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Mountain Fixer: The Final Kitchen Layout & Cabinet Function


A few years ago, designing the layout and functionality of a kitchen would have felt similar to me building an engine of a car…without ever having even driven. It would have been totally intimidating and poorly done. Years later…I love going deep in a kitchen design. All of a sudden, I care about where I place my measuring cups, where I stack my stoneware, and, more importantly, at what angle the handles of my pots and pans will rest. This is not because I cook more, but because the deeper you get into your own career-science, the more you want to do it really well which, in terms of the kitchen, means to home in on what makes it not only stylish but smart and functional. After all, where is the smartest place to put the wine key?

That’s not to say that this kitchen is designed perfectly. I’m sure it’s not (y’all were already upset about the disruption of the sacred work triangle). “Perfect” is subjective in design after all, and what is perfect for me (natural light, real wood and stone) is very imperfect for others. Enough of the lecture. Let’s see this sucker.

But first, here is what the floor plan was like when we bought it.

Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan First Floor Entire Floor Wall Dimensions 01

As you might remember, the living and kitchen needed to be opened up, the island was a super funky shape, and the finishes were dated. It was like a 1992 kitchen prom…on a budget.

Side By Side 1 1

Side By Side 3 1

As you can see, the kitchen was also the darkest room in the house, and this is something I knew HAD to be changed (see “what is perfect for me” above). When we spent time there pre-renovation, everyone hung out in there despite it being a bit drab, so we knew that in order to really love it, we would need to add natural light. There are so many times even in our current home where I’m like “Why are you all standing here? Please remove yourself and sit in the living room or on the patio!”

Side By Side 2 Copy 1

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, even when we don’t really cook, imagine how much it’s going to be when we do!!

After a few months of planning, tweaking and permits, here is the final kitchen cabinet layout for the mountain house:

Mountain Kitchen Plan Layout 02

When laying out any room, you need to ask what you want to DO in this room? Not everyone’s function for a kitchen is the same. Likely, a professional chef and I would layout the kitchen differently. You have to consider your own goals in a space; ours was to make this room one that we want to be in, to hang out in, pass through easily and be open to the rest of the house while we make some food. We’ve considered how we live while opening up the space a lot. Visually, we want it to be streamlined with as few unnecessary visual stops as possible while still having some contrast (more on the design later this week).

We made three major design and style decisions that drastically affected the layout of the kitchen.

1. We put in a large 72-inch window on the wall where the range was. Yes, this reduced our storage, but I personally think that we as people are prone to hoarding and storing too much as it is. We chose light over storage and likely always will :).

2. We knocked down the wall where the fridge was and put in a bar/peninsula to accomodate more hang time. The combination of the window and the removal of this wall meant that we will not adhere to the work triangle. I’ve heard this causes eternal pain to one’s physical and mental health. I’ve already scheduled my therapy session. More on that below :).

3. We hid our appliances, opting for panel-ready (almost all Viking from – see below). Now, many people who cook frequently like to really feel access to their appliances, regardless of the function being the same.

Those were our choices and they did and will forever affect the flow and function of the kitchen. Designing a house is about choices, folks, based on your own goals. I begged Brian to speak up about the fridge location and he was like “No, it’s perfect. We want that window. We want the flow. We can walk a few feet.”

I’m only saying that because I think it’s important for people to feel empowered to make choices based on what they value, not what is the norm, expected or worse…”the rule.” You can do whatever you want in design and style, and when armed with knowledge, you make a choice, not a mistake. The more you know about how a kitchen functions and how YOU function in a kitchen, the more you can reject the rules and make the choice to do whatever you want. Of course, I understand that the traditional work triangle is the most comfortable for a reason, and if 100% function is what you choose then all the power to you. I just want you to understand that if you veer from that BY CHOICE, and create a space you think works even better for you, IT’S OKAY.

It’s like choosing high heels over sneakers – you are choosing to look a little fancier, more elegant, more elongated, your butt will look lifted and you might feel sexier. But you should know how far you have to walk and think about what level you plan on dancing. This is why I wore Aerosoles at my wedding. And this is why I chose the bathtub that we did for the master bathroom. As someone who values aesthetics very much, I generally choose fashion over function, but I want my fashion to be as functional, practical and smart as it possibly can be.

Let’s break it down.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Cooktop 03

That window (a three-way slider from Marvin) is going to absolutely transform the feel of the space. It’s huge and functions without a lot of lines. We are also replacing the two permanently dirty skylights with two bigger brand new ones from Velux. It’s going to be so clean, and streamlined but full of light.

There was a decent amount of debate over whether the cooktop or sink won the award of the window wall. Ultimately for us, we clean dishes more than we cook so I wanted to be able to watch the kids (with the sink on the island, facing the playroom), and on the occasion that I cook, I can stare out at leaves. We also had a lot of suggestions that the cooktop on the island could be a little dangerous with kids. I think either would be fine and we went back and forth and back and forth. A plus is that we didn’t have to move the plumbing or gas lines.

As you can see above, we are maximizing the space with spice racks, pull-out shelves and have thought carefully about the depth in association with the storage needs. Every family is different. Some want easy access to everything with a one-move action (drawer opening). I’m fine with having to open a cabinet to pull out a shelf to find that mixing bowl I use once a month.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Elevation3

On the island, we have a wide and deep waste and receptacle pull-out drawer. And thanks to your suggestions, we moved the dishwasher on the other side of the sink (to be closer to the drawers) so I can ensure that my kids are executing their chores efficiently. HA. More on the sink and faucet on the “kitchen design” post coming up soon.

On the wall opposite the window, we have floor-to-ceiling cabinets. This unit hides it all: wall oven, pantry, appliance cabinet, fridge and dry bar.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Elevation4

When it’s closed, it looks like the above. All the cabinets have the same fronts, with the fridge having a different profile but the same paneling.

Here’s how it looks open:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Elevation5

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets with integrated appliances are a current trend that replaces the more traditional (and also great) uppers and lowers. This allows things to look more streamlined as you have fewer surfaces and lines, but as much function.

The left pantry has pull-out drawers with shelves and this will be all the kids’ snacks/food (I actually need to confirm those drawers since it looks just like shelves in the above shot). Anything low gets a pull-out shelf drawer and anything high is just shelving. The shelves aren’t very deep (because the washer and dryer are on the other side) so I don’t think things will get too lost. We will likely even put a door to the storage above and below the wall oven, so when you open it, it’s clean (and yes, that means two moves to open those, but those would be for special occasion pieces).

It’s now time to talk appliances – what we chose and why. Once we selected what we wanted, we reached out to to partner up with us on these bad boys and all that you see below will be covered in our cabinetry finish (except the cooktop) which is not yet revealed.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Appliances

Viking Double Wall Oven | Viking Refrigerator | Edgestar Wine Cooler | Viking Ice Maker | Viking Cooktop | Viking Ventilation | Viking Dishwasher | Marvel Refrigerated Drawers

The wall oven was the first thing I saw (it comes in white as well as many other colors) and even though it’s behind a door when not in use, it’s really pretty when it is open.

We opted for a 36-inch single door with two freezer drawers. We have found that our freezer fills up so fast and gets jammed really easily so I loved the idea of two drawers.

The 15-inch wine cooler is enough for us, and my friend has it and loves it. I’ll go more in-depth on the appliances when we reveal the kitchen.

We opted for a cooktop versus a range because I loved the idea of the hidden wall oven, which meant we didn’t need a range, but just burners. I didn’t want a hood to break up the space or be in front of the window so we opted for a downdraft instead. That is another reason we put it in front of the window, so we can open it if needed and have it be a natural vent.

The Viking Dishwasher and Marvel Refrigerated Drawers can both also be panel-ready and we can put on whatever hardware we want :).

I will write more thoroughly about the panel-ready option when we go to install. I’m so curious myself how thick the wood has to be, how they attach it and how to make it as seamless as possible with the cabinetry.

When not in use, these floor-to-ceiling cabinets will look similar to my best friend’s kitchen which is what inspired much of the design:

Emily Henderson Corbette Crypton 70s Modern Makeover Dining Room 6
photo by Sara Tramp for EHD

It’s just so beautiful. You get all the function of the great appliances (in my opinion) but all you see is this stunning wood, which keeps it so streamlined and clean. Her fridge and freezer are in the middle, separated into two 30-inch doors, which I wish we would have done. Originally we thought we couldn’t move the HVAC and if you look at the plan above, that would mean that there wasn’t room for more than a 36-inch fridge. But now that we have that space (which is the bar), technically we could have fit two 30-inch side-by-sides. Appliances are already on site :).

The wall oven in my friend’s kitchen is to the right of the fridge; a poorly shot detail of that below:

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For the wall oven, appliance cabinet and dry bar, we are doing retractable door fronts like above. This means that they open and then slide back into the pocket on the sides of the shelving or appliance. By doing this, you can bake something without having the cabinets flapping in your way, and make coffee without creating this big obstacle for people to walk around. I wanted integrated appliances, but I didn’t want them to be annoying.

The main difference between mine and hers above is that my fridge has two drawers so you’ll see that horizontal seam.

While her kitchen does come off rather modern (yet warm), you can absolutely do the floor-to-ceiling cabinet style in a traditional kitchen, as well.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Layout Full Height Cabinets Inspiration 01
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Layout Full Height Cabinets Inspiration 04
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Layout Full Height Cabinets Inspiration 02
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I’m especially excited about the small appliance cabinet. What is that? A pantry that has a counter space and electricity to permanently house your everyday appliances that typically sit out on your counter. Like so:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinetry Functionality Small Appliances Inspiration 01
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinetry Functionality Small Appliances Inspiration 03
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinetry Functionality Small Appliances Inspiration 02
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This new trend is meant to streamline and hide daily small appliances so life feels as clean as it can. We drink a lot of coffee, but that doesn’t mean I want my coffee maker out on the counter all day. An appliance cabinet handles that. A few notes if you’re interested in building something like this into your own kitchen design: make sure it’s wired with an outlet so you can use them right there. It’s also best if the cabinet fronts retract back so they are easy to access from every angle.

It’s really a messy mom’s dream come true. It does take one more step – you have to open and retract the cabinets, so I suppose you have to be willing to do that. (WE SURE ARE).

At the right end is a dry bar with a wine fridge which officially means I’ve reached maturity in life. Not that you have to have one to be mature, obviously, but up until this point I thought that wine fridges were something that only real adulting adults have. So be it. Above my adult wine fridge, there will be a spot to store all the liquor as well as our pretty glassware.

Here are some inspirations for cabinet bars or “dry bars” that I love:

Bi Fold Kitchen Cabinet Doors Luxury Our Guide To Bespoke Joiner
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinetry Functionality Dry Bar Inspiration 02
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinetry Functionality Dry Bar Inspiration 03
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We aren’t fancy wine drinkers, but it seemed like if we are really building our dream home that we should include some of these amenities. For us, it’s more that our mediocre wine takes up space in the fridge and since our fridge is 36 inches, we wanted an alternative place for that vino.

A bar like that was never on my life goals, but when designing this house, I kept asking myself what I would want out of a vacation home and while we don’t have one at home nor is my life worse without it, we both admitted that if we were staying at an Airbnb with a wine fridge, we would like it.

Speaking of what you want at a vacation house…what point is a fancy liquor cabinet without a bar? The following peninsula is between the island and the living room. On the kitchen side, we have our ice maker, beverage fridges and drawers for daily dishes.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Elevation

The fridge drawers are for sodas, mixers and garnishes. Because we chose to have a 36-inch fridge, we loved the idea of adding more fridge storage there (we will also have a “garage fridge” – a sign that we likely party and entertain probably too much). Additionally, with that ice maker, we hope to never have to run out for ice AGAIN. WAHOO.

The three drawers house the flatware on top, plates and bowls in the middle, and all kids Tupperware, sippy cups, etc. on the bottom (for easy access).

As a recap, here is a map of the proposed kitchen. The living room is to the left and the dining room to the right. It’s going to be so open with such good flow and, of course, a lot of natural light.

Mountain Kitchen Plan Layout 02

I know you are wondering about the design. What will the cabinets be made out of? What color will they be? Where is the lighting? What hardware will embellish those cabinets? So much to tell you and yes, a lot for you to decide.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Kitchen Cabinet Function Perspective

Come back later this week for the follow-up post on the kitchen – the ‘I Design, You Decide’ Mountain Kitchen post. For now, let the functional questions and suggestions roll…

Update: Want to see how it turned out? Head here to see the full reveal and check out the rest of The Mountain House REVEALS here: The Kids’ Bedroom | The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Loft | The Hall Bath | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room

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Love it! When we remodeled our kitchen we chose a counter depth fridge to free up the 6″ the old fridge invaded in to the kitchen. The counter depth does not hold as much as the old fridge, but I do not care because I was so annoyed at the disruption the old fridge had in to the space. My house, my rules. I also have an extra fridge in the basement for overflow. Buy one watermelon or party platter and see how much you need an extra fridge! Can’t wait to see the details of you new kitchen!

Vicki S Williams

I think you waste less if you have the 24″ depth frig, cause you can see everything!


Hmmm… I think this kitchen will wind up looking beautiful, and I cannot wait to see the finishes, paint, and more, but I’m a little concerned about the microwave. It seems like it is right at kid height. I have three under five right now and I can imagine microwaved plastic toy dinosaurs, etc. I know that kids can just grab a chair if the microwave is higher up, but I feel like having it lower increases the temptation factor. The only other thing I’m a tad concerned with is people sitting at the island who may have to move in order for other people to access the fridge. But, maybe there’s enough space for people to stay seated and I just can’t tell from the floor plan.


I see so many counter-height fridges in luxury model homes these days and, like you, all I can think about is poor Barbie getting radiation poisoning.

On the examples above, though, it looks like the small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, what have you) are sitting counter height and the microwave is more cabinet-height.

Sarah D.

We have a low microwave, 3 small kids and it’s not a problem. There’s a kid-safe feature on the micro so they can’t use it unless we teach them how.


Many newer microwaves have a child lock feature. It is a great solution to the button-pushing toddler problem…


We stayed in a beach rental house with a very similar kitchen configuration in February this year – no window over the stove (that’s where the microwave was) and sink was in a corner near the peninsula, not in the island, but the island/peninsula/fridge/cooktop was the same. The space between the fridge and the island was absolutely problematic. No one could sit there and have anyone get into the fridge. There was a lot of unloading from the fridge and covering the island with stuff that might otherwise remain in the fridge, but because you needed to access it from the other side of the island (where the cooktop and sink were) it had to linger on the island. I would definitely mock out the dimensions of the cabinetry and island and make sure there’s enough room for people to sit AND open the fridge door/access the fridge at the same time. We ended up feeling really boxed in between the fridge and the island and actually wished the island was a LOT smaller/narrower to preserve fridge access. One thing about the single door on the fridge is it needs more room to swing than French doors. And the freezer… Read more »

Vicki S Williams

Great comments and important to consider if you haven’t!

@Yasmara, all good points. I didn’t realize how annoying it would be. hmm. maybe we flip it with the bar …


I agree, flipping it with the bar is a great idea.


have you thought about doing a waterfall edge on the side of the island? I think it’d look beautiful and streamlined


I second this, especially since the view of the side of the island is so prevalent from both the living room and the kitchen. Unless your island stool legs are really special. Even then though….a really pretty stone or even a simple stone could fit into the mountain rustic streamline modern feel




Waterfall edge is an excellent idea. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all done. I have a feeling the window elevation will be my favorite! Couple things I learned from designing a couple kitchens: – pull out shelves with double doors SUCK big time. Don’t do it. In my most recent kitchen I opted for mainly drawers and a couple shelved pull-out cabinets. – I love having extra refrigerator drawers. I put fruit and snack veggies in the top – yogurt, cheese, water & regularly used condiments in the bottom. It provide easy access for my kids (teens who like to use their flipping feet to open the bottom drawer which makes me CRAZY, I mean what is wrong with them!!! How hard is it to bend down and open a drawer with their hands, like civilized people? I live with animals). OK back on track… DO NOT believe the hype that you have to have appliance handles (which are ten times more expensive) on the drawers. I used regular 12″ bar handles and they’ve held up just fine, feet and all. – My sis in law REGRETS EVERY SINGLE DAY that her fridge is behind the island seating… Read more »


What she said!⬆️⬆️⬆️


Agree! Also grease on window with current configuration.


Seconded re: grease on windows – especially if you have a downdraft which in my experience just doesn’t work as well as an overhead (though is certainly prettier!).


Love this! So excited to see the finished product!


I wouldn’t mind the fridge distance. When I cook, I take everything that I’m going to need out of the fridge in advance. Stove-to-fridge is no issue. I do fridge-to-sink to wash produce, but this layout would work well.

What I would change is the dry bar and the glassware. To get my La Croix and a tall glass in one place, hooray! I drink alcohol, but less formally, and less often, so the glassware cabinet could include wine glasses as well as tumblers.

If you worry about the kids and alcohol, seems that cupboard could be locked.

But, that said, it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous. Love the raw wood look of your friend’s kitchen.

Julie P

Personally I’d always be forgetting what was hidden behind each magical matching door in my vacation home. However, this is so so beautiful and calm I am excited you’re going for it!! Can’t wait to see it all!!!! ?????

Julie S

That final 3D rendering made it all clear for me! Looks great. I totally get and can accept your reasons for having the fridge over there. Me, I cook 1-2x daily and knowing how I work I want the fridge 1 pivot step away from the prep and cooktop area. But I have no problem with your setup. For fridge-to-plate meals like sandwiches you can stand right between the island and fridge and be very lazy about it. I think it will work out fine, and the openness/vista through the kitchen is fab.


The work triangle is an out-dated concept in the design world anyway. Please complete this project by tomorrow because I want to see the “after” ASAP like an HGTV episode.


I’ve never been into panel-integrated appliances (it just doesn’t look like a kitchen to me if you can’t see all the appliances) but a small-appliance cabinet or twelve has always been on my list when/if we ever get around to having our forever home. I hate counter clutter and I bake a lot and we have tea every morning and holy hell, do I hate having all those appliances out all the time.

Also that dry bar is going to be great.

Emily, do you have concerns about grease spatter on your window behind the cooktop? I’m such a messy cook, and that keeps me from having a cooktop anywhere except next to an (easily cleanable but not that pretty) tile backsplash with a huge hood that I never actually want to clean.

Bethany Wagreich

I was thinking the stove under the window would cause major grease – no matter what kind of cook you are!


I definitely thought that too!! Who wants to clean grease off a window all the time. And those downdraft vents are the worst thing ever. We had one and they don’t work if you do any cooking to speak of. I have a chimney style vent over my cooktop and that collects a ton of grease and I only cook maybe once a week. Can’t imagine what glass is going to look like.


I have a sink under my window and have water splatter so its going to be an issue regardless!


I also have my kitchen sink under a large window and I get spatters up there all the time and it is probably 8 inches above the top of the sink. If it was my cooktop it would be spattered with grease, sauce and more–I actually would worry about the heat off the stove top on the window.


I worry about the heat from the stove on the window, too. I wonder if the building code addresses this.


Yeah, but I feel like water spots are fairly easy to clean and also have the benefit of being somewhat “acceptable” and not noticeable – like you said, probably every window above the sink has them! But sauce and grease would show up a lot more, and are a little harder to clean off.

I mean, I guess as long as “window cleaning” becomes a part of the nightly kitchen cleaning routine, it’s fine, but I am lazy, so I think it wouldn’t work for me.


We did a marble subway backsplash and I was concerned about grease and water. It really hasn’t been an issue. I use deep sided pans and pots and use the front burners for messy cooking. I get water on the tiles and windows maybe twice a month. I have a deep, wide farmhouse sink and that helps.


Yes! I picture grease spatter on the window, too. I would swap the sink and the cooktop. Someone else said that the work triangle is outdated, but I don’t think commonsense functionality is ever “outdated”. That said, I have seen kitchen layouts that were functional in spite of not adhering to the triangle wisdom. But that doesn’t mean that just any layout is a good one. And in fact, I think the ol’ triangle would work great in this space. I would put the stove on the island because (as has been said) the sink attracts clutter, which you don’t want in your entertaining space, and a sink under a window is such a great, timeless choice anyway. It always looks good there. Then I’d put the main fridge where the fridge drawers are currently slated. To the right of the fridge I would have open counter space, because counter space next to the fridge is always functional, for both prep or staging. I would put the pantry where the dry bar and wine is, and then move the dry bar and wine to the hidden fridge spot. The rest can stay the same or be tweaked accordingly. Picture how… Read more »


In the past posts about the space, Emily has talked about how her and her family move around and will use the space. Why are we beating the “kitchen triangle” horse into its twenty-fourth death here? In her post, both she and her husband expressed their desire to lay out the kitchen this way. And yet, here is another person, unable to grasp the concept that they have decided to lay out the room in the way they want.

I do not have the kitchen triangle whatever. It’s the kitchen L-shape. And somehow, not only do I soldier on, I love my house. As I’m sure Emily–whose main house does not have the triangle–also does and has learned that life continues on painlessly without it.

Good lord. If I hear the phrase “kitchen triangle” one more time, I’m going to toss myself into the Bermuda Triangle.


I love the way that you prioritized what matters to you in your kitchen! I did the same and also have a fridge that is a few paces further than optimal and out of the work triangle — its no big deal to me. That said, I LOVE hosting at the island, its where all my friends gather and where I put out snacks. I would HATE having the sink there… the sink (and neighboring dishwasher) is where clutter abounds for me in the kitchen. Dirty glass? Goes in or next to the sink. Water also occasionally sprays around it (think, washing a cutting board) and I would hate for that to get on anyone! My #1 priority in the kitchen is having a clean and clear island. Even if the rest of the kitchen (or especially the sink area) is a disaster, there is a clean, calm respite for us to gather at. I would seriously consider moving the sink. Personally, I would just switch the functionality of the peninsula and the island — put the sink and the dishwasher, etc on the peninsula and the mini fridge, etc. on the island. But maybe, since your peninsula opens to… Read more »


Having the sink in the island is a massive pet peeve for me too! The sink area tends to be the messiest part of my kitchen and I loathe the idea of making it the focal point of my island. It kind of defeats the purpose of a kitchen island to me. Also, it eats up a chunk of workspace too. I was watching a newish design show on HGTV, and the designer put not one, but TWO massive farm sinks right in the beautiful marble topped kitchen island! I was so annoyed I haven’t been able to watch that show ever again.


Can you sell or donate the fridge and get the two verticals instead? Or reach out to the guys and see if they can accommodate a return for a restocking fee? Or Viking?! The “what could/should have been” haunts my reno nightmares!


Dear Emily, I am so excited for your family and friends to use this beautiful kitchen. I don’t have many thoughts on layout but I thought I might pass along my only “would prefer a do-over” from my kitchen/house renovation three years ago. We have a similar layout in that the island is adjacent to the kitchen “throughway” and also that an enterprising child (or two or a small army of them) can use that throughway along with the hallways in the rest of the first floor to create a racetrack/tag path/jogging loop. I will get to my point… we have a beautiful walnut island and we got it with square corners. It is slightly terrifying as it is right at child face height and they like to move at somewhat reckless high speed on occasion. Heck, sometimes we encourage the exercise since winters are long and cold here! At any rate, may I recommend that you get your island corners (in whatever surface they turn out to be) even ever so slightly rounded? I do not know if I am the only parent who has faced this but it is literally a daily thought for me to wish we… Read more »

Jaime I totally agree. We have ours in LA rounded and I swear its the difference between a big bruise and a broken eye ball. I don’t really want rounded corners here, but I’m definitely thinking about it because there is something perilous about the sharp edges, for sure. xx


It’s soooo good! I love all of it. And what great inspiration ideas. Kitchens are my favorite. Thank you


This is going to be amazing! Love all your thought processes about what works for you!

If you like to entertain, you can never have too much refrigeration or ice! We don’t have room in our cottage, but my grandparents had a restaurant-grade ice maker in their lake house…it made the most perfect shape/size of ice cubes and was a huge hit when I could stop by there with my friends in college to refill our coolers on hot summer days!


I never comment, but had to today as I think you will be so thrilled with having your stovetop underneath the window! This seems to be a big design no-no, but long story short, when we did our reno 2.5 years ago, it was the only option for us that made sense. I didn’t want it in the island, with a rangehood blocking the view outward, and I also didn’t want the stovetop to close to my young kids, who would be sitting at the island.
Could hardly find any examples of stovetops under windows, and my contractor practically balked, but it was one of the best decisions we made. No grease or grime on the windows, and the window itself became it’s own design feature… i also often find the area above a sink or stovetop in a kitchen to be “dead space,” and so a window is perfect for it.
You will love it. 🙂


Your cabinets for dishes, glasses and silverware are on the living room side of your kitchen instead of the dining room side. I would definitely move them to the dining room side or would be kicking myself everyone I set the dining room table
Maybe you eat mostly at your island???


This kitchen will be fabulous. I don’t think I will ever be able to afford all the high end touches that you will put in this kitchen. I can only dream about it.


I know this is probably for the next post but how is the functionality of a bridge faucet? I’m about to start designing my dream forever home kitchen and sold on a farmhouse sink and love the look of bridge faucets….but is it too much to work with 2 handles and getting proper temperature for washing dishes and etc? I keep thinking we will all hate not having 1 lever to easily adjust water temp. I know you have a bridge faucet in your LA home. Would love to hear from any other bridge faucet owners!

Vicki S Williams

I’m designing a farmhouse kitchen as we speak and have the same thoughts. the bridge faucet looks great but for me a big pain and not functional at all, at all. (That’s my Irish speaking.)


I don’t have a bridge faucet but I do have a wall mounted faucet with hot and cold levers. Because they are levers, I don’t mind mixing the water at all — you can turn them on with your forearms if your hands are messy. And I vastly prefer the two handled look on traditional fixtures.


I love it! I think the work triangle is overrated. Even professional chefs don’t work in kitchens that have perfect work triangles. Refrigerators are often much further away than this in their kitchens. They just take care of their mise en place before they ever start cooking.

I can’t wait to see that wall of amazingness with all of the hidden appliances and that dry bar! It seems like a pretty efficient us of a wall like that. There’s a lot going on there and that’s really cool.


When we renovated our kitchen we considered, and ultimately rejected, a cooktop with a downdraft vent.

First, if you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking, a downdraft vent is not very powerful. Your kitchen will end up full of smoke/cooking smells.

Second – and this is why I’m commenting – you probably won’t have that much storage space under the cooktop. You have to think about the cooktop mechanism AND the downdraft motor/vent mechanism. That takes up A LOT of room. Maybe you have some magic new one that is super slim – I hope so, but I’m very concerned that you aren’t going to be able to fit all 3 drawers under the cooktop like you have planned.

Craig Olson

I don’t like clutter and can certainly appreciate a streamlined look, however this growing trend to hide away any and all appliances and components that suggest that daily life is being lived is about to jump the shark. Hide the TV, hide the refrigerator, hide the microwave, hide the coffee maker, hide the second refrigerator, etc. –where does it end? I think this approach can make an interior look and feel too slick and impersonal, and again let me state I am an avowed modernist and have no penchant for cozy country design!


I was just about to make the same comment. The downdraft blower usually sits below the cooktop in the cabinet and is a pretty sizable box. I don’t see how there could be any deep storage below the cooktop except maybe at the very bottom of the cabinet. I do love the cooktop below the window, though!


I love all the bells and whistles and the mindset of “we are on vacation here – what do we need to entertain and have a great time?!” I really like the two fridge drawers, but I’ve always wanted a warming drawer – for when you need to hold a dish or two over while other stuff finishes or while you’re waiting to get dinner started. Just wondering if they have those panel ready and if you saw or considered any good ones.


Hi, Have you checked to make sure the cooktop doesn’t need clearance under the counter? We recently installed an induction cooktop and it needed space for hookup so we had to do a faux drawer front. Where you have “Drawer 1 – 6″ Drawer for Cooking Utensils” may be problematic? Otherwise love the clean design!


Looks awesome! I love hearing your thought process and you and your team clearly have put in a ton of work. You probably already answered this, but the door in the kitchen, how do you plan to use it? It’s not the front door, so curious where it leads to and why you decide to keep it vs. putting the fridge there.


Love! Cannot wait to see the final kitchen reveal!


When I see “dry bar” I think of the place you go to get your hair blown out … which actually might be an awesome kitchen addition.


I nixed the triangle in my latest kitchen, but I couldn’t live without a place to set the milk jug next to the fridge. Or wine bottle. Sounds weird? It’s true. Also, as much as I love windows, I can’t imagine how dirty it’s gonna be next to the range.i like the look of the closed cabinets, but it seems awkward to work around.

Laurel Bern

The plan looks great Emily! And I love every example you shared as well; especially the English kitchens. Just gorgeous! Can’t wait to see it all done. Maybe it’ll inspire me to get off my butt for my own kitchen. Maybe. haha


I can’t wait to find out how you feel about using this kitchen. I too feel inclined to prioritize light & flow at the cost of the work triangle. For similar reasons, we are also considering a down draft cook top (well in our case, range.) Many people warn me off these choices; but what we have now is inconvenient AND compromises on looks. So…can’t wait to hear how your decisions work out.


Would never have another downdraft and specs-wise,mine was “better” than yours. That said,be aware of how much space you will lose under the stovetop. (Should be enough space for the window cleaner though) Like you,aesthetics and light are my prime drivers. But in a kitchen function is a much closer third. Of course,I barely cook at our vacation home. Hubs is outside grilling no matter the time of year. Good luck and enjoy your new space.


Can’t wait to hear how it feels to use a downdraft cook top! I too am thinking of dispensing with the traditional work triangle in favor of visual flow. Hope you like how it feels to use and I know we can count on you to report frankly. xo


I like streamlined but I think I’d loose a lot of time in a kitchen where I need to open a door before pulling out a drawer but sounds like you’re okay with that. My husband never closes cabinets so we would just have all the panels opened up all the time anyway. You probably have already considered this, but you might want beverages closer to the dining area since that’s usually the last thing we grab before sitting down to a meal. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated place for you to set down hot things from the oven that you are checking on or taking them out. The island seems to be the closest? Lastly, with all those nice panels, where will you store the oven mitts when you need to take something hot out of the oven or microwave.


I love most of this design. Just a couple of things that I would think about. For me, it would be awkward to have the dishwasher to the right of the sink. I always hold a dish in my left hand when I am washing it and then lean left to put it into the dishwasher to the left of the sink. It would bother me to have to switch hands and put it in the right side dishwasher. Maybe others don’t wash dishes this way though. My parents have their dishwasher on the right side of the sink and it is always awkward for me to use it. Also have you actually seen the option you have of two drawers on top of each other and then shelves below? In my kitchen we moved into last year, each lower cabinet has a drawer inside on the top and then a shelf below and I hate it. I can hardly use the shelf because I can’t reach back far enough under the drawer to get anything and I cannot see under there either. I would much prefer to have a pull out drawer on the bottom too.

Vicki S Williams



I agree – with all of it!

Vicki S Williams

Haven’t finished reading it all yet. The only thing I strongly feel you should reconsider and it may not be too late is the lower microwave. (I am a kitchen designer, just saying :)) Low for the kids, to me not a good idea, but that may be why you put it there. I think it could be dangerous. And OK function wise, if you hardly ever use it but not as functional if you use it quite a bit. However out of sight lines where you have it which may have been your point. My 2 cents.


It all looks great. I personally am really shooting for an appliance garage in the new house that hubby and I are building for ourselves.

As an architect, I am really nerdy and love to see the line drawings like you’ve included – thanks! They’re showing up hard to read on my screen, almost like there’s missing lines. It may just be a lineweight issue but can you see if these can be more visible? I would love to see them in their beauty.


Vicki S Williams

Oops, lost my post. Posted earlier about the microwave. Great! Gorgeous kitchen! end of story. Extra refrigerator drawers always needed if you can manage it. Brilliant! Dishes in lower big drawers I designed many times and it works great! Can’t wait to see all the materials. Have followed you every day for years. Love what you do!


I am so interested in the appliance garage! I’m currently trying to convince my hubby that we should build one into the new house we’re building for ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration!

As an architect, I’m super excited to see the line drawings of the kitchen elevations. They’re appearing hard to read on my screen, and even look as though lines are missing? I’m sure it’s just a lineweight issue, but perhaps you could look into having these more visible? I would love to see them in all their glory. Thanks!

Looking forward to seeing the process!


I noticed one big thing about this design: doors everywhere. Cabinet doors (beside the cooktop) with drawers inside, where you could have just drawers. And an entire wall of doors, doors, doors. Open, close and repeat. So to cook something in the oven, it would entail: open door, open oven, insert food, close oven, close door. No wonder you don’t want to cook!

That being said – you are the client with this one. I’m sure it will be beautiful with those inspiration photos.


Ha! This post makes me laugh with glee! I’m in the process of designing a kitchen about 1/4 of yours but with LOTS of the same elements (down to the window at the stove – alas there is only room for a 3’ one). I have a quick question for either you or your contractor: what hardware are you using for the fold back hidden doors?


“For now, let the functional questions and suggestions roll…” Ha ha.

Well, it’s been said, but the only thing I wonder about is the oven and refrigerator doors and clearance with the island. If someone’s sitting at a pulled out chair at the island, oven buzzer goes off, can I open the oven door, pull out hot item and get it to a countertop no problem without anything/anyone being in my way, or do they have to scooch or completely get up and move so the oven can be opened? Maybe a minor annoyance more than anything.

Can’t wait to see it come together!


At first look I loved the design and can see all the lovely symmetry in the plan that will look beautiful. Love the added window that will make a huge difference to the light – one of my ‘must haves’ too, but I for me, there are two elements that I think I would forever regret. The sink on the island and the amount of space between the island and the fridge. The sink is always the messiest spot in the kitchen and it appears that it will be visible from the living area. Also, it takes up a lot of valuable real estate on the island. I have a a big square island with an overhang and legs the same as this design and it is ALWAYS where everyone gathers. Some perch on the stools I have and others stand around which would cause a problem with fridge access and general people flow in this plan. Could you not put both the sink and the cooktop on the window wall? If you don’t cook that much I would put the cooktop in the corner closest to the dining area. I know thats not ideal but if its not used… Read more »


I agree with previous commenters that having a counter spot directly adjacent to side of fridge is very helpful for a number of kitchen functions: undloading groceries, pouring milk for a bowl of cereal, making a sandwich, setting things down when you are rearranging other items in the fridge. It’s hard to tell from the plan view how close the island is to fridge (there aren’t any dimensions on it). But if someone is sitting at island (with back to fridge), then I’m not sure how conveniently you will be able to set things down and prep. It’s up to you, of course, but since you’re posting here, I assume you are open to some feedback. Best of luck!


I know someone commented about making sure you have enough room with fridge doors opened. When we remodeled our small and tight kitchen, we laid down tape lines to show how far out the fridge door and oven door opened, then we designed the size of the island around it. We ended up with a french door fridge because it made sense for the space. One of the BEST things we did was to tuck in a banquette and table in the corner, with very deep pullout drawers underneath the banquette to hold things like hand mixer, roasting pans, and other things that we didn’t use every day. That space was a godsend, along with the pull outs for recycles.


I like this idea. Even though you don’t cook much, pots, pans, roasting, baking and storage dishes take up tons of room and I don’t see much storage space. If you plan to host holiday meals or entertain in the summer you’ll want more than two drawers. My drawers are big and roomy but don’t hold a ton, and I have lots of pots and pans and enjoy cooking.


I’m afraid this shows where my priorities lie, but I think it would make more sense for the wine fridge and ice maker to be near each other. If you are entertaining, you’ll usually be getting different kinds of drinks for guests at the same time or refilling a wine chiller. I’d also prefer for the everyday dishes to be near the eating area.

And because I actually do cook (and don’t just drink), the spice cabinet next to the range and downdraft will get hot — which ruins spices. You probably won’t use them up as quickly in a vacation house either, which sounds like a recipe for tasteless dust :).


The kitchen looks great!! But I had to respond to the above. I cook and I drink too. ??‍♀️. Totally agree on the spice cabinet. You will ruin spices and potentially oil and vinegar and whatever else you keep in there for it to be next to a hot stove but I think that is more problematic in a range situation than a drop-in cooktop. But I do wonder why your tall pan storage, like sheet pans, is next to the cooktop if your oven is on the other side of the island. And I agree it would be nice for the ice maker to be by the dry bar. For mixing drinks and yes, for those hot summer days when your wine needs an ice cube. Lets be honest, we all do it from time to time. But it looks like its by your other fridge drawers which I think you said were for drinks and they may need ice from time to time so I am sure they will be fine and its not that far. I would rather have the storage in the bar cabinet for hard alcohol as well as for glassware. I like that your… Read more »


What about the idea of an induction stovetop on island and sink in front of window? The flat surface of the cooktop will keep island looking cleaner ( I agree with person who mentioned sinks tend to have constant grime around the faucets) plus it does not stay hot once pots are removed so it would be safer with kids.


My designer has the induction cooktop in her island in her home and it is fabulous. Great suggestion.

I am also team “sink window” and “cooktop in the island” though I think that ship has sailed for Emily…

john richard

Good.. i love it. thanks For sharing your ideas,


I can’t wait to see the finished product! I have been looking for a house with a huge walk in pantry to store to all of my small kitchen appliances. The appliance pantry is so much more functional. I have to have an appliance pantry!


IMHO the most important criteria for a kitchen is that the storage of crockery, cutlery, pots and pans etc is as close as possible to the sink and dishwasher. The hangout space, the cookery process is when you are inthe energetic creative mode but when you need to tidy up you want everything as simple and streamlined as possible.


Everything looks amazing!!! Can’t wait to see it all come together. We just redid our kitchen and added two appliance garages to hide the microwave, coffee maker and baking clutter. I love it!! We end up leaving the coffee nook open most of the time and leave the other closed to hide my random brown sugar boxes and big baking items.

My only word of advice is to make sure the track design of the doors goes as far back toward the wall as possible. Our biggest headache came after the garages were installed and we opened the doors and they ended up sticking out about 10” beyond the cabinets instead of being almost flush with the side of the cabinets like we imagined, like true pocket doors. It defeated the whole purpose! We had to do some major problem solving to gain a few more precious inches to achieve the look/feel we were going for.

I’m sure you’ve thought this through!! But still thought I’d comment! 🙂 Good luck!!


From someone who rents one of our homes, here are my two cents (especially if you are renting it on a short term/vacation basis) 1. I wouldn’t worry so much about not have enough storage under the stove or flow when cooking. At the end of the day, the people who stay for the short time are not going to use the kitchen the same way people who live there full time will. They may or may not cook. They most likely will go out to eat. The people who rent my home cook maybe 20% of the time. We stock the pantry with breakfast items like cereal, oatmeal, toaster pastries, and pancake mix. The pancake mix rarely gets used. 2. Having a large enough gathering space is a must. Whether it be the island or the eat in kitchen or the living areas, these places need be large enough and roomy enough to accommodate the flow of people (especially if you are renting to 8 or more people). My home has walkways and hallways that are at least 3ft wide and the walls still get scuffed A LOT. All this to say, the fridge situation might be a problem… Read more »


Spices too far from prep areas

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