My Kitchen

The most important thing to me in designing our kitchen was a layout that allowed many of us to work at once without fighting for the same workspaces or crashing into each other with crossing traffic patterns...In other words, we needed ZONES.  We have a cooking/prep zone, a baking zone, a cleanup and dishes zone, and a breakfast/snack/sandwich zone.  All but the cleanup zone share the island, but from different sides.  The cooking and baking zones share the prep sink, but, again, from different sides, since it's situated on a corner, so has 2 'fronts.' 

We DIY'd almost everything.  Hubby built our cabinets.  We have 4 cabinet finishes: I finished anything wood with Waterlox (an amazing finish I highly recommend) and he sprayed anything painted with Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo, alkyd base.  (Lancaster White, Sabre Gray, and a color match for Ralph Lauren Picture Gallery Red)   We have 3 countertop materials: Stainless flanking the rangetop, wood on the island, and Pionite laminate on the cleanup, breakfast, and baking counters.  I find laminate to be tough and affordable, and a surface I don't really worry about.  It's easy to clean and work on. The stainless scratches, but they're fine and start to give the stainless a softer look.  I love that I can set hot things on it right out of the oven or off the stove.  Even though I usually do such projects on the island, the stainless stays somewhat cool, so serves as a great surface on which to knead dough or roll pastry.  The fir is softer than recommended, so dents a bit.  But the Waterlox does a great job protecting it, and I think the wood adds a lot of visual warmth and hominess to the room.

The island top, the baseboard, door and window trim are all of Douglas Fir from trees on our property.  That drove the use of fir for cabinets, and the decor choices grew from there.

I designed and installed our mosaic marble backsplashes, and we used quartzite behind the rangetop.  The rough faced stone was difficult to grout, but I sealed it before and after grouting, so it's not hard to wipe down.  It's pretty forgiving anyway, as some of the splashes blend into the color and texture variation.  Hubby and our 2 older princes installed the Marmoleum Click flooring, which is proving to be durable and pretty easy to clean.  We sweep it, and to do a more thorough cleaning, we vacuum, then use the steam cleaner.  Its medium coloring and swirling pattern are forgiving also, so it doesn't show every little smudge or spill in between cleanings.   Prince Stoic and I painted walls and ceilings, first using a Ralph Lauren paint (Lincolnshire Olive) from Home Depot, but this summer I repainted with Benjamin Moore (Sag Harbor Gray), both were the eggshell finish latex.  I have no complaints about either.


With a family the size of ours, with our interest in cooking and baking, and with the need for either several or large sizes of so many things, storage was very important.   

 I think that some type of marvelous and ample dish storage is a necessity in a kitchen.  Ours could have been a bit larger to fit more serving pieces and the bowls I'd love to collect...but I appreciate what we have.  The hutch piece still needs trim at the top, and although I'd planned glass for the doors, am considering metal mesh of some sort as a practical and more economical choice, but with interesting character.  Dishes in drawers...a great idea.

We love our walk-in pantry with room for the grains we mill, some small appliances, bulk storage, and canned goods.  I don't like the possible unsteadiness of adjustable shelving, nor the drip-through possibility of wired shelving, so decided on solid shelving, permanently installed.  I would never clear off all the shelves to adjust them anyway, so just thought ahead about the heights that would work best for us.  The bottom space is 19" to fit the wheeled bins of grains.  The next 2 openings are 14 -15" for the cereal storage bins in which I keep smaller supplies of various grains and small appliances, including my grain milling equipment.  The 2 canned goods shelves are spaced at 10", just the right height for stacking the cans two high.  Above that is another 15" space, and the very top is about 21" to the ceiling...and is a good space for baskets and boxes of things like paper cups--Things that are light weight, and that we don't need often.

We also value our coffee/tea supply area...It's not a big priority in our house, but we found we needed a special spot, anyway. This framed-in corner was my answer to dislike for corner cabinets and for the transition from the standard counter height on the sink wall, to the slightly lower one on the stove wall.

I neglected to plan a suitable place for cookbook storage, but inspired by Trailrunner's kitchen in the Finished Kitchens Blog, I was able to ask Hubby to build bookshelves over my fridge and freezer set, instead of the cabinets we had planned, but found we didn't need with so much cabinetry and the pantry.

The island, so vital to almost every activity in our kitchen, is still a work in progress.  I originally designed it based on its appearance, and left an overhang across the end that we didn't really use.  After living and working in the kitchen, I found that even on the island, which I thought I could consider 'extra,'  function was worth far more than a certain look.  We have replaced the doored cabinets with more drawers, and have added cabinets under part of the overhang.   Drawers for storage are WONDERFUL. The island, like the baking center counter and stove counters is slightly lower than standard height for better visibility into mixers/large pots, and for tasks like kneading and chopping.  It works well for our family with full-grown heights ranging from 5'2" to 5'11".  Anyone taller can easily add a thick butcher block to bring up the work surface.


Rangetop: Wolf 48" with 8 burners
Rangehood: Electrolux Icon 48"
Dishwashers: Bosch Integra 500 Series with Custom panel fronts
2 All-Refrigerators and 1 All-Freezer:  Electrolux Icon
Double Oven: It's a long story, but after 6 other ovens that had problems, the final choice is Gaggenau, shown in posts here

Other kitchen related posts:
TKO Tuesday: Zones and Workpaths
TKO Tuesday: Baking Zone
TKO Tuesday: Cooking Zone
TKO Tuesday: A Little More on the Cooking Zone
TKO Tuesday: Oven Saga
Wordy Wednesday: 4th Oven -also the Final?
TKO Tuesday: Breakfast Center/Snack Zone
TKO Tuesday: Clean-Up Zone
TKO Tuesday: Food Storage Zone
TKO Tuesday: Mini Zone - Microwave (and Fruit!)
TKO Tuesday: Mini Zone - Coffee/Tea Center
Vive la DiffĂ©rence - Island redesign

Happy to have shared this at Show Us Your Kitchens! on Thrifty Decor Chick

UPDATE:  I have removed the lace valance over the window.  The story about that is here.  But here are new pics:


  1. Great details. Can you tell me how you use those two fridges? Milk in both or just one, etc?

  2. We call the one by the freezer, "The Baking Fridge." It holds all baking and cooking ingredients (butter, sauces, fresh veggies, meats, eggs), any beer and wine we have, and extra milks. The other one we call "The Snack Fridge." It holds anything for sandwiches, snacks, breakfast, and things that might go on the table...So open milks, jelly, condiments, prepped veggies that go in sandwiches, snack fruits, yogurt, sandwich meats and cheeses.

  3. Princess Sassy reminded me...Leftovers also reside in the 'Snack Fridge.'

  4. Now I understand. That makes perfect sense. You're so organized!

  5. I'm not saying nothing every gets in the wrong fridge, or we're not sure which it should be in. ;-) I'm having the hardest time trying to get the kids to understand the difference and purpose of the meat/cheese drawers and produce drawers!

  6. Hello,

    This marks the first time I have left a comment on someone's blog..butI'm not sure how else to contact you. I found you via Gardenweb forums while searching for wooden counter tops. We are inthe midst of a remodel and are searching for less expensive counter options. We lost a black walnut tree some years ago and we're having it milled to use for a built in table..why not the center island top too? Next, I noticed that your cupboard door style matches my existing cabinets that we must add onto, can't find the match anymore so we thought of adding the center island in contrasting white did something similar. Also, entertained ideas of stainless counters to resolve the "less expensive countertop idea"'ve got those too! So, all that to say, do you mind a few questions from a stranger in Idaho?

    Here goes..Where did you find the stainless countertops? Do you have a price estimate for those? Would you do stainless again? What color did you finish your white cabinets in? You say you made your wood countertop yourself..any tips for joining? How are they holding up? Do you have water marks? More, more, more. I know I have more questions...


  7. Lydia, Glad you came by the blog and feel free to ask any questions you'd like! (you can also use the email address shown on the above right under my profile pic, or contact my through 'my page' on the kitchen forum)

    We had our stainless countertops made at the local sheet metal shop. Hubby made the underlayment out of 3 layers of 3/4" plywood (because we have 2 1/4" thick counters) and took it to the sheet metal guy (who also did our HVAC). He wrapped the underlayment in the stainless, DH brought it home and dropped it into place. So easy and I do love it. We have 18 gauge, though, and many on the forum suggest 16 or 14. We have a tiny ding in ours that probably wouldn't have happened in the heavier gauges. Ours was $17/sq ft. Of course, it was easy, since we didn't do a special edge or integrate a sink.

    Our island paint is Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo in Lancaster Whitewash. It's a creamy color. In the 2nd, 3rd, and last photos above, the end of the island is painted another color, so ignore those! ;-) I was experimenting, but am going to repaint all back to the Lancaster Whitewash which you see on the island doors and drawer fronts.

    We finished our island top in Waterlox, so there are no water marks. It's very protective. I'm not sure if my husband used biscuit joinery to hold the island pieces together or just waterproof glue and clamps. I will ask and get back to you here.

  8. Wow! I love the different coloured cabinetry, all the different hardware, and the wood counters! The space is so warm and interesting! Fabulous! Pawa

  9. Hi I love your kitchen! nice to see a true working kitchen for a large family. I only have 3 children but I often shake my head in wonder at some of these designer kitchens. Anyway I like your two dish draws it looks like you have a lot of dishes in them. Could you tell me the dimensions on those? Also do you like them? I am thinking of switching to dish drawer(s) and I am not sure how they would work for every day. We eat at home and have a large extended family so I have a lot of dishes.

    1. We do have a lot of dishes in our drawers, and I do like them for dish storage. We have at least 24 place settings of our dish set (and porcelain restaurant-style, so heavy), plus a set of pasta bowls, and odds and ends of other types of dishes, including the custard cups and other small dishes you see pictured above in the top, left drawer.

      We have reorganized since these photos were taken... Our Tupperware sort of storage containers take up both bottom drawers, and our cups and glassware are in the hutch above.

      The cabinets for our drawers are 23" wide, so the drawers themselves are about 21" wide. The fronts of the top drawers are 7", and the lower 2 are about 11" high. I want to clarify that those are the drawer front measurements, so there is about a couple inches less in clearance for the contents.

      I hope that makes sense!


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