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 Différence - 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: