Ready for a kitchen tour? It’s been a long time coming! This is my favorite room in our Tanglewood home and the brightest too! Let me show you around!
This is a huge post with lots and lots of pictures and the story of renovating an outdated kitchen into something we love!
OUR KITCHEN STORY
Our kitchen can be seen from four rooms in our home. And I must admit that knowing how to makeover this room was harder than I thought.
I’m so happy I waited and lived with the kitchen the way for 7 months before we started the big makeover project.
Moving from a style I embraced and love and was as easy to me as breathing air to a new style took some getting used to.
Although I adore Modern Farmhouse the Tanglewood House was much more contemporary. Talk about a style change!
I’m a firm believer that your home often tells you what style it is and this house certainly did! Modern Farmhouse just did not suit our new home.
So the big learning curve for me was how to take what I love and what my readers have come to know as my brand and create beauty in a new and more open and modern-ish home.
Transitional style became my new best decorating friend. It’s clean and classic lines mixed with bits of my beloved Modern Farmhouse style seemed just perfect for Tanglewood.
To be honest I’m still finding my way but I have learned a new way to decorate and a new style that I’m making my own.
We knew when we bought Tanglewood the kitchen was on the top of the list to make over.
But we were smart enough to live with our kitchen for a time to really know what we wanted!
WHAT WE DIDN’T CHANGE
Here were the things that we were not going to change…
- the location of the kitchen
- the footprint of the kitchen
- the windows
- the refrigerator
- the dishwasher
Everything else in our kitchen was made over. EV-REY-THING! The kitchen was a huge project so we hired a company to work with us from design concept to finish! I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted in this kitchen so I used our designer as a sounding board!
PAINTING VS REPLACING CABINETS
One of the biggest decisions we had to make was to replace or paint the existing cabinets.
We opted to paint the cabinets because the cabinets were new, good quality cabinets, and the right style for our new kitchen.
What a difference, right?
I’ve had a white kitchen for 26 years! I just could not imagine anything else. I did toy with painting the uppers and lowers different hues and then there was a minute I wanted to paint the millwork around the bar a moody blue… but only for a minute.
There were may reason I decided on a white kitchen and here are just a few reasons we chose white…
- white kitchen are classic
- our kitchen can be seen from so many other rooms in our home
- white works with my color palette
- kitchens are so expensive and I did not want it to be trendy
- white will always look in style
- I love a white kitchen
We chose to paint our kitchen the same colors as the rest of our home, Simply White by Benjamin Moore.
Our walls are flat paint and our trim and kitchen are semi-gloss. Just the difference in the way light hits the two surfaces gives them a slightly different look that will always work together.
ADDITIONAL KITCHEN CABINETS AND MORE
We also had glass front cabinets and crown molding installed above the existing cabinets all the way to the ceiling.
We opted to put a glass front on the center cabinet that is a bit smaller than the ones that flank it. My hope was to give a little interest to that long wall of upper and lower cabinets.
Another big change that might not be noticeable at first glance is the island.
The entire island was replaced with a more simple design to work better with the cabinets.
What a difference!
We also installed all new hardware on the cabinets and drawers.
This proved a bit harder than we thought.
The original hardware were pulls and the new bar-shaped hardware did not match up with the original holes for the pulls. So the holes needed to be filled in.
But there was another issue. The pulls left “ghost rings” on the cabinets. The back of the pulls dug into the cabinets a bit and dented it, leaving a light depressed ring in the wood of the cabinets. And that could be seen even when the cabinets were painted.
This was a process! The cabinet holes and ghost rings were filled in again and sanded and primed and painted for a second time! The Kitchen Company we were using did not catch this issue the first time around! But I did!!!!
The long bar hardware was a good fit for the style of our home house. We chose a brushed nickel for two reasons…
- I love the soft look of nickel
- and it worked with the hardware in the rest of our open-concept
I was wishing to go with gold tones but the concentration of gold tones in the U-shaped kitchen would have fought with appliances and the rest of the house.
Sometimes we have to make adjustments in our wishlist!
WHERE DID ALL THE OUTLETS GO?
Did you notice there is only one light switch on our backsplash and only one outlet that is hidden by the coffeemaker?
Can you see where the outlets are hiding?
To have our kitchen be up to code we would have had lots of outlets on our backsplash. And I did not want to break up the backsplash with outlets. So I had outlet and USB port strips installed up under the cabinets.
These are not visible unless you are looking up close from a crouching position like I was to take the image above.
We also have two pop-up outlets in our quartz countertop. These are amazing! And also have USB ports.
THE KITCHEN BACKSPLASH
Let’s talk about the backsplash. Please find a picture with the old backsplash above! What were they thinking!!!!!!
This was a big splurge. Because the kitchen was so monochromatic I wanted the backsplash to work with the white kitchen but show off the color palette of our home without being obvious. And bring a bit of pattern and texture to the kitchen.
The photographs do not do the backsplash justice. They are much more tonal than is shown.
We chose Calcutta Gold marble in a basketweave pattern. The grout is a soft white that matches the white tones in the marble.
Calcutta gold is my favorite marble. It is predominately white with areas of gray, beige, honey, and gold. A very good match for the overall color palette of our home.
One big tip for anyone who wants a white kitchen with white counters is to really be careful your countertop works with your cabinets.
Just like paint, Quartz also has lots of variations of yellow, gray, greige, pink, brown, and other tones. However, Quartz with all these undertones are considered white.
We chose Ultra White for our countertops for several reasons but the most important reason was Ultra White Quartz was spot on with the cabinet paint color. It was not too yellow and not too gray.
In an area with as much white as our kitchen I had to be very careful to get all the whites “right”. Too yellow or gray or any other undertones would have make the entire kitchen look off.
I also am not a big fan of a lot of wide or dark veining on counters. Ultra White has lovely soft muted light gray veins.
If you look carefully you can see a couple of the soft gray veins on the counter.
The counter has a simple edge. My mantra in this kitchen makeover was KEEP IT SIMPLE.
The “before” picture below shows the granite “step up” or leaning counter. This really closed our U shape kitchen in. I wanted the window area to feel like part of the kitchen and I wanted an easy place to serve a buffet located near the dining area.
But most importantly I really wanted a bar area with seating for gathering and eating.
Getting rid of the step-up really opened up this area!
We also curved the countertop on the bar side of the kitchen. It gives anyone who sits here a little extra counter space.
Here is where I make meals. I love that I can look out and see so much of our house. My sister says my kitchen is perfect for cooking shows! Spoken like the gourmet chef she is!
And here’s how this area looks from my side of the kitchen…
This U-shaped kitchen is so easy to cook in!
KITCHEN SINK AND FAUCET
While we are in this side of the kitchen let’s look at the sink. I’ve had lots of questions about this sink.
I knew I wanted a farmhouse sink and was leaning towards a hand-hammered stainless steel one. Until I saw this beauty!
It is a Composite Sink from Blanco. Made from ground granite and other materials. It is antibacterial, does not stain, is heat resistant, does not leave watermarks, and cleans up beautifully with soap and water!
I did my homework and chose this sink for its durability, ease, and color! The color is truffle. I just LOVE this sink!
Another smart feature about this sink is the divider only goes up halfway. This makes washing pots with handles so easy!
The companion to the sink is a smart faucet by Moen.
Without touching the faucet I can wave my hand and it will turn on. This is so convenient when I have food on my hands and they need a quick wash or I need to fill a measuring cup.
THE RANGE AND HOOD
Our range (look for image above) is from the GE Cafe Collection. Since we did not want to change the footprint of our kitchen we needed a range that would fit into a standard 30 ” space.
I really would have loved a big industrial oven with lots of burners and other amenities.
However, this range has 6 gas burners and a griddle attachment, two electric ovens that bake, broil, proof, one is also a convection oven, and more!
Its a great professional oven that fits in a traditional range space!
I LOVE this range. It was expensive but it is worth every penny since I like to cook.
We replaced the microwave above the oven and put it in the long closet to the left side of the refrigerator. And had a hood custom built over the range.
It exhausts so much better than the microwave! Now I can cook steaks on the griddle without setting the smoke detectors off! Yay!
The sweet seating area by the window is a work in progress. With three windows in a U shape, I just could not resist putting a banquette here. The banquette base is already done.
We opted for open cubbies to put baskets in to hide things like cookbooks and my grandbabies coloring books and little cars. The baskets bring a lot of texture to this area too!
But it has taken me forever to find the perfect fabric for custom seat cushions that will sit on top of the base. I literally have stacks of fabric swatches!
Finally, I found a fabric I love just last week! It adds a bit of pattern and color to the kitchen and works with the overall palette of our home. It’s classy and fun!
It’s a performance fabric called Beadlet Birch by Ballard Designs. We don’t have a Ballard close to us so Bobby and I took a road trip to see the fabric in person. It’s just what will make this area complete.
I do think I’ll have to pull up the dining area rug though. The pattern is too close to the cushion pattern. I really like this Ruggable rug! But finding a new rug for the dining area will be a lot easier than finding another fabric for the banquette cushions!
LIGHTING UP THE KITCHEN
The last major kitchen items we changed was the lighting. The original kitchen had canned or recessed lighting that drove me crazy! I’m not a fan of this harsh light!
We replaced most of the ceiling lights with lots of other lighting options all on dimmers! However, we did keep a couple canned lights.
The most obvious lighting are the large egg-shaped silver domed lights on rectangle link chains.
I understand these big pendant lights are not for everyone but I wanted something very different than most of the lighting I see now. I adore them!
When they were unwrapped I caught my breath!
They are huge and add a big punch of style to this white space!
The chains that hang the domes look nice with the backsplash!
At night these lights look gorgeous!
In the banquette area, we replaced the overhead chandy with wired in swing arm light above the windows. You can see one in one of the images above.
Lights were also installed in all the glass cabinets and under the cabinets too. At night we dimly light these areas.
There are still a few decorative things I want to do in the kitchen. I’m looking for some artwork and I want to paint and maybe recover the bar stools.
I’ve started to collect vintage breadboards to display too.
Well, that’s about it! It’s been quite a renovation during COVID!
These kitchen suites us! I hope to cook and entertain and show hospitality to friends old and new! And feed lots of family!
Tanglewood may be a home we downsized to but we have found it is our second forever home!
We want to fill it with friends and family and laughter and love for years to come!