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The Process of Designing Our Farmhouse Kitchen – Some Questions I Asked Myself And Where I Chose “Style Over Practicality”

If you have ever stressed about your kitchen design and want to nail the coveted “practicality versus style” formula, then this post is for you (and know that you aren’t alone). In my recent book (which you should pick up if you are remodeling) I talk about asking yourself these questions before tackling a kitchen design, so I figured today I’d answer them myself. I kinda wish I had done this before, hilariously, because doing so I realized some things about us…here we go.

How Much Do You Truly Cook? And What Do You Make The Most?

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: #janstewary: how soup changed my life (& body)…really

This question is to basically help you figure out how high a priority different things in your kitchen should be in regards to space, storage, layout, and material choices. A big cook or a big baker requires more amenities, more easy-to-access serving pieces, more pots and pans, harder working (or very specific) surfaces, and for big entertainers, you might want full double ovens, a speed oven, and a larger 36″ fridge, for instance. If you cook once a week then you don’t need a 48″ range and don’t need to stress about how far away your pantry is from your counter. What you don’t want to happen (which still might) is to go through a kitchen renovation and realize that it’s not working for how often and what you cook. A great exercise is to go through an average week (with a partner if they are involved) and really notice what you NEED or better yet WILL USE FREQUENTLY versus what you just want. Think about how often you reached for something and where you wished something had been. Here it is for us:

  1. We make salads most days for lunch (thus the larger 30″ fridge column) full of tons of fresh produce. A lot of washing and chopping is involved. For this reason, we thought about where the sink was in relation to where I would want to chop, and how close the compost is. It’s not ironclad, I don’t HAVE to chop my veggies there but it was good to think about a day in my life and how I want to use the space. (I also don’t know where I’m going to want to be in this kitchen at different times of the day because I haven’t lived there, which is a disadvantage for sure).
  2. I cook an easy meal probably 3-4 nights a week. Usually involving a lot of chopping and stirring, then a more kid-friendly side for them. We are big seasonal grillers so we’ll likely cook on the bbq a couple of nights a week (which doesn’t exist yet because we don’t know where we’ll want to be grilling).
  3. We rarely bake (as of now). Not because it’s not wonderful to have baked goods, I’m just not good at “science” or “details”, and I’m SO MESSY/clumsy (making cookies with the kids is always a disaster), and if I’m being honest I don’t want baked goods around every day. If you are a big baker you are going to want a marble island, and well, I don’t know what else you need because I’m not a big baker :). As I write this it all feels so dumb and common sense, but it’s not I promise. You see all these kitchens in magazines and you might just say “let’s do that” but it might not be for you.

I will also say that Brian and I don’t need a super space-efficient kitchen for crazy fast meals. I actually don’t think that most families should prioritize this so much. The mountain house has the fridge off to the side (so we could have a prettier layout) and it has never once bothered us. Those layout necessities (like the triangle) are often not that big of a deal. I have put a fridge in the pantry before and it never once bothered the family. It’s literally 3 more feet, two steps, that’s it.

Do You Entertain A Lot?

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: all the what’s, why’s & how much’s of the portland kitchen 

Yes and No. The only time we entertain is when we have daytime outdoor casual family parties – i.e. Easter and the 4th of July. We do not have large formal dinner parties and I’m not sure we ever will. I get hosting anxiety when it comes to sit-down meals (unless you are a very, very close friend) but we have friends with kids over ALL THE TIME and I “make food” or we grill. I’m a homebody and prefer them to come to me and love nothing more than my close friends sitting at the island, sipping some wine with me while I throw together a soup. Rarely are there multiple courses. It’s more about casual gatherings with easy-to-make snacks and meals. This means we don’t need things like warming drawers, a 60″ range with different fancy tops, or a prep sink (one sink is enough). We could deprioritize that stuff in favor of other things.

If you entertain a lot you might want to be near everyone else so you don’t feel left out of the party (me!) so an open concept kitchen might suit you better. Or maybe you like quiet cooking time with a friend and want to shut off the visible mess (also me?) so no one can see. There are pros and cons to both, obviously.

Are There Often Multiple Cooks In The Kitchen?

photo by tessa neustadt | from: emily’s kitchen and dining room reveal

OMG LOOK AT THOSE BABIES!! I don’t know the answer to this! I enjoy being in the kitchen more than Brian and I cook with an apron, mocktail (or wine), and music – like it’s 1950. But he is far better at it than I am and does all the grilling or joins me. During lockdown, we would have our pod neighbor family over on Saturday nights. We took them “around the world” (Lake Arrowhead has no cuisine except “American” and pizza) so Brian and I would do 3-4 dishes from a specific country (Vietnam, Argentina, China) just to have a different flavor profile for our bored little tastebuds. It was SO MUCH FUN. We also had a lot of time on our hands on the weekends in the winter. Since then we haven’t really invited friends over to our rental house, so I’m not sure how our entertaining style will change in regards to us actually cooking real meals together. Why does this matter? Well, technically you might need more space if there are two people and you might want it to be a more open concept. You might want the stove burners more spread out, for instance, or dedicated prep space for each person. During these fun quarantined nights we realized that we wished that our island didn’t have a sink in the middle so that we had more space to spread out and not just each have 24″ on either side. Not a big deal, but again going through the motions of a week or two of your habits will help you make some decisions that only you can answer. If you have a smaller kitchen with less than 36″ clearance between counters, then stagger your major cooking areas – sink and stove so you aren’t in each other’s way the whole time. Also let me be clear, bumping bums with your partner while making homemade bolognese can also be an adorable flirty way to start a date night at home…

Do You Have Kids? Or Are you Planning On Having Kids Here?

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: keeping the good of last year: new family (and kid-only) activities

Ok. This involves way more follow-up questions and if you have lots of kids then these will be obvious to you, but if you don’t then this is what you need to consider:

  1. Put dedicated kid stuff low so they can reach it themselves (both food, snacks, and plates/cups).
  2. Frozen food is our friend – ample freezer space (or a garage freezer) will save you many nights. You can’t hoard fresh produce like you can frozen vegetables, so don’t deprioritize the freezer. Our freezer in Lake Arrowhead is smaller than we’d like and so for the farm, we have a 30″ wide fridge and a 24″ freezer column. If you go much bigger than that and things can get lost easily, btw.
  3. Unless you can handle a lot of maintenance or love patina (age), then really consider your island materials. Real stone is not for all of us and THAT’S OK. Quartz is great, and some porcelains are so pretty these days that even I’m fooled! Painted wood can chip, whereas stained wood will dent (which is less noticeable). You can see below what we chose and why, but don’t let that affect you – this is a strictly personal decision. Here is a post to help guide you.
  4. Think about dumb stuff like size and location of cereal box heights (allow at least 16″ on those reachable shelves), ample Tupperware storage (ooh, sexy), and again easy to access bowls, plates, and flatware. Make your life easier and put them in lower drawers, not upper cabinets.

We have two kids (almost 7 and 9!!) and that’s it, but since we both work from home (and don’t get a lot of takeout) it just feels like our kitchen gets so much use, and so much wear and tear. See below for what practical things we sacrificed in the name of style.

Will Your Island Be Used For Eating?

For us, only sometimes. This seems like a dumb question, but I see so many islands with either no overhang or only 2 counter stools at the end, opting for storage. We went through this issue when we chose our vintage furniture island (no overhang yet). But In order for people to gather around an island comfortably, you want a decent overhang (14″ at least). We are big on nightly dinners together, so no, we won’t be eating at the island because all of us facing the same way is not our preference (the people on the ends never see each other!). Brian loves to feel like he’s at a diner counter at all times so he’ll eat there for lunch (I’ll be in the sunroom) and I would imagine some breakfasts, as the kids eat much earlier than us, but not at night. Thus our cute 4-6 person homework area/family nook in the corner (really hoping that works as planned). Remember we have the sunroom as a dining room but for everyday nights this will be our eating nook.

ALSO, if four people are going to be eating at your island you likely don’t want a sink or range on it. Keep it clear for serving. Our island at the mountain house is solely for hanging out while cooking, maybe having chips and guac, but not actually dining. There are many times when someone has been sitting there and I’ve splashed them with rogue dishwater (accidentally). So if you plan on eating meals there then think about not putting a sink or stove and keeping it clear.

How Clear Do You Like Your Countertops? I.e. How Much Visual “Stuff” Can You Handle?

Very little for us. You might be surprised to know that I don’t love a lot of stuff on my counters on a day-to-day basis. We have a tray of everyday spices, a wooden bowl for onions/garlic, a basil plant, and a butter dish (we like room temp butter), but otherwise, I want it all hidden. If you are like me then consider an appliance garage (for a toaster, microwave, coffee maker, blender) or build those things into your pantry (like we are). Our kitchen in LA was so lovely, but it was on the smaller side and we had to have our coffee maker on the counter and it was just so messy every single day.

But I want art in my kitchen, pretty oils and spices, which is why we have two shelves flanking the range (which you’ll see next week). I just want them off the counter if that makes any sense. We are going to use your vertical space for those “moments”.

Where We Chose Practicality OR NOT

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: it’s finally here: the reveal of the mountain house kitchen

This is the biggest question that we all ANGUISH over when it comes to the kitchen. This didn’t use to be a thing – kitchens were at best utilitarian and warm, not the design center of the home. It’s like we’ve all been poisoned by seeing too many beautiful kitchens out there and now having a boring one feels like a missed opportunity. And it is if I’m being honest. But it’s such a personal decision as you are the only one using it. So we chose our stylish moments carefully, weighed the pros and cons endlessly and I hope we made the right decisions. But to be honest this kitchen might not be as practical as this mountain house. I think it’s just easier to make a more contemporary kitchen more practical than one that is designed to be more charming and old-world.

Let’s be clear, we would rarely if ever, choose an element that is ugly and practical. There are just too many great options out there that are both.

Where we chose style over practicality:

  1. Countertops – After months of indecisions (and starting with quartz), I just wanted real stone in this house. I love our quartz in our 1970s contemporary mountain house (above), but for an older, classic home we personally were willing to sacrifice some practicality for the organic pattern. We decided to only put it on the perimeter counters and we are comfortable with it aging. I hope.
  2. Vintage Island – Now, this does have a lot of functioning drawers so it’s practical in that sense (versus a freestanding table or just a shelf). The top of the table is wood and gorgeous and we didn’t want to cover it, but I am pretty concerned about how it’s going to age and what our wear and tear will do to it…and so is Brian. We are adding an overhang to it to match the wood, but does that mean our friends have to use coasters?!!!! Or will it be sealed so that it can be totally wipeable? If so, will it be shiny? The piece itself will be worth it, I KNOW IT, but I have concerns about how the top is going to age and if we will have to constantly maintain it. Maybe that’s something I’d actually like to do? Listen, if it bugs us we’ll put marble on top of it. The reason that we didn’t do that now was because there were no more slabs left (without a massive brown streak in the middle). But we can always put the honed granite on top if this wood drives us nuts.
  3. The Unlacquered Brass Faucets – We went with practical aged brass or polished nickel for the rest of the house, every other bathroom or mudroom, but for this kitchen, this gorgeous kitchen, I really really wanted patinated brass. Yes I will have to use the right soap and polish or it will tarnish and eventually have to be replaced (see this post where I demystify the unlacquered brass) but I feel confident this will be worth it.

Where we chose Practicality over Style:

  1. Cabinet Layout and Material – Not everyone agrees with this philosophy but I’d rather have stained wood that might dent than painted that might chip. We went with painted in the pantry but we are hoping that stained wood cabinetry in the kitchen won’t show the wear and tear as much. We obsessed over the cabinetry layout and functionality with Unique Kitchen & Baths so we feel very set that we have what we need (and some cute drawers mixed in :)).
  2. Lighting – We have four sources (sconces, art lights, pendants, and recessed), but the hardest one to put in stylistically were the recessed lights. They just aren’t my favorite in older homes, but we have learned like the rest of you that kitchens and baths need to be well lit simply for utility.
  3. We chose windows over upper cabinets (because we have the storage space in the pantry and the basement) and are putting electrical into the island for outlets.

So those are some of the considerations we applied to our kitchen design layout and if you are also renovating I hope these questions help you too. Stay tuned for the full design plan coming next week. xx

Opener Image Credit: Photo By Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: It’s Finally Here: The Reveal Of The Mountain House Kitchen

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Shannon
1 month ago

Very considered and helpful info! I can’t wait to see this kitchen come to life. In our new kitchen, we’re planning glass upper cabinets placed against the windows that flank the sink, with the windows themselves as the back “wall,” so that we don’t lose light, but do gain some additional storage for pretty dishes. Like you I don’t love the look of typical uppers, so these will be the only ones.

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🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Shannon

Very creative solution! Excellent!🤩

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Thanks Rusty! Wish I could say I thought of it. I saw a kitchen years ago that inspired me:

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KM
1 month ago

Great article! Super informative 🙂
Will you do an updated post on your oven decision? I’m dying to know what you chose and if you like it, if it’s large enough, how the induction works, etc.
Things are looking great with the renovation! I’m loving all the updates. Good luck!

Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  KM

I’m pretty sure she chose the La Cornue. She’s mentioned it in passing a couple times, but doubt she can weigh in on functionality since it’s not installed :).

KM
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Oh interesting! Thanks. For some reason I thought it was the Ilve stove. I’m in the market for a 48 inch induction stove so I’m patiently waiting for more info

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  KM

I’m pretty sure it’s the AGA Elise, because I ordered the same model (different color) for my kitchen remodel.

Pearl
1 month ago

This was a really interesting read!

Tara Lynch
1 month ago

I completely agree with stained wood over painted cabinets. I inherited white painted cabinet from the previous owner of my house and they are the worst. I use my kitchen a lot and the cabinets show it! They are chipped and yellowed. UGH

Amber
1 month ago

For bakers or pasta makers, I’d make sure you have a long run of uninterrupted counter, so you may want to offset the sink or cooktop. It’s helpful to be able to spread out when you are rolling/cutting things.

My husband is the baker in my house, so I also like to have a baking zone separate from the cooking zone, so we can work in the kitchen at the same time without colliding.

And if you don’t want to leave your stand mixer on the counter, you can get a lower cabinet insert with a “lift” on it. If you put it in a regular cabinet, you probably won’t use it, because they are quite heavy.

Re: prep sinks, which seem to be trending, I really prefer a beverage center sink. It’s very convenient for filling the coffee machine, using an electric kettle for tea or making sparkling water with an aarke/soda stream. And guests can help themselves without getting in the way. I also use mine for watering houseplants, since I can let them drain in the sink without interrupting cooking tasks.

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Amber, do you have a stand mixer lift? I understand the appeal of the lifting functionality (given how heavy the mixers are) but have always dismissed the practicality of a lift given the two inches of usable space on either side of the mixer so any spills will likely fall directly on the floor instead of on an easy to clean countertop. Does anyone have one and love it?

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Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  Kj

KJ, I just realized you might not get a notification about my reply below – I combined it with my note to Rusty.

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Kj

That’s a good point. I’m putting one of these in my new kitchen. I guess you could still slide it o to the counter more easily that lifting it from a lower cabinet or carrying it for a pantry.

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Shannon

*slide it onto the counter
*from the pantry

Terri
1 month ago
Reply to  Kj

I also thought about this when designing my kitchen. I did not like the idea of getting anything that spilled out of the mixer bowl on the floor so we decided not to do it. I just keep the mixer in the cabinet under the island and lift it out. It’s not too heavy for me but I can see it being a problem for older people. It would be nice if these lifts had extending counters to the sides maybe?

Jenni
1 month ago
Reply to  Terri

Same here. I didn’t like the idea of flour and powdered sugar dropping all over my floor, so I made sure one of my island cabinets was designated for the mixer. I just lift it out and up onto the counter. It’s not that big of a deal. I also agree, if you’re a baker, you need a large area to roll out. I looooove my huge island. It’s the best part of my kitchen.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Nice ideas, Amber, only everything’s finished now.

Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

KJ, I don’t have one of these – I’m fine leaving my mixer out – but my mother does and she got the idea from her mother (my grandmother) who put a lift in her 1951 kitchen. The platform on hers is a bit bigger than the one in your photo, and it has a lip around the edge, which helps with spills. But to be honest, I get flour on the floor whenever I bake, so that’s not a huge issue for me :). My mum’s also is installed on one side of a double lower cabinet, which makes maneuvering a little easier.

Rusty, I just added these ideas because Emily mentioned she wasn’t a baker and doesn’t know what people who are would need. I thought other people might find the points helpful.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Yup.👍

Cris S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

I really didn’t want appliances on my counters so we have a cabinet that runs down to the countertop with a door that swings open. There is a plug inside of it and another a bit down on the run of the backsplash. I can just slide the mixer forward and because the cabinet is located on the back of a long run of countertop, it easily moves forward and then I have lots of space. If the dishes were clean, I’d post a picture 🙂

Colleen
1 month ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Please post pic.

Casey
1 month ago

So helpful! Thank you!

Alexandra
1 month ago

One other question I find useful: are you an intuitive cook, or the kind of person who always follows a recipe? As someone who loves to cook and likes to get creative in the kitchen, I could never give up the functionality of my work triangle. If I decide a dish needs a hit of acid or a splash of cream, I want the fridge 2 steps away, not behind doors in a pantry that’s clear across the room. I also tend to have 2 or 3 things going at once, meaning I don’t want to step away from the stove for a second longer than necessary. Again, so dependent on how you use your space! But for me, range + fridge + sink + double ovens (the dream!) with clear floor space in between is the answer to efficient, enjoyable cooking.

Alexandra
1 month ago

One other question I find useful: are you an intuitive cook, or the kind of person who always follows a recipe? As someone who loves to cook and likes to get creative in the kitchen, I could never give up the functionality of my work triangle. If I decide a dish needs a hit of acid or a splash of cream, I want the fridge 2 steps away, not behind doors in a pantry that’s clear across the room. I also tend to have 2 or 3 things going at once, meaning I don’t want to step away from the stove for a second longer than necessary. Again, so dependent on how you use your space! But for me, range + fridge + sink + double ovens (the dream!) with clear floor space in between is the answer to efficient, enjoyable cooking.

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

I agree with your reasoning! I obsess over kitchen design, too (I’ve designed and redesigned my kitchen at least 20 times- all in my head, of course). It’s getting real now! Can’t wait to see!

Elle
1 month ago

I had an oiled wood worktop, which worked really well – it needed a coat of oil about every 6 months but you just rubbed it on with a cloth. You could do that with your island. Much less hassle than refinishing varnish, and you know it needs done when you start to see water soaking in rather than beading. No glass marks when it’s properly oiled. Marks can be removed with wire wool.
I’d love a lighting post as trying to figure this out at the moment!
I’d love a progress update later on the performance of the stone and whether patina still wins out! Please!
Completely agree on the wood finish instead of paint – think it looks nicer to have organic finish and the painted kitchens are so ubiquitous now that the only interest is in picking an unusual colour, and as black, blue, green, red, yellow and white have all had their day, what’s left to look fresh now?

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago

Kitchen island finish:
You can use a matt estapol sealer. You see tgd natural wood, no glarey shine snd no cup tings or red wine dtains to be had. As hard as nails!
I have this on my ‘scrubbed’ look antiquefiningrable and 4 other surfaces on antique wood surfaces. No coasters or anything required (desk, another table, chest of drawers and coffee table).
I really cannot fault this product!😊

I go form over function with “recessed” can lighting. I can’t stand it. Especially in an old home. But…it’s your house!😉 I’ve chosen multiple light sources in the kitchen to avoid needing can lights. My kitchen isn’t the brightest room, so others may have chosen cans. I. Just. Can’t.

Love, love, love the kitchen benchtops, choice of windows over storage – you have the psntry room!

This is gettin’ freakin’ real!!! YOU MOVE IN, IN A COUPLE 9F WEEKS?!?!? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! 😃

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Gaaah! All my typos.🙄

Molly
1 month ago

Our kitchen remodel on our 1872 farmhouse starts in September (eeek!) and I *think* I’m nixing recessed lighting. I just can’t visualize it in this house. So I’d LOVE to see your lighting plan (before September!) so I can figure out if I’m making a colossal mistake in just using sconces, under cabinet and flushmounts. I also think I’m taking the plunge into marble (double EEK), which scares the he!! out of me with my messy family of 4. I’m trusting I’m okay with patina and the new sealers work. Thank you for this great post – can’t wait for the next kitchen installment!

Kathleen
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

I can’t imagine a kitchen without good, bright lighting, but I also think figuring out the lighting for an 1872 farmhouse would be daunting! Your marble will have water spots everywhere, never allow vinegar or tomatoes to touch the counter. I have marble in my bathroom and definitely regret the choice.

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  Kathleen

Room for Tuesday’s nero black marble bathroom disaster (but with a happy ending): https://roomfortuesday.com/honing-our-guest-bathroom-nero-marble-countertops/

DA
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

Patina is one of those things that’s scary at first because it’s like ONE STAIN YOU CAN’T STOP SEEING, but once you have lots of stains and scratches and other marks, it all blends together and is beautiful

Cris S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

I really wanted marble, but my husband – who asks for almost nothing – begged for quartz. He asked me to really be honest about the type of person I was (messy, sigh, and very willing to put off cleaning up until the next day… or two) when selecting the countertops. I asked the designer that we had a consultation with and she said the old saying is “we’d LOVE to install marble countertops for you – because we know we’ll get to come back in three years and install something else!”

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Just keep in mind that some types of quartz (not quartzite) do stain and discolor. You can read all sorts of horror stories on the Houzz forums. “New quartz counters staining”. “My brand new quartz countertop stained.” “Help with quartz stains!”

Sheila
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

Molly, with flushmounts and under cabinet lighting, I think you’ll be absolutely fine without recessed lighting just make sure to have them on dimmers so you can have the brightness when you need it. Your kitchen sounds lovely to me, scary marble and all!

SLG
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

Molly, I’ve remodeled one kitchen, am in the process of remodeling another, am a frequent cook, and hate recessed lighting in historic homes. (No shade to Emily! Good for her, not for me. 🙂 ) I can tell you what’s worked for me… Good under-cabinet lighting. I generally go for LEDs with warm light tones (2700 Kelvin), as thin as I can get them, so they’re basically invisible except for the light they provide. In my last kitchen I used paper-thin LED strips, and in this one I’m using 1/8″ thick LED discs. Flushmounts that fit the style of the home. My last kitchen was a traditional style galley kitchen in a somewhat contemporary home, so I used a semi-contemporary style flush mount. The current one is very historic / traditional, so I’m using flushmounts from School House Electric that fit the story the house is telling. (And, don’t ignore vintage flushmounts – some stuff on Etsy is cute and can be re-wired pretty easily!) All kitchen lights on dimmer switches so you can have moody when you want it and bright task lighting when you need it. I also put marble in my last kitchen and would 100% do… Read more »

Elizabeth
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

Molly,
I bought my 1916 house with recessed lighting in the living room. I never would have put them in myself, but I love them now. The ceilings are high and you don’t even notice them, but they make a huge difference in the winter when it is dark at 4:00.

Lori
1 month ago
Reply to  Molly

I wasn’t sure whether I could handle the patina either, so I got a piece of unsealed marble and put it on my kitchen counter for a year to see what would happen. As someone else said, once the water marks & etches build up, you can relax. I heard about some celeb who would squeeze lemons all over her new marble countertops and rub them in, just to get the preciousness over with!

Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Lori

When the antique dining room table we had purchased was being refinished I went with distressed paint on the base* because I knew if the paint was pristine my husband would be freaking out every time one of our kids accidentally kicked the table.

*The top is stained

Liza
1 month ago

I highly recommend Odies Oil for wood works surfaces. No shine at all, very durable. I used it for my scrubbed oak table and love it.

Sue Sue
1 month ago

Loved this post! So many decisions to make, risks to take-you rock!

Mon
1 month ago

I’d love to know what stone you’re going with! I want marble but I’m scared that it might be a really cr*p choice for the environment (read the article “the morality of marble”. Maybe I can find some reclaimed stuff!

Maddie
1 month ago

My husband and I just used something called Polyx-oil from osmo to seal plywood walls in our detached garage. Finishes fairly matte and could be a good option to look into for the island! Can’t wait to see how that turns out, btw, it’s so perfect.

https://osmocolorusa.com/product/polyx-oil-raw/

monica
1 month ago

Just in case anyone is inn the design phase – I ahve a pretty small kitchen dining space but wanted seating at the peninsula – we ended up with a 10 in overhang and it is just fine! I never feel like it is not deep enough. In fact it is the spot in our home where I sit and do my job/work all day!

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  monica

Great point! I was wondering if that 14” min was a typo!

MKP
1 month ago
Reply to  monica

Very relieved to hear this. Thank you! Finishing a reno (hopefully this month) and have a 12” overhang at island.

Christa
1 month ago

I like to set up a kitchen in zones. Prep/Cooking/Serving/Clean up/Food Storage. Serving zone with all the plates, glasses, etc. near Food Storage – fridge, pantry and microwave for quick meals and foragers to keep them out of the cooking zone. The range or cooktop with a big counter between it and the sink is the prep zone. Pots, pans, mixers and platters under that countertop. On the opposite side of the sink is the clean up zone. It helps if you have ever worked in a restaurant where those jobs are all done at the same time by different people, the organization of it is clear. Anything that doesn’t get used daily goes into storage shelves, and when my kitchen is small, that storage is in the dining area or garage. I hate having to sort around stuff that I don’t use daily. We make a lot of sheet pan dinners, rice bowls and pastas, all with simple salads. My least favorite thing is the breakfast set up (coffee/tea, toaster, cutting board) this is always out and messy because the hubs makes coffee all day. I wish I could tuck that around a corner and out of sight. I… Read more »

Julie S
1 month ago

Great post on the nitty gritty hows and whys of kitchen design!! You lay out fantastic considerations. Kitchen use is truly personal to each family and it should indeed guide your decisions. I got to stay in the Mountain House last year and I ADORED the stove wall. No uppers, no looming hood vent (which I have learned I truly hate), just windows and trees ahead and uncramped counter space on both sides. I have learned many things from the various kitchens I’ve used (I cook a lot) as a single person and now 11 years into family life. I’ll have the opportunity to renovate or possibly gut the kitchen in the home we just closed on, and am compiling my personal list of must haves (lots of space next to the range, spices at hand, room for my foodie daughter to cook without being in my way, etc) and want to avoids (seating at the island, my back to the house while at the stove, too far to the pantry, etc. )

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie S

Good luck with your reno, so exciting! Just wanted to share that a friend of a friend built a new home with no seating at her island because she was vehement that wanted the space to herself for cooking. But she really regrets this choice now. I think because people can’t sit and chat or eat while she’s cooking. Obviously you’ll do what’s right for you but thought this could be useful info. 😊

Sheila
1 month ago

Great discussion! While it’s certainly key to design around your current cooking needs, it’s also to keep an open mind to other options. The way I cook now is so different from what I did 5 or 10 years ago and I expect that to evolve. As my mom aged, arthritis in her neck meant that lower drawers and cabinets were torture and the higher uppers almost as bad. She was still cooking every day but ended up moving all the essentials to a narrow range of easily reachable storage. The lower shelves of the uppers and top row of drawers were where she moved everything. The pricey microwave drawer no longer used in place of an inexpensive countertop model. It was eye opening to me.

iris hempler
1 month ago

Are your cabinets solid wood or veneer? My cabinet maker says veneer better because it won’t warp, but I don’t know–yours look like solid wood to me. Which just sounds better!

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  iris hempler

https://www.uniquekitchensandbaths.net/cabinetryOur cabinets are available in 1⁄2” plywood or 3⁄4” plywood construction, with solid doors, drawer fronts, and frame. We use soft-close Blum concealed hinges and have exposed decorative hinges upon request. Standard drawer boxes are full extension dovetail made in aspen wood, but can also be made in oak, walnut, or ash.
CABINETRY STARTING AT $40,000

Annie
1 month ago

Another thing to consider when planning where to store food in cabinets is how old/well sealed the home is. If you’re in an area where mice are possible, it may make sense to store the food in upper cabinets or cabinets that beck up to an interior wall. No need to encourage them. Can you tell I found out the hard way?

Marcy
1 month ago

Ahhh, this post makes me so happy. In the midst of a renovation now and I’ve made many of the same decisions you did. We are not in an older home but I decided on NO upper cabinets, instead more windows, marble countertops (and will live with the stains, etc), living finish fixtures, an island with nothing on it, and stained cabinets. I’ve been so nervous with some of my choices. but you have eased my mind. Thank you. Can’t wait to see your finished product.

MelissaB
1 month ago

RubioMono coat – THE BEST wood sealer I’ve used! It’s super smooth, doesn’t look like a coated product like poly, has a matte option that makes it look and feel like nothing is on it plus it has been really durable. I used it on our maple dining room table and it’s held up so so well to my rough household. I’m planning on sanding off the poly on our coffee nook area where we have maple wood top and shelves and replacing it with the RubioMono coat.

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