Every once in a while we get an email about a potential house feature that immediately makes our heart rate go through the roof. We then frantically email back asking how fast we can get that puppy on the blog to let you all experience the same endorphin spike. Jamie Gernert’s new kitchen easily fell in this category. So while it’s hard not to get swept away by the beauty and wonderful little details of her kitchen (I see you island keyhole), Jamie is the mother of 2 young boys, making the organization essential. Naturally, we wanted to know how she planned out her kitchen to accommodate her family in the reno stage as well as her product hacks. She delivered, so please enjoy. So now Jamie, take it away…
When it was time to move into our new home, it was important for me to get the kitchen right and organized the minute we moved in. We closed on our home in January right after the holidays and with two young boys, it was critical to get the most used space in our house, the kitchen, in working order. A lot of our routines are based around meals (let me remind you I live with three boys) and in a brand new environment need to set the stage for our new habits. So when it comes to kitchen functionality and usage, I realize now more than ever that organization is so important. And it starts at the beginning.
When doing your cabinet layouts, already think about where things might go and tools/items that you might need in advance to round it all out. We worked with the folks at The Neat Method, like Emily did in her mountain house, and they were a massive help not only in the unpacking process but also gauging what products we should invest in to keep it all organized once it’s unpacked!
But prior to unpacking and installing, we did a walk of the kitchen and made notes as to where we think things might go, how my husband, kids and I will use the space and made note of items we use the most. Hello, our toaster is always out. We ended up putting together a list of items from The Container Store and ordered Exact Mats cabinet liners so everything would be here in time for move-in day (more on those below)
Before anything was put away, all of our kitchen products, pantry items, and glassware were spread across all the counters. Then we organized them by what was most important and then the Neat Method went to work. They were done in less than a day. What made this project so successful in hindsight was the necessary prep and materials readily available in advance. I highly recommend laying out all of your kitchen items even if you haven’t recently moved. It makes life so much easier to prioritize what you actually need/use all the time (and what you will want to buy to stay organized).
With some good hindsight, if I could offer any advice and organizing tips, it would have to be these 5 things:
Make the Cabinets and Drawers Work For You
If you’re designing a brand new kitchen – research the cabinet line’s capabilities. I truly appreciated Emily’s post about her Mountain House cabinet functionality. Maybe they offer really cool systems for spices, baking sheets, peg systems etc. that will come custom to your cabinets and really lend optimum storage capacity? These elements can go a long way.
Don’t Do It Alone (If You Don’t Have To)
We worked with The Neat Method on our kitchen and pantry and it’s an amazing service. For a lot of us juggling work/home/kids/school and a million other things in a day these folks will lessen the load and do it efficiently so it won’t impact your daily life. I can’t recommend them enough if it’s a possibility for you.
Magic Cabinet Liners
Note from Emily: I would (and might even) add these to my kitchen. They look great and are SO practical. Thanks for the rec Jamie🙂
We partnered with Exact Mats and it was an amazing experience. Our friends at Neat Method, truly championed their products so we went with it and we’re SO glad we did. They are custom fit to your cabinets (so no rolling out and cutting pieces yourself) and are well worth the price. They 1) protect your cabinets/drawers 2) prevent items from slipping or moving around when you open them up 3) don’t leave any residue and are super easy to clean. GUYS, the product is genius and super versatile.
Make Proper Kid Zones
It was important to give the boys access to their own items like plates, cups and bowls (which are in the bottom drawers of the kitchen island). Hudson, 5, is super independent and we want him, like all parents, to help teach the younger ones. In addition to their drawers, they have their own snack pull out drawers in the pantry, on the lower levels, to make it easier for them to access. We also have a refrigerator drawer that’s dedicated to cold kid snacks and drinks so they don’t need to open our heavy main refrigerator doors and rummage through old leftovers. Easier for them, easier for us. WIN!
Storage Can Be Cute
You don’t need to spend an arm and leg on organizational and storage items. A lot of companies right now are offering amazing home storage deals that can make any organizational project attainable. Most of what I used is from The Container Store (who is having a kitchen/pantry sale) but you can find some awesome stuff online at Target, Amazon, Etsy and even office-related stores.
It has been an interesting couple months since we moved in though. Shortly after, we’ve been quarantined and spending the majority of our time at home. I still really love my husband, who does most of the cooking and the kids, well they are a ton of work, but they love having access to their things in the kitchen.
For the most part we’ve moved a few things around based on how we’re actively living and using our kitchen but that’s okay. Specifically in a time like this, we’re all adapting and getting creative with a new routine. I think it’s an important time for people to truly enjoy where they live and to make their space as comfortable, inviting and functional as possible. It’s also a good time to jump-start some spring cleaning and to organize a few areas that maybe you’ve been neglecting. No time like the present!
My favorite storage pieces that we used throughout our kitchen and pantry:
1. White metal baskets – are super cute but also extremely versatile. We use them for fruit/veggies, a mail bin and for under the sink storage.
2. Clear pantry containers & 3. Pantry labels – what I got giddy about the most! There is something so gratifying seeing where everything goes and knowing they have a spot. The Home Edit line at The Container Store is super cute.
4. Click Clack Pantry Series – are amazing for the larger pantry items that you need to keep fresh, but still have a long shelf life like sugar, flour, oats and nuts. We actually use a large one for dog food, too!
5. Expandable bamboo stencil trays – they custom fit to whatever drawer you put them in. We have one for all cooking utensils and one for all silverware.
6. Glass canisters with wooden lids – also very cute, but also versatile. We use them mostly for different flavor teas, but you can do popcorn, coffee beans, sugar packets, and other pantry items.
These are just a few things I found to be super helpful in creating and organizing the kitchen I designed and thought about for 2 whole years. The kitchen is everyone’s favorite spot and there is a good reason. Gotta run, taco night!
Island custom base / The grey counters are Caesarstone Pietra Cordosa
Backsplash and perimeter countertops are Caesarstone Calacatta Nuevo Honed
Stools, Open shelving and Brass Cabinet Hardware by Rejuvenation
Island Hardware by Top Knobs
Lacanche Range by Lacanche
Runner by Loloi Rugs
Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore
Thank you so much to Jamie for sharing your beautiful kitchen and tips!