03 February 2013

Thank You & Some Thoughts on Kitchens

I want to thank Donna at An Anglo in Quebec for her Friday Feature here.  I just love her blog and her style, and her kitchen is amazing and inspiring.

She beautifully expressed in words my style better than I can in words.  She also made an excellent point that I am working with a very small space. This cottage is 1100 square feet plus a front and back porch and an extra 100 in my husband's office, a separate room, that was built in the carport whenever the carport was added to the house.

I am paraphrasing a conversation with her; we often see big kitchens and we think we can't do that, but we can.  We just need to scale it down and think about how we decorate the other small spaces in the house and apply some of the same principles.

There is no reason why one has to settle for a traditional layout of closed cabinets. When I started this project, I went to see someone, and told them what I wanted,  but they came back with a boring plan that frankly had no creativity, and to top it off it looked like the torn out water, rotted cabinets.  I was so discouraged, and that's how I ended up planning it myself. Why not?  I had decorated all the other rooms in the various places I've lived.

I used Home Depot for the sink side, but I had to visually show the technician what I wanted, and I had it modified multiple times before I finalized.  They don't make commission.  They just charge a fee of 49 dollars.  But the person admitted it was easier to plan a big kitchen than a little kitchen, so it all works out for them.  Nobody is getting something for nothing.

Our budget didn't call for a designer; first we had the plumbers and electricians bring the home to code; we also pay as we go, so our budget was limited. It's going to be at or about 10,000 to 12,000 or less and that includes the new appliances; we need a whole new kitchen.

A good rule of thumb is if you have only10,000 and are basically keeping the footprint, it will cost you 20,000 with a designer and contractor.  Though that is not necessarily true today.  I've seen remodels on large homes that have quite a bit more markup that probably could of been accomplished for 25,000 or 30,000 if the homeowner did  some of the grunt work: pulling out the old cabinets, picking up the cabinets for them, hauling away the boxes, fixing the wall surfaces, hanging trim and molding, etcetera. The average kitchen remodel is much higher! But I concede that a good designer will save one money when one doesn't know what one wants, or when one doesn't know what one is doing, or when one has enough budget, but not enough time and expertise.

But  so many of us that write decor blogs have an eye as good, some better, than some average designers; I'm not talking the great ones.

I may make some mistakes, but they make mistakes too!  I once was stirred in the wrong direction on stone countertops that I hated as soon as I saw them installed, because I didn't trust myself to tell them to hold the stone, because I couldn't get my first choice.  One can't afford to change out four or five slabs of granite!

I've learned to trust my instinct; when I did not trust myself, or did not research, those were the times when I was not pleased.  It takes time to plan your kitchen, and longer than if I could have paid someone, but it is so worth it.   Believe in your ability and trust your instincts.

Today we hung those cafe shelves my spouse built.  The first two went up in fifteen minutes, but the other two my spouse struggled with, because the hooks to hold it up on the brackets were slightly off, so it was tricky getting them level.   When he finished I took a photo of them natural to decide if I want them white, natural, or French gray.  I want them French gray, because I want them to blend in, so I am going to work on the painting.

Here is a photo of a gate that I designed on a piece of paper, and then I contracted with a custom gate maker to forge it.  It was for a totally different style home.

And a photo of the courtyard.

I might use the gate in the backyard of this house someday.


  1. Donna is such a sweetheart isn't she? ( she lives in my neck of the woods too )
    Great post - and I agree completely and think you're doing an amazing job with your kitchen so far!
    That gate is beautiful - and I'd love to see more photos of that
    gorgeous courtyard!!!

  2. I agree with Suzan, that gate is stunning. I have always been a fan of gates, entrances, basically anything that makes me curious as to what lies beyond.

  3. I liked this post very much. Kitchen designers don't always have the best ideas. I decided to plan my kitchen on my own... Hopefully it'll be done in summer 2014. In the meantime I won't miss any of your posts, checking what great ideas you have!


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