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Welcome to the kitchen project

I’m going to start our big kitchen project by saying that our kitchen in fine.

It’s nice enough and is easy on the eyes, however, it does not optimize the space we have to work with. Every inch should be considered in a 1,100sf house, and we are trying to get closer to having the most functional version of our house as possible.

We’ve thought about this a lot. We’ve weighed the pros and cons of pouring a bunch of money into this house that we definitely won’t be living in for more than a couple more years, and ultimately decided that redoing the kitchen would be worth it. Homes in our area do sell for more after significant home improvements, and luckily there is always a market for houses in our area. Plus, we love a project!

We are still in the early phases of dreaming up a kitchen, but step one for us has been identifying what isn’t working for us in our current kitchen.

  • Our biggest issue with the kitchen is that it is underutilizing space. We have so much more room to take advantage of! We plan on adding lower cabinets to the side with the window, but that will require moving the window, which he still haven’t decided if that is something we want to attempt to DIY or hire out. I’m leaning towards bringing in the pros for that step.

  • Just an aesthetic issue here, but I despise the staggered upper cabinets. We had talked a while ago about doing an easy fix and just chopping off the tallest one to meet the height of the others, but ultimately decided that we were up for a more ambitious project. Plus, as a 5’2 woman, upper cabinets suck. I have to get up on a step stool to reach almost everything in this kitchen.

  • We have a serious lack of storage. Especially when it comes to pantry room, which is only one upper cabinet. We plan on adding a larger pantry in the new kitchen and more drawers. Our current lower cabinets are giant gaping holes without any shelving, so they could also be way more efficient.

current—right side of the kitchen
current—left side of the kitchen

After identifying what we don’t like, we put together a list of what we think we want.

  • The biggest thing we want is to utilize the currently empty left side of our kitchen. We will make this space into a true galley kitchen and more than double our functional storage and countertop space.

  • I want tall pantry cabinets.

  • I want to incorporate wood somewhere.

  • A marble slab backsplash is my current favorite kitchen design trend. I would love to incorporate that element, but honestly have been too scared to look at the numbers.

  • No upper cabinets! I still want our space to feel open and give the illusion that it is bigger than it actually is. I think eliminating uppers will help it feel less crammed and flow better to the rest of the house.

  • Ikea. We want to mostly do this ourself, so Ikea is a good affordable option with a lot of different finishing options with companies like semihandmade, The Cabinet Face, and others.

  • As far as aesthetic, we want it to match the rest of the house. Our house is a modern craftsman with red oak flooring and light and bright. We like white and wood, natural materials, clean lines, and a nod to the past. I’ve been pinning kitchen ideas for a while and have just started to see what a solid direction for our kitchen. I feel like there is a fine line between modern and farmhouse when it comes to wood kitchens, and I want to make sure we come out on the modern side with a vintage flair.

Dislikes, likes, wants and dreams are all taken into consideration and now we are moving on the second part of the project. How are we going to make this happen?

  • The first big technical issue we need to resolve is our window on the right side. It either needs to move up a couple of feet or we need to get a smaller one. We will likely need to hire this portion of the project out.

  • Tied for first with big things we need to figure out is budget. Our budget for this project is 10-15k. I know that budgets are a touchy topic and for some people that will seem like a huge number (🙋‍♀️) and some people will be wondering how we can get any of the things on our want list for that amount. We are prepared for compromises.

  • Figuring out what is possible with Ikea. We started this part is SketchUp and plan on taking our plans to Ikea and having them help us put an order together in the store. These sketches aren’t finalized yet, but we are getting pretty close!

SketchUp—right side of kitchen
SketchUp—left side of kitchen

The most fun part of this step has been starting to think about finishes. We are choosing to take our time with this project, which gives us more time to think through every detail. So far, I’ve ordered 8 cabinet front samples and am starting to get a better idea about what I want.

plan—right side of kitchen
plan—left side of kitchen

We don’t have any aspect of this project set in stone (except for our budget lol), and I’m excited to see how it evolves along the way! I am hoping that we can figure out the window situation sooner than later and get a better idea of where that leaves our budget. I’m also going to challenge myself to mockup a few more design options to see if I can come up with something I like even more. Stay tuned for those, and stay tuned for the delayed gratification of this long format project! We are planning on starting this in late spring/early summer, so we still have a long way to go before we really get to the fun stuff!

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