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April 10, 2014

Kitchen Cabinets | Some Revisions to the New Addition Plans

The time has come to start making some real decisions.  We've finally gotten some bid numbers back from the contractors, and for all of you who warned me... you were right.  More time, more money.  Ugh.  But, as promised, I'll be sharing all of our battles here because I want you to know how we go about making the decisions were making - even the ones that aren't so fun.

We are sticking to our guns, though, we didn't set out for this project to overspend, overdo and break ourselves, we are doing this to make our family life better, to make the time we spend at home more enjoyable, easier and more beautiful.  It is our goal to remember that with every decision we make.  (And writing it here is going to keep me in check... I hope!)

I truly believe that your home should be your safe place, a place that comforts you and brings you peace.  There is so much to battle out there in the world, and I want my family to feel love when they walk in here - whether that means a giant comfy sofa, a fluffy bed, wood burning fire or a something delicious from the kitchen.  We do our best to keep our home a positive place, where defenses are down, judgement is forgotten and love rules all - not that kitchen cabinets and upholstery can do that alone... but maybe it helps set the stage.  I do, however, think a really good soaking tub can do that.  I'm serious.  Top of the list.  As I've reminded my contractor ; )  Bathroom details later this month.

So, back to the decisions at hand.  By the way, this post might actually turn into the most contradictory post ever, as I'll be debating cabinetry for our kitchen.  For those of you that want to hit me over the head - yes, I know this is a huge privilege to begin with.  I get to pick out a kitchen, from scratch.  A complete and utter dream come true.  Don't worry, the privilege and the blessing is not lost on me.  I'm loving every minute of the planning - and not afraid being creative.  And realistic.

Here we are, back at the first floor plans.  When we got the initial bid back, I got out my red pen.  Where would I be willing to cut?  I'm always up for creative solutions (but finding a contractor that is up to the same creative thinking has been more of a challenge... It is interesting how their solution is always to start cutting square footage).  Because I am a realistic person, I compromised.  I didn't cut out the mudroom (as recommended), but instead brought the entire back of the addition in 2ft, which adds up to 180sqft from the upstairs and downstairs - a real savings.

Shockingly, we actually like this much better.  It brings the baking counter (the counter under the windows facing the backyard) closer to the rest of the kitchen - something many of you suggested.  We also decided not to pour the basement underneath the new addition - just a crawlspace.  We have a basement now that is currently unfinished, so we'll just be finishing that space instead.  I know, it would've been nice, but we're keeping it real here.

Also, by not needing the new basement stairs, I gained a lot more space in the mudroom.  So, the powder room is now going in there (away from the dining room area - another thing many of you mentioned).  This also gives us more room for the dining area, and we gain a closet.  It does make the library a little smaller, but smaller equals "cozy" in my book.

Now onto the big decision at hand.  The kitchen cabinets.  To be fair, we haven't actually gotten the bid for our cabinets back yet.  I'm just preparing myself.  As it turns out, every kitchen photo that I happened to pin features inset cabinetry, which happens to be one of the most expensive kind.  Ugh.  Of course it is.  As Mike would point out, this is usually the case - like when our contractor suggested we do some carpet instead of wood in some areas to save money, and I said, how about wool berber?  To which he then replied that the price just went from $12 to $25/sqft.  You get the point.  

This is where I need your input.  On one hand, I know that we want to "do it right," but as I said before, I don't want our decisions to burden us later with huge overages and strapped budgets.  But, we want to do it right... right?  What do you think?  What would you do for your own kitchen?

Here are some "creative" solutions I've come up with :

- Cut the hutch by the fridge.  This would cover the upgrade amount for the inset vs. full overlay on the rest of the cabinetry.  But, we'd be little short on dry food storage in the kitchen - most of it would be in the mudroom.

- Do inset on the uppers, and overlay on the lowers.  (photo example below)

- Cut the hutch by the baking counter - just do open shelving.

Here are some inspiration photos that I keep referring to, for your reference.

My all time favorite.  This is the inspiration for my "Baking Counter/Nook."

This is where I think the inset on the uppers would look great.  Also love the glass-front doors, brass pulls, creamy color, big window...

Inset.  Brass pulls.  Wood tops.  Glass uppers.  Bracket detailing.  Big window.

Inset. Simple and classic. 

Here is a sample of full overlay.  I really think it looks great here.
These are inset uppers and overlay lowers.  A great option to get the look on the upper glass-front doors.
A great example of a Shaker Style full overlay kitchen that looks great.

So, what are your thoughts?  Compromise space or style?

Off to get ready for our neighborhood Easter party - so Springy here, I can hardly stand it!


  1. We are going through the same decision making processes now. We have decided to go full overlay - it's more cost-effective, looks just as great in my opinion and you maximize the storage space in each cabinet. I think it's a no-brainer. It will look fabulous either way!

  2. We built a home recently and one of the best decisions we made was sticking to our love of a white kitchen...they were far too uncommon in newly built homes in Olathe. I really wanted inset cabinetry as well but we ended up saving the money and just stuck with the regular and now I don't even notice the difference. We also have glass uppers and I absolutely love them! They really make the kitchen! Also, great choice on putting the microwave on the bottom to save counter and upper cabinet space...we did the same and I was worried at first that our little girl would always mess with it...but she never did (and you don't notice any spots or splatter marks as easily when it's down there). Love you's going to look wonderful!

  3. I love some of the changes you made and found with our own remodel sometimes thinking out of the box really helped. While our contractor was my husband (what he does for a living) he really did have to really listen to me as the kitchen is totally my domain:) One thing I would really consider is having your garbage pull out so far away from dinner prep. Ours is right next to our sink and it is so handy for when we are cutting things and cleaning off plates, etc. I understant why it went where it did but it may be something to weigh. Also as far as cabinetry goes, we went with custom cabinets and decided on doing full overlay instead of inset. The main reason was that we were tight on cabinet space. With inlay doors you actually lose some of the usable space within your cabinet to allow for the door. It was something we just couldn't lose as our kitchen isn't that large and every square inch inside needed to be a workhorse. Again something to consider. While I love inlay I actually do really like the look of our full overlay. Our kitchen is white, bright and very much the same style you are going for! Good luck:)

    1. Yes! I really want to move the garbage to the island, too. I hope there is enough room. I need to research the microwaves and see what the smallest size will be.

    2. Look at micro/convection oven combos so you can pick up the "second" oven option. A little pricier, but well worth it when you consider how often you need that second oven (for a small item) when entertaining.

  4. Never ever ever compromise on your space.
    Your style can be changed later on if you wish.
    Your space can't. And you'll need every inch of it, even if now you think it won't matter - it will, and you'll be kicking yourself.

  5. I have created kitchens in seven homes and used both custom cabinets with inset doors and full overlay doors. I must say that, although the inset doors are lovely, the full overlay door styles are perfectly wonderful looking and sooo much more cost effective, that I have never regretted changing over.

  6. I agree with Eliza Beth. Go for the space first. We are currently adding on to our home in order to expand our kitchen and after much hand-wringing (because I love inset doors, too) we are actually going to use Ikea cabinets. This is our forever home and the Ikea price-point is such that I can do something else down the road later without being upset about it. I think you'll be happier making sure you have the space first and the style a little bit later.

  7. Personally I don't think the hutch near the baking table is necessary. I like counter space for baking more, but that's just me. I also really like the look of inset uppers and overlay lowers, plus it gives just a little more room to hide my stuff.

  8. It's always best to have function and style, but when I have to choose one or the other I always choose function. Anytime I ended up choosing style, I later regretted it.


  9. What are you thinking about for counter tops? We've just begun building a house. I've always LOVED LOVED LOVED carrara marble. All the "experts" keep trying to talk me out of it, but I'm thinking I'm just rebellious enough to go ahead and go for it. I was just wondering what you're thinking about using? I personally am dreaming of white cabinets, white subway tile back splash and stunning marble counter tops, aaahhh, simply lovely! I've done my research and from all I've read, everyone that has them loves them and basically knew going in they were going to stain and etch but what the "industry" calls stains and etching marble owners call "patina!" It's all in perspective I think. Anyway, I would just love to know what you want to use and if you've considered using marble?

  10. Stephanie - I have the exact kitchen you described and yes, carrara does etch.. but the etching "changes" - it fades over marks that were prominent tend to blend intothe marble. It's actually beautiful. If you are looking for shiny granite finish - don't do it. But if your style is more rustic, warm - go for it. I don't even mind my etching anymore...

  11. Hi friend on the other side of the state,

    I agree with your readers who suggest that first and foremost you go for the space. When you have a little more $$ or if your tastes change a bit, you can always make those changes then. Go for as much space now because those babies will grow quickly and you'll want some room to spread out. And believe me, they grow quickly!!

    I'm excited for you...know whatever you decide will be lovely.

    St. Louis

  12. Hi Jenny,

    Your inspiration pics are great. We recently purchased our home as a new construction from the builder, so I didn't get to choose colors/style/etc. Nevertheless, the kitchen was done beautifully with mahogany cabinets. I never paid attention to inset/overlay/etc. but they did put in inset cabinets. However, if they put in overlay cabinets I probably wouldn't have noticed. What mattered to me most was the quality of the materials and the size of the kitchen. I have tons of cabinet space as well as a walk-in pantry, and let me tell find ways to fill the space. I have a lot of serving pieces, plates, cups, etc. (probably not as many as you) but it fills my big kitchen. So if I were you, I'd sacrifice the style for the space.

    Good luck!


    1. I forgot to mention, one thing that actually made a huge difference was the soft close function for our cabinets and drawers. My little boys tend to accidentally slam doors so we really love the fact that they can't slam anything in the kitchen :)

  13. We have similar taste, which usually is the most expensive options. It seems like simple and understated is usually more $.....just like with wedding dresses. The ones with beading, tulle, etc are less expensive than plain ones. Same with house materials! We have inset cabinets and I love them. They are a nice detail and I love details. I don't think they are essential in making a kitchen though. Our kitchen is very small. I actually like a cozy kitchen. I would not cut the area for storing dried goods, but rather cut the hutch by the baking counter and do open shelves b/c I love that look. I don't think you can go wrong with any choices you have selected. When all the elements come together it will be beautiful! If I were doing another kitchen I'd get Ikea base cabinets and custom doors. A lot of top designers do this based on what I've read. You can have the cabinets custom painted and then splurge on a countertop, like marble. Here's a link to a beautiful kitchen where the owners did just that
    Also, something else to consider would be have drawers on the bottom instead of doors. For the Love of the House blog did this and I thought it was such a great idea b/c really with doors you have so much wasted space! Wish I would've thought of that. Best of luck with all of your changes. We renovated our kitchen and it took months (we did most of the work ourselves) and things were back ordered, the wrong cabinets were sent......but I really enjoyed the process. i can't say the same for my husband though :)

  14. My parents recently finished a white kitchen upgrade...and since the space was so small, they wound up putting extra storage around the corner in the foyer. What a pain. I wouldn't nix the hutch for inset doors and then have storage in the mudroom. Insets are not going to add to ease-of-use but storage close by will!

  15. Inlay is beautiful and I so understand your dilemma! In my remodel, the bid for inlay was too much, so I focused on the right color of "white" for my cabinets instead. It's a tough call.

    Something I would like to point out is where the beam will go to hold up the 2nd floor (what would have been the exterior back of the house). It runs right through your kitchen cabinets. Perhaps your contractors have already factored this in to their bid, but just to give you a heads-up in case it wasn't mentioned. A dropped beam typically hangs down 15 or more inches so it would cut into your upper cabinet space, hence, a recessed beam is what you would need. It's my understanding a recessed beam costs more, so definitely something you should get clarification on from your contractors.

  16. I also wanted to do inlay but had to compromise and go with overlay. I've been very happy with the way they turned out. We put the microwave in the island as well and I love it. We actually put it in the end of the island rather than in the front. Depending on the depth of the microwave you choose it might be possible to move it to the end and then have room for your garbage pull out next to your sink.

  17. Heart throbbing kitchen ideas you have implemented. I just loved the way you organized your kitchen. I will definitely share it on my social networks with your credit and let my friends know such beautiful suggestions for kitchen remodelling in Bishopbriggs.

  18. As a gift to my sister for her 30th birthday, I hired the team at Classic Kitchen and Bath to remodel her kitchen… you know... give it that modern look we see on HGTV. I learned about them from a buddy of mine in Clarendon Hills, IL. These guys did an exceptional job... from design through execution. They not only have great service but their products are high quality. Check them out today or visit their amazing showroom in Westmont, IL. I highly recommend them to everyone considering a new kitchen and/or bathroom.

  19. We just went through a very similar renovation to our Cape Cod in Old Leawood! We went from a 3BD/2BTH to a 5BD/4BTH!! Your plans look great! Best of luck! I can't wait to see pictures of the process :)


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