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I remember dreaming of kitchens. I dreamed of beautiful countertops and floor to ceiling cabinetry, but I primarily dreamed of functionality. I wanted under-cabinet lighting so I could see what I was cooking, a large, deep sink where I could stack dishes, and enough space for our whole family to be in the kitchen at the same time.

Our First Home

I loved our old home, I truly did, but it was small. Our kitchen was 10x10 with ceramic tile countertops and when we moved in there was no pantry. We had one small flushmount ceiling light and the only time I had adequate light to cook with was during the day when the sun was streaming in. That said, there were features I loved about this kitchen. The window above the sink looked out onto the tree in the front yard and the little garden underneath it. The size and layout of the kitchen made unloading the dishwasher a breeze. All of these things were things I considered when we designed our current kitchen.

The Layout

The layout of the kitchen took quite a bit of tweaking. This was partly due to the fact that we had a breakdown in communication with the designer over our plans for the oversize pantry, but also because visually I’m all about symmetry and sometimes that’s hard to accomplish in a space with so many components.

Our main priority was having a large island where we could sit for casual snacks or to do puzzles or, my daughters favorite thing to do, paint. The kitchen opens straight into the living room so we put the sink in the island so I could keep an eye on the kids while prepping and cleaning up.

If you read my post about our appliances, you already know that the range was at the very top of our priority list when choosing appliances and I have to tell you, I am in love!

This range is the heart of the kitchen and the vent hood above it is the icing on the cake.

It was really important to me to keep unloading the dishwasher as easy as possible because, let’s face it, I’m lazy! For that reason all of our dishes, silverware and pots and pans are all stored around the dishwasher so I’m not traipsing around the kitchen while I’m trying to get chores done with!

Light it Up

Oh how I love undercabinet lighting! I always wanted to install it in our last house, but it always fell to the bottom of the priority list or off it all together. These lights along with the recessed cans and vent hood lighting all provide ample light to maneuver efficiently. The pendant lights also provide light, but let’s get real – I really chose them because they’re pretty!

I love the classic, simple shades with the contemporary aged brass hardware. I especially love how they seamlessly blend with the white cabinets behind them.

Choosing the Colors

I knew I wanted white uppers, that part was easy. We went with Sherwin Williams Pure White on the cabinets, walls and trim. I really struggled choosing the color of the island and the pantry, however. My heart loves black, but it also loves light natural wood. I pinned dozens of pictures and spent hours down rabbit holes on Houzz. After a few months, I finally had a plan! Once we decided to stain the living room built ins, I knew I wanted to incorporate black cabinetry in the kitchen and pantry. We also decided to incorporate the same stain from the living room on the floating shelves in the pantry and media room, as well as staining all the cabinetry in the laundry room.

I’m so glad we decided to go with the black island and the black vent hood because they pop against the white surrounds and add a ton of drama. Our black cabinets are Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. I also think the black helps bring together the black doors and black windows. It’s the contemporary pop this transitional home needed.

The Q of Quartz

I knew I wanted white countertops. This was truly a nonnegotiable. The problem was finding the right countertop at the right price. I immediately nixed the idea of marble. You might be surprised to learn that a lot of marble is now cheaper than quartz because the upkeep is so extensive. Marble is really permeable for a stone, so it stains and scratches easy. This means you have to seal it annually and be extra careful setting down drink glasses or cooking near the marble. This is especially challenging if you have a sink set into your marble because it’s really likely to get watermarks.

So quartz was an easy choice for us. Some of the first quartz slabs we saw were laughably expensive – like $7,000 above budget laughable. I was told that Chinese tariffs were driving the prices up, but we persevered. Eventually we found the perfect slabs.

This quart is called Calacatta Premium because it’s very similar in appearance to Calacatta marble. I couldn’t be happier with our countertops. The white blends seamlessly in with the white cabinets and adds some much needed contrast on the black island. We went with a black undermount sink and a black faucet to complete the modern look, but went with brushed gold cabinet hardware to add the element of glam.


Before we had even broken ground I had fallen in love with Lew's Hardware Bar Series, but boy are they pricey. I spent literal months looking at cabinet hardware trying to find something more cost effective and I finally stumbled on The Vouvant Collection by Hamilton Bowes that is so similar, but way more affordable. We decided to go with all pulls and no knobs which is something I think makes a subtle statement in our kitchen.

Now that that’s all said and done, I want to know what your favorite feature of your kitchen is! Are you happy with the one you have or dreaming of taking it down to the studs and starting over? Leave me a comment and let me know! Until next time!

All the Radness.




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