also a fantastic general contractor, and he graciously gave us a hand with some of the work that we couldn’t tackle on our own. Which is why I’ve been so busy, because I really had to take advantage of the time he was here so we could get lots done. (Don’t worry, we aren’t total slave drivers, we only worked for a couple days and then his girlfriend flew into town and we all took vacation and did fun stuff together.)

Our first big task was to put in a beam between the kitchen and dining room so we could finally open those rooms up. It was one of those jobs where, when it was done, you couldn’t ever imagine it the way it was before because really, this is the way it always should have been.

[progress: Beam is IN!]

Second big job was plumbing. There were some messy pipes in the kitchen that were unnecessary and also taking up a lot of space, so that if we left them, we would have had to build out a weird box and dry wall around them, making the kitchen feel less open (which is what they had done originally). Plus, there was already newer plumbing running down through the dining room side that had to be framed around, so it made way more sense to have all the plumbing run through that same spot. And then, since we wanted to put a second bathroom in the basement, we also needed to open up the concrete down there and run the new plumbing for that at the same time. With reno’s, it’s always kind of a domino effect, if you’re doing one thing, well, you should probably just do that other thing too, since you’re there now. And the job always gets bigger than you first intended. Which is also one of the reasons reno’s always take way longer than you plan for. Things just always come up as you go.

[progress: See how all the plumbing is running all neat and tidy on the right side of the beam now? And soon, both windows will be bigger and symmetrical. It’s gonna be so good.]

One such domino effect was, since we were roughing in all the basement plumbing, we should probably frame the bathroom out too, so we could run our plumbing through the walls. And since we framed that out, we should probably move that other wall to make our hallway a little wider. And since we moved the one wall, we might as well move the other one to make the side room a little bigger. And so on and so on.

Travis also helped us run some new electrical on the main floor, potlights throughout the kitchen (and yes, those ones are currently ‘mounted’ with electrical tape), dining room and front hallway and roughed in all the new outlets and lighting in the basement bathroom. I mean, there is still a lot to do, but I definitely think he got us to a good point where we can, somewhat confidently, take it from.

(also, Travis is starting his own business in the next month, so if any of you Hamilton dwellers need a general contractor, give me shout, I will hook you up. He’s a stand up guy and does really great work. I mean, he got all this work done in 4 days with an only somewhat capable assistant (me!) so just imagine what he could do if he had all his proper tools and was prepared for the job.)

Ok, so back to the kitchen. The next major steps are new windows, finishing off running the electrical to the outlets and insulation. Dan and I plan to tackle all this together this coming weekend, because it is starting to get pretty cold at night, so having a insulated kitchen would definitely be ideal. Then it will be drywall and flooring. We still need to rip up the rest of the subfloor, because, following this house’s rules, no one ever got rid of anything, they just layered. So there are about 6 inches of flooring, layer on layer, that are all screwed together with a million screws. We’re probably just going to run a skil saw over it and pry it up in smaller pieces, because so far nothing else has really worked. Unless you have any better ideas? If so, I’d love to hear them.

And I know we are still a ways off from finishing, but of course we are still talking about it a lot and discussing our options. And here’s the one big thing that I’m stuck on. So our cabinets are all black with black handles. Super simple. And we plan to do a white subway tile backsplash with open shelving above the sink. Again, keeping it simple and classic. We are hoping to find the same, or very similar flooring to what’s in the dining room, a thin natural maple, so that there’s continuity throughout the whole main floor, plus it will make the room feel bigger. And the open shelving will be wood in a similar finish.

All that being said. Would you do a black counter top or a white counter top?

I’ve been going back and forth on this since we ordered the cabinets. We don’t have any uppers, just one tall pantry beside the fridge. I feel like the all black will definitely be a statement, but in a good way? Plus, with the wood on the floor and in the shelves, I think there will be enough balance? It would be a little moodier, but with all the light coming in through the windows, I think the room can handle it.

[black/black inspiration via Pinterest]

The case for white though, looking on Pinterest, it seems to be the more popular choice, maybe a little safer? More of an all around people pleaser. And since we don’t plan on staying here forever, maybe the better choice this time around? And because there are no uppers, it will help balance the colour in the room?

[white/black inspiration via Pinterest]

I don’t know. What do you guys think? Is the black on black too much, or am I over thinking it? Or do you just think the white counter top/white back splash is the obvious choice? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’ll have another progress post soon, once we’re at the drywall point. Then I can show you the kitchen layout and we can focus more on finishes, I’ll probably need more input on which ones you guys like best!

Til then, back to it.


  • September 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm // Reply

    I love the look of black counter tops and was thinking the exact same thing during our kitchen renovation! In all the reviews I read and people I talked to who had black counter tops people said that they were a pain to keep clean and often looked dirty. I ended up going with white, it’s a different look but it’s easy to keep looking nice and I love it (:

    • Yes! I think that black looks great in photos, so moody and sexy, but when it actually comes down to day to day, white will probably be my better option. And honestly, I think they both look great, just very different feels.

  • LOVE the white countertop, just because its more feminine & you can have more fun with it, the black is more manly & moody. Its going to look fab either way!!!

    • Totally!! I mean, they are both great, just very different room feels. But I think I’m leaning more towards white this time, just to keep that lightness to the room, and then doing all my lighting etc, in black finishes.

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