Repurposed / Reclaimed / Nontraditional Kitchen Island.
Obviously I want a sink. And a stove. And for sure a dishwasher… But the rest of it?
I DO NOT WANT THAT.
And the thing I most do not want is cabinets… Paul is so excited.
We have been everywhere from the super high-end custom place to the maze of hope-turned-despair that is IKEA… and? They’re exactly the same: boxes.
Varying degrees of niceness and bankruptcy, but still just boxes… That look just like everyone else’s boxes. Which, invariably is what I will end up with, but is still bothersome.
It is strange that a total kitchen remodel is one of the most expensive projects you can do in your house… And after you spend all of that money, what you have is a kitchen that looks JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER kitchen.
I mean, maybe you project your specialness onto your cabinet doors and countertop… But I am not sure that I can limit my self-expression to knob-choice.
On the other hand – I hear that boxes have good resale value.
And that you may be burned at the stake for violating the box code.
I just read a comment thread on one of the shelter-magazine’s Facebook pages where random people said how DISGUSTING someone’s kitchen makeover was because they had replaced two upper cabinets with open shelving.
I cannot overstate the angry-mob-with-pitchforks-and-boiling-oil.
The commenters predicted doom and armageddon and ranted about how the shelving would soon be coated in a thick layer of grease, dog hair, and unimaginable filth.
It was hilarious. And completely insane– what is wrong with people? How can anyone possibly care that much about a total stranger’s kitchen choices?
I mean, as a blogger – I can only HOPE that people care so much about my kitchen.
I hope all of the haters arrive together, on a party bus… I will welcome them and hand out Mardi Gras beads and jell-o shots to fuel the shrieking outcry of criticism and loathing.
But what if Paul and I do not live here forever? What if at some point we need to move?
If total strangers can hate a minor deviation from traditional kitchen design THAT MUCH… How might they feel if they are actually considering buying our kitchen?
9 million more kitchens– my pinterest board
I will love you EVEN MORE… if you share me with your friends!
February 3, 2015 @ 11:28 am
Really great comments, especially Rebecca Brovant “drain all the life and leave mediocrity” I have never understood how people can rave about their “new” kitchen when it is a perfect clone of every other kitchen in America. Given the chance to express their individuality they chose the clone. The pictures you show are stunning but in the stratosphere of cost, however with your Craig’s list magic I’m convinced given time and patience and hours spent trolling various sources you will eventually find your own personal inspiration. Remember Genius can’t be rushed it must emerge like a Butterfly from its cocoon.
February 3, 2015 @ 11:30 am
I’m very glad you’ve said these things. I too love unfitted kitchens. And I am terminally underwhelmed by modern woodwork. There’s something about the old-world craftsmanship that you just can’t fake – certainly not in mass production (sorry, Williams-Sonoma). See how everyone loves the printer’s cabinet with the glowing patina?
But I want to try to be objective here. That is my taste. Maybe other people like sterile appearances and superficial perfection, and don’t like patina and flaws and non-standard shapes and sizes. OK. Let’s be totally objective for, oh, ten seconds. Even if we ignore the fact that my taste is clearly superior to everyone else’s, it is objectively ridiculous to spend luxury-good pricing (six figures for a single-room remodel is CRAZY TALK) and end up with something so anonymous that so many other people have. I flip through design mags and see even the most-absolutely-custom of $bankruptcy cabinetry, and while I admire the molding profiles they’ve achieved, it looks…well, like the Invasion of the Carpentry Snatchers trying to emulate a kitchen and almost, but not quite, succeeding. There’s something soulless there that just creeps me out. I wouldn’t take it for free – because it sure isn’t to my taste. And NOBODY should take it for the kind of cash it actually costs, because if you’re willing to spend that much money, you should be able to buy something truly beautiful.
And if you are clever and patient and have much faith in the kitchen fairies (and a husband who is extremely talented, apparently), then you can have something truly beautiful for normal moneys. You can do it!
February 3, 2015 @ 11:38 am
The thing is you can’t make decisions based on what internet complainers say. Is their name “Glitter Troll”? I think not! You have to listen to that voice that’s telling you to create your own GFT Victorian Palace. We all want to bear witness to what your genius (i.e. inner crazy) finally decides! Have you seen the Winchester Mystery House? It’s website calls it “…an extravagant maze of Victorian craftsmanship-marvelous, baffling, and eerily eccentric…” Now if that doesn’t sound like what you’re going for, I don’t know what does! Now, go sit down at the computer with a cuppa tea and find a glorious monstrosity of a piece of kitchen furniture to create your own alter to grandeur. I know you can do it.
Garden, Home and Party
February 3, 2015 @ 11:39 am
You and Paul need to decorate for YOU (and Paul). If you know you’re going to sell in the next year or so, maybe you want to consider something more traditional, but not even then should you put in cupboards and counters that you don’t love. I think well-thought out design trumps all other notions of what’s best. I have never really loved extremely contemporary design, yet when I see it well done I think, wow! I could probably live with that.
I love all of the examples you’ve shared. I really like the Williams Sonoma island and saw it in a post and thought it was an antique. You always do such great work on your home, I know that whatever you end up with will be wonderful. Hurry, find some great stuff and do this! 🙂
February 3, 2015 @ 11:43 am
I will be having this same debate when it comes time to remodel our master bath. Remove the tub (which we Never Ever use) for a bigger shower and eliminate all the “I need a bathtub” future buyers or go the safe route and replace the tub.
February 3, 2015 @ 12:37 pm
When my parents built their home in Florida (4 bdrms, 4.5 baths) Mom refused to put a big soaker tub in the master bath. She said almost everyone she knew who had one talked of ‘dusting’ it once in a while, but never used it. She put a gorgeous, huge shower (with a door to walk out to the outdoor shower) in the master bath and had no trouble selling the house last year. There was one bathtub in the house, in the bathroom that was used by her grandchildren and it was just fine. Build it for you!
February 3, 2015 @ 11:57 am
You don’t want those kind of people to buy your house anyway.
February 3, 2015 @ 11:59 am
I LOVE your idea of the kitchen island. I’m hoping my next house will be large enough to do that.
February 3, 2015 @ 12:04 pm
I love the last picture the best and I think it is TOTALLY so much more interesting to see a kitchen with a unique island. Sadly, my little kitchen is so small even a butcher block wouldn’t fit. GO FOR YOUR HEART. Truth is, most people don’t NOT buy a house because of ONE thing they can certainly change. I love character in a home that reflects the owner! We are all different so why should our homes be similar. I really don’t enjoy blogs that tell people “this is out….and THIS is in”. We are all unique individuals with unique tastes and life experiences that should be reflected in our homes. Some people don’t possess that kind of creativity so lean heavily on decorators and magazines to tell them “what’s cool”. That’s OK too, I don’t think putting that down serves any purpose either. There are people who need that if they want to have a home that pleases them. Point is…..follow your heart! Let others follow theirs. Champion the creativity in everyone, however they achieve it. Can’t wait to see what you end up with, I know it will be amazing!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:04 pm
I have lower cabinets but no upper cabinets in my kitchen. When we remodeled last year, we replaced the upper cabinets with open shelves. ALL open shelves – no overhead boxes to speak of. We did this to make our small galley kitchen feel bigger and to save money. Now that it’s been a year, I have to say that I see why open shelving frustrates people (unless you LOVE cleaning, which I don’t) but on the whole I’m glad we did it. They look great and hold just as much stuff. I actually just wrote a post on what it’s like to live with all open shelving: http://lifeonhillst.com/2015/01/11/living-with-open-shelves/
Good luck with the haters!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:09 pm
Remember that the kitchen didn’t prevent you and Paul from buying this house! Anything you do will be an improvement.
Trying to consider every possible whim of every possible future buyer is a sad waste of raccoon brain. Your time would be far better spent hunting down an antique sideboard!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:11 pm
Actually, open shelves were the norm of kitchens as far back as there have been kitchens. Upper cabinets are the relative newcomers. And, unfortunately, there are too many cookie cutter kitchens. Go for what you love! Get what speaks to YOU! It is your kitchen. I do have to keep in mind resale value and appeal…we will not be in this house forever…but can’t abide the new “norm”. No granite countertops for me. I love old things. My counters are about to change to wood…not pieced butcher block, but wood planks. Like walnut…or mahogany. My island is an 1830’s French store counter…built of fruitwood with grey/green marble top and oodles of drawers…complete with built-in dividers and…yep…a few old mouse holes in the back of the drawers. I LOVE everything about it!! My house is not old. Built in 1993. But a traditional design that I have turned into English/French cottage. It is lovely…for me!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:33 pm
You want an “unfitted” kitchen. It’s not crazy at all. You should check out the Gardenweb’s kitchen website. They know about unfitted and embrace it!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:36 pm
This past October we had a copper pipe burst in our 1970’s colonial. Long story short it resulted in replacing all the floors downstairs and we decided that was the time to take out the wall between the 12×12 dining room and the 12×12 kitchen. (How on earth could anyone with kids filling a 4 bedroom house in the 70’s manage to both cook AND eat in a 12×12 kitchen with THREE DOORWAYS in it? The 2 of us couldn’t even use it! And the dining room was too small to walk around the table when 6 people sat at the table! So while the insurance paid for the new floor, the painting and upgrades were on us. Let me say this, spending $80,000 on a kitchen remodel would make it easy to get what you want but we spent under $1000 so it was a challenge to feel like a real makeover. I have a fantasy Pinterest board filled with kitchen remodeling ideas but since we live on a farm and I’m a fabulous cook, the kitchen needs to be functional as well as the place where everyone has room to hang out with me. The newly enlarged 12×24 kitchen still has 3 doors strategically placed so that no matter what I did, I couldn’t figure out a way to have an island that seated more than 2 people AND a table big enough for us and our daughter’s family. So I BUCKED THE TREND and went with a 7′ long farmer’s table. I know, it’s scandalous! It will comfortably seat 8 people and there’s still a huge amount of space to walk around and I think all 87 of my husband’s closest relatives will still be able to stand around in there and make me nervous when I’m cooking Christmas dinner. Now if you really want a marvelous island, and can justify a trip to Virginia, then you simply must go to Class and Trash, which is where my awesome table and a reclaimed hutch came from. ( http://www.classandtrash.com ). PS, if I were tidy and organized AND likely to wash all my dinnerware and glasses and the tops of those shelves every week… then I too would have open shelving because I hate having to open a cabinet door with flour all over my hands.
February 3, 2015 @ 12:39 pm
maybe someone already said this, sorry if i am saying something already said, but, it’s pretty easy to add cabinetry. if someone buys your house one day and doesn’t like the lack of cabinetry, at least they’re not paying more for your house to fund the expensive kitchen cabinets you installed that they don’t even like. when we bought our house, one of the main things we were looking for was a crap kitchen, b/c no one else’s idea of a nice kitchen would be our thing, and we’d have had to pay more for something we would just have to tear down, but spending more on the house would leave less in the budget for actually doing the kitchen our way. you may actually be doing the future residents of your home a favor! but, seriously, why put so much effort into your house and then move? don’t move. enjoy all your hard work, forever, without having to keep putting in that hard work forever. you will finish one day. when it happens, just enjoy it!
February 3, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
Just remember, only dead fish go with the flow.
February 3, 2015 @ 1:01 pm
When we redid our came-with-the-house-antiseptic-white-laminate kitchen, I wanted one of the kitchens belonging to the mice of the Brambly Hedge books (if you don’t know them: think huge Welsh dressers filled with dangling teacups, mismatched china, strings of drying mushrooms, etc. etc.). But our 1915 beach house has lowish ceilings and very little storage space. And my tidy husband, who cooks almost as much as I do, thought open shelving a terrible idea, partly because however much he loves untidy me he knows that he’d be doing all the obsessive arranging and cleaning. We’ve got cabinets above and below like most other people. We have somewhat escaped the boxy look because the main reason we redid our kitchen was to add on a U-shaped area of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to fit my books when I had to move them out of my office when I quit my English professor day job. (One of my dearest college friends sweetly observed that we were spending a not inconsiderable sum of money to house books many of which I’d bought at our college library book sales for a dollar a bag.) As a result 1/2 our kitchen is a relatively serene space of aligned cabinet fronts and the other 1/2 is a riot of multi-hued spines dominated by Penguin orange. At least ideally. I’m looking around now, after a weekend and a snow day, at water color paintings drying on counters, Valentine day card prep plus puzzle-in-progress on the kitchen table, my pile of books and paper for a deadline, and the backlog of dishes . . . . But the inside of the cabinets are pretty tidy!
February 3, 2015 @ 2:07 pm
And now I want a kitchen like the mice in Brambly Hedge.
February 3, 2015 @ 3:43 pm
Ditto. Brambly Hedge all the way!
February 3, 2015 @ 1:02 pm
I think more people share your hatred for boxes than you think. Sure, in a modern ranch you might not want to see some awesome antique-turned-custom-kitchen-island, but your house is different. Look at how cool and custom your bathroom is! I’m seeing more designers foregoing upper cabinets, so long as there is enough storage to make up for it. And personally, I love my open shelves. I don’t know how I would feel about them if they were right next to my stove, but they’re across the room, we use the items very regularly, and it just really works for us.
February 3, 2015 @ 1:27 pm
Hi! What if you placed an ad on your (my!) beloved Craigslist, asking for what you want? Even if you included a photo or two…your taste is wonderful, and I am sure the “dream island” is out there, you just need to connect with it. The islands you show are just amazing, and they had to
come from somewhere!
February 3, 2015 @ 1:36 pm
As long as you’re inspired when you live in the space, and it makes your heart skip a beat – do it. For me, it was the antique reproduction stove and my three (!) chandeliers in my space that make me love it. I do have painted black cabinets, but I LOVE my open shelving. And the best compliment is when someone asks if some of the details in our space are original to our 1902 Queen Anne. If you don’t like cabinets, whatever. Design for how you live, put your stamp on it, and love it. That’s all, ultimately, that matters.
February 3, 2015 @ 1:36 pm
This is a valid dilemma, unfortunately. As a professional interior designer, my home has always “thought outside of the box- cabinets and otherwise). I loved creating beautiful rooms without the consideration of standards and norms. Worked great for us until…
Home has been on the sales market now for more time than I care to think about. The most common criticisms (indeed pretty much the only criticisms) thus far-
Why aren’t all the appliances stainless steel (you know, like every newly built track home)?
Why is the island top imported handmade Italian glazed tile rather than, you guessed it, Ubatuba granite for HD?
Why is the pool black? (Are you kidding me?? To look like a natural pond? Hello?)
We have slowly been pressured to convert our custom home into a neutral, non-descript, samo-samo house.
As long as you are ready to undo your fabulousness and take it with you (they don’t deserve to own any of these islands), be prepared.
The upside of all this nonsense is that I now have some of my very favorite antiques turned into vanities here in my old GREEK REVIVAL home in New Orleans- no plans to sell any time soon;)
Keep the blogging coming- LOVE reading them!
February 4, 2015 @ 2:29 pm
I blame HGTV for the ridiculous push of stainless and granite. Sure it is nice, but Jesus, must it be EVERYWHERE?? I don’t want to be told what to like or how my house should look, guess that puts all of us here in the minority.
Oh and Joanne, I would love to see your home!!