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Our kitchen and pantry have seen many revisions. What we started out with and thought we were moving forward with has completely changed. In the best way! The kitchen has occupied my thoughts for over a year, so I’m happy that the house is framed, we’ve made our selections, and there’s no going back now.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and in some instances, sells the house. So no pressure, right? Thankfully, we employed the services of a designer to bring to life the European vision I had in my head. But that wasn’t without trying to make it work on my own first.
But before we do a rendering reveal, I’ll get into what we’re not doing and what we changed, in hopes that it may help someone else in the middle of a renovation, makeover, or build.
Our Kitchen Plan Before We Changed Our Plans
When we were first given back our plans (that we ended up changing), we were given the layout of the kitchen below:
I thought it was a little on the smaller side, but it was also the biggest kitchen we’ve ever had, so I wasn’t complaining much. (I do see the flaws now, but I didn’t see them until they were pointed out to me.)
I felt stuck on how to execute the design, so I hired a few random freelancers on Etsy and Fiverr and sent them each the same mood board to see what they could come up with so I could get an idea of what to do with the design.
(In hindsight, this is not the best way to do something. Always research who you’re hiring and pick someone with your style and plenty of experience in the field!)
This is what they came back with:
Pretty. But though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I felt like it wasn’t quite “there” yet. So I sent the original layout to the company we’re ordering cabinets from, and they came back with the design below:
We were getting even further from what I wanted, but of course, I don’t necessarily expect a cabinet company to design a European space. They focus more on specs and the technical aspect of cabinets.
But basically, I was stuck! I wanted that custom European look and wasn’t able to do it myself. At this point, I was realizing how much of an investment a kitchen is and how much I would regret it if I didn’t move forward with something I was confident in. So I rehired the team that did our exterior to design our kitchen.
Our New (and Current) Kitchen Plan
It didn’t take long for them to come back with very helpful and needed suggestions. Such as, the range should be centered behind the island for a focal point and the fridge right next to the range was making that side very heavy.
With some clever ideas to move the fridge and build it in, therefore centering the range and making the whole kitchen bigger, we settled on this:
You can see that the footprint of the kitchen has increased in size. And yes, we made the island about 6 inches wider too.
And even the black and white elevations look pretty!
Yes, we’ve made a lot of changes to this build. But thankfully, all of these changes were done at the right time. We’ve never had to reorder anything nor has our builder had to redo any work. It’s hard to feel thankful for delays and being so far off schedule, but if that meant having the time and opportunity to change these major things, then it’s almost worth it. Almost. 😉
From the exterior to the kitchen, I’m really glad that I listened to my gut when it wasn’t feeling right – even if I wasn’t the one that was able to fix it. These things are not so easy to change later and at the risk of sounding dramatic, I think they’re going to be life-changing. As in they’ll change the way we feel about the home, use it, and do daily life.
A drywall (and then maybe plastered) custom range hood with a slight curve will be the focal point and European statement for the kitchen.
It was a tough decision between painted or stained cabinets, but ultimately, we chose stained white oak cabinets, mainly because of upkeep. I love painted cabinets and the color options, but speaking from experience, painted cabinets show wear and tear more – or at least it’s harder to hide.
I don’t mind scuffs and dings, but I didn’t want cabinets I’d have to touch up with a paintbrush. Plus, Titus wanted wood and I guess he gets some say too. 😉 What is it about men and wood? Oh, and not painting brick!
For the cabinets, I chose an inset style with molding. I love this feature because it’s like the classic shaker style, but with an elegant Parisian touch.
Choosing appliances is tough. The research. The stress. You want to pick something that not only looks great but will last too.
After much research, we landed on the Bosch panel-ready dishwasher, the Fisher & Paykel panel-ready fridge, and the Ilve range. The dishwasher and refrigerator are not much to look at (they need panels), but we’ve already received the range and it is just stunning. Ilve is an Italian brand and to get that look of a European kitchen, I felt like I needed a European stove!
Though we spent more on cabinets and appliances than we originally set out to (the prices of panel-ready appliances were a blow to the budget, to say the least), I’ve learned my lesson that it’s worth it, in the long run, to pay more upfront for the look and style you want.
For countertops, I plan on doing a marble-looking stone countertop. I would do real marble if I could get the hubby on board!
A few other design features that I love: a shelf in front of the window for potted herbs, unlacquered brass hardware, a brass faucet, brass pot filler, and a farmhouse sink, to name a few.
I’ve never had a pantry before, let alone a walk-in pantry. Or a kitchen island. Well, or a gas range. I’ve never actually had new cabinets before either. Who am I now – the Queen of England?!
Just like the kitchen, the pantry has seen some revisions as well. This was the original size of the pantry:
I was more than happy with this. As I said earlier, we’ve never even had a pantry before so I was geeking out about all that extra space. So the fact that we had the opportunity to make it even bigger was an unexpected surprise.
We had to take some space from the laundry/mudroom to make this happen (which I’ll explain more in the next home post), and though everyone’s priorities are different, we would 100% rather have a bigger pantry than a bigger place to throw in a load of laundry or take off our coat.
Especially because pantries these days are multipurpose and can be coffee bars, cleaning stations, medicine cabinets, and prep areas.
Because this space is a little narrower and won’t exactly fit standard-size cabinets, we are going the route of custom cabinets instead of floor-to-ceiling shelving. Plus, it provides the opportunity for a countertop which I really wanted.
I designed one side to look like a built-in bookcase or hutch. My plan is to display all my pretty dishes and serving trays here.
On the other side, this area will be a little coffee bar (wasn’t wide enough for a sink, but that’s okay), as well as extra storage.
In the back, you’ll see a broom closet for cleaning supplies. And on the empty wall (not pictured), we’ll maximize space by hanging up hooks to hang things like aprons, extra towels, or a step stool.
Since we’re limited on space in our rental, we have learned to limit our food to 1 1/2 cupboards. We’ve also had to pare down to fit all our pots and pans and cooking and baking supplies to fit on a little storage table. Between the kitchen and pantry, I know that we have more than enough space!
Since the pantry is not as high-traffic as the kitchen, I will be doing painted cabinets and marble countertops! There is a 6-foot window in this room and I’m thinking the natural light, combined with the bright and airy selections, is going to make this my favorite spot.
Overall, I’m extremely grateful that I get to call a space like this home – soon! This season hasn’t been without its lows, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And I know it will all be worth it.
I’ve got my last mood board post going live next week and then I’ll wait to share anything until the finishes are starting! In the meantime, if you want Old World inspiration for your kitchen, then check out Copper Kitchen Decorating Ideas That Will Add Instant Old World Charm