RENOVATION: South Street Kitchen (Before)

South Street Design Rendering

As some of you may have seen on the Content + Company Instagram feed, we've been working with our clients on the #southstreetkitchenreno for the past 3 months, but believe it or not, this project has been a year in the making.

Let's back up to early 2017, when Mark and Marie contacted John to build them a custom dining room table.

During our very first meeting, with the then engaged-to-be-married couple, Mark and Marie showed us around their beautiful, c. 1910 home. Full of charm and character, the previous owners had only made minor upgrades to the house. That night, seated at a humble folding table, Mark and Marie shared with us their plans for upgrading the house, with hopes of entertaining friends and family. Mark was ready to cook and we were ready to help!

Even in full wedding planning mode, Mark and Marie were eager to discuss their priority, post-nuptial project - the Kitchen.

And now, exactly 1-year from that very first meeting, we are wrapping up a full kitchen renovation for this awesome, now, husband and wife.


The bones of this space were not too bad. Six, double-hung windows allow a ton of natural light into the room, and an addition put on by the previous owners (including the breakfast nook and mudroom), made the overall kitchen about 350 square feet. Plenty of room for improvement!


Curiously, during the construction of the breakfast nook addition, the previous contractor choose to add this dividing wall, likely as structural support, instead of adding a ceiling beam.

Though the addition may have been structurally sounds, the new wall presented mostly design "cons". It cut the space, visually, in-half, forced the refrigerator to open into the kitchen/dining room entry door and blocked all of that wonderful natural light. There was also a tremendous amount of unused space between the breakfast nook and the fridge wall.

Early on, we knew the wall had to go. Luckily, the removal of the wall created a great opportunity for us to add an exposed beam, not only for ascetics, but also for function.


During our first design meeting and throughout the initial design process, Marie shared a Pinterest board chock full of images that would continue to inspire this project. 

Stylistically the couple both wanted a functional, fresh, bright and airy space but individually Mark leans more industrial while Marie craves warmth through natural wood. Marie also liked the idea of playing with a "pop-of-color" which I can't wait to share with you in the reveal.

Here are the design renderings I originally presented to Mark and Marie:


The South Street project was, give or take, a full renovation. Here are a few of the construction milestones that helped shape this new, amazing space:

  • Removal of 4 layers of linoleum

  • Exposing the brick chimney for architectural interest 

  • Removing the half wall

  • Adding the expansion beam

  • Re-configuring the walls to accommodate additional cabinets and a center facing refrigerator

  • Ceramic, wood grain tile flooring throughout

  • Ceiling beams wrapped in rough-sawn oak

  • Custom range hood

  •  All new, white cabinets

  • Apron-front farm sink

  •  Recessed lighting throughout

That's it for now! You didn't think I was going to spill all the renovation beans, did you? Stay tuned for our big reveal of the South Street Kitchen, coming VERY soon!

OH, and if there are any progress projects you'd like to hear more about in a separate post, please comment below!

Kitchen Renovation (Phase 4) ... How Many Phases Are There?

As you may know, John is a high school science teacher, so as of June 24th he's hit the ground running on lots of house projects. In addition to the kitchen updates I'm about to fill you in on, he's also (in less than a week!) worked on:
  • Trimming the new basement windows.
  • Created a template for the stone fabricator to cut the master vanity counter top.
  • Cut and constructed our 10 closet drawers.
He's also making good on promises to help family and friends with their own projects. Oh, and doing odd jobs for Mrs. Lynch who he loves to work for. She's the best!

OK, so back at Content., the kitchen continues to ease forward like a herd of slow moving cows. Every step is calculated, but you seriously wish a cattle prod was more humane...

I'll admit it. I do take responsibility for dragging my feet on certain design decisions. Specifically, the kitchen sink. Which I shopped for, no joke, for 4 months. I repeatedly kicked myself for including a farm sink in our American Woodmark Cabinet design.

At the time, for me at least, a farm sink seemed so necessary. For the record, John could.have.cared.less.

As I was daydreaming of our, yet to be conceived, chubby child; adorably enjoying a bubble bath in our perfect farm sink, John was likely reminding me of the added expense, which I never heard on account of all the imaginary chapping and laughter.

Now 7 months later, a farm sink seems frivolous! $700, $800!? Forget our imaginary offspring, is 800 bucks really worth spending on a vessel to rinse our dirty dishes? "Rinse", we have a dishwasher for heaven's sake!

Worth it or not, we were stuck with the decision. So, in an effort to save face I researched sinks for weeks on end. The first reality is that our "standard" 30 inch base cabinet is not made to accept a "standard" 30 inch sink. Ha. That would have just been WAY too easy. 

Instead, the installation guide called for a sink a minimum of 23 3/4" and a max of 27 15/16". And yup, you guessed it, any sink under 30 inches is incredibly difficult to find and considered special inventory. "Special" = more money. Which is interesting because now a smaller sink is more expensive. Don't get me started...

By the grace of the Internet, I was lead to a 26 inch Alfi fireclay farm sink on Amazon.  I pulled the trigger and bought it, shipped direct to the house. I consider this a small miracle!

I further consider the fact that it arrived in one piece another miracle.

Alfi 26" Fireclay Farm Sink

John stared this installation by measuring the area he needed to cut out of the base cabinet to make room for the apron front sink.

Like the old adage goes,
"Measure twice (three times if your wife is standing over your shoulder), cut once."

In this instance, John made a cardboard template because the farm sink has some natural irregularities that needed to be taken into account.

Side note, spending oodles of money on materials (in this case cabinets) and then having to cut into them is completely nerve wracking, and I'm not even the one doing the cutting!

The test fitting process went on a few more times as John worked to get the cut just right, sanding and taking off additional portions of the cabinet, until everything was snug.

Like a glove!

The kitchen counter tops have also been a challenging decision for us. We thought long and hard about this, and finally resolved to have the counter tops match the oak slab island.

We originally wanted to do stone or concrete, but based on time, budget and purely in hopes of keeping the process moving, we decided on wood. Plus, the island looks gorgeous so we knew the counter top would look great too!

John started out by making a template of the counter top layout, taking in to account the sink and corner turn.

Counter template.

Though two large slabs could have been joined to create the necessary counter depth, John chose to join three boards as he felt he could achieve a tighter seam and better ascetic.

Perfecting the diagonal corner cut!

Here's a sneak peek! More to come on the finish product in the final reveal!

The most recent project John tackled was dry fitting the new Pfister Pasadena faucet which was selected specifically to match our Aurora GE slate grey appliances. 

Here we go again, working to make everything perfect, then taking a giant drill to it....

Pfister Pasadena Faucet (slate)

Though we still have plenty of work to do on the kitchen, luckily, some of those projects will be handled by other contractors specifically our painter and plumber. Aside from that though, we will be experimenting with a brick back splash behind the stove.

Stay tuned for more updated soon!