Here it is! The blog you have been waiting for no? I mean who doesn’t love a good remodel? Especially one that is a little bit more accurate in terms of deadlines. When I purchased the house in December I knew that I would for sure be doing a full kitchen remodel, removing it all and starting from scratch. We removed two walls and gutted it to start with a plan that would fit my needs. The original kitchen from the 80s was in pretty bad shape, with tiles from floor to ceiling and stainless steel counters, it was a galley style kitchen with full cabinetry running along the side wall (and COVERING!) half of the best view of the entire house! I said, “these cabinets have got to go!” I can’t believe anyone every considered obstructing such a view in order to have a few extra cabinets, I mean, where was the aesthetic planning?
So once it was gutted I worked with my architect and drew up a plan that would suit my needs, and the needs of future guests that I would be welcoming into my home. I knew that I would welcoming guests from all over the world, and from the U.S. therefore, I knew I needed to create a much more open concept kitchen. We removed the walls that were enclosing the maids quarters (yes most home here, unless they have been remodeled still have a full maids quarters including bathroom!) The house, at that point was technically four bedrooms and four baths. I knew I did not need this much space, and that many people value kitchen space more than an extra room. I decided to create a pantry around the column that (structurally) had to stay. In the 4th bathroom, we gutted, we created a full laundry and cleaning space with a full load washer/dryer combo and a sink to use for cleaning as most homes in Colombia have, I knew I needed/wanted to keep one in this space. I also created a desk along the far wall where the previous maid quarter room was located for guests who might like to stay in and work while traveling.
So the cabinets were added along the far back wall to store dishes, pans and other miscellaneous things (which I have not even filled up yet!) as I also have drawer storage next to the oven underneath the island/bar. So yes, the island! Some don’t call it an island as it’s smaller than most and it technically is connected to the wall, so to be more technical we can call it the breakfast bar. Here, we kept the oven and stovetop as this was easiest to make use of the existing gas valve that otherwise would have cost much more to somehow re-route. I love love love this bar. And the stools, as I can’t brag enough about them are from a high-end custom store here in Poblado, called Diamantina y La Perla. They have an Instagram account that you can follow here to get a feel for their style. Personally, I bought many other things from them, but these stools, while I found them at another local store called “La Habitaction” are designed by Diamantine y La Perla.
My guests so far have LOVED this remodel, as well as other owners of the building that have come up for a visit to see what all the “noise” was about. Both literal and non-literal, as I was the first “extranjera” to buy in this beautiful, quiet building! They were interested to meet the “gringa” upstairs, and were even more stunned by the beauty of the final outcome of the kitchen remodel that they unfortunately (sorry!) had to listen to for the duration of the project which ran about 6 weeks. We started the end of January, but as I informed you guys a few blogs back, the first two weeks in January are a holiday here, so many people are at home enjoying time with family and therefore many building enforce a “no-work” policy during these two weeks. Don’t let these dates hold your project deadline up! Make sure to include these as “non-work” days, even if your architect or contractor forgets to do so. My architect didn’t know my building had this rule and therefore initially these dates were included in the project deadline. Once they started they were informed to “stop work immediately” and were permitted to begin working on January 11, 2017, so we really didn’t get much work done before that.
So, luckily, I had already found a really great Airbnb to stay at while my project was being completed. The brothers that own/Airbnb this apartment are two of the most amazing people you might be lucky enough to meet in Medellin. I am going to do some promoting for them here on my blog as they deserve any and all promotion they can get. They have a business up and running successfully here in Poblado called Lugo Lugo, (their last name) and they design custom where for grooms and groomsmen. Please check out their Instagram here and get in touch with them if you or anyone you know has any such needs. Ok yes, besides the point, perhaps, but you never know!
So, back to the kitchen, I, knowing I would have guests and/or potential roomies it was pertinent that I had a large fridge. *This is not common on Colombia! Many people make do with very small refrigerators but for me knowing that 2-3 different people/couples at anytime might need to have a place to store their food it was high on my list of priorities to have such a fridge. It really has worked out thus far and I can’t imagine having a smaller one except for the few nights that I am here alone. So if you are planning to live alone, or with a partner, no, you do not need such a large fridge, but for me, in my case, I knew I would need it. Also, I decided to have a dishwasher installed, not because I can’t do dishes, but again for potential guests who would prefer not to have to wash their dishes by hand, but honestly, with the #1 view being from the kitchen sink window many have not had any complaints about washing their few dishes by hand. It’s very meditative to wash dishes with such a stunning view!
The stove is much smaller than those I am used to in the U.S. but again, the size is very common for Colombia. If kyou want a larger oven make sure to be very specific about the size you need with your architect. Same with the cooktop, while there are four burners, as you can see in the photo the general “space” is quite small. Four pots/pans can fit here at a time (yes I have done it!) but it is a tight fit that’s for sure. However, as you can also see, the smaller stovetop allows for more counter space which is where I and my many guests have used to chop their veggies etc. so you sacrifice one thing to gain another sometimes right? That was the case here. Plus, technically, both the small and larger size glass cook pans fit in the oven, there just isn’t much space to reach in and grab them so just make sure to be careful when removing your dish!
The white tile (while it does show everything) is very easily to clean, and helps to create an even larger/brighter feeling kitchen. The choice we made to go with the larger tiles also has the same effect, using smaller tiles in an already smaller space creates the illusion of a small space, so using the larger tiles as we did also helped to create a larger feeling space in the kitchen. The counter space underneath the cabinets I have decided to use for my small kitchen appliances for myself and guests and it has really come in handy. I have my Vitamix (didn’t leave the U.S. without it!), a toaster, and a small hot water pot so as to not have to use the stove for tea etc. This has been a huge hit with my guests as I have not yet decided ot invest in a microwave. I’ve read so many negative things about micro”waves” and the affect they can have on your foods that I am seeing if I (and my guests) can get by without one. No complaints on my Airbnb about it yet!
So, have you started looking into your options for buying in Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring? If so, then you are headed in the right direction as this city is only going to grow in popularity in the years to come. It is a good investment option, and if you have the cash resources to invest, now is the time to do so while the dollar/Colombian peso is a really great deal. As a reminder, at this time of writing, (July 2017) to get an investment visa (as I did) you must spend over $150,000. However, if you are not in need/desire of an investment visa you can get a very good 2-3 bedroom apartment in the surrounding areas of Poblado for as low as $85-$100,000! So, why not take some of those “savings” you have just sitting in some account somewhere making you little to no return on your money and invest them in a property in Medellin?