They say the kitchen is the heart of the home and that is really true for us.
One of the reasons we fell in love with the house was the kitchen. We couldn’t get over how open it felt, even with the giant island. Oh, that island. I instantly fell in love with it when we saw a model home of this house design in January 2015.
It’s a 9′ long x 4′ deep island… that was more countertop than our previous kitchen, and that is just the island!
We were 99% sure on the house but still compared other house designs from other builders to the openness and layout of this design, prior to us signing the contract on a house. Ultimately, the Monroe model from Ashton Woods won out and we signed our contract in spring of 2016.
Then the real fun began… selecting options and finishes at the design studio.
I normally like white, white, white but when we saw the grey shaker cabinets of one of the kitchens in the design studio, we were hooked. It wasn’t a typical wood veneer finish and the grey was a great option on incorporating some color into the house, besides furniture and decor.
One thing I would not budge on was having white countertops. Our last kitchen has black ones it while the finishes of that kitchen worked together in that space, I hated the dark countertops. It was really tough to photograph process pictures for food recipes, and I just love the look of light countertops. I think they really help with making a space feel larger and brighter. (They look yellowish in the photos but it’s white- trust me, there is no way I would have picked anything else!)
The standard options for both the cabinet style and finish and countertops would need to be upgraded to achieve our desired look.
We picked a blend of upgraded cabinet styles for our kitchen. The grey shaker cabinets that are the majority of the cabinetry in the kitchen was a Level 6 (ouch… $$$), and the white shaker style was a Level 4 (not such an ouch!). Besides the color the biggest difference between them was the drawer style and construction of the door panels.
By blending the 2 cabinet styles we saved $513. The blend works as the white cabinets are only at the island and therefore are primarily visible in the kitchen work area, not particularly visible from the rest of the house, especially from the living room and backyard.
The standard countertop is granite, but the finish options they had were too dark and busy for our preferences. We had the option of upgrading to a composite material or marble. While marble is incredibly gorgeous, we opted for a composite as it was a fraction of the cost. I love how it is bright it is with a nice fleck pattern that is not distracting.
Our builder has a lot of options for cabinet styles to have a custom kitchen that you design to your design aesthetic and needs. Some builders do not have these options so this was one of the reasons we were drawn to them. I really appreciated the ability to customize the kitchen, even when the cost of some of these items we could customize was cost prohibitive.
One of the big things that I wanted to do in the kitchen was to remove the standard cabinet mounted microwave that was mounted above the stove for a microwave that was integrated into a base cabinet($130 add). This one thing great transformed our kitchen by having a hood installed over the stove. We were provided with a $1,458 for removing the 3 cabinets originally spec’d for the wall.
Then we further opened up the look of the wall by removing the cabinets on either side of the hood (receiving a credit for this) and installing floating shelves. The wood finished shelves we installed were from Threshold at Target. They are 4″ shallower than the grey shelves we could have installed at by the cabinet builder, but they only provided a flat price per shelf, so a 20″ long shelf would cost the same as a 8′ long one. We were not paying $468 per shelf that was less than 2′-0″ long! Hell no. So our $30 a shelves are working just fine for us.
In addition do those custom changes we added a tall filler panel next to the fridge and swapped out a base cabinet that came with doors for base cabinet that has drawers. We had wanted to do an integrated trash cabinet but the price exceeded our budget so we installed a pull out after we moved in.
The builder had plenty of options for backsplashes but the ones that we liked were very expensive (go figure!). We decided to leave the wall bare with just paint as we save up for a tile that we like. As well, we have the option of installing a pot filler above the stove as we have a pre plumbed for an utility sink in the garage, and it worked out that the location of that is almost directly behind the stove. So we don’t want to tile the wall yet, just to rip some of it out for the faucet.
The only architectural change we made in the kitchen was that we omitted the closet at the door that leads from the kitchen to the garage. We knew we wanted to put the pie safe there and the closet would not have allowed it. The pie safe works really well there as storage for our Pyrex and it’s a feature right at the entry that we use most often.
The walk in pantry is directly opposite the garage door so it makes dropping off groceries in there really easy.
One of the littlest things in our kitchen is one of my favorite things. We had an air switch installed for our disposal. This is a button that is intergrated into the counter that you press when you want to turn your disposal on and off. I like the look of this and I also like that I don’t need t open and close the cabinet below the sink to use a switch every time I want to use the disposal.
We had some issues with the install of the microwave cabinet which still need to be adjusted by the millwork company, but the responsibility with scheduling them is in my court. Ya know, just been a bit busy lately with a newborn!
We sit at the metal stools and the table in the ‘Breakfast Area’ most often for meals, while our dining room gets used a bit less. As it is getting day to day use we wanted that to look homey and casual. We reused a table and a set of chairs that we had refinished that we had in Boston. I like how both our stools and these chairs are fun colors.
I found beautiful palm prints on Etsy from the WildBOOK store. We wanted something bold on the wall and these worked out perfectly. I had them printed at 24 x 36 and put them into simple white frames from IKEA.
The drapes we have on the slider are from IKEA and also add some fun color to the space. We layered 2 sheers using the VIDGA triple curtain rail system. The inner curtain is FLÖNG, a patterned sheer, and the outer one is AINA, a blue light weight linen. We use the same curtains and set up in our living room as well.
Also, like our dining room, we need a ceiling light junction box relocated. They centered the junction box for the light fixture centered in the space but we prefer the table to be centered on the wall with the palm prints instead. We removed the standard fixture and installed the really affordable pendant that I picked up on an Ikea run recently. The $30 JASSA pendant and the $10 wired SEKOND cord gives the area a more casual look which works well for the feel of the breakfast area that we are going for. When we have the junction box in the dining room moved, we will have this moved as well so that the light is centered over the table and then can hang lower above the table. But the $40 fix works for us now.
I also have high hopes of getting a fiddle leaf fig plant in the corner next to the sliding glass doors, but I am afraid it will feel too trendy and I’ll kill it. I’ll have to figure something out soon. Once I find a great pot for it I will be inspired to get a plant. I am looking for something modern looking. Totally open to suggestions!
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