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15 Questions About The Farmhouse Kitchen I Get Asked All Of The Time…Answered

I love a “renovation reflection” – the time after the renovation when you find that you love things even more than you thought, realize some things are way less important, as well as your basic regrets and missed marks. So today I’m answering a bunch of questions about the kitchen that I keep getting – mostly reader and Instagram comments from the reveal which was super fun for me to just answer off the cuff.

Love the oak cabinets and the marble worktop! I’m dying for a practicality update on the marble as I need to make a decision on whether or not to go with marble worktops soon – did you seal it and what with? What caused the marks you say it’s already got? Did you feel terrified sitting on it in case it scratched or does it feel robust enough for that? Have you dropped red wine/turmeric/lemon on it yet and what happens when you do? Please please could you write about that?

I 100% understand your hesitation. Real stone is prettier because it has a unique organic pattern, but it’s not for everyone (I’m currently at the mountain house and still LOVE the white matte Cambria – quartz – we chose here). How old is your house? I personally think that real marble is particularly essential in older homes (totally fine if you use quartz, too) but if you are hesitant (which it sounds like you are) and you have a post-modern *style* home (anytime after 1950s) then I’d go with a quartz or porcelain. Most designers I know (and I agree) that a lot of the veining on quartz can be incredibly fake looking. It’s just my opinion but I’m not alone. In our kitchen, with the real honed marble, we have a decent amount of etching and marks now – mostly red wine, lemon, marinara, and the ultimate culprit of the unassuming… turmeric. ALL of them fade in time, they might not totally go away but they fade. You really have to make sure your expectations are set before you do this – we KNEW this would be the case and opted in because we wanted the real stone and we are 100% glad we did. Not one day or stain goes by where I wish we didn’t have this beautiful marble on our countertops. Also, there is confirmation bias in the mix, too 🙂 It adds so much authenticity to an older home, which is why I really want you to ask yourself if you NEED it in your house. For my brother’s river house home project, we are doing different quartz in different rooms (all Caesarstone) and none with the faux veining. But it’s new construction and very contemporary so we are beholden to NO style challenges – we can do whatever we want. I hope that helps!!

What is the countertop seam situation with your countertops? There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there!

Our seam is behind the faucet and we have a farmhouse apron sink so that’s the only place you see it. It doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t hone in on details like that. When everything else is so pretty I find that your eye really ignores little things like that. I didn’t think that we would need a seam – our slab was long, but I trust our fabricators that they did what was right. The corner (by the range) doesn’t have a seam – they made it an L-shaped slab. I love that, but at the same time, they used the only part of the slab that I didn’t love (it had lots of brown in the veining which looks dirty). So I was surprised when I saw it featured so prominently (there was a huge conversation about them avoiding using that area). It doesn’t bother me too much anymore, and I’m glad there is no seam. With real stone (like real wood) you just get what you get and have to work with the organic imperfections. It’s a good trade-off for us. Oh real quick, the biggest culprit has been the “not quite fully dried” pot lid, turned over on the counter to dry without a towel (so dumb). It wasn’t dirty anymore but the lid lip can rust a bit. I’ve now left these rinsed but not dried TWICE and in the morning was a HUGE round ring, in a darker yellow color. I freaked out (both times) and they have since faded but you can totally still see them.

The cabinets look very pretty and natural. Can you share the finish they used on the cabinets? Wax or oil, etc?

Unquie Kitchen & Baths used an all-natural Linseed oil. They clean up like a dream, aren’t shiny, and didn’t add any orange.

And if anyone wants to work with them you can get a little discount (10% off) with my code: EH2022 

What’s the hardest thing to keep clean/is it hard to maintain?

Truly nothing comes to mind immediately as hard to clean/maintain YET. We PAINSTAKINGLY chose everything to be easy to clean (while still choosing stone, real wood, etc). There are a few original cracks in the top of the island that we could have filled but chose not to and those get crumbs which when I’m cleaning drives me nuts. The unlacquered brass faucet and pot filler takes a specific wax that I have only used once (so we aren’t really cleaning it) but oh that patina – so pretty. The walls underneath the shoe bench thing have gotten pretty scuffed up because we just throw our shoes in there, but I think once it drives me nuts enough I’ll use a magic eraser. The induction top is SO wonderful to clean, the island surface has held up almost miraculously (besides the crumb cracks). So I guess just the stone countertops making sure that we don’t leave the usual suspects there. But we are only nine months in, so I think this will be a great question in a year or four. Wait, as far as clutter – that corner bench area is full of backpacks, shoes, coats, garbage, things being charged, etc. It’s a mess, but it’s a contained mess. I tidy it daily and it’s fine.

How often do you have to take care of your unlacquered brass faucets and how long does it take?

Ha. I have been using just water and a micro rag, but I just cleaned it with the wax for the first time and I think it’s just once a month.

I am curious that you chose not to have a toe kick for the cabinets. Any reason?

So much of this is a personal preference, but in our LA house, the little furniture-style legs got so scuffed up (but they were painted so you could see the scuff so it might have been fine here since it’s stained wood which is so much more forgiving). I think it was more to make it simple and streamlined, easier to clean, etc. But a good thing to remember which I always forget about is that you can’t put this trim under any appliances – dishwasher, fridge, and drawer fridges – and you notice it missing more in the photo below.

So I guess the answer is it was a design choice that we made at the time, but I like both. Many people have said it’s more ergonomic to be able to tuck your feet underneath the space under the counter (the toe kick) while cooking or cleaning, but it has not bothered us AT ALL. HOWEVER, by choosing this design we had to put the heat vent on the floor in the kitchen, which we didn’t realize until we moved in and Brian and I were like, “Well that’s unfortunate”‘” because crumbs/food go down there so easily.

How do you keep the kitchen runner in place??

I think because it’s so long it makes it heavy and thus doesn’t move that much? We sweep/mop on Sundays and have to roll it up but I know there are great solutions out there if yours slides around. Ours is from District Loom by the way and I LOVE it.

I’m curious as to why the outlet on the bar is placed so high.

I had to go back and look to see what you are talking about! I think these things are just standard and if you don’t catch the exact placement that’s where they’ll go. It doesn’t bother me, though (probably because they are pretty outlets covers). Maybe they wanted it to be lined up with the lightswitches and they had to be that high for a reason? The point is I trust ARCIFORM enough to know that it was likely a reason, but I’m not sure what (and again, it doesn’t bother me or didn’t until you pointed it out haha).

Where is your backsplash tile from and what color is it?

It’s a handmade tile from Pratt + Larson, made in Portland custom color P-146 (which matches my favorite Levis). It’s 100% gorgeous and I’m grateful every single day that it’s mine.

How’s it going with your stove? Still love the convection?

LOVE LOVE LOVE. The big handle on the right just popped off so I need to put it back on (I can rig it for now), but as far as cooking goes we LOVE it. So easy to clean, so fast to boil, so we are very very happy.

What is the height of your pot filler?

The spout sits 17.5″ above the stovetop but is attached to the wall roughly 6″ above that, 23.25″ from the stovetop. It’s also not centered on purpose but it could have been.

This there a name for the design style of your kitchen?

Maybe “Modern Scandinavian Farmhouse”? It feels very very very me/us, and I wouldn’t describe us as “Modern Farmhouse”. Whatever it is we love it so much. At one point we were throwing around the word “Shaker,” but I don’t think I really executed it as much as I had originally intended.

How has the vintage island been holding up and how has it been using the old drawers?

I have no idea what the refinisher from ARCIFORM (Renee) used on it to match the wood tone and have it hold up so well but it’s incredible. We abuse the heck out of it and nary a water glass ring. (He mentioned he used an older oil finish that is no longer for sale). The drawers still stick but I promise I’m not lying when I say this that it doesn’t annoy me AT ALL. We still plan on waxing them this summer because so many of you suggested that and if it were more smooth that would be nice.

Do you still love you put in so many windows?

Ok here’s what I will say – when it’s sunny out YES – we love every single window and the house just sings. But when it’s rainy for days and days and days and dark at 4:30 pm and outside you are just seeing dark glass or gloom, then I find myself gravitating into the rooms with less windows. Since the backyard has been done (and we can see green) it’s been SO MUCH better, but the months of looking out at mud were challenging and I wish I had window treatments. I don’t really have any regrets, but I think we could have nixed the window that faces east (the one next to the fridge) and put hooks there or coat/purse storage. I doubt we would have missed that window at all. We could always add a cool rod or hooks across that window but haven’t felt motivated to do it yet.

Is there anything you would have done differently now that you’ve lived with it for a while?

I just wish I had chosen a slightly warmer white paint color for the walls. When it’s sunny out this color is so pretty and bright, but when it’s not I wish it was warmer (still a white, but a lower LRV – a technical spectrum I learned from commenters – thank you :)). This is totally on me. Somedays I fantasize about changing it, but it’s a real thing (probably 3-4 days of painting and $3k at least – and that’s just for the kitchen). If it weren’t open to the living room with a shared wall color/paneling it would be an easier change. But we’d likely need to do both and it’s just so disruptive and expensive to change. But if I could snap my fingers it would be a white with a less cool undertone.

Before we go, a big question that I get over and over is how much this kitchen cost, and y’all, I don’t know but a lot. It was all wrapped into a huge renovation. It’s impossible to calculate one room, but it can be assumed that this was a high-end remodel and probably $200K at least. I’m not saying that to brag (and I don’t love putting it out there TBH) but if your kitchen remodel is feeling really expensive to you just know that you aren’t alone and renovations cost so much more now than they did six years ago.

Ok, y’all – let me know any other questions you have. Also, we might do this for the mudroom so PLEASE ask any questions and I’ll answer. If you haven’t seen the mudroom reveal go check it out and then ask some questions 🙂 We’ll comb both posts for comments/questions. xx

Kitchen Resources:
Cabinetry: Unique Kitchens & Baths
Countertops: Bedrosians Tile & Stone
White Oak Windows and Doors: Sierra Pacific Windows
Skylights: Velux
Tile: Pratt + Larson
Appliances (sans Fridge and Freezer): Build with Ferguson
Fridge and Freezer: BlueStar
Flooring: Zena Forest Products(Oregon grown and milled)
Lighting, Switches, Outlets, and Sink: Rejuvenation
Wall Color: Sherwin Williams, “Extra White” .
Faucets: deVOL Kitchens
Vintage Island: Aurora Mills
Counter Stools: Fernweh Woodworking

Rug – District Loom
Brass Gallery Rods: Pepe and Carols

*Design by Emily Henderson and ARCIFORM
*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Bec
9 months ago

Hello, thank you for this in depth article about your gorgeous kitchen.
I too have a question! I’m curious about the absence of blinds or curtains on the windows. Although I understand that the property is very private, personally, I find comfort and a sense of security when I have the option to block out the darkness at night.

Elaine
9 months ago
Reply to  Bec

Same – would love to know whether the absence of curtains/blinds feels exposed in any way?

In relation to the mudroom and specifically the floor tiles – how did you know that a smaller tile was the right choice? I’m slow to choose a small tile in a heavy footprint space given all the grout in play. I’m so torn.

Still loving the more personal vibe of the blog.

Heather
9 months ago
Reply to  Elaine

Yes, loving these personal posts! It’s why I starting reading years ago, and it’s so good to be reading more posts in this style again.

Lynn
9 months ago
Reply to  Elaine

I live in a neighborhood not remote at all. My entire sunroom that lines my living room has no curtains or blinds. We have a neighbors to all sides and our backyard is maybe 20 or 25 feet deep to the fence line. We have a six foot fence and shrubs. When kids are in bed I frequently walk around in just underwear to grab something. I know in theory someone could see me if they were at their window on tippy tippy toes, but it doesn’t bother me. I love the light all day.

Bec
9 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Indeed, blinds also provide the valuable advantage of sheltering you from unwanted views of your neighbors in their underwear…

Karen
9 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

I’m with you! I do not have blinds on my windows and really see no reason to. I love the daylight coming in and am not worried about someone looking in. We are just not that interesting!! In her (Emily) house, there is no other houses around. I see no reason to cover those beautiful windows!

sam
9 months ago
Reply to  Karen

I live in a private place and we are not interesting either but closing the blinds or curtains at night makes my home that much cozier!

Colleen
9 months ago

It’s such a wonderful kitchen! Thanks for the details. For those torn about natural stone vs. quartz, who don’t like granite, I have to say I love the quartzite counters that came in my new home kitchen. I think it’s called Taj Mahal quartzite. Indestructible, easy to clean and looks very nice with the light taupe/off white painted cabinets.
my question for a future column: do you still love the dark pantry? It is a beautiful color but I wonder if it’s hard to find things?

Shannon
9 months ago
Reply to  Colleen

Quartzite is a natural stone and different from quartz, which in this context is a man-made product and generally much less expensive than quartzite. Learned this distinction during my recent (and ongoing!) remodel. Glad you love your quartzite!

Colleen
9 months ago
Reply to  Shannon

Yes, I know it’s natural, I meant to explain this better as a natural alternative to marble that has ‘softer’ veining than granite but super durable and low-maintenance. I am lucky the previous owners put it in. Highly recommend!

Sheryl
9 months ago
Reply to  Colleen

I am also curious about the pantry – both in terms of the colour and ease of use as a coffee/snack/cereal station. Are you using it as envisioned? Do you miss having a water supply in there?

Kj
9 months ago

Drew Michael Scott (Lone Fox Home) used TuffSkin on the marble in his kitchen. Linked in the comments here: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-diy-packed-kitchen-floors-hood-cabinets

Vera
9 months ago

Thanks for this Emily! Really fun and also helpful as I make decisions for our kitchen here.

Vera
9 months ago

Also I just love any post that includes photos of your gorgeous kitchen!

Vera
9 months ago

Oh also (ha!) I would describe this kitchen as “vintage Scandinavian farmhouse.” (I don’t think the word “modern” is accurate – instead the word “Scandinavian” captures the clean/minimal/bright aspects.)
Whatever it’s called, I LOVE it. 🙂

DonnaJ
9 months ago

Interesting post! I have questions! How are the stools at the island? Do you use them ? How is the traffic pattern? Do you find the flow of people and tasks works well or are there logjams? How is the work triangle ? Do you find the fridge too far from the sink and oven? How is is it having drawers versus no upper cabinets? Do you miss uppers? How do you like the open plan life? What are the pros and cons? Do you use the pantry? Where does clutter collect? I have a huge kitchen island and sadly it’s a clutter magnet. Its my drop zone/ DIY tool/garden project/ recycling stack area. I feel like I can fix this if I get systems in place but that takes time in a new home. For me, new things like having a real garden/ hot tub need actual places and systems for dealing with supplies. In my current fantasy I want a separate garden room like an old English home. I guess this is a rambling way of saying my new responsibilities demand new storage systems and it feels like so much to set up! How is that all going… Read more »

Vera
9 months ago

And a question for Emily and anyone who wants to weigh in: how necessary are island pendants?
In terms of style and (more importantly) function?

We had planned two large pendants over our island, but when we held them up, they blocked the amazing views which are the star. And they really bothered my tall husband.

We will have lots of soft perimeter lighting (small pendants and sconces). 

So now we’re leaning towards zero island pendants, and instead putting 6 pot lights in the ceiling over the big island. I was firmly against pot lights in our century home but I think here I need to make an exception to prioritize people over architecture.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Tracy
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

My husband hits his head on the light above our dining table almost every meal. We have little kids so we are both up and down, cutting food, leaning across the table etc a good bit—he hits it so much!

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Pendants do not gave to be low-hung. They can be any height you choose.

A
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Not necessary at all! Get a cool/pretty battery-powered lamp if you find you need task lighting 🙂

Melinda
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

My husband is 6’5” so we hung the pendants over our island higher than normal. We did lots of other things around the house on the taller side but we’re a fairly tall couple, so that works for us! Also, I prefer the light from our pendants MUCH MORE than the puck lights… I only like to use those for cleaning and when I’m doing a lot of prep/cooking. They are both on dimmers but it’s just a different vibe, pendant lighting is so much softer. Good luck in your remodel!

SGL
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

I’m not Emily but I am renovating a sorta-historic home with a peninsula in the kitchen that looks out over a beautiful view, and like you I don’t want pendants to block the view. So, I’m planning on using a couple cute, unobtrusive, vintage-style flush mount lights instead.

Colleen
9 months ago
Reply to  SGL

I hung pendant lights high as well. There is also a trend of very tiny pendants that don’t obscure— see examples in DeVOL’s Instagram account for starters.

Vera
9 months ago
Reply to  Colleen

Thanks Colleen, SGL, A, Rusty, Melinda, and Tracy! Mulling all this over! Much appreciated.

DonnaJ
9 months ago
Reply to  SGL

Ooh if you can tell me about any cute unobtrusive vintage style flush mounts you found I’d be grateful ! I am in the same sitch. Thanks!

pam
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

in my kitchen I have recessed lighting (Tech Lighting’s 3″ Entra), sconces, under-shelf lighting, and island pendants – all on dimmers. I really rely on all of them! The pendants give such a nice warm glow to the space, especially as the newer LED recessed can be a little harsh (I love how small and cool they are though, and I’ve added lens to cut down glare). But proper placement of the recessed is key to reduce shadows etc.

Patti
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Vera, I felt the same about blocking the view to my great room and fireplace but I bought large clear glass pendants that don’t obstruct the the view at all! I think they were from Rejuvenation?

Cici Haus
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

We’re pretty tall and honestly just very picky/not that into overhead lighting. We didn’t put any pendants in either of our last two kitchens. In this kitchen we have two semi-flushmounts, one over the walkway between the sink and island and one over the breakfast table. Otherwise it’s just flushmounts for us (and undercabinet lighting…really thought it was unnecessary until we had it in this house now I love it so much!).

denisegk
9 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Vera, another famous stylist/decorator on the internet is about 2 years behind Emily on a huge remodel project: Maria Killam. She has a website that is her name plus dot com, as well as a blog named “Color Me Happy”. She was working through this exact issue at the beginning of the summer holidays, so you might check out her writing, she really lays out a bunch of arguments for and against. And she can always be depended on for great reference photos from her house as well as comparison shots of other homes.

Shannon
9 months ago

Loved this post. Mudroom question: the way the ladder appears to cover access to cabinets directly above it? Is this an optical illusion or somehow unavoidable with library ladders? Thanks in advance!

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago

I think your kitchen is so unique and therefore no particular ‘style’…. maybe HENDO-FARMSTYLE KITCHEN.🤗
Do this:
Remove a drawer from your island.
Get a standard, emergency-style utilitarian candle and rub it hard along both side runners.
Put the drawer back.
Be glad you did it!😉

Marie
9 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

They also sell “glide tape” on amazon, it’s transformed my original cabinet drawers in my 1933 kitchen

Emma
9 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I heard bar soap works as well for drawer that stick, usually vintage/primitive furniture

denisegk
9 months ago
Reply to  Emma

It can, although you want the harder old style bar soap and not something like Dove that moisturizers. Also, no matter what bar soap you use, it just doesn’t last as long as waxes and products meant to ease drawer movement, even a candle lasts longer. But for someone who isn’t into candles, & therefore doesn’t have them lying around, grabbing the soap is instantly helpful until they can get something else.

amy
9 months ago

For people who need to get a new stove, we bought the least expensive induction stove from home depot and love it, highly recommend. The water boiling time is so fast. We did have to have an electrician to put in the fancy outlet.

rachael
9 months ago

Thank you so much for this post! So nice to hear about normal, real things amidst all the pretty pictures.

Lin
9 months ago

LOVE your kitchen (whole house too!)! For sticky drawers, try rubbing a bar of soap where wood parts meet. Easy & fast.

JJ
9 months ago

Would love to know how you organized the cabinets in the mud room where the the coats and brooms are kept. Also, are you finding you have enough storage with the hooks and closet in the mud room for coats, boots, shoes, hats, etc.?

Ashlea
9 months ago

I find it surprising that you gravitate to the darker rooms when it’s rainy/cloudy out. Who knew that would happen?! In the words of Alanis, isn’t it ironic? : ) Love the idea of doing hooks on the window by the door – since you placed shelves along the bar window then the hooks on the opposite window will look intentional – and you can say you totally meant to do that!

Vera
9 months ago
Reply to  Ashlea

That’s such a good point Ashlea!

Erin Flatch
9 months ago

thanks for all the info!
love, love, love both or your kitchens!
🙂

Kristin
9 months ago

Odd question, but do the unlacquered brass faucet, etc. start to smell metallic after a while? My brass salt and pepper shakers make my hands smell like pennies…which I hate!

denisegk
9 months ago
Reply to  Kristin

I don’t think most people have this reaction on their skin or can smell it, you may wish to talk to your doctor about whether it’s an indication of a developing sensitivity or allergy to metals – you can actually be allergic to non-living things.

Jennyb
9 months ago

Hi, you didn’t mention sealing the marble – that is the most important aspect of marble counters not staining! You will always get etching, but sealing has 100% prevented any kind of staining on my 15 year old Carrera marble counters in our kitchens and baths. I can’t remember if it is bulletproof sealer or 511 that we’ve used, but it works. The Gold Hive had a huge post about sealers and used an even better one. For people who don’t want staining, sealing is the way!!!

Courtney
9 months ago

I do have a follow up … if you don’t like the trim on the bar (under the one cabinet, when you don’t have it under the two appliances) why not remove it and have it be the same all the way across? Maybe it’s too late but wondering why you didn’t/don’t for symmetry’s sake.

K
9 months ago

First of all, your kitchen turned out beautifully. One question, though: What wax do you use on the unlacquered brass faucets? Thank you.

Dawn
9 months ago

Curious how the white vent hood is holding up too with the grease from cooking? Thanks for the honest assessment. I’m among those curious about the lack of window treatments. It seems like a Roman shade would really soften the kitchen look. We’re considering a similar floor plan and I might pick Romans above the windows rather than wall lighting.

K
9 months ago
Reply to  Dawn

You can have both. This example might be too “farmhouse” for you, but just to give an idea.

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