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Our House: Kitchen Cabinet and Appliance Layout


Our kitchen renovation is getting there, folks. We are currently in the ‘wait for the custom cabinet phase to finish up’ so meanwhile I wanted to bring you up to speed on the layout/cabinet/appliance plan (today) and the design plan (tomorrow). There were some serious challenges to making our kitchen both functional and to bring it up to our 2016 family standards and we have worked super hard to address them, but in case you aren’t already following along, we are documenting it all in this video series HERE, be sure to tune in. Now – as a reminder, here is the original kitchen layout:


The footprint of the kitchen is small and awkward (which you can see below in the plan). The dining room was beautiful and light-filled so the obvious choice (which we discussed last week) was to break the kitchen wall down and open it up into the dining room.

Look at the size of the living room compared to the dining room!! It makes the living room look HUGE but it’s not! It’s a lovely size, but not HUGE. The wall between the kitchen and dining room has to be open in order for my life to be complete.

Like so:


Facing towards the kitchen – it’s going to become so open, airy and light filled.


But, you can’t just knock out a wall (or four) without a plan from an architect/engineer and without permits. So before we could even demo (and get the permits) we had to layout what we were going to do:


We are removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen and then shortening the wall by the stairs to open up that area. You’ll also see (and you probably know) that we are opening up the entire first floor near the entry (but that’s another story, check this post, and we are sticking to the kitchen here in this post).

Here is the proposed plan:


Once it was demo’d it was easier to see how it was all going to work, but it still wasn’t obvious if it was going to really look good.


We attempted to locate the island (see below)


Obviously the best way to locate and design your VERY PERMANENT island is to find random scraps of wood and lay them out in the rough shape that you had planned – like so (and that’s without the counter overhang).


More renderings were being done, meanwhile the work continued on the walls/plumbing/electrical, etc.

Our cabinet makers got in immediately to take accurate measurements (something they really can’t do until all demo is complete and often not until drywall is up). This is the most crucial thing because the lead time on cabinets is typically 6-8 weeks. Our company is shooting for 3-4 weeks but that is 3-4 from drywall, not from the day we demo. And you can’t do countertops or tile until cabinets are in, so this is really our biggest challenge and what is going to set us back the fastest.

They sent us back both elevations and 3-D renderings – both so exciting and daunting. 

Here was the first version (with the island being more of a rectangle). It seems like a good idea, I know.

We liked the rest of the layout, but once we got into the space we realized that the island was going to jut into the dining room in a super weird angle, and if we made it smaller it was going to be super small and not terribly functional.  The beam between the kitchen/dining room runs along this line (seen below) – anything on the left of the line is the dining room or family room but it’s not big enough to have a big island in the middle of it.

Doing the island that way made it so it would render that other room almost useless. You can’t put a sofa against the wall for a TV room nor can you put a dining table in there (the dining/family room isn’t to scale and it’s not that big). It’s easier to see in this overhead plan:

So after 6 attempts to fix it, we came to this layout…


It’s kinda a triangle, kinda a trapezoid, kinda weird, but I think once that hunk is a beautiful old marble with beveled edging it might look ok/good. I’m nervous, for sure.


This shape allows for us to use the dining/family room however we want as it keeps the kitchen in the kitchen and allows for that other room to still be a rectangle.

Let’s take a look at the elevations which give you a better idea of how it feels when you are in the room:


Here you can see the appliances that were provided by Frigidaire Professional in the renderings (because they just put basic boxes for appliances in the rendering which is very boring to stare at.)

Then the return wall looks like this:

Lastly the island – with the latest, most controversial island plan:

The dining side of the island (with stools) will be a larger scale bead board (v-groove that doesn’t have the bead necessarily, but gives you a more modern look).

Now back to the 3-D drawings:

Of course that was extremely hard to look at what with the brown and black and all. My EYES!!!!

So we photoshopped it a better color-way:

And while we loved that, we wanted to really apply it into the new space to give us an idea of how it was going to potentially look:

Here you can see it coming to life:

It was starting to work (come back tomorrow for the whole plan).

A few weeks later, as the plumbing and electrical were being updated and the new windows made, I checked on the cabinets at the workshop.

It was pretty awesome. They have it FULLY built and laid out just like it would be in the kitchen. We went through and signed off on all the details – the feet, the function of each drawer, which cabinets had grills versus glass versus solid, etc. We confirmed the finish and dropped off paint. And then we begged so hard for them to push us to the front of the line. As soon as we are done with our kitchen I’ll give you guys the name of the company because they are AMAZING (I need them to finish ours before taking on more work, obviously)

We headed to our stone yard and made sure that the island fit on the big slab:

That was our rough estimate of the stone and technically it fit but yes it was going to be close. Back at the house the flooring is in and the drywall is up. We are just waiting for the cabinets to be painted and dried (which is something you can’t rush).

Come back tomorrow for the full, almost 100% sure, design plan of the kitchen. Since I wrote this post the cabinets have been installed and the stone is being templated so we are getting VERY close. Be sure to follow along on Insta-story for the real time documentation of our dream house.

I welcome any island support or criticism. I’m terrified knowing that one of you will have a genius idea that the 12 of us working on the project didn’t think of, but know that it took an architect, engineer, 3 designers, a cabinet designer, contractor, endless friends and a husband to say that this is the best shot at the kitchen and other room to look good, function and flow. A quick update since I wrote this, we decided to mimic the ceiling arches on the island (a squared off arch) hoping that this will make it feel more original. We all agree this is the best idea and hopefully we are all correct. The only other thing I could think of would be using some gorgeous found piece of furniture – like a counter height store display. I think that even if it wasn’t the perfect shape for the room you would forgive it because it would be stunning. I haven’t found that piece so this plan is the one we are going with.

But yes, we are all a bit worried…. thoughts? Come back tomorrow for the design plan and more details of our appliances. Wish us luck!!! In the meantime head on over HERE to check out the video series.

Fin Mark


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I remember someone mentioning a round island? Doubt the solves any problems, but I thought it was an interesting suggestion in a sort of dining table in kitchen sort of way. Anyhoo, function of this island will be great and if you find that once in a life time piece to replace it at least you will have something functional in the meantime. Cant wait to see it. The house and details are amazing and the island will be too…dont worry!


ps… some cool angular light fixture above the island can make it all better too! you won’t even notice the shape with a showstopper light!


Emily – the kitchen looks fantastic and I’m sure will be even better when completed. I think you’ve done an amazing job in transforming an ugly duckling into a swan that will work for your whole family.

I’m sure you’re aware of this but … you’ll have to be extra vigilant with the stone countertops e.g. no lemon juice or vinegar / red wine on it. Also – from experience – the white porcelain farm sink is going to show up every cup of tea or coffee you pour down it, so have your cleaner handy! And my last tip is, invest in a mat for the bottom of the sink if you value your glasses /china. Any small slip and they break.

Can’t wait to see it all finished – good luck with the rest of the renovation. You deserve a spa break afterwards!


Oh – and sorry to be pedantic (and I know from watching US TV shows that marble countertops are loved by nearly everyone in the States) – but in my opinion the English cottage look isn’t large slabs of stone. (Perhaps a small area to roll out the pie crust on – as it prefers a cold surface – but not in vast quantities.)

You’ve probably paid for the marble already anyway so ignore what I’m saying – but traditionally the work surfaces would have been oak. Marble was for churches and palaces …


Ugh – sorry – I wish there was an edit function (I keep having to add to my post this way) but I’ve had another look at your kitchen inspiration post and the DeVol images

I can see that although marble is used on some of the work surfaces, the large islands / centre pieces are in the main wooden. Do you think you were drawn to these picture because of the wood ? Also many of the “islands” in these images are on legs and not solid. Perhaps opting for no island and just have a very large wooden dining / kitchen table (and the microwave on a counter top) will give you more flexibility and a feeling of spaciousness? You could also put a lovey freestanding pantry in the dining area for more storage.


What about a really pretty antique table there with chairs? It would be an eat in kitchen (still have the full dining room).
Everything looks great! I can’t wait to see it!


I was thinking that too, but maybe a round table. Love the vintage eat-in kitchen look.

But, I think she needs the island for storage/appliances (microwave).


My thinking is you won’t even notice the weird shape once it’s all installed and you have furnished he space. I think the shape almost makes it disappear into the kitchen depending because it fits all the angles… like a little puzzle. In the end it could be a trick of the eye, or whatever the phrase is that means your eyes and brain work around the shape so that something weird looks normal.

I totally agree with Zoe… once it’s in, it will totally fit the space. 2-D drawings and mock ups can be so deceiving bc you are only looking at stark dimensions. As a family, you will spend the majority of your home life in/near your kitchen. Function is key! You’re gonna love having the flexibility, extra counter space, and utility of this bigger island. Stay the course! Your finishes are gonna make it amazing! I’m loving your renovation!


I don’t know where my comment went so this may be a duplicate. What about an antique (or other really pretty) kitchen table for an eat in kitchen. No island.
It wouldn’t affect the dining room.
I really do love the house. I can’t wait to see it all!


Your house has so many unusual angles. I think you have to embrace the angles, as you have done, and make them part of the flow. Anything else would look forced. It’s going to look fantastic!

Progress posts are my favorite, thanks for sharing!


House plans are so fun! We built a custom house from the ground up, and I learned A LOT! It may be too late for this suggestion, but in my own house, we have found that 36 inches is not enough clearance in front of the oven. I realize that that 36 inches is standard, and it certainly looks good when you are standing there in the planning phases and nothing is actually in use yet. However, once you live in that kitchen daily, it’s a different story. I cook a lot – every day! In my kitchen, it’s all dandy when the oven is not in use, but when the door is open and you are trying to reach in and get something, it’s a tight fit. I have 41 inches from the counter of the island to the counter of the oven wall, but our big range protrudes a few inches and the clearance is 36 inches there. When we have parties, everyone stands around the island and it’s snug, and I’m forever asking people to scoot over. Please consider giving yourself a few extra inches on the oven side of your island. I would love to have… Read more »

Jeanz Beanz

I think the island will feel perfect for the layout of the kitchen/dining room… looks odd on a plan, but in real life it will fit the space so much better than a rectangle.

On another note, WHY OH WHY not install an integrated dishwasher so that the line of cabinets isn’t interrupted by a big flat ugly piece of stainless steel? In my opinion unintegrated appliances seriously spoil the aesthetics of a kitchen.

I’m from UK and hidden appliances are commonplace, I wouldn’t even consider having a stainless fronted dishwasher or fridge freezer in my kitchen, and I’m really curious why this isn’t common in the US too? Do you guys really like the look of large pieces of stainless steel instead of cabinet doors?! I see some GORGEOUS kitchens coming out of this blog (and other US blogs I follow) but none of them seem to have integrated appliances and it really jars.

Anyway, maybe it’s just my pet peeve, but interested if anyone can shed any light on this 🙂


Jeanz, maybe this is just about what we’re used to- I think Americans are used to seeing the appliances. The first time I walked into a kitchen with integrated appliances, I was like, wait . . . am I in an office with a sink? Also, maybe having them exposed provides a better opportunity to show off the money we spent on high end appliances, in typically gaudy American fashion! (I’m like, half joking about that.)


Agreed Jeanz, Im in Ireland and it’s the same here. Only people who can’t afford integrated appliances (like myself) have to go the exposed route!


I agree regarding integrated appliances. I live in a London flat where my kitchen is part of the living room and dining room. I specifically chose slim line minimalist cabinets so that they would blend into the environment and not shout here I am (although the building is Victorian). All my appliances are integrated and largely hidden.

I guess one of the reasons American appliances aren’t hidden is because of size. Compare an American fridge freezer with a European one and it’s massive. In Europe we tend to have smaller homes with less storage and therefore make more frequent trips to the shops for food. In the States, if there is more space and its more common to do bulk shopping I guess it’s easy to go for the massive fridge.


I think another reason may be that in Canada anyway, the most cost effective integrated fridge is $9,000 CAD, and most cost effective integrated dishwasher is $1,500. Even in a custom kitchen, that’s a big chunk of the budget.


I’ve just done a quick price check on and the cheapest (two door) integrated fridge freezer is £413 (or US$515 ) and the cheapest free standing fridge freezer is £229 (or US$285). So integrated is double the price but no where near the CAD9,000 / USD6,716 price tag across the pond.


I find this thread so interesting. Having just remodeled our kitchen (in the States), I can’t imagine hiding the beautiful appliances. I love seeing the shiny, new stainless steel pops throughout the kitchen. This could just be my opinion, but I *think* (here at least) hidden/integrated appliances are a bit dated looking. Very 90’s-vibe. But very interesting to hear that that’s not the case outside of the US.


I believe she’s not doing integrated because her appliances were sponsored…


I don’t think she’d do that just for sponsorship. I can’t speak for Emily, but a lot of people (myself included) really like the look of stainless steel over integrated appliance. I don’t see the point of hiding the functional items in my kitchen, though I know some people really like the uniformity that creates. Plus, I don’t see why it’s hard to believe someone might actually remodel their home kitchen to their liking. Emily has enough design projects and blog space to tout her sponsors without compromising her vision for her own home.


American here. I second the feeling that integrated appliances here seem dated or cheesy. they are never actually truly hidden, so it looks to me like a wooden cabinet door was glued to a refrigerator and you can still tell its a refrigerator.

I think large metal appliances are really beautiful, hiding them with a faux cabinet doesn’t really fool anyone here. We must not really be doing it right. Because I’ve seen lovely Euro houses where they are actually hidden.


Interesting! I never knew that integrated appliances were popular in the UK. I rarely see them here, and when I do it tends to be a in a tacky/dated/90’s McMansion style kitchen. It feels like weird fakery to me.


I’m from the UK as well and I think that integrated is dated. All my friends’ parents had them when they redecorated in the 90s and my generation (currently buying houses) are going for freestanding stainless steel. It must be different in different parts of the UK!


“Integrated is dated” made me smile. I guess it depends on the kind of look you want to achieve. There was a time when a free standing vintage coloured Smeg fridge was all the rage. But if you look at the DeVol pictures Emily posted as her inspiration there weren’t any images of massive stainless steel fridge freezers. To my eye at least, they scream American kitchen (not that there is anything wrong with that!). I guess it’s just a different look.


I’m an American but I agree with the international folks that integrated appliances would look better in what is shaping up to be a gorgeous kitchen, at least for the refrigerator and dishwasher. I wouldn’t do the oven because the window into the oven is so crucial.


I live in France and choose an integrated appliances because the fridge is the first “thing” you see when enter in the appartement. I have a long hallway to the kitchen, the fridge is just in front of the door. The walls in the hallway are grey and the fridge cabinet is grey too. So it is nicely surrounded thru the door. It’s number one choice that I don’t regret when renovating our place.


Ugh, that island. Not that I don’t applaud the creativity. But I just think it’s going to be too big in terms of having enough space for people to walk around it. Also, I noticed that the microwave is going into the island – if it’s a drawer-style microwave, beware. My MIL had one and we hated it. I’d always be trying to microwave a cup of water to make tea, and the thing would always slosh the water out when it’d close or open. Very jerky. And I was not even allowed to think about manually opening it or closing it – no, that would through off the suspension, or something. So I’d reluctantly hit the button to open/close the drawer, and then wait the 5 seconds which seemed like 30 seconds for it to slowly yet unsteadily open/close. Personally, if it were my kitchen, I’d have just bought an off-the-shelf island that I could scoot around as needed. That way, if I decided later that I needed something smaller, or larger, or more round, or whatever, I could just replace it without having to worry about the floors being gouged by an actual built-in. Also, I think a… Read more »


I think the strangely shaped island is absolutely the right choice, especially given that you don’t know exactly what you’re doing with the family/dining room yet. I think once it’s in the room it’ll feel right, since it mimics the shape of the room in general. But I am a little confused about the shape on the marble – in the drawings it looks like a 5-sided shape, but on the slab you’ve marked out 6 sides?


Hi! First, your floors are SOOO gorgeous! I can’t wait to see them when finished. FWIW, I think the island will not seem nearly as risky once installed and the stone you selected has amazing veining! My question has to do with the range hood… Did you consider something besides the cabinetry/stainless hood combo? I see an amazing plaster hood (or maybe wood) that mimics some of the cool lines of your home. Just a thought!

I totally agree about the hood. That’s actually my one critique about this room.

I think it looks bizarrely perfect! Can’t wait to see all the elements in the design plan tomorrow.


I think it looks amazing, and I think the unusual shape is perfect for the space and also looks very custom. I love it. I do just have two small points: (1) Would it be possible to have seating on two sides of the island, or at least one-and-a-half sides? Currently all four of you will have to sit in a row at the island, which makes it difficult for the two people at the ends to talk to each other. If you sit on two adjacent sides you will be two-and-two, making conversation among all four of you much easier. (2) I see you have mostly door lower cabinets rather than deep drawers. Deep drawer lower cabinets really are sooooo much more functional, and can be visually disguised as door cabinets if you so desire. (This is something that could almost certainly be retrofitted) Oh and I also agree with another poster about integrated appliances, it does seem a shame to have stainless steel in your English country cottage kitchen. But perhaps American eyes will find it normal, On a slightly tangential note, I am completely addicted to posts about your house, to the extent that I actually get… Read more »


I agree Elle! I love it all and am so excited for each new post. Grouped seating is so fabulous…but i was thinking perhaps the bar seating is really for the kids (snacks, breakfast) and they’ll all sit down at a table to eat. I also love lower drawers…same idea as the under counter microwave drawer…so functional and easy to see. Why keep things stored down far away in a dark hidden cabinet? Drawers and cabinet inserts are great!

The shape of the island is perfect for the space – interiors always need to derive from the shell space and that’s just what this island does. If the kitchen and dining room were designed as one space (if the kitchen had been expanded to encompass both rooms) then a larger or rectangular island would work. I think I would still prefer this approach because it reinforces the division of rooms and follows the beam lines.


I think it’s all great, but in the renderings, my eye wants to keep snipping off the only 90 degree angled corner on the island (like snipping a corner off a sheet of paper), turning that one corner into two corners that will mimic the end that’s closest to the ground in the stone yard picture. It might be impossible because of the lines of the rooms, but in the rendering it (the one closest to the fridge if I’m seeing that right) stood out to me.


My mind was doing the same thing! Wanting to snip it off!

elizabeth b

I completely agree with this. That one angle feels out of place with the rest of the design.


I noticed that there is also an overhang for the island on the side facing the fridge so that it makes a weird point in the countertop on the left side. I think your designers are trying to follow the lines of the wall cabinets but I would just have the overhang on the seating area. How much of an overhang do you have over the seating area?


Personally, I think I would have held off on the island until you had a chance to live in the space for a little while. You might have found that you didn’t even want one in the end. L shaped kitchens (even if your L-shape is a bit crooked) are pretty classic. The angular island feels weird. But I’m just a reader and you are the pro….I would trust your gut judgement over mine.


I’m a kitchen designer and from my perspective you are doing exactly the right thing. You always fit the island to the space. Trust me, it will look wonderful. Your finishes will complement the house, the shape will complement the space and function! I’m sure you know the recommended isles in the working part of the kitchen should be about 42″ from counter edge to counter edge, so consider that. Sometimes I would fudge on that a bit if totally necessary, but not much. I once had a similar problem, though the kitchen was huge, but the client wanted cabinets on both sides including a second dishwasher facing a butler pantry. It too was an odd trapezoidal affair, so big you couldn’t reach across it, which actually gave her room for wonderful flower arrangements in the center and lovely vignettes. (Yes, she had cleaning Help in her house.) We had to have a 3-way piece of marble, gorgeous! which then the granite guys dropped and broke and damaged the new wood floor. (All that was so fun!) In the end it was stunning, the clients were great. Trust me Emily, you are doing exactly right. It will be marvelous!


I totally agree, it’s perfect.

My only concern was if it’s too big to reach the middle to clean without a step stool.


Emily, my parents built their house and my dad designed this crazy shaped island that worked with the angles of the room “just so”. While it looked totally bizarre on paper and on the slab, it works so well in real life functionality. Yours will be great too.


I hope the island works… but why not a taller countertop with bar stools? Sort of like this, but where de dining room/kitchen wall was:
Best of luck!


Emily, I wouldn’t worry about the Island. It’s the best you could do, and to be frank, a kitchen peninsula is my nightmare (my house has one and I refuse to redo my kitchen. We hate it.). I’d gladly take a somewhat strangely shaped Island as opposed to a peninsula creating a triangle of doom someone will always get trapped in. Or tupperware. Because tupperware inevitably ends up in the dumbest spot a kitchen has to offer. (RANT: All the new builds in my area offer an Island, even if it has the tiniest, silliest footprint and can fit two pots. Thus yours makes way more sense to me).

The house has some really unique angles. Working with them seems more intuitive than pretending straight lines are an option.


I like the weirdly shaped island since it works with the odd angle the kitchen is on and where the new support beam is going. It’s way better to have something fit to the space instead of a conventional rectangular island which doesn’t fit well.

The floors are so dreamy 🙂 I’ve always loved seeing old European floors like these. I wish we could have done them in our house but I don’t think the style would have matched and budget was a restraint. They are going to look amazing in your space though.


I’m not in love with the shape myself (could you have done maybe a half moon shape?), but if I were in your shoes I would probably go the same route. I feel like the island is very functional and will be the right fit for the space. Once the chairs / light fixtures are in, I feel like the weird shape will be a secondary focus for sure!

Emily I’m just worried about kid noggins on the pointy part of the island that sticks into the dining room. (60-year old woman here, has two kids, remodeled when youngest was not quite two, opened kitchen into living room, installed a pillar in weird modern shape (for context)). Can you/would you round that sticking out part? Would be weird and modern, but, one weird and modern thing can become that which you most love. (Weird and modern pillar, also me, still in house 24 years later;))


Ooh, I really, really think you should reconsider that island shape! Not only is it odd, it’s also sort of unsafe for toddlers/little kids. If this were my house, I would not use that space adjacent to the kitchen for a dining room, but would instead use it as a family room/playroom space, and would use the “den” as the formal dining room. That way you could put a large, gorgeous island that functions as a kitchen table/informal dining space. By the time you’ve outgrown needing to keep an eye on the kids as they play, they’ll have outgrown the need for a specific “play room.” You’re probably going to find that you spend all your time in the kitchen anyway and the kids will play there.

Yes, I have had the same thought about making the Den the Dining Room and the light-filled dining room a sort of “keeping room”/playroom. I remember reading that Emily and Brian were trying to decide about the TV in the living room and wanting that big room to really be used – and maybe having that “kid” room in the middle of the living/kitchen flow is just not desired. The Den space is a little more designated. Can’t wait to see where it all ends up! Love all these posts so much – the comments, too!

We are in the midst of a kitchen refresh – definitely eyeing those Frigidaire Pro appliances. Mostly for the straight handles! (I can’t stand the curvy ones.) I am also, admittedly, not the cook in my household…


I appreciate the challenges of an old house. However I think the island takes your beatiful old classic kitchen and turns it into “builder basic”. I wish you used a free standing butcher block piece and roll it around. Or an old farmhouse round table for an eat in kitchen. The odd shaped eat at island screams suburbia McMansion and your house is So authentic and amazing and not a McMansion!!!!


The pointed edge on the island close to the refrigerator really worries me. Seems like it could end up being a safety hazard. Your house is so beautiful! Maybe you could consider holding off on the install of the island until the rest is completed. Give your family a chance to live in the space a little while and see what needs you have once you are in there day-to-day. Kitchens are such a long-term investment! Seems like you are on a tight schedule, it would be a shame to rush through this part. I like your idea of a vintage piece – that would add back some character. Good luck, and remember that you owe it to yourself to take a breath if you need to!


Looks like the island shape is the best solution so you don’t lose any space in the former dining room. One thing you might consider is instead of cabinets on the island Elevation E, maybe big drawers for cookware? Since is it right across from the stove it would be a great spot. I love having my cookware in large drawers. So much easier to access everything!

gayle pickering

you nailed it with the island. I hated the first version – if nothing else, the arrow pointing into the kitchen is really bad feng shui (and the overhang under the beam is just uncomfortable.)

keep the photos coming!
this is a great post.

Thanks for sharing…


OH MY GOD THAT FLOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh yes, how could I forget to mention the floor?! It looks stunning. Great choice Emily.


I’m sure it will all look beautiful when finished, but I probably wouldn’t have had an island in that kitchen, even though I LOVE them. I don’t think there’s really enough room (it would also look more spacious without), despite the shape issue.

I’m confused about your appliances. Are they built ins? I live in the UK so perhaps the whole kitchen design trends are different, but it would be really odd here to go to the expense of a custom built kitchen without integrated appliances. They are more expensive (double?) but most people choose them for aesthetic benefits – unless you’re my sister, she thinks it’s silly to spend £2000 on a high end fridge/freezer and then hide it! But there’s no getting away from the fact they’re ugly and visually overpowering. How many people are upset people can’t see their car engine? ?


There was a long discussion above in which everyone weighed in on integrated v. regular appliances…as for me, I take the American view: integrated appliances can look dated and tacky and pretty appliances are pretty! My grandparents just built a gorgeous custom home and my grandma chose a big red stove/oven that is the most beautiful part of the kitchen. I live that she chose her favorite color and such a gorgeous stove to cook us biscuits in. 🙂


I also think that the island will end up looking like it fits the room perfectly once installed…can’t wait to see it!

My question is, did you ever consider moving your kitchen to the “tbd sitting/dining” space instead of using the old kitchen area of your house? Seems like you could have utilized a much larger, more traditinally shaped area than trying to squeeze it into the triangle. Just a thought.


I really like the layout you chose but I do think (if possible) the design would look better if the two windows were combined into 1arge picture window. The other thing I’d do is use a more stylish vent hood. I do love the island though, shape is different and provides good flow.


I think those two windows are not on a straight wall, they are at a slight angle to each other. There also appears to be some plumbing in between them. I think the two smaller windows are just part of the quirkiness of an older home.


I love everything about the kitchen, but to me the island size and shape look totally out of place. The angles, although I know make sense in layout, negate the softness that I feel is quintessential cozy, English cottage style. It may also just be the rendering/mock-up but it feels congested. I know the extra counter/cabinet space and hidden microwave are pluses, but I have to second the idea of a beautiful round antique table with a food safe finish or stone on the top, could make a great island. Plus, it could potentially be moved around if you wanted to have the room be more open for any reason. Or like another commenter suggested, just holding off on the island until you have lived in and really used the space, then making a more permanent decision.
In the end, whatever you decide to do, I know it will look amazing!


I like the island and agree that it will be better once it is actually in place and the rest of the house is finished. I always like a butcher block island, so that would be the only thing I would have changed personally.


I’m sure this isn’t popular, but to me, if you don’t have a really big kitchen an island just gets in the way. I think something on wheels that you can roll around could be a good option if you really cook a lot and need the space. That said, I always love your work so I plan to be amazed and proved wrong.


At first I thought the island was sort of meh. But seeing your original option, now I’m thinking it’s going to work out. You traded a weird corner for a unique island. It’s an old house with weird angles, this island is newer and different angled.

On your cabinets, why didn’t you take them all the way to the ceiling (instead of leaving a 7 inch wasted space on top) or have pull out drawers where the toe-kicks are? It seems like you have such little storage in the kitchen that squeezing every little bit would have helped.


I agree. My pet peeve is those wasted spaces on top of the upper cabinets. I have an old house and not even nice cabinets but someone geniously made them go to the ceiling and it gives me a third shelf — a HUGE help for a small kitchen!


Honestly, I have never been a fan of an odd shaped island. I think a moving butcher block island or unique vintage piece on wheels would look better. Can you sqeeze in the microwave and more storage somewhere else? I’m obsessed with the floors! Gorge!

I agree! The shape just looks wrong to my eye and seems like you’re trying to squeeze an island into a room that just isn’t for one. I’d definitely recommend a movable island on casters (W-S Home has some beautiful options) or possibly a peninsula off the right side of the stove.


It’s going to be great! That marble bench top – gorgeous!

Rachel J.

The whole time I read this post (and actually from the beginning) I have thought the island looks too big for that space…Though you are definitely the professional and make so many beautiful and happy spaces that I am sure if you think the island works then it does work!

I feel like if I was in your shoes I would cancel the island and just move in without it…put the microwave in the bottom half of one of the upper cabinets or something…even though you would lose storage space I absolutely would try to do no island and then play with putting a small round kitchen table in there…

Growing up in old houses our kitchens always had a moveable butcher block type island/small round table with chairs or stools around it and the best memories were always talks with the family or friends around that piece in there…Kitchens are for talking to the chef while he/she cooks 😉


i second that! totally no need for an island, it takes a lot of space to walk around, cook or even children run, help …instead, move in, live it a while and then see if it is necessary…the moveable butcher block type island is a good idea!!


agree on another comment above about your inspiration post. i ve seen a lot o wood countertops..and in this plan, you ve chosen marble de combination marble countertops and wood, of some of the pics you shared …maybe going for the butchertype island with wood countertops, would look really nice with the style you are going for!


The island is perfect! Glad you’re keeping the dining room it’s own space and flexible.

EEEEeeee!!!! so exciting! your modern california feel always speaks to me. Love these floors so much character. Are you planning on doing a natural finish?

Your sneak peak on instagram has me dying to see more! keep us posted!!!


Hey Emily and Team – FWIW your blog posts are crashing the webpage on my mobile devices. This used to be sporadic/occasional, but now it happens all the time to the point I can no longer read your posts on mobile (have to use a laptop/desktop). I’ve tried different browsers too and they end up saying “webpage crashed” or they endlessly try to reload the page to fix whatever problem is happening.

I’ve got the latest OS releases on iPhone and iPad (and have rebooted my devices many time to see if the problem was on my end) and have used them to view the site for about a year now with no trouble until the last month or so. I’ve tried Chrome and Safari and both have the same problem.

You guys seeing any issues? Hoping to can be resolved.



Same happened to me on this post and the previous house reno post with lots of floor plans. Love the posts- including the copious floor plans- but it took a lot of effort to read them on my iPad.


This happens to me as well.


Yes, it seems to be something about a few of the floor plans that makes my iPad not happy. Maybe they are a weird format instead of a jpeg? I’ve ended up getting around this by clicking on the comments link from the home page and reading the rest of the post backwards. That way I only miss the little bit that has trouble staying loaded.


Same problem on my ipad; thought it was just me.

But… love these updates on your house, all the nitty, gritty details included. Can’t wait for the final reveals.


My tablet crashes on your site too!


Same here.


The island will be fine, but not necessarily awesome. The good thing is that you already have your floors running completely underneath. That way, years from now when the perfect antique store display cabinet comes along, it’s still doable.


I realize that the kitchen probably needs to stay where it’s at because of plumbing, but I think from a function and space perspective it would have been really cool to swap the kitchen and the dining room.


Will you be covering the appliances with door fronts? It makes such a difference (especially a fridge), but certainly raises the price.


I just can’t wait to keep watching the progress on the kitchen and the rest of your house! It’s going to be so gorgeous!

Nicole M.

The space is looking beautiful! The floors are amazing 🙂
I have to agree … the island shape is really weird … my eyes like symmetry.
I understand the idea/need of an island, but I feel like it really makes the space feel so enclosed and crowded. Maybe since it is such a large mass. I understand you are under the gun to get this kitchen done, but feel it could be designed so much better if you had some extra time. It is a custom piece … and I feel it could be something amazing/unique that could even look like a reclaimed piece of furniture.


I have just gone through two kitchen designs in just over a year, and obsessed over every detail, and I think that your plan is thoughtful , efficient, and beautiful! Don’t second guess yourself, you will love it!


I’m afraid the corner of the island is going to poke your kids’ eyes out.

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