Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Kitchen Remodel

I've waited so long to do this, only because I knew it would take considerable time.  And also I needed the icky feelings of living through a remodel to wear off. :) So it took almost two years but here we go.

I am NOT an expert in design (which is obvious.) I copied a bunch of photos of other kitchens that I loved and put it all together with help of friend's opinions and advice. It was SO helpful to have friends that just built or remodeled. They had resources and ideas and knew what mattered and what didn't and I swear the whole project would have turned out crooked (I mean that literally because a friend totally caught and corrected some major mis-measurement when it came to lighting/island/table placement) without them.  I spent way way way too much time on Houzz (and will never visit again as I burned my eyeballs out looking at so many images) and narrowed my favorites down to things I pinned on Pinterest (which are no longer pinned because once again, I was done and over it all by the time I finished.)


My house was built in 1942 and has sweet character and charm and I wanted to match that, but still make it practical for a family of eight, and stay in budget.  The budget could be summed up this way: "get quality things that will last forever because I am never doing this again, but don't make my husband blow a gasket". I think I succeeded. All those inspiration photos above are from million dollar houses no doubt, so I had to work with what I had, and what we could afford.

We didn't just do the kitchen-we spent years and years debating doing a small fix or going all the way-I think we chose something in the middle. We had added two more children than when we moved in, and some major things (leaky ceilings, rotting foundation) that needed to be repaired since we had bought our house. Because I didn't want to compromise the front exterior of the house, and also the original layout (cutting bedrooms down in size, losing my lovely dining room, or even losing a window in the dining room or kitchen were out of the question-I have sentimentality issues!) I had to make compromises-I never got my mudroom. I really thought long and hard about everything and I'm very pleased we waited and revised and then revised again and finally got the plans right.  I had listed our priorities in order and our architect really worked with me and my hangups about not changing the house too much.

Here were some inspiration photos I chose:
Sunny #Kitchen Features White Cabinets Paired With White Countertops and Mini Subway Tile #Backsplash. -DecorPad:

Classic White Kitchen | photo Michael Graydon | design Halina Catherine | @House and Home:

Full of cheer! So pretty!:

MONTE VISTA KITCHEN | BRADSHAW DESIGNS:

wood floor, window treatment, faucet, cabinet design:

In the kitchen we knocked the back wall out about ten feet. We needed to keep the existing kitchen intact-we did a small remodel right when we moved in 10 years ago and no way was I going to get all new cabinets-I didn't want or need a complete tear out again.  I did get new cabinet doors (my old ones were thermofoil doors and were peeling in some places, and I needed to match new to old anyways).  I kept the back wall the same as far as doors and windows and the extra ten feet allowed me to turn and extend our table to fit all of us, and fit an big island, and another oven, and a huge panty. (My pantry was spread between small cabinets and the basement and coat closet.)

I will list all details at end, but if I miss anything feel free to ask.

Before.

After. 
Layout is the same, cabinet doors are new.  We took the old cabinets to the ceiling with molding, and made the ceiling all one height. There is new color on cabinets and walls, new hardware, new stain on floor (since we added wood we had to redo the whole floor). There is the extra space way down at end for ovens, pantry, and the island to the left.

Before.
Before. (Our kitchen is an L shape so this is when you turn left after fridge.)

After. 
Windows on left are the same, and little window on right also, but has built-in around it. Door is now opened up to the family room.

Before. 
Angle now looking back towards sink.


After. 
Ceiling all one height now. The extra 10 feet is obvious in this picture. We ended at the old black granite and glass cabinet and went out 10 feet. 

Before. 
View from back door.

After. 

The island:




I measured and remeasured and measured again to get the right sized island and countertop. I DID NOT want squishy spaces anywhere (many growing boys around here!), but I wanted to fill up the space properly. I am so glad I did not listen to the contractors or my husband who told me this island was too big, I did not budge at all. It is perfect! It fights six stools comfortably, and there is plenty of room between table and walls to move. 

I LOVE the drawers and cabinet space, and our extra little fridge which I call our "fruit fridge". Since our other fridge is counter depth, I had found that I really needed the extra space and fitting food in it after a grocery shop was a feat. This makes it so easy.

The countertop is quartz. I LOVE IT!!!! I stressed over this also, as marble would have been more authentic and who doesn't love marble? Well, after talking with a few friends, I knew I had to do quartz for my family. Some loved it (and had a totally different lifestyle than I do) and others said, "Don't do it, it will drive you crazy."  The quartz has been indestructible.  A few months after completion, my teenage daughter had a Christmas cookie decorating party and the food coloring got a little out of control. Everything wiped up, even after a night time of sitting on the countertop. Permanent marker from a toddler? Wiped right up. I haven't set super hot pans on it like I do my granite (which I love also) but I have set pizza boxes etc. No marks. I love the sheen of it even more than granite, as the granite needs polishing and the quartz is a nice satin color. No scratches at all!

Before.
I loved my little homework area and wanted to duplicate it as it is essential-it's my office and a supply station and a catch all.

I designed this with the help of a great carpenter. We had to bump that wall out a little to make room for pipes for a bathroom above, so we had a nook to work with. I wanted six drawers, one for each child. and extra space for supplies. I LOVE this element of my kitchen.  I wanted the window to stay, as it is part of the original house and the den on the other side gets no other light.  (Window seat cushion in the works one day.)

I found a picture of this idea on Houzz and had the contractors build me a bulletin board built into the side panel of the the fridge.

I didn't go all the way to the ground because I pictured little ones putting push pins in their mouths. :) 

I repurposed the antique dresser in our living room.
(Lamp from Home Goods, Ralph Lauren.)

The new ten feet. (Old kitchen ended at black granite.)

I really had to make decision in this space. The architect had a built in desk and smaller pantry. I chose a large pantry and an oven/micro combination. I figured I would never sit at a desk in my life. 

I am so glad I did this-I could not believe how quickly my pantry space filled up and how much I use this extra oven. Another glitch was that when the cabinet unit for this FINALLY came in after so many delays, they had the cut outs all wrong for the appliance measurements. One night I stayed awake till 4 a.m. (which wasn't unusual then unfortunately) and came up with a solution so the project wouldn't be delayed longer than it already had. (Grrrr...) The extra space was right above the microwave-I had them turn it into a small flip-down cookie sheet cabinet! It's so convenient.

Another thing I spent hours over. I wanted to maximize every inch of space and had my heart set on wrap-around shelving. The carpenter did a wonderful job with my sketches.
(Don't judge me for my sugar cereal or my Doritos, it's all my husband's doing.)


Here is a close-up detail of how the contractors took the cabinets up to the ceiling with molding. I stressed unnecessarily about how this would look but I ended up loving it. 

Our new family room.

View from the kitchen.

Heavenly screened in porch (didn't get my mudroom but did get this,which is a pretty even trade) off the kitchen:



ALL THE DETAILS:

Cabinet doors and new units/island were custom built. 
Paint color for all trim and doors: Benjamin Moore Aura paint in White Dove Satin Finish
Ceiling paint: Benjamin Moore White Dove Flat Finish
Wall color in kitchen: Sherwin Williams 119 Antique White but painted in Benjamin Moore Eggshell 
Wall color in family room: Valspar 7004-8 Subtle Canopy but painted in Benjamin Moore Eggshell
Hardware pulls and knobs: Restoration Hardware (clearance)
Lights above island: Restoration Hardware
Black granite countertops: Uba Tuba (but I have a very unvariegated black piece)
White island countertop: Vicostone Carrara (white with very faint gray squiggles)
Chandelier above kitchen table: Ethan Allen
Kitchen table and chairs: local unfinished furniture company that closed
Island stools: Pottery Barn, Seagrass Stools in the lighter finish
Sofa and large chair: Arhaus Furniture
Entertainment cabinet: Craigslist, painted White Dove.
Wingbacks: Hand me downs 
Coffee table-(also a train table)-built by my wonderful father.
Carpet: (details coming soon)
Wood floor:Ended up being a mix of different stains but used Bona High Traffic urethane and it has held up excellent. 
Porch furniture-Home Depot
Pillows-Pier 1
Rug-Overstock

Island Measurements
Countertop-42"x96"
Cabinets-32"x85"
Overhang-on long side 10", on short side 11"
 Spaces between island and walls:
Between island and bulletin board-56 1/2"
Between island and back wall (sliding glass door)-70"
Between island and oven/sink/pantry-83"
Between island and kitchen chair backs-70"

There are guidelines that help with the size of island and surrounding spaces and I studied these, but also had to adapt it to achieve the balance and evenness of space in my kitchen since we weren't gutting it.  I mentioned this before but the real priority for us was NO squishy spaces-I erred on the side of more walking space around the island than less picturing these types of events-a large growing family with lots of events to celebrate. It really serves as a "serving" island more than a food prep area.

Tips:
I waited for sales at Restoration, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen or bought clearance items. I found such great deals. I even called back on the island lights when they went further down a month later and they gave me back the difference. I had to be patient (which was easy because the whole renovation took four months longer than it was promised) but I'm glad I was persistent.  When I ordered from Pottery Barn, I called my store and ordered through them and asked for a discount (someone else gave me that tip), as the stores can do this.

Don't ovewhelm yourself with photos of houses. I did. I finally said enough is enough and cut it down to my top dozen or so, and then picked out the similarities, and then just tried to match as well as I could.

Ask for help. I said it in the beginning but I am so so thankful for my friends, both online and in real life, that answered my questions and gave me great advice. (Thank you Erin and Melissa!)

Hire good contractors and make sure you sign a contract with every single detail possible. We did this but still had a hard time at the end with completion and wished we would have been even more specific. Write down everything-all conversations-and take tons of pictures of the process just in case. If I did it again (I won't), I would have some sort of written timeline agreement where the contractors would be penalized monetarily for their own delays.

Eat a ton of chocolate and gain ten pounds, and get sore joints and have sleepless nights, and cry at the end of it. It was not easy, as we lived with six children (three teenagers and a baby who cried every time a nail gun went off hence the sore joints from me carrying her every minute all summer when I was promised May 1 at the latest.) I am going to stop myself from going further than that, as all the bad feelings are gone, and we enjoy our new space immensely.

If I missed anything feel free to ask in comments or email me.  


67 comments :

  1. Everything looks so beautiful, Sarah...I really love the quartz countertop and your light fixtures!

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  2. Wow, wow, wow! You did an amazing job!
    I can't imagine a mom ever saying "this island is just too big!" Same thing with the pantry. So glad you were firm about it!
    Thank you for all the real details; the good the bad and the ugly :)

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  3. It's beautiful. You did an outstanding job.

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  4. Stunning, bright, great flow, efficient, perfect for your family. Hooray!

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  5. This looks amazing! As a fellow old-house dweller I share a lot of your feelings on maintaining the house's integrity and it's so nice to see a renovation that doesn't look out of place.

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  6. Looks beautiful! I love white kitchens!

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  7. This is beautiful and looks fantastic!

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  8. I was hoping you would do this post! This is amazing!

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  9. Beautiful!! I'm sure you are all enjoying more space :-)

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  10. It's beautiful! I love that it is "real" and not "Pinterest-y" if that makes sense!
    I think keeping the integrity of the front and side of the house was a great decision.
    Your addition is a great example of how not everything in life has to be the biggest! and the best!, a quality I feel is a bit lost in today's society.
    You did a great job, thank you for sharing!
    (I never really shop at Homegoods, always thought it was a bit trendy rather than classic, but I will get there this week to try and find that lamp; it is perfect!)

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  11. Your kitchen is wonderful! We just did a kitchen remodel and kept our 1960's cabinets. It is not my dream kitchen, but I appreciate the charm and the cheeriness after getting rid of 80's wallpaper. Enjoy!

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  12. Beautiful! Every inch. I am having a hard time picturing a "flip-down cookie sheet cabinet", however.
    We moved into a real "fixer-upper" six years ago. We gutted the kitchen. Hubby re-built everything himself, including building the cabinets from raw lumber. We saved a ton of money doing it that way, but it took THREE YEARS before the kitchen was complete, since he worked on one cabinet at a time...talk about patience. ack! Never again. My youngest was just 10 wks old when we moved. I understand (so well) not wanting to re-live those memories!!!

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    1. The little door above the microwave oven flips down and there is a small shelf that holds all the cookie sheets.
      Thank you! You are patient and have a very talented husband!

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  13. LOVE IT! We are currently in a kitchen remodel, and I am supposed to be ordering the island, and I'm stressing about it so much! Can I get details on the island as far as measurements and also why you chose those stools? I'm thinking we will need stools with backs as we have so many little babies, and maybe swivel so they don't pull them out and in on the floor all the time? I also was thinking of having the part where they sit raised higher than the working space of the island. That way I could be cutting up chicken without their homework getting into the juices. Did you consider that but decide against it for some reason.? Help me Sarah!!! :)

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    1. Hi Colleen-I just kept it as simple as possible as far as the flat surface went. I LOVE this. I am not a fan of the "bar style" (raised up on one side) because I didn't want super high bar stools for the kids to sit on. I also didn't want/need cooking surface/sink-simple again.This was more of a "serving/homework island, less of a food prep island. I added all the measurements in the last part of the post for you. Write to me if you need anything else-I will help you!

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    2. Forgot to answer the stool questions-they will pull them in and out no matter what. I liked swivel but cost was much more than I expected. I felt like backs sticking up wouldn't look right in my kitchen either, since I had such large ladder backs on my kitchen chairs. There is so much to consider. I am not kidding when I say I ordered or brought home more than a dozen different types to see what they looked like. (If you have a Walmart or Target etc near you, you can return what your order online to the store.) I would wait till your island is finished and then try out a few different styles and see what looks right for you. I wanted a very neat push-under style.

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    3. Thanks so much for all this info. I adore your pendant lights, like I'm literally salivating a bit.

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  14. Thank you all for your nice compliments! :)

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  15. Really nice, open and airy and makes sense for your family. I love that antique dresser.

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  16. Thanks for posting this! I'm glad you survived, and are now enjoying great spaces with your family!
    Well Done!

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  17. Looks great! I have 2 kids right now & we said we wanted a bunch more kids, but I don't know if we'll ever have a house big enough to fit them all! :) Looks like a place for a happy family to be together.

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    1. Don't let that discourage you! It seems like we always had a baby in our room, and 3 boys share a room right now! Squish them in, that's when the fun happens! :)

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  18. Wow, ask for remodel pics and my wish was granted! It looks beautiful. We very much need a remodel of our 80s kitchen, but it is not in the cards yet while I am still staying home. So I love to see your pictures and live vicariously through them. Thanks!! So happy to have you back blogging frequently, you are one of my absolute favorites!! So much motherly wisdom!

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  19. Thank you Sarah for sharing your remodel....it is beautiful and was hoping to get a peak! One question, did bumping back to create the family room require you to redesign or move other rooms on that floor? Didn't know if it was a domino effect when making new spaces? Thanks again for sharing! Jen from R.I.

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    1. No! I was really adamant that I didn't want to change the existing layout at all-our architect sketched a few scenarios that did have that domino and I picked the one with no change. We added bedrooms and a bath above the existing space.

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  20. You are my goals! Perfect! I just had my 5th, 8 months ago and my oldest is 14 :) This is going to be me soon and I want that pefect house to feel comfortable in. Great ideas, thanks for sharing, love your blog immensely!!

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  21. So, so pretty! I could move right in, I love it so. Good job!

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  22. Your home is beautiful! If you have the time, could you please provide the dimensions of your porch?

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    1. Wall to wall on inside it's about 17 1/2' by 14'.

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  23. Sarah! I'm so thrilled you've posted this! I've been so excited to see it. Thank you! Thank you!!!
    I'm especially grateful as we are nearing the start of our own ;)

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  24. Aww, so spacious and fresh! I love it all!

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  25. Beautiful! If you have time- Do you think the chandelier over your kitchen table gives off quite a bit of light? We're looking to replace ours in a pretty large/open kitchen because it doesn't give off near enough light and I really like the style of yours!

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    1. Yes! It's very bright. We only have four cans in that area and chandelier definitely gives off plenty of light.

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  26. Great job and encouragement! Will begin this task soon and am grateful for and "tips" and information I can get.

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  27. So spacious, classic, and beautiful. Congrats for surviving such a large-scale renovation! I have enjoyed following your blog for many years--love it all :)

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  28. Sarah!! It's amazing!!! And I am an Uba Tuba fan. It's hands down ALWAYS been my favorite...my husband is a home builder/contractor, so we get to be in on the choosing aspect quite a bit...I love it!! I know lots of people are starting to branch out into quartz, marble, concrete...all sorts of stuff...but I think all your choices were perfect!!

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  29. It looks gorgeous and you did an amazing job. I would be the same with wanting everything perfect and to last a lifetime with quality and style. One day, we will be doing kitchen remodel on our '68 home! So, worth waiting for huh?!

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  31. wow awesome, gonna have some more awesome memories on Clover Lane….

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  32. It looks great! It seems very well thought out and functional as well as beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  33. Amazing!! I love things like this - practicality and beauty together! This is especially interesting to me right now, as we need to start getting serious about some long-term plans for our home. We have a 1950s ranch with 1350 sf on the main floor plus a basement. I LOVE our home, neighborhood, and walking-distance parish school. But. We just adopted infant triplets! It's all working fine now, but with our 4yo big brother, I'm imagining 4 teenage boys falling all over each other, not to mention some seriously small closets in the 2 kids' bedrooms. It would be easy enough to turn a dusty covered porch into a mudroom so the coats, shoes, backpacks, etc. don't have to be crammed in the bedrooms (plus a secondary pantry space!) but I just can't decide if something more drastic will need to be done to the bedrooms... Thank you for always providing a voice of reason in mothering right when I need it!

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    1. Triplets!!! How fun! If you need a 3 boy room configuration, email me and I will send you some photos of how we work ours.

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  34. I've been hoping to see a post of the remodel! It looks so awesome! You did a great job! I agree, it's better to take your time deliberating and making sure your plans are well thought out, you will be happier in the end.

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  35. You did a fantastic job! I know you are enjoying every inch of it! But, I CANNOT believe you got that entertainment center on Craigslist!! As soon as I saw it, I thought, "that's exactly what I'm looking for", but figured your builder custom built it. Do you know where it was originally purchased from or who manufactured it? My family room really needs a piece just like it! Laurie

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    1. It was a lucky find! I bought it from someone who had just moved and it was custom made for their last house. I paid $600 for it which I had a panic attack about after we loaded it into the truck. Plus it was black and took four coats to cover, which I was not in the mood for. In the end I love it, and realize I got a good deal. It is solid wood and has working lights above the shelves that look so pretty. If you want dimensions or more photos email me and I will send them on. Thank you!

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  36. This is absolutely one of my favorite remodels I've ever seen. You were so thorough and the little details, like your cookie sheet area and the huge island, as well as the awesome window in the dining room that you left alone, plus that great built in all around it, just MAKE this space. So functional but it is also so beautiful! Congratulations! I've been hoping for this post for a long time, thank you for putting it together.

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  37. Sarah - I love your kitchen and all the new space!! The extra ovens and storage space - loooove. Have a couple quick questions - did you need to put anything under the legs of the stools so they don't scratch the floors (or are the bottoms already fine?) Also - did you ever consider window treatments above your sink? I don't have any on mine because I like the open view, but have considered it from time to time.

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    1. Hi Sarah! I don't have anything at bottom of legs, and have noticed minimal scratching. I have hard core urethan on my floors, maybe that is why? And I am not hyper protective of them-too much going on here. I do have little felt pads under my chairs.
      Window treatments-YES! I have plans-but I want to have them professionally done I think. I really love the idea of curtains on the 3 windows (just one set) and something matching over sink. BUT so $$$ and maybe curtains aren't practical? So it will sit like it is for probably years and years so I don't have to make a decision. (I did have to put up cheap roller shades on sink windows because in the winter the sun can be blinding. I will remove them in summer when the leaves help with that!)

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  38. I have waited for this post for.e.ver. I figured you must have been pretty traumatized by the renovations to not be able to share but am so glad you have shared now. I am amazed at what 10 feet of space can give you. I think it is just perfect.

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  39. This looks great - excellent use of your space!! I especially love how you kept the window into the eating area and added built-ins around it! I am in the middle of gutting and redoing our kitchen - it's hard but trying to keep my eyes on the prize at the end! All the necessary decisions are making me crazy!! I'm also adding a second mini-fridge but can't quite find the "perfect" one - was wondering where or what brand you found. I like how you use it as a fruit fridge - that's perfect - have a feeling ours will be the same! thanks!!

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    1. The constant decisions are a source of stress especially when you have limited time-I wanted to do it right and spend our money wisely, which meant I really wanted to research everything.
      Mine is a Maytag-it is really spacious for how small it is.

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    2. I just stole your idea for the small flip down cabinet above the oven/micro unit. Because that style unit is smaller than a double oven, my contractors were going to install it in the middle of the cabinet. I convinced them to move it down and figure out how to add a small flip down cabinet. I totally have you to thank!!! I'm so excited to have reclaimed a lost space! Thank you for taking the time to write this post! I always enjoy your blog and your wise parenting thoughts!

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  40. Hi Sarah, such a wonderful home: beautiful and practical! Your advice is very valuable, thank you for taking time to write such a thorough post.

    We designed our island with the same idea in mind as you-- it had to comfortable fit in our family (there's 6 of us) plus room to walk around. In our kitchen this is the only space for a table/island. It was a either/or choice and we went with a island that is 50 by 96 inches. Like you said, it is not used for food prep, mostly for serving food and as a dining table (we only have cabinets on one end, and legs on the other). I just wanted to point that out in case someone else is in the same situation with their kitchen layout.

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  41. Ahhhhh! It is SO beautiful and FUNCTIONAL. Love everything about it but that ethan allen light?? Dying over it. I didn't even know EA had lighting? I want to come sit on your screened in porch and just talk to you about all my mothering questions. Every detail was thought out so well, it was worth it!! ♥♥♥

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  42. I love love love this post. I'm not sure if I've ever commented before, but I enjoy your blog immensely and have often found mothering encouragement here. ;)

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  43. Your home is so beautiful and such an inspiration. I can't imagine a home with 6 children being "peaceful" (as in quiet and restful) but if it's possible you have achieved it! <3

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  44. Do your kids like the Seagrass bar stools? Comfortable enough to sit on for an hour or two of homework?

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    1. Hi Molly@ Yes, my husband and kids were final judges when choosing and the seagrass is definitely comfortable-they sink a little so they do feel cushy.

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  45. Sarah! Oh my word!! Just catching up on your blog and I'm dying over this post! It all turned out SO beautiful!! Just absolutely perfect. I'm so happy for you that it turned out so well in the end and most of all that it's OVER. OVER!! I could cry for you. So happy I could help even if it was just having someone to vent to. ;) We both know how much venting is needed with a project like this! You did an amazing job and I'm still head over heels in love with your island lights! And that sunroom... AMAZING. Wish I could come over and give you a hug for surviving it all! xo

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  46. I am dying!!! This is so so fabulous! I had to hop over here because Colleen at Martin Family Moments is one of my good friends and linked your remodel in her most recent post. (I'm the other Sarah she linked but have yet to post kitchen pictures of our remodel). I really appreciate all your explanations - it felt like I was walking around your house! I can't believe how functional everything is!!! Our 3 our so little right now (4,3, and 1) that I didn't feel a need to put a "command station" or desk (there is a desk drawer with a stool in the countertop because of a vent at the bottom we didn't want to move... but anyways, as they start school, I know we'll have to come up with something! I loved all of it and I'm sure it's been so great for your family!!!

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  47. Would love to know your carpet brand and color/weave! Also carpeting in the rest of your house as well as info on how it has held up with kids and pets!! Thanks so much!!!!

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    1. Hi! Well I have two different kinds, both the same colors. The first carpet we put in has been discontinued unfortunately so when we went to carpet the addition, I set out to match the color and weave and found something "good enough". The first carpet has held up so well-I get it cleaned once a year of course but it has been 11 years and it is still looking good. The new addition carpet is this:
      Mohawk Horizon Collection
      1Q Elegant Escape (style)
      Western Ridge (color)
      It has only been in for two years but I love it and spots come out very easily (or don't show! :)

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