When we were looking to buy our first house, I was secretly hoping to find one with a fixer-upper kitchen. My mom is a kitchen and bath designer, so I had the hook up! And while designing my own kitchen in our very first house isn’t the typical scenario, and I knew that I would probably be able to do it eventually, I sure am glad it worked out! 🙂
Took down a wall & expanded the kitchen – The old kitchen was very small (like really small) and contained the side entrance to the house. We decided to take down a wall and expand the kitchen into the 4th bedroom of the house. This required putting a 1 ton I-beam in the ceiling to replace the load-bearing wall. We also moved the kitchen over (to where the bedroom used to be), and added an informal dining area to the left of the kitchen. This also provided more space for the side entrance of the house.
Added a second pantry – There was an existing built-in cabinet for use as a pantry, but because we have a lot of kitchen appliances plus food to store, we wanted to add another. We moved the door from the side entrance coat closet to the adjacent wall (from the stairs to the kitchen-facing wall) so that we had another huge pantry. To be honest, this is one of my favorite features!
Refinished the hardwood floors – we found original maple flooring underneath the vinyl (score!) that we had sanded and refinished to a dark brown. We actually had the floors refinished throughout the whole house before we moved in so that everything matched and certain rooms wouldn’t have to be redone at a later time. (I’m so glad we did this!)
Added a ton of lighting – the old kitchen and bedroom only had one overhead light each and the house was very dark in the winter. We added overhead recessed can lighting on a dimmer switch (main lighting), under cabinet lighting on a dimmer for task lighting (when you need more light for chopping/reading a cookbook/prepping), and upper cabinet lighting on a dimmer (behind bubble glass cabinets) as well as three pendant lights over the island on a dimmer for ambience.
I wanted the kitchen style to match the period of the house – obviously a french country kitchen in a bungalow would look a little weird. I also scoured Pinterest for looks I liked (and used Joanna Gaines as an inspiration). To achieve the bungalow/craftsman look, we decided to go with flat-panel, inset doors and cabinets that went all the way to the ceiling. We also kept the original windows (these would’ve been super expensive to replace) and stained the wood trim to match the rest of the trim in the house. Other design elements include:
- Two toned custom cabinets (white and gray) and pulls (nickel and oil-rubbed bronze)
- Farmhouse sink in front of kitchen windows
- Light gray walls
- Granite countertops
- 9 foot butcher block island
- White subway tile backsplash with light gray grout
- Brand new, stainless steel kitchen appliances
- Custom cabinets with soft-close doors and drawers
- Pull out mixer stand
- Lazy suzan for pots and pans
- Built in spice drawer
- Built in silverware dividers
- Culligan reverse osmosis filtration system on sink
- Reverse osmosis filtered water and ice in fridge door
- Downdraft behind range (in place of a hood)
- Built-in two-zone wine fridge
- TV cabinet above fridge
Didn’t make the cut
The only other item on our wish list was a set of french doors that open directly to the backyard. Replacing the set of existing windows near the informal dining area was going to be too expensive for our budget, so we decided it would have to wait. However, we did make sure that all electrical and plumbing was clear of the area so that the demo and replacement will be easy if/when we do it.
It took 4 months but was well worth the wait! It’s true when they say everyone always gathers in the kitchen – I can now cook and entertain to my heart’s delight! What are your favorite features in your kitchen? What is on your list for your dream kitchen?