74 Comments

  1. Patricia
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:11 am

    As a goddess (pays better than dictator and has a better wardrobe but not as many shoes), you can put anything you like and omit anything you don’t want. I’m totally okay with that.

    Reply

  2. Lori
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:13 am

    I sooooooo wanted open shelves when we built our home 3 years ago. But my John McCain did not. As the kitchen/family room is open concept he thought it would look cluttered 🙁 . I do love the way my kitchen turned out but….I’m slowly acquiring all white dishes in the hopes of someday removing the lower cabinet doors and having open shelving. Perhaps he won’t notice…Kinda like Syria hasn’t notice Putin ;D

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  3. liz
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:14 am

    Great inspiration photos! I love the idea of the marble shelves and they would look fabulous in your space!

    Reply

  4. Tattycoram
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:18 am

    A marvelous cook friend of mine is a fine-arts painter with a work background in design. In other words, she can pretty much turn her hands to anything. She envisioned a marble slab over her kitchen sink island to keep glassware etc. It would have been expensive to buy; superheavy and thus even more expensive to install; and probably would have brought down her early 18th northern New England roof beams, which would have been really expensive. So instead she made a marble slab: she painted a trompe l’oeil marble slab. It looks fabulous–I’ve spent many hours at her island (washing dishes, prepping vegetables, drinking wine) and it took me about 10 years that it was fake. Her one expense was the ironmongery to hang it: there are substantial hand-forged supports from the beams that also support (ha ha) the illusion that there’s something really heavy there. One of her neighbors is a blacksmith, though, and I suspect, what with a little bartering going on, the ironwork was not that huge an expense.

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    • MrsD
      November 4, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

      I think I HAVE to see a picture of this now!

      Reply

    • Kiki
      November 4, 2015 @ 3:21 pm

      Oh Tatticoram, you made me laugh out loud with your comment…. what a terrific friend you have and how clever she is!
      I did a similar trick – we have real (horrendously heavy) 1.5in marble boards over the iron radiators (our house dates from 1920 and has 1001 original Victorian details such as beautifully decorated heavy radiators) – and one day we came back to our home finding a break over the width of the largest 4.5ft long shelf. I nearly fainted…. The house sitter was standing on it to take photos of the garden! No, I’m not going to invite them again…. Bought a roll of heavy self-sticking plastic with a great marble effect BUT couldn’t get myself to attack the problem. My ‘durable provisional solution’ is to put something cleverly over the ‘ridge’ of the damaged marble and being annoyed that I let this get to me still after many years!

      Reply

      • Tattycoram
        November 5, 2015 @ 10:58 am

        I just called my friend–don’t have a picture but she tells me her “marble” slab is made out of a cheapo skinny hollow door! And she pointed out there are two more slender ones in the kitchen holding some of her small sculptures and her husband’s pots . . . . . Her trompe l’oeil definitely fooled mine.

        Reply

  5. Jen
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:19 am

    I would look for a nice leaded glass window to hang as art behind the sink over the tiles. Simulates a window, brings in the art and metal touch to room.

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    • chris harris
      November 4, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

      I heartily second Jen’s idea of a nice leaded glass window to hang as art behind the sink.

      Reply

    • Elizabeth
      November 5, 2015 @ 8:22 am

      There are already two windows on that wall, so no one needs that colorful clutter back there, right?

      Reply

  6. Brittany
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:28 am

    Is it weird that I have been awaiting with bated breath each new step in this kitchen remodel process? Seriously, this is quite the exercise in patience for me, and I cannot WAIT to see how it turns out!!! Also, you might be my spirit animal.

    Reply

  7. Devaney
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    I had a nothing budget for my kitchen “remodel” (I use that term lightly) and I absolutely didn’t want any closed off above the sink. It would just feel so cramped to me. I kept nothing there for a few years, then got some crap shelves and made them pretty with vintage glassware, art, and a plant that died (but still sits there). I had envisioned a mirror to open up the space (my kitchen is maybe 9×11, I don’t know, not big enough for GFTs), but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror while doing dishes, and that’s just not how I want to see myself. I think that an antiqued mirror with open shelving in front would be pretty.

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  8. Karen Prater
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    I suggest using mirrored tiles instead of a mirror to soften the look, just in the area behind the sink set at 4″ above the counter going to the top of that wall. This will give the illusion of depth and space needed to avoid the feeling of being too close too the wall, and will add the illusion of more space to the area by the softer reflection.

    Reply

    • Yvonne Angus
      November 11, 2015 @ 2:19 am

      Beveled mirror tiles could look quite rich, but, please, avoid the flat ones, or the veined ones. Just one woman’s opinion. (I have terrible visions of a 70’s psychedelic smokey den, reflected in broken veins of gold….shudder!)

      Reply

      • Yvonne Angus
        November 11, 2015 @ 2:23 am

        Plus, I think some elegant wrought iron shelving in front of the mirrors could not only look Giant and Fancy, but could also support an occasional curious kitty.

        Reply

  9. Jean
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    Sorry to sound practical, but since my cat (Hemingway) is athletic, open shelving would not be my first choice. He already jumps on top of my kitchen cabinets, and used to jump on top of my entertainment center, until I moved his leaping off point too far away for such shenanigans. I have friends who say that their cats don’t get up on the counters/cabinets in the kitchen! And I say, right, when you are there, they don’t. They are cats! Also, as someone who feels like she spends way too much time at the kitchen sink, be sure you get some good light over it. You don’t want to be washing the dishes over and over again because you can’t see that they are not quite clean. BTW, I do love your ideas and decorating style, so I don’t mean to be negative.

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  10. Lolly
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    You have probably already considered this in your marble shelf search, but I think that you could possibly use marble door or window sills as your “shelf” if you found a suitably fancy bracket to hold them with…..
    Naturally, I don’t speak from actual experience using marble sills. I try not to get bogged down by stuff like “experience”, but, it is something I’ve been fantasizing about for what I call my virtual kitchen. Full disclosure, my kitchen reno has been delightful, but I ran out of energy for it before picking a backsplash and my final floating shelves (which necessarily must be installed after a backsplash, so, it pains me to report that I have an IKEA special for floating shelves in the meantime- functional but boring). But, from the neck down, my kitchen reno is perfect cabinet, appliance and counter-wise.

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  11. toni
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:37 am

    I don’t care for open shelving because I don’t want to keep dishes that eat off of dusted. I like this one, design galleria, for appearance and I would put plants or something like that on the shelves. I notice every one of your inspiration photos is white shaker type cabinets. Is that where you’re going?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      November 4, 2015 @ 10:41 am

      Yes, white… with glass-front uppers, at least on the range wall. Probably my favorite photo in this whole post is the very first one.

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      • Penny
        November 4, 2015 @ 10:50 am

        The first one! YES!

        Reply

    • Rachel
      November 4, 2015 @ 11:17 am

      To pipe up as someone who bought a house with open shelving already installed….. My first thought was that it would have to go, as I wouldn’t be able to live without having closed storage space, for both the dust/grease and clutter reasons. But – it has become my favorite thing about my kitchen. I think so much of it has to do with what you store and how you use your kitchen, obviously. We keep our glasses, mugs and bowls on the shelves and I have absolutely no problem with dust. The glasses and bowls are all clear glass, so I would be able to see if they are getting dusty. I don’t know if we just use these things at 10 times the rate of everyone else, but I have no sense that they get any dirtier than they would in closed cabinets. I use my kitchen every day, and love how convenient everything is – I can grab 90% of what I need within a step or two. I am not at all trying to convince anyone that open shelving is superior – I just want people who may be considering it to not get scared off by the dust refrain, and to know that it can work well in a working kitchen – it doesn’t have to just be a display of perfectly curated items, like the second picture, as lovely as that is.

      Reply

      • Kay
        November 4, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

        I had open shelves installed in my kitchen on either side of the sink. Next to each set of shelves is a closed cabinet with appliance garage. I didn’t want acres of open shelves because of the cleanliness factor, and these have been perfect. Our everyday china is on them, and tea cups and pots, and some Delft pieces on the top shelf that can’t easily be reached. It works perfectly and is extremely easy and convenient. All the things are pretty and attractively arranged–which, once you’ve done the arranging, is very easy to maintain. The shelves are not fancy, nor are the supports–just wood painted to match the woodwork–but the effect is lovely. Those marble shelves are beautiful, but the weight! And then the weight of the stuff on them! And everyone is going to oooh and ahhh over your island to such an extent that they will never notice the details of your shelves. (You will, of course, and that matters too.) Yielding the desire for multiple GFTs in a kitchen that really has to be practical if you intend to cook anything in it may be difficult, but you already won the war: the island was your big win, and everything else is just a skirmish.

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      • Kiki
        November 4, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

        Rachel, exactly my experience too! Had open glass shelves for my glass thingie collection, fancy wine glasses, bowls etc and never had a problem. Had also cabinets with frosted glass doors for the dishes, again, no problem and wonderful fresh look. Miss my beautiful English kitchen very much still now, two houses later!!!!

        Reply

  12. tammigirl
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:40 am

    You have not yet hit upon THE THING. Which you will know when you see it.

    That is all.

    Reply

    • Lori W
      November 4, 2015 @ 11:30 am

      This!! Yes. Don’t think you are there yet, but you will, and then your John McCain (and the real one too for that matter) better just do as he is told.

      Reply

  13. Kelly
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:43 am

    All of these sink-with-no-window-over kitchens are fabulous, gorgeous, breathtaking. However, I spend so much time at my sink and look outside the whole time I’m there so I personally don’t like not having a window over my sink. I’ve had five windowless sink kitchens and haven’t enjoyed them a bit. They didn’t look anything like these kitchens though…..

    Reply

  14. Tattycoram
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:44 am

    When I was 19, I spent one summer in England taking care of a very old lady. I spent a lot of time in front of a kitchen sink with no window. I hated it! My solution then was to put up poems I wanted to memorize and some postcards of paintings that were interesting to look for extended periods. And I listened to a lot of Radio 4. These were good solutions for a temporarily-housed teenager but hardly glam!

    Reply

  15. Liz
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:47 am

    Most people are not aware that carrera marble has lead in it.

    Reply

  16. Victoria
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:49 am

    I am sure you will figure it all out and it will be grand!! But I love the piano. Is it complete yet? Can we see pictures of it. You are still going to use the piano right?

    Reply

  17. sarah
    November 4, 2015 @ 10:59 am

    As a lady who buys and sells turn of the century Victorian bath fixtures and hardware for virtually zero profit solely because she loves to touch and hold them, I can wholly appreciate your hesitation to drop a grand on anything new like those urban archaeology shelving units. HOWEVER, as I also died over the open sheves in the perfume designer’s green kitchen, I will let you know that there is a used Waterworks 3 shelf glass unit on ebay right now for 400 obo. You could always try mercury glass (look up krylon looking glass mercury tutorial, its fabulous) on the shelves to solve the constant cleaning issue while avoiding the weight/cost of marble. I love your updates and cant wait to see the direction you end up choosing. Good luck!!

    Reply

    • sarah
      November 4, 2015 @ 11:03 am

      And if you’re comitted to staying true to period, I have a feeling your husband could fashion shelf brackets spanning across 2 Brasscrafters/San O La/JL Mott/ Art Brass Co./ Huber towel rods hung vertically and parallel to eachother.

      Reply

  18. Kim
    November 4, 2015 @ 11:03 am

    I think most dictators have a cleaning staff. Seems like you deserve this, too. Can you work that into your kitchen budget? Because the servants could take care of cleaning the glass and mirrors while you lay with the cat. Problems solved.

    Reply

  19. Irene
    November 4, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    I absolutely adore you!!

    Reply

  20. Toni
    November 4, 2015 @ 11:28 am

    I vote Cararra marble shelves. Let’s face it, as the “queen of fancy things”……you don’t have time for such mundane tasks as dusting glass shelves! Mirror above the sink, well then you can daily chant “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…..who’s the fairest of them all?” It will be lovely and unique whatever you do!

    Reply

  21. Tom | Tall Clover Farm
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

    Nice photos, nice shelves, nice kitchens — not a dog in the lot. Those brass shelves are the bomb, and I’ve been looking for those for years after first seeing them in Patisseries. So odd, that glass and brass shelving costs the same as a well-equipped Audi.

    Reply

  22. Sunnie Mitchell
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

    I lived in a rental for over three years – windowless kitchen sink and I did feel imprisoned until I stumbled over a salvage window frame just the size of the space above the sink. A talented friend enlarged a four-seasons series of photos taken from his kitchen sink (overlooking a rather splendid large garden!) and reglazed the window to include an easy to change out sliding ‘frame’ for my new ‘kitchen window view’. I made simple curtains, hung a small wreath at Christmas – that ‘window’ went a long way towards saving my sanity. Fooled several people and earned not a few compliments, too.

    Reply

    • Jackie Cossar
      November 4, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

      What a great idea! I love this. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

      Reply

  23. judy
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

    Am I being snarky when I posit that Kitchens that look that expensive are not used on a daily basis by the gorgeous homeowners who only dine on lettuce and fine wine-have to maintain ones beautiful slim body-doncha know. I’m glad for you and Paul and even Elvis that the whole Saga is winding toward its final denouement. I am sure that Elvis will be glad of the extra attention when the works all finished and Considering that a dust particle would die of loneliness in your immaculate manse I’m sure you and Paul will be overjoyed at a return to order. Of course we all know that won’t last for long with all the brain trolls and Self poking you and whispering in your ear of treasure not yet discovered. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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  24. susan schwartz
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

    Speaking from experience, you really do want your sink to face a window. You really do. Love, love, love your blog.

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  25. Darling Lily
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    I had no idea McCain ran with Tina Fey, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is time for a GoFundMe or Kickstarter or some such thing to get you those brass cabinet thingees because MY GOD.

    My. God.

    I don’t have a window in my kitchen, period, let alone over the sink, so don’t you worry about that. You will get used to anything except Ugly, so please follow your heart and something that you will adore looking at.

    Reply

  26. Dianne
    November 4, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

    Loving the photos but want to see YOUR kitchen. Where are you in this process? Cannot wait for the fantastic reveal.

    Reply

    • Scooter Conrad
      November 4, 2015 @ 2:39 pm

      PLEASE, I want to see the REAL kitchen too, no matter what condition.
      Are you hiding it? All the pictures are nice, but as far as I can see none of us could afford anything you’ve showed us, other then as a tease. No room, No money.

      Reply

  27. Linda Fraser
    November 4, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    I’m all practicality (retired graphic/package designer and kitchen designer by trade) so let me just get down to it. Lived for just three years with no window over my sink and don’t recall being traumatized by it. However, LOVE having a beautiful, south facing, high up, window now. Since there’s never been any consideration re moving or shrinking either of your windows, how about swapping your sink and range? Like 3rd and 8th photo. At least then you could look to your right outside and have that natural light near your sink. It would also mean simply venting your range directly outside. In that same warehouse conversion I once lived in (1995 ish) I was ahead of trends with open shelving UNDER my shorter, closed cabinets placed higher up. I LOVED IT and would do it again given the chance! Just store often used items there and ugly or less used items inside. So many ideas…

    Reply

  28. Lindsey
    November 4, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

    How many of us stopped reading your post mid thought in order to google translate “огромные причудливые украшения”? I did! Hahahahaha. I love you and your blog! PS the Carrera marble idea is fantastic. Run with that. You could find ALL kinds of salvaged marble on craigslist or at local places. That is what I was told to do when I needed some smaller pieces for nightstands.

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  29. Garden, Home and Party
    November 4, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

    Victoria,
    I had a kitchen with a window that looked into the living room when living in Texas. I do love looking outside while at the sink, but as long as there is plenty of natural light I’d say you’ll survive. I absolutely love a few of these kitchens.
    xo,
    Karen

    Reply

  30. Michelle Holland
    November 4, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

    When your new posts show up…….I can’t wait to read them! Just sayin!
    Thanks for the smiles!
    Michelle

    Reply

  31. LibraDesignEye
    November 4, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

    Dahling, You are now on the way. Love the window seat as termination of the kitchen casework and transition to the other room(wink), Loooorve (oprah pronounciation) the navy lowers, and the pale gray lowers ..
    Over the sink . . . with the windows flanking, I first will state the practical – put the open shelf high enough OR shallow enough that you can’t bump your head when you bend over the sink scrubbing (you are a tall people, dictator and subject) AND . . with your high ceiling, I like the balance of a combo like the photo under country living – closed smaller cabinet at top and shelving that descends. This makes it easy to make the shelf finish the same as the cabinet since they are “connected” (though not literally connected by the sides works better for me so you get natural light washing sideways into them) . .
    Mirror right above the shelves, wonderful. Mirror below .. nope . . Use some lovely tile . though I was struck by HOW MUCH I loved the christopher peacock backsplash and range splash combos of tile and stone, and the echo of the arched antique sink backsplash done in soapstone / black in the last photo of betty lou . .

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  32. Robin Goodman
    November 4, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

    Could you tell me more abut the fabulous hanging pot rack?

    Reply

  33. Laurie Stone
    November 4, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

    Love your pictures. And yes, I believe all problems can be solved by spending time with a cat.

    Reply

  34. Patricia Davis
    November 4, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

    Well I did mirror my kitchen and I love it. On one wall there are three Metro chrome shelves. The mirror adds sparkle. In front of a large window that looks out to the garden that wall is mirrored and three Metro shelves are there. My collection of stainless cookware hangs from the top shelf and functions as a “valance” and below the window are shelves for more cookware (I’ve been collecting for over 40 years!) The mirror is easy to clean, looks great and I love it.

    Reply

  35. Kiki
    November 4, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    I simply love ALL of the above photos respective kitchens. Give me any of the and I will never complain again!
    I do however have a serious problem with marble. All of my marble furniture I had and have, used and saw, were – with no exception – highly sensible to water marks. My troubles began when I stayed several times in French B&Bs with old furniture and marble wash stands. All I did was drying off the thing all the time. Have two bistro tables and God forbid that I put a bottle with cold wine on it. A ring which doesn’t come off is the result – I could send you photos of how bad they look now. Same thing with the marble benches over the heaters. One vase which ‘sweated’ a bit and a permanent ring which doesn’t come off is the result. I often hear that you can treat the marble so that it does repell humidity. I can’t understand it as in Italy and elsewhere I saw many fountains etc with no damage. But these are my experiences.

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  36. Liz H.
    November 4, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

    Haven’t you found a smaller Kingdom mirror to complete your kitchen sink area? Then you can bask in your loveliness while toiling in said sink! Here’s a link to do it yourself corbels: Paul could create some out of walnut to lovingly grasp your marble shelves! ?

    http://scavengerchic.com/2015/11/02/design-and-build-your-own-corbel/

    Reply

  37. Lisa
    November 4, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

    …and now I want those $1000 shelf supports with glass shelves, even tho I have no place to put them.

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    • Elizabeth
      November 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am

      Me too Lisa!

      Reply

  38. Sharon
    November 4, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

    Victoria:

    As a Goddess Of All GFTs, you know in your heart of hearts, regardless of what various Trolls and Self whisper to you, that Elvis has the answers to all of life’s foibles. Spend more time with the cat, and hopefully we will see your completed kitchen in all its splendor and glory second only to yours.

    Reply

  39. JFSinIL
    November 4, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

    Lovely photos – but I could never live with open shelving, as I can only imagine how much dust etc. would accumulate since I am a slob who never dusts.

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  40. Linda
    November 4, 2015 @ 7:39 pm

    When I was a little kid my sister and I were dancing on our marble coffee table and it broke in half! Just saying…

    Reply

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