We spent all morning with Angela at Builders Surplus:
planning our future kitchen. I posted about our inspiration kitchen here, and I kept this in mind while we made all of the hard decisions. And what follows is a record of all the decisions and some discussion surrounding them.
To start with - all the cabinets are made by Wellborn. This is what our contractors typically use, and also the same type of cabinets that we put in our current kitchen (which we have really liked). So there was no doubt about what brand of cabinets we would use.
We chose the Hanover Cherry Full Overlay style of door in espresso:
Here is an example of this style in the espresso color (from the Wellborn website):
Why did we choose this? Well, I knew I wanted a Shaker-style door. Every kitchen that I've seen and liked in the last few years has had this style door (and I definitely frequent design blogs - one of my favorite pastimes!) So that made the door style a very simple and painless decision. The color choice was much more difficult. Kyle had vetoed white cabinets (and my sister already has a beautiful white kitchen - when we already have such similar houses it's a good thing to keep the interiors different!) and I veer to the far other side when white is out of the option. I love super dark, rich looking wood. And the espresso finish had that look for me. Originally my fear was that it would be TOO dark and close things in. But I lost that fear once we decided on two islands and only one wall with upper cabinetry. And, of course, my inspiration kitchen is a very good example of very-dark cabinets done well.
So now I'm brought back to why the color choice was more difficult. Well, see, the espresso finish was more expensive. It came in the slightly higher-end line and was only available in cherry (whereas other styles were available in maple). We went back and forth between the espresso and another color, Sienna, which we could get for less. At the end of the day it came down to two questions: What is in our budget and which would I be most comfortable with? After pricing everything out, the espresso came out just at our budget. And what made my decision easy was thinking about how I would feel after we left the showroom. With the sienna cabinets, I knew I would be worried and second-guessing the decision until the cabinets arrived. And my worst fear was looking at them and thinking "That's just not what I wanted". But with the espresso cabinets, I knew I would be very excited and looking forward to the day the cabinets were installed. So we went with my vision! Luckily, everyone handled my slow decision-making very well. Kyle wasn't surprised of course, he knows that even when I go shopping for clothes I'll start heading to the register and by the time I'm there I've put back half of what I'd already decided to buy (and I'm sure he loves that). But I'm not known for making decisions quickly or easily. Much less huge decisions like this. But I'm really excited and can't wait to see them installed.
Now on to the layout choices. This wasn't very hard since we already had a general layout from the floorplans our architect put together. Here are 3D views the computer put together for us (imagine this with the espresso cabinets, all stainless steel appliances, and light colored granite):
That back wall in the first picture is where the pantry is. Imagine a door in that wall. Also imagine a microwave in that empty cut out space to the left of the range.
I mentioned that this was easy to put together. The hardest part was coming up with a plan that satisfied the actuary in me who demands symmetry. Originally the range wasn't exactly centered between the two islands and the islands weren't centered enough in the room. But Angela did a great job working with us and getting the cabinets we needed to make it symmetrical.
Here are the dimensions and sketches:
Floorplan from above
Cabinets on the back wall
The cabinets on the island that is by the back wall, these are the drawers that face the sink and dishwasher on the other island.
The island near the front of the kitchen - this shows the trashcan pullout, sink, and dishwasher - faces the other island
The island near the front of the kitchen - these are the cabinets that face out to the living area
A few notes regarding our layout choices:
- After talking to my sister, my mom, Ann, and reading other opinions, I was sold on the fact that deep drawers are much more convenient than base cabinets. So we decided to put drawers instead of base cabinets where we could. The back wall with all the cabinets has two big, deep drawers at the very left. These will be used to store all our pots and pans (and maybe a few baking dishes). The drawers on the far island will be used to store a lot of our dishes (convenient since they are right behind the dishwasher).
- We used a few of the specialty cabinets we love from our current house (remember, we have the same types of cabinets - Wellborn). We knew that without a doubt we wanted a double trashcan. We love the double trashcan we currently have to the left of our sink. So that's what's to the left of the sink in the new floorplan. And we really like the spice drawer and cookie sheet cabinets we have flanking our range in our kitchen now. So, when we were trying to get the range centered between the two islands, I mentioned that we would love those same cabinets there. And it fit in perfectly!
- I am in awe of the islands. Really. They are both 7' x 3' and I am already daydreaming about baking and cooking on them.
- The space behind the back island isn't very large. It's pretty much wide enough for someone to squeeze behind a stool. But we're fine with that because there really isn't much of a reason for anyone to need to go back there. They'll just walk in between the two islands instead.
- I'm so happy not to be dealing with any lost storage space in corners. Our kitchen now has two lazy susans, and while I know they are the best use of space for a corner, I still get really frustrated with them. It's hard find the right things to store in them that won't get caught while you turn it around.
And one last closing thought before I end this insanely long post. The kitchen was one area of the house I had finally come to a decision regarding what I wanted (with Kyle's input, of course). So by the time we got to the kitchen planner's desk I had a very specific image in my mind of what our kitchen would look like. This was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because it caused the planning and tweaking and changes to go pretty quickly and smoothly. It was a curse since, of course, what fit my image was more expensive. We were lucky enough that what I wanted was just within the budget. But it caused a bit of anxiety when wondering if I would have to let go of the vision I had. However, after all is said and done, I can truly say this is pretty much my dream kitchen. Now I just can't wait for it to become reality!