The Kitchen – The Cloisters Project

The Cloisters Project involved a full gut and remodel of a 2 bedroom 2 bath 1300 SF condo in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, AZ. I was able to get this condo, unbelievably, below market price which really helped since the cost of the remodel was probably double what I planned. Some of the complications included moving the old outdated stackable washer/dryer out of the kitchen, which meant not only moving the plumbing but also the electrical and venting; not to mention creating a space in the condo to house the new washer/dryer unit.

The hot water heater was also located in one of the lower cabinets in the kitchen  (whaaat!). It was a miniature 25 gallon unit and had to be moved outside to the utility room, which included rerunning the plumbing, adding electrical and building a new spot to house the new full size 50 gallon hot water heater. Wheeew. I’m exhausted just thinking about. Fortunately, I have an amazing general contractor that I have worked with for over fifteen years. He can practically read my mind and is an artist when it comes to craftmanship.

So, let’s get started. How about we start in my favorite room, the kitchen. Let’s take a look at the kitchen before the reno.

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

As you can see from the pictures the walls are a perfect shade of nineties beige and the cabinets were not well made and not a good color, kind of an orangey brown oak. Fortunately, the previous owner had just purchased new appliances (I mean they never been used brand new, hooray!!!). And the floor, which continued throughout the unit was old, outdated, grey terracotta. All of it had to be removed. There was a very small opening in the wall between the kitchen and main room which looked like the opening to a pizza oven. So that had to opened up as well, which meant moving electrical and possibly some plumbing.

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

All construction projects have unexpected issues and this one was no different. This was a first floor unit and turns out the plumbing supply line and venting supplied both my unit and the one above. Fortunately, the upstairs neighbors were gone for the summer, which was a huge benefit since we had to tur off the main water to the condo turned off for several weeks to get all the new plumbing lines run. Eeeks!

Also, the floor under the tile in the kitchen and dining room had settling with some pretty big cracks that had to be filled and leveled before the new LVP flooring could be installed (we’ll talk more about that in another post).

My main goal with the kitchen was to make it as big as possible, and way more functional. Moving the washer/dryer out made a huge difference and gave me another two feet of counter space. In addition, we gained a lower cabinet since the hot water heater was moved outside. Then we gained the illusion of more room by opening up the wall between the kitchen and family room making the whole space feel like one big open area. This really improved the social function of the unit and gave me the open concept that was missing before with previous drive-thru window between the two. In this image you can see the far lower cabinet with the door falling off. That’s where the hot water heater was. And you can get a peek at the curved opening in the wall lined with nineties brown tile. And, how can you miss the stacked washer/dryer?

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

Image courtesy of A Simple Creative Life

So let me stop and take some time to talk about kitchen cabinets. I am a huge fan of Thomasville’s extensive line of kitchen and bath cabinets available through Home Depot. I’ve used them on almost every one of my remodeling projects over the years. They are really good quality with multiple price points, and all the bells and whistles, available, like soft close drawers and doors and any kind of add on you can think of, like roll out shelves. And best of all they recently came out with a line called the  Thomasville Elements Collection that, at the time of this project, would deliver about six weeks after I placed the order. UNBELIEVABLE! Other cabinets brands and other Thoamsville lines were quoting 16 weeks. Whaat?! I planned on having the remodel completed and closing the sale to another buyer by then.

Thomasville Kitchen Cabinets – Everly in White

Thomasville Kitchen Cabinets – Everly in Sterling

The Elements Collection was a great option for this project, but the catch is you can’t customaize much. They are kind of like the Henry Ford Model T. You know, “you can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” Well, fortunately the door styles and colors available were just what I wanted for this project. Boy, did I dodge a bullet. I did grey lowers and white uppers using the Thomasville Everly door style that really blended well with the overall feel I wanted for this place. I’m still in disbelief that brass in back in style (does anyone else remember the eighties shiny brass everything), so I decided to try my hand at using some of the many beautiful brass fixtures, pulls and knobs available in this brand new kitchen design.

Delta Trinsic 1.8 GPM Single Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet $454.27 at Amazon

Cosmas Brushed Antique Brass Cabinet  Knob – $16.89 for a 10 pack at Amazon

Signature Hardware Padilla Cabinet Pull in oil-rubber bronze – $15 on Amazon

Bedrosian’s Cloe 2.5″ x 8″ Ceramic Tile in white – $10.79/sq ft at Wayfair

            Image courtesy of Amber Interiors

I chose the Delta Trinsic Single Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet in Champagne Brass on Amazon, and Wow! What a stunner. This faucet is not only beautiful but functional and I was jealous that it wasn’t in my house. I paired it with these antique brass pulls from Signature Hardware and these antique brass knobs from Cosmas in brushed antique, both through Amazon.

At first I really wanted to use quartz countertops with some really sexy veining, like this inspiration picture from Amber Interiors, and planned on running the slab up the wall behind the range for a really custom look. But, unfortunately, the budget started to really add up with all the plumbing and electrical issues so I had to cut back somewhere.

So I went with a more basic whitish quartz without much movement and paired it with a tile backsplash using one of my all-time favorite tiles, Bedrosian’s Cloe 2.5″ x 8″ Ceramic Tile in white. The subtle variations in white and light grey really elevate the look without elevating the budget. I purchased mine through Wayfair. In the end I was so pleased with all my choices. Let’s see how it turned out.

Wow! The kitchen turned out even more open and functional than I planned. Believe it or not we were able to comfortably fit 8-10 people in the kitchen and family room of this condo, after the reno was complete, and everyone was able to sit, move around easily, and converse in these main areas. The new countertop was about ten feet across which easily fit these stunning and comfortable Saddle Counter Height Barstools with Faux Leather – LumiSourcefrom Target. And even though I didn’t get my dramatic marble veined backsplash, I love this tile from Bedrosian so much that I was really happy in the end with how elegant it looks.

Next stop..the family room. 


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