There might not be too many things more boring that reading about someone else's kitchen remodel, no matter how fascinating the process is to the remodeler. That being said, I did think that my own very special project was worth a post here because the choices a professional chef makes for her own kitchen may inspire others.
My husband and I bought a house with a very dated kitchen. When looking at design blogs for ideas, we could see what was contemporary and trending. While we wanted the kitchen to look modern, we weren't all that concerned with having the latest and greatest. New appliances will do the work of adding modernity.
We didn't have much of a budget for fixing it up but knew we could work with it to make it something we could be proud of. Our first money saving decision was to rehab the existing cabinets rather than rip them out and install new ones. My husband is super handy and smart, so he was able to do all the work himself, which saved tons of money. The older cabinets were too low to accommodate my giant refrigerator, and an over the stove microwave so he took them down, shortened then and reinstalled them. I was totally impressed.
The insides of some of the cabinets looked a bit shabby, but nothing some high quality stick on wood grain paper couldn't spiff up.
Our biggest decision was what to do with the countertops, which definitely needed changing out. We are not fans of granite (hard, cold, noisy!) but thought we might go for some soapstone. We were shocked at the prices when we went looking! Mostly, it was the installation charges that were prohibitive and cutting stone was not something we could do ourselves. I have always loved butcherblock and wondered if it would be durable enough for my active kitchen. We did lots of research, watched many YouTube videos and decided we would go for it.
I know butcherblock counters are not the biggest trend right now – granite, quartz and manufactured stones are still most people's number one choice for counters. I went with my heart on this one – I just love the warm tone of the wood. To me, they are sexy! Plus, we could buy a length and my husband could cut and install them himself. Well, he did need a couple of buddies to help lift the 12 foot board!
I was extra cautious and applied four layers of mineral oil to protect them from stains – water beads up nicely on them now. I think the minimal maintenance of having to apply mineral oil on occasion is something I can handle and will actually do.
Our kitchen is now a nice mix of current trends and timeless design. I could not resist the oversized apron front sink that are all the rage right now – it is way big enough for my biggest pots and sheet pans. And I just lovelove my butcherblock counters! They add warmth and homeyness that counteracts all the stainless steel.
When designing your own kitchen, don't worry so much about what others are doing. Make choices that work for you and your family and that make you happy.
Check out these before and after pictures. Well, almost after – you can see we still have backsplash to install. But you get the idea.