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What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Posted by amck (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 13:24

I'm an avid cook and baker and the annual Kitchen Tour fundraiser in our area has been a red-letter day for me for over a decade. Many of the featured homes are oceanfront with kitchens that go on for miles. They are designed and decorated with seemingly no-holds-barred budgets. They're rarely my favorites, though and by the end of the tour, they mostly run together in my mind.

The ones I really love are the ones that ooze charm yet are modern and practical in function. Bungalow kitchens that feature beautiful millwork and clever use of space with just a few warm decorative accents make me swoon.

One I remember from 10 or so yrs. back was mid-sized and had banquette seating. The cushions were covered in a pale yellow fabric printed with white dandelions. Across from it was a long stretch of stacked cabinetry painted a buttercream yellow (much like 2littlefishies' Barley shade). The very upper square cabinets had glass doors displaying a collection of pottery with hand-painted dandelions. The theme wasn't repeated again. It was subtle and not cutesy, but so charming I never forgot it.

That is the type of handprint I am hoping to put on my remodel. I would love to know the memorable elements and small touches you've seen that have struck you. I'm hoping it might spark an idea/plan as I am feeling stuck in the mud.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Thank you for sharing your kitchen memory! I love those kind of kitchens...charming, rather than showy. I think you answered your own question in a way...restraint.

Finding a theme that makes you smile is easy, but applying it with a light hand is sometimes more difficult. Remember that this is a space to live in...and often only a few people are there on a daily basis. Make sure it's a space YOU want to be in, whether it's a sunny breakfast, cloudy day and serving lunch...or maybe sipping a cup of tea and watching it snow. Not So Big Spaces are very popular for this very reason.

I wish you had a picture of that kitchen! It sounds lovely...and charming :)


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

In the current design climate I think that what makes a midsize midprice kitchen distinctive is knowing what it is/having its own identity and not trying to look like Expensive Overwrought Gigantic Kitchen, Jr.

This restraint makes it distinctive because so many people seem to want their own little bit of excess or glamour or bling, no matter how inappropriate it is in an otherwise modest setting.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Memorable? Architectural details! Sadly, that seems to be lacking in many modern homes these days, except for the very spendy ones with the coffered ceilings and kitchens/familyroom/dining room complexes with their own zip codes. The difference in homes of old and homes of today is mostly about those architectural details. As prices have risen, people want to emphasize space for space's sake, because it's more impressive to spend 900K on 6000 square feet of space than it is 2500 square feet of nicely detailed space.

Also, PERSONALITY! Kitchens who clearly reflect the personality of the owner are always appealing. Builder greige with white cabinets is never going to be memorable. Now, builder greige with white cabinets with the interiors all done in periwinkle blue with glass fronts with their ceramic parrot collection displayed therein? Memorable and still can be restrained. It's a "collection" of parrots after all! ;-D Remember pharoah's kitchen that he built himself with the gorgeous aquarium in the middle of it? Cloudswift's work of art full height granite backsplash? The kitchen with the red range, and yellow and blue cabinets that I wish I could remember the user name for and am obviously using the wrong search term to find?



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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Do you mean redrange's kitchen, live_wire_oak?

Here is a link that might be useful: redrange's kitchen


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I think the OP may have obliquely pointed out another factor when s/he referred to bungalow kitchens. A kitchen that fits the style of the home is going to make a better impression than one that doesn't fit, regardless of how the kitchen might come off in isolation. On a Kitchen Tour you are taking in the whole house, which means you are evaluating it differently than you would seeing photos of just the kitchen.

Taking cues from the style and vintage of your home also helps mitigate the influence of trends on your choices, so that you don't end up with a Peacock-wannabe Edwardian scullery kitchen in your 1950s tract home (though that trend seems to have faded a bit).


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I think one of the nicest kitchens I ever saw was in an old colonial and one wall of old inset cabs were left. They were a painted, flat panel, with a moon carved out on the top of the panel. They added such charm. I only remember the island having a walnut counter and a big clean up sink. The counter still looked perfect and it was a few years old. The other counters were stone with a 6-8 burner range top. The rest of the cabs were flat panel inset painted. The whole kit was warm, welcoming & beautiful.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

cawaps hit on something along the lines of what I was thinking about kitchens at the least needing to pay homage to the period in which they were built. But my thought was also that what you display brings a kitchen together as much as anything. For instance, one of my favorite inspiration kitchens is a calm, cozy country-type kitchen with these beautiful glass canisters displaying dried peas, cornmeal, dried beans, etc. These are things that belong in a country kitchen and keep it true to itself.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

amck--I'm guessing you're talking about the Music Hall's kitchen tour. I've been going since we remodel our kitchen 5 years ago and can't honestly say I've seen a kitchen I've liked more than my own. Sure, the million dollar ocean views are nice, but those also come with a huge tax bill. Good luck in your quest for a memorable kitchen. I'm following right behind you.

Maybe we should plan a NH GW kitchen tour!


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I think that unique details is the answer to your question.

Those unique details show that there was a lot of thought put into the kitchen. Not necessarily fancy details, but things that make the kitchen somehow 1 of a kind.

In our last home we had very shallow shelving on the end panel of the fridge, and this allowed platters to be displayed on it. It was the first thing you saw standing in the foyer looking into the kitchen. That cost maybe a few hundred dollars, but made the whole kitchen feel custom-designed for the house.

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In our current house we put in tile counters and a butcher block island. I think NOT having granite or solid surface counters make the kitchen seem custom and unique. Without them it would just be another ho-hum kitchen with painted white cabinets.

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This post was edited by juliekcmo on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 21:13


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

First, I cringe every time I see my glaring typo in the subject line. Is there a way to fix that?
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. You are all hitting on what I am trying to achieve and what I hope to avoid. We were drawn to our house primarily because of its location, but as empty nesters we also liked its modest size. When we bought 12 years ago most developers in our area were only building McMansions on lots as large and well-sited as ours. There's much I love about my home, but it is not lost on me that it doesn't have historical charm or the architectural details live_wire _oak noted.

If it was a Cape or MCM era home or a Craftsman-style bungalow I would know how to go. But I am having a tough time pinning down what would best suit a 14 yr. New Englander with an open floor plan. The plain maple KraftMaid cabinets that came with the house aren't offensive or out of place, but they were not a selling point and I don't want to repeat with something so bland.

I was struck that the examples live_wire_oak showed were all familiar to me from a few years back when I spent lots of time here during our lake build. I remembered each one, along with others from those years. eandhl's was another favorite, as well as marthavila's with her red Aga and the red Parisian bistro chairs at the little table in front of her window. Thanks, LWO, for reminding me of those.

But isn't it interesting that they hark from several years ago - before Houzz & similar sites became so popular? Maybe it's me, but I am finding so many of those kitchen photos soulless and repetitive.

nhbaskets, yes, that is indeed the Music Hall tour I'm referring to. My favorite years were the Portsmouth bungalow tour and the first Newcastle tour. I've also been doing the York Historical Society's showhouse tour for many years. Some years they have a great kitchen and others I leave wondering if anyone is actually supposed to cook in them. IMO, many of those designers have nothing on the experts/kitchen enthusiasts here on GW.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I know exactly what you speak of when you talk about plain jane homes witth no character; I live in one too and last house was that way, too.

I have not lived here long enough to bring a lot of character into this house besides my "treasures" but my last house was literally on the prairie and I added charavter by bringing the outdoors in. I cut little bluestem grasses from our front field at the peak of their fall color and stood them in wicker vases. When a sparrows nest blew out of the tree I brought it in to display. A dead cedar in the pasture finally fell over in the pasture leaving there most amazing contorted carcass and hadwe not made our sudden move I would have found a way to use those branches. Antique wood from an old local corncrib was earmarked to trim doorways and be a partof my "salvage sculpture" but now it will find a purpose in our new home even though it is no longer.

Okay, that was long. Maybe there was something useful said? Maybe just a memorial to a home I loved not for the structure of the house but for the amazing space it occupied...


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I know what you mean Amck. My flat is 12 years old and lacks architectural detail as well.

What I connect with most is a kitchen that prioritizes light, space, and sightlines.

I also love a kitchen that is not too visually busy, but still has strong personal elements. In my kitchen I'll be skipping upper cabinets and tiled backsplashes to create some room for open shelf display, kitchen curtains, and artwork. I doubt my kitchen will be Houzz-worthy, but I hope it will be a kitchen with understated personality.

I really think kitchen curtains are due for a comeback! They add a different texture, can be easy to wash, and can be changed easily to incorporate new colours and patterns. The 50s housewife knew the power of curtains ;) .


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I hope oldhouse doesn't mind me providing a link to her kitchen. It is one of my favorite kitchens. So charming & so many details that make it special.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oldhouse's kitchen

This post was edited by romy718 on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 10:44


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I believe that inspiration and an eye for design are the key elements that make a space special. My Small Lowe's kitchen came together nicely without breaking the budget.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

romy, another beautiful kitchen, true to itself.

majra, exactly what I am hoping to accomplish with my makeover. Do you have a thread chronicling your adventure?


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I do, but I've never been able to figure out how to embed a link into a post. If you search for "Majra's Two-Toned Kitchen" you should find two threads--progress and reveal. Or maybe someone in-the-know can help me out with the technology of GW!


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Gorgeous two-tone kitchen, happy to provide the link!

Here is a link that might be useful: Majra's Two-Toned Kitchen


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Writersblock, YES! That's it. Don't know why my search couldn't pull it down. It's so obvious. "redrange". Don't know why I couldn't find it. :-)

The other key to "staying power" besides being true to the home, considering adding architectural detail, and having personality, is, I truly think, budget. This is heresy, but I often think the smaller, less well funded kitchens can have the most "soul" to them. They are forced to be creative, rather than just spend money on the dream products.

Having a large budget makes some things easier, but the very fact that so much money is being spent on a project sometimes makes people feel that they have to choose the "safest" choice because it's an "investment". The investment is the good layout. The personal taste portion will likely be out of style before the time to sell comes. The hotter the fad, the quicker it is to cool.

SO, don't be afraid to step outside the "norm", no matter what your budget might be. And be suspicious of the effect that popular taste has on your own taste. Remember those silly novelty Garfield dolls that used to attach to the back window of cars with suction cups? They were always silly. But, they were funny at first, because you only saw a couple of them. Then, you started to see more and more of them. They became popular, and even people with better sense suddenly succumbed to them. The very proliferation of a questionable choice in popular culture tends to elevate it to "tasteful" in the eyes of many, regardless of it's inherent tasteless nature. Be suspicious of popular. If it's in one of the Houzz Top 10, you probably don't want to put it in your home if you want to look at your kitchen in 10 years and not regret some of it. Or, a lot of it.

To have a memorable kitchen, it needs to be OUTSIDE the popular trend matrix.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Maybe for inspiration you could check out Suzanne Susanka's
"Not So Small House" books and also the "Bungalow Kitchen" book. Love them both for eye candy and also inspiration.

Echoing what palimpsest stated earlier, my almost done kitchen is small and our little house is modest so I've been trying hard to keep the kitchen appropriate to the house and the setting. What I've found is that I have had to treat finishes like the 'last piece of jewelry that you take off' before you leave the house, paring down over and over again. Ultimately, I'm glad as it seems now to have a cohesive, simple quality that I always wanted anyway.

It's that darn Houzz and google image searches that kept mucking things up in my head, making me want things that just would have been way overkill.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

@amck, step away from Houzz for a while. It's awesome in some ways but there's also a lot that seems very unreal. It's a bit like the kitchen magazines, which I'm addicted to as well. Most of the photos are staged, of course, and most are in homes that far larger than the norm in my space-squeezed, overpriced DC suburb. So my eyes tend to glaze over even with the most beautiful photos.

Luckily, there are alternatives: this site, for one. Sometime if you're bored, google "site:ths.gardenweb.com kitchen reveal" and you'll come up with pages upon pages of hits to peruse. Also check out the Finished Kitchen Blog, which has a lot of material from here (and started quite a while ago, so you can see how trends have changed.) The ones I love best are totally all over the map in terms of style and size and budget - but they all seem to have something that makes the kitchen come together beautifully.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2012 GW Link with a complilation of kitchen reveals (not all!)


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Don't know why my search couldn't pull it down. It's so obvious. "redrange". Don't know why I couldn't find it.

If it makes you feel any better, it doesn't come up for me with a search anywhere but the FKB. Don't know why.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I started to post a link to 2 little fishies' kitchen, then reread your original post and saw you had mentioned it. Her use of color and attention to detail make her kitchen very special.

I understand what you mean about fitting your kitchen to your home. A personal note: we lived in our present house for nearly 15 years with a tiny tiny kitchen in a huge house because I could not imagine what to do to make a kitchen that would live comfortably with the rooms around it.

 photo oldkitchen-1.jpg

I hated that kitchen! What I did is not my ideal kitchen by any means, but it came pretty close to fitting into the house it lives in.
 photo 1fromtheoutsideP1060908.jpg

This is the view from the side door. To me, the off white kitchen I would have preferred would have looked like an operating room on the other side of the big squared arch.

Sooo, as you say, you want it to fit your house. But more importantly, you want it to fit YOU.

Your basic layout--and basic color, for that matter--are pretty well set by the architecture and colors of the house. But the details of the layout will make it easy for you to live in and work in.
The range hood will focus the back wall. If you remove the pantry, the backsplash will circle around two sides of the kitchen.

Then the details of color--both the nuances of "white" and the myriad choices of accent will make it welcome you. And texture, both visual and tactile. And pattern.

Visually, I love the quirky things in my kitchen. The glug jugs that bring organic pattern into the rectangular lines and dark woods. The play of woods against windows and stainless steel and the patterns and colors of the books, pots, and jars.

In your home I can imagine the basic lines of your cabinets and island. I think you will carefully choose drawer fronts and moldings. I can imagine soft whites and warm browns and perhaps soft mossy greens. But the handprint (I love your term) that will make it yours. Yes, I can see why that is tricky.

Can you walk about your home and see what you collect? What you have loved? Two pretty quirky dogs. Anyone who lives with doodles has to have a sense of humor. Those pretty bowls on top of the cabinets--they would be a good starting point perhaps? The delicate pastels in the two large rugs in DR and LR? They bring pattern into those rooms. You have organic shapes--plants, the candles on the fireplace, the rugs, in many places.
Do you want pattern in your kitchen?

If so, where? How?
Objects behind glass doors across your upper cabs?
Delicate patterned tiles in your backsplash--either all over or an accent line?
There are two blank walls on the left (or will be if you remove the pantry). Can you use them somehow? Books? Paintings? Hanging objects--remember Julia Childs' wonderful utensil wall?

I am so curious to know where you will go with this.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 11:19


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

The fastest selling houses in my neighborhood (homes built 1920s-1940s) are the one where the new kitchen matches with the rest of the interior of the house, if not with the exterior. And the most beautiful homes in any style have design flow from room to room, including the kitchen, and interiors that complement the exterior.

TKOers can lose sight of creating that design flow. Step back and plan your entire living space. Then work out the details for the rooms, including the kitchen. Better to spend some of the kitchen budget on integrating materials with the whole home, matching cabinet and door styles, countertops, flooring, windows, than blow it all on a kitchen that does not fit the house, even if it is your "dream" style.

This post was edited by californiagirl on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 11:19


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Added

I should have said, imagining your kitchen in the context of your house will help you make it personal and stand out. The flow you create will make it yours alone, but appealing and attractive to everyone who enters.

The great thing about house tours is seeing the kitchens in context, don't you think? I love house tours, from new builder parades to Newport cottages, and the kitchen and bath parts are my favorites.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

As a small home dweller - these really stand out for me -

Californiagirl, you make such an important point about flow and fitting the house. Whether you have an old or new home, how we use our kitchens has changed a lot over the decades. Majra's kitchen is a great example of the kitchen flowing with the rest of the space :) .

25% of my kitchen budget is going to pulling out dated tiles from my open concept kitchen, and replacing them with site-finished top-nailed oak planks in a seamless transition with the adjacent dining/living area.

And live_wire_oak - I agree that a good layout is critical. IMHO, designing layout isn't always given enough attention. Designing a kitchen layout isn't just cramming the maximum amount of storage and counter space into a room. A good kitchen prioritizes focal points, sightlines, and flow.

Architecturally, look at whether the kitchen really works as a space (doors/walls/windows) in terms of how it functions. I often see DIY kitchen designers willing to spend $$$ on cabinetry and high end appliances, but being unwilling to look at minor wall changes, or moving some piping. The #1 improvement I'm making in my kitchen is removing a full height drywall pantry that dominated the apartment entrance and kitchen. My main living space suddenly feels so much bigger and lighter and the demolition cost $0. I will have to incorporate some structural elements into my kitchen island, but the improvement is tremendous.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Live_wire_oak wrote:

"The very proliferation of a questionable choice in popular culture tends to elevate it to "tasteful" in the eyes of many, regardless of it's inherent tasteless nature. Be suspicious of popular. If it's in one of the Houzz Top 10, you probably don't want to put it in your home if you want to look at your kitchen in 10 years and not regret some of it. Or, a lot of it. "

I also agree with this, but trendy items don't have to be permanent. Painted cabinets can be repainted, for example. I'll change my curtains when I change my mind.

I think the most tricky is counters - they seem to be very trend-driven and I think it's always been that way. Any Formica from the 50s, for example, would have appeared dated a decade later. My White River granite choice probably won't stand the test of time in terms of kitchen trends, but it's a practical choice for my busy family with growing cooks in a small hardworking, kitchen that tends to be dark.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I think one of the nicest kitchens I ever saw was in an old colonial


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

One of the hardest parts of renovating a kitchen for those of us who will likely be moving within the next 5 years is to create a kitchen that you love but will also appeal to buyers. Even though we are in that category, I decided that I wanted a kitchen that we loved, instead of worrying about potential buyers. I did not make "safe" choices, went with two-tone cabinets, a granite with a lot of movement and added a bar height counter to the peninsula. Everyone else I know is doing all white cabinets, with marble or marble look countertops, and counter height seating at the peninsula, 3 of them just on my street! Whether they love it or hate it, at least potential buyers will remember my kitchen!


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Fishymom, that is an important point. No one wants to renovate for a future buyer, but some of us have to consider resale. We need a bigger home and the condo market is crummy in my city, so changes I make in my kitchen need to be resale-friendly. I'm hoping quality finishes and increasing the light and space will increase the value of my home when we have to sell at some undetermined point.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I love this thread! Having looked at a million or so kitchen pictures on Houzz, I have had to make an analogy to clothes: I can really love the way someone is pulling off red cowboy boots, but will I really wear them? No, I have to love them for others and acknowledge they aren't my style.

The houzz pictures did help me think about my style. Slowly what drew me in was a word: cozy. And then it became an item: books. I love any room with books, and I found that i responded very much to kitchens with a visible bookshelf.

The family who built our house trimmed out every window and glass door (lots of them) with poplar wood that came from the trees that were cleared to build the house. The fireplace is surrounded by local fieldstone. So, the first choice we made for the kitchen was countertops--we are fortunate to live an hour from the Alberene Soapstone quarry.

And, so an inspiration was born: Local, wood, stone, cozy, books. I'll have very little else in the way of decoration. (I'm debating vintage-industrial looking swing arm lamps over the sink, which I saw on houzz, but that may be that piece of jewelry I take off.)

It seems a simple design with simple materials can be truly welcoming with just a few well-chosen personal touches. When someone else owns my house years from now, the open shelves might display a pottery collection rather than books, the walls may be painted a color instead of white, but the simple wood cabinets and local soapstone will--I hope--ground the kitchen as a cozy, welcoming space that fits the house.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Personality! And that's hard if you're thinking about resale (I wasn't).


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Sarah, I can't wait to see your kitchen!


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Feisty68 makes an important point about the value of structural changes. KDs don't make money selling windows and French doors or taking down walls (no cabinets!), so their designs generally look to me like nearly windowless boxes oppressed by cabinets. Builders prefer that look, too, for cost reasons.

The OP's post with photos of her existing kitchen suggest to me that it would be most transformed by a window on another wall or by enlargement of the existing window, as long as the new windows match the style of the home's existing windows. The kitchen with the banquette she describes may have had a window above the banquette, bathing the dandelion scheme in beautiful natural light.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

I think there are a lot of pitfalls in trying to appeal to a generic buyer, and doing so will almost guarantee that you end up with something that is not distinctive. Because if you are trying to appeal to the "average buyer" in your market, you are aiming for average to maybe slightly below average tastes (not necessarily meaning bad taste, but toward the more generic).

I honestly wasn't planning on moving within any particular time frame at all when I renovated my last place because I have no enforced job mobility ( I decide if I stay), and I don't put where I live in categories like "starter house" or "interim until I find___" --so I did what I wanted. The kitchen was very unique for the price point. I had a room that was black. I had a lot of art, some of which was very bad.

I asked the Realtor if I should stage, depersonalize, declutter ( I had collections of things in the dozens, but all organized, but still a Lot), repaint. and my listing Realtors said absolutely Not.(No buyers Realtors suggested this either) Of the dozens of people who looked at it, there were two that gave out and out negative criticism of the décor or the actual design of the kitchen. Most gave very positive feedback even if it was not the right place for them. The biggest negatives were about things over which I had no control.

The other thing is that it isn't always easy to know who your target demographic is. We were in our 40s when we sold, and almost Nobody who looked at the house was in our age group. The two main groups were people in their 20s (often with their parents, who were going to be financing) or empty nesters in their late fifties or sixties.
The buyer ended up being a 73 year old single man.

That may seem off topic, but the point is I don't know what sort of kitchen (in my case) would appeal the most to 20 something vs empty nesters--but I don't think they would be the same thing.


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I am grateful for every reply, suggestion and link. There are many take-aways for me here.

DD came by today and we used this thread as a jumping off point. She asked me to quickly list the 5 things I liked best about my current kitchen and 5 I did not like.

The good news is that what I love most about it cannot be bought or go out of style.The light, the open feel and connection to the other spaces, the views from all the windows that I have from the kitchen . We have a lot of winter here and people have often commented that it feels like you're in a snow globe when it's snowing. It feels magical to me. Our home is set far back from the road so it feels very private, but I still have views of my friendly neighborhood so I don't feel isolated. We sat here across from each other at the island sipping coffee and i realized this would be a nice place to be even if it was empty.

So, I feel that everyone who has suggested restraint for this size home is right on the money. And speaking of money, such a thought provoking comment from live_wire_oak about a big budget sometimes getting in the way of the best outcome. When we began discussing this remodel DH wanted me to get double wall ovens in the worst way. I argued that I'd only use them a few times a year and didn't want them taking up so much wall space. Now it strikes me that when I was raising our family and could have used them they were not in our budget. This is a case where just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it. I bet l_ w_o has seen many occasions when after kids are gone and tuitions & weddings are behind them people try to get all the things they've foregone over the years into one kitchen.

I'm going to re read every post because I think there is so much value in what people have shared. I want to soak it all in.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

"when after kids are gone and tuitions & weddings are behind them people try to get all the things they've foregone over the years into one kitchen. "

What a good insight!

2littlefishies' kitchen will always be an all-time favorite, not because of the space or layout or features (great as they are!), but because of the color, fabrics and artwork. It really is the overall feel of the space that comes from "small" touches, like the woodwork, or the use of a table instead of an island, or the unique shape of a window, or a perfectly proportioned chest.


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I love seeing 2littlefishies' kitchen used as inspiration! I know how much she planned every detail and wanted it to be special and perfect for her family. By doing something unique, she not only created a lovely kitchen, but now is an inspiration for many others :)


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

"The good news is that what I love most about it cannot be bought or go out of style.The light, the open feel and connection to the other spaces, the views from all the windows that I have from the kitchen."

Yes, I believe these things will continue to be appreciated by the vast majority of dwellers and buyers. Lucky you :) . Maximize what you have.

Don't underestimate the power of styling:

Here is a link that might be useful: Before & After: Rental Kitchen Gets a Stylish DIY Upgrade For Under $50


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

"Step back and plan your entire living space. Then work out the details for the rooms, including the kitchen. Better to spend some of the kitchen budget on integrating materials with the whole home, matching cabinet and door styles, countertops, flooring, windows, than blow it all on a kitchen that does not fit the house, even if it is your "dream" style."

This I think is vitally important, as well as the comment about budget overriding good sense.

I had three "dream" inspiration kitchens and i fought tooth and nail to make them fit my house and my space. One by one I begrudgingly set them aside. I have had peaople tell me "who cares? It's your house. If you want and Arctic Room and a Junge Room and an Ocean Room, do it!"

But I cannot. I think it s sort of a lie to do such things, and it will not please my soul to live that way. I want my home to reflect who I am, and all different styles makes me feel a little schizophrenic. ;o)

I finally took all my thoughts and agony to a KD, and she took the most important elements of everything I threw at her and turned them into MY own, unique kitchen that will blend in with the rest of my home. Not my dream kitchen by any means, but the one I am finally excited to make happen and will be the best kitchen for this house.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

P.S., majra, wow, great kitchen! Looks like you accomplished your objective beautifully.

Mine will not be quite the same change, but I am still eager to see it done.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

californiagirl wrote:
"KDs don't make money selling windows and French doors or taking down walls (no cabinets!), so their designs generally look to me like nearly windowless boxes oppressed by cabinets."

So well said! "Windowless boxes oppressed by cabinets" kitchens are all too often showcased. It doesn't matter how fabulous the cabinets and finishes are if there's no light or sense of space.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

My kitchen is approximately 12x11 so I would call it midsize (or even small compared to many kitchens on GW) and I consider it midprice. I did not splurge on appliances or countertops. My cabinets were custom made but they were made by a small Amish cabinet maker at a fraction of other custom prices. The only thing that was a bit pricey in my kitchen were my pendant lights.

I would not say that my kitchen oozes charm but I do feel it is distinctive. In my case, I think it is the design element of "curves" that makes it distinctive and of course the beautiful natural cherry wood.

I always felt trapped in my previous kitchen with its tight u- shaped layout. I know that my current layout with only one sink across from my cooktop, ovens in a corner and refrigerator not near the dining area is not considered optimal by those in the know on GW but I love it.

So it may be just one design element or two that can make a midsize/midprice kitchen distinctive. Or it might a specific layout that works well for you.

Good luck in your quest for the perfect kitchen for you.

Here is a shot of mine:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Badger gal, thanks for sharing your kitchen. I've never seen another like it. Your cabinets are works of art! What a difference the layout made in your space.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

"Windowless boxes oppressed by cabinets"

That's my kitchen, and I'll tell you why. It's a small kitchen that you wouldn't be able to fit a window into and still have appliances, and even if I did, I'd be looking at a neighbors' wall. Before remodel, the cabinets didn't go to the ceiling. Now they do, oppressively, because I wanted the storage and not the dust.

"It doesn't matter how fabulous the cabinets and finishes are if there's no light or sense of space."

That's all I could add to my kitchen to improve it--beautiful cherry cabinets and a gorgeous quartz countertop.

Nothing personal, but those comments don't take into account that not everyone lives in a home that you can make drastic changes to.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

May_flowers, I understand that not everyone lives in a home that you can make drastic changes to. I am one of them! My comment (and I think californiagirl's comment) was referring to showcase kitchens where the budget is more than ample to address issues like windows. It wasn't intended as a judgement of people who are dealing with midsize/midprice kitchens in the real world. We all have to make trade-offs that fit our needs and budgets.

I am just sharing my strong personal bias towards facilitating light flow. I've had to make tough choices to make that a priority in my tiny kitchen. I will not have ample storage space in my new kitchen, because I'm forgoing upper cabinets, for example. We're a family of four and I cook big scratch meals every night as well as regular cooking of breakfasts and lunches so we *do* have storage needs. Some of my canned goods will probably end up in a crate on my balcony! But I care more about the light/space - it's a trade-off that works for me and I understand that it would not work for many. If I had to look at a neighbour's wall in order to get natural light into my kitchen, I probably would stick curtains over the window and be OK with that. But I understand that others have different priorities.

Part of it is that I live in the PNW where light can be scarce at certain times of the year. I know that some of you live in climate where there's tonnes of sunlight year round. Perhaps a windowless room feels different in that situation?


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Many of the kitchens where I live are internal rooms (if not in the basement) so there are a lot of windowless kitchens. I live in a city of old row houses. You only have so many rooms that can have windows unless the house is only two rooms deep (or three if it has a room in a narrower back wing). I think there are ways to make a windowless kitchen into a comfortable working environment.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Feisty, I live in Oregon and my kitchen faces north! We do have a large LR window, a DR slider, and a DR transom type window, but the first floor is dark in the winter. I think of the first floor as the cozy part of the house with warm colors and cherry furniture and cabinets. White cabinets just didn't seem to fit. Fortunately, the upstairs is full of light. However, the first floor stays nice and cool in the summer. Many people come in and say "Ahhhh! The AC feels so good!" Then I tell them we have no AC. Sounds kind of cave-like, doesn't it?

It's a shame that you have to give up wall cabinets to survive the PNW! I have seen kitchens with a transom window over the cabinets, which is a good idea if your ceilings are higher than 8'.

"I think there are ways to make a windowless kitchen into a comfortable working environment."

Ineffablespace, that would make a good topic!


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

This thread says so much about the feeling you get from being in a kitchen, as opposed to having a focus on the fittings. Because of the way kitchens are positioned in homes and how they're now used, many of us struggle to make the hardest working, most utilitarian space in the house work as a cook's kitchen AND a room to live in.

The discussion on light is interesting because posters here live in such diverse regions. My son & DIL have lived in Denmark for 5 yrs. and bringing light into homes is a major issue there. Here in northern New England one challenge in choosing colors and finishes for me is due to the abundance of natural light I get in my kitchen and how distinctly different it is each season. Rich deep tones seem so right in winter, but would feel heavy and oppressing during the heat and humidity of summer. Today, a white kitchen with marble would feel cold as a tomb, but I would love it in July and August.

I'm heading in the direction of a neutral palette in large part because it feels right in every season here. I know it's not a bold choice, and it has nothing to do with resale, but it seems to work with the light.


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RE: What Makes A Midsize/Midprice Kitchen Distintive?

Thanks Fishymom! I can't wait to see my new kitchen either. :).


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