April 11, 2011

Kitchen Project: Attention To Detail

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who took time to answer my kitchen questions (I'm Curious About Your Kitchens - and it's not too late to tell me about yours!) All of your comments were very helpful. I learned that kitchen preferences are as varied as personalities. It was fun to learn what you like and why. Lifestyle is key here, and it was encouraging how happy most of you were with the design choices you made. I even got a peek into some of your kitchens and picked up some good ideas along the way. If you haven't already seen it, photos of what my kitchen originally looked like are hereand what we did to make it more livable, here.

Functionally, my kitchen will be relatively simple. It is my food workshop, and needs to be set it up as such. My challenge is to make my tools and workspace logically organized and accessible.

Click for bigger

Because of doors, windows, and the L-shape of the room, the area I have to accomplish a working area is relatively small, one corner less than 9 x 8 feet (pink area). As you can see, that doesn't include the fridge and wood cookstove's required safety clearances (that, in blue). Neither am I including traffic areas in front of doors, nor the breakfast nook (green) which I'm figuring can double as a work area if needed and seating for the rare visitor. On the plus side, I have a huge pantry, not only for food storage, but also things like my canning equipment, grain mill, empty jars, etc.

Aesthetically, well, we're artists. We're going to spend a lot of time in this room, so we want to create a beautiful room as well as a functional one. Beauty is subjective though, and Dan and I have very different tastes when it comes to interior design. He leans more toward the formal and ornate, I toward the simple and rustic. It's been fun though, working out ways to blend our different ideas in a cohesive manner. (And I have to say that after giving his honest opinion about any detail, he always adds, "but it's your kitchen," giving me the last say-so.)

I like the natural colors in the inset.
I think my Blue Willow will go well with these.My color scheme was chosen about a year and a half ago, when we purchased these two small Amish built cabinets (click either for a closer look). They aren't true kitchen cabinets, but we bought them with the kitchen in mind. The pictures in the insets are earthy greens and browns. I have always had a blue kitchen, because of my Blue Willow, so this is quite a change for me. I fell in love with the cabinets though, so it must be time for that change. (My Blue Willow happily resides in my dining room, which has picked up the blue in it's color scheme.)

I love green too though. Which is one of the reasons I fell in love with this 2nd hand bargain...

... which I hope to work into my peninsula. I wasn't trying to match colors, but it did anyway. Perfectly...

Now I'm working on collecting paint swatches to carry around for when I need them.

On one of his trips to Pennsylvania, Dan bought another, larger Amish built cabinet. It had three plain doors, which he woodburned for me...

This will be built in to my "wall of shelves."

I'm also thinking about flooring material under the wood cookstove.

The faux brick floor protector came with the stove. We debated on whether or not to use it. I like the brick look, but don't like the rough texture, knowing it would be hard to keep clean. Also it is made to sit on top of an existing floor, which raises the walk-by area in front of the stove to an easy to trip over height. Since we're replacing the entire kitchen floor anyway, we're thinking ceramic floor tile under the stove. This would be installed over cement board, to comply with code. I've been buying single tiles as samples and of course these have to color coordinate with the small Amish cabinet doors. The other place I'm considering using tile is my backsplash.

Just the other day I found spot lighting for the sink, peninsula, and breakfast table...

These are mini-pendants, mini I guess because the glass shade is small (6.25 inches). A series of them would be needed for a longer peninsula or island, but singles will work well for my compact areas. I was happy that they were among the least expensive offerings, plus that the motif echos the hanging light in our dining room. Still under consideration are under-cabinet lights for the work area next to the sink, lighting for cooking (found a pot rack with lights), and ceiling fixture (fan with or without a light?).

This was our splurge...

A tin ceiling. Not for the entire kitchen, but for the entrance / dining nook, which is separated from the rest of the kitchen by a visible load-bearing beam (the one supported by The Post, photo here.) I admit I'm not too crazy about tin ceilings, but Dan loves them. My inner lightbulb went off when we considered giving the dining nook a different but coordinating look. It's a small ceiling (about 40 square feet), so it didn't bust our budget.

There are still a lot of things to figure out. We've decided that the electrical upgrades need to be done first, and then we'll get back to the kitchen and pick up where we left off! My challenge in the mean time, is to pull it all together. It's no small task, but I don't deny that I love this part of the process.


  1. I don't know if you and Dan work together as well as it appears on your blog, but I love reading about your projects nonetheless. Reading a post reminds me of an episode of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" (and I mean that as no small compliment!).

  2. Those doors on the Amish cabinets are absolutely stunning, and they go so well with the green paint on the second hand one :-)

    Your kitchen is going to be a thing of beauty - can't wait to see it - so much thought, attention and detail - you certainly deserve it :-)

  3. We installed a tile backsplash last winter. (By "we" I mean "Jim".) We got glass tile at Lowe's. I love it. So much easier to keep clean than the painted walls. (Maybe I'm a messy cook!!)

    I like the kitchen as work area idea too.....that's definitely how I use mine. When we built our house, we only were serious about floor plans where the kitchen was separate from the dining room. I like to cook undisturbed sometimes!!

    Have fun!

  4. Michelle, actually Dan and I work very well together. And we're great admirers of Fred Rogers, so I definitely take that as a compliment! But I am curious as to why you think so. :)

    Dani, it was love at first sight when it came to those cabinets. They aren't the size of standard kitchen cabinets, but we'll definitely make them work. Plus they were really much less expensive than the "real"thing, which is helpful for us, and enabled us to support the craftsmen.

    Sue, I'm so glad to hear that. I've learned that just because something looks good, doesn't mean it's practical. Real life feedback is helpful there!

    I'm interested that you kept a definite kitchen/dining room wall to separate the spaces. The majority of folks love their kitchens open to the DR and rest of the house, and in fact I've gotten numerous suggestions that I should open ours up. I refuse! Besides needing at least one wall for cabinets and shelves, I find I work so much better with a defined space, and the privacy to concentrate on the task at hand.

  5. Oh it's going to be good! I can hardly wait until you get through with all that pesky wiring stuff and on to the good stuff! ;)

  6. Green is so restful and peaceful a color. It should make the kitchen feel cooler in the summer, yet remind you of summer in the winter. Nice choice.

    Are you going to leave the tun ceiling silver or paint it?

  7. We did a faux tin ceiling in our last kitchen with paintable wallpaper and metallic paint. It looked fabulous and nobody could tell the difference.

  8. I love the give and take - Dan has provided lovely artistic touches to make your kitchen special for you, and you have agreed to the tin ceiling he loves so much. Your kitchen (and whole house!) will reflect your combined artistry and the love and respect you have for each other. Like my husband and myself, it sounds like you guys are friends as well as spouses. :) That's so great.

  9. Theresa, you've hit the nail on the head for us too! Still, I'm glad I have a little time to figure out the details.

    Benita, we'll leave the tin silver. There are a lot of color choices, all very expensive! This was the least expensive and Dan liked it best. My thought is that it will reflect light best. One of my concerns about tin ceilings is that they are often dark, and make a room cave-like. I think this "stainless steel" as they call it, will be most like a white ceiling.

    Limette, the patterns I liked best were actually faux, but Dan didn't want to do any gluing! I agree, that no one can really tell the difference, and they are so much more reasonable than metal!

    DebbieB, I think we both want the other to be happy with it. We each have a few "musts" that we feel strongly about, and so far, we've been able to work our various ideas together. Ours will be an eclectic kitchen for sure, and hopefully I can make it all blend!

  10. I am so anxious (and jealous) to see this kitchen!! A pantry! That stove! It is a real fantasy kitchen.

  11. your husband really is an artist, if he can do this with pyrography! looks great -as does the cabinet with rollers, very practical. I thought about getting one of those trolleys made from timber for the kitchen. but with a slighly uneven tiled floor and too little space I didn't after all, because it has to stand somewhere safe when not in use. maybe we can rearrange everything when DS is out of this house (in about a million years:))...

  12. You are amazing. (Dan, too.) I wish I had just a little of your talent for being able to pull all of this together. My hubby and I have a little trouble working together on this kind of stuff as he is strictly functional. He doesn't really care what it looks like. And I have to have an environment that is esthetically pleasing to me. I'll put up with a little inconvenience if I'm happy working in the space. Good thing that he, too, says that the kitchen is my domain so, within reason, I have the final say.

    Eagerly following your progress. And you two seem to make a lot of it quickly!

  13. I'm so excited for your kitchen project. It makes me want to do my kitchen...funny yesterday I was getting a coffee and checking out their counter top! lol

    unfortunately I think my kitchen dreams will have to wait until we get some other things off our plate. I sure wish that we had been able to get our front porch and roof done last year because that seems to be holding everything else up. We're now going to have to hire a general contractor because the porch is just getting so bad (I can't believe that one contractor said it wouldn't get any worse!) sigh!

  14. My wife says to tell you that she really loves your color scheme.:) I can't wait to see the finished kitchen.

  15. The kitchen is going to be fantastic! Your color scheme is really great. I had to put my blue willow in the formal dining room when we remodeled the kitchen, too! The house I grew up in was an old schoolhouse with a beautiful pressed tin ceiling...I miss it...yours is perfect! It so fits the house and your decorating style. I'm so excited for you!

  16. Oh, I love the color choices. And I'm so jealous of your woodstove. We are still in the process of finishing up the detail work on our new kitchen. I'm fortunate to have a HUGE kitchen area 14x16 because it was an old farmhouse and the original owners used it as an eat in kitchen for their family of 8! We installed an island which I love. It does have a seating area- for the children for breakfast and/or guests- but mainly for the extra counter space.
    I have more of a work square than triangle. Sink and stove are directly opposite (the stove is in the island) each other and the other end of the square is the fridge and the pantry.
    If you're fortunate enough to have high ceilings you can stack your wall cabinets. We had enough room for 15" cabinets on top of our standard 30" cabinets. There is only an inch of clearance between the cabinet tops and the ceiling which will get filled with moulding to keep it from collecting dust.
    I can't wait to see how your comes together. Ours, while a lot of work, was fun to plan and execute.

  17. You are planning a beautiful kitchenn space - so many lovely pieces to work with and I love the green.

  18. Leigh, every post exudes a calmness and cooperation that I recall from Mr. Roger's program; I'm sure he would have been proud to feature you and Dan in his TV neighborhood as good examples to children of how to work together!

  19. Jane, I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have it all. Admittedly the kitchen is small, but I think I can make it work for my cooking methods. It's a challenge to figure it out though!

    Bettina, yes he is! At the moment, I'm considering removing the wheels on that cabinet and just using it part of the peninsula. Like you, I don't have anywhere to roll it really, but it was a bargain and I like the color.

    Mama Pea, I think that's often the case when men and women collaborate on a project. I admit it's taken some time to work together well. Isn't it great though, when it does work out?

    Renee, I should think after re-doing your MIL's kitchen you'd have had your fill for the moment! I hear you about priorities, though I confess to announcing the kitchen was definitely next!

    Mr & Mrs. H, thank you!

    Lynda, interesting about your Blue Willow. I think it makes a great country formal dinnerware though. Glad to hear you liked your tin ceiling so well. As much as I didn't think I wanted one, I'm really looking forward to getting this one up!

    Judy, lucky you to have such a wonderfully big kitchen! Sounds perfect for an island. Interesting idea about the wall cabinets. Our ceiling is 8' 10", so we do have a bit more wall space to work with.

    Evelyn, thanks!

    Michelle, you just made my day! Thank you so much. :)

  20. brilliant find on that tin ceiling. I love tin ceilings! Nice to hear the plans are coming along well.

  21. I can hardly wait for your kitchen to be finished and you post some pictures!!!!!

  22. Nina, there are so many tin ceiling choices out there! Not only tin, but PVC and even styro. I'm just glad we found a pattern that both of us liked.

    Barb, me too!

  23. Leigh, I keep popping back in, hoping to see baby goats! I feel like an expectant mother (without the swollen ankles, stretch marks, and frequent trips to the loo)!

  24. Debbie, nothing yet! I have a list of possible due dates for each goat, based on observing their behavior with the buck, but who knows! I do updates on the kidding status about twice a day on Twitter. :)


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