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Places to Go : Jayne's Kitchen

Notes on the Remodel of a Small San Francisco Kitchen

At the beginning of 2010, my husband and I finally decided to remodel the kitchen in our

small 1912 San Francisco house. The kitchen had not been touched since around the 1960’sand would need a total gutting; and because we knew that it would take a while, be prettydisruptive, and cost a lot, we decided to have this be one of the last rooms that we’d

remodel. However, this gave us a blank canvas to build a new kitchen. So… we started.

First, we started to do sample layouts / designs for the space and very quickly realized that

were in over our heads. Conclusion: find a designer! After some discussions with a few

designers, we were fortunate to find someone good who would work within our budget anddraw up 3 preliminary plans. By April we had chosen the plan that we liked.

A month later she gave us her final plan with all the necessary contractor specs included, as well some recommendations for appliances, lighting, hardware and other fixtures.

This is what she saw at our first meeting. Pretty nice, huh!?

So we’ve got a great design layout, we’re done and ready to go, right? No. All of a sudden

we realized that my picture of the look of the kitchen did not entirely match my husband’s.

Strange how 2 people look at the same design and see 2 different things! So off we go to look at kitchen cabinet colors and styles, appliances, window & molding styles, cabinet pulls, paintcolors and lighting. This turned out to be one of the most fun parts of our project.

We were able to compromise and finally center in on our choices by the time summer arrived!

Now we had to pick our contractors. To stay within our budget we wanted to use our own

electrician for the upgrade of our electrical service. We also wanted to purchase as much of

the finish materials as possible so that we could keep to our budget. This turned out to be a

bit tricky but after interviews with 3 contractors and a lot of reference checking, we finally

found a good contractor who agreed to work with us in this framework.

Finally by the middle of October we were ready to start construction. Before we moved out

of the room and the start of demolition, we had our “farewell dinner” in the old kitchen and

composed a brief obit: “A nice but unfashionable SF kitchen died this Sunday night. The

cause was a massive dysfunctionality aneurism attributed to shrinking walls and cracking

ceilings. It was 98 years old. It was a sturdy and vigorous dwelling withstanding the Nixon

and Carter administrations, the 1989 earthquake, and numerous explosive meal


The finished kitchen is a beauty to behold - so streamline and luxe, almost yacht-like. I've baked cookies with Jayne in this kitchen and can tell you, it's a pleasure to bake in. Well, worth the wait as Jayne reminds me, it was ready to cook in on Christmas Eve, 10 years ago next month.

~ Kathleen

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