Max and Lexy’s Kitchen


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.

About cara

I blog for fun at, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
This entry was posted in OLD-HOUSE MAKEOVERS, PHILADELPHIA, RENOVATION and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Max and Lexy’s Kitchen

  1. Harriet says:

    Like momma….

  2. cara says:

    I guess I just make it look like so much fun.

  3. Terry says:

    Mighty fine work. It’s so unpretentious. I love the cabinet thing next to the oven.

  4. Patti says:

    Much improved and wonderful. The paint choice is spot on–we’ve used that color and loved it. They made good choices all around–nice design, fridge, range, open shelves, counter tops and the subway tile will look fantastic. Makes you proud as a fellow mom.

  5. Lexy says:

    Thanks for all the kind words! Cara, as always you’ve found a way to make everything look beautiful, thank you. I actually think I now might be coming down with renovation amnesia, suddenly I can’t remember all the trauma. After reading this post everything seems so simple, but what an improvement from the before pictures, I can’t believe we really did it!

  6. Jean Cox says:

    Love looking at kitchen remodels that the homeowners’ tackle. Good job on the hard work and the decisions to make it happen. Love the open feel of it. What is on the slanted wall above the stove – an exhaust fan or mirror? Subway tile is my favorite backsplash choice and will add the finishing touches.

  7. That pullout in the nook by the fridge is perfection. I love using every available nook & cranny. Great job!!!

  8. priscilla says:

    Just perfect. I’m proud for you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    They did a masterful job! Like moher like son!

  10. wendy says:

    Beautiful! I love how you can still feel the character of the home but it’s clean and crisp and cheerful. You modernized it without turning it into a (soulless) kitchen showroom. Congratulations!

  11. cara says:

    Thanks, folks, yes, I’m kvelling! [Yiddish for bursting with pride]

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