MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT to report down in Philadelphia: my son Max and his girlfriend Alexis, who bought an 1870s house in Fishtown in June of last year, now have a beautiful, functioning kitchen.


They’ve been working on it all spring and summer. (Go here to see how the room looked in May.) First, they tore out what was there before, reducing the 120-square-foot room to studs. Then, working mostly on the weekends and almost entirely by themselves, they created a kitchen a mother would envy, with abundant storage space and a slew of bells and whistles.


Max, who is a woodworker, rented shop space and used it to build custom  cabinets with those swanky smooth-gliding drawers. The cabinet boxes are birch ply, with solid maple doors and drawer fronts.

Below, century-old brass cabinet handles from architectural salvage emporium Provenance.


Then, both Max and Lexy primed, brush-painted, sanded, and painted the cabinets again (and again, and possibly again — I lost count). They painted the walls, too — Benjamin Moore’s soft Palladian Blue — and installed and painted the tin ceiling.

IMG_1213Left, beyond the stainless fridge with the ice/water thingie in the door and the 8″-wide pull-out pantry that nicely fills otherwise unusable space, you can glimpse dangling BX cable and open ceiling beams for a sense of what remains to be done in the apartment.

Coming next: a subway-tile backsplash above the butcher block counters, below.


Since I haven’t had to personally live through it, this kitchen seems to have come together reasonably fast, though I gather it’s been eons in young-person time. Onward, soon, to the bathroom and the rest of the apartment, much of which still resembles a construction site. But first, I hope they’ll give themselves the luxury of a few weekends off to savor their progress.