Tag Archives: fixer upper

3 Tips for Selecting Kitchen Cabinets

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through your Pinterest feed pinning inspiration pictures that you like left and right?  Many of them don’t have anything in common but yes, that pic of gorgeous pendants is amazing…

and if you were designing your dream kitchen you would have to have a hidden dry erase board in it.

On Pinterest it’s fun to dream that you CAN HAVE IT ALL. Pinning and dreaming are free and your boards have all the space in the world to build your dreams.

But what happens when it’s time to take a good look at your Pinterest board actually make these dreams come to life? Within your budget, your square footage, and without looking like a hodgepodge of individual good ideas.  You may find yourself feeling much like how Esther does about selecting a theme for her sixth birthday party… overwhelmed.

Use these 3 Tips for Selecting Kitchen Cabinets to help avoid that feeling.

Think Long Term

Cabinetry and flooring are two of the harder and more expensive finishes to replace in a house.  So just like we did with our flooring we wanted to select a cabinet style and finish that wouldn’t date itself in five years or that might not be great for resale value.  So while I do love colorful kitchens like this one…

I plan to bright spots of color in barstools, flowers, and artwork like this kitchen.

But you know if yellow is your favorite color and it has been for twenty years and your pretty sure it will be for twenty mores years go ahead and use yellow cabinets.

For this reason I also stayed away from selecting gray cabinets.

I love them but grays have so many different undertones like red, blue, and green that i didn’t want to be restrained to using only accent colors that worked with the undertone of the gray.  I do however love gray cabinets and still think it looks beautiful in our townhouse kitchen.

Think Cohesively

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is making sure the style and color of your finish work with everything else you have selected for the kitchen.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted a white subway tile backsplash like in our townhouse kitchen.  It adds a clean and classic look to any kitchen and is also inexpensive. You may remember from one of our earlier posts that we are reusing the black granite counters that were in the kitchen.

These counters are really what the entire kitchen design revolves around.

So while I love the white on white on white look…

I needed to know how white cabinets and a white subway tile backsplash looked with black granite.

I liked what I saw. So now the decision remained… which type of cabinets to use.

Think Budget Wise

We have a set budget for the entire Whistle Haven project.  After working five years as an interior designer in healthcare design I learned a thing or two about making spaces look beautiful on a budget.  It’s easy to create a beautiful space with endless amounts of money but good design happens when you stick to and work within a budget AND create a beautiful space at the same time.  That’s been my goal with Whistle Haven.

So while we could afford to have custom cabinets made and installed I really felt like we would have missed out on some of the bells and whistles that I wanted in our kitchen. Like soft-closing cabinets, huge pull-out drawers, and under cabinet lighting.  Michael Luke and I are also a couple that loves tackling a good DIY project.  After reading several reviews on the quality of their modular cabinets and with the opening of their store here in Memphis in December we just couldn’t resist going with IKEA cabinets.

We chose the Bodbyn style in off-white… which really reads more as a white.  I’m absolutely in love with the detailing on the doors and look forward to seeing my kitchen surrounded by beautiful white cabinets.  IKEA offers so many options that there are virtually limitless ways you can customize your kitchen design to fit your lifestyle. If you haven’t ever visited an IKEA showroom before you are really missing out on all the fun of walking through living space after living space and testing out all the drawers and doors and finding neat storage solutions hidden within.

All the parts to our kitchen cabinets were delivered almost two weeks ago and are waiting on ML and me to tackle them once our flooring gets installed.  By choosing IKEA cabinets with their 25 year warranty… which we are really excited about, we are saving thousands of dollars vs. custom and semi-custom cabinets from other brands! Plus, I get all the bells and whistles I wanted with my cabinets.

I promise another post soon with all the details on how we designed on our IKEA kitchen and what the whole process looks like from the first sketches to cabinet delivery. In the meantime, what is your one board that you pin the most to?

For me it’s my crochet board.  I’m always looking for cute crochet patterns and stylish ways to incorporate crochet into my home design.


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Master & Commander

Construction is well under way at Whistle Haven but the dining room walls are not the only thing we have removed.  Nope. My goal is to completely update the feel of this 1979 house by replacing finishes and fixtures AND opening the space up.  So let’s talk kitchen.

From the beginning we knew we were going to change a good bit of the kitchen layout.  The existing cabinet layout wasn’t going to work because one of our goals was to open up the kitchen to the dining room and to the living room.  To do this we needed to almost completely remove the wall that the stove was on.

The doorway on the far left of the picture above leads to the living room and the space beyond the stove and counter leads to the dining room. Before any major demolition could be done though the granite counters and cabinets needed to be removed.

The house was listed as a foreclosure and for some strange reason the bank actually had new granite counters installed. So while black granite probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a counter it’s estimated that we have around $4000 in new counters that can be salvaged.  So even though the footprint of the kitchen cabinets will change we will be able to reuse the existing granite counters… saving us a good deal of money.

And like any interior designer I love a good challenge.  It’s been fun incorporating these black counters into our dream kitchen design.  But before we get to the dream kitchen part lets back up to the demo part.

We took down most of the cabinets ourselves. And by we I mean Michael Luke did most of the work and I helped in small ways like removing shoe molding and shooting videos of him hard at work.

And while it would have been fun to take a hammer or ax to those cabinets obliterating them from the wall we tried to keep them intact because they may find a new life in Michael Luke’s work room just off the garage.

So what will the new kitchen layout look like?  The new kitchen is going to become my command central for the house. From the spot where the sink is in the picture above I will have a view of both the front and back doors and all main living areas of the house.  Just call me Master & Commander (of the house).

Cabinets will span the entire wall of the kitchen with the sink and refrigerator remaining in the same place.  In front of the cabinets will be a nine foot long island with seating for six people  The island area will be our main seating area in the kitchen vs. the traditional stand alone table with chairs that would have been used in the previous layout.

The floor plan above shows the large cased opening that provide a clear view of the dining room and living areas.  Along with seating at the island in the kitchen we left a little room by the window for a small bistro table of sorts for Michael Luke and I to use in the mornings for our quiet times or breakfast together before the girls wake up.

Ok, so let’s take a look and see what a difference removing a wall can make.  Below is the original view into the kitchen from the living room.

And then we opened up the view by removing the wall all the way to the stairs!

Doesn’t it really open the space up?  And here’s the view from the kitchen looking into the living room from that same opening. Remember this was the wall that had the stove on it.

And here is my master and commander view of the downstairs. The picture is taken from behind where the new island will go.

And finally a look back at the opening into the dining room from the kitchen. 

So that’s pretty much where we are now with the kitchen. Michael Luke has completely removed the tile floor and now we are just waiting on the installation of flooring and then we can get to work installing the kitchen cabinets.  I’m so excited about all the finishes and can’t wait to go into details with you in another post.  In the meantime, tell me the one thing you would not leave out of your dream kitchen? For me it’s adequate storage for all my large counter top appliances like my VitaMix, InstantPot, and griddle.



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