Spoiler alert: We’re in the thick of our own kitchen renovation. JK, you already knew that. But! Did you know that many of the design elements we’re incorporating into our space is a result of learning from our peers? I think the biggest fear Scott and I have is missing something – a crucial element, gadget or storage hack – that we’ll wish we would have incorporated before it was too late. For this, we turn to our friends who have recently renovated their own kitchens, and we’re taking notes on the things that might work for our family. Examples are drawers as base cabinets (as seen in our Two Flat kitchen above), floating shelves for grab-n-go items, and countertop materials, to name a few.
Honestly, we couldn’t think of a better time to share their knowledge, in hopes it sparks some ideas for you, too! This is another round of Collective Q+A, a blog series focused on sharing voices other than our own to promote new ideas and encourage outside-of-the-box thinking. Today we’re asking: What is the kitchen feature that changed the way you use your space for the better?
By refinishing our existing cabinets we were able to allocate most of our budget to wall removal, and it was worth every penny. — Nahyun Arnal
Nahyun Arnal, Our Hideaway Home | Our kitchen was not a memorable space. There was minimal storage, a tight layout and it felt very disjointed from the rest of our home. Not to state the obvious, but to clearly state the obvious, removing a wall to open up the layout dramatically changed the way we use our kitchen for the better.
Over five weeks and with a tight budget we tackled our kitchen refresh! Our goal was to add storage, improve the flow and function of the space, but also to repurpose as much of our existing kitchen as possible! By refinishing our existing cabinets we were able to allocate most of our budget to wall removal, and it was worth every penny. I underestimated the impact the wall removal would have on – not only our kitchen – but our entire main floor. Now daily tasks like cooking and cleaning are actually enjoyable, entertaining is on another level and the sunshine that penetrates throughout our home is truly magical.
I’d probably been following a few too many interior designers because I suddenly knew I needed wallpaper in my life. The pantry felt like the perfect place to incorporate it. And so, in addition to making the pantry functional, I became devoted to the idea of making it beautiful. — Samantha Smith
Samantha Smith, One Smith Story | Building a Pretty Pantry! We’d never had a proper pantry in our previous homes, so I was dead set on including one when we built. We couldn’t afford to incorporate all the bells and whistles in the build cost, so we had the builder leave our little corner pantry empty and I planned to tackle it myself and design it in a way that would work for our family. As I started planning the pantry, you could say I got a little *extra.* I’d probably been following a few too many interior designers because I suddenly knew I needed wallpaper in my life. The pantry felt like the perfect place to incorporate it. And so, in addition to making the pantry functional, I became devoted to the idea of making it beautiful. I didn’t have a lot of fancy tools, but I had a whole lot of gumption and a fantastic Instagram community cheering me on.
Fast forward a couple of months and here’s what I’ve learned: Making the pantry pretty actually encourages us to keep it organized! Imagine that. It might sound silly – the idea of a styled space for food storage – but it brings me joy every time I open the door (which is frequently) and it ensures I keep those goldfish crackers and granola bars tucked away in their rightful place. Now I’m thinking I might need to make my closet pretty, too…
I came up with the idea to have a little nook to the side of our range with a pull out shelf to access our toaster and coffee maker which could be pushed out of sight once the morning rush was over. — Erin Zubot
Erin Zubot, Erin Zubot Design | Although we all have a toaster, coffee pot or other small appliances that we use every day and love to keep out and accessible, they can look a little like clutter in a beautifully styled kitchen. When we renovated our kitchen I racked my brain for a way to hide away our small appliances. I’ve seen a lot of people use appliance garages but our local electrical code did not allow us to have anything with a door on it. I came up with the idea to have a little nook to the side of our range with a pull out shelf to access our toaster and coffee maker which could be pushed out of sight once the morning rush was over:
We built a little cubby out of walnut plywood and I asked our countertop manufacturer for an extra piece of stone. I attached some hobby brass to the side of it to hide the drawer hardware and it’s just my favorite feature of our whole kitchen now! I really think it is worth the time and energy to put thought into how you will store every little item in a kitchen renovation, whether you incorporate an appliance garage or if you have the luxury of a walk-in pantry, there is usually a solution that can be both functional and beautiful!
When I completed my DIY budget kitchen makeover last year there was one element that I couldn’t wait to install and use – the single handle pull down faucet from Signature Hardware. — Nedra Davis
Nedra Davis, Brick End Haus | When I completed my DIY budget kitchen makeover last year there was one element that I couldn’t wait to install and use – the single handle pull down faucet from Signature Hardware. Not only does it elevate the sink area in my upgraded kitchen, it also allows me so much flexibility while I am cooking or cleaning.
We no longer have any lower or upper cabinets, and instead, have all drawers. It has been a complete game changer. — Deema Tabbara Lopez
Deema Tabbara Lopez, Pretty on Fridays | If I had to pick one kitchen feature that’s completely changed how we use the space, it would be our drawers. We no longer have any lower or upper cabinets, and instead, have all drawers. It has been a complete game changer. We have way more storage space, it’s much easier to organize (psst Ikea drawers INSIDE of drawers!), AND we no longer have to reach and pull out a bunch of crap to grab something we would have otherwise done if we still had cabinets. It’s incredibly convenient, and bonus, I love the look as well. I can’t imagine ever putting our pots and pans in a cabinet again.
It’s been a game changer to have plenty of room for food prep no matter how many school papers try to hang out on the island. — Anna + Gabe Liesemeyer
Anna + Gabe Liesemeyer, In Honor of Design | With a full house it can feel impossible at times to keep our countertops clear! We designed an appliance cabinet into our kitchen to free up countertop spaces for food prep. The cabinet is only 30 in. wide, but since it runs from floor to ceiling it fits our coffee maker, microwave, crockpot, and other kitchen items we use frequently. We incorporated the outlets for the coffee maker and microwave on the inside of the cabinet in order to use them by just opening the doors. The lower appliances we can pull out to use when we need them! It’s been a game changer to have plenty of room for food prep no matter how many school papers try to hang out on the island.
Thank you for supporting the creators that inspire us every day! Is there a feature you’ve added to your kitchen that has been a game changer in how you use the space? We’re over here taking notes!