Our Kitchen Renewal | The Design Plan

We recently answered your questions about WHY we are renovating our kitchen. Today we are diving into the fun part, the design! In our last poll we got a lot of questions about design so let's get to it, shall we?

THE CONCEPT


The overarching design concept behind our kitchen was drawn from traditional kitchens. While Victorian kitchens of the era typically featured a free standing sink, ovens, and workspaces it is the pantry that caught our attention. Pantries were detailed, built-in, and stunning.


Our plan is to take our favorite pantry features and use them in our main, one wall, kitchen. The goal is to make it read like a pantry. Does that make sense? To confuse you even more, we also have a very small auxiliary pantry space... but more on that later.

Above: A few examples of materiality inspiration. Sources linked in image. More on our Pinterest

LAYOUT


Having the opportunity to make a fresh start, we POURED over the layout and reviewed hundreds of iterations. With every new version we always seemed to circle back to the layout that we have today. Why fix what’s not broken? We feel like this layout optimizes the available space and we have loved how its worked for the last three years. Bonus, it keeps us from moving any utilities.



A note on the floor-plan: we have utilized the “Kitchen triangle” layout that allows optimal circulation between the fridge, sink, and oven. Based on the limitations of the space, we only have one main wall for floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. We think edge to edge kitchens provide the best way to achieve a custom look. With 9' ceilings we are able to fit tall functional cabinets and "soffit cabinets" for overhead storage. The soffit cabinets are full counter depth and connect the anchors of the space, the fridge on the left and the large pantry cabinet on the right.



The island itself serves as a large work surface and houses the sink, dishwasher, beverage fridge, and trash drawer. We made the decision to put the sink in the island pretty early on and we LOVE it. Typically, when laying out kitchens we put the sink centered on a window, as a rule. Given the lack of windows we decided to center the sink on the adjacent living room windows. This allows for conversation and visual interest when stuck scrubbing.



We should also note: We have made a very conscious decision to NOT include seating at our island. We could have made it work but it wasn't important to us this time around. Early on we decided that if we were going to have a dining room we were going to use it. The lack of seating allows for extra storage and plenty of circulation around the island.


Lastly, one area we are the most excited about is the Pantry. Traditionally called the “Butlers Pantry” these small auxiliary spaces were very popular in Victorian homes. And as far as we can tell, we are putting this one right back where it was originally. We are even incorporating original sliding glass doors that we found in the basement. This space will serve as dry-food storage, a place for cookbooks, and maybe a coffee bar?

CABINETRY


We have already written about the layout of the cabinetry but let’s talk a bit about cabinets. In order to achieve a more traditional look, we are using inset cabinets. For a crash course on what that means, we suggest taking a look at Ashley's (@TheGoldHive) blog post where she really dove into the topic. There is just something that feels more authentic with inset cabinets. It’s a very traditional detail that harkens back to old english kitchens and a detail we’ve used in all the other cabinetry in our home thus far.


We are ordering our cabinets from Cabinet Joint who offer “Ready to Assemble” (RTA) inset cabinetry. This means that our entire kitchen will arrive flat-packed and we will assemble it on-site. This allows us to have the quality of cabinetry we are looking for, at a much more affordable price-point. We have been working with them for months now, refining the design and they have been AWESOME.


Above: A beautiful example of inset cabinets from Cabinet Joint


We are also incorporating most (all?) of our appliances into the cabinetry. We have always loved this look and brands like Fisher & Paykel have really perfected it. Gone are the days of very obvious panel-ready appliances and welcome fully integrated units!

FINISHES


We've said it before, and will say it a million more times; finishes make the space. Especially when it comes to creating a space that feels authentic to an era home. Using materials that could have/would have been used during the era your home was built creates the basis for an authentic look, even if you use them in a more contemporary way.


Painted cabinetry - The main wall of the kitchen, as well as most the pantry cabinets are going to be painted. As you can see in our inspiration images above, we love this clean look. Were going with the ever-elusive “mushroom” color. A Color that is currently trendy, but also timeless. We have been trying to nail down the right color for months and we are ALMOST there. Too cool looks grey, too warm looks yellow, some beiges look pink?! It’s a hard one y’all.


Above: Via Devol Kitchens


Wood cabinetry - The island is going to be natural wood. We’ve come to this design decision for two reasons: We are designing the island to be reminiscent of a piece of furniture - a working table of sorts. Additionally, we have lots of natural wood featured in our home already. From our paneled entry, to the adjacent fireplace, to the salvaged pantry doors, this will be a way to make the kitchen look cohesive with the rest of the first floor. In terms of color of the wood, we are also taking cues from the existing wood around us.


Natural stone - specifically...marble baby! We have gone back and forth on this A LOT. We currently have imitation-marble quartz countertops. We will say, they have held up beautifully. They are super low maintenance, we never have to worry about them staining, they are basically indestructible and are a fantastic solution if that is what is important to you. That said, they look like imitation marble. They have a plasticy, sterile look that we have never been able to get past. We have been searching high and low for a more authentic alternative and have not had success... not when you know how beautiful and authentic real marble feels.




Will we love the look of real marble? Yes. Will we forever be haunted by the maintenance and constantly reminded by David that the marble was Stephen's idea and if anything ever happens to it, it will ultimately be Stephen's fault? Also yes. We’ll keep you all up to date on our search for the right stone and the pros and cons moving forward!


Brass - Need we say more? She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’s timeless. Brass will likely be incorporated into our cabinet pulls, but also in vintage finds. We’re on the lookout for some killer schoolhouse light fixtures.

WHAT YOU CAME TO SEE


Alas, here are our current renderings. But remember! Just because it’s in a rendering doesn't mean it’s set in stone <insert marble pun>. We use rendering as a tool to iterate our design and what you see here is like version 5,893.

Thank you for reading this far! Question? Comments? Just want to follow along for the ride? Hit us up on Instagram !