White Kitchen Remodel Reveal!
Building my little domestic church has given me such joy lately, and I wanted to share it with you! Kitchen remodels are just so dang satisfying.
When we bought our house in Winchester VA last year, John and I made a pact to remodel the original tiny kitchen. I couldn't be happier with the end result! I absolutely love baking with the kids and hosting friends. I'm one of 8 kids so hosting my parents and siblings just wasn't working for this little space. It's only been a week and we've already had a blast Christmas baking and sharing the space with good friends.
Let's do a before pic, shall we?
Dark, cramped, conflicting blues, and really weird wires laced across the ceiling because the previous owners were too cheap to wire the lights properly. Plus, not enough cabinet space so our front closet had to double as a pantry. Aaaaand, drumroll please...
Night and day difference, right?? This is my new happy place. Robin's egg blue is my absolute favorite color and it freshens up the whole space. John my artist husband chose the blue of the island- I was super nervous about picking the right dark blue- and I think he did a great job.
Here's some fun nerdy science behind why the original kitchen layout drove me so crazy. Remember the movie Cheaper by the Dozen? I loved that one as a kid. You may remember the parents, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, were efficiency scientists. In real life, Lillian Gilbreth not only mothered a dozen children but also pioneered "kitchen triangle" science. Basically, there are ideal space parameters between the 3 main kitchen appliances: Sink, stove, and fridge. There's supposed to be a minimum of 4 feet between each of those 3 appliances for maximum work efficiency. If you glance back at the original pic, you'll notice the kitchen triangle was tiny- probably only a foot between the sink and the stove!
The new layout makes a HUGE difference! We moved the stove/oven over to the adjoining wall so now everything's opened up and those triangle ideals are workin' for us. (Turns out, Lillian knew what she's talking about!) We reused two of the lower cabinets for the island and DIY'ed adding bead board and painting. Not only did it save on cost, but it also was absolutely awesome father-son bonding time for John and helper Raffy. And who doesn't love an island for extra storage and countertop space?
I can't over-emphasize the importance of a good contractor. I was very pleased with Cornerstone Construction in Front Royal, a family-owned company, for their excellent workmanship and attention to detail. There were a few small mistakes and some delays in our promised timelines, but they always took responsibility and worked hard to make sure that we were happy with the result. Plus they kindly built the lovely wooden open shelves at no extra charge. Highly recommend!
Friends, kitchen remodels are an investment. A worthy investment in my book, but a big one. I knew from the outset we couldn't do all the things. So in the Pinterest vision board phase, I asked myself, why do I like this or that picture? What makes it most appealing? Where does my eye go first? What's less important? As I sorted through photos, the key aspects of what I wanted from this project started to emerge. We eventually figured out where to DIY, where to reuse, and where to splurge to get the result we wanted.
The most important aesthetic things to me were light countertops (as close to a marble look as possible,) white cabinets, and subway tile backsplash. Trendy but not important to me: stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink, and one of those archy-lookin' faucets. So we reused our existing white appliances, reused our existing faucet, and opted for an undermount sink (which honestly I prefer for function and ease of being able to just wipe crumbs right in from the countertop.)
I'll also share links below to some of the lower-cost-than-you'd-expect items we were able to score with a bunch of research. I don't get an affiliate commission for recommendations; I just feel like friends don't let friends overspend unnecessarily. You're welcome.
I wouldn't have minded the shaker style that's popular right now, but John requested we go for something more classic. Since he made very, very few design requests, I happily accommodated :) We found a design called Kinsdale that I think strikes a nice balance between timeless and modern. We got 42" cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling and I'm absolutely shocked at how much bigger the room feels...plus the extra storage space is divine. (Side note: a lot of people warned me I'd hate white cabinets with little kids, but I already lived with them for a year in one of our rentals when the kids were tiny. They never bothered me and I didn't feel like I had to clean them constantly. So I felt good about living with white cabinets and little again!)
The open shelves saved us some dough. Functionally, they're brilliant. When I unload the dishwasher now, our everyday plates, bowls and glasses go right on the open shelves (and then right off again when we need them throughout the day.) Some people dream of being a CEO or an astronaut; I'm living my dream of having an efficient kitchen.
Here's the link to the cabinet hardware. It looks darker in the photo above, but below you can see the nice bronze/gold sheen. I got the 3 3/4" length ones and I love the sophisticated touch and how they fit my hand. They were also a sweet deal.
This was one of our splurges. I kept reading about how soft, stain-prone, and expensive marble is...but that didn't stop me from swooning over dreamy, veined slabs on Pinterest. When I found Carrara Lumos quartz, I was thrilled! Not only is it beautifully veined and wonderfully shiny, but it's indestructible, heat-resistant, and impossible to stain. Perfect choice for rough-and-tumble family life.
I just can't stop looking at them! Every time I tell John I'm going to wipe down the countertops he says, "You mean caress them?" I'm pretty sure they love me back.
Yes, everyone and their mother has subway tile on the remodel blogs...for a while I fought it, but then I just had to admit to myself that I LOVE SUBWAY TILE. So, I stopped fighting and just went with it. (Here's the one we got on Amazon.) The grout from Lowes is a shade called "warm gray." I think it warms up the space and helps keep it from looking sterile. It was a nice DIY weekend project, and tiling really wasn't that difficult to learn. Thanks, YouTube!
Lighting is so much more important than I realized. Previously, we had only 2 single bulb overhead lights in the kitchen. Dark and depressing. Adding in 6 recessed lights and 2 pendant lights above the island makes more of a difference than I ever imagined it would. It's always happy in here now!
The one thing I was sad to lose from the old kitchen was the large window overlooking the backyard and koi pond. I love me some natural light. So I came up with the crazy idea of putting a smaller window over the stove, and wow! I get to look out on the pond and it adds a feeling of airiness to the space. I haven't seen this anywhere else, not even Pinterest. Possibly a trendsetter, no?
To keep it to code we had to install the range hood no more than 36 inches above the stove. 3 feet is plenty of space in my book for a decent-sized window.
For the pendant lights above the island, I scored these from Amazon for just $23 each! The pretty bubbles in the glass feel like you're looking into a glass of champagne. I'll probably get Edison bulbs for that cool spirally effect once I get my act together.
After an accidental miscommunication about a fan we intended to reuse, our contractor kindly absorbed the cost for this dining room chandelier. This was one of my favorite surprises we hadn't planned on to fanci-fy the space and add even more light! Shabby chic is my spirit animal.
You can also see below how it ties the kitchen in with the dining room wall where a vintage gold mirror hangs above a white mantelpiece. (And you can see a glimpse of our Advent Jesse tree on the mantel too lol!)
And there you have it, folks. Super-pregnant Stacey is happily nesting and cooking up all sorts of comfort food. Say, if you can't make it to our house for dinner in Winchester, you may want to consider dining with me in Israel on my upcoming 2022 Holy Land Pilgrimage! I'm stoked to walk in the places where Jesus lived, try the world's best hummus and pita, bring home a bottle of olive oil from the Mount of Olives, and celebrate mass afloat on the Sea of Galilee. Bucket list: check. Explore it further here and reach out to me with any questions whatsoever!
To whet your travel appetite, enjoy my interview with Khaled Jacoub, founder of Nativity Pilgrimage, the tour company I'm proud to partner with for this adventure. He shares what it was like growing up a 5 minute walk from where Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and his favorite sites to visit in the Holy Land.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you got a little inspiration and joy!