Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kitchen Dreaming

When we remodeled our first kitchen in the condo, the decisions we had to make were fairly easy. Once we had the layout, the rest of the design decisions were governed by one thing - the budget. A small, two bedroom apartment surrounded by rentals didn't warrant high end finishes. It was a simple money in, money out equation. We didn't want to put more into the kitchen than we were going to get out. So it was pretty easy to rule out things like expensive hardware and natural stone counter tops.

We started focusing in on our design by making a list of must-haves

- Modern design to accommodate all major appliances and plumbing
- A homey, warm look and feel
- Clean, sharp lines

And above else... our number 1 must-have

- Must stay true to the house's age and style

While we're more interested in renovating than restoring every little detail, we did purchase our home for its age and character. And while we both love that modern Swedish design, it just wasn't going to work here.

The modern Ikea kitchen in our first condo
When we moved into the house, the kitchen consisted of a few built-in cabinets with the rest being the furniture-style free standing cabinetry popular around the early 1900s. After living with that for quite some time, we knew we definitely wanted to move back towards the more modern, built-in lines of cabinets.

Our kitchen pre-remodel. Now there's a blast from the past.

Can we take a minute and talk about the saloon doors in the picture above? Every day I kick myself for not keeping those. Kidding. Totally.

Also, since we've slowly been adding Craftsman style details to the rest of our house (such as our new screen porch door) we wanted to stay with that feel. Custom shaker style cabinet doors stayed true to the character of our home while still giving us the clean design lines we were after.

Counter tops are a huge point of debate when it comes to kitchen design and many people are firmly in one camp or the other - natural or man made. We could write an entire post just on our research around solid surface and natural counter top materials (and we may still do that.) But ultimately we knew that natural materials like stone and wood were more true to our home, and in our opinion, had a more premium look and feel.

So once all the basics were decided, it was time to start on the fun stuff. I went to straight to Pinterest to start looking for inspiration. After countless nights of sitting on the couch pinning away, I began to notice a pattern in my inspiration photos:

Original source here

Original source here

Original source here

Original source here
All the white. All the wood. But the question was - which combination? Should we go with natural wood cabinets and white counters? Or white cabinets and natural wood (butcherblock) counter tops? Spoiler alert - what we thought we wanted wasn't what we ended up with.

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