If you follow me online at all then you likely saw my kitchen remodel reveal. We took out an entire wall, so of course the before and after pictures are impressive. But there are alot of other intentional details that went into the design that I want to share with you.
First, a little background on how we ended up in this house. Between the properties we looked at in Texas and the properties we looked at here in Kansas, we looked at about 50 homes. One day before our final go around Wichita my husband sent me a link to a house and said, “this is a good example of a bad house on good land that we could fix up.” Even though it was just supposed to be an example, we lined up a showing. It was our very last showing before heading back on down the highway to Texas. The land itself was beautiful, but the house actually made me cry. It was so much worse than the photos made it look. I think I cried all the way through Oklahoma. However, something about it I just couldn’t leave alone. The opening sequence to one of my favorite shows ends with the phrase, “do you have what it takes to take on a fixer upper?” Well, as it turns out, I do have exactly what it takes to take on a fixer upper.
Our house is a quad level, which is something I’d never seen before. The top level is the kitchen, the ground level is our bedrooms and main bath, then on yet another level there is another bathroom and the garage, and finally the basement. A basement was a novelty idea that I was not used to. Most homes don’t have basements in Texas. I had this idea that I wanted the basement to be one of those big comfy family dens. With that, I was pretty adamant about not having a television screen in our soon to be upstairs living room. I wanted a sitting area for conversations, reading, and board games.
Another thing I was adamant about: ample seating. To be more specific, I didn’t just want space for seating, I wanted space for eating. In our old home, it was always hard to fit big groups of people for a meal. I always felt like someone had to eat standing up. In our new kitchen, we have space for 10 people to eat comfortably. My husband built a custom farmhouse table that seats 6 and our 9′ x 4′ island seats 4. That doesn’t even include the seating around the matching farmhouse style coffee table or the picnic table out on the deck.
Another intentional design element: togetherness. In traditional kitchens, you cook with your back to the room. In our kitchen, my stove is in the island. Not only does this allow me to be part of the gathering while cooking, it’s also pretty perfect for cooking with more than one set of hands. The time spent around the island with my family and friends braving new recipes are already some of my favorite moments of the past year.
Finally, ample storage space was a must for us. Whether it was in the cabinets, the pantry, or the fridge – we were always running out of storage in our old kitchen. Thankfully, that is not the case anymore. Our house came with beautiful custom oak cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. We intentionally kept as many of these cabinets in place as we could (and another built in bookshelf). We also converted a half bath into a pantry. My husband installed deep sturdy shelving and now I have more space than I can even reach for dry foods. I also have plenty of refrigeration space. We opted for a Whirlpool design with a very small water dispenser on the inside and just an ice maker (not an ice dispenser) in the freezer.
I am sure that to some, all these details seem silly. But these details make up the backdrop of our lives. From family gatherings, homeschool lessons, bible studies, and so much more. I want you to know this: if I never lived in our first house, I would not have known what I wanted in this house. I think that’s a really impactful mid-life lesson to realize. If you’re in your thirties like me, then you are hardly new to this adulting thing. In fact, you know exactly what you want – because you’ve lived through some things you didn’t want. Embrace that and design a life you will love living!
XO – Olivia