Planning a Kitchen Makeover? Here are my top tips for better flow, organization, and storage.
Are you planning a kitchen makeover? This post is full of my tips for planning layout changes and work stations to improve your kitchen’s flow, organization, and storage. And, I’ll tell you about 3 small regrets I have after our kitchen remodel.
Our new kitchen design includes Starmark Kitchen Cabinets, Silestone’s Lusso Quartz, a beautiful GE Stove, and Moen faucets. I also decided to completely change our pantry, stove and fridge layout to improve the flow and make the room feel bigger. We’re so happy with this remodel. It just works for our family, in so many ways. This is the fourth kitchen remodel I’ve planned. It’s definitely the biggest of the 4 and my favorite. I hope these tips can help you plan your kitchen remodel.
The biggest tip, you absolutely must start with, is to look at your kitchen with fresh eyes. Ignore where the stove was or the pantry, fridge, sink, walls, etc…ask yourself where something should be. It can be hard to picture a completely new design without limiting it to what you knew about the old one. So, ask friends, family, kitchen experts there opinions. Then just incorporate the changes you believe will work best for your family.
When planning a kitchen makeover, also look for what you absolutely don’t need. What’s not working? That’s easier to figure out if you’ve lived with that kitchen for a while. Our kitchen had an old trash compactor that we pulled out almost immediately upon moving in. I also knew I preferred a bunch of deep drawers over a bunch of lower cabinets. That just worked better based on what I have in my kitchen. Plus, they’re easier to access.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself, let me give you a little history on this kitchen remodel.
Move-in pictures from our kitchen in 2012
Originally, I wanted to hold off on the kitchen remodel until our kids were in school. Having them off to school most of the day while contractors worked seemed much easier. So, in 2013, we changed the funky orange tile counter tops to a basic black granite. And I put up a new tile back splash one weekend between feeding sessions for my then 2-month old baby.
If you’ve tiled before, you know it’s a mess. I literally showered every 2-3 hours that weekend because I had to wash off all of the thinset and dust from cutting tiles before I could feed my son. But, I like tiling, so that was my kind of fun. 😉
When we did that little makeover in 2013, I thought it would stay like that until 2020, or so. Once our youngest was in school. But last year, my husband decided he was tired of waiting. The kitchen was poorly designed, so the layout didn’t work. The room felt small, although it is actually quite big. The built-in 20-year old cabinets were covered in chipping paint. And, that florescent light box had to go!
Luckily, we were able to rescue most of the granite and donate it to our locale Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Actually, having that black granite made me realize I kinda hated dark countertops. When you start planning a kitchen makeover, definitely make a list of thinks you love and hate in kitchens. And, a list of things you’d like to have, but be ready to compromise, I feel like every remodel I’ve done comes with unexpected changes and last minute decisions.
No matter how much you plan ahead, something will catch you off guard and you’ll be shopping for something the night before the contractor needs it. HGTV basically made a whole channel about that. The struggle is real. 🙂 I have a huge posts full of 80+ Tips for planning home remodels and new builds that can help you prepare for more of those unexpected surprises.
So, we got to live through a 3-month long kitchen remodel with a 3-year old and a 10-month old. Do you know how fun it is to microwave all of your meals and wash baby bottles in your master bathroom, I do! We spent that 3-months basically living in our bedrooms, office/playroom, and our pool table room (which was the temporary kitchen).
It was kinda like camping in your own home, but after 3 months we were ready to get back to normal. Here’s a breakdown of all the changes and how we designed functional work ‘stations’ into the kitchen. Let me know if you have any questions about the changes or products. I’ll answer whatever I can. 🙂
Key Layout Upgrades for our White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen
We made a lot of layout changes during our kitchen remodel. We wanted to make the room feel larger, update the look and make the kitchen much more functional. This is how we upgraded the layout. If you’re doing more than just a kitchen, you can find my top tips like these for a new home build or remodel here.
- Removed that old fluorescent light box that was so popular in the 90’s.
- Turned the small doorway between kitchen and dining room into a large open concept archway to match the other arches in our home. This one was strange, if you look at the rest of our house, you see arches everywhere and wonder why they didn’t do this originally.
- Expanded the exterior door to our patio, from a 32″W x 6’8″H to 38″W x 8’H. We have high windows and doorways in most areas of our home. An 8′ high door just worked better in the design. Plus, my husband is 6’4″, so I thought he’d enjoy a little more space there.
- The island lost it’s stove top and moved closer to the center of the kitchen to increase my work zone. The stove, sink, fridge, microwave and oven are open to each other now. No more walking around that island to get from one place to the next.
- Moved dishwasher to the other side of the sink. Originally the dishwasher was in the corner. When the dishwasher was open, I couldn’t reach or even open some of the cabinets I stored dishes in AND I couldn’t even use the drawer next to it because the dishwasher handle kept it from opening. #kitchenfail
- Removed breakfast nook chandelier and added can lights all over. A designer recommended losing the breakfast nook chandelier to make the whole room feel larger and more open. She was right, it worked!
- Moved stove from island to the back wall. I wanted an island that my kids could sit at while I cooked dinner AND I wanted a feature stove against the wall with a nice cabinet hood above. Win-win!
- Moved oven next to refrigerator to make the room feel larger and open up space for the beverage station. Having that large oven cabinet on the end of the kitchen made the room feel smaller and closed in. Our kitchen designer said that they try to always put those deep, tall cabinets towards the back of the kitchen to make the opening or front of the kitchen feel more open.
- Skipped the switch to a double oven. They are nice to have and trendy, but I really would have used it twice a year. It wasn’t worth giving up every day pantry or beverage station space to have it. And I can’t do a low microwave with 2 toddlers in the house. That would have been an endless battle for mommy. Plus, the new microwave/convection combos actually do work as convection ovens. When it’s time to replace our current microwave, we’ll go for one of those.
- Switched from a closet pantry to a cabinet pantry. This was to increase the functionality of the pantry and to make the room feel larger again.
- Switched to a counter-depth fridge. That extra 4 inches really did work wonders to make the room feel more custom and larger.
White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen ‘Work Stations’
- Beverage Station
- Wine, coffee, tea, lemonade, etc. and the glasses in the same area near ice and water in fridge.
- Adjustable shelves make more room for short coffee cups and large bottles.
- Mommy’s Note Station
- Where I keep notes, mail, to-do lists, paint chips…anything I want within reach.
- Garbage Station
- Hidden in the cabinet with garbage bag storage and a handy-dandy dust pan (you know I need this 20 times a day with 2 toddlers).
- Bread Station
- This bread box and butter dish give the room a bit of vintage style and a great place to store those toast making essentials.
- Kids Art Project Drawer
- My boys love having this drawer stuffed full of everything they need to create their masterpieces.
- All things Stove, Pot Filler and oven Station
- My pots, pans, and baking dishes are stashed away in these convenient, over-sized drawers beneath the stove and oven.
- Homework Station
- My boys aren’t in school yet, but I picture them doing homework one day at the island while I make dinner. So, we added outlets under each end of the island for the laptops and devices they’ll be using.
3 Minor Regrets for this White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover
These aren’t major regrets, we love our kitchen and can’t really complain. But, I think there are always little things about every remodel that you would have done differently. Again, not a huge deal, so it may be years before we get around to changing these.
- Pendants – My husband was afraid to put pendants over the island. He wanted the room to feel as large as possible. Now that it’s complete, I think we can switch to pendants to add a bit more style and the room will still feel large.
- Exhaust – I poured over the 3D drawings the cabinet designer gave us and made multiple changes, but somehow I missed that the vent hood wasn’t going all the way to the ceiling (the ceiling wasn’t in the renderings). So, our contractor had to build this weird box around our vent. I’ll add a wood cabinet all the way to the ceiling eventually.
- Back Splash – I love the marble flowers above the stove, but from a distance, the dark spots stick out and the light petals blend into the white grout. So, you can’t see the flower pattern from 10 or more feet away. I’m going to get brave one day and use a grout marker to darken the grout color, just above the stove. That should make those flowers pop!
White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Product List
- Cabinets – Starmark Cabinetry: Rochport door style, inset, in Dove (on Maple) and the island is Slate with a Chocolate Glaze (on Lyptus)
- Counter tops – Silestone: Lusso quartz. It’s a standard 2cm, but the counter top guy put a 4cm miter edge on it. That means the seam runs along the actual corner and is completely invisible.
- Moen Pot Filler, Spot Resist Stainless
- Moen Motion Sense Kitchen Faucet
- Keurig K250 Single Serve, Turquoise
- GE Cafe 36″ Gas Rangetop
- Paint – Behr’s Sandstone Cove
- Flooring – Happy Floors, Lefka Sand Porcelain. I love that it has a matte finish and actually looks like a natural stone
- Back Splash – Both purchased off the shelf at Floor & Decor
Looking for Laundry Room Inspiration? This one is full of easy DIY and design ideas.
And grab my top Tips to help you Plan a New Home Build or Remodel.
Feeling inspired? Want to shop this White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!