I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the kitchen is the heart of a home.” When redesigning Homestead, we wanted our kitchen to live up to that old idiom. Jason and I enjoy cooking, entertaining, and eating, so we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Because we lived in such a tiny space while remodeling (don’t worry, all of that will be in a future post), I knew I wanted a large, functional kitchen. My goal was to be able to have several people sitting around an island while someone cooked, and no one feel cramped.
Here’s a little history before we dive in. The kitchen and laundry room areas were added onto the original house after it was built, adding about 500sq ft. While the kitchen wasn’t built in the 1800s and it didn’t have the original heart pine floors like the rest of the house, it did have a lot of it’s own character. The large windows that overlooked much of the property were so dreamy! They had me visioning myself washing dishes while looking out on my future kids playing with their daddy in the yard. Another exciting revelation we were thrilled to learn was that there were three layers of drop ceilings in the kitchen and dining area. After removing them, our kitchen ceilings went from 9 ft to 12 ft. It completely opened the space and gave it the grandeur I was dreaming of. To really make the tall ceilings stand out, we added wooden beams. It immediately added depth and warmth to the space.
When we started removing sheetrock, the most beautiful brick fireplaces were exposed. We knew the house had six fireplaces, but we were able to open another up in the dining room area. To seal the mortar and maintain the old charm, we clear coated the fireplaces. In keeping with same brick theme, we used a version of that brick as our back splash and also the floor of our laundry room.
We took everything to the studwalls and rearranged the layout as much as we could,while keeping with the original feel of the house. When the linoleum floors were pulled up, we found both the subflooring and floor joists had rotted. I came home from work one day to be completely surprised. I walked in, saw dirt, and asked Jason, “Um, is this earth?!” Needless to say, I was more than a little taken back. Thankfully, Jason found a company in Mississippi that had Caribbean heart pine wood that flows very well with the floors throughout the rest of the house. The company that stripped, sanded and refinished the other flooring was able to create a custom color for the new wood to match. As someone who loves a dark brown wood floor, I did not expect to like, much less love, the rich golden honey hues. I guess it’s an example of my husband knowing better than me. (but shhh, don’t tell him!)
One of my favorite sub contractors we worked with is the man who made our cabinets. He was experienced and thorough, making sure our visions became reality. While I thought a few suggestions he gave were splurges, I now am very glad we listened to his advice. I had a few nonnegotiable requests like deep drawers, a pullout spice cabinet beside the stove, open shelving around the sink, pullout double trashcans, and a hidden place for a broom. We decided to add an extra row of top cabinets with glass fronts since the ceilings are so tall, and it added extra appeal and extra storage. For our island, we wanted it to be big enough for two adults to eat comfortably, and also a hidden spot for a microwave. From the soft close drawers and doors, to the slide out shelving in each of the bottom cabinets, I feel like our kitchen was made for efficiency and ease of use. The hardest part dealing with the cabinets was deciding whether or not to paint them. They were so beautiful and well made that it seemed crazy to cover them with paint, which leads to where things got fun…
There is a joke at work about me being allergic to bold and bright colors. I love seeing homes with deep, intense colors and accent walls, but the thought terrifies me. I wanted to do something daring and distinct in the kitchen but had no clue how. When picking out paint colors, it hit me. I convinced Jason to let me paint the top cabinets white and the bottom cabinets a very light gray. While in pictures or certain lighting they look all the same color, they’re actually not. It’s a fun, little quirky touch that makes this space unique. It took some convincing to get away with walls so light that they look white, white top cabinets, and very light bottom cabinets. Thankfully, Jason trusted me and I think the colors turned out beautifully. To add a little more contrast and bring fluidity with the wooden beams, we stained the hood vent above the stove and accented the detailed wood work.
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows the keys to a good one are communication and compromise. Making decisions about light fixtures and counter tops tested our marriage more than anything had up to that point. Y’all. I’m not kidding. Jason had a vision of dark granite counter tops while I had an all white marble slab in mind. I originally wanted an orbital globe chandelier over the dining room table, and he said, “I refuse to have a disco ball in my kitchen.” We compromised. I got an almost all white quartz counter top and he got a more traditional chandelier over the table. Win, win.
Overall, the kitchen design experience was amazing and I’m so pleased with the end results. Jason really trusted my vision without being able to see it before hand. From the black apron front sink I just had to have, the thick stainless bar drawer pulls I wouldn’t budge on, or the black stainless appliances I wanted so badly, he made it all happen.
When we did have strong differences of opinions, we worked together to make it perfect for us. I’m grateful that I can now say our kitchen is truly the heart of Homestead.