I don’t cook. But I love kitchens! As a gathering place, the heart of the home and base camp for entertaining friends and family this space can’t be beat. I’ve been fortunate in my adult life to own 9 different homes. Most were new but two were resale and included older kitchens, one of which was absolutely dreadful and required a full replacement while the other needed only new hardware and counter tops in order to obtain a current look. Having built more than 25 houses (some of which had more than one kitchen) I’ve been around the block a time or two when it comes to this important room. While I haven’t seen it all and the trends are ever-changing, my grasp on components such as cabinetry, hardware, and overall layout is firm.
I speak frequently about working with and improving builder-grade features because this is the reality that I am currently living in a production-built home. If it is yours as well, I hope to give you a jumping off point or at minimum, some inspiring ideas as to how to personalize and make positive changes to your space. If you are living in an older home many of these tips will work as well, although you may find charm and character have already been “built-in” to your home – lucky!
If you find yourself staring at your kitchen day after day, in the space between not-quite-hating-it-yet-not-quite-loving it, there is hope. Without embarking on a full gut and remodel job, there are changes that can be made to improve the appearance of your kitchen as a whole. Hardware is one of the easier places to begin. If you are living in a new production-built home, there is a good chance that you don’t have any cabinetry jewelry at all, which is actually a good thing. You have the opportunity to choose the style and finish, without the limitations of existing drill holes or required patchwork. I’m finishing a hardware project right now and will have a post about it shortly with before and after shots to demonstrate the impact of hardware where there wasn’t any before.
Adding a backsplash can not only improve the look of your kitchen but its functionality as well. In one of my homes, we decided to forgo a backsplash and paint the wall between the cabinets and counter a complimentary color instead. Until the first time my husband made spaghetti sauce (told you I don’t cook!) and it splashed everywhere. Fresh paint doesn’t wipe well and we ended up installing a tile backsplash in the end. Grease splatters are also far easier to wipe from a backsplash than a wall. Tile is a popular choice but I have also seen wallpaper, beadboard, and tin used to great effect.
It’s possible that you like your kitchen but are either missing or have an extra “area” such as a desk or butler’s pantry that you aren’t sure how to use. These can be repurposed with a few tweaks into a showpiece with function. Many times the model homes have coffee bars, full bars, a china hutch, or a baking area on display for our visual delight. Selling a home has everything to do with how people feel when they are in it – if the looks of the brewer station had you feeling cozy, it’s possible to replicate this in your own home. Especially if there is an area in your kitchen that isn’t being put to good use – an example is the desk area. Years ago, these did serve as great command posts, but with cell phones and laptops it isn’t as common to set up a permanent space to accommodate these devices and the desk area has become a little lacking. It’s easy to allow the cabinets over the desk to become overrun with school papers, magazines, phone chargers, and the like (ask me how I know…) but a bit of time to clear that clutter and organize the central space into something useful and loved is time well spent. These are a few of my favorite spots that I have used for inspiration over the years (photos are from 2011) as created by John Weiland Homes in North Carolina.
Painting your cabinets or adding a decorative finish such as a glaze or distressing is also an option; albeit a messier and more expensive one. There are DIY options available, but they have a tendency to make this project appear easier than what is realistic. I would suggest having a painter or contractor perform this job, and expect that all of your cabinet doors will be removed for the duration. You will likely need to empty all of your cupboards as well, which starts to sound like a bigger job for some than for others.
Other cabinetry options include:
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for your kitchen. The Ashbury Construction Company can help with any of these projects – please call, text, or email if you’d like a consultation, including cost estimate. I may not cook – but I still have plenty to bring to the table. Enjoy!