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Sara’s Kitchen – An Updated Sneak Peek (It’s Functional, But Still Not “Finished”…)

Like that fossilized fry you find under your car seat, I’m back. Did y’all forget about me? I did. But I promised you all a kitchen a reveal so I’m here to deliver…sort of. DON’T GET MAD, but I haven’t finished my kitchen yet. Turns out kitchens are tough, and getting a new refrigerator delivered during the time of COVID is even tougher.

BUT I’m here with an update. And I hope that it will hold you over until this kitchen is finished for real. (Real quick, if you’re new to me ((rude)) you can catch up on this whole kitchen debacle in chronological order here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4.)

On the left is where we started back in 2020, and on the right is where we are now, almost a year later…

Are they even the same PERSON?!

Honestly, I’ve forgotten how to write blog posts, because I have no idea where to start. But since this is just an update post, I won’t get stuck too deep in any weeds.

Like most of the rest of the house, we* demo’d everything out down to the studs, and rebuilt from the literal ground up. We took out the door and window that were a part of the back kitchen wall, and popped in a new, centered window that lets in a lot more light. The choice of flooring was made easy by the fact that we had leftover wood flooring from the rest of the house, so we could save a little $.

*If you’re new to me and my house, the royal “we” mostly refers to my dad and little brother. Neither of whom do this professionally, but are just very talented, hard-working humans who apparently love me an insane amount. But Mac and I have put in a fair share of blood, sweat, and tears along side them.

Next, we re-ran all the electrical and installed cabinet boxes from Ikea. With the new walls, new electric, new flooring, and new cabinet boxes all in place we were finally ready to start adding in the fun details – like custom cabinet fronts and pretty counters. And while we’re still missing the whole integrated fridge section, along with some other details, this kitchen is now 100% fully functional.

Honestly, if someone told me today “that’s it, you can’t do anything else to this kitchen” I’d be totally fine. Maybe a little bummed, because I’m really excited for the finishing touches, but I really have nothing to complain about. Not only is our kitchen functional, it’s pretty. Thanks to my dad, some amazing partners, and a lot of hard work this tiny galley kitchen is now the beating heart of our home.

I spend a LOT of time in here, and as someone who needs to cook their own meals on a regular basis to feel like a sane person, I truly feel blessed by some super generous kitchen gods.

Let’s chat details, and then I can fill you in on what still needs to get done along the way…

Since we were using Ikea base cabinets, I used the Ikea online software to design the layout for our kitchen. And then we partnered with Kokeena, a small custom cabinet front maker out of Portland, to have all the beautiful fronts and integrated panels made. We went with a style from their collaboration with Townsend Interiors – shaker style cabinet fronts in the mossy sage green of my dreams (aptly called “Moss”). They took my Ikea design and made the whole process so easy. We also used their hardware.

There are a lot of companies doing custom Ikea cabinet fronts these days, but Kokeena stuck out to me for two big reasons. First, their panels are all wood, and you can really feel the quality when you touch them–my dad was super impressed (it’s hard to impress my dad). Secondly, they’ll send you cabinet fronts painted whatever color you want. I choose one of their pre-selected colors, but if you have a dream color in mind they’ll make you cabinet fronts in that color (rather than sending you unpainted cabinet fronts that you then have to paint yourself). Working with them has been nothing short of a pleasure, and it’s just nice to work with small companies run by awesome people.

For the counters I wanted something really durable. I need them to last a long time, and since I live in my kitchen, so they need to live right along with me. So, we decided to go with Caesarstone quartz counters. I started by ordering a sample of the counter, and literally putting it through weeks of trial. I used it as a spoon rest, I cut up fruits and veggies on it, I left lemon and tomato sauce and wine on it for days at a time. And it cleaned up every time. So by the time we had to make the final decision, I felt really confident.

Our Caesarstone counters are hands down one of the best decisions I’ve made in our house. We went with honed Statuario Nuvo, and they just look really elegant. And to bring in a touch of timelessness I choose an ogee straight counter edge (we used Euro Stone in Pacoima for our fabrication, and they were amazing).

Since our new fridge has been backordered for a bit, we haven’t been able to install our integrated fridge corner. But we have been able to install our integrated KitchenAid dishwasher, and this beautiful thing, the thing that steals my heart time and time again, our new KitchenAid range. IT’S NAVY (they call it “Ink”). I love the touch of understated color it brings to the space. It’s the crown jewel of the kitchen–I can control it from my phone via bluetooth, it can bake, broil, proof, and has convection settings, and it’s just really sexy. It’s the Ian Somerhalder of ranges (Bowser and Veronica got me watching Vampire Diaries, which I missed the first time around, blame them for that one).

WILD difference, no? There’s so much happening in that one little picture on the right. I found that amazing Kohler cast iron sink on Craigslist, NEW for $300 (normally $600+). The beautiful faucet, outlet plate, and sconce are all from Rejuvenation – the literal gold standard for beautifully coordinated brass home accents. The sconces, specifically, create a really beautiful soft light in the kitchen, perfect for late evenings or getting a glass of nighttime water.

Eventually, we’re going to get a single wood shelf to span the entire length of the counter over the sink, and install a brass rail system under it. The plan is to make it nice and deep, so it can hold all my cookbooks, some pretty dishes, and a piece of art or two (which would free up more counter and cabinet space).

Let’s talk a little bit about functionality, because I didn’t want a kitchen that was pretty but couldn’t actually work.

In the far cabinet, across from the fridge, we created a microwave shelf, and installed several deep drawers for things like cat food, mixing bowls, and reusable containers. And our everyday dishware is stored to the right of the stove. I used shelf risers from Open Spaces to make the space even more efficient. The rest of our non-everyday dishware lives out in the bar cabinet in the dining room. (Peep my super cute amber tumblers that I snagged off Erik’s new vintage Instagram store, Bric-A-Brac).

We didn’t have space for a walk-in pantry, so we had to get creative. The cabinets and drawers to the left of the stove are our pantry. Emily was working on some sponsored content with RubberMaid, so we got to fully organize my upper cabinet into a super functional pantry using their Brilliance collection. And then we’ve got our spice rack fully organized in the top drawer (not pictured), and the bottom drawer is deep enough that it’s my baking pantry where I store bulk flours, sugars, and the like. So far, it’s all been working out real good.

So while our kitchen is fully functional, why aren’t I calling it finished? Because I have plaaaaans. I can’t wait to get our new fridge, so the whole space can be fully integrated (and we’ll get another set of cabinets above the fridge for appliance storage). We actually need to install our range hood (and by “we”, I mean hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing). I really want the open shelving above the sink, because I love my cookbooks and I want them to have a dedicated space. Plus, I think the brass hook and rail system will bring in a touch of vintage. And we need to add in tons of small details – like toe kicks, under cabinet lighting, a window treatment, and ACCESSORIES (maybe a rug that actually fits the space).

So there you have it, our kitchen as it is now. But slightly better, because Bowser came over and styled it (like the talented angel she is).

When are we aiming to have it finished, finished? Fall of 2021, probably. Good things take time, hard work, and a little patience. That’s what this house has taught me. So we’re just enjoying the process. Because in a home this old, there will always be a new project (I’m looking at you, primary bathroom), and if we get too focused on getting things “done” we’re never gonna get to LIVE here.

*Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
**Design by Sara Ligorria-Tramp and styling by Emily Bowser

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Admin
5 days ago

gonna jump in and pin my own comment – by popular demand, the knife block is here! it’s out of stock now but you can hop on that list and get notified when it’s back 🙂

Adele
5 days ago

Wow! Just love everything about it, you have great vision and impeccable taste! Would love to see your spice drawer, as I’m considering one.

Elizabeth
5 days ago
Reply to  Adele

That would be a fun post idea! Spice storage is a constant thorn in my side. Would love to see the EHD team’s different takes on functional (even pretty?) spice storage. I guess that’s a little niche and not completely on the design bullseye…maybe it qualifies under lifestyle?

Kelly
5 days ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Check out VerticalSpice.com for amazing spice racks. They are efficient, beautiful, and functional!

Nina
5 days ago

beautiful!

E
5 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! One thing to consider, a deep shelf along the wall above the sink will block the light from your beautiful sconces. They will light up the shelf but may leave your counter top dark. Just mentioning. I’m sure you’ve thought of this. But the whole look is beautiful!

Kj
5 days ago
Reply to  E

We have installed the “Koren LED Under Cabinet Lights”. They are available from quite a few places, have adjustable color levels 2700K , 3000K & 4000K, come in different colors and lengths and can be strung together as needed.

Erin
5 days ago
Reply to  E

Well done-such a beautiful improvement! Our electrician suggested LED puck style battery stick-ons, might be good option for you especially if you plan to install your shelf right on top of your stone backsplash. Enjoy your new space!

Lill
5 days ago
Reply to  E

How about a shelf made of thick glass with brass supports?

5 days ago

Not just beautiful but elegant! Your choices are spot on and the mossy green cabinets are perfect – such a soothing color and timeless as well. Is there a paint chip color you can share?

Mary Zenker
5 days ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

When you order the custom fronts, how do you get the cabinet boxes to be the same color (where they’re exposed)? It’s so beautiful – well done!!

Kelly
4 days ago
Reply to  Mary Zenker

Mary- I think the company also sells other components, like the side panels for exposed sides!

Aly
5 days ago

This is beautiful so glad you shared this update — will still be just as eager to see the final details! You really made the most of this space and it’s stunning.

For the long shelf, if you don’t want to add support brackets on top of that beautiful quartz, you can do the concealed supports that go directly into the studs and go into the shelf, it’s much cheaper than buying the large fabricated ‘open shelving’ brackets, and very DIY able!

You may already have a resource in mind, but if not, I recently discovered the small shop Pepe & Carols and she has beautiful brass rails!

Last thing, I’m obsessed with Rubbermaid brilliance collection!! 😂

Sarah
5 days ago

wowwwww, I LOVE THIS! Seriously, this might be my favorite EHD reveal of all time. And it’s not even done yet! Classic and interesting at the same time. My kitchen is fairly similar (shaker cabinets, counter to ceiling cabinets flanking the oven, a single wooden open shelf, even the same sconces!), and I’ve also been thinking about adding a pot rack! Now I’m thinking about painting my walls your cabinet color, since my cabinets are white…. hmmm… definitely will be coming back to this for lots of inspiration. Thank you, Sara!! Can’t wait to see the fully completed version, I know it will be incredible!

DB
5 days ago

Everything is great! I enjoy seeing the continued progress. Love the cabinets and the range. I’m in the same boat, trying to remodel our kitchen and everything taking much longer than expected (ordered frig Labor Day, etc.) but fortunately have been able to wait it out and not rush out and settle for something else. I have the same tile counters you did. I don’t know why they were ever a thing! Have a new stone on hold but waiting for sink to be installed, etc. Still, just thankful we are making progress and able to make changes. I don’t think the size of the kitchen is nearly as important as the way it functions and yours looks very efficient. You won’t walk your legs off going back and forth or walking around something. Thanks for the update and for sharing before the final reveal.

Bekah
5 days ago

Wow. This was a great post and a wonderful “almost after”. I love all of your choices and can totally see the vision with the shelf and rail/fridge enclosure. Well worth to wait to see this finishing project. Bravo!

alexa
5 days ago

Amazing!!

Pinny
5 days ago

Wow, your kitchen looks beautiful! I’d love to read a post on the decisions regarding function versus form. For instance, did you consciously choose less counter space in order to get the (lovely) pantry cabinets flanking each side instead of choosing upper cabinets above the sink for storage (which would have given you more counter space)? Your results are so pretty. I just wonder about the process and what makes people choose one design over the other. Love that backsplash!

Patricia
5 days ago

So good already. I’d love to see the final look, because at first glance, I was looking at the jam packed top of the fridge with ‘judgy eyes’.
I love how you tested your countertop. Brilliant idea. And that proposed long shelf will add so much.

Suzanne
5 days ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Sara, everyone I know packs their fridge, except me and my husband. And somehow, we are the ones that cook the most. I think it’s just a matter of what condiments and beverages you use, which last longer in the fridge, versus (or in addition to) fresh fruit and vegetables, which turn over quickly. Funny thing is that we’re planning on redoing our kitchen and going with a larger refrigerator and freezer (ours is small by most standards, full after shopping and empty at the end of the week). We always need more space when we have parties, which will happen again someday.

Rachel
4 days ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I do 🤷🏻‍♀️

this looks amazing! it goes so well with your whole house. even if this is just an “almost-done” reveal, i could totally see this being a “totally-done” reveal. love all the choices you made. also, tell us about that knife rack!

Kirstie
5 days ago

Love this!!! So gorgeous Sara – thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to see that integrated fridge and the wall shelf. Also – that sneak peak into the dining room in the pics was awesome – I’d love a full look into that room!

Roberta Davis
5 days ago

It looks great! Can’t wait to see the final, final! But what a nice kitchen to cook in for now!

anon
5 days ago

It’s an amazing job. You’re family is so handy! I second the comment about wanting to hear about the process. One thing I keep wondering is why you got rid of the door. Do you have another door out the back? IIRC you got rid of a door in your TV room? So how many doors in the house?

I’d be worried to only have 1 door. Where I grew up it wasn’t even legal to not have 2 doors for every apartment and house because of fire codes.

anon
5 days ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I am surprised to feel so much relief that *you* have a 2nd door in the house. 🙂

Kj
5 days ago
Rusty
5 days ago

Yaaaay!!!
Ooooh, I’ve waited for this post, Sara! 🤗

I’m stoked with what you’ve done!
A pantry-ish, even! But now I’m wondering where the kitty box is??🐈🐈

The green is SO perfect and ties all the deliciousness of your different rooms together in a heart-of-the-home connected way.
I’m planning on painting my cupboards green … man! I dunno where to start with colours. I love every green I see!

The shelf and rail will be insanely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see.
I’m taking a cupboard door off to feign oprn shrlving coz don’t really gave any wall to do it, byt I havd the original wood stove fireplace mantle that I could revamp eith a wooden shelf insert to make the shelf part deeper (really shallow ATM).

I especially like the way you’ve used clear light shades and the brass ware – purrrrfect!
Soooo good just the way it is, but now I’ll be hanging out for the chef’s kiss fiiiiinal touches!

Go, Sara, go!!! 😘

Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I know, for I too, had a kitty box! LOL😹

Rachel
4 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

Can someone please come up with a more reasonable solutions to cat litter and decor? Lol

Alex
5 days ago

It looks amazing! I love the cabinet color you chose paired with the brass hardware. 🤍 Can’t wait to see your idea for the wooden shelf above the sink realized. I think it will really complete the space. Also describing the range as the Ian Somerhalder of ranges… spot on and hilarious!

Julie
5 days ago

It’s looking so amazing! I’ve been searching for lighting for my galley kitchen and love the fixture with the glass shade. Could you share where it’s from?

5 days ago

This is amazing! For the brass rail, if you haven’t discovered them — Paxton Hardware. They are a small store based outside of Baltimore, MD and they prices on their gallery rails are insanely good. I used them on my kitchen and all the hardware and rails were under $250 🙂

Jill
5 days ago

It is so pretty! Good work!!! I love when you guys do small spaces like mine ❤️

This looks amazing Sara, I can’t wait to see it when it’s “finished finished”, but for now it’s looking amazing!!

Mariana
5 days ago

Gorgeous! I love your whole house, it’s so beautiful and inviting.

Amy
5 days ago

Super beautiful! This may be an odd question but there’s a little lamp on the countertop beside the sink, which always makes me wonder. I love the look of it but the cord would drive me crazy. I never see lamp cords in styling pics. Do you guys just hide them? Especially ones on credenzas or pieces of furniture with no solid front or back, like behind a couch in the middle of a room. I’m like where do those lamps plug in?! Am I missing something?

Emma
5 days ago
Reply to  Amy

The lamp has a cord. It’s clear – you may have to zoom in to see it. I suspect they are often hidden or photoshopped out for professional photos though!

Irene
5 days ago

Thanks for introducing me to Open Spaces in this post, Sara. I saw several things on their website that I like. Under their “Our Guide” tab are fun organizing tips and projects – I love things like that.

Also love your knife rack!

Colleen Clark
5 days ago

Just beautiful. I feel like we so often see ginormous $200k kitchens on Pinterest and design blogs and it’s hard to envision what will look beautiful with $30-$40k in a galley kitchen (which was our budget). So I really appreciate seeing an aspirational space that is closer to alot of people’s reality. Congrats! Well done!

Jenms
5 days ago

I love posts like this! Before –> After stories are much nicer when there are a lot of real progress posts in between showing the steps that people go through 🙂 I’d love to see the “final” post as a comparison of what 90% done vs. 100% done looks like… because this kitchen is gorgeous already!
Way to go!

vee
5 days ago

Great kitchen update! I’m really noticing your knife block. Where is it from? Thx!

Shannon
5 days ago

It is lovely!!! Well done and congrats on a fully functional kitchen!

KAH
5 days ago

So beautiful! And I appreciate all the cat cameos. I wanted so badly to paint our kitchen green, but my partner nixed it. 😂 😭 So we went with a mushroomy color, which is also nice but doesn’t make my heart sing quite like green! Looking forward to seeing your finishing touches come Fall or whenever you get around to it. Nice work!

K
5 days ago

I love all the progress! Very well done. I’m curious as to what type of ventilation you have above the stove. This is a current issue in our home that I’m looking into tackling.

Stacey
5 days ago

Excellent job! It looks lovely.

Virginia
5 days ago

Where did you find that awesome knife holder? It’s gorgeous!

Jean
5 days ago

Wow!!! I love this kitchen. Every detail is so beautiful. You did an amazing job. I like this kitchen way better than a lot of huge kitchens. Cant wait to see it with the new fridge and shelf. Well done.

Eliot
5 days ago

I have been *so* eager for this update, and the fact that it’s only part one of a two (or more?) part reveal is just icing. Altogether gorgeous and you’ve really made the most of a smallish space!

Kim
5 days ago

It is FABULOUS !!! I thought this was going to be a mini-post since you said it wasn’t final, but you packed it with so much. I have been waiting to see what you (and your dad and bro and Mac) have done and I looooove it! What a great space you all have created.

Lori
5 days ago

Your last sentence packs a punch of wisdom. Thank you, from a chronic renovator.

Suzanne
5 days ago

Love, love, love! It feels really functional and the planned finishes (integrated fridge and floating shelf) are going to make it that much better. The size and design are beautiful. I love a galley kitchen. And it looks so good with the rest of your house. I’ve loved all your home projects. Looking forward to final touches.

Jocelyn
5 days ago

Its gorgeous! Sorry if I missed it but where did you get that rug in your kitchen, it’s beautiful and I think it would work in my kitchen

Jen
5 days ago

This is looking so beautiful already! I love what you’ve done with your home, every room is so thoughtful and intentional.

Laura Belle
5 days ago

I love your kitchen and am in the midst of planning a renovation for me so really excited! Can you share links for the appliances you went with? I am spinning on which range hood and fridge to get. Thanks!

A.B.
5 days ago

Might want the wall shelf to be shallower directly above the sink, as having things right next to your head (or face level for someone tall) will get in the way. GORGEOUS!

Heidi
5 days ago

Gorgeoussss! I was thinking of a similar mossy green with brass hardware for our bathroom vanity, and you may have just convinced me. Also, I’d like to peep inside ALL your cabinets (love seeing how others organize). Specifically where is the trash can? 🙂

Stephanie
5 days ago

Just as gorgeous as I thought it would be. I love your home, Sara.

Chelsea
5 days ago

Love, love, love! Totally gorgeous!

Kelly
5 days ago

Your kitchen is insanely beautiful!! Will you be sharing costs at any point? I know that is super personal and scary to do in a public forum, so no pressure, just curious!

MKK
5 days ago

Sarah,
Simply lovely, happy cooking! I would love to see how you are using all your cabinets. Please. Yes, seems kinda nosey, but smart design for small places is so valuable. Especially, after getting the peek at that one drawer that held so many containers.

MKK
5 days ago
Reply to  MKK

Oops, the added ‘ha’. Sorry, Sara.

MKK
5 days ago
Reply to  MKK

‘H’

Kim
5 days ago

It’s so great and I love knowing that it’s a PROCESS and not something you just dream up and order. Random question, but the footed bowl next to your lamp: Is that the centerpiece bowl from West Elm? I’ve ordered it and it won’t be here til June — does everyone want footed everything?

Kelly
5 days ago

Thanks for sharing the ‘in progress’ posts. It’s so nice to see reality in addition to pretty before and afters. One thing you might want to consider is purchasing extra shelves and pegs for your cabinets instead of risers. You get so much more uninterrupted real space and it is inexpensive. It doesn’t look like you really need the two different heights on one shelf that the risers buy you.

Sloane's Mama
5 days ago

I am obsessed with the little lamp with the rattan shade! Can you provide the source, please?

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