Kitchen – the finale…

This kitchen “finale” is about bringing it full circle – the planning phase, did it work out like we expected, and highlights to remember.  Fair warning – it is a bit wordy…

We had 3 goals we wanted to accomplish with our kitchen project – we wanted our space to be functional, open and visually unobtrusive, and unique – previously presented in our biggest DIY to date.



Goal#1:  Functional – accomplished.  This is how I got an organized and functional kitchen.

1.  I went through my kitchen stuff and got rid of the stuff I didn’t use, didn’t like, or didn’t need.  I also got rid of the duplicate items I had collected over the years.  Kitchens are expensive and I didn’t want to pay for cabinet space that I didn’t need.

2.  I then took inventory of what I had – dishes, glasses, mugs, silverware, utensils, pots & pans, baking dishes, cheese grater, pot holders, serving dishes, mixing bowls, toaster, dish cloths/towels, paper towels, food storage containers/lids, plastic baggies, foil, parchment paper, garbage bags, baking stuff (hand mixer, measuring cups/spoons, cake pans, muffin tins, rolling pin, cookie cutters), miscellaneous (drink containers, blender, lunch bags, small food processor), cookie sheet, cooling rack, extra cutting board, minimal cleaning supplies, fire extinguisher, recycling bin, garbage container, a single cookbook/binder, fondue pot (we love fondue), essential spices/seasonings, tea, minimal “pantry” items, cat food, and a “junk” drawer.

3.  I assigned items to specific cabinets/drawers in my proposed cabinetry plan – to make sure I planned the right amount of storage space (I didn’t want to under or over plan).  Item locations were based on where the items are used (for example – utensils and pots & pans next to the stove).  Here is my proposed plan.  Pardon the hand drawings. It’s not fancy but they were good enough to get a permit and got us to the finished product.  So, I figure they are good enough to show off here as well.

The South Wall – proposed and actual…

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The skinny cabinet next to the stove was a source of much discussion in the planning and implementation phase.  It seemed kind of weird being only 6-ish inches wide but it was necessary because I didn’t want the stove right up against the wall. The 6 inch countertop provides an area for my container of kitchen utensils. The cabinet itself ended up working out perfectly for the cookie sheet, cooling rack, and extra cutting board. I was skeptical at first, but it worked out great.


The drawer next to the stove is for the potholders, knives, and other miscellaneous utensils.  The pullouts below house the pots and pans and baking dishes.  I initially thought I would do lid storage in one pullout and the pots/pans in the other pullout.  I ended up with plenty of space so I am able to store the lids with their respective pots/pans – this is optimal in my opinion so I am happy with this outcome.  The cheese grater also ended up there – only because I thought it looked good there.

Under sink storage – my cleaning supplies are minimal so they fit in there just fine – along with the fire extinguisher.

Next is the dishwasher – right next to the sink – and the reason we expanded the kitchen 2 feet into the sunroom.


Turning the corner – we do have a dead space corner here.  I felt like it wasn’t needed storage so I was ok with not utilizing the space (and the access options seemed odd.)  We put a note in there for the next people who remodel the place (we are hoping it won’t be us!)  Since we finished the project, we have seen a couple of mini wine refrigerators that we think would fit in there (access would be from the other side of the peninsula) – we don’t really drink a lot of wine but it would be a cool feature to have and a great place for bottles of sparkling water…

The West Elevation/Peninsula – proposed and actual…

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The junk drawer houses the flashlight, scissors, extra keys, the occasional coupon, etc.


The pullouts below store serving dishes, mixing bowls, and the toaster.

On the end is the silverware drawer and the cookbook cabinet below.  Tad also stores extra bottles of pop here.  This cabinet was originally planned to house the garbage container.  When it finally came together I didn’t like the idea of garbage in a cabinet – I know it is weird because everybody has garbage containers in cabinets – I am just not used to it.


The North Wall – proposed and actual…

Scan 2


The upper part of the left hand cabinet is our “pantry”.  I can see the shocked faces and hear the doubting voices out there.  It is unbelievable (maybe even unfathomable to some) that we don’t have a pantry the size of a small bedroom.  Here’s the story – I work hard to not eat  prepared food, processed food, and junk food – so, I don’t  have the need to store a ton of canned goods, boxed goods, bagged goods, snacks, and such.  We also aren’t the buy in bulk kind of people – we only buy what we use – it works for us.  As a result, we have a single shelf for cereal, oatmeal, brown sugar (for the oatmeal), pasta, dried beans, back up Nance’s mustard (the best mustard ever) and the occasional bag of chips or crackers.

DSCN2162    Nance's Mustard

Another shelf is dedicated to a few basic spices, salt, pepper, vanilla, baking soda and powder, olive oil, vegetable oil,  flour, sugar for the occasional cookie recipe, tea – and the fondue pot (yum, yum fondue!)  We like to keep food preparation basic and simple – if a recipe calls for a bunch of specialty items, I don’t make it.

The additional upper pullouts are for items not used very often – extra dishes mostly.

Below the microwave is a pullout with foil, parchment paper, food storage baggies, and garbage bags.  Below the pullout is the recycle bin and the cat food (both of which were stored in another room in the old kitchen – good to have these items conveniently located now).


In the middle of this wall is obviously the open shelving for every day dishes, glasses, mugs.  You can see that initially I thought I would do only one shelf and and an upper cabinet to hide the mugs (I thought the mugs didn’t really fit in with my desired design look).  We ended up with 3 open shelves – it has worked out perfectly and the mixed up mugs don’t really bother me that much).

Below the shelves is a countertop – planned specifically so we can set things down next to the refrigerator and microwave.  Also, a lovely little area for the canister set and some pretty accessories.


Below the countertop on this wall is the bulk of our miscellaneous (but still organized) storage. I went with deep drawers.  The drawers are a bit more expensive than just a cabinet with some doors, but the amount of increased storage and ease of access to the items with the drawers is hugely worth the few extra dollars.  One drawer has linens and paper towels (conveniently located near the microwave – to cover up food being microwaved – so it doesn’t splatter everywhere). The drawer below holds baking items – hand mixer, cake pans, muffin tins, measuring cups, measuring spoons, the rolling pin, cookie cutters, and the ravioli mold (nothing is better than homemade ravioli). The other upper drawer contains food storage containers. Below that is miscellaneous drink containers, the blender, a small food processor, and lunch bags.

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Finally we arrive at the refrigerator.  The bulk of our food storage is here. We always have tea (for me), milk (for Tad), Lindt chocolate balls (for Tad), a few condiments, fruit, veggies, lemons, arugula, cheese, and leftovers.

There is no East elevation – so no sketch for this elevation – it is just glorious open, free space!


See here for the entire cabinetry story…

Goal #2 :  Open and visually unobtrusive – accomplished.  The open concept is better than we expected.


This is the before and after layout of our kitchen.  We expanded our kitchen space by about 2 feet into the new sunroom addition.

Old floor plan:

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Kitchen Before 2

New floor plan:

Scan 6


Goal #3: Unique – accomplished.  I believe I am safe in saying that our kitchen is definitely one of a kind – mostly because of the decor choices – see here for paint & color inspiration, countertops, floor tile, wall tile, finishing touches, and accessories.

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The budget

We ended up being $4698 over our initial budget.  $3763 of it was add-ons (vent hood, framing, insulation).  The rest of it – about $1000 – was because I under estimated the plumbing price.

The money we saved by doing most of this project ourselves is significant – we think it is about $10,000.  The vast majority of our savings came from pure and simple labor – we did our own demo, framing, sub floor, electrical, insulation, tiling the floor, and tiling the walls.  And we did it all legally – see here for permit and inspections.