Pearls of Wisdom From a Real-Life Kitchen Remodel

I remodeled our kitchen and dining room. Recently, a friend who is about to embark on her own remodel asked me what I wish I had done differently or what I wish I had thought of before making certain design decisions.I am mostly thrilled with our remodel. There are maybe a couple of things I would change, but for the most part, I got exactly what I wanted: a sleek, neutral kitchen with lots of counter and cupboard space. It’s not Architectural Digest material, but it is real life, and it definitely works for me.

Advice I can offer:1. Think a lot about the stuff you have. Are you a baker with lots of cake pans and cookie sheets? Do you have a lot of tall items, like juicers, blenders and mixers? How many wineglasses do you have? The configuration of your cabinets and drawers should be designed with all of this in mind. Make lists of what you have and go from there.

2. You probably don’t need a fancy restaurant-style $6,000 stove, even though they are pretty.

3. Think about the light you need and then increase it by 50 percent. Our contractor talked us out of additional pot lights, and it is my biggest complaint about the new kitchen. Light that baby up like a football stadium.

4. There is almost nothing as useful as really big, deep drawers for pots, pans and other large items.

5. A tile backsplash is not necessary, but if you can swing it, it sure does make a difference. Tile is the jewelry of the kitchen.

6. There is no such thing as a perfectly indestructible countertop. I love our white Caesarstone — it doesn’t stain, it doesn’t burn, and it doesn’t need any special care, but it has a few small chips in it already.

Those are my pearls of wisdom. If you’ve gone through a kitchen remodel, what are yours? Feel free to share before and after photos. We can’t get enough of those transformations.

BEFORE: My tiny, cheap stove was trapped between cupboards, and there was zero counter space.
AFTER: Counter space next to the stove; I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I also love the dual-purpose vent and microwave — great for a small space. We went for the lip of counter on the wall for usability and ease of cleaning. The tile is just for pretty.
BEFORE: We kept our dishes on open shelves. It was easy to grab them, but the ones we used less often got dusty. Plus, they looked chaotic.
AFTER: I still have open shelves, but now they are for cookbooks and dry goods. Our dishes and glassware are all in cupboards, where they stay nice and clean.
BEFORE: We got rid of these two walls, opening the kitchen up to the living room.
AFTER: The old wall would have gone though the middle of the new dining table. Having an open kitchen has completely relieved me of ever feeling trapped in the kitchen while my family or guests hang out without me.
AFTER: The whole, open shebang.
What I love: Vertical pan racks in a skinny cupboard. All flat things go in here, and it saves a ton of space and searching around.
What I might change: We have awkward corner cupboards, and we opted for sturdy wooden lazy Susans in both. They work well for baking supplies and canned goods, but if I could do over these areas, I think I would opt for pullout drawers in one corner.

My pullout spice rack is fine, but it was actually designed for bottles of oil and vinegar and the like. Because it is too far away from the stove and I’ve found that I don’t like reaching down for such things, I keep the bottles in an upper cupboard right next to the stove, along with the spices I use most often. So now I have this whole rack dedicated to spices I use only occasionally. I call it my cardamom cupboard.

(original article from Houzz:


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