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Home & DIY

The Rockland Home: Kitchen Renovation

The Rockland Home has been an on-going project for the Harness team since fall of 2019. It was our first endeavor to create something really hands on and debut it with a new category – Home and DIY. As the founder of Harness and a first time home renovator, I knew it was my duty to document this process and show you exactly how beautiful and challenging a home renovation really can be.

The Rockland house was charming. All brick with very good bones. Three bedrooms with an attic that I envisioned as a fourth bedroom someday. A finished basement which took you back in time – Don Draper style. The only negative of the home included the segregated floor plan and outdated fixtures. Where some might have saw an old fuddy duddy house, I saw a canvas to create a masterpiece!

The Kitchen

The first floor was our biggest project. We needed to blow out multiple walls to make one space. The dilemma was in order to make the kitchen flow into the family room – we would need a structural beam. I didn’t want to go the cheaper route which would have left us with a column in the middle of the entryway. So we opted for the more expensive route and ended up taking down half of the ceiling and replacing some of the floor joists to make everything work.

To cut back on expenses we ripped out all of the carpeting ourselves and tore down any existing wallpaper. Additionally, we gutted the kitchen and ripped up the tile floor to discover it was asbestos tile – which we remediated. I know you’ve heard this time and time again, but there are always surprises in an old house. Underneath all of the carpet was beautiful white oak.

I was ecstatic because A) we could keep the original flooring of the home and B) we didn’t have to come out of pocket for brand new hardwood. We assumed underneath the asbestos tile there would also be white oak! Nope! It was pine. You can cut expenses even further by using credit cards that offer cash back, rewards, or other bonuses for shopping at stores you might frequent during a remodel, both online and brick-and-mortar.

We had Cleveland Hardwood Restoration come out to see what we could do to match the small pine area. Jessie, the owner, was absolutely amazing. You could tell she lived and breathed hardwood restoration. She looked at the floors with wonder. As if each plank was an old gem she could bring back to life. We decided to integrate new white oak with the existing and create a transition piece where the old and new would match up. It turned out stunning.

I was dead set on having a farmhouse sink and navy cabinets. I also knew that lighting played an important role in the visual of the kitchen. With that in mind, I started to research quality brands that I knew would make our kitchen really stand out and that we could partner with to make this project stand out. Signature Hardware, Kichler and Emtek were all dream partnerships. We were ecstatic that they wanted to come on board to support Harness and donate product to make this project come to life.

I literally fell in love with Signature Hardware’s Southgate Single-Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet paired with 33′ Grigham Reversible Fireclay Farmhouse Sink in white. As you can see it’s really a no brainer on why I fell head over heels!

Picking out certain details was easy, bringing it all together so it flows and is a masterpiece is actually quite hard. We decided to enlist the services of Sapphire Pear, a premier interior design agency, it was definitely worth it to have input on selections. Someone to steer and point you in the right direction. I know many people who are skeptical about paying out of pocket for an interior design because they feel as though they know their style best. I think of it differently.

An interior designer helps compliment your style, they see things that you may not have ever seen. They find things that you love without even knowing it. Even if it’s for a general consultation, I definitely recommend! Your home is your sanctuary.

I think the most fun aspect of the project was designing the Kitchen. Navy cabinetry was a must. We needed something semi-custom because of how different the layout was. I decided to go with a local company to mock up our kitchen. Cleveland Cabinets was an obvious choice because of service and price. We needed to get something budget friendly and they carried J&K Cabinetry which was semi-custom and durable.

When you start talking kitchen renovations the price tag starts to double before your eyes. A way to spice up low end cabinets is by investing in quality hardware. We decided to go with Emtek which in my opinion is some of the best hardware. With those details in mind, Hope, from Cleveland Cabinets mocked up our dream kitchen. See from design to fruition.

Pretty amazing transformation am I right? Now check out the hardware. It really adds something special to the room. We decided to pair pulls and knobs which I think adds diversity to the cabinetry. If you’re interested in taking a peek, we have the Westwood Pull in Satin Brass and the Glendon Knob in Satin Brass.

Lighting played a huge role in making the kitchen look bright and airy. We decided to go with Kichler’s Devin Light Mini Pendant in Natural Brass. Additionally, we added a few more recessed lights from the Horizon collection that you can find here.

Since we eliminated the dining room and opted for a large island – we needed to make up seating somewhere. That’s where the dinette comes in. Remember it was old and looked like this?

We decided it needed some SPARKLE. So we ripped down the blinds, repainted and put up the Linara 6 Light Chandelier in Black. The Chandelier was a statement piece we just couldn’t skimp on. It is solid iron and brightens every nook and cranny. When people see our dinette the chandelier is the first thing they comment on!

We were fortunate to hire a wonderful contractor named Nick who had a way with carpentry. He crafted a built in bench for us. The space was small and I wanted to maximize as much seating as possible. I needed to fit three little munchkins around there someday. While we were out of town, Nick constructed this bench in three days! He hand selected beautiful white oak and we opted for a natural finish to contrast with the dark floors. 

If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout this entire process, it’s go with your gut. We wanted things that originally we thought wouldn’t match and did in the end. We fired one contractor and hired another that seemed trustworthy. We did things ourselves, but knew when to hire experts and most importantly we didn’t kill each other in the process! More details on the process to come soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy our kitchen!

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by Ashley Rector

I am the founder of Harness and so excited you've found our platform. I am an advocate for the written word and for empowering others to share their story. I believe there is nothing more powerful than the first time a story is released into the world. I enjoy writing poetry, prose and fiction. I am a mother, wife, dog-mom and business owner. I am constantly evolving and changing. So glad you found us!

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