Reveal Time! The Kitchen

Any more questions about my one leather-bound book?  The story kind of leaves you hungry, right?  Let us leave the office and go into the kitchen for a small bite.  This kitchen, this heart of our home, is so full of light, good smells, organized shelves and drawers, and custom details!  Let’s see what it was like back when low, false ceilings made it feel like it was in a basement:



Yes, that island is nearly as big as an actual island! 48 sqft. of beautiful, smooth marble AND Hubs and I made the base all by our awesome-selves!  We also installed those beautiful crisp, white cabinets and lovely textured, subway tiles.  Yes, its a herringbone planked floor and is that an antique pantry door?  Yup!  Speechless?  Tehehehe…don’t worry, let me do the talking and I’ll tell you about the details!

The old kitchen layout shut you off from the rest of the house.  Now, let’s think about how dysfunctional that is if the kitchen is the heart of the home…humm, last I checked clogged arteries are a bad thing.  I wanted full access to the cuteness that happens around the kitchen table and the living room while I cook.  I also wanted to entertain around a large island with good music and glasses of bubbly (champs or beer…your choice) while Hubs pulls the burgers off the grill.  Medium-rare and extra cheese, please! I wanted to see the dining room from the kitchen and the kitchen from the dining room.  

The open concept is not normally something I’m a fan of, but felt that a modified, open concept would work well here.  Down came the walls, up went an engineered “I” beam, in went a new window and a new door, along with a side deck and out went the powder room!  I think I drew up 147 different layouts on any surface I could – napkins, Starbucks cups, my boys’ etcha-sketch, the fog in the mirror…you name it.  The final layout won out mainly because of that better-than-tropical island.

It’s crazy to think that I started sourcing kitchen cabinets nearly 2.5 years ago.  My biggest driving factor was budget and quality.  I found the best possible combination in the line of semi-custom cabinets that Costco partners with!  All-Wood Cabinetry is based out of Florida and has wonderful customer service and super high quality cabinets.  I was able to choose from so many different customizable options like pull out shelves, spice racks and garbage-can-pull-out-cabinets – that’s the scientific name. Oh and all of them are soft close!  Essential for any home with kids and husbands.  The range of sizes and options gave every possible option I’d need.  I loved the classic look of the Nantucket Polar White. I waited for their sale (25% off), then put in my order on-line through the Costco website.  My cabinets were delivered within 2 weeks.  Crazy, right?! 

They are so well built and so easy to keep clean.  My Mom tried to talk me out of white cabinets because well, three little boys and one big dog, but when she came to visit during the last weeks of my pregnancy and helped clean – thanks again, Mom! – even she was blown away that these were all wood construction cabinets and how easy they were to clean!  And she knows!  She’s been designing laboratories for mad scientists – and good scientists that really help the world – for 30+ years!  *Sidenote* She just retired this year and I can only hope to be half as respected and loved as she is within her industry.  So successful and did it all while raising three kids on her own.  My inspiration, my superhero, my Mom.  Love you, Mom!  Whip tears from eyes, yup…okay, keep going.  I wanted the jewelry, I mean pulls and knobs, to be classic and add the sparkle to the kitchen.  The brass pull cups and matching knobs were such a great price, too.

Hardwoods and kitchens don’t mix in my book, so I needed to find a tile that would tie in the hardwoods to the kitchen.  I think Hubs just became used to carrying in tile samples for me every time I came home for a few weeks, because at one point I had 27 different samples in my kitchen.  Make a decision already!  Finally, I decided on this dark grey, wood plank-look, porcelain tile from Lowe’s.  The price was perfect and the multitude of colors pulled in the Carrera marble, honed black granite of the countertops and saddlewood of the hardwoods.  The herringbone pattern added some visual interest down below without competing with the backsplash. 

This floor really challenged my design brain and to be honest, I’m still not totally happy with it.  I do like how it came out but wish I would have listened to my design heart more than brain.  I went to France for work at the beginning of the kitchen remodel.  I still had no idea what I wanted to do with the floor, mais, le design et l’architecture française sont tellement merveilleuses et elles font mon couer chanter!  So many sources of inspiration!  I came home with a clear-ish concept of exactly kinda what I wanted-ish.  If you’ve seen the intricate patterned floors of French bistros, then you know exactly what made my heart say oh la la! C’est la!  I was excited to tell anyone who would listen, but received the response of “oh, don’t you think that will be too busy?”  “If you rent out your house in the future, most people won’t like that.”  “That will be hard to clean.”  “That’s a very specific look…it will be outdated soon.”  I listened, but not in the way I should have.  “Yeah, you’re right,” I said.  I should have said, “Exactly!  It’s busy, it’s very specifically, exactly what I love for MY home!  It will be no harder to clean than any other floor and if it gets outdated, then it looks like I’ll just have another opportunity to do some DIY renovations!”  Ugh!  Part of what makes good design is being able to reflect the personality for whom the design is for, right?  Don’t get me wrong, it looks fine, but when I look at it, it’s not reflective of my love of detail and historic charm.  Good thing the creativity gears never truly turn off in this blonde covered head of mine, because I already know how I’m gong to re-do it!  Yup, Hubs, future project, already planned.  Let’s make a promise to always provide positive, constructive feedback and encourage self-expression.  BUT if I ever try to hang a piece of art in my home that you’ve seen in a dentist office, you need to stop me; I give you full permission.

Once the floors were in, Hubs and I had one night to put the island together because the counter-tops were arriving the next day.  “Come on, babe, everything is already cut, we just need to put it together.  It should only take an hour or two,” I cheerfully said excited to see my mental image come to life.  Fast forward 8.5 hours to 0400 (that’s 4:00am for you non-military types.)  Have I told you how patient Hubs is?  And how much I love him?  I ordered the Dillon turned legs from Timber Wolf Forest Products and picked up some oak boards from Home Depot.  We did it and with large dark circles under our eyes, we received the giant slab of marble that the counter-top guys said was the biggest they had ever delivered.  Then I got to feel the texture of beautiful honed black granite…oh so good!  I used Floor and Decor for my counter-tops and by the time my fickle design brain/heart had made my decision, the staff members of my local Floor and Décor knew my first name and due date of Baby Boy #3.  All of them are just as amazing as their prices and selection are.  I highly recommend them!  The texture of the honed black marble is hard to portray through the digital screen, but it provides a matte finish that allows the marble to be the crown jewel of the kitchen.  Together, they are timeless.  Like Hubs’ patience and my endless desire to DIY.

While at Floor and Decor, I saw these beautiful, hand-poured-look ceramic subway tilesthat gave enough texture and sheen to blend the crisp shaker cabinets with the carved, stained wood island legs.  Again, I should have gone with my design heart on the backsplash.  Originally, I pick out some marble subway tiles with small gold tiles mixed in.  So cool.  Ultimately, I felt the white, classic subway tile was a safe decision.  Chlorophyll, more like bore-ophyll!  The tiles do have a lot of texture which plays with the light wonderfully.  It’s fine, but again, it doesn’t sing to my heart like I wish it would, it’s kind of pitchy and the rhythm is off.  Where are the design talent coaches version of the Voice coaches?

The one thing I would change about the layout of the kitchen is the pantry.  I wish it was slightly bigger, however, I was unwilling to give up my back door and new window.  I found this door at a nearby antique shop for $25.  It had about 100 years’ worth of paint on it, so I stripped it down – pre-pregnancy mind you – and removed the center wood panel so that I could add in the “etched” glass.  The stain color is the same as the island legs, “Ipswich Pine” by Minwax.  I had an old glass doorknob that I added for a touch of sparkle and our little pantry was complete!  It is bigger than the old one, but I think a kitchen of this size deserves a bigger pantry – I’m just not sure how I would have done it!  Let’s stop beating that dead horse, shall we?

There is still so much to tell but you’re probably hungry.  Pull out a chair at the island and sit down while I prepare a charcuterie plate.  Oh and would you like some more bubbles in your glass? I saw you eyeing my faucet, isn’t it beautiful? Yes, that sink is VERY big and so wonderful.

I researched faucets like it was my 8th grade science project, okay, maybe my 10th grade. When I discovered Kingston Brass faucets I knew I was going to get an “A” on this project! The price for the quality can’t be beat and then you throw in the classic design, even better! When the box arrived in the mail, it felt like they had sent me two faucets – it was a heavy box for the size – turns out it was only one faucet and THAT is a good sign of a good faucet. The sprayer feels like a weapon on a hose! Take that, stuck on grease! When we installed it and did that initial turn on test, there was a small leak. We called Kingston Brass and explained the issue, within 3 days I had a new valve delivered, no questions asked. Super great company to work with. A faucet this amazing, deserves a sink as equally amazing. This one does the trick. You can thaw your turkey easily in one side and wash your baby in the other side. (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could.) The Ruvati sink came with all these cool things, too. A cutting board, a draining rack and rinsing basket. All stainless steel and super high quality. HIGHLY recommend.

I’ve mentioned before how my neighbors have become like a second set of parents to us, well one day I called my neighbor-Dad over to help me install our DIY range hood. He’s always so fun to work with because he has a story and tool for any situation. After it was finally finished (it took about 3 months to finish the trim #newbaby) I stained it to match the pantry door and island legs. I remember that my 6th grade art teacher to use the rule of thirds in our paintings and that same rule seems to work perfectly in design.  If you divide your visual space into thirds and place a matching element (color) in each third, the eye will bounce to each element and therefore, cover the whole space.  Neat, huh?

Oh, this awesome botanical print? My Mom and I snagged it at a Boise antique shop that was closing up shop.  It’s a German hand painted canvas used to teach botany!  The date stamp says 1907 and some other stuff in German.  I love the irony of it being a potato plant that was bought in Boise.  I also love how well the colors go with everything!

So, there ya go. Our kitchen. I still have plenty more that I want to do with it, like roman shades, more styling for the counters and more art, different lights over the island (the ones I REALLY wanted were back-ordered for months!), but for now, we LOVE it! We’ll move into the dining room once dinner is ready, but for now, let’s enjoy the bubbly and beautiful marble.




Cabinets: All Wood Cabinetry, through, Nantucket Polar White.

Countertops: Floor and Decor, black pearl brushed (honed) granite and Sterling Venato marble.

Island Lights,, Serena Pendant.

Brass sconces,,

Stainless Steel Sink,, Ruvati 33-inch.

Island Legs, Timber Wold Forest Products, Dillon Legs.

Backsplash Subway Tiles, Floor and Decor, Villa Artisan Mist.

Wood Plank Tile,, Emser Country, Oxford.

Brass Pull Cups,, Cosmas Antique Brass 3″ Drawer Pull.

Brass Knobs,, Cosman Antique Brass Mushroom Knob.




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