I've had two requests for updates on our kitchen remodel and finally got around to taking a few pictures last week.
The short answer on the kitchen remodel is that I freaking love it. I still find myself lovingly patting my counter tops and marveling at my view all the way across the living room from my spot by the stove. I love everything about it- every cabinet, knob, tile, appliance, and square inch of marble. I seriously wouldn't change a single thing, so even though it was a HUGE hassle I hope to never have to live through again (6 weeks with 3 kids, a late-coaching husband, and no kitchen was truly, truly terrible), it was worth every single terrible, dusty, endless day.
Let's take a tour. I have notes.
Oh, cubbies of my heart. They remain my second favorite part of the whole project. They are the first thing you see when you walk in from our driveway side door and it is the home of SO MANY things that would be on the floor and piled in corners elsewhere.
I love how perfectly they fit the space and that we saved the window by adding them to the plan and I love most that they hold all the things. I really hate stuff on the floor.
I also love this picture frame I repurposed from our stairway walls in Austin) that I had James spray paint silver and updated with more recent family pictures. See that picture of James and I in the middle? That was our honeymoon in Jamaica 10 years ago- can't wait to get an update!
The pantry is my very number 1 favorite thing. I love that we did the frosted glass door, love the miles of shelving (or 8 feet of shelving; same thing) and the storage for more of the things.
I swear it looks more organized in person than it does in this picture.
And now, the kitchen. Isn't it beautiful? I still can't believe those above-window cabinets weren't there; that the counter used to end at the sink; the the whole right wall was empty-- so much wasted space!
This is the wall we added- it forms the back of the pantry and now holds our microwave and some new upper cabinets. And after six months of daily use I can say that I LOVE LOVE the double oven. I love the smaller top oven that I use 90% of the time. Its smaller size means it heats up so fast and feels so much more efficient. The bottom oven is great when I need two shelves or am roasting something tall, and I love being able to cook two things at two temperatures (or with two smells- like the chicken for dinner and the cookies for dessert). And I love most that it only takes up the room of a single oven. I can't recommend this style enough. The gas stove is also great- it has the same measurements as our old one, but has so much more usable space, including a fifth burner with griddle. Love. (Also love having a functional microwave that isn't dorm-sized and hidden behind a cabinet)
I specifically designed these two cabinets and I love them. The top one holds my most used spices, oils, and vinegars. It's a good use of small space. The bottom one holds all my cutting boards and baking pans. I had them remove the drawer from the plan so the cabinet would be tall enough to fit my sheet pans in the bottom section and my biggest cutting boards on top. Love them.
We didn't do many custom cabinet features- I was worried about making everything too specific, both for us and future owners. I also didn't want to do too many glass or open cabinets because I didn't want to worry about things looking perfect behind the doors, but I do love our one set of glass door cabinets for our glasses. And I love our little two-open-shelf solution for the cookbooks and a picture frame in the space underneath the upper window cabinets and glass cabinets.
The open end cabinet storage for our lunch boxes and wine bottles has also been great. The lunch boxes never had a good home, and even though there's room in the pantry, I knew the likelihood of them getting put to bed there every night when we knew we'd need them again in the morning was very slim. They do always make it to their cubby and I get to be happy that they're not on the counter. Plus Cora loves to steal them and carry them on her shoulder like purses and it's so adorable, for once I'm glad something is at her fingertips.
So that's it for special cabinets. On to drawers. I LOVE drawers. I only had four in our old kitchen and now I have MANY. I use them for everything I always hated trying to arrange into cabinets. Like kiddie cups. I LOVE having a drawer for all the plastic cups in our lives. The kids can reach it and get their own water and I'm not wasting space and trying to stand up Cora's weird shaped sippy cups in our cabinets.
I use the bottom drawer of that stack for the plastic plates and bowls, the top drawer has all the little glass containers we use for lunches, and the trash drawer is probably my favorite thing after the pantry and cubbies.
Someday, when plastic divider trays aren't a part of our lives, I can use the drawers for my baking accessories (currently in a bin in the pantry) and loose leaf tea collection. Drawers are the best.
On the peninsula I have drawers for our pots and pans and glass storage. I also love these drawers. Also housed in the peninsula is a stack of four smaller drawers for utensils, measuring cups and spoons, ziplocs, boxes of foil, wax paper, and everything else.
Also the beverage fridge. I love this fridge. It has freed up SO much room in our main fridge by removing all beverages and I love that we're always ready to go when we have people over to swim or hang out. I've also used the shelves to hold a quarter sheet cake and cupcakes for the kids' parties. It is so handy.
Oh wait, another cabinet. I love this giant box on top of the fridge. It now houses all our Costco paper products- kleenex, paper towels, and toilet paper. These items used to live in Cora's closet, which was always a problem we when needed them after she went to sleep, and at some point we were going to need to use that closet space anyway.
Other little things we added and decisions we had to make- we upgraded to the "panel ends" for the cabinets and I'm so glad. It wasn't very much in the overall budget and I think the impact is so much more custom. We also did the panels on the drawers, which I love too. I'm very glad we went for both extras instead of trying to save a couple hundred dollars and regretting it later.
One of my favorite little touches is the plug I bought at Home Depot that has two USB ports built in. We frequently charge our phones here and I like not having the have the little brick using up a plug.
A few people have asked me about having marble in the kitchen. I admit that I fell in love with the look, designed my whole kitchen around it, and then did basically zero research into the material because I didn't want to read anything that would force me to change my mind on using it. So willful blindness was my decorating strategy. And I do love it. I love the great sweeps of movement and randomness in the natural stone and love the clean white background that goes so well with our bright-white-trimmed 1940's house. Design-wise, it makes the kitchen for me, so even when I had some doubts about the softness of marble, I decided to go for it- it was a feature element, and if it was the one thing we regretted, we could change it in a few years to something more durable like quartz or silestone (which are nice, but I didn't love the uniformity and smaller dots/patterns; I love how some of the veins of our marble slab travel all the way across it).
But as it's turned out, marble isn't a big deal. You can't put hot pans directly on it, but you aren't supposed to with marble either. If you leave acids or high-pigment items like tomatoes, citrus, or red wine for too long, they'll stain, but after you clean it, the stain will eventually fade to near invisibility. I chipped an edge of the peninsula with a champagne bottle the first night we moved in and was paranoid after, but further abuse has not resulted in any injuries. I am more vigilant about foods staying out on top of it, but it doesn't bother me because it still makes my inner house designer to smile when I see it. And the few stains just add character that I don't think anyone else can see but me.
Our other big design choice was the two-tone upper and lower cabinets and I really like how that came together. I think all white or all grey would have been too much and I'm SO glad I liked the grey paint we picked out (and by "we" I mean me, with James enthusiastically up-voting whichever one I was liking at the moment; he was actually not very helpful).
And, finally, I love this view. I love coming home at the end of the day and chopping up dinner while the kids color or do homework or just sit and chat with me at the bar. I love that Cora can run her laps and play with her lunchbox purses and I'm not shooing everyone away because I can't open the oven if they're with me in the galley. It's just a kitchen, but it has seriously changed my life.
While washing dishes this morning I remembered two of my other favorite things: (1) the push button for the disposal, and (2) our low divider sink.
The push button is fun and frees up a switch for something else and the low divider sink means you can wash a sheet pan or giant frying pan without splashing water up everywhere, but I still get my separate sink compartment so all the tiny food storage containers in my life have a place to dry. Everyone is winning.
Also, I got a question about where the cubbies are located. We had them built into the wall we added to create the pantry. That space wasn't used in our previous kitchen, and our laundry room is part of our master suite so we don't have a "mudroom" type space for backpacks and shoes, so I took a foot away from the pantry and had the contractor build in the cubbies for the space when you first walk in the side door. That's the door we use 98% of the time (bc we part at the top of our super long driveway, past the driveway gate), but no one else who visits our house would do so, making it the perfect thing to greet us when we walk in the door.
The kids offload their coats and backpacks and shoes, and I get to smile knowing all that stuff isn't spread throughout the house or on the floor. I literally stood over the contractor's shoulder while he built them because I had such a picture in my mind of what I wanted them to be and they turned out perfectly! And we got to save the side window that was original to the house. Again, everyone is winning.