Our Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation Inspiration
It's finally happening! After years of dreaming about (and pinning) it, we are renovating the Farmhouse's whole kitchen.
It might have been the great mood we were in from the celebrations, but the day of our dogs' first birthday party, something happened... for the first time, we started talking seriously about making some changes to the kitchen. We already had a beautiful kitchen, with newer brown granite countertops and custom medium-tone wood cabinets, but it was the last room in our house that we hadn't put our own stamp on, and we were itching for a project.
It started with Johnny getting a quote to replace the countertops - just a quote. I left for a work trip, and by the time my short flight landed, Johnny had priced out and scheduled the ENTIRE top-to-bottom renovation, and was asking me to pick out the quartz countertop pattern from pictures he texted me of samples. We went for a marble-look quartz, with dark veins providing a hint of texture to break up the white. (Although after seeing the second picture below, I totally wished we chose to do butcher block! Johnny wouldn't have gone for that anyway, but a girl can dream...)
At first, we discussed a backsplash of blue-green tile, inspired by a popular Pinterest photo with floors similar to ours (#1 below), and initially went pretty far down that road. But by sheer coincidence, I stumbled upon another angle of the very same kitchen (#2 below), and I realized the green subway tile detail was just a little too intense and overwhelming for our taste, not as clean and timeless as we were wanting.
So we started to explore other options. After finding the following photos, I landed pretty firmly on the idea of extending the quartz marble countertop up on the wall behind the stove to serve as the backsplash. It just looks so clean and pretty, and helps show off the marble-vein details in the quartz.
The Window Wall
When moving away from the green glass subway tile idea for both the stove backsplash and the window wall, we thought about doing a herringbone white subway tile pattern around the window. But the herringbone accent wall, as lovely as it seemed, became the subject of a few more changes along the way. We also thought about extending our Dunn Edwards Blustery Wind paint accents to the window wall, and then pivoted (at least temporarily) to an accent wall made of reclaimed barnwood around the window, as a way to break up a kitchen that was quickly becoming a wash of white.
I had long been a big proponent of tin tiles on the ceiling, but had to put this idea to rest as we realized the lead times to order these made-to-order tiles did not fit within our painting timeline (one hazard of making decisions as you go along, instead of finalizing everything beforehand). We talked about using the barnwood paneling on the ceiling instead of on the window wall, But Johnny then suggested white shiplap for around the window, an idea which eventually extended to white nickel-gap paneling on the ceiling. As an eternal lover of white shiplap (see where we DIY-ed it ourselves here!), I just couldn't say no.
Painting the kitchen cabinets white was always a big item on our wish list. But, in diving head-first into the renovation process, some decisions changed and evolved between installations and deadlines, as various pieces fell into place. For example, as we realized how ultra-white the space might look with white cabinets on top of our mostly-white countertops, we debated and scoured Pinterest for ideas on what dark or different-colored lower cabinets would look like.
This eventually evolved into the idea of painting just the front lower cabinet, which is a peninsula dividing our living/dining space from the kitchen. The decision to layer on the beautiful texture of white shiplap on the window wall and ceiling felt like a great design choice, but it made it even more important that we use the lower peninsula cabinet to introduce some contrast to the white space.
We ran in circles about the color decision on the peninsula for days, Photoshopping color combinations until we didn't really feel good about any of them any more. We explored light grey, dark grey, black, deep blue, and even red - yes, red - in an homage to our beautiful red hardwood floors in the guest bedroom nearby. But eventually, the interior black doors throughout our house helped lead us to the decision that the lower cabinets needed to follow suit, and we ultimately decided to move forward with Dunn Edwards Dark Engine, a cool black.
And in true modern farmhouse style, a beautiful white and black kitchen dotted with wood accents was born. I think I even talked Johnny into incorporating a wooden ceiling beam into the design!
And in a final a-ha moment, Johnny popped out the bubble-textured privacy glass from the cabinets framing the stove, with the notion that any added layers of wood tones and color we could make visible through clear glass from inside the cabinets would help break up the monochromatic room as well.
The most amazing thing about this process is that even just the plain white drywall visible behind the brown granite backsplash once we removed it looked cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing to us - a sure sign we were on the right path.
Ultimately, while meticulously pre-planning each element of the renovation might be a better plan for future projects, I actually loved the fast and spontaneous way this one came together. It forced us to think quickly and critically, but also to not overthink our design decisions - and it is leading us to a stunning result.