Classic Kitchen: A Traditional Kitchen Remodel Series

LAST UPDATED: Nov 18, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Jan 06, 2017 | By: Julie Blanner


This month I have been focused on our home. It’s making me a little crazy, but I’m so excited to see progress. The mudroom and half bath have been completely torn out and the linoleum has been replaced with beautiful brick floors. I can’t wait to see how they’ll look with cream painted cedar walls that are going in soon. Here’s an iPhone sneak:

brick floors from Lowe's

All of these changes forced me to make a decision on our kitchen. Would I love to gut our kitchen adding a butler’s pantry with glass fronts in shaker style? Yes. However, we have a perfectly functional kitchen and I don’t want to be wasteful. So, after giving it a lot of thought, we’re going to tweak our existing kitchen to give it the feeling we want without the expense. So, I’m sharing our new kitchen plans with you!

I desperately wanted to lightly sand and stain our cabinets, however portions of them are veneer. Instead, we will paint them in a soft cream to give contrast to the wood floors that are going in in just a few weeks, retaining the brass pulls I put on shortly after we moved.

I love the kitchen island being directly across from the sink, but given the current layout, it doesn’t allow for the kids to easily cook with me or for a breakfast bar. Growing up, I ate my breakfast at the kitchen island. I remember chatting with my mom while she did dishes before rushing off to school. We are rotating the island so that it will square off our kitchen, but allow a 1′ ledge to add barstools. Currently the girls enjoy breakfast in the breakfast room and I feel really disconnected from them while cleaning up, making lunches, etc. I’m still seeking a software program where I can play with the layout. If you know of one, I’d love a recommendation!


As much as I would love to have my beloved Danby marble again, Chris prefers fuss free countertops, so we’re going to do a combination of quartz and possibly butcher block counters. I’m leaning toward Silestone’s Lagoon Quartz. They’re slightly creamy, which will pair well with cream cabinetry. What do you think?

One of the reasons I would want to replace our cabinets is that typically you take cabinets to the ceiling now. It makes a room feel larger and provides more storage space. I’m hoping to give the illusion of taller cabinetry by adding crown molding to the soffits and paint them in the same cream.


Of course a new faucet, sink and subway tile backsplash won’t hurt either, right? If only I could make a trash chute work! I am also hoping to build a beautiful custom hood, much like this one…


And I’m still dreaming of a pass through to our deck, eliminating the awkward shelves and allowing more light into the space.


So yes, my plans have changed, but this will give us money to redo the bathrooms upstairs while salvaging a perfectly good kitchen. Here is a before photo for perspective, just after we moved in.


If I can catch some sunlight between all of the storms we’ve been having, I’ll share it with the brass pulls and copper accents. You won’t mind the dust, will you?

And as I write this post, our kitchen continues to evolve as we have run into a few issues with our wet bar removal. The upside? Adding extra storage space by the way of custom cabinetry in the kitchen, just to the left of the refrigerator. There’s always a silver lining!

I hope you have a gorgeous weekend!


A kitchen makeover without paint - making the best of an 80's or 90's kitchen

At least I think. I’m finally going to do it, I hope. Since we purchased our home over two years ago, I’ve dreamed of renovating our kitchen. We’ve talked about a light remodel, similar to what we did at our previous home, with new countertops, backsplash, etc. Eventually we decided we’d be far happier by investing in a kitchen that works for us, but I’ve been putting it off because I dread making decisions and having our home torn apart again. Can you relate?

I’m going to take you along my journey as we plan and renovate. Are you ready?

As it is now, we’re only using half of our kitchen, but it feels crowded. Baking and cooking with the girls is challenging because they pull 3 chairs from the breakfast room to our tiny island with narrow walkway as I try to assist.

I created a rough sketch of our current kitchen for you to see…


See all of that dead space to the right? The previous owners used it as an eat in kitchen, but I found it to be a little too cramped, so we converted the sunroom into a breakfast room and now we have plenty of space to build into.

We have a traditional style home with lots of doorways and one tiny window in the kitchen. I don’t want to impede on any walkways, but have some goals to make the effort and expense worth it:

large kitchen island where the kids can sit to cook/bake with me

wine cooler

recycling bin

large window

more efficient pantry

storage for the girls’ art supplies

deeper drawers

better lighting

a vent that actually vents

hidden microwave since I primarily use it to melt butter


One option is to turn the island and position it in the large opening, but then it would prohibit a flow of traffic from the living room to breakfast room, dining room {which is near the stairs} to the mudroom, etc. I also don’t think it would be aesthetically pleasing as it’s in direct line of site from the living room to breakfast room and vice versa. I want to feel connected with my family. Speaking of connected, if we relocate it there, it would be disconnected from the stove and sink area, losing workspace value.

follow our kitchen design progress from planning to perfect

So, I’m considering moving the pantry and refrigerator to the walls adjoining the mudroom. I know, I know, the work triangle. But as it stands now, I have to walk around the island to get to and from it, I think walking directly to the right would be just as easy, not to mention that I usually pull ingredients before I start cooking. I’d love to know, what do you think? Do you think the triangle is still important?

I have so many things on my mind and I’d love your help! You can follow along with my series of decisions here. I’ll be back next week with my design inspiration!

Tips on renovating a kitchen

I’ll be honest, this kitchen is a little more stress than I anticipated. I thought I had it all together with a clear vision of what I wanted, but when you can’t get that through to your contractors and carpenter, it doesn’t really matter. 

I’m excited to share my working board with you today! When I get stressed, I find peace in seeing how it will all come together. 

a traditional kitchen with french twists

If you’ve been following along you know that the centerpiece of the kitchen will be our Lacanche range. I hope you don’t tire hearing about it because I’m like a child waiting for the ice cream truck with anticipation and excitement. 

When we decided to move forward with our carpenter/cabinet maker, he wanted to get started the next day to keep his guys busy. We knew what we wanted, so we moved forward without hesitation and he said that we could decide the cabinet door styles in a few weeks. I was really conflicted between having a little more detail {see my original inspiration photo above left} and doing an inset shaker style cabinet. I followed up with him earlier this week to see when he would be by with the door samples to see. To my surprised, he was done with the doors. We debated having him redo them, but ultimately decided it is probably a happy mistake because I can’t stop drooling over DeVol Kitchen’s shaker style cabinets and they are simple, timeless, don’t compete with the range and pair well with the doors throughout our home. Deep breaths.

Rather than having a traditional toe kick, we’re having furniture trim at the base of the cabinets which offers a polished look. At the advice of our carpenter, we’ll still have a toe kick at the sink.

The wood floors {as seen above} will be repaired to compensate for a ever so slightly different footprint. 

After considerable thought, we have decided to have both the cabinet and island countertops in marble. As much as I would love a wood on wood furniture style island, I have 3 little girls that live for creating works of art. I have seen what happens to the breakfast room table even with a painter’s drop cloth and can’t let them wreak havoc on wood as well.

The island however will be wood! I wanted a little contrast in the kitchen and with encouragement from a friend decided the island is the best place for it so that I don’t have to worry about cleaning footprints and handprints off the island daily. Now I just have to find a stain to give me the look I’m hoping to achieve, which is much easier said than done. I have 15 samples strung throughout the kitchen as I write!

I am told that our apron front sink is nestled beautiful into it’s cabinet at the workshop and can’t wait to meet the unlacquered brass bridge faucet we purchased. It wasn’t exactly the Barber Wilson’s faucet I had hoped for, but it was almost a third of the cost and has a sprayer, which I know Chris will appreciate. I have to give him something every now and then, especially if I want help doing the dishes, right?

You see that pretty cabinet? It’s actually a refrigerator. Our cabinet maker is working to make ours appear similar, though with heavier molding to compensate for the different style of refrigerator. We ordered a built in refrigerator and it will float on the wall where our kitchen desk currently resides. It will be painted the same cream as the cabinets and walls. I envision placing beautiful baskets on top!

Finally, hardware! I wanted to stay with pulls like we had in our previous and current kitchen, but in unlacquered brass so that they can age over time. We’re also incorporating a few cabinet latches and knobs. 

I’m hoping that we have gotten our hiccups out of the way early, but I’m sure there are more to come. Any advice for a nervous type A personality like me? Send prayers, good vibes, wine or all of the above, please!

Selecting a Range

Giannetti Velvet and Linen Patina Farm Kitchen with French Lacanche Range

Okay, so it’s a range for our home, but I’m so excited I can’t stop singing. After two and a half years of dreaming, planning, panicking and questioning if I have the patience, we’re finally embarking on our kitchen remodel.

We have the ability to purchase luxuries now that I could only dream of a few years ago and I knew that in this home we’d integrate a “chef’s range”. I didn’t realize I’d fall head-over-heels, can’t talk me out of it in love with a range though.

I had considered Verona, Viking, Wolf, and La Cornue ranges, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen and Jennifer’s beautiful Lacanche ranges. It’s one of those things you wish you hadn’t seen because once you do, you can’t take your mind off of it. I was overcome with it’s beauty and sold on it’s solid cooking and baking capabilities. After all, I’ve been working with just 1-2 burners for the last couple years. You’d think having a working gas range would be enough.

After researching other options, did my best to talk myself out of it and ultimately ordered a Lacanche range. I’m beyond excited as it will not only be the centerpiece of our kitchen, but a work horse.

lacanche range | brass and ivory french range

It’s all a little nerve wracking, but I configured my 43 1/2″ range to include a gas oven large enough for my Staub’s, a full size cookie sheet, turkey, etc and to the right, a convection oven/broiler. The storage drawer will either host my cookie sheets, muffin tins and frequently used cake pans or be used as a warmer…I love the versatility.
french range | lacanche configuration

I designed a 4 faux range with an additional 18,000 BTU burner. I debated adding a cast iron simmer plate…if you have one, let me know!

Since I hinted about my purchase last week I’ve received several emails and comments of fellow Lacanche owners who have put my mind at ease. Our cabinetry will be painted in the same soft ivory and accented with beautiful brass knobs to coordinate.

Do you have a Lacanche, Blue Star or LaCornue? I’d love to hear!

classic kitchen decorating ideas



I’m excited to share a kitchen update with you today. It doesn’t look like much, but a lot has happened in the past couple weeks. We had a few setbacks, but things are moving forward and we’re still on schedule. Most importantly, my range is in!

The lower cabinets have been installed and the uppers and doors should be in later this week. When we decided to move forward with our custom cabinet maker, he was just going to make the bases and bring me samples of the two different door styles we were interested in and different species of wood to choose from. A few weeks later I followed up with him for those samples and to my surprise he had already made both. I was nauseous, frustrated and disappointed. 

I thought I wanted a little more detail in the doors {and still think they’re lovely}, but thanks to DeVol Kitchens, I’m also still drawn to the simplicity of shaker style cabinet doors, much like the doors we had made for our home. either way, I knew it would be beautiful. After a lot of thought, Chris and I decided we would move forward with the shaker doors, but have the drawers remade to flat fronts. For some reason when they’re more detailed, I love detailed drawers, but for shaker cabinets I prefer flat front drawers. 

I was feeling a bit nervous last week and asked my cabinet maker to send me a few images of my cabinets, hood, etc. I was surprised to find the extra detail for the cabinet side panels. We had opted to give the cabinets a more finished look by having side panels, but it’s a decision I’ve come to regret. They’re not bad, they’re just not what I had in mind. I’ve realized that so many things are left up to interpretation.

The side panels look like cabinet doors, which looks a little less polished in my opinion, but overall, I’m still thankful for our new kitchen and think it will come together beautifully. It’s just all a little more nerve wracking than I’d like!

As for the island, we’ve been playing with stains, varnishes, Modern Masters Dead Flat, wax and tung oil to see how we can achieve the look I’m going for. I didn’t want the island to be painted because it will have seating and 3 little girls are likely to make a mess of it. I turned this task over to Chris and he’s been working on several samples. We’re hoping to make a decision this week so that it will be done in time for the marble install! 

The hole in the wood floor was made to repair the pantry wall…we originally had standard 24″ cabinets and now we’re doing just 13″ with a bump out in the middle to provide more space for a larger island. We didn’t even have to sand and restain! See below – you’d never know that they weren’t always there.

The kitchen window is in and I’m so excited that despite a few obstacles we nearly doubled it’s size because it makes the space feel bright and cheerful. 

Just below the window you’ll see that my sink has been set – I’m so glad I chose this traditional sink – it’s sleek and adds a lot of character to our little kitchen.

And of course there’s the range. She’s everything I dreamed she would be. I just might break her in this week even though that means I’ll be doing dishes in the bathroom sink. 

Oh, and I need your help! I ordered a GE Monogram built in refrigerator with a trim kit. I didn’t realize that it would be that 80’s style where the silver would show around all of the panels. Do you know what refrigerators offer a more refined look where you don’t see the “trim”? 

Our kitchen reno has reminded me that things don’t always go to plan and sometimes you have to adjust your vision, but in the end, it will be just as beautiful and most importantly, functional.

kitchen renovation reality

At first I was cool, breezy, and full of excitement when each milestone was made in our kitchen remodel. That was before the project lagged on and brief moments between the hinge freakout, the great window debate of 2017 and we ran out of wine. Our 5 week kitchen is lagging on and I either want to crawl back under the covers or runaway. So guess what I’m doing?

kitchen renovation reality

Running away. We spent a week in Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to take a reprieve and celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary far from the stress of the never ending kitchen. I ventured to Round Top, Texas with friends and we’ve been spending as much time as possible at the lake.

kitchen renovation reality

How did this happen? The first few weeks we were on schedule and it felt everything was coming together. But…

I ordered the wrong refrigerator based on advice from the appliance store

the carpenter mentally checked out with the cabinets in and just a finishing touches remaining

we had a huge marble stain

then the marble was further stained with a “fix”

the lights were installed in the wrong locations

the painters were busy

the microwave fell short of our expectations 

kitchen renovation reality

I have to take a step back and remind myself it’s Nothing life altering, just a means of cooking, baking and gathering. So why the stress?

Because I don’t like the chaos of people coming and going and any added mess. I also don’t like unfinished projects lingering…I prefer a pretty little checkmark.

kitchen renovation reality

kitchen renovation reality

I do, however have a few things to share since our last kitchen update and that’s the pantry wall! I’m so excited to have a place to store all of our kitchen appliances, the girls’ plasticware, our dry goods and Staubs. As soon as I get it all organized I’ll share more! This previously underutilized space has added so much function to our kitchen. 

The marble and backsplash are in and now we’re awaiting paint. We’re so close to the finish line I can taste it, even if I don’t quite feel like I can cook in it yet. I sure miss making homemade pasta. 

kitchen renovation reality

This renovation has reminded me to be patient, kind and realize that perfection is unattainable and that’s okay. Do you have any tips for survival? SEND HELP!

UPDATE: The new kitchen renovation is complete! You can see it all and learn more here!


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