Working on the apartment kitchen.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_island

The thing about owning a house and renovating it very, very slowly — and with no one’s taste in mind but your own — is that you really start to feel like every tiny detail matters after a while. I don’t mean that you spare no expense or that everything has to be perfect (I pity the fool who buys a 125-year-old house and expects perfection), I just mean that there’s nothing stopping you from spending 7 years trying to find the perfect light fixture. Trust me, I know. We’ve been working on the kitchen at our house since 2006, and it is gradually becoming exactly what we want it to be.

It’s different when you rent, though. Things tend to happen faster because you don’t know how long you’ll be living in one place, and depending on how lenient your landlord is, you may not be able to do all of things you’d like — not to mention the hesitancy to invest time and money in someone else’s property. As someone who is currently an owner and a renter, I’ve found that all of these rental issues get amplified when they’re contrasted with the benefits of ownership.

So, on that note…the kitchen in the new apartment! I spent a few hours working on it over the weekend. All I’ve really done so far is paint the back and side wall with Benjamin Moore’s Deep Space (the same paint I used in the bedroom), changed out a light fixture and hung up a rail above the sink, but even with just a bit of effort it’s starting to look better.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_before

I very stupidly forgot to take a series of “before” pictures. BOO. All I have is this one! You can see, though, that I’m dealing with the same orange wood-overload issues as in the bedroom, but with an added tragedy: Cherry-finished cabinets. Now, I know there are plenty of people out there who love cherry cabinets. I am not one of those people. In fact, if you had to ask me to describe my WORST kitchen nightmare, it would probably involve a collapsing ceiling, cherry cabinets and forest green countertops.

Which brings me to the following…

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_kalecounters

Yeah. Forest green quartz. With a beveled edge. The words alone are like locusts screeching in my brain. I swear the universe is laughing at me for being such a jerk about kitchens I think look dated and tacky, because now I have one just like that. Womp womp. I’m still going to be a jerk about it, though, because otherwise the countertops will have won.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_longview

Here’s a long view of the kitchen, which is completely open to the living space. I know this picture makes it look like our apartment is a dark, miserable cave (not that dark miserable caves are a bad thing — some of my best friends are cave-dwellers), but that’s just because I took it at 7PM last night. In reality, this place gets a TON of daylight even though it’s an attic conversion. Between the skylight in the bedroom (north side) and the full-length windows in the kitchen (south side), it the brightest, sunniest place I’ve ever lived in.

The interior architecture is weird, though, and the ceiling in the kitchen area is pretty low…about 7′-ish. I like that more than I thought I would. I’m not usually a huge fan of open kitchens, but the height differential makes the space feel distinct from the rest of the room.

I still can’t get over the ginormousness of this place, and it’s amazing to me that it hasn’t been carved up into 2 or 3 smaller apartments. The layout of the kitchen is kind of silly considering the size of the room — I can’t understand why they chose to install that island (peninsula?) on the left 6 miles away from the main wall of the kitchen on the right. It does have an overhang on the window side, though, so we’re going to get some stools and make it a nice place to sit and eat.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_main

Sigh. The uneven cabinet heights, the weird floating microwave, the cabinet boxes that are a different finish from the cabinet fronts, the fluorescent light…it’s just not cute. I’m not even sure that painting the cabinets would make me like it more, because the installation was so poorly executed. I kind of just want to live with it as-is and then eventually (like in a couple of years — Evan and I both LOVE this apartment!!) propose a complete renovation of the kitchen to the landlord. We’d do all of the labor, of course, and I know from experience that I can get the job done for under $3000 easily. Who knows, maybe he’ll go for it. Right now, though, I’m not sweating it. The appliances work well, there’s a ton of storage space, and it definitely does look better with the walls painted. Maybe I’ll cover the backsplash with something temporary and less glaringly high-contrast, too. That would help.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_sinkdetail

Speaking of the backsplash, I wanted to take a moment to mention those tiles. See how big they are? Not only are they too big for the area they’re covering (12″ tiles are never going to look right on a backsplash that’s 18″ high, come ON), but THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY MEANT TO BE FLOOR TILES. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s even worse when the same tiles are actually used on the floor elsewhere in the house. Ew, man. I don’t want to think about floor tiles while I’m cooking food. Yes, there are some tiles out there that can do double duty, but these 12″ marble contractor specials (they cost $1 each, which is why you see them everywhere) don’t cut it. Subway tiles are just as cheap, and it’s not that much extra labor. Stop being lazy.

Okay, thanks. I needed to get that off my chest.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_radiator

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_windowbox

Two things I love! The weird/creepy industrial radiator that’s supposed to be enclosed but isn’t, and the VIEW. The guys that own our building also own the empty lots behind it (they rent them out for parking), and since they’re not interested in selling them to developers, we have a clear view of both the beautiful block next to ours and the rest of Cobble Hill beyond that. The sunsets are amazing. Also, there are a couple of built-in window boxes for me to plant stuff in when (if?) the weather warms up a bit. I’m thinking ornamental kale and cabbage.

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_cloudlight

doorsixteen_aptkitchen_hektar

I replaced the fluorescent light over the island with the smaller HEKTAR light from IKEA. The entire HEKTAR series is really good-looking and very nice quality. I wish I had a place to put the big pendant, because it’s sooooo nice in person (and huge). I still have to fix the ceiling where the old light was…I’ll get to that before I paint the ceiling Moonlight White.

I’m not sure what to do about the other fluorescent light, though. At first I thought I’d hang another HEKTAR but just shorten the cord, but I misjudged just how low the ceilings are — and how close that fixture is to the sink and stove. Anything lower than the existing fixture would be a head-bonking waiting to happen. I really only have about 7″ of clearance. I’m not sure what kind of light is that small and will look good with the HEKTAR hanging a few feet away. Maybe I need to just hang two of the same but swag the one on the sink side so it’s closer to the center of the room? I don’t know, I guess that would look dumb. Maybe I should just cap the other fixture and get by with one light. The microwave has a light, and I could install the undercabinet lighting I used to have in the kitchen at the house. Hmmmm. Ideas?

79 comments
  1. Daniel @ Manhattan NestMar 28, 20136:45 pm

    It’s looking great! The paint makes it.

    What if you swagged two HEKTAR lights over the island, then replaced the flourescent with a CAMP simple light with a chrome-tipped bulb? So tough with the ceiling so low. :/

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I’m scared about breaking a bare bulb. I’m pretty sure my head would hit it. :/

    Daniel @ Manhattan Nest /

    maybe just hot glue some glow sticks to the ceiling?

    Anna @ D16 /

    Blog post!

    Katie M /

    My first thought on reading your lighting dilemmas was, “Maybe Daniel has a light in his stock of them that would help you out,” and then this is the first comment.

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, he’s giving me some glow sticks.

  2. SuziiMar 28, 20136:59 pm

    That’s my worst nightmare kitchen too and this is coming from someone who currently has a rusty-salmon 80s laminate kitchen. I have a beautiful black and white one planned for our renovations next year.

    I love your blog – this post was fascinating and your picture of your view brought so much happiness as I feed a 2 weeks old baby through the long dark night.

    Great work, much love from Australia.
    xx

    [Reply]

  3. TracyMar 28, 20136:59 pm

    Oh my gosh I feel the same way about green quartz and beveled edges. That cracked me up, and made me throw up in my mouth a lil bit.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    That’s why I’m pretending it looks like a giant kale chip!!

  4. KandpreadmeMar 28, 20137:09 pm

    Can you do something with 1 or 2 Hektar spots?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    You mean the little guys? I bought one of those, actually, and I was planning to mount it on the wall between the two windows (I’m putting some shelves there, too). There really isn’t anywhere to put one around the counter/stove/sink area, though, unfortunately!

    Karen Gilsenan /

    I guess I was thinking of a small ceiling batton which you could then clamp the little guys to, a faux spot light effect but I suspect it it looked any good it would still be too low…

  5. JessicaMar 28, 20138:13 pm

    My kitchen nightmare, aka my current kitchen, resembles yours quite a bit. We’ve got the same cherry finished cabinets, and unfortunately were installed just before our tenancy. The wood floor in our huge adjacent living room is literally orange. Not orangey, but honest-to-god, there is no hiding it with smart color choices orange. Our blacksplash is small square tiles in what I can only describe as “adobe-inspired colors”. Luckily I don’t have the kale chip counter, but mine is a boring boring beige quartzy material that is only rivaled in dullness by the HUGE (like 12×12 inch?) very textured floor tiles that absorb every tiny spill into every pore of their being. HATE. Honestly, it bothers me so much that I often actually forget about all the wonderful qualities our condo does have and instead question why we moved here.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh gosh. “Adobe-inspired” sounds bad…I’m sorry.

    I have orange wood floors on the second floor of my house, and I keep saying I’m going to paint them white. I just don’t have time! They’re too thin (and face-nailed) to be refinished, so I might as well. The floors in this apartment are REALLY badly finished (multiple layers of poly/not sanded between re-coatings), and we’re just going to have lots of big rugs, I guess. Rugs fix a lot of evils.

  6. JessicaMar 28, 20138:14 pm

    oh, with all that out of my system, I can’t wait to see what genius solution you come up with for the orange that I’ve glaringly overlooked. Because I will absolutely steal it and use it!

    [Reply]

  7. JessicaMar 28, 20138:17 pm

    I was just telling my boyfriend about how, when apartment-hunting, I wouldn’t even look at a place if it had cherry cabinets. Feeling very vindicated that you share my distaste. #cabinetsoulmates

    (But in this case, the rest of the apartment seems to make it more than worth it!)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, it’s a great apartment. It’s so cozy and comfortable that a lot of things that would really bother me somewhere else are turning out to be not such a big deal here. Or maybe I’m just too tired to notice!

  8. miriam demaMar 28, 20138:34 pm

    this post is an awesome combination of “Makin’ It Work!” and “What The Hell!”.
    nicely done.

    also, i’m so glad a contractor never got his hands on our mid 40′s kitchen. eventually we’ll change some things but for now it’s cute and vintage instead of cheap and tacky.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I love ’40s kitchens and bathrooms! I’ll bet you have a window over the sink and cute open shelving on either side, right?

    Miriam Dema /

    Yep to both! Those are the parts I like as well.
    The fridge, flooring and light fixtures that are all a very sad beige have got to go though and soon enough will.
    Last year we painted the outside and got a new driveway – every year is full of fun projects with a former hunting cabin in the mountains above Los Angeles!

  9. runswithscissorsMar 28, 20138:35 pm

    http://www.schoolhouseelectric.com/lighting-and-hardware/fixtures/surface-mount.html
    I’m fond of “otis” or maybe “factory light no.4″
    or maybe I just like the name otis :)
    Love your progress so far

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I love Schoolhouse, but aside from the bare bulb/shadeless fixtures, they’re all way too big for this spot — even the new little Alabax is too big once the bulb is in. I only have about 7″ of clearance, and even that’s pushing it!

  10. AlexMar 28, 20138:41 pm

    Last week, I installed one 60 cm (24 inch) LED undercabinet light from IKEA in my kitchen, and that thing is amazing, it lights up the whole (admittedly small and mainly white) room but without making it look like a morgue. Between that and my swing-arm wall lamp, I can happily avoid replacing my broken kitchen ceiling light until I find something I love AND still see what I’m doing while cooking dinner in the meantime.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, I think undercabinet lights are probably the way to go! I have some from IKEA that I’m not using at the house anymore, so I might as well bring them to the apartment and see how it goes. :)

  11. erinMar 28, 20139:00 pm

    I think even worse than the cabinets is the awkward layout… I’m cringing at the island location! I think that would drive me nuts more than anything else.

    I’m a fairly new reader, so sorry if I missed it, but I’m confused about the owning a house a renting an apartment? Sorry if it’s none of my business, just curious about the need and wondering how you manage to redo TWO living spaces at once! I can’t even get my small apartment decorated and we’ve been here for three years!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I have health problems that were being exacerbated by the years of daily commuting (4 hours a day for 5 years), so it was a convenience in the short term that will hopefully prevent me being unable to work in the long term. It was several years ago that we started renting in addition to owning — I wrote a little about it here:
    http://www.doorsixteen.com/2009/12/21/d16-pied-a-terre-style/

    There are no deadlines, and we do what we can when we can. The real renovation work is all at the house, though — that’s where you see all of the bathroom-gutting and kitchen tiling and stuff like that going on. :)

  12. LisanneMar 28, 20139:21 pm

    Looks so much better! Paint is magical.

    Can the island be moved or is that too crazy?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    For a few reasons, yes, that’s too crazy. But don’t think I didn’t consider it. ;)

  13. Christine @ Design CatharsisMar 28, 20139:47 pm

    Hmm, okay, maybe this is just a bit crazy, but what about getting an electrician to cap the electrical box, and then installing a new box on the wall above the radiator, to make an up-lit sconce? It might not be too pricy, and then you’ll have approximately a million more lighting options… and the light it will throw off will be infinitely more flattering. That combined with the undercabinet lighting could do the trick nicely. A stopgap solution could be a corded wall-mounted light to see how it looks.

    At least that quartz is probably indestructible. On the bright side!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    That wouldn’t cost us any money since we can do that kind of stuff ourselves, but I’m not about to start installing new electrical boxes in the walls of someone else’s property — not without their permission, and not unless it’s part of a bigger renovation. Like I said to Kandpreadme, though, I am putting a small light between the windows. That’s good enough for me! :)

  14. DaraMar 28, 201311:29 pm

    Ohhh, man. The kitchen in my apartment also has a backsplash with tiles that are clearly meant to be floor tiles, too! It’s officially The Worst. I keep musing about ways to cover it up but haven’t arrived at a good solution yet.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I have ideas, Dara. IDEAS. I probably won’t get to the backsplash project for at least another month, but it’ll happen. I promise to share. ;)

  15. mimiMar 28, 201311:42 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of Jacobsen’s sleek Eklipta wall sconce which can also be mounted on the ceiling.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    It is beautiful! Very much NOT in my budget, though, alas.

    mimi /

    Yeah, that’s why I’m still stuck with the ugly Home Depot wall sconce in our guest room :-/ Hmm, I wonder if vintage ones can be found for less…

  16. set decMar 29, 20137:51 am

    depending on how crazy you want to go, you could take off the cabinet doors and stash them in a safe place and then either do open shelving or (my choice) make simple 3/4 plywood doors and drawer fronts. boxing the island with ply is pretty easy. crazier still, get sheet zinc, pull the sink out, wrap countertop, cut hole for sink, replace sink.

    i used to totally redecorate my hotel rooms if i was at a location for more than a month, heh.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh, I’m crazy, so I totally get it…and I have seriously considered this entire scenario (minus the zinc, thought that’s impressive!) I think it might just be lipstick on a pig in this case. We’ll see if I’m losing my mind in 6 months. ;)

    Gracie /

    Lipstick on a pig, ha ha ah

  17. Christian TMar 29, 20138:07 am

    So funny!! I live in the heart of the suburbs and everyone LOVES cherry cabinets and hunter green countertops… I just don’t get it! Glad to know I’m not the only one who can’t stand it!

    [Reply]

  18. Rachel BMar 29, 201310:17 am

    I’m housing hunting and every other kitchen I see is cherry cabinets from HGTV-inspired projects gone wrong. I’m talking huge granite slab counter tops that hang over drawers, stainless steel microwaves that jut out and 12×12 tile backsplashes. It makes me appreciate the vintage set-up I have in my rental!

    I don’t have any light suggestions but I would definitely take head clearance over overhead light, especially if you can do under-cabinet lights.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, I totally blame the whole HGTV house-flipping mentality that led to this idea of creating “luxurious” kitchens and bathrooms that are in reality very poorly designed.

    I’m definitely going to give the undercabinet lights a shot next week and see if that works well enough!!

  19. SFDCMar 29, 201310:20 am

    I recently came across this light fixture (http://www.lampsplus.com/products/bulkhead-collection-7-inch-round-white-outdoor-wall-light__52935.html) that could work. It’s low profile, has a bit of that industrial (nautical?) look, and comes in black and white! It’s technically an outdoor fixture, but I’m going to be using it indoors as a ceiling fixture in a hall that has REALLY low ceilings.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh, funny, I actually have one of those in white sitting around at my house (we were going to put it in a closet, but we still haven’t gotten around to installing the electrical box in the ceiling, soooo…), and I was thinking I might try spray-painting it dark gray to match the HEKTAR and see if they play nicely together.

    I love those lights, and they’re so cheap!

    emily @ cabin fervor /

    I was going to suggest a fixture like that one as well… I have a slanted ceiling in my laundry room that needed a low-profile light fixture, and this fit the bill perfectly. Whether it would work with the HEKTAR as well as another light between the windows is kind of questionable though, I think. So maybe forget I said anything…

  20. LeilaMar 29, 201310:54 am

    That deep space color is GORGEOUS. Also love the kale chip comparison. I’m completely ignorant about what the rules are when it comes to altering a rental space, so apologies if this is a totally obvious question. Since you just moved in so recently, I assume you are newly acquainted with your landlord — is painting the walls generally a free-for-all thing, or did you have do some convincing to get your landlord to approve it?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I guess it depends on the landlord, but I’ve never asked before painting an apartment. I don’t ask before doing anything reversible, and I return every apartment in better condition than I found it in (and with freshly-painted white walls) when I eventually move out.

    I don’t think I’d move into an apartment if the landlord specified that I couldn’t paint the walls. That’s a deal-breaker for me — not the kind of relationship I want to have with someone I’m giving many thousands of dollars to every year.

    leila /

    Gotcha. Thanks for the response! Really looking forward to seeing how the rest of your kitchen plays out…

  21. MuoiMar 29, 201311:51 am

    Hi Anna,

    I love what you’ve been able to do here, it’s looking really good. I just bought my own place and I’m in the process of furnishing it on a very tight budget. It looks like you have IKEA’s Rast drawers but have the pulls been painted or changed out? An this might be weird, but I noticed your dish rack has a place for knives to dry? Would you mind sharing where you got that from? Now that I have a place, I find myself noticing things that I wouldn’t have noticed before but they’re things that’ll help organize the space better, lol, and somehow that’s very exciting, lol.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, that dresser is just sitting there temporarily — we had it in the bedroom closet in our old apartment, and we’re trying to figure out if we have a use for it in this place or if we should just bring it to the house. I like putting them in closets and other tiny spaces. (And yes, I spray-painted the knobs neon pink.)

    The dish rack is from Simple Human, and the knife-drying thing is so great!! It’s this one:
    http://www.simplehuman.com/slim-dishrack-stainless-steel

    Muoi /

    Thank you!

    gracie /

    Nicely designed dishracks excite me too Muoi! Ha ha.

  22. HarrietMar 29, 201312:38 pm

    In my apartment, the same 12″ square rustic glazed stoneware tiles are used on the kitchen counters, backsplash, floor, AND the shower surround and floor in the bathroom! It’s ugly and such a totally gross concept.

    [Reply]

  23. GavinMar 29, 20131:20 pm

    @Anna

    Where did you get that awesome step stool in the first photo? It’s such a clean design, I’d love to find one like that.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    It’s the BEKVÄM from IKEA:
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60178887/#/60178887

    I painted the legs black. $15 and it’s solid as a rock. :)

    Gavin /

    Great idea, looks better than all wood tone. Thanks!

  24. KrystaMar 29, 20132:36 pm

    We just bought a 100 year old house and you perfectly described our kitchen… terrible 80s/90s renovation with cherry cabinets, cheap dark green laminate counters and dark green floor tiles. It is the worst. And currently on the top of our “to fix” list.

    [Reply]

  25. ErinMar 29, 20133:08 pm

    I hardly noticed the cabinets once you painted the walls, the focus is entirely elsewhere on a much nicer element. Have you considered doing one of those cabinet makeover kits from Rust-Oleum? Or is that just shining a turd?

    (Also, and I don’t mean this to sound snarky, but I remember once upon a time when you said you hoped you never had to start shopping at Ann Taylor…and I spy an Ann Taylor Loft bag in one of those shots! Haha, I’m not judging, I love Loft.)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Haha, nope, still not shopping at Ann Taylor or Loft. That’s just a bag I took from my mother’s house when I had to carry some things home with me. ;)

    The after pictures I’ve seen of those Rustoleum kits look like the kitchen does now! I think people usually use them to make their oak cabinets look like cherry or give their faux-mohogany cabinets extra depth and stuff like that. If I were going to paint the cabinets (which I definitely will not do unless the owner approves, and I’m not broaching that subject for a while), I’d just use a solid paint. Benjamin Moore makes a really good cabinet paint, fwiw.

  26. AmyMar 29, 20134:51 pm

    Anna! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do with your low ceiling lights. I’ve been trying to find the right solution to replace the horrific 70′s fluorescent in my narrow galley kitchen … for more than 5 years. I’ve got about 7 1/2 feet of clearance, but haven’t found anything within my budget that doesn’t make me want to gouge out my eyeballs. So for now the ugly thing is still up there–I figure at some point it will irritate me enough to finally make a change, if only I could figure out what change to make.

    [Reply]

  27. SamanthaMar 29, 20135:26 pm

    I love the “I’m human and I need money like everybody else”. I kind of wish that I could shove that at some people.

    It looks like it’s really shaping up to be what you want!! That’s wonderful!

    [Reply]

  28. SuswhitakerMar 29, 20136:21 pm

    Any way to put a recessed can light there? That way you’d have more light without competing with the ikea and nothing to bang your head on. They really just disappear.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I’m not a fan of recessed lighting, but it would be a practical solution. That said, there are too many safety issues to consider with can lights (distance from joists, clearance from the housing, etc.) that involve unknowns. Since this isn’t my property, I’d really prefer to keep the existing electrical boxes as-is unless a bigger renovation takes place at some point in the future.

  29. JaimieMar 29, 20137:53 pm

    Ouch, cherry wood + forest green just screams 90s to me. I could probably live with the cherry, but not both together. I think the only thing worse for me would be pinkish pickled maple from the 80s.

    [Reply]

  30. LizMar 30, 20137:19 am

    Ahhhh, granite and cherry wood! I live in an old bungalow which I rent from my parents and was flipped before they bought it. The kitchen has cherry cabinets and tan and black counters (I won’t even talk about what was done to the bathroom). It just kills me every time I look at the kitchen and think about the money spent, and how it could have been done in a much more attractive way that would complement the house. There is cherry next to oak next to oak floors that they stripped and are now blonde! And every wall in the house was painted a yellow gold when I moved in but I quickly remedied that!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Liz, your comment pretty perfectly sums up the tragedy of the flip house (well, minus the real estate bust and the recession and all that stuff). What IS that yellow gold color, anyway?? It’s in every flip house along with that nasty lime green that they use as a “fun accent,” and it’s atrocious.

    Liz /

    I found, written on the wall in pencil, the words “pine nut”. I can only assume that was the name of the particular yellow gold they chose to complete the flipping look. Which is really just an insult to pine nuts.

  31. Sara JensenMar 30, 20133:12 pm

    Oh man our house has forest green countertops that make me cringe but since Thor’s grandfather built the house I feel badly replacing them and he would lecture me for DAAAAAAAAAAAYS. Nevermind the 90s floors. Ugh.

    [Reply]

  32. JulieMar 30, 20134:31 pm

    Woohoo, that looks much better. It’s hard in rentals when you have permanent fixture that you just want to rip apart. We’ve just moved to a new house ( we are renting too but also own a smaller flat) and the kitchen is horrific: the units are made of what I think it moulded plastic with trims etc the countertops AND backsplack are like your worktops but in a dirty black kind of way. The owners decided to pair that with a fale grey marble vinyl floor that just looks permanently dirty. And there must have been a fake ceiling once, which they have removed but left the beams abd painted them white!!! Argggghh, I don’t even know where to start. But as usual you are the one blog I can go to and I know I am going to get inspired!!! Keep up the good work. x

    [Reply]

  33. DerekMar 30, 20136:00 pm

    Anna, I would just cap it and get another wall mounted light from onefortythree. or maybe a couple of their new pendant lights?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I’ll probably cap it, yes, but as lovely as onefortythree’s lamps are, I don’t think they go well with the existing HEKTAR. (Not enough clearance for a pendant in the area by the sink, anyway, alas.)

  34. lenaMar 31, 20135:01 pm

    you’ll love this

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/apa/3714777003.html

    LOL

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    WHOA. That is a hell of a staining job! And why are the cabinets 25 different heights? Man, that’s awful.

    lena /

    yeah the staggered cabinets were what really got me. people make some crazy decisions…

  35. TracyApr 1, 201310:25 am

    I dug this up — $44 at Home Depot and 5″ — http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/203194882?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=203194882&R=203194882#specifications. The HD photos are lifeless as always, but I like how this person brassed it up a bit; it shows that it can be given a bit less of an HD look: http://thehuntedinterior.blogspot.com/2013/02/flush-mount-look-for-less.html. Not perfect, but tough to beat the 5″ height and that price tag.

    I few years back I wrote you an email about our similarly horrifying cherry kitchen, and you were kind enough to write back to say paint it or lose it, so this post made me chuckle! We sold the whole kitchen on CL (including our own kale chip counters) and did Ikea in gloss white with walnut surrounds that we made. It is like a black cloud has lifted from our apartment!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Wow, that brassy makeover looks pretty amazing!! Hmmmm. The reviews are terrible and it sounds like it barely gives off any light, but maybe I should take a chance, haha. At any rate, good to know about that brass stuff! Thanks!

    I’m so jealous of your kitchen makeover, it sounds perfect. Glad I gave you good advice. ;)

  36. AlisonApr 1, 20131:29 pm

    Anna, Kale chips HA!, I bought a townhouse that had previously been owned by a tile contractor needless to say there are 7 different kinds of tile in the house, and that kale chip quartz oh man…. an entire bathroom floor with yes, matching beveled countertop in it. When we moved in that bathroom also had a royal blue vessel sink, with a digitally printed marble piece of paper slipped into it, UUGGGLLYY.

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  37. lauraApr 3, 201312:02 am

    i love the hektar, and the paint. big improvement already

    the cabinets are gross though, to me eye, much worse than the countertops. perhaps you could trade out the doors? you could get custom mdf slab doors from barker doors or somewhere like that, paint them the same dark color as your wall… would not damage the existing kitchen as you could use the same hardware.

    would your landlord let you remove the upper cabinets and just do open shelving here too? upper cabinets seem really out of place in this space

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    Anna @ D16 /

    Yep, they’re gross to me too, but like I said in the post, I’m going to leave the cabinets as-is for the time being. It’s just not a huge issue for me right now, and I’d much rather focus on more attainable fixes in the apartment at the moment (not to mention working on my own house!). Maybe after we’ve been renting for a while I’ll propose a true renovation to the landlord, but it’s just not worth my time or money to make extensive alterations to the existing cabinetry.

    I did consider removing the uppers, but between the microwave (which cannot be removed without a lot of permanent changes being made to the roof ventilation, etc.), the deep refrigerator and its wall surround and the tile cut to fit the staggered cabinets, it would just be a huge visual mess.

  38. AlexApr 13, 201310:21 am

    We’ve been living with the Ugliest Kitchen in Berwyn™ since we moved in back in 2005. Our next step in the big remodel (first thing was the backyard, then the front and bathroom) is the kitchen. Let me just say that if we had the kitchen your apartment has right now, it would be a vast improvement. Scary, right?

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