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  • Writer's pictureAmy Pagano

The Decisions: The Kitchen

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

It's easy to say "I want to renovate my home" but when our contractor started really asking questions, it was time to commit.

Do you want individual lights over each sink or one bar light? And do you want them to be can lights? Do you want to move the shower head to the opposite side as the valve? Do you want can lighting in the living room? Do you want to get ride of the fan light? What color paint do you want on the walls? What finish do you want that paint to be? Do you want the kitchen island to have an overhang? Do you want to keep the column in the kitchen so that the island can have power? Do you want new baseboards? How tall do you want them to be? And so on...and so on...and so on...

I'm happy to share my findings, my favorites and my lessons learned.”


Brenton and I have talked about our forever home non-negotiables a million times. Although yesterday he sprung a new one on me...natural light in the shower... have I mentioned that he is really into the shower? But what were our non-negotiables for our interim home? We had agreed on a few things, one being high ceilings which we have in this condo's living space. Great. The other being a double sink which we are squeezing into our master bathroom. Really great. The final was a nice open and functional kitchen. In the making! But now what other decisions needed to be made?

The Kitchen

I have always wanted to design my own kitchen. I immediately got on blogs, Pinterest, websites, you name it. There are so many options, even with a small space. What color should the cabinets be? what material should the cabinets be? What about counter tops? What material should counter tops be? What are the cost differences between materials? Why is one better than the other. Don't even get me started on appliances...a whole day was taken to figure that out, and then some online hours on top of that. And honestly, I'm still not sure we have decided. GE? Whirlpool? KitchenAid? LG? Maytag? Stainless? Black Stainless? Gun Metal? What's the difference? What's the most durable? What is the difference between a regular oven and a convection oven? What's true convection? There are smart ovens, OK. There are smart MICROWAVES, what? Guys...there are smart kitchen sink FAUCETS! If you're not as mind blown as I was then maybe you should skip this part.

Style and Layout

We wanted to keep the footprint of the kitchen the same but we wanted to knock out the walls in order to open it up and put in a kitchen island. We originally thought an L shaped island was the way to go but after discussions with a few different kitchen designers we decided not the do the L and instead keep a standard rectangular island. This is because we wanted to ensure we had enough space between the wall cabinets and the island. Think about if the oven door is open and you also want to walk by. Comfortably, this requires 48 inches between the wall cabinets/oven and the island. Or think about how much space is ideal when you're walking into your kitchen with 7 grocery bags on each arm because you refuse to make two trips.

Initially I thought we should move the sink to the island. While that would have been nice and arguably a better layout Brenton informed me that would mean digging trenches in the floor for plumbing. Okay, let's dig some trenches, sounds like something warriors do, I'm in! Well, that requires a permit and ups the cost quite a bit. Hmm, that will be a negative on the trenches... It's those types of decisions we had to make. Where were we willing to spend money?

I have seen many renovations and thought to myself- if they did ALL of that then why didn't they do X, Y, & Z? Well now I know how much budget effects the decisions and how what may seem like not a big deal can end up being significantly more expensive. Finishes matter. Finishes are things like the type of tile, wood vs. particle board, type of flooring (wood, tile, engineered wood, LVP, etc.)

The best way for us to decide on the overall look and feel of the kitchen was to consult our dear friend, Pinterest. Brenton and I have VERY different tastes. This statement applies to both our renovation and also to food. When looking for something to hang above our bed in the old house he sent me a GIANT canvas of a golf course with a big old golf ball right up close and personal in the shot. I'm sorry if this is what is hanging above your bed in your home, because I vetoed it hard. That being said, I didn't think we'd ever agree on a style and color scheme for the kitchen that we were both happy with. I didn't want either of us to compromise, I wanted a third alternative (thank you Franklin Covey.) To my surprise, we found it! It was the perfect mix of trendy and classic, modern and farmhouse. White shaker cabinets, white marble-esk (but actually quartz) counter tops, black hardware, picket tile backsplash, stainless appliances, "wood" LVP flooring, and a navy statement island.

Now we must go on the quest to find all the things in the below photo (not our kitchen, this was the inspo)...

Stay tuned for another post with links and photos to the actual items we selected including flooring, carpet, sinks, faucets, paint etc. Since none are installed yet, I want to hold off in case anything changes.

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