133 Comments

  1. Ann
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:09 am

    I think the real people who LOVE non-traditional kitchens are off searching for their next awesome find at an auction. All those traditional kitcheny type people have to do is sit at their computer and critique others who have talent and an imagination!

    Reply

    • Ann-Marie
      February 3, 2015 @ 10:41 am

      Well said. There is always time tomorrow to play it safe …..
      As long as it’s functional, the creativeness will HELP sale your home!!! They will understand this is the ONLY house where I can get this….and I need to bid WAY over asking price to secure this dream of a home!!!
      Never conform….IT WILL BREAK OUR HEARTS if you do!!!!

      Reply

  2. Dianne
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:11 am

    My two cents: It’s your kitchen. Design and create what you want. You will use it. Just like you paint what colors you want. When it’s time to sell you can remove your open shelving and replace them with boxes and no one will know.
    By the time you’re ready to sell, you will have emotionally removed yourself from attachment to the details of your home; your attention will be on the new home.
    Some people don’t like dark colors. Or wood floors. Or carpet. So just please yourself. Or drive yourself crazy trying to project the future.

    Reply

  3. Ann
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:13 am

    oh..and my favorite kitchen island out of all the pictures you posted is the printer’s cabinet! LOVE!

    Reply

  4. devon
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:13 am

    Ha ha ha, too funny……..i am laughing all the way to my box, er, kitchen! But you speaketh the truth, i had never realized how much they all DO look the same! I know i will never look at another magazine kitchen again without thinking differently!! And I guess I’m going to be burned at the stake too, i really LOVE open shelving in a kitchen…..guess i was dropped on my head at birth?

    Reply

  5. Philippa
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:15 am

    OMG they are amazing!! I hope when we finally get round to sorting out our ugly old kitchen we can get something that gives a similar feeling of wow when it’s completed! Who cares what anyone else thinks?! You’re the one who has to clean it!

    Reply

  6. Kimber
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:15 am

    “Varying degrees of niceness and bankruptcy, but still just boxes… ”
    Oh how I love you Mrs. Barnes.
    I would never diss your kitchen. I appreciate the research and effort you put forth so I don’t have to. I am about 500 student loan payments away from a new kitchen {ps they’re not even MY loans but my offsprings’} so hopefully the assisted living kitchen will be rad. And wheelchair accessible.

    Reply

    • Yvonne Angus
      February 4, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

      “hopefully the assisted living kitchen will be rad. And wheelchair accessible”.

      Knowing that feeling! Been in our house for 4 years 3 months, and still living out of boxes (not of the kitchen cabinet variety)! His heart attack, my emergency surgery….you get the picture! We bought it because it was a fixer upper that we could afford…grand plans galore…have succeeded in blowing out the laundry room wall and partially dry walling it!

      Reply

  7. Bleubook
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    I completely agree with absolutely every word of this post. My kitchen luckily has one completely cabinet-free wall. And by another stroke of good fortune, when we moved into our house, the movers could not wrestle my antique dresser up to our third-floor bedroom (something about angles and stairs and geometry…) My dresser found its home in my kitchen. where it will one day receive a beautiful marble top. (But right now, the tung oil finish is holding up beautifully.)

    Can you believe the gentleman who sold us our house actually had a …sit down…TABLE AND CHAIRS in that space? I mean COME ON. We have a DINING ROOM right next to the kitchen. Why would anyone want to eat in the same room their food is cooked and their dishes are washed is beyond me.

    The dresser is wonderful in the kitchen. I have a place for all of my napkins and tablecloths. It actually is both practical AND pretty.

    Reply

    • tammigirl
      February 3, 2015 @ 11:35 am

      I find this hilarious because we have a formal dining room and have fully abandoned it for the homeyness of eating in the great room. (Our great room is 20×45. According to our builder it is kitchen, dinette, and family room. We live in it. Of course, with our large family we require a lot of room and having big tables in that space allows for any size group we get with extra friends and family. It just works for us.

      Reply

    • Yvonne Angus
      February 4, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

      And I find it hilarious because MY dining room is packed floor to ceiling with UNpacked boxes! We eat on tray tables in the den! (I want my house back!!!!)

      Reply

  8. Amanda
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    Victoria, I absolutely agree with you. I’m so sick of seeing $80,000 cookie-cutter granite/stainless steel/custom banks of cabinets kitchen remodels. They all look alike. When I gutted my tiny home last year (which, by the way, I accomplished on a budget of $4000 for THE ENTIRE DIY HOME REMODEL using all scrap materials), the last thing I wanted was a kitchen that looked like a kitchen. I found two old five-foot long dressers (that don’t match) for $50 each at a thrift store and two old solid oak doors for countertops, and fashioned a ten foot long island out of them. I stained the dressers the same deep red to tie them together and left the scarred oak doors as they were for the countertops. Because I couldn’t find a cabinet to house the heavy cast-iron farm sink I had picked up at an estate sale, I build one myself out of 2x4s and put a pretty skirt around the front. I also built-in another cabinet using scrap wood and salvaged doors from the ReStore. I have all open shelving and I love my kitchen because it doesn’t look like an old farm kitchen when they used to use furniture as opposed to built-ins. Follow your muse and create the kitchen that expresses you.

    Reply

    • Fl!p Breskin
      February 3, 2015 @ 10:34 am

      RE-Store! Are you in Bellingham? Want to talk kitchens? I think you’d like mine too.

      Reply

    • Diana Ings
      February 3, 2015 @ 11:01 am

      I totally agree with you about the granite/stainless steel/boring kitchens. When many kitchen remodels are completed, the kitchen ends up looking the same as it did before the remodel – no character, and nothing distinguishing about it.
      Good for you with your remodeling job. With a little creativity and hard work, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a beautiful home.

      Love this column, it always makes me smile.

      Reply

    • MrsD
      February 3, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

      Amanda! Do you have pictures anywhere of said kitchen? I must see! It sounds positively gorgeous!

      Reply

      • Karan
        February 3, 2015 @ 4:21 pm

        LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog, the angst (?) you go thru to get what you want, I hyperventilate over you making those decisions….that would drive me crazy (the hyperventilate part)…and Yes, Amanda, I would love to see your kitchen too. I’m working on painting my original 1969 Gross Green Formica kitchen counter tops to look like “granite”..I’ll share one day when I finish. And Pin it a lot too!!! you go Victoria, can’t wait for more on this kitchen of yours!! karan

        Reply

    • Mia
      February 3, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

      So, where are the photos..??

      Reply

    • Smiller
      May 16, 2016 @ 11:52 pm

      Hello,

      Can you please post pics of your unique kitchen? It sounds awesome!
      Thanks
      S

      Reply

  9. Nikki
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:21 am

    Every picture you posted is straight out of my dream kitchen! In my mind of course. I have no room for an island. But I want one! *stamps foot*

    Reply

  10. Marta
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:21 am

    Why should they care about your kitchen and why should you care about what a potential buyer thinks? If you were planning to sell in the next 3-5 years, then maybe it’s a consideration. Even then, the best advice would be to put in bland boxes no one could hate. Really?

    When we were house shopping three years ago, I really wanted to find a house that had not been flipped so I could do it the way I wanted it. That didn’t happen. The men who flipped out house left the original cabinets from the 1970s, applied some sort of antiquing finish, left the insides dysfunctional and dirty, and added three grand worth of granite countertop. I ripped it all out and my only mistake was keeping the damn granite. I hate it and it forced me to keep the same footprint.

    Every house we looked at, no matter whether it had been flipped or not, did not have a kitchen that suited me. I have particular ideas about how a kitchen should function, more like a restaurant kitchen than a residential kitchen. So NONE of them were going to please me, and I would say that chances are that the mythical potential buyer is going to have her own ideas, too.

    So – create the kitchen of your dreams. If one day you decide to sell, you will either love the laments of your kitchen so much that you will rip them out and take them with you, or you will leave them for the next person to love or hate. I gotta say, if I had that antique printer’s cabinet, it would go with me through whatever moves I had to make – all the way to the grave!

    Reply

  11. Marie
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:22 am

    Dianne is soooooooo right! Why aren’t you able to juste be happy here and now, pleasing yourself with the kitchen YOU and Paul love and not bottering with a future that will happen… in the future, and that nobody knows. By the time this future will happen, trends will have changed, maybe islands will be OUT, and opened shelvings will be IN, but who cares ? It’s in the future, which you cannot control…

    Reply

  12. Gwenette
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:23 am

    A couple of years ago, I bought part of an old desk (just the drawers from one side) to use as the base for my kitchen island. (I paid $10 for this.) A friend gave me a piece of butcher block that she bought for $5 at Ikea. I have primed the desk (but not the drawers; I wanted to leave them natural), and I committed to a paint color (meaning I bought the paint — a deep turquoise), but I have not yet found the time to do the painting. I need to sand the butcher block piece and figure out how to attach it without messing up the top. I plan to add casters (gigantic ones, to make it taller). I have a plan; why can’t I get finished with this project?

    Reply

    • Yvonne Angus
      February 4, 2015 @ 1:48 pm

      Gwenette, attach supports to the BOTTOM of your butcher block, then attach those to the cabinet! Just use screws on the supports that only go half way into the butcher block. Set the supports so they fit INSIDE your desk, and leave unattached or screw them into the desk. TIP: Always pre-drill a pilot hole for any screw to avoid splitting your wood.

      Reply

  13. Debbie
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:23 am

    I happen to be a hater of open shelving, myself, but it’s YOUR kitchen.

    I went to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house once, and the original owner was there to answer questions, etc. The owner had replaced all the built in seating in the living room with furniture, and people were AGHAST that he had dared to alter a sacred FLW design. He said “I had FLW design this house for me, to live in, not to be a shrine to his work. I paid him for the design. The built ins weren’t comfortable. So I replaced them.

    And that’s how I feel everyone should live in their homes. Whatever is comfortable for you.

    Reply

  14. Rebecca M. Brovont
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:23 am

    I am an interior designer. I was married to a general contractor and we participated in numerous Parade of Homes events in a small town in the Midwest. In one kitchen I used one material on the countertop of the perimeter cabinets and a different material on the top of the island. With me standing right there waves of people commented on how awful that single design decision was. Finally I lost my cool and asked one lady if it was merely a matter of different taste or should the practice be outlawed by the federal government. Several years later the trend caught up with small towns (and small but vocal minds and mouths). Do what suits you, let creativity reign, otherwise what makes life good is drained out and replaced by identical mediocrity.

    Reply

    • Christine
      February 3, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

      Good for you!! I just moved from “civilization” (near a metropolitan area) to “country” Wisconsin – nearest town is 500 people and 30 min to a Starbucks – if that gives you any perspective. I am tired of wood-wood-wood everything, so gave up. Decided: this house is being done the way I like. Too bad for the highly opinionated whoever – it’s not their house, and I don’t like the styles common here.
      Would love to see pictures of people’s kitchens that used furniture instead of cabinetry (beyond just the island). Will Google it 🙂
      Love reading the comments on this one!!

      Reply

  15. Cathy
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:24 am

    Oh … we share the same agony!! Everything looks alike! Yes … I need cabinets. Yes … I need some practical storage space. But what I don’t want is everyone elses kitchen. I am dieing for ideas that don’t seem to exist!! And I was a kitchen designer in my past life (prior to being a flower farmer!)

    I have a 120 year old farmhouse … and to research it ….it has to look like the “farmhouse style” kitchen in new construction. White. Boxes. Nickel finish faucets. Granite countertop. Boring. And I am certain …. no Iowa farm wife had granite in her kitchen!!!

    I hear Pete Seeger singing … “Little Boxes”.

    Reply

  16. Ellen
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:25 am

    Ha! I have been lobbying for years for an “unfitted kitchen” — to no avail. When I wanted to build a house this way, I was informed that it was “not up to code.” My husband is so conventional (he actually prefers wall to wall carpet) that it has been a losing battle thus far. I hope you get what you want, and I will be cheering for you from down here in Alabama if you do. Can I still ride on the party bus?

    Reply

  17. Zandra
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    Seriously??? People are shrieking about open shelving? Hasn’t that idea been around for almost a decade now and it’s still causing an uproar? Anyway, I totally agree with you that cabinets, no matter how nice, look like big boxes. And they sort of hang over you, feeling all menacing and scary with their boring-ness. My husband, and I do love him, has drawn the line at getting rid of our upper cabinets. Not that he wants a kitchen like everyone else’s. It’s that the work involved in dealing with the walls behind the cabinets once they’re ripped off would push him over the DIY edge. We have so many projects that we (and by that I mean “I”) want to do and get us started on that he has to figure out a way to stop us/me. So for now, I spend my free time swooning over open shelf kitchens and trying to make-do with taking the doors off of my upper cabinets and ignoring my MILs concerns that there will be dust in there. And I can’t WAIT to see your open shelves, Victoria!!!

    Reply

  18. Sherry
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:28 am

    I think your idea is fabulous!!! Cabinets are almost evil in my opinion. Hiding things you need, upper cabinets hitting your head when you get something out of the lower cabinet, cats sneaking inside to grab a nap and loudly meowing at 3 a.m. because they can’t get out. Good luck in your search. Can’t wait to see your choice. Love your blog!
    P.S. What mags are you looking at ‘Giant Homes Beautiful’ or ‘Castles Digest’? Those kitchens are almost as big as my whole house! Beautiful but ginormous.

    Reply

  19. Debra
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    Victoria, once you get the kitchen you love, you are never going to part with it. Elvis will be glad to sprinkle his cat hair everywhere! Love your choices…now just manifest some magnificent antique pieces to match your dream kitchen. (estate sales are less pricey than auctions)

    Reply

  20. Bronne Wilson
    February 3, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    That antique server photo, with the stove (that must have been from Tiffany’s) and the matching blue background wall with the white woodwork and white glass front doors, has caused such a racing of my heart -I must close this post and regain composure. Or splash my face with cold water, maybe even use the smelling salts…

    Reply

    • Judith Caldwell
      February 3, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

      The stove is a LaCanche…it comes in many wonderful colors, and is available from frenchranges.com in Woodinville, WA. I bought one on Craigslist (!) as the centerpiece of a complete kitchen remodel with soapstone counters, granite sink, wetbar/coffee center, old school science lab cabinets, fancy fridge, raw steel walls. Lots of salvage and lots of scheming but only $20,000. It can be done. There are conventional cabinets, too…but the drawer and door pulls are shoulder-pattern drop-forged lifting eyes used for moving machinery around factory floors. $1 each from China on eBay.

      Reply

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