Northern Bungalow: Behind the scenes of how we designed this kitchen.
Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Here we are with the first instalment of the #Nothernbungalow! Most of you know this is Lindsay's (my) home and so we worked on this in our spare time through 2019.
Throughout this series, we will walk you through all of the things you need to think about when renovating each room and what struggles (and victories) I had during the design and reno phase.
This is the shell we started with. We bought the the house completely gutted. A designer's dream.
It had lots of light. Dated windows and a stove in the island.... which with 3 little kids was a NON STARTER FOR ME. I also love hood ranges.... they are such a statement piece, and so to just have a down draft that pops up.... wasn't what I wanted.
This is the first step you should plan out or seek to have a designer plan.
Before I tell you the layouts we considered for the kitchen.... here is what the house looked like before the previous owners ripped everything out.
This original layout was actually better than the one they had drawn on the floor but we knew we wanted to have a bigger island and didn't need a wall oven.
We looked at two options.... one with the island width wise and one where it was length wise. We opted for width wise (see below) to keep it all within the walls of the kitchen. We also considered putting floating shelves over the dishwasher but in the end, left it open and allowed the beautiful tile to reflect the light. Lastly, the biggest structural change was we took 3 ft from the adjoining dining room and created a secret walk in pantry behind the fridge. This houses all of our coffee maker/toaster/smoothie maker things and helps keep clutter away from the counters.
This layout won out as we had 1) focal stove/hood range 2) sink looking out a window 3) dishwasher close to the sink and 4) lots of storage that created a stunning black wall.
Another key decision to decide is where to spend on appliances. I always swore I would never spend more than $4,000 on a fridge. Never say never! Once we landed on this layout, we knew it would be stunning to have the wall of cabinets to be all black but to do this (and keep a large fridge, which was a must for us)... we had to opt for built in which jumps the price up A LOT. However, we ended up finding our Thermador range second hand and offset the cost of the fridge that way. Clients often ask us what a budget is for appliances and the short answer is-- IT DEPENDS! You can buy all of your appliances for $16,000 or you can spend that on a fridge. Knowing what is important to you in the design (for me it was a cohesive black wall) and function/performance (large size fridge) will help you figure out where you want to invest.
With this kitchen, we really went for it on mixing different textures and shapes but in the end, it is balanced to provide a cohesive look. We loved the thought of black cabinets. We were afraid to go all black. We loved modern but the rest of the house is not a modern style, so we had to stay somewhere in the "transitional" mode. In the end, we opted for flat wooden panels, stained black with gold hardware (Lews Dolin) and white modern shaker lowers with black lip pulls, which kept a lightness to the kitchen. Could we have put gold hardware on the lowers? Yes-- but the black lip pull connected the uppers with the lowers and also added a modern touch, which also spoke to the modern shape of the uppers. This was probably the hardest part for my husband to visualize but in the end trusting your designer (aka Aidan and I) is so important and once everything was up.... he loved it.
Leave us a question or a comment below and please share with anyone you know that is contemplating a kitchen renovation!
Stay tuned for more on our Northern Bungalow!