I’ve learned to accept the truth that in life, nothing is ever really done. Laundry, never done. Cleaning, never done. Getting in shape, never done. It’s all a process. The kitchen is not completely done, not even nearly a year later. It has, however, come a LONG, LONG way. I bet you won’t even be able to tell what’s not done from the pictures.
Of course, it is far more beautiful than it ever was and it is far more functional than it ever was. But the best thing about the kitchen is how it has changed our family life. The island is like home base. We eat there (most of the time). We cook there. We do homework there. We make crafts and we color there. We have Girl Scout meetings there. I lean on my elbows and peer over the countertops at my children’s faces while they eat or color and do homework. It’s an amazing vantage point. When I’m behind that island I feel in control. Everything I need is within a couple of steps. I’m a little territorial about that spot behind the island. It’s mine and I want to be the one back there controlling things. I kind of knew that it would be like that before the plans were even made and I was glad for it. Some people might say it is too narrow, I say it is just narrow enough.
How did we ever turn this
(no joke, that is the before, for real) into that beautiful heart of the home from the after picture? The first step was looking at pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. More pictures than should ever be possible to look at. My favorite place to look at pictures of kitchens (or any other room in the house) is Houzz . My technique was to whip through the pictures quickly, only stopping when something caught my eye. When I stopped, I would think, is this something that is possible within reason for my house? Was the layout something we could fit into the footprint we already had? If it was, then I would save the pic. I ended up with hundred(thousands, maybe?) of pictures saved. I went back through what I had already saved and critiqued those and narrowed things down a bit. I don’t think I ever ended up with one final inspiration photo, but in the end, the kitchen was probably most inspired by this one:
It’s got a similar feel to our kitchen, but by no means an exact replica. After narrowing down the look and feel I wanted with a layout that would fit in our space, it was time to head to Home Depot. We had our measurements already, but unless you know someone who really knows how to take the measurements properly, have Home Depot send someone to do it for you (don’t DIY this unless you know you are going to be exactly right! Mistakes will be very costly at this step!). We were very lucky to have a great kitchen designer at Home Depot who had actually been trained in Italy in design. It was like winning the kitchen design lottery and the service is free at Home Depot, so doubly lucky for us. The kitchen designer will be able to show you the best possible layout and what will and will not work for your kitchen. They remember little things like, code says that you must have a certain amount of inches of counter space on each side of your stove. And, if you put your dishwasher there and your pull out drawers here, they will bang into each other when you open them both. They should also be able to tell you where you can save some money by passing on expensive upgrades.
Now, if you’ve done your homework, you should know from your inspiration pictures what style of cabinets you want and what type of countertops you’d like. I literally took maybe 10 minutes to decide which cabinets and colors I wanted. The countertops took a little longer because the recycled glass I REALLY wanted ended up being very expensive and I ended up choosing a mid price granite, Giallo Ornamental. I’ve actually fallen quite in love with the granite and can’t imagine anything else in the space. It’s very dimensional and colorful, but not overpowering. If you look very closely at it you can see little bits that are opaque and I just think it’s the coolest thing ever.
Those are the major decisions. After that it’s hardware and appliances and and lighting and flooring and windows and spending a ton of money to pay people to do put these things in for you, of course. Let’s save that for another post, shall we?