This past summer/fall I got my kitchen remodeled by my good friends at St. Johns Design Build and I still haven’t recovered from the excitement of having my very own dream kitchen. It was such a long time coming considering I bought my house in 2006 and cooked on the shitty original electric stove, walked on the mustard and baby diarrhea colored linoleum and diced and sliced under the ugly fluorescents in it until 2014. That’s a long time for someone to cook in a crap space with a bum stove who cares so deeply about food, who works as a food writer for fuck’s sake.
My excuse for that long delay in remodeling whenever anyone asks — well, money primarily, you big dummie — and I never wanted to half-ass it. I could’ve done this, that and the other to improve it along the way but I figured why be piecemeal when I had a vision? I’d just wait until that vision could be fully realized. And now, it has! I’m lucky enough to call St. Johns Design Build owner/contractor Brian McVay a dear friend, along with his partners in crime Clarence Jacobs and Rude Graves, so rather than write any more about this here I’m going to give it to you straight from the source.
Below is McVay’s Crain Kitchen Recipe — his words interspersed with my photos. I can’t recommend St. Johns Design Build highly enough for any home or business remodel project — these folks are the best and the brightest. (I also can’t recommend the fellows as SJDB highly enough for draaaanks and great conversation on my front porch, OR at the Red Fox, OR anywhere else in North Portland that’s up all night. That’s just the way we roll.)
CRAIN KITCHEN RECIPE
by Brian McVay (as crafted in my HAUS by Brian, Clarence Jacobs, Rude Graves ++)
Objectives — Create a kitchen for a
food genius (these are definitely not my words) food lover, affordable, bring a group of artisans together to work on this project, respect the age of the home, use local/reused/recycled content materials.
After our initial meeting/walk-thru with the group it was obvious you had a great space, an open mind, and a pretty decent existing kitchen layout. Seeing that the cabinet boxes were reusable we set out to simply resurface the room. I personally love this era of home (built in 1907) and this is an easy part of the country to source materials that are historically appropriate. One of my favorites is Douglas Fir — clear vertical grain (CVG) Douglas Fir. This material has such a history in this part of the world, and it also tells a story of its age by the density of the lines or grains i.e. if there are more than 10 vertical grains per inch that piece came from an old growth tree in an ancient forest.
I had been shopping at a local lumber reuse outfit called Green Star International and they had recently received a shipment of bleacher seats so I had my inspiration. Clarence hand made everything in our cabinet shop in SE portland.
The cabinets were to be new CVG drawers and door faces, naturally finished in shellac. We reused the cabinet boxes and the shelves. The shelves were covered with a vinyl tile in deep red.
The counter, installed by our magic man Rude, (Rude also did all of the tile-work in the kitchen) comes from a company called PaperStone and their little known “bargain panel division”. When you pick up the material your self it means big savings, thrift stores, and really good Chinese food (I scored a pair of rad green pants! Someone else might have really wanted to score something else green).
Paperstone is one of the few architectural solid surface materials certified to FSC standards by the Smartwood program of the Rainforest Alliance. It’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper that has been saturated with their proprietary Petro-free phenolic resins and selected natural pigments on our treater lines. After trimming to length, resin-saturated sheets are stacked and moved into a press where they are fused together under heat and pressure. Paper sheet count determines the thickness of the finished panels.
Your kitchen sink came from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Tillamook.
Stove and hood, obviously The ReBuilding Center.
The floor was removed by Minority Abatement Contractors out of Vancouver. I feel it important and try to hire sub-contractors that are either women, minority, or emerging small businesses.
Electrical panel was replaced by Coho Electric. Track lights fro you know who (John Gorham! He gave them to me when he was building out Mediterranean Exploration Company. So lucky/grateful). The lighting scheme needed to go from mood lighting to kitchen lab at the flick of a dimmer.
Custom metal work was designed by me, welded by Clarence. The table top material came from a local favorite — Salvage Works.
Custom blacksmith work came from our shop mate Scott Rash.
More photos from the pre/post-remodel that I love…
And while my kitchen was out of service I did things like…
And once it was a wrap I had a big birthday/kitchen warming party. I’m so happy to have my dream kitchen and honestly a little sad that all the boys are gone. I guess I need to dream up another remodel project…
St. Johns Design Build
brian AT stjohnsdesignbuild DOT COM
Who you gonna call? St. Johns Design Build!
You ain’t afraid of no ghost.