Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sideboard that Ate Sunset Hill

Yes folks, it’s a double-feature now playing here in Ballard!

The Sideboard that Ate Sunset Hill

along with

Attack of the Giant Kitchen Island 

We knew house construction could be scary, but I never thought it would veer into science fiction! Here’s the scoop.
A couple of days ago, I stopped by the house after work knowing that the kitchen cabinets were being unboxed and brought up from the garage that day. (They had been sitting in the garage for the last 3 months while we got ready for installation.) I was anxious to finally see them in place, if not actually installed yet.

My talented husband (MTH) was already at the house when I arrived, and the look on his face when he met me at the door alerted me that something was awry.

“What’s the matter? Are the cabinets okay?” I asked.

“Yes. Well…mostly.” he said. “They’re kind of big.” 

Without another word I walked straight to our kitchen and dining area and saw a mass of cardboard boxes and kitchen cabinets where before there had only been empty space. A lot of empty space, mind you—the kitchen and dining area is actually quite large. But if I had ever doubted that the space could be filled, that doubt now vanished with the sight before me.

Taking a moment to get my bearings, my eyes then spotted the thing that would be our kitchen island. My first thought was holy cow; it’s large enough to do surgery on!

A room full of cabinets.

Good people of Sunset Hill running for their lives from the MONSTER CABINETS

I then turned around to face the back wall of the dining area and saw the sideboard. What a beast! It stared back at me defiantly. It is probably an indication of my state of mind at this point in our project that I couldn’t do anything except laugh out loud.

Not yet fully assembled sideboard.

End view of sideboard after assembly.

These behemoth cabinets were nothing like the images I had in my mind when we ordered them. What were we thinking? Had we made a huge mistake? Or did the pieces just seem large because we were used to seeing the room empty? Were they just a little bit oversized? Or were they so out of scale that I would grimace each and every time a saw them for the rest of my life?

(These are a little closer to what I had in mind!)  

MTH and I looked at them from every angle; from the left, from the right, from the living room and the entry, and even from the floor. A bunch of “I should have’s” came forth…
  • "I should have reduced the depth of the sideboard base to 18” (instead of 24”--let's face it, not many real furniture sideboards are that deep)."
  • "I should have reduced the depth of the upper sideboard cabinets to 14” and then stepped back to 12” for the middle cabinets."
  • "I should have trimmed the island to 3’ x 5’ or at least 3 ½’ x 6’ (instead of 4’ x 6’)."
  • "I should have ordered furniture-style feet for the sideboard to make it look more like furniture and less like a kitchen counter."
  • "I should have taped off the size of the pieces on the subfloor before ordering the cabinets."
Neither of us had to say anything else, but we were both thinking the same thing: How much money could we have saved by scaling these big boys down?

Sideboard in Harbor Mist color; New Haven door style by Schuler
Well, on the positive side of things, I do like the color and style—heirloom finish in Harbor Mist on the New Haven style door (all cabinets by Schuler). And given that many homeowners wish they had added more storage during construction, we certainly won’t have that regret. There is enough storage in the sideboard and island to outfit a kitchenwares shop! Hey, with an mirror above the island and some extra seating, I can giving cooking lessons! The Sunset Hill Culinary Academy…it has a ring to it, don’t you think?

Cooking Class - Mitchell Home and School, Lick Mt, North Carolina, 1907 
 (although I'd be aiming for something a little less, uh, grim...)

Let’s see whether the pieces continue to dominate after the countertops are in and the furniture placed. In the meantime, those of you about to order kitchen cabinets—TAKE YOUR TIME.

Block out the space beforehand, with empty cardboard boxes if need be, to make sure the size and circulation are functional and in scale with the room and its other features. May the force be with you. Good luck!


*Postscript May 2017--We've grown to love these cabinets and the island is just perfect; not too big, not too small, but just right! I'll update with more photos soon, but here's one view taken about a year ago. (Ignore the boxes in the right corner...)

1 comment:

Martina Webster said...

I enjoy reading real life examples of someone building their home. Thanks.