Pittsburgh Newborn and Family Photographer | Laura Mares Photography | The Mares Family Kitchen Project | Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer

The Mares Family Kitchen Project | Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer

February 02, 2018  •  4 Comments

  The Mares Family Kitchen Project | Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer

We had an extensive water leak that damaged our cabinets and floors. We hired someone to remove the mold and replace the floor, he managed to remove the mold but left us with a  plywood floor. It took us a couple of years to regroup, plan and save for the much needed repairs. On November 1, 2017 we began our  journey toward restoring our kitchen. We needed nearly everything to be replaced. 

I took a couple of photos during the long process of restoring our kitchen. It was hard to feed a family of 5 using just the refrigerator and a countertop microwave. We enjoyed lots of salads, baked potatoes and frozen meatballs over the six weeks that we didn't have a working kitchen. Fortunately, my mom and sister in law also prepared several delicious meals for us and one family had us over for a Czech meal at their home!

It looked pretty ugly in our kitchen for a couple of weeks! 

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Slowly it began to be build back up, with plaster work and a new floor.  Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

There was a plastic wall to contain most of the dust and dirt from entering the rest of the house. My daughter and I were home the day the plastic wall came down! We were so excited! It was beginning to look like a kitchen again! She brought a couple of toys to play in the new space. I asked her what was her favorite thing so far, she pointed to the squiggle on the wall that marked where I shouldn't paint yet, and stated something like "I just love the wall art!" Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

Once the walls and floors were ready the cabinets went in and we had a temporary sink. We could finally enjoy great coffee again!  Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

A few days before Christmas, the countertop was installed! We finally had a fully functioning kitchen! My daughter invited a friend over to make Christmas cookies!  Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

The last few details were completed in January: the backsplash and an small cabinet on wheels that can become an island when needed, otherwise it can stay tucked in the corner.

While Jason completed nearly all of the kitchen himself, we painted it and did the grout for the backsplash with our talented neighbor, Dylan.  Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

This is Jason, the friendly and knowledgeable contractor, just minutes before he finished the kitchen. Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen ProjectPittsburgh Lifestyle Photography | Laura Mares Photography Kitchen Project

Take a look at how the kitchen looks today!

We have many friends and family in Europe that happen to have beautiful kitchens! I like the look of the bright and airy European kitchens where the light bounces around the space. Fortunately my new friend Pia, a Norwegian photographer, has fabulous taste in design and shared ideas on Nordic design and showed me her favorite kitchens on her Pinterest page.

Our first two major decisions were deciding on the cabinets and floor. I knew for years that I wanted plain white shaker cabinets, but I wanted affordable, solid wood cabinets. Our neighbors had just finished a kitchen project with gorgeous, solid wood, white shaker cabinets! We used the company that they recommended. I texted a friend that has an eye for interior design and asked for any thoughts about choosing the floor. She said to choose anything that hides dirt! What wonderful advice when you have three children. 

Although it was really difficult to be without a kitchen during the holidays, one advantage was being able to utilize Black Friday specials. Just about everything we needed was on sale, like the rugs, appliances and lights.

I always loved my mom's open cabinet that was in our house when I was growing up. She told me a couple of stories over the years about it, like when she was a child  it held her grandma's favorite items in her kitchen. When I explained to  my mom that I was looking for a small open cabinet, similar to her grandma's, she told me that I could have it! You can see it below with several of my favorite items, Danish gnomes from my mother-in-law, the Dala horse my husband brought back from Sweden, a couple Rae Dunn dishes and our fondue pot.

I'm honestly not sure which was more difficult; surviving without a kitchen for six weeks, living in a house that was an utter disaster or making so many decisions! For example, I spent hours looking at pendant lights on day until I finally found these glass ones (pictured below). One of my best friends graciously spent hours with me searching at endless granite warehouses helping to find the "right" one. It was with her that I decided that I wanted plain medium gray countertops with a matte finish. But in all of our searching we never came one. I thought it must not exist until a few days later the kids and I entered a countertop store in Brentwood and almost immediately found the perfect countertop for us!

We have wonderful German friends that we met while they lived in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago. After a visit back to Germany, Nina brought us an Alessi pepper mill. She said that although it's actually made by an Italian designer many Germans have an item designed by Alessi in their kitchens. Every time I use my pepper mill I think of our dear friends in Cologne.

My older daughter made me a double vase for Christmas this year. I'm excited to keep fresh flowers/trimmings in our kitchen year round.

Since the look of the kitchen had really changed, I thought it'd be a good idea to make a few small changes in the dinning room too! We updated our chandelier and rug, painted our rustic server gray, make new shelves and found a primitive bowl and bread board.

My mom and I traded dinning room chairs. We both laughed about it thinking that we had gotten the best deal!

Every year my dad gives us bulbs to grow during the winter. I enjoy seeing their progress daily. 

Contractor: Jason Stromberg, Four Square Builders

Counter: Artisan Gray Quartz from Giant Stone

Cabinets: Budget Cabinet Solutions

Pendant Lights: Pottery Barn

Chandelier: Birch Lane

Backsplash tiles: 3x6 Subway tile from Home Depot

Floor tiles: 12x24 inch tile from Lowes

Paint Colors: Sherwin Williams (light gray) mindful gray (dark gray) dovetail 


Laura Mares is an experienced photographer specializing in capturing timeless family keepsakes. Laura works on location and in her fully equipped home studio, located in Mt. Lebanon, eight miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. Laura’s style is creative, natural, and timeless. Would you like beautiful portraits of your newborn baby, to update your child and family portraits or to document a milestone in your life such as a wedding, graduation, birthday or reunion? If you are interested in high quality, timeless photographs, book your session today, call (412) 654-3367 or email laura.mares@me.com. To view a wide range of gorgeous portraits and to get great tips, advice and beautiful inspiration follow along on Instagram and Facebook.


Comments

Elizabeth(non-registered)
Love it, Laura! So beautiful, warm and inviting. Enjoy your coffee!
Holly(non-registered)
Love seeing the transformation! Looks amazing, Laura! I’m inspired :-)
Pittsburgh Newborn and Family Photographer | Laura Mares Photography
Janice,
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words! I was so excited to read your comment to the whole family at dinner the other night!!
Janice(non-registered)
Oh, Laura, your kitchen is just perfect - so airy and chic. You made wonderful choices and you have such a great eye for style. I just love the way your brand new kitchen has so much history to it already, and meaningful pieces from all around the world. All of your careful planning really paid off. Thank you for sharing your journey and your lovely pictures!
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