The final design was a collaboration of our custom cabinet maker, Oscar, my husband and myself. As I’ve said before, we were not changing the layout at all – only adding to it and tweaking things. We also came away from the quoting/cabinet search process with a lot of ideas.
To give you a frame of reference, here is a CAD drawing the hubs did of the existing kitchen:
Basically an unconnected L-shape with an island. The workflow triangle isn’t perfect with the refrigerator on the same wall as the sink, but it’s the best it could be for the space. That exterior door leads to the garage, to the right is our breakfast area and open to the kitchen off the back is our family room.
This is the initial proposed drawing hubs did after we had talked through some ideas. The final design ended up a little different with a few changes.
With our sink facing a wall, we wanted to get creative on how to open that space up to make it feel lighter, less closed in like most wall facing sinks tend to feel. I had initial thoughts about just two sets of shorter end unit shelves with a hanging pendant in the middle over the sink for light, but that didn’t feel right and wouldn’t make the most use of the space. So we settled on floating open shelves running the length above the sink in between those cabinets. We ended up with two 36″ uppers on either side and the floating shelves a whopping 43″.
In kitchens, symmetry wherever and whenever possible looks best, so I thought it would look nice to have those 36″ cabinets split into three 12″ – a 24″ with two doors and then a single 12″. When I suggested that Oscar asked if we wanted to do glass in those cabinets to open things up even more. We weren’t sure at first, but the more we looked around at ideas and thought about it, the more we liked the idea. So the two single 12″ uppers closest to the floating shelves ended up with glass doors.
One other last minute detail we added – recessed lights in the shelves above the sink. They are hollow, so perfect for wiring and we needed something other than the ugly wall mounted fluorescent that was there. I found these xenon low-voltage (cooler than LED’s) puck lights on Pegasus.com that came in white and can be recessed to show only a 1/16″ lip.
Oscar urged us to do open shelving EVERYWHERE. – or at least also on the range wall instead of uppers. I am sure it would look great, but I’m too OCD to have all of my stuff exposed on open shelves and we have A LOT of kitchen stuff due to our love of cooking. We stuck with upper cabinets on the range wall, but instead of having a low hanging microwave unit, we opted for a stainless range hood to again open things up. We’ll also get better exhaustion with an actual hood even with it set up as recirculating.
Before we were officially clients, Oscar gave us a tour of his own kitchen as his “showroom” since it was similar to the style we wanted and had some unique design features. One thing he had done was incorporate more large drawers because he felt they were more user-friendly than having to open a door, bend down, look into a cabinet, etc. We knew we wanted drawers and we initially thought we wanted them in the island, but later decided it made the most sense to have drawers on either side of the stove for storing pots and pans. So we put all drawer bases for the lowers on that wall instead of standard base cabinets and we took back the 3 inches of empty space on either side of that wall that was just wasted. What were previously 21 inch base cabinets will now be 24 inches. We ended up not doing all drawers in the island because we will keep baking items, like bowls, casserole dishes, and cake pans there and roll-out trays made more sense to me than digging through a drawer and not being able to see except from directly above.
We got creative on the stove wall by adding a recessed shelf and a pot filler. We actually were able to pay for the pot filler with credit card points – so yay for saving money! The hubs framed out the hole for the shelf himself and plans to do the plumbing for the pot filler too. We thought the idea of a pot filler was a lost cause because of the need to run new plumbing, but in him talking it through with buddies at work, our half bath plumbing is directly behind/below that wall so splicing off of it would be/should be easy. I’m gonna feel so fancy with ma shelf and pot filler!
Because we took back that 6 inches of cabinet space on the stove wall, we needed to push out the island to match. So it went from 72 inches wide (we had two standard 36″ cabinets) to 78 inches wide. I really wanted to find a spot for a tray divider cabinet and a small pantry pull-out for my baking supplies if possible. Fortunately with the wider island, it made sense to add them there. We could do two 30″ standard base cabinets and two 9″ cabinets to get to the total width of 78. One 9″ became a tray divider and one 9″ because the pantry pull-out. Yay! We made sure to put two roll-out trays/drawers in the bottom of the two 30″ base cabinets of the island for ease of finding/reaching for baking dishes, pie plates, cake pans, mixing bowls, etc. Basically, I’ve turned our island into baking central and that makes me giddy as a schoolgirl.
In addition, I liked how islands looked when they had support from a column or something other than corbels so that looking from the side it appeared to be a finished piece of furniture with no ugly overhang, but the space in between the supports is still open for stools/seating. Then I saw a few kitchens that used that space for bookshelves and I loved that idea – rather than just a column, you’d actually make it into something useful. It could be a pretty spot to display something and a place to hold the cookbooks we use the most. We had Oscar add small bookshelves on the backside facing out for the counter support instead of using corbels. It added a tiny bit to the cost, but we think will totally worth be it.
The final thing we added that increased the cost of the overall project slightly was a coffee station. We noticed that Oscar had this extra cabinet that was more shallow than standard depth base cabinets in his kitchen where they kept their Keurig and coffee mugs. We really liked that idea being coffee
lovers freaks because our Keurig takes up valuable counter top real estate, we also recently purchased a combo coffee/espresso maker for those Saturday morning cups and we have amassed a collection of coffee and coffee cups. The coffee station also solved a problem we had not been able to come to a consensus on regarding the microwave and where to put it. Because we were doing away with the over-the-range microwave in lieu of a beautiful range hood, we had to purchase a counter top microwave, but didn’t want it to take up 20 square feet a few square feet of counter top space either. My idea was to pop a new outlet in the pantry and hide it away in there, but the hubs was never crazy about that idea. With the addition of the coffee station, we could build an opening for the microwave in the top of it with a cabinet and drawer around it. The coffee station ended up being 18″ deep and 45″ wide to sit on the open wall beside our fridge. The really neat feature that Oscar added for us were push-to-open drawers in the place of kick plates where we will keep the dogs’ food bowls. They will be hidden away!
Here is a sneak at the final design drawing Oscar did for us.
The sink wall:
As you can see on the island, we added an X-factor (har har har) to the panels to make it a bit finished and unique. This was another idea we stole from Oscar’s kitchen.
The range/stove wall and coffee station:
We landed on recessed drawer and doors instead of the full overlay. We might lose a tiny bit of storage space, but the amount we were gaining would more than make up for it. We both agreed it would look cleaner, give us the appearance of more space in the room and he was willing to do it for the same price as full overlay.
The colors we chose for the cabinets were Benjamin Moore White Dove (Oscar says it’s the same as Sherwin-Williams’ Dover White, which is where he buys his paint) for the perimeter and Benjamin Moore Ebony King lightened slightly so that it was a more noticeable grey instead of just looking like black for the island.
Next up we will talk about shopping for counter tops!