December 27, 2018

Our Go-To Kitchen Planning Guides

It's hard to believe it's been four months since finishing the renovation of our kitchen this year. On one hand, everything still feels shiny and new and in another way, it feels like this has been our space for years.

The kitchen was the first room we've gutted and redesigned completely from scratch, and we were (perhaps naively) surprised at just how many decisions go into every little thing. Things I never gave thought to all of a sudden became these big questions and we found ourselves researching everything from outlet & faucet placement to sink size and pendant lighting height throughout the process. All of a sudden it dawned on me just how much attention and thought can go into the design of a brand new space.
In the end, we landed on options that feel like the best reflection of us and now that we've had a chance to live in and get used to the kitchen, I wanted to share some of the very best resources I found that helped us make informed decisions along the way. Whether you're planning a renovation of your own or may be thinking about one in the future, these guides make great pins to come back to over and over!


We had our hearts set on a specific pair of pendants for the kitchen. They're from Rejuvenation, a company that custom makes lighting and we quickly learned we'd have to order the exact specifications for rod height from the ceiling. It made sense but was just something I'd never thought about before and our 10' ceilings gave us a little extra measuring to consider.

The following guide to handing pendant lights from Studio McGee was a lifesaver when it came to helping us land on shade size, placement and the standard length pendants should hang above a kitchen island. This guide is an especially good one for pinning, as it has similar tips for light placement above dining tables, entryways, two-story rooms and more.

Image via Studio McGee

I ended up printing out this guide and we used the center of the sink to measure placement for the lights. Since our family is on the taller side, I think I even added a couple inches making the final hanging height 34" above our counter and we couldn't be happier with the end result.


Our overall goal for the design of our kitchen was to bring in a fresh, modern feel that still retains hints of historic character. The cabinet hardware was one way to bring in a touch of the historic charm we love so much and the antiqued brass knobs and cup pulls we landed on were both budget-friendly and solid in terms of function. That said, the cabinets we ordered were blank canvases and it was up to us where the placement for each cup pull and knob would go.

This is where Room for Tuesday's complete guide to cabinetry hardware placement saved the day. Sarah is so knowledgeable about home design and provides tips for hardware positioning depending on your style of cabinet and pulls. We landed on the placement in the diagram below for a classic look, but check out the entire guide for other placement ideas and how to fill holes from pulls seamlessly if you're making a switch instead of starting from scratch.

Image via Room for Tuesday


It was also Sarah Gibson's recent master bedroom refresh that ultimately gave us the inspiration for the paint palette in the kitchen. We wanted something bright on the walls since we spend a good deal of time in this space as well as taking photographs. We loved how the contrast of Sarah's darker trim against bright white walls retained a classic, historic feel but looked fresh and modern:

Image via Room for Tuesday

When it came to choosing the trim color, I quickly realized we could color match the hue of our cabinet wall to pull a continuous look throughout the entire kitchen. We love the subtle contrast in here now and even painted the little adjoining space between our kitchen and dining rooms to match.


Our pre-renovation kitchen had a raised bar, which we paired with industrial style backless bar stools (see what it looked like here). When making changes, we were so ready for a single counter-height style island and seating with a little more support. When we first saw these leather backed stools on Etsy, we knew they were the ones for us, but weren't as confident on the best height or how many to order.

That's where Wayfair's guide for kitchen seating came in handy. It not only shows how much distance to put between stools for a comfortable fit but gives standard seat heights depending on the style surface you have. That and the advantages of different seat styles based on your needs for a given space.

Image via Wayfair

Ultimately, we went with four seats and actually spend time living in the kitchen instead of just preparing food to eat elsewhere. Bringing the island to a single height with comfortable seating has made all the difference.

For a complete list of kitchen sources, paint colors and the evolution of this space, see here.

The photographs in today's post, unless credited, were captured by our talented friend and photographer, Ali Williamson of Alisandra Photography.

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