Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Strategically Planned Spaces & Countertop Adventures

Saving money during any remodel or expansion will always be a priority to us. Today I want to share more of our expansion with you and show you how we saved in some areas so that we could splurge in others and how we strategically planned storage areas in our kitchen. Please remember, I am not an expert. I do not have a degree in interior design. What I do have is experience in family life, in motherhood and in hosting some pretty awesome parties! This is just our experience and if it helps you just a little in your renovation journey then awesome! Even if you are no where near renovation status, that is okay. It took us five years to get to this point! The day will come and hopefully you'll have bits and pieces of this information stored away in your memory. 

We came to our kitchen designer with a basic layout of how we wanted our kitchen to look. A large rectangle with an island in the middle. We have an open floor plan because that fits best with our lifestyle right now. Our goal is to stay here for five years. This is not our dream kitchen and this is not our final home. This is our home for this chapter of our life. With that in mind, we needed a kitchen that was budget friendly, increased our home value and a space that was perfect for small children. 

The breakfast nook above was strategically planned. When I wake up in the morning I wanted to have my fridge close to a counter, a microwave, the dishwasher and the sink. These are all things I use within the first five minutes I step out of my bed. I am quite sure every parent does actually. There are sippy cups to fill, bottles to make, mouths to feed and coffee that needs to be in my cup as soon as possible.

Tina Robinson, our kitchen designer, is also a mother and a great hostess. She came up with pull out drawers on the end of our island closest to the sink. That way I can either wash my dishes or pull them out of the dishwasher and turn around and put them away. This has been so helpful! The cabinets that you see on the side of the island is where I keep lunch boxes, storage containers, etc. There are small shelves there and it is perfect for them.

As far as our countertop adventures goes all I can say is when you find something you love pursue it 100% until you find the perfect match. I walked through a lot of granite and marble warehouses. There is so much to choose from but I couldn't find what I had my heart set on. In the end, Atlas Stone found us what we needed across the country and they had it shipped back to Maryland. They were wonderful in every aspect of the countertop process. I highly recommend them and their prices were excellent. For our space, we needed two slabs. This was a big investment for us and it has been worth every single penny. By hunting down great prices on appliances and flooring, we were able to splurge on countertops.

This little triangle here was carefully planned. I needed a space where we could place our beverages and glasses when hosting a party. Across from the serving area is our mini fridge. That way a guest could grab what they needed and go back into the common area. This really helps me when we host a dinner or party so I don't have everyone gathering where I need to be preparing food! Appetizers are usually placed at the end of the island as well so they stay at that end.

We spent a ridiculous amount of time picking out a refrigerator. We knew we wanted a pull out freezer below and a double door at the top. There are just so many options out there. In the end we found a great price on this Samsung version online. We love it and the kids have no problem grabbing what they need. There are different ways to build your cabinets around your refrigerator. I never knew this! Tina was so helpful on educating us and I know she can help you too when you are ready.

Side note: I will never get my stainless steel appliances streak free. I've tried everything in the book. I'm just going to file this under housewife mishaps.

I also wanted small pull out drawers next to the mini fridge so that our small children could grab a snack and drink for themselves after school. Next year, our youngest will start elementary school and it is my hope he can come here after school and grab what he needs and then start his homework on the island while I prepare dinner. This area has worked out great so far and I am really happy with it.

Our kitchen designer plugged in these awesome storage spaces that I never even thought of. I love having built ins for our silverware and knifes. It is so easy to clean out too.

This is what I call a real life pantry. Or maybe the pantry of two married people who are somewhere in between type A and type B personalities. Regardless of how organized you are, I highly recommend these slide out drawers. They are awesome and my kids love them too. Everything is "slam" proof too so this has been wonderful with two rough boys in our house.

That is it for the second part of my renovation tour. If you have any questions about anything in our kitchen please feel free to shoot me an email via the contact page! I am happy to share all of our vendors with you!

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