Cooking up a dream

Posted by Anita on 06.19.07 3:11 PM

(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **I know it’s been months, literally, since I told you we were almost done, and promised an update soon. And truth be told, it did take a lot longer to nail down the last details than we expected. Just over a month ago, I wrote to family and friends, telling them we were done, at long last:

“Every item on the punch list is crossed off. The permits are all final-ed. The kitchen countertops are securely affixed to the cabinets. The new sidewalk — and driveway, and drain — is in place.”

Sidewalk? Driveway? Huh? I thought this was a kitchen remodel?

Yeah, well… long story short: When the city came out to ‘final’ the permits for the kitchen, the inspector noticed that our sidewalk wasn’t quite level. Now, almost every driveway in San Francisco leaves a little divot in the sidewalk, to allow cars access to below-ground garages. They’re not (usually) a serious detriment to public safety, and our gradual, 2-inch slope definitely didn’t pose a hazard. But the planning department, lord love them, have decided they need a new source of income. (According to a Realtor friend, this sort of thing is happening all over town.) So even though our sidewalk wasn’t any worse — and in fact was much better — than most of our neighbors’, our kitchen permit gave the city an excuse to hunt for anything else they could find to generate some cash. Nice, eh?

Of course, there’s always a silver lining: We got a smooth new driveway out of the deal, complete with a much-needed trench drain to keep water from running into the garage. During excavation, it became obvious that installing said drain meant moving — and thus, replacing — an 80-year-old water-supply pipe. Oh, boy! More money flying out of my purse! Still, it needed to be done: One look at that photo and you can guess that our water pressure is vastly improved, not to mention that our tap water is a lot less crusty. Bleh!

But back to the kitchen: After an escalating six-week stream of coaxing, cajoling, criticizing, and (ultimately) crying, our contractor harrumphed back and deigned to wrap up the punch list. Cabinet knobs at last! No more sagging utensil drawers! Oh, the joy.

We’ve been so busy cooking and entertaining that we haven’t have much time for food blogging, much less documenting the last remodel steps. Luckily, our architect, the affable and talented Andrew Mann, spurred us to action by stopping by to take some portfolio shots. Late last week, he sent us the proofs… and, wow. I mean, I knew how gorgeous our kitchen was, but seeing it through the eyes of a professional artist makes a world of difference. I got a little teary-eyed looking at the photos and forgot, at least for a moment, about how painful the last months of construction had been. In my wildest dreams, I would never have thought we’d live and cook in a magazine-worthy kitchen, but there it is.

Inevitably, we still have a few items to tackle, more in the scope of decorating than real remodeling. Since we can’t afford the sort of narrow Parisian bistro table we covet for the breakfast room, we bought a temporary placeholder. (Although party guests complimented its DWR-esque looks over the weekend, and our housekeeper chased us down just to tell us it was ‘perfect’, so maybe it has an appeal we’re not seeing!) We still need to make cushions for the breakfast bench, and order the window coverings… morning sun is brutal at this time of year.

But really, there’s no denying it: The kitchen’s done. Ta-dah!

(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **(c)2007 Andrew Mann Architecture ** all rights reserved **
photos courtesy Andrew Mann Architecture and Joseph De Leo Photography




Comment by Sean

And a fabulous kitchen it is — pictures scarcely do it justice!

Posted on 06.19.07 at 10:14PM

Comment by Kathy Ramsey

I hate to tell ya — you won’t get into Dwell or House Beautiful until each of those unsightly cookbooks is individually wrapped in white butcher paper.


Posted on 06.20.07 at 7:17AM

Comment by Lauren

Absolutely stunning.

Posted on 06.20.07 at 1:23PM

Comment by cookiecrumb

That is just so… grown up.
I’ve never done anything that grown up. My houses have always been sort of “well, this will be fine, this will have to do.”
Your kitchen IS beautiful.

Posted on 06.20.07 at 4:14PM

Comment by Lucy Vanel

Anita, it looks simply amazing! Imagine an architect who also gives you photos of your new baby! Really gorgeous. Great shelves. I can’t believe they made you re-do the sidewalk, driveway and incoming water feed! Thank you for sending me all of your Mexican pantry items when you were just beginning this project. It has been about a year, hasn’t it? All of what you sent me last summer has been put to very good use – with gracious thanks to you.

Posted on 06.21.07 at 6:35AM

Comment by s'kat

That kitchen is utterly amazing! Although it was, without a doubt, a major pain in the ass, it looks sooooo worth it!

Boo hiss on the city people. The Man is always trying to bring a sistah down…

Posted on 06.21.07 at 11:19AM

Comment by Jan

Yay, you survived…and lived to tell great stories about the remodel. What a beautiful kitchen!

Posted on 06.21.07 at 12:28PM

Comment by Michelle

Your kitchen is fantastic!! Did you get a new bathroom, too? :) Very nice!!

Posted on 06.21.07 at 4:08PM

Comment by Anita

Sean: Aw, you’re too sweet.

Kathy: Feh… this is -so- not that kitchen! Strangely, though — it’s artsy, but in a ways that I never expected.
Lauren: Coming from you, with the gorgeously remodeled house, I am seriously flattered. When are you and Paul coming to cook with us?

Cookie: Now you’re making me self-conscious

Lucy: it hardly seems possible, but I guess it was about a year ago that we first started talking to Andrew about ideas, and I started pruning my pantry. I’m so happy that the chiles and such found a good use in your kitchen.

S’kat: Glad you like it! And… oh, the ways in which SF city government screws with homeowners are legion. This is just a drop in the bucket.

Jan: I’m so happy that you were one of the first people to see it in person. We can’t wait for your next visit!

Michelle: yep, but we didn’t talk about it much here, ’cause I figured that the bathroom is the thing you least want to read about on a food blog. :D

Posted on 06.21.07 at 4:23PM

Comment by Jessica

Ooh, I want to see pics of the new bathroom too…

Posted on 06.21.07 at 6:29PM

Comment by Tana

Anita: it’s so beautiful. Congratulations!!

Posted on 06.22.07 at 5:11PM

Comment by Wendy

I’m just getting a chance to catch up and look at your stunning kitchen- WOW!! beautiful job you guys! congrats

Posted on 07.04.07 at 10:27AM

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