Kitchen Overhaul – Design Inspiration

I’ve had quite a long time to think about what I’d like to see in a new kitchen. Because of that duration, I’ve contemplated a bazillion and seven changes, but I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck with the same general menagerie of ideas for the majority of the time. (Go me!)

We’ve been designing our kitchen based on the following: budget, resale, and style.

Though we’re spending quite the chunk of change on this project, it’s pennies (OK well maybe quarters) considering the fact that this kitchen is a total gut job. Not only were we starting from scratch, but we had to invest in a new on-demand hot water heater and high efficiency heater before we even got started. And those items are so boring! Areas we’re trying to save:

  • Labor = us. And when I say I us, I mean mainly Vito (and our wonderful friend Bob who has been more than helpful). No but really, I have helped! Anyway – we knew that going the DIY route would seriously extend the timeline for this project, but to us the money saved was worth it and it gave us the learning opportunity we wanted to get it done on our own. Vito likes to say “We do big things.” when he talks about me and him. He is not joking!
  • Counters. As you’ll see in my inspiration below, we decided to go with Ikea Butcher Block counter tops which is saving us a ton when compared to natural stone, manufactured stone, or even products such as Corian. We love the look of them, the fact that they are durable (despite naysayers), and wood counters are timeless. Plus, we’ve found quite a few tutorials on how to soup them up that we’re pretty confident they will totally rock.
  • Cabinet & appliance shopping. To get a good deal, and the best deals (without sacrificing quality), you have to do your homework. We typically commit to in-depth research before we purchase most things, and these two items were no exception. We ultimately found our cabinet manufacturer through a local hardware store. They offered really fair pricing, the cabinets are all plywood construction, and they’re made in the USA. Plus, we got to support local business which is always a score in our book. The appliance purchase was all about timing. We ended up getting them from Home Depot during their Black Friday sale and we haven’t seen comparable prices since! It’s a very decent set and while I would have loved to splurge, it just wasn’t necessary for us right now. I’ll save those fancy appliances for our next (and hopefully last) house :).
  • Little details. It’s not difficult or costly to make something look expensive. Spend some extra time really planning out your special touches (backsplash, knobs & pulls, fixtures & lighting, accessories, fabric). These don’t have to be expensive either (none of ours really are), but if you take the time to find and install good quality, beautiful details, it will transform the entire design.

We own and rent a few properties, so resale is always in the back of our mind when we make any improvements. The last thing we want to do in this house is put money in that we won’t get back when we sell (by going too high-end, adding unnecessary improvements) and it’s easy to do if you don’t watch your budget. Similarly, our design is planned so that it’s personal to us and our life in this home, but also so that if we were to sell it tomorrow it would be desirable to a majority of the population. Clean, timeless finishes will never go out of style, and our design reflects that (with quirky injections of our own, of course!)

Our style is an eclectic mix of traditional, rustic, industrial and fun. Call it Simple Chic. Really, it’s Pottery Barn with a little more color, and authentic vintage and rustic items. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some PB for inspiration, but I refuse to pay hundreds for wannabe vintage-cause-it’s-cool stuff.

Alright, I’m sure you’ve heard enough of me blabbering – here’s some eye candy of our continuously evolving design inspiration:


1. Butcher Block Counters
2. Window Fabric
3. Kitchen Sink
4. Open Shelving Inspiration
5. Framed Chalkboard Menu Board Inspiration
6. Backsplash tile option 1
7. Cabinet Pulls
8. Cabinets
9. Behr Paint Color
10. Counter Stools 
11. Counter/Peninsula Lighting
12. Cork Flooring
13. Pig Bookends (most fun bookends ever!)
14. Backsplash Inspiration option 2 (beveled cream subway tile with contrasting grout)

So, what do you think? If you don’t like it, please keep it to yourself because I’m in too deep to turn back now! Just looking at all of these images together is making me wish we were closer to the end (as the sound of a circular saw fills our house)…

Back to the progress in the next post!

Till then,



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