Monday, December 8, 2014

heart of a home

I'm getting a NEW kitchen, which means that the heart of my home will be changing for the better. 

Picture this scene from Love Actually, and you can begin to understand how happy and excited I am, minus the gorgeous guy :(

Before I begin to talk about the specifics of my new kitchen, I have to acknowledge the fact that there are many things that I love about my present kitchen, like the wonderful memories of teaching (or trying to teach) my kids to cook, garden club parties, cookie swaps, birthdays, cooking class, cocktails and savories with friends, and many (14 to be exact) Christmas parties with Santa and Mrs. Claus as the guests of honor. Although my kitchen may not have the latest anything, and is seriously lacking in the countertop department, it has never prevented me from cooking some great meals, putting on the dog, or making my guests feel welcome within these warm and unassuming walls.  

When I first moved into Forty Four about 18 years ago, the kitchen was one of the first DIY projects that my husband and I tackled. We started by updating the red, white, and blue wallpaper that looked like real tile, so much so that it was hard to convince people otherwise. We replaced it with a black and white trellis toile, but a few years later, when that wasn’t enough to satisfy our taste buds, we decided to paint the dark colonial brown cabinets with a creamy yellow milk paint. We chose wrought-iron pulls by Acorn, which coordinated with the black strap hinges, and a French-inspired William Sonoma fabric for a window treatment and for the dining chair covers, which were piped in red and cream check. Sounds horrible, right? A few years after that, we added a family room and kitchen nook, which helped to expand the kitchen space and create a more open floor plan. This would tide us over, until we could finally gut this bad boy. 

The brass hardware warms this white kitchen by incorporating the tone of the floor
Embarking on a kitchen project is nothing short of monumental, and for those of you who have been through the kitchen design trenches, you know what I’m talking about. I have a tendency to be over-the-top with projects like this, especially when it comes to making decisions. I have behaved myself for the most part in the "keeping things in perspective" category. Maybe this laid-back approach comes with age, a budget, a small floral business, a teenage girl and a post-grad living at home.

I love the warmth of this, with the open shelving, brass hinges and latches and shiny subway tile

A cleaner look with glass doors, without the mullions and muntins
Now let’s talk about the fun stuff, shall we? It has been interesting for me to see how my tastes have changed over the years. Back about ten years, when we contemplated a kitchen reno, my must-haves were inset doors with raised panels, a glazed finish with hand rubbed edges, mottled white-washed tile floors, wrought iron hardware, and stainless appliances.
Fast forward to 2014, and it is clear that things have changed. This time, I chose a full-overlay shaker door style (super popular right now) in a warm white called Divinity, marble-like countertops by Viatera, rustic-edged and glazed subway tile called panna cotta, and a square-front farmhouse sink and country satin nickel faucet, both by Rohl. I decided to use my existing stainless appliances, including a 30" Viking gas range that I can't live without, but splurged a little on a new refrigerator by Liebherr. I can't wait to get my hands on that! Brass hardware (haven't found it yet) will warm up the white cabinets and countertops, and will incorporate the pine tones of the wide-plank wood floors.

 If I were more daring...
Pinterest has been a great (re)source for providing inspiration. In selecting images to draw on, I focused on color combos, interesting mixes of texture, metal tones, practicality, budget, and what I found to be visually appealing. The first decision was to go with an all white kitchen, which has stood the test of time. In 1989, when my husband and I bought our first home, we painted the cherry-stained cabinets white. My husband nearly blew a gasket over the idea of painting wood, and I can still remember him saying, "Do you realize this will be permanent"? Yes, I do! 

This image really resonated with me, in thinking about my plan. The stove is the perfect example of how beautifully the combination of brass and stainless go together. Thank goodness for the designer who decided that mixing metals was a good thing, as I happily bid farewell to the days of matching metals. I was intent on using brass in my new kitchen, since I was on hiatus from wrought iron (don't worry, I still have plenty to go around). The rug spoke to my serious and unyielding commitment to the color red. I happen to love it in every shade, including the 2015 Pantone color of the year, Marsala. It also occurred to me that I have two gorgeous Heriz runners in my back hall, and after a good shampoo and blow dry from Landry and Arcari, why not let the kitchen adopt them? In thinking about the exposed beams and why they appealed to me, I found that the color was reminiscent of my own warm wood-toned floors, which I will be keeping. The main objective when I take on home projects is to consider the way in which rooms relate to one another. Create themes by using colors or combinations of colors to be the common thread that will help join the spaces. 

Heartwood Kitchens arrives tomorrow, and we have done our due diligence in the preparation department. I am very excited and have been waiting for the opportunity to design a new kitchen for a long time. Good things come to those who wait, right? Today is my last day with a stove :(, and my best girl is cooking up the last batch of brownies, as I type this post. 

More to come...

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