When I moved into my house 10 years ago, I immediately loved the whole feeling of the house. It was such a warm and well-loved home, I knew that it was meant to be the first time I looked at it. Don’t get me wrong, the house was definitely not perfect- there were a lot of wonky things about it. But, some of those things are part of this 100+-year-old house’s charm. Other parts, I knew would have to be changed eventually. And most of those things were in the kitchen. I couldn’t open the oven without yelling a warning to anyone who walked in (lest they simultaneously burn themselves and get a concussion on the open door). The fridge door blocked the other entrance to the kitchen when I opened it, and the bathroom was in my kitchen. This summer we tackled the transitional kitchen renovation and used a design book to help us with the pretty parts.
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My old Kitchen was a white kitchen with shaker cabinets similar to my new cabinets. That is where the similarities between these two kitchens end. The old kitchen had plenty of room to move around but very little counter space to actually cook and prepare. The odd angle of the cooktop decreased the space further as did the random placement of the outlets. While I always knew that I could have updated the backsplash for relatively inexpensive, I didn’t want to replace the backsplash without replacing the horrible Corian countertops. And it was ridiculous to put knew counters on the very old and poorly made cabinets. You can see the spiral. I am so happy that we waited to renovate so that we could do it the way we wanted.
The kitchen renovation was 10 years in the making. Other than moving the bathroom, my husband and I decided that we wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. We were not using the dining room more than a handful of times a year. It is a large portion of the entire downstairs and we agreed that it was wasted space. I had the layout in my head for years. It took an amazing team to take what was in my head and turn it into reality.
Now, one could argue that the bathroom was in a hall next to the kitchen but, that would be denial. While the kids were really little it was fine but, as they got older this one thing drove me insane!!! I mean how gross is that? In my new kitchen, the drawers and the dishwasher are where my old bathroom was.
With all the small details that need to be thought of for a kitchen renovation, I started looking through magazines and decorating books for inspiration and I came upon Elements of Family Styles: Elegant Spaces for Everyday Life by Erin Gates from our post about decorating books. In addition to the gorgeous pictures, I loved the splurge vs save suggestions that are sprinkled throughout the book. Gates give great suggestions on which elements to splurge. Kirsten and I have included some splurge save option of our own look-alike as well.
Because I was doing my kitchen and powder room, I concentrated mostly on those sections in the book (for now). The suggestion for spill-proof seating made my choice of Serena and Lily chairs and barstools and chairs almost a no-brainer. They are so comfortable and stylish while also being completely kid-friendly. The spilled chocolate milk cleans off without an effort. They are also soooo comfortable. We found these amazing chair and barstool look-alikes as well.
The section of lighting also, coincidentally, had my Hicks pendant lights. There is an entire section in the book that I love called “pairing-off”. It gives suggestions for coordinating lighting in your kitchen and dining areas. These lights were a definite splurge for me but for me were worth every penny. I pretty much fell in love with the pendants and designed the rest of my kitchen around them. My dining room chandelier was less of a splurge but I love it too. I wanted something simple and beautiful that would not detract from the Hicks lights.
I moved a window so that I could look outside while doing dishes. It also helped that the bathroom was no longer in the kitchen- yes, I am very excited about that! The dishwasher and the drawers (which hold all my dishes and cutlery) are where the bathroom used to be. This layout makes unloading the dishwasher a very easy task that my kids can now do. No more reaching to get dishes or put them away. I also love this station for bread and toast. The toaster blends into the background in addition to being quick, quiet and a fabulous toaster. The breadbox is so sleek and elegant, I love that it fits there so nicely.
Believe it or not, there was a window where my hood and pot filler are currently located. Everyone said I was nuts to take away a window but, even though I have the best neighbors ever, I did not need to look out across my driveway to their house. I also had two very large windows in the dining room. I did not lose any light and the kitchen is so much brighter than it ever was. You can get the look for my backsplash here, as well as the look for my countertops here. You can find the look for the herringbone tile here as well. I wanted a light and bright feel throughout the kitchen.
I was lucky enough to have this seating area in my dining room before the renovations. However, it used to be a storage space for random accumulations of stuff from my house rather than a cozy place to read a book. I love that a few pillows were able to turn this area from blah to “ahhhh” with very little effort. It is now one of my favorite spots to sit and read.
When we took down the old wall and removed the fridge, we found some space next to my laundry shoot. I knew that it was there from drawings but I was not sure how big it was or how I would be able to use it. It turned into a closet that is just the right size to hold my vacuum cleaners. This area turned out to be one of the best uses of space in the kitchen. My entire mudroom closet was freed up when I removed the vacuum. It was a total game-changer, to say the least. behind the corkboard is the laundry shoot. I love this area so much as well because it hides the million pieces of paper that my kids bring home every week that I cannot recycle.
Now that the renovation is almost done- we are at 99% with a few little things to finish (like the wood piece between the windows), I have to say that I would not change a thing. I am a planner and for me, it paid off. My family is using the space and as a result, spending more time together. I can be cooking while the kids are doing homework and nobody is on top of each other. Moving around the appliances to the opposite wall increased the flow of the room and taking down the wall made the kitchen feel like it had quadrupled in size.
There are a ton of little details that are such a luxury and I love them. I have a Keurig built into my fridge, an instant hot water dispenser, and a pot filler. I never plan on moving or doing another kitchen renovation so these little details were worth it to me. While my next project is a long while away, I cannot wait to get planning. New master bath? Sunroom re-do?…….Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait another 10 years. I would also like to give special thanks to Lucy, my pup, for modeling so nicely in the photos.
Get the Look
Serena and Lily Chairs // Steal Bistro Chairs // Table Chandelier // Quartz Countertops // White Herringbone Backsplash // Honed Marble Tile Backsplash // Ticking Pillow // GULP Mug // Splurge Island Pendants // Steal Island Pendants // Kitchenaid // Toaster // Bread Box // Elements of Family Style by Erin Gates // Serena and Lily Barstools // Steal Barstools //