OUR KITCHEN RENOVATION MUST-HAVES

Several recent questions for my Friday Q&A series have focused on decisions we’re making for the kitchen renovation I outlined in yesterday’s post, so today I’m going to share the changes we’re most excited about, some of the decisions we’ve made so far, and a bunch of inspiration images that helped me hone in on a vision for the space. I know a bunch of you are getting ready to tackle kitchen renovations in your own homes so I’m excited to share and learn from all of you as we go!

design darling kitchen inspiration mark d sikes

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post and in a video walk-through on my Instagram story, our existing layout has a powder room and small closet jutting into the middle of the room, making poor use of an otherwise decently sized space and closing the kitchen off from the rest of the first floor. We’re moving the existing powder room, removing a wet bar along the wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room, and reorienting the kitchen by 90 degrees so the cabinets and appliances live on the wall where the powder room is now. These changes will allow us to incorporate a double oven (which my mom insisted would be necessary as we hope to host Christmas here for many years to come!), a nearly 10’ island (where we’ll realistically eat the bulk of our meals as a family), and a new powder room and walk-in pantry that are tucked away by the back door and not smack dab in the middle of the room.

design darling kitchen inspiration white farm sink

In terms of appliances, our priorities were to add a functioning dishwasher (really reaching for the stars here haha), a larger refrigerator, a gas stovetop, and the aforementioned double oven. We decided to get a countertop microwave to keep in the pantry vs. a built-in one (which are much more expensive and would have taken away a set of upper cabinets). We looked at a number of different brands paying closest attention to budget, function, aesthetic, and resale value and wound up ordering the same appliances our builder has in his own kitchen. I’m definitely not an expert on appliances and his personal recommendation as someone who’s renovated a ton of kitchens carried a lot of weight with us. We looked at them in person a few different times and honestly I didn’t know it was possible to be so excited about the interior of a fridge!

design darling kitchen inspiration studio mcgee hicks pendants

Our builder and his team will custom build our cabinets and we’ve decided on paneled white cabinetry that I think will tie in nicely with the style of our home. (I love the look of shaker cabinetry but it felt a little too modern for our 1850 colonial!) We’re planning to do quartz countertops  and polished nickel hardware so any recommendations for countertops and hardware are more than welcome!

design darling kitchen inspiration all white

Beyond that, we’ve decided on a white farm sink with a polished nickel faucet and a custom hood in white wood that matches our cabinetry. We’ll probably stick with plain white subway tile because it’s affordable, bright, and won’t go out of style anytime soon (classics are classics for a reason!). If you have a favorite tile resource, I’m all ears!

design darling kitchen inspiration navy hicks pendants

I’m still deciding on light fixtures for the space but it will probably be two pendants over the island and a lantern in the breakfast nook. (I love the look of these — do any of you have and recommend them?) We currently have three of these counter stools and will wait to see whether we can fit four or five at the new island. We’ll also need a table for the breakfast nook to use with our existing dining chairs, which we’ll move in here and eventually order more formal chairs for the dining room. These are more decorating-oriented decisions that I’m not going to rush to finish alongside the construction — if I find the perfect piece in the next few months, that’d be ideal, but otherwise I’ll keep searching and saving until we find the right thing. 

design darling kitchen inspiration meg white interiors hicks pendants

We’ll be recycling nearly all of the windows in the existing kitchen and sunroom as well as refinishing the existing wood floors to match the color we chose throughout the rest of the house. I think that’s everything for now but happy to answer anything I might have missed! If you’ve renovated a kitchen before, I’d love to hear something you’re happy you did or anything you wish you’d done differently. I’m sure this will be a big learning curve for us and I can’t wait to get started!

*images one / two / three / four / five / six

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17 thoughts on “OUR KITCHEN RENOVATION MUST-HAVES

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  1. If I may make a suggestion about a kitchen sink? We built a new house a year 1/2 ago and I found the best sink to go with the quartz countertop. Our countertop is ivory with gray veining to resemble marble and I found a granite composite sink in gray that looks so good but also does not scratch or stain. Sort of like quartz. It’s made by Blanco and comes in 7 or 8 colors now. I got ours at Ferguson Showroom but it’s also sold at Lowe’s and on Houzz. Mine still looks brand new!

  2. How exciting! We recently just finished renovating our kitchen and am so happy with how ours turned out. I would highly recommend a full depth fridge as opposed to the counter depth one you linked! It is insane how much more space you’ll gain. For tile you should check out Darien International Tile on the Post Rd. It is a small, family owned company and the owner, Clara, is super nice and knowledgeable. Also, check out the Juliska outlet in Stamford for pendants. That’s where I got mine and love them!

  3. Read your post about appliance choice in time to quiz my husband before he left. Tried my darn-dest to impugn Bosch. No luck. Currently on our 6th+ renovation.
    For our last house (18th c.) ~20yrs.back I had chosen a wonderful sleek European dishwasher that I loved, at a healthy cost, because our odd floor plan afforded no latitude in shifting walls, which made sound paramount. I chose the highest rated/European brand. Loved it aesthetically & for cleaning; terrible cost wise. Replacement parts as they were needed were really high. Two properties later we have Bosch. Wonderful. Just love that light on the floor that says it’s it is one esp. as it is so quiet you need it. Third rack on top the best. Use for large utensils, lids and even the smaller Chinese food containers fit its center. (Also, btw as far as the ‘pot cycle’ for any and all dishwashers that is a Siren’s Song to absolutely be avoided. No self respecting pot should ever see a dishwasher. It ruins the very properties you purchase them for – see Use and Care pamphlet for your pots. That goes for knives too. Same reason.) Look forward to following your progress ! Thanks for listening.

  4. We finished our kitchen renovation over the summer and hey, that’s my fridge, ha!! I love it SO MUCH! We got the 800 series DW, too, and had a panel (fake drawer above fake cab) made for it, highly recommend as it blends in and makes our kitchen feel less “industrial” with stainless. Things we did and loved: under cabinet electrical (so your backsplash isn’t interrupted by outlets), big drawers instead of cabinets (so much easier), quartz (love Cambria, and didn’t end up being as expensive as we thought it would be), and ***a pantry light that automatically turns on when the door opens.***. Our pantry doors are swinging all day if we don’t just keep them open and that door jamb activates light is awesome! For hardware I splurged on Rejuvenation and am delighted. It is so fantastic to be done, we had ancient or non-functional appliances, too, and reoriented our kitchen 90 degrees to have it make more sense with our house. It’s like having a baby/the newborn stage— now that it’s over I’m tremendously glad that we did it and am not focused as much on how much takeout we ate on paper plates, ha!!

  5. Hello! Take a look at the Blanco sinks. They have a farm sink/front apron model in a material they call Silgranit that is very very durable. Sinks can get really beat up but this material is superb.

  6. I have the same faucet that is in the first picture…I never get tired of it! I also have a white farm sink…single bowl which I seriously recommend. A single sink is so miuch more functional that a double…even if you get the style with one larger and the other smaller you don’t get the great very useable size of a single. My other suggestion, which I know you won’t take, is to consider not getting a lower drawer fridge…they are very cool and I had to have one but they are the dickens to keep organized and I can never find anything! One more thing…and maybe with the placement of your appliances it will be OK…and that is the size of your island. Very large kitchens with very large islands are beautiful to look at but they are very tiring. I know because I have had both…give me a kitchen where everything is within reach and I am not running from one end of the island to the other or find that I have too many steps too many times a day to get around that island. I know your kitchen will be lovely but really think it though before you do things that you will have to live with for a long time. On a positive note…I love my quartz counter tops that look like marble. They have an ogee (sp?) edge and I couldn’t be happier.

  7. sorry! one more thing: I have the exact baskets displayed in photo 4 and it’s great for things like bread and onions (that you don’t want cluttering up counters or in the fridge) and snacks for easy access for our children…and the inset is easy to clean!

  8. ps- I also did white custom cabinets and a custom white hood and quartz- I got the quart from our designer’s “in” at a spot in Norwalk.. I can find the name if you are interested… we did black hardware from a great spot in Fairfield (again, through our designer) BUT we did a hardwood, butcher block for our island top and I LOVE that… I also love that I dit NOT do backsplash behind the range… I used another slab of quartz.. so much easier to clean!!

  9. so funny! We just redid our kitchen this past spring and we have some of the exact items: fridge and dishwasher (which we had paneled to match the cabinets, which I love the look of!) and a similar double oven, but we got it with the door to swing out, not done, which I am loving! Much more convenient and safer with the kids… let me know if you have questions!

  10. We live in New Canaan, and looked at a ton of tile places for our master bath (Bender, Tile America, Waterware in Research Park) but found the best pricing and nicest people at Casatelli Marble in Norwalk. It’s literally a showroom/stone yard on the side of the road, but they had lots of inventory, great pricing, and great to work with.

  11. I just picked out an amazing polished nickle faucet from Newport Brass for our reno. NOT CHEAP, but very close in style to the bridge faucet in the picture about with the pears in a jar and bamboo shades on the windows. It is GORGEOUS in person, and a more modern twist on a super traditional style. I learned from our designer that Newport Brass faucets are all 100% brass construction, so they’re super super durable, but you can choose from different finishes on the outside.

    Also! I thought I wanted Quartz countertops, but I read a really interesting blog post about how the companies who manufacture them have all of these marketing dollars to spend on making them sound amazing, so you don’t hear much about the downside, even though they do exist (cost to repair if they break is $$$$$). Also, the cost per SF is INSANELY inflated right now because of tariffs and some in-fighting with different Quartz brands. Our builder really discouraged us from marble because of how it shows age, so we ended up with quartzite, which is also a natural stone, but more durable and less maintenance. Quartz obviously gives you that beautiful white look and the maintenance is easy, but I just thought I’d share some of my research that turned me off a bit to a countertop style that I thought was perfect.

    Good luck with your reno!

    1. We renovated the beach house and we used quartzite as well. We selected Taj Mahal because it worked so well with the colors of the beach.

  12. We are just wrapping up a pretty major remodel (master bedroom/closet/bath and allll new windows and siding) and I am so excited to follow along with your remodel! Our kitchen was new in 2000, so while it’s not my style, it is more than functional and has a great layout so that wont be happening for a very long time! We used a local independent tile shop for our master bath and I cannot recommend working with someone like that more.