Tuesday, February 26, 2013

145 Kitchen Wishin' And Hopin'

... and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming... sing it with me! 

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that we have started cookin' up some kitchen renovation updates around here!


We have been itching for a kitchen update for about the last 6 years.  And for the most part, I am really happy we have waited so long because over those years, our family has grown, our needs have changed and our style has evolved. 

Right now we are just in the dreaming and planning phase.  Gathering as many ideas and pieces of inspiration as we can, to be sure we aren't jumping into anything crazy we will regret down the line {like marble green formica counters, country cabinets and dated tile.... just sayin'}.

We are hoping to save as much as we can of our current kitchen, tear down a wall, build an island, swap out the counters and back splash and even lay some new floors.  Pretty ambitious, but we love a good challenge and we also hope to do as much as we can on our own to save a few pennies!  Wish us luck!

I thought I would pull some of our favorite inspiring kitchens and select some of the key elements from each that we are "dreaming" about incorporating within our own space.  I have pinned about eighteen-bajillion kitchens, but getting my hubby on board with each wasn't all that simple, but extremely important.  So he filtered through and we came up with some we both loved for various reasons.  This is a very helpful part of the planning phase for us, so I thought I would share, and also gather your thoughts and ideas on the perfectly pretty and functional kitchen.

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One of our ideas is to tear down the giant vaulted wall between our living room and kitchen to open things up a bit.  Whenever we entertain, there is such a division, and when we have people over for a "big game", it can't be seen from the kitchen.  Not to mention, family time would be much easier having the living area, kitchen and dining area all open.  I haven't always been a huge fan of the open concept idea, but I think it could work if done right.  The kitchen above makes me warm inside, the colors are beautiful, but what the hubs and I really loved were the floors.  Just like Goldilocks, we don't want something too light... or something too dark... and these look juuuust right!

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As I mentioned, an island is the name of the game.  It has to have good storage, and seat at least three comfortably.  I am over the moon for islands with butcher block counters... the contrast can be so charming and warm!

But where I am completely stumped is in the bold island or bold lower cabinets debate.  Being that the space will be so large and open, I fear we will have a very neutral color on the wall, but being the color loving gal I am, something is going to get splashed with paint! 

Island?

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Or cabinets?

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And don't even get me started on navy.  I am OBSESSED lately.  Which is so surprising to me since it never was a color on my radar at all in the past, but now I can't seem to get enough of the saturated color!

The other theme you may notice from the photos above, are the counter colors.  A white and gray blend feels so clean and classic.  And about as fantastically opposite of the counters we are sporting currently.

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When it comes to the sink, bigger is better in my eyes.  But divided or not, that is the question...

And how about backsplash?  Again, I have to go classic on this one, to avoid regrets two years from now when a new trend comes and goes. 

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White subway tile scares me {white in general in the kitchen is a scary thought}, but it is everywhere these days, and my guess is because it not only looks beautiful and is timeless, but it also just works.  And I like it paired with a darker grout.  Who knows though, maybe we will get risky and go with a different style to add a little extra interest....

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Ok, aren't those ceilings so gorg?  Planks and beams, oh my!  This is on the "wishing" list side of things.  Even a single wood beam could add so much interest.  Now to convince my hubby that it wouldn't be thaaat hard to install...

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One thing you can bet will happen is a bold cabinet interior.  It is simple and as inexpensive as some paint, but yet adds so much happiness. 


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A couple of shelves seem to always make a kitchen feel more open and airy.  And I love the idea of keeping everyday dishes right within arms reach.  Fab.

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When it comes to finishes, I would love to bring in a small touch of gold.... The hubs is shaking his head, but I think just tiny bits here and there would be amazing!

Let's chat about storage for a minute.  If we pull down the wall, we will lose some storage and have to gain it back in other ways.

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I would love to add a hutch to our existing sideboard in the dining room.  I think it could be really amazing and we definitely have the wall space to do something grand.

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I wish for a hidden microwave.  Being that our kitchen will be so open, anything I can do to reduce counter clutter is a win.  And bulky appliances get a thumbs down from me.  We rarely even use our microwave, I wonder if we could just live without it completely... hmmmm... thoughts?

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Pull out pantry drawers.  I am thinking we could DIY these and they would completely rock our storage world.

So who out there has done a kitchen reno and lived to chat about it?  What would you have done differently?  What were your "must haves"?  Who is on a color kick that is leaving you feeling happily surprised?



Psssst!  Jackie from Teal & Lime popped by earlier this month for a tour of our home and she is sharing it on her blog today.  I loved seeing our home from a different perspective and she has all sorts of new, never seen before angles!  You can check it out here.

145 comments:

  1. Jen, I was wondering if you are going to share soon about where you have your printer.

    I don't know if I missed it or you haven't got the chance just yet. I can't wait!!

    OMG those kitchens are amazing! I am going now to read carefully your post!

    xo,

    E.

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    1. Hi Emily!

      We are working on adding cabinets in the studio that house the printer. :) Reveal hopefully coming soon!!

      xo,
      Jen

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  2. We're making plans for a kitchen reno later this spring and I'm making some of the same decisions you are. I think we'll go white on the cabinets and pops of color with accessories, fabric and perhaps some paint. Love that blue-green color you're considering and navy has been on my radar a little more, too.

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  3. These are gorgeous kitchens! I'm sure whatever work y'all do will be just as beautiful! I finally talked my husband into doing white subway tile. It's classic, and I read a design tip the other day that said to choose a neutral tile backsplash, especially if you have a busy countertop (like we do). The kitchen is my fave room of the house, so I can't wait to see your reno!

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  4. Hi! We renovated our kitchen thankfully before we moved into our house, so I don't have any wisdom of living within a renovation. I noticed your comment on the sink and I just thought I'd suggest the one that we bought. We got a Kohler cast iron sink with the "smart divide". It's a low divider, so I can still get soapy water in one side and have a place to rinse dishes on the other, but I can also easily clean/fill pans since the handle doesn't get hung up on a tall divider. Our model is the deerfield which has equal basins, but there are a couple with a larger basin to one side if that's more your style. Plus the enameled cast iron is quite durable!
    Also, pull out pantry shelves are a must, I love ours!!
    The finishes in our kitchen: Cherry cabinets, black granite counters, light blue walls, carmelized bamboo floors. Oh, and white appliances.

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    1. Sounds amazing! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. We have a couple cupboards with pullouts and I love them! A big one under the coffeemaker houses all coffee and tea, while the shelf under holds toaster, crockpot and other bulky appliances we use a lot. I just swooned over the short pullout for spices-that may be our solution!!!

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  5. Love all of your inspiration! I'm dreaming of a new kitchen too.. Not sure when that will happen though! haha! : )

    Kayla
    www.lovelucygirl.com

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  6. I love the ideas you've picked out - if it was me, I'd go for a pop of colour on the island (but nothing too outrageous, possibly a grey-toned blue) rather than the cabinets, neutral grey cabinets (not white too stark) and counters (marble counter?), mid dark wood floor, white plank ceiling with white painted beams (or stained to match the floor), light grey subway tile with white grout, utlity still brushed steel fittings and light fixtures, hidden appliances and MUST MUST MUST have pull out drawers and a large larder (pantry) and NO NO NO to open shelves - you'll spend your life reorganising them! Introduce your need for colour in the dining and living parts of the open space plus the accessories and blinds etc in the kitchen. Hey who knew I had all these opinions lol.

    We did our kitchen a couple of years ago - nothing like any of the things I've said above lol, but where I am in the UK the aesthetic in kitchens is much more modern and minimalist right now - we have an uber-modern German oak kitchen with grey Corian worktops

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    1. Wonderful ideas! Thank you for contributing! I am absolutely leaning towards the pop of color on the island... :) Wish it could happen tomorrow I am so excited!

      xo,
      Jen

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  7. My kitchen is being painted this week. white on the top cabinets, and Benjamin Moore Blue Suede Shoes on the bottom. I hated the taupe it was when we moved in and it was patchy anyways. The two tone cabinets kept popping up in my pins.

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    1. Sounds so dreamy! I would love to see how it turns out, looks close to some of the colors I am considering. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  8. I love the vision for your new kitchen! My favorite part is the bold cabinet interiors. I never would have thought that would be something I'm drawn to, but it makes a world of difference in the space! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas with us!

    ~Abby =)

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  9. For how too info and inspiration with a real life budget you can not beat Young House Love (as I am sure you know)

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  10. So exciting! I love dreaming about this kind of stuff (especially since we're renters, and won't be able to do anything like this for a good while!).

    You mentioned wanting to DIY cabinet drawers...Cape27 did a great tutorial on that last week - you may want to pin it now for when you get to that stage! http://www.cape27blog.com/2013/02/how-to-add-interior-drawers-to-kitchen-cabinets/

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    1. Yes! So happy she shared that, just saved us some moolah! ;)

      xo,
      Jen

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  11. microwave thoughts...we lived without one for a couple years and I only missed it when making tea, hot chocolate, and warming leftovers that didn't warm easily on the stove top. Overall, I would say it's hardly essential if you prefer a clean, minimal look. I love the first inspiration photo and the pantry pull out drawers.

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  12. Checked out your Teal and Lime feature! I have a silly question... Was wondering what you put in the little chalkboard label teal top jar in the laundry room next to the soap?

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  13. My husband and I remodeled our kitchen 4 years ago and used white subway tile from Lowe's. It was cheap, easy to install, and still looks great today. We went with white grout, although I love the look of darker grout too. The backsplash is super easy to clean and I love the classic look since our kitchen is open to our living and dining area.

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    1. Thank you so much for letting me know, I was worried about keeping it clean, glad to know it isn't so bad! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  14. Oh so exciting! At least you have some pretty strong themes going in the inspiration photos so it's safe to say you know what you want!! Lots of pictures of my own kitchen here in case you are looking for even more ideas! http://www.houseography.net/search/label/Kitchen

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    1. Wowzers! Looks straight out of the inspirational magazines I have been browsing! SO lovely! Thank you for sharing!

      xo,
      Jen

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  15. I think I have half of the same kitchens pinned! We're re-doing our Kitchen and I am going to do white cabinets with a turquoise, aqua, or navy island (umm, are we on the same wavelength or what?). To divide the space between kitchen and living area, I am having two columns placed on either side of the island. As for wall color, I am loving beachy colors right now (even though we live in Colorado) and am thinking a light aqua or butterscotch type of color? Nothing crazy, but still gorgeous. The backsplash will definitely be white or light grey. As for counter tops, I was leaning toward black, but you have inspired me to look toward a lighter color. Hmmm. And, thanks for showing the hidden microwave. I am going to pin that! We couldn't live without ours!

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    1. Sounds absolutely divine! Love your color choices! We are considering the columns as well, I love the idea of the architectural detail.

      xo!
      Jen

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  16. Oh I am drooling over all of these kitchens! We used to have pull out drawers, but they all eventually broke. I don't know if it was because of how they were installed or if it was due to the weight of what was on them. It was a long time ago, so maybe they make them stronger now? They were great while they lasted. Good luck with the project!

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  17. We are undergoing a MAJOR kitchen renovation right now. We have torn out everything down to studs (even tore down a wall too!) and have put back now to the point we are waiting for cabinets to be made and delivered (March 18!). I'm so nervous about it all coming together but can't wait to eat again in my own home! Especially cuz we have 4 small boys....

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    1. WOW! That is amazing! We aren't going down to the studs here but major kudos to you for doing that! I bet it will feel incredible when all is said and done!

      xo,
      Jen

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  18. I never thought about a hidden microwave because I honestly use mine multiple times a day! I'm a huge fan of bulk meals, especially since I cook for basically just myself.

    However, I totally agree with you about hiding bulky appliances! As much as I love my stand mixer, it can't be in my eyeline every day, or else it would drive me bonkers!

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  19. I'm in the dreaming phase of a kitchen remodel - it will still be a couple years before I get to any sort of planning. There are a few things that I know I will have when I do it - Cherry raised panel cabinets with just a natural lacquer over, granite or quartz countertops and a single basin under-mount sink. I definitely will also re-work our pantry so I can have pull out drawers.

    Right now our cabinets are just stock cabinets, when we re-do the kitchen I'm going to do custom ones and have the uppers go all the way to the ceiling. (Right now there is a 1' gap because they are made for 7' ceilings and ours are 8').

    Good luck! Looking forward to seeing this progress

    ~Kendra
    www.bkdarr.com

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  20. We LOVE having our microwave hidden. It very rarely gets used and the counter space we saved is much more important than the amount of cabinet space we lost. I also keep our toaster and electric can opener in the cabinet as well. After living in an apartment for so long I'm just now starting to add things back to the counters for decoration, etc. I was soooo tired of cluttered counters. Love all the inspiration photos, we are going with classice subway tile backsplash and either white corian counters or a white/grey granite. We want to keep our kitchen more classic in this house (for resale), although I'll probably do something similar in our next house too. The white really is clean looking and there are so many ways you can add color!

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    1. Agree! For as much as I love to change things and add color, classic makes the most sense both for us and resale. :) But classic doesn't have to be boring, so I am excited to find ways to add oodles of happy interest.

      xo,
      Jen

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  21. Amazing kitchens! I too would love to tear down a wall and build an island between our current kitchen and sunroom, I figure we could save some money like you by salvaging what we can of our existing fixtures and fittings. I'm still at the trying to persuade my hubs stage!

    Good luck with your plans.

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    1. Good luck with that, hope he comes around. :) I was lucky that my hubs was the one persuading me on the wall. Some of the other finishes though... different story.

      xo!
      Jen

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  22. Divided sink is a must-have and a no-brainer to me! One side for washing vegetables, peeling potatoes, etc.; the other for piling dirty dishes as I cook. I lived in a couple of rentals with single sinks and it was such a drag. I don't see any pluses to a single sink! Get a tall enough faucet and filling pots in a double is no problem.

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    1. Thanks for the input! I am just hoping we can find one that doesn't cost a bazillion dollars now... :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  23. I don't use our microwave a lot. It is actually set into our island. It means we're bent down to access it, but it is off the counter and out of sight which I love. There's no cabinet in front of it (just a drawer underneath it). We also have a trash & recycling drawer there in the island too which is a great use of space for us.

    Best of luck!

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  24. Love your inspiration kitchens! I vote for color on the island. It just seems like it would be easier to change the island color than full cabinet color.... And on the microwave? We haven't had one in over 6 years, and I don't miss it at all. The only thing I used it for before we re-did our kitchen that 6 years ago was the occasional melting of white chocolate and warming up of tortillas.

    We have cherry cabinets, a small-ish island and stainless steel appliances. We love our silestone countertops. Super low maintenance!

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    1. I think I agree on the island! And I don't use our microwave for much other than occasionally heating up my coffee or making a cup of oatmeal... I am so on the fence.

      xo,
      Jen

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  25. All of your kitchen ideas sound great. We have two shelves in our kitchen that cook books and some decorative items are on. It breaks up the wall of solid top cabinets and looks nice. I would not want our dishes etc. there. It always looks nice in pictures, but I wouldn't like the reality. I need my dishes clean. The thought of any summer fly buzzing around and crawling on them is enough to keep mine behind doors. As much as I try to keep dust down, that settling on the dishware would also be a negative. To me dishes on an open shelf would mean more work and be less efficient in the long run.

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    1. Great point about the dishes. But love the idea of using it for books and some decorative items.

      xo!
      Jen

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  26. Hide the microwave but don't ditch it! Teenage boys are like endless foot pits and the microwave will probably be used a lot when you have three of them on your hands!

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    1. Ha! Hear you on that one! They are already endless food pits. My hubs and I can barely believe how much our boys can eat, especially our oldest, it's amazing!

      xo,
      Jen

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  27. Great ideas! I wish that we had put in a larger sink! Go for it! Also think carefully about storage. We have a lot of cabinets, but I don't have a lot of space for pots and pans. We also got the swing out pantry shelves...I HATE them....but love the slide out drawers....that's where I keep my baking goods for easy access!

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    1. Thanks for the tips! We are definitely going to be making a long list of storage needs and wishes to consider.

      xo!
      Jen

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  28. I love the idea of a bold cabinet interior! It's beautiful, I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    xx
    amelia
    http://vasanticosmetics.com

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  29. We tore down a wall from our kitchen into our living room and eating area years ago. Never regretted the decision. But my advice to you is to make absolutely sure you will be able to duplicate the storage capacity of any cabinets, counters or closets you take away. Another suggestion would be to plan out and spend on quality lighting. Under cabinets, inside cabinets or task lighting. We have very dark countertops that hide every stain or spill: not great to keep clean. We also lived without a microwave for years until our son was about 3 years old. If you have room for it (maybe inside the pantry?) be sure to get the smallest one that will still meet your needs. But again you could definitely live without it. I think having one just reinforces the frozen/salty/unhealthy foods we eat. Stuff like chicken tenders, entrees and popcorn -- no real meals come out of the microwave in my house! :) Good luck!

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  30. I'm dying to redo our kitchen too, and I'm loving the butcher block/bold island color combo right now. I too am I a color-lovin gal, and I tend to get bored easily so I think by making the island a bold color (as opposed to the cabinets) it will create a gorgeous focal point and be easier to change down the road should I want a new color. I'm having a hard enough time talking my husband into 1 kitchen reno so a can of paint to freshen the island up and ease my quickly bored tendencies will be a lot easier to talk him into than another new kitchen. :) Good luck with all the decisions that are sure to come! I have no doubt it will be gorgeous whatever you choose.

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    1. So true my friend! An island is far easier to update than an entire wall of cabinets!

      xo,
      Jen

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  31. Divided! Absolutely go divided. I missed mine SO much when I moved away from it. It was incredibly useful, especially if you can get a garbage disposal with the second (smaller) sink. It makes everything, from defrosting to dishes, so much easier. You won't regret it!

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  32. Loved all of these! I am currently searching some inspiration for my own kitchen remodel, so these were great! Thanks for sharing!

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  33. I love the cupboard with green background . A simple way to add a burst of colour that could be changed as often as the season without much outlay. Neutral kitchen with bold accessories seems to be what you want. And I also love the top floor. Good luck

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  34. Just another quickie I also love his blog. http://www.homewithbaxter.com/

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    1. Oooh! YAY! A great new read! Thank you!

      xo,
      Jen

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  35. My must have: oven near a door so I can clear the smoke easily;)

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  36. We don't have a microwave and I think we are healthier for it. I don't miss it at all. I have 4 kiddos ages 6,6, 8 and 9.

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  37. Have you considered glass for the back splash? Its really popular in Australia (where we call is a splashback if you are googling it). You can have the back of the glass painted any color (or put wallpaper behind it). Its in one piece - so easy to clean.

    The other thing I love from my renovation is the knife block in the drawer. I really wanted to cut down on bench top clutter

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    1. That is an interesting option! Thank you for the tip! It sounds like a great alternative, my fear is I would tire of the color or pattern that I select to use behind it. Is it difficult to update/replace?

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Over here in Australia I am about to have a mirror splash back installed! It saves the task of choosing a colour....so many decisions and I am commitment phobic about choosing permanent colour fixtures! Our kitchens are very different here. Most are open plan and we have a more streamlined look. My big thing was levels. I don't want cupboards of different heights - they will all be to the ceiling and overheads all have the same bottom level - no ups and downs. Re microwave, we are getting one with a trim kit so it looks like a small built in oven, no gaps for dust. My island is all timber veneer - oak - and the rest of the cupboards are a white - commitment phobia at work!

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  38. I love huge islands. We have a big island though its a little too narrow for my taste. The one thing I really dislike is that it has two levels and the upper level is too tall with our current stools for the little kids to be comfy.

    I love teal or white cupboards, subway tile, and old weathered floors. Add some marble countertops and swoon...love! I am on Houzz all the time bookmarking my next kitchen!

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  39. I can't wait to see what you pick! I am choosing new counters and floors and I'm considering going dark on the counters for some contrast with my white cabinets.

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  40. I have the top one pinned too! Isn't is pretty!! Here is another blog that I like. She has an open floor plan. It's pretty. http://sweetpickinsfurniture.com/ I wish for a new kitchen too. Not in the budget and we have more important things to fix/replace... like windows. Someday. Peeked at your instagram pics. I am not on there (no iphone). Love the pics!! You're right about the flowers. Love the tulips!! We certainly need the pick-me-up with the winter we have been having. Think this milder weather is here to stay? ;) Love the jammie day pics. And I hope you are all feeling better. Want a good smoothie and/or bagel? Not sure if you have ever been there.. but Hudson Bagel off of Vine and Carmichael is really good! It has wifi too. ;)

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  41. Three of my favorite things are navy, white subway tile with dark grout, and brass accents. I am seriously IN LOVE with the pendants in that picture. Can't wait to see what you do with your kitchen!

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  42. I have had white tiles in our kitchen for the last three years and I haven't had any problems keeping them clean. Even the white grout around the stove is in perfect condition and -as a good half Italian girl- I do a lot of cooking at home!So don't worry about them being white, they don't get stained :o)

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    1. So great to know! Thank you so much!

      xo,
      Jen

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  43. Lots of great ideas! Have you tried putting the microwave away for a while? That should help you answer that question. If it were my kitchen, I would add a splash of color to the island and the perimeter cabinets would be white or light grey. For the backsplash, I would lay the subway tile in a herringbone pattern for added movement and interest while keeping a classic look that won't go out of style.

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    1. Great tip! We can't hide our current microwave though, since it is huge and built in above the stove. :)

      And I was looking at herringbone tile sheets, never thought to do the subway in that pattern, I am totally looking into that!

      xo,
      Jen

      xo,
      Jen

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  44. We have lived without one for several years and love our toaster oven instead! The single thing we have encountered so far that it can't make is microwave popcorn but we have an air popper!

    We recently built upper cabinets in our house after living for a year without. We painted them a medium silver/ blue/green and I love them! Our lowers are dark wood. We'll put doors on the uppers later but I'm loving the open look for now! I'm thinking some pale aqua and coral would warm them up some day!

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    1. They look incredible! I love that you left the doors off, everything is displayed so nicely!

      xo,
      Jen

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  45. Oh! My kitchen reveal post: http://myorangerie.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/kitchen-reveal/

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  46. I cannot get over that you rarely use your microwave!!! Leftovers? Oatmeal? Frozen veggies? Blowing my mind right now :)

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    1. Hi Kate!

      A few years ago when I started hearing about BPA and microwaves, I moved to the stove for making almost everything {soups, veggies, etc...} and now it's just a habit and I don't think much of the microwave. I do use it for a cup of oatmeal or for re-heating my coffee from time to time, but that's about it.

      xo,
      Jen

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  47. What a great list of ideas! It made me want to go scout and collect some ideas on the Interweb for my next home project. Great inspiration, thanks!

    We have a tiny little kitchen in a 1905 house, but I'm really proud of our recent renovation. A local foodie did a tour of my renovated kitchen, and there is a link here:

    http://thefoodadventuress.com/2012/12/11/kitchen-tour-on-nwafoodie/

    Affter she did the tour, I went back and did a "Decade Retrospective" and showed our kitchen from some of the same angles pre-redo. That was a fun post! The before and after kitchen contrast is here:

    http://thefoodadventuress.com/2012/12/12/the-kitchen-tour-a-decade-retrospective/

    Looking forward to seeing your ideas put into action! Good luck!

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    1. Very beautiful, fun and lively kitchen! Thanks so much for sharing!

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Aw - thanks. :) So fun for you! I love the dreaming phase. :)

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  48. Hi Jen!
    We just built a house a year ago and I can already name a few things I would have done differently! Hiding the microwave is a great idea, one that I never thought about! We ended up not going with white cabinets. I was leaning towards that direction but started to feel it was too 'sterile'. We have white trim throughout the house so I wanted to add warmth by adding in a natural wood (Alder to be exact) to the kitchen. I'm also not a fan of stainless steel appliances...they remind me of restaurants and hospitals and with two little kids they are almost impossible to keep clean! Again, I needed something warm and inviting so I went with black. Personal preferences of course! Biggest thing for me is a HUGE pantry that holds all our food. My next step is to add a counter in there so it's like a butler's pantry. (A place for all those appliances that need a counter, but you HATE looking at all the time.)
    Ok, long story short. I know someone who does cabinetry (we used him) and he's local (Menomonie). You could sketch up your kitchen and have it completely custom! Down to every detail! Contact me if you are interested in the contact information or have any questions! nmbjelland (at) gmail (dot) com

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  49. So much fun! I love that you shared this step of the process with us! I would strongly recommend a sink with 1 large basin (the bigger, the better!) We've had both and I absolutely love the feel of 1 large sink... it just feels brighter and cleaner. It also makes it easier to hide dishes (less visual clutter!) while prepping or entertaining.

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  50. We just built our house last year, and much like you and your hubby when you built yours, we are young (22 and 24 when construction began!) and had a really small budget.... Actually, when I first started reading your blog and took e house tour, the layout kind of reminded me of our house.... After a year in our house, we made some mistakes for sure -- some because of our budget and some because I thought I knew what design styles I liked, and they've already changed!

    I can tell you a few things that work and don't work for us:

    I hate my built-in microwave above the stove and I wish I had a vent hood there instead. I would love to just have a small microwave hidden in a cabinet somewhere!

    I love my big, deep sink with ONE basin... Totally go with one! You can always add a bucket or dish drainer if you find yourself wanting division, but I ended up turning my dish drainer into pots and pan lid storage because I never used it!

    I know you've mentioned that you're short before... I don't know how short you are, but I'm only 4'10" and I had the toe-kick cut off my island, and it's the best decision ever... Love it!

    I have two pull out garbage cabinets in my island -- one with two larger buckets for garbage and bottles/cans and another one with two smaller buckets for recyclable containers and paper. I love having a spot for everything, and this really contains it all so well!

    Also, I'm sure you already know this, but don't do a side-by-side refrigerator! It kills my organizational OCD!

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  51. I am currently planning my kitchen and need advise, posted about it today! It's my first kitchen....

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  52. A thought on the countertops...I'd stay away from the white, just because in the past I've found that they show EVERYTHING!!! Before we moved into our current home, the owners installed granite counters and they hide a multitude of sins. You have to look at an angle to see anything, which sometimes leads to not getting wiped down as often as I'd like :( lol The fun splashes of color inside the cabinets are inspiring me to tackle my bookshelves...

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  53. That's so funny all the things you mentioned are things we just did this past year! We took out the wall between our kitchen and living room. Went to a gray marble-ish counter tops, white cabinets, had an island built and painted it gray and white subway tile. Oh, and 1 basin sink- best decision ever!

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    1. Just checked it out! Love the tile! It all looks so great and I adore you added a pattern in the backs of your upper cabinets!

      xo,
      Jen

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  54. We did a full kitchen reno three years ago. Ripped out ceiling, walls, some floors, all appliances and cabinets. Changed the footprint of the room but didn't expand it. Took us 8 weeks but would have been 6 and a few days if I would have chosen the granite faster! So one recommendation is pick everything out before demo starts. My dad did a lot of the work, so that made it slower, and cheaper.

    Love our custom cabinets with pull outs! Created perfect pullouts for my pots in the island. Also love the garbage and recycling pull out that is there too. The cabinet next to the range has dividers for cookie sheets, muffin pans, etc so that they do not lay on each other.

    I personally love my big, wide, deep, single sink. Obviously a personal choice, but I like that I can clean big pots, dishes, and shelves of the fridge in it. I did not ever wash with a soapy side and rinse side in the past.

    We only had two kids at the time, but ended up eating all our meals at home. I had wanted to eat out, but maybe we didn't have time between being home for workers and homeschooling? It saved money I guess! Turned the dining room into the kitchen and had a microwave and tub for sink. Used paper products a lot, but also just ate really clean with grilling meats and vegis, salads, yogurts, sandwiches, and cereal.

    Good luck and be kind to your kids and husband during the process because it is a little stressful :)

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    1. We are hoping to wait at least until spring/summer so we can grill and eat outside a lot. :) And thanks for all the tips and feedback! You have me even more excited!

      xo,
      Jen

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  55. Jen, I've been following your pinning activity as of late! I'm loving your inspiration kitchens. I love the idea of all white cabinets with a pop of color - either inside a few choice "feature" cabinets with glass fronts, or as an island. But I think the problem with a loud pop like teal is that eventually you might tire of that color, and while it's only paint, painting and re-painting cabinetry is not fun. I'd suggest sticking with gray and white on the cabinetry, and let your accessories bring in the brighter colors. Also, my husband and I JUST finished installing white subway tile on our backsplash. We originally wanted dark grout lines too, but after some more thought, the dark gray (almost black) color we originally picked was just way too harsh, so we chose a light gray, and it's absolutely the PERFECT color.

    Best of luck! I can't wait to see the progress unfold.

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    1. Thanks for the tile feedback! Great to know! :) And I agree, too much repainting wouldn't be fun, I will have to pick my battles.

      xo,
      Jen

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  56. Hi Jen, re the microwave - I haven't had one for the past two years, since I accidentally forgot to press timer and set it for two minutes without anything inside (big OOPS!!). Like you, I very rarely used mine and the only times I really miss one is when I want to re-heat food and when I want to melt chocolate - far easier in the microwave :) One thing I will point out is that when your boys reach teen years, they will become enormous eating machines & having a microwave for quick heating of things will probably come in handy then :) Sarah

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  57. These pictures are all so inspiring! I'm sure whatever you guys end up doing, will turn out great!

    I just wanted to chime in about the mircorwave. My husband and I haven't had one for about 2 years (only because we didn't have room in our kitchen, not like a moral issue or anything!) and we haven't missed it. We eat leftovers, but we just heat them up in the oven or on the stove-top without any problems. It would probably be difficult if you're kids were younger, but if you hardly ever use it you probably won't miss it!

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  58. OH! I almost forgot. Ditch the microwave!!! We chose to not have one installed when we bought our new house, and have never missed it. A small toaster oven works perfectly for us without literally "nuking" our food.

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  59. I have a board on pinterest dedicated to kitchens. I can't wait to have the chance to design my own one day! thanks for the inspiration these are all lovely! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  60. I absolutely love all of your inspiration photos... the beams on the ceiling - oh my!! If I could design the kitchen of my dreams right now, I would have white cabinets, some open shelving and an island of a different color. I feel like that is something that over time you could repaint to your next obsession color (rather than ALL the lower cabinets). Plus I think it gives the kitchen a great focal point. The island tends to be the heart of the kitchen which is the heart of the home. Why not make it special and stand out?! I can't wait to see what you do with the space.

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  61. When we moved last August, we couldn't take our built-in microwave with us. But that got me thinking, how much did we really use it anyway? Turns out, not at all! We reheat foods on the cooktop or in the oven...it's amazing how much better they taste. You have the luxury of just packing it away and bringing it back out if you decide you really can't live without it--but I bet you can :)

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  62. My man and I are just finishing a kitchen build and I am in love. White cabinets, light-colored counters and NAVY walls with mid-tone wood floors. Sounds very similar to what you have in mind:) Everyone disagreed with me on the navy walls, but I was persistent and now everyone comments at how great it looks with the white and wood. We also have a built in microwave out of the way because we use it so sparingly. Are we twins?? Good luck planning! :)

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  63. Our microwave is also a convection oven. I wouldn't trade this kitchen tool for all the water in the Nile. I agree that microwaves can promote unhealthy eating, but it is the only way I have found to make active teens self-sufficient. Reheating a dinner plate of healthy food is a much better alternative to fast food. The convection oven portion of our "microwave" also helps save energy on smaller baking needs.

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  64. Some advice on your sink...I had an off-white ceramic one that I hated. Couldn't wait to replace it. Was impossible to keep clean or get clean and it was sooo VERY easy to chip dishes in it. Whichever you do decide on, make sure that it will hold a 9x11 dish. Take one with you when you shop.

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  65. I don't know if you are going with wall oven/s or range oven, but if you are planning double wall ovens, I think there are some that convert from microwave to convection oven. So that might be a choice for one or the only wall oven? They might be really pricey though. I really prefer double sinks. One to hold the dirty dishes and one to wash them clean. My sister recently got a farmhouse single sink, which drives me batty because every time I wash dishes for a family gathering the dirty are right in there with the ones I'm washing at the moment. I guess you need to consider how you prefer to wash dishes and if you prefer aesthetics over function.

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  66. We redid our kitchen 5 years ago. We live in a farm house and I wanted the kitchen to feel like it had always been there. We went with a shaker/mission style with inset doors in quarter-sawn oak. I spent a couple of years thinking about it and how I used the space (which before consisted of one wall of cabinets and a portable dishwasher as an island). It took about a month from start to finish and the only appliances I had were my fridge and microwave. I froze several casseroles and dishes beforehand and it was a lifesaver during that time.

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  67. I'd go with more timeless cabinets and save my bold fix for the island. It seems like the island would be more paintable/changeable later?

    And for the microwave...put a post it on yours with todays date...then see how long it goes without using it. If you go a couple months then sure, get rid of it. If you find yourself using it once a week, well, then, maybe keep. But the post it will make you think about it. You could even "log" the usage on the paper to see how much you REALLY use it.

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  68. My MIL has her microwave built right into the island. The really neat thing about hers is you can open and close it with a button and the 'door/ shelf' slides out. You can then easily push it closed with your hip if your hands are full.

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  69. How timley your post is! We just spent this weekend looking for backsplash tile! We have cherry cabinets with a medium gray formica counter (close to cement color). The counters also have the cherry wood edge on them. I love my counters but really anxious about the back splash. I just didn't know if darker colors are on the way out -but it does look like lighter may be a better choice-kind of what I was thinking. I did find a tumbled light gray one inch tile that had a little darker glass tile randomly in the mix. So far this is what I keep comoing back to.I just had no idea where to look or ask for opinions! Love your style!! sherry107

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  70. We have a massive undivided sink, and I have to say, I truly hate it. I almost always opt to hand wash dishes rather than use the dishwasher (I take after my mom with this weirdness). Having a single sink makes it very hard to wash dishes, clothing, anything really, without having another section to rinse clean. Also, it's always nice to have an additional section to wash hands in rather than washing hands over top of the dishes in the sink. Any time I need to fill the sink with water always seems like such a waste of water, because it takes SO MUCH water to fill it even an inch or two. A single sink may work for you and your families needs, however there are so draw backs. Hopefully my comment will add a bit of incite. Good luck!!

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  71. We have been living without a microwave since January when ours decided to quit. My husband and I love having the counter space back! It's a bit of a pain for wanting something quickly warmed up and you do make more dishes that way having to heat it on the stove...but I really have NO desire to get a new one if we can live without it!!

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  72. yes to a big and double sink. I hate the one we have in our rental house as it can fit my biggest pan in flat!
    If you want colour go for it! My parents used a lovely green on their cupboards with a black granite type work bench. You don't see many of the cupboards from the outside and when in the kitchen it works so well.
    Another idea is create a theme on the bottom of the work bench where the stools would be. Seen this done a few times now and it adds a splash of colour with out being to over powering.
    They also had hidden draws inside draws which I love. Another things they did is they went away from the usual storing in cupboards bowls, plates etc and have instead used draws to store all these. They were thinking in the future when they are older and how much easier it would be for them functionally.
    We don't use our microwave that often now but in our rental there is a built in section under the work bench which means you don't see it. Low, which is a hassle but hidden.
    I am not keen on open cupboards, like another post, it is the dust and what lands on them. I like everything closed and hidden away but that is just me.

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  73. Jen! This post was too much fun!! I don't know if you knew this or not, but we are in the process of building and I am SO excited about my kitchen! I'm doing a lot of the same things you mentioned above. We are in the drywall stage right now and within a month they will start installing cabinets! And built-ins! Oh my word I'm excited about the built-ins! Everything will have a place. I can't wait to jump in and start organizing the new space. And I can't wait to see what you do! I'm sure it will be amazing! So funny you posted this today because I was going to do a kitchen post for tomorrow too with pics I've pinned and then the next day share a peek of my new kitchen. Great minds think alike! :)

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  74. Oh and p.s. we are doing a microdrawer (Thermador) -- a great solution to still having your microwave out but not up high taking up precious cabinet space and cluttering the kitchen. Something you might want to look into!

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  75. I'm with the folks who voted to keep the microwave- can't survive without quick popcorn! I hid mine in the kitchen island in both kitchens I've done(one Reno, one new build). You have to bend to use it, but it sounds like that's a rare occurrence anyway. As for the backsplash, my feeling is it's actually a GREAT place to go a little crazy or trendy. Unless you need miles of tile, it won't cost too much to replace down the line. I went with white cabinets, but did a dark espresso island. The built in fridge and butlers pantry area is also dark. I went with a pale blue, subway tile, glass backsplash. With lots of natural and woven accessories it comes together well. One thing I would definitely do differently? Get the outlets off the backsplash wall and mount them under the cabinets! A no-brainer that didn't even occur to me. Have fun!

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  76. We have small, old house and recently started tearing down the walls between our kitchen and dining room, and between the dining and living rooms.

    Even though it's not finished yet (we got interrupted by a sooner-than-expected surgery - our walls were non-supporting so we were able to DIY) it has made such a huge difference to the space. Our house is not big, but having it more open makes it feel twice as spacious as before, and allows so much more flow through the space. Plus, our tall friends no longer have to duck when walking through low archways between those rooms.

    It's nervewracking to make the call to start knocking walls down, but it is totally worth it for the difference it makes.

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  77. Great inspiration photos! We have begun the journey of remodeling our 1970s (homemade) kitchen that we inherited when we bought our home 8 years ago (for the land). You have several of the same inspiration photos I have! I'm going with a simple white panel cabinet, black "Basalt" formica top (or maybe solid surface .. that is yet to be decided ... but it will be black, and not shiny). Island will be knotty alder with silestone that looks like carrera marble. Microwave will be in the island! (I never use it, so a small one will do) Hand scraped maple floors throughout. Our knotty pine walls are getting a makeover too ... they will also be white. Now to decide what to do for a backsplash! http://www.cherikirk.blogspot.com/2013/02/slowly-moving-forward.html

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  78. I am so jealous that you are getting a kitchen reno! Your ideas are all so gorgeous, I know your kitchen will look amazing no matter what you do with it. I love that you are planning on tearing down the wall between kitchen and living room - open floor plans are my weakness. I have a sort of stupid question - with the hidden microwave (which I absolutely LOVE!) is it a safety hazard because the back does not get ventilation, or is it only meant for storage and has to be taken out and placed on the counter for use? I don't think you should completely eliminate it because your boys will want it in a few years so they can "cook" for themselves. Maybe you could either install it in your island, or in your pantry??

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  79. I vote for color on the island. And you really don't need a microwave at all. We didn't have one for 3 years when we lived overseas and I honestly didn't miss it.

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  80. We put our microwave in our island. It's a drawer and I love it! So easy to use and it's hidden! We bought a floor sample through our cabinet maker's appliance connection and got a significant discount.

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  81. In addition to our fridge, we added a built in mini fridge. It has a wood front panel so looks just like a cabinet in our island. We use it for soda, juice, yogurts and leftovers. I love the extra space and never run out of cold storage during the holidays/parties. Budget made me decide between the fridge and an apron sink and I have no regrets. I always have a large supply of cold sodas for my 3 boys and their friends. Have fun with all your decisions.

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  82. I love your inspiration, and have many of the same images on my Pinterest boards. But, I have a few other projects before I can convince the hubby to update the kitchen. My thoughts:

    1. Paint the island. It will help ground it, especially in a large open space. I'm currently contemplating options for my island.
    2. White subway tile is also on my list. I love the timeless and clean look it provides. It'd be a great way to help the inside cabinet colors pop, especially with a few glass-front doors.
    3. Navy- YES! I too have become obsessed with Navy, and am currently decorating my laundry/mudroom in Navy, leaf green, light blue, and lots of white. Oh, and a chandelier!

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  83. Love the pics! I soooo want a white kitchen! I've been wanting one for over a year now! Funny BC I had wanted a cherry kitchen for so long, so glad I didn't get one!!!!! Ha! Anyway it will be a looong time until I get one!! Until then I will have to live vicariously through you!!! :)

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  84. Hi Jen: i say color on the island for sure. Single sink - deep and wide, with a high faucet, separate squirt-hose, and a soap dispenser.
    We recently bought our home with a newer-open-concept kitchen. I love that i can be with the kids while i'm cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. It is GREAT for having company.

    We rarely use our microwave either and if i had the choice i would invent a built in toaster oven to replace it. :-) Its built in above the wall oven so its easy to ignore. You could consider building it into the side of your island, down low and out of the way.

    You would do great with open shelves, you are so good at styling things. And your dishes would never get the chance to collect dust! you use them too much with a family of 5. :-) We removed a wine rack and i use it as an open built in shelf for cookbooks.

    I can send you pictures if you would like.

    Can't wait to see what you do, i know it will be great!

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  85. I'm curious as to why you would go with white counters and backsplash. I'd be afraid they would constantly look dirty -- not stained, as much as show up every tiny little spot! I'm a mom of 4 (soon to be 5) and while I keep my kitchen clean and tidy, I'm not as diligent about wiping every little spot as soon as it's made. Maybe it's just me, but I think a white counter especially would annoy me to no end, because of showing *everything* that I did on it!

    I dream of the day we can afford to renovate. Love the colorful island idea, and love love LOVE that blue-green color! Soo tropical and yet classy!

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  86. My mom recently bought a new house and when we finally moved in all of the appliances slowly copped out. She got around to replacing the stove and the fridge, but felt that the microwave only led to our laziness and eating unhealthy food. So we have been microwave free since August and while there are times when I miss it, it has led to us eating a lot healthier and we were able to get it off the wall and clear out the area for a nice hood! I wish you the best of luck in your decision, I'm currently am helping my boyfriend's mother go through this process. After 25 different backsplash options she has finally picked a tile option, now we just have to find paint to match apparently.

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  87. Alrighty...this post got me :) I've been a long-time reader of your blog but I've just been a silent admirer of your work. This post was AWESOME. I had to flag it and come back later just to take it all in. Good job! Good luck with the kitchen reno! I definitely vote keep the microwave it. We don't use ours all that often either, but it sure is handy when you do need it. Also, not that my opinion matters...but I think the most aesthetically pleasing kitchens have the white cabinets and I'd put the color on the island if you want it. So darling!

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  88. I love your blog and your interior design ideas...love 'em (all). You are my first person to follow on Instagram. I can't wait to see more ideas and themes. I am concerned to see so many personal photos...feels a bit like I am not family, why am I looking at this stuff...is there any way to edit what appears in my feed? Does anyone know. I love the sweet, private, pics...I am just not wanting them in my idea file. My Instagram is going to be used as my inspiration file. Again, love your blog and all of your ideas. Thanks for being so "real" and creative.

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  89. How exciting!!! Those kitchens and ideas are all gorgeous! I'm definitely liking the idea of the painted island instead of the painted cabinets! I also love the idea of the white subway tile with a gray grout.
    I think it is 7th House on the Left's kitchen makeover, in which they just keep their microwave on a cute little cart, that's kept in a different room around the corner (perhaps mudroom???). You could add a few other things to the cart that aren't used very often and keep it close by if you have an available room/area that would make it work???
    Also, let your husband know the beam it TOTALLY do-able. Well, at least in my head it is. Have you seen Sausha's (http://www.sweetpickinsfurniture.com/) fake beam that she put up in her basement!?!? Looks so easy! :)
    I'm also LOVING Navy too. OBSESSED with it, and trying to figure out what room I could redo (that I just finished), to reincrporate Navy and gold in. LOL. If I were you, I would try to use it in a living room, bedroom, etc. and try to keep the kitchen light and airy. That's just what I think, but most of the time I have no idea what I'm talking about. haha!

    -Heather Flint

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  90. If you are tearing down the wall would you extend the darker flooring into the living room or keep the contrast with the floors being lighter then darker in kitchen? Just curious because I am doing something similar in our home making it more open and am trying to decide what to do with the floors. I am loving the first pic floors with the darker shade in the kitchen.

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  91. We redid our kitchen 2 years ago. My favorite thing is the island. Instead of a two level island we did a large (4'x6') counter height island/table. It has open seating on three sides and the fourth side has four slide out baskets. I love the huge empty workspace for cooking, homework, and just gatherings. It is so nice to not have a sink or stovetop in the way.

    My other suggestion is to figure out how much counter space you use and then have some of the rest of your cabinets go down all the way to the counter. You'll get more storage and I love not having anything out on my counters.

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  92. Sorry, I didn't read all 100 & something post. I love the pictures! First...I would guess the wall between the living room & kitchen is a Support wall. Have you checked into that and what it will cost to put a beam up there?

    Looking at the floor plan, (LR & DR look to be about the same size) I would say....Have you considered switching the LR with DR? Put another door in from kitchen to New DR....but then I look at your pictures and the DR looks to be smaller. When I say same size, (the footage for actual furniture) I am taking into consideration the entry area to access the rest of the house.

    Maybe another consideration would be to leave the wall and do a large cut out behind the sofa. Oopps, maybe not...I can't remember what is on the wall in the kitchen. If you take out that wall, or cut a hole in it, you will lose something..

    I love what you have done to your kitchen thus far!

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  93. You should check out The Little House blog. They just did an aweosme kitchen reno and list all their sources (many Canadian, but Ikea was a big one, which you can get in most major metropolitian areas). I prefer the coloured island, one big basin sink, and I have to say I'm with your husband on the gold, but overall I prefer "rustic modern" looks, and gold doesn't really fit into that.

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  94. I would guess that you could live without your microwave, if you're contemplating it at all, you probably don't use it much. I got rid of ours, even before reno, b/c I couldn't justify the space it occupied just to make popcorn once a month. Don't miss it one bit.
    Our reno was unplanned due to water damage from a dishwasher line- so our budget was limited and we didn't have any dream kitchen in mind. To spare our budget, I decided to eliminate upper cabinets- not a choice for many but I opted for open storage.
    An island with open shelving underneath (daily dishes), some wall shelves, and a large restaurant-style chrome rack. It has considerably less storage but I love the open storage- this is a serious working kitchen.
    Sometimes I have a challenge with storage of bulk staples but I still have no regrets. My old cabinets often held extra cookware I never used and even empty space. I love this kitchen far and away over my old one.
    Just my humble opinion about the faux beams in the kitchen, have a look around for whole house photos of those who have done the same to see where it has been done well. Beams as a architectural feature that don't match the rest of the house and can look out of context in a builder home the wouldn't have timber framing. I love exposed beams in a kitchen but sometimes it doesn't look like it suits the house.

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  95. Okay, let's start with the floors....busy family = hard hardwood. I love my #2 hickory (indistructable and busy with all the beautiful knots). Island, definitely color, personally I love all the turquoise you see these days...if you get sick of it in 8 yrs not that much to redo! Beams on the ceiling a huge WOW factor for resale, I always think "resale". Gotta have a microwave...Look into the Decor Micro Drawer, fits into an island and the kiddos can access it, again resale...Open cabinetry, looks pretty but not realistic...think grime and dust above the cooktop area, it just happens no matter how clean you are! You don't want another chore...Put your pop of color in the hutch! Good luck!!! Kim from Bend, Oregon

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  96. We are in the process of finishing a kitchen redo. Here are some things I would do again:

    1. We painted our cabinets white, even the lower ones, because we didn't want to get rid of our functional appliances (dishwasher, etc.) and they are all white. It looks more unified.

    2. We got rid of every upper cabinet but one and open-shelving everywhere else. I wish I had done it sooner: I absolutely love it. I can't tell you how it opens up my kitchen and makes my everyday stuff easy to access.

    3. We kept our microwave and put it in an inconspicuous spot. As much as I wanted to get rid of it, it's still best for melting butter. Plus, a microwave is one of the first things a kid can safely use in the kitchen. I think it's given our boys confidence (they're like, "Look, I'm cooking!").

    4. We painted our walls Mindful Gray from Sherwin Williams. We tried four gray paints, and it is the winner. I love it with my whole heart. We will probably also repaint our bedroom and guest bedroom in the same color. It is extremely versatile without being too blue/green/purple.

    5. We built-in our refrigerator by building tall, very narrow shelves on the sides. They are perfect for cookie sheets, 9x13 pans, pizza stones, etc. It's the first thing people mention when they see the kitchen.

    Good luck! I love navy, too.

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  97. This is a huge project, so good luck! I just finished having a new house built and there were a lot of decisions to make about the kitchen. Things that are working for me are the pullout drawers in the pantry cabinet (worth every penny,) taking the cabinets to the ceiling (more storage, and avoids the grimy dusting problem up high,) and putting the microwave under the counter in the island (awkward to reach down, but gets it off the counter.) My number one must-have was a charging station, which just happens to be the subject of my latest blog post: http://www.streamlinedsolutions.ca/2013/02/set-up-a-charging-station/

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  98. I cant wait to see what you decide to do!!! Please let me discourage you about the "pops" of gold. You are going for something new and fresh and I feel that no matter how it is incorporated gold will always have a dated look to it!

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  99. I have been without a microwave for probably three years. I do have a toaster oven though. Chris

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  100. Love your inspiration pics....sooo dreamy! We just re-did our kitchen. I almost went with a grey/white quartz countertop (yikes, expensive though!), a white corian would be a much more affordable option. But ultimately, I just fell in love with a beautiful golds & brown granite (Solarius). I find if you pick what you LOVE, you can't go wrong. We refinished our existing cabinets w/white oil-based paint w/brown glaze for an antique look....they turned out fabulous!
    We put in a Kohler Whitehaven Apron-front sink...and LOVE IT!!! It is designed to fit in standard cabinets with little modication to existing cabinets (fits where the "false drawers" go). I love having the one big sink for washing large pots & pans and stock pots (we make a lot of soups & canning, so this made it so much easier). The drain is off-set, so we have a dishpan on one side for dirty dishes before they go in the dishwasher...and we can still use the other side. Kinda best of both worlds....big single tub, but use of "double sink" too! :-)

    We have a 3/4 wall between the kitchen & living room. Hubby really wanted to take it down, but I was too chicken (I'm still debating whether we should've or not...I guess we can always change it down the road if we decided, but it also would've added to the reno costs at this time). If I had the room for an island, I would want to put the microwave in the island. We have glass fronts on a couple of our cabinets that I really like. We are planning on painting the cabinet backs next (just finalizing the color)

    I like the idea of a bold color on the island...and I think navy blue would make a good "neutral" color that you can change out accent pieces when you wanted. Love your idea for the hutch in your dining room also! Can't wait to see the progress.

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  101. When we built our house, we put a plug inside one of the cabinets in our island. The intention was to put a microwave there so that it wouldn't be on the counter or above the stove (not a fan of the "microwave hood fans" - I don't think they work well enough!). This is a good option if you find you just can't live without a microwave. It's still easily accessible but it's hidden away.

    Anyway, we ended up never putting a microwave in there! We have lived in this house for a little over 3 years now and we find that we just don't need it. For us the trick is that we have a toaster oven, which does take up a little counter space, but no more than a microwave would have, and it is so much more versatile. We only use the oven if something won't physically fit into the toaster oven.

    A couple things to think about if you want to go microwave free, though. First, there are two things we miss about our microwave that you can easily work around but take planning: 1-melting or softening butter 2-defrosting things. Another thing that many people may need to think about is if they frequently use microwave dinners, but we have found that almost anything that "should" be microwaved is just fine in the toaster oven - it just takes a tad longer.

    Good luck with your kitchen reno - I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  102. Wow -- so much gorgeous inspiration! You really can't go wrong with any of it! I know whatever you choose will be perfection!

    We redid our kitchen...and removing some lower cabinets in place of drawers is my favorite thing still. Oh, and we removed the 'dummy' drawers at the sink, and had the cabinets there come all the way up to the base of the sink. Hard to explain, but you'll notice it if you check our kitchen out. Oh, and we added an extra piece of trim to the top of our existing cabinets to make them taller and more substancial. I would have rather installed another row of glass front cabinets above, but it wasn't in the budget. The trim was a cheap upgrade. xo

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  103. On the microwave debate-my husband and I have lived without one for over 3 years now. It's doable :) especially if you rarely use it.

    A friend of mine did an experiment with two plants, watering one with tap water and the other with microwaved water (that had been cooled to room temp). The microwave-water plant died. :/ Makes me wonder what it does to our food!

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  104. Love. Love. Love the white cabinets. Now if I can only convince my husband that our need to be painted white.

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  105. Hello!

    There are 5 things I put in my kitchen that I wouldn't do without.

    1. In one whole corner I put in a floor to ceiling walk in pantry.

    2. A small pantry (1 door) with pull out drawers for my appliances.

    3. Under the two doors under my sink I put a drawer the size of both doors to hold my tea towels and the dish cloths. (The doors are shorter, but not by much, the drawer is where the kick board would be).

    4. A warming oven in my island.

    5. Took a single bottom cupboard, Squared off the counter top so it was flat on the front (very important), and put in a shelf with a hydraulic lift (not electric) for my kitchen aid. Surprising the hydraulic lift didn't cost all that much.

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  106. OH!

    Another thing I did was put two pull out doors with shallow drawers.

    These held my flour and sugar bins.

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  107. I have an "open-concept" question - how will you treat your windows? Would you do all the windows the same? Or maybe you would do your living room and slider the same, with something different over your kitchen window?
    I'm curious because we have this same style on our new house and i am stumped. I consider myself and "inferior" decorator. ;-)

    thanks!

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  108. I love the white cabinet with a bright colored island look! And that wouldn't be TOO much commitment if you keep the majority of the cabinets a neutral color.

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  109. Hey, I have some organizational tips from our kitchen reno we did about 4 years ago while living in the house with 5 kids at the time. During process, in our spare room (which had a bathroom next to it) we set up a kitchen "station" on a table with a book case stacked on top of it. This gave us a few shelves to organize basic things we were using and a table top to "cook on". Our stove wasn't accessible, so we bought a double hot plate for the 3 weeks with no stove and cooked on that. We plugged the fridge in next to it! Add a trash can, access to the sink in the bathroom, and we had an instant kitchenette! That meant we could keep the eating out of the construction zone completely and that made both the feeding and the building process much more efficient.

    For our reno, I did with my whole kitchen what you do with your cabinets when you buy new baskets. Look at what you have, how you would like to access it, and then decide what you want to get based on that. With so many kids we opted for a huge island- about 9 x 3 feet. One side has 6 bar stools and the other has large pull out drawers on either side of the stove. I LOVE my drawers. They are on heavy duty tracks and never give us trouble. The bottom ones are 12 inches deep and one keeps our pots and pans while the other has all our baking supplies like flour and sugar. The top drawer is my favorite. On one side is every utensil I ever use to cook with in one long drawer that has a number of dividers in it to sort them. The other side is all of my spices in cute glass jars, labeled, alphabetized, and sitting in slanted spice holders we found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Easy to see and out of site. The island is by far my favorite thing in the kitchen! I have a large double sink and I wouldn't trade having two sides for anything- well unless they had to be so tiny that I couldn't get dishes in them! :)
    Also, I didn't do this in my house, but saw a pantry once that had double doors that was awesome for organization. They designed it so you open the outer doors and then there is a second set of doors that have racks on both sides that can be opened to access shelves in back that are not very deep. So, the pantry has tons of storage but nothing gets lost in the back.

    Other ideas we have that I love: pull-out drawer for the trash next to the sink, storing our kids cups in a drawer under the silverware drawer so they can access them- well, acutally all the kid dishes are in the drawers under the silverware. So, they can reach them, put them away easily, and set the table.

    Another alternative to the shelf idea is a glass front cabinet as an accent. That allows things to be seen and provides a fun place to decorate, but things don't get as dusty and greasy from cooking in there.
    Oh, and we have an awesome giant lazy susan cabinet in the bottom corner of the kitchen that keeps all our bakeware and appliances that we don't use regularly.

    For colors, we went with light maple cabinets and a pesto colored corian type counter top. We have white trim and oak hardwood floors. There isn't tons of other color in the kitchen because it's part of a great room that has bold color all over the walls, blues, browns, and greens, but it works.

    Things I wish I'd done:
    -Made a skinny but tall cabinet to the side of the pantry that was tall enough to house the broom and mop and maybe even store a fold up table.
    -Put plenty of removable shelf options in every cabinet even if I thought at the beginning I wouldn't need them.
    -Planned for a place to keep a step stool hidden in the kitchen.
    -Built shelving under the sink.
    OK, this is getting ridiculously long, but hope it helps. Overall, I love the way our kitchen turned out. Hope you have grand success as well!

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  110. Oh girl- I have lived this- and most of all my marriage survived it! :) We bought a cute little house (SO similar to yours it is creepy) that needed so much work it was disgusting!

    We tore down the wall separating our living/kitchen space... and actually moved our whole kitchen to the corner where yours is (it was flipped with dining, ew). We LOVE having the open concept.... except for when I haven't gotten to putting things away and company pops over! Our island is massive- and I wouldn't change it for the world- however- we disagree on the need for "seats" at the island and chose to go storage 100%. I found it awkward to have a dining table right next to a breakfast bar.... what is the point, when we can just sit at the table? For us, it didn't make sense. Our island is 4'x6' and stands a great distance from the L shape of the rest of the kitchen- SO worth it and I tell everyone to make the extra room if possible! The kids can run around me as I load the dishwasher or am cooking, major plus. One thing I wish I had was a slender broom closet at the end of one of my cabinets. I just keep it in the stairwell across the dining room, but it can get annoying for a small spill of cheerios!

    As for color, I am over the moon for a colored island- we worked with a friend who designed our kitchen and got us a steal on their custom cabinets- so she wouldn't let us go with 2 tone- stating it was just 'too trendy.' (I do agree, and for the money we spent, am happy we didn't do what we wanted!) We were thinking either a tealy/aqua island, white, or black, with the chocolate cabinets we chose for the rest of the kitchen. Although I know I would have loved it... it just isn't as timeless and we know we will be here forever... and that friend won't be around when we could afford another kitchen reno! If I were just using a piece of furniture like I've seen done so well as an island, I'd totally go for the fun color!

    Cannot wait to see what you two decide to do! What an exciting adventure!

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  111. Believe me... you CAN live without a microwave. We´ve lived without one for about 10 years now, and we never ever missed it one bit.

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  112. I have some advice about your sink. When I redid my kitchen two years ago, a friend told me to choose an undivided sink. You want one big enough for your roasting pan, he said. That was the most useful thing anyone told me. After Thanksgiving, you want to let the roaster soak while the dishwasher runs.

    Under-cabinet lighting is amazing, too. Now every inch of my counter space is useable.

    Good luck!

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  113. Loving all those inspiration photos, Jen! It will be fun to watch your progress :)

    We ditched the microwave a few years ago and have not missed it one bit. It's actually funny bc every so often, a guest will ask where it is (so they can heat a bottle or warm up something), and that's the ONLY time we even remember that we don't have one! We are just so used to the stove top for heating leftovers, that's its just not an issue. People haven't always had microwaves, right? :). Like a previous poster said, the microwave really just encourages "fast food" at home - and since we don't eat microwaveable convenience food, it's just one less appliance to plan around. Best of luck with your decision! Will be excited to follow your kitchen reno!

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  114. Regarding open shelves: we have had them for 5 years and can't get rid of them fast enough. Gotta be selective about what's on them. Constantly dusting them, although it looks like i never do. If you really want them, considered it display space, not storage, and make sure you have alternative storage in the same zone. Of course you can mix practical with stylish; daily-use items can also be pretty. Just be prepared to give the shelf a quick wipe-down whenever you use its contents.

    So many many people warned me against open shelving but I wanted a particular aesthetic, soooo.....

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