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Kitchen and bar remodel ideas/nuances (1 Viewer)

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
Wife and I are doing a big remodel to our mainfloor.  We're doing it through one of those dream maker kitchen and bath places so they do all the digital renders, measurements, etc and we just tell them the cool stuff we want.

I suck at not knowing what I don't know.  What are some things in your kitchen or bar that you have that you love, or that you wish you had, beyond the typical stuff.  I'm thinking things like under cabinet lighting hooked up to a switch, more drawers than cabinets, disposal switch that's not in a pita spot to get to, etc.  Stuff I might not have thought of that we can make sure we tell them.

Note that when I say "bar" here I just mean a sectioned off area that is specific to booze, not an actual bar you sit at like you'd have in a cool basement or something.  Just an area we'll keep and pour the liquor/wine.

 
Wife and I are doing a big remodel to our mainfloor.  We're doing it through one of those dream maker kitchen and bath places so they do all the digital renders, measurements, etc and we just tell them the cool stuff we want.

I suck at not knowing what I don't know.  What are some things in your kitchen or bar that you have that you love, or that you wish you had, beyond the typical stuff.  I'm thinking things like under cabinet lighting hooked up to a switch, more drawers than cabinets, disposal switch that's not in a pita spot to get to, etc.  Stuff I might not have thought of that we can make sure we tell them.

Note that when I say "bar" here I just mean a sectioned off area that is specific to booze, not an actual bar you sit at like you'd have in a cool basement or something.  Just an area we'll keep and pour the liquor/wine.
Hard to give details without seeing the renderings, but....

I would do the hard-wired under/over cabinet lighting, if you want lights for that. 

Put in twice as many outlets as you think you need. Trust me on this. If wall space or access is at a premium, you might look into those outlets that hide in the countertop when not in use.

 
If you can spare the outside wall space for something other than cabinets, more windows in the kitchen can be nice.

 
Here are few things we did in our kitchen remodel:

  • Walk in pantry with a light turned on by opening the door.
  • Microwave in a cabinet so you can close the door and it's out of site.  Same with coffee/keurig station
  • Almost all undercabinet areas had pull out drawers.  Much easier to get to items that in the back.  You will thank me later.
  • A section by the stove that has slots for cookie sheets/cutting boards/etc.  Covered by a door to look like a cabinet but when you open the door it just has slots for those skinny/long items
  • adjustable shelves above the counter.  Gives flexibility for differing types of things you store there.  
  • If you have the space (not sure the square footage of your area) as big of an island as you can fit reasonable.  The extra counter space is very helpful.  Have one side of the island with an extra over hang so you can put bar stools there so people can sit and talk while doing food prep or just hanging out.  If you are not short have the height of the island a bit higher than normal counter height so you don't have to bend to work on the surface.  
  • If possible an open floor plan with open (not doors) to other areas like a den or living room.  The more open the better because everyone usually gathers in the kitchen so having an openness really helps keep things to a roomy feel when you have people over.  
  • Trash/recycle space in a pull out deep drawer so you can keep it out of site and out of mind.  Ours is right next to our sink.
  • If possible a large picture window at the sink so you have a bit of a view (if you have an area that has a view) while doing dishes.  
  • if you have a stove/cook top make sure your backsplash goes to the height of the hood to make for easier cleaning and use something that cleans easy.  
  • Put as many outlets as you can.  You can never have too many
If I think of anything more I will add to it.

 
Something we did that I underestimated how much I would like, is having panel-ready dishwasher & fridge appliances.  This allows them to blend the appliance exteriors to make them look just like the surrounding cabinets w/ matching pulls.  The microwave is under-counter in the island, and out of the way visually.

Another thing to consider is a couple of floating shelves vs. just more over-counter cabinet boxes.  We didn't need the extra cabinet boxes, and with a smaller room footprint it helped reduce the 'weight' of the space. Great for barware or frequently used items.

No good tips for a bar area, but I will say we enjoy having a dedicated coffee bar area.  So have dedicated space for what you want the most.  We just have to bring our liquor, etc. up into the kitchen.

Under cabinet LED lighting on a separate switch is awesome, especially morning & evenings.

 
Fridge, range, and microwave get dedicated circuits, because they draw a lot of power. GFIs within 6 feet of water, and they can protect outlets wired into the load side(down stream from the panel on that circuit). 

 
Note that when I say "bar" here I just mean a sectioned off area that is specific to booze, not an actual bar you sit at like you'd have in a cool basement or something.  Just an area we'll keep and pour the liquor/wine.
Someone mentioned outlets already which would be one of my suggestions.  Also, consider height of bottles when making shelf space.  I have some bottles that won’t fit on some shelves.  Really tall bottles like a Luxado Maraschino can be a pain.  Also, if the kitchen sink isn’t close by it may be handy to have a small bar sink for when you are making cocktails.

 
Wife and I are doing a big remodel to our mainfloor.  We're doing it through one of those dream maker kitchen and bath places so they do all the digital renders, measurements, etc and we just tell them the cool stuff we want.

I suck at not knowing what I don't know.  What are some things in your kitchen or bar that you have that you love, or that you wish you had, beyond the typical stuff.  I'm thinking things like under cabinet lighting hooked up to a switch, more drawers than cabinets, disposal switch that's not in a pita spot to get to, etc.  Stuff I might not have thought of that we can make sure we tell them.

Note that when I say "bar" here I just mean a sectioned off area that is specific to booze, not an actual bar you sit at like you'd have in a cool basement or something.  Just an area we'll keep and pour the liquor/wine.
I'm slammed right now, but if you need somebody to give it a hairy eyeball, give me a pm. This is what I do.

 
It's a little thing, but my wife's favorite feature is our "elevator shelf" for her KitchenAid mixer.  If you have a KitchenAid, you know it weighs a ton, which generally means it either sits on the counter 24/7 or it's nearly impossible for the wife to pull out of a cupboard and lift to the counter when she wants to use it.  We had a spring-loaded shelf installed in a base cupboard that holds the mixer and can be raised and lowered with one hand, solving the problem.

Her second favorite feature is electrical outlets located inside the top cupboards (near the top). We have high ceilings, so there is space above the cupboards that she likes to decorate (Christmas village during the winter, or flowers, etc. during the summer). The outlets and a small hole in the top of the cupboard allow us to add a string of lights to the show off the decorations. Outlets are inside the cupboards, because if they were in the wall above the cupboard, they would be visible from the floor and would spoil the look.

 
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Note that when I say "bar" here I just mean a sectioned off area that is specific to booze


I did not know there was another option here :banned:

I'd recemented a wine fridge if you're into that also an in cabinet ice maker for your cocktails. 

 
Am I the only one who doesn't love the concept of islands? I guess it makes sense if you have an open floor plan and need something to delineate spaces.  Our kitchen is on the main level which is not completely open and I really like it that way. We are looking to redo our kitchen and I am not looking for an island.  

 
Am I the only one who doesn't love the concept of islands? I guess it makes sense if you have an open floor plan and need something to delineate spaces.  Our kitchen is on the main level which is not completely open and I really like it that way. We are looking to redo our kitchen and I am not looking for an island.  
It’s about maximized space.  Most old school kitchens had unused space that an island “solves” for.

 
Am I the only one who doesn't love the concept of islands?
Nope.  I hate them.  There's nothing like a pointless hike around the island to brighten any day.

I like my microwave to be at counter level, rather than above or under.  It's easier to slide a hot item out without spillage.

Love having the drawers all around.  So many things store better that way.

 
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Her second favorite feature is electrical outlets located inside the top cupboards (near the top). We have high ceilings, so there is space above the cupboards that she likes to decorate (Christmas village during the winter, or flowers, etc. during the summer). The outlets and a small hole in the top of the cupboard allow us to add a string of lights to the show off the decorations. Outlets are inside the cupboards, because if they were in the wall above the cupboard, they would be visible from the floor and would spoil the look.
This is money.  My MIL would have been all over this like green on peas.  She had so many Dickens Village pieces that they had urban renewal projects.

 
We need to remodel our kitchen sometime, I want to get our teenager launched, through college and out of the house before I do it though because he likes to cook but he's not so much into cleaning and as wonderful of a young man as he is (and he really is) he's like Godzilla in times square. . .smash, bang, thud, etc.  I call him Goliath or Hulk smash sometimes.

Under counter mounted kitchen sink times a million.
I would put skylights in our kitchen if I could.
Water spigot over the stove - this kind of idea.
Our stove sticks out b/c the gas supply pipe from the crawl sticks out too far, I'd get that pushed back so my stove/oven would sit flush with the countertop, it sticks out now and my ocd side is driven insane (it's a short drive) by this.
We bought a counter depth Bosch fridge last year, I'll never go back, it's perfect.
We don't have dedicated pantry, which sucks, so I would replace the stupid built in desk with something like this but I don't want it to look like a locker room, more restrained.
We've got a kitchen island with a useless sink in it, I know it's supposed to be for washing fruit or something but it's useless and in the way, I'd ditch that and replace the whole damned island with a movable table.  Something heavy that looks like it was designed for that space but less obnoxious and actually useful.
We've got three Bosch things - garbage disposal, dishwasher and fridge.  I'll never buy another appliance made by GE Profile, Kenmore/Whirlpool (except for my 1,000 year old clothes washer and dryer), Samsung, LG again, ever, period.  I'm on my 3rd stove/oven, 2nd fridge, 4th or 5th microwave, etc.  I've tried all these other brands out and they all are pure crap (imho) or I just have had bad luck with Samsung, LG, GE Profile, Kenmore Elite, etc.
Instant hot water dispenser for hot tea, hot water, hot cocoa, whatever.  

 

 
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AAABatteries said:
It’s about maximized space.  Most old school kitchens had unused space that an island “solves” for.
We may have different definitions of "old school kitchens". Homes in my area were built in the 60s and generally have small kitchens and often have odd layouts. Unused space is typically not a problem in our neighborhood. I feel islands really became a thing maybe in the 90s (80s?) as homes got larger and open concepts started. 

 
It's a little thing, but my wife's favorite feature is our "elevator shelf" for her KitchenAid mixer.  If you have a KitchenAid, you know it weighs a ton, which generally means it either sits on the counter 24/7 or it's nearly impossible for the wife to pull out of a cupboard and lift to the counter when she wants to use it.  We had a spring-loaded shelf installed in a base cupboard that holds the mixer and can be raised and lowered with one hand, solving the problem.

Her second favorite feature is electrical outlets located inside the top cupboards (near the top). We have high ceilings, so there is space above the cupboards that she likes to decorate (Christmas village during the winter, or flowers, etc. during the summer). The outlets and a small hole in the top of the cupboard allow us to add a string of lights to the show off the decorations. Outlets are inside the cupboards, because if they were in the wall above the cupboard, they would be visible from the floor and would spoil the look.
Most expensive paperweight I've ever purchased. I genuinely don't think my wife has ever used hers despite it being her requested birthday gift years ago. 

It's either that or the sewing machine she has similarly never used and still just pays the tailor to sew our stuff. 

 
Don’t put a sink in an island

seating at island, we eat there more than dining table

enclosed area for microwave/mail/phone charging. Hides the cluster when company comes unexpectedly 

have an under counter radio I listen to news every morning while having breakfast. This is in the enclosed microwave area so you don’t notice

under cabinet lights 

we have a couple glass upper cabinets with lights, looks nice…

wife wanted the oversized stove, I caved, it’s nice

range hood with real exhaust vented outside. Don’t do the over range microwave exhaust 

 
Don’t put a sink in an island
Huh... I use mine all the time.  I think it might be because we often have 2 people cooking or doing prep in the kitchen.  The ability to wash hands without getting in the way of someone else is great. Also use it to defrost things and still have a place to wash up without getting soap on the meat / fish / chicken. 

Maybe it's because I have 2 small kids and I'm always telling them to wash their damn hands. 

 
Also we eat breakfast and dinner as a family every day at the dining room table which is totally open to the kitchen.  Not enough space to eat at the island. My house is a row home and only 15' wide in the kitchen so it's long and narrow. 

 
I did mine a year ago:

Really research countertop materials - granite, quartz, etc.  there are variations that make a difference when thinking about maintenance - I.e. polished vs honed surfaces.  Same goes for backsplashes - you don’t want porous stone behind your cooking area unless you have a maid to clean it daily.

Got a Blanco granite under mount sink. - really like the look.

Pendant lights in a vaulted ceiling are a pain to get height matching.

Appliances are really hard to get due to supply chain issues.  We got a Bosch 800 series dishwasher and it took a long time before we saw them in stock.

Garbage disposal buttons installed next to your sink are a cool little gadget.

LED Lighting under the cabinets is really cool, but you can get a pretty darn good look from some simple puck lights for a very low cost.

If you are going with a contractor, stay on top of them.  Don’t settle.

 
Huh... I use mine all the time.  I think it might be because we often have 2 people cooking or doing prep in the kitchen.  The ability to wash hands without getting in the way of someone else is great. Also use it to defrost things and still have a place to wash up without getting soap on the meat / fish / chicken. 

Maybe it's because I have 2 small kids and I'm always telling them to wash their damn hands. 
I can see it being useful but we don’t care for seeing prep residue while sitting or eating at the island

 
It's a little thing, but my wife's favorite feature is our "elevator shelf" for her KitchenAid mixer.  If you have a KitchenAid, you know it weighs a ton, which generally means it either sits on the counter 24/7 or it's nearly impossible for the wife to pull out of a cupboard and lift to the counter when she wants to use it.  We had a spring-loaded shelf installed in a base cupboard that holds the mixer and can be raised and lowered with one hand, solving the problem.
I've resisted getting a stand mixer for so long now I want one AND this shelf.

I have a lot of overlapping lighting so when an individual bulb goes out I don't have a dark spot.  Second the advice on getting more outlets than you think you'll need. Cooking is my primary hobby so this is my new favorite thread but all my improvements have been layout (huge spice rack, magnetic knife block, etc) and not design/fixture related.  I have a huge island and I love it but that's more an individual preference. 

 
So, last summer our kitchen faucet was leaking and while I was buying a replacement faucet the wifey asked if I could rip out the whole sink with it.  So, I replaced our old porcelain over cast iron sink with a Kohler Neo Rock sink last summer.  Our house is over 30 years old, the kitchen is all original (save for the appliances) so, part of the reason I wanted to do this (replace the sink and faucet - aside from it leaking) was to trial run a new sink for a few years until we rip and replace the whole damned kitchen.

So, this sink is black, fits in with the black appliances and overall I really like it.  Things don't clank around like a stainless steel sink, don't get scratched up like the porcelain over steel, it's super light weight and much deeper than the old sink.  Even though we have a water softener, it still gets a bit of white build up over time but it's very sturdy, it's quiet (things don't clank around) it's sturdy and it doesn't feel cheap or fragile.  My only gripe is that I badly wanted to replace the over the counter mount with an under counter mounted sink but I couldn't do that in our set up because of the way the sink cutout was made.  Next sink, will be under counter mounted so you can just wipe all the crap right into the sink and you don't have standing water/coffee/tea/liquids surrounding the sink all the time like we do now.

 
Lots of good suggestions here.  Two things I don't think I saw yet that I really like from our kitchen remodel:

  • Soft close drawers and cabinets
  • We have a tilt-out tray in front of our sink that stores our sponges, etc. that I love.  Gets that stuff out of sight but super convenient to get to everything.
 
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Lots of good suggestions here.  Two things I don't think I saw yet that I really like from our kitchen remodel:

  • Soft close drawers and cabinets
  • We have a tilt-out tray in front of our sink that stores our sponges, etc. that I love.  Gets that stuff out of site but super convenient to get to everything.
Do the sponges dry properly and not stink?  What about the dirtiness of the tray?  Is it removable and dishwasher washable?

 
Do the sponges dry properly and not stink?  What about the dirtiness of the tray?  Is it removable and dishwasher washable?
Yes, they dry properly and do not stink at all.  The tray is plastic and does not have drain holes in it.  Ours is very similar to the one I linked, but it's not identical.  TBH, I think ours is removable but I'm not 100% sure because I haven't ever removed it LOL.  We just clean it fairly regularly right where it is.

 
Love my island. We have a two story foyer and family room so very open downstairs. There’s a breakfast area with a 6 seat table by the windows and screened in porch but the island is huge, 4’ by 10’. Things I love:

1. Three small bar stools under granite overhang are usually where the boys sit and eat.

2. Double bowl sink with garbage disposal (switch under sink) on the inner side of the island. There’s a wide gap from the kitchen cabinets on the wall so people using sink aren’t in the way of people at stove top.

3. Microwave is on the breakfast nook side of island so it’s convenient yet almost hidden unless you are on that side.

4. Tilt out tray for sponge and bottle cleaner is great and everything dries and the container things slide on and off screws if you want to clean them. I’m of course the only one who really squeezes the water out before putting them away.

5. Dishwasher under island as well so convenient to sink and again hidden unless you are in kitchen. Trash can is in cabinet on other side of sink.

6. Big wide drawer under microwave with all the heavy cast iron is convenient for grill outside.

7. Built-in soap dispenser is really nice as well.

8. Someone mentioned this, outlets. We have 3 outlets on the island and they are well positioned.

Outside of the island, really like our double oven, which also affords just having the stove top (not the full stove). I actually like the electric burner tops. I’m sure it’s not as good for cooking but damn if it’s way easier to clean and use. Had a nice burner too at last house and cleaning the burners was a pain. It’s been 16 years and the electric top doesn’t look perfect but still looks really nice, way better than you’d think. Also, the stove top has a huge cabinet underneath where we put the big pots and kitchen aid blender. I’d highly recommend a pot filler above stove top. Really nice with sink in the island.

More for new house buyers, we don’t have a huge pantry like our last house. It’s just two not quite full size doors so fine for regular kitchen stuff and has an outlet for a dust buster, but we moved our coat closet next to our guest room and blew out the space under the stairs where the coat closet was for a big walk in that has all the big stuff like paper towels, dog food, toilet paper and all the extra stuff (think Costco sized boxes). I’ve gotten used to the kitchen pantry and the storage pantry being separated so people don’t go into kitchen one for non cooking type stuff.

I know the have much cooler cabinet options and stuff but I will say that the space and layout is huge. We don’t ever think hey it would be way nicer if we had this or that moved somewhere else. Only thing might be that while nice looking, my wife would definitely change the color scheme a bit and change the backsplash/granite to match the color scheme.

 
One of the things I've always wanted is a separate full size fridge and separate full size standing freezer.  Even the largest fridge can get full with leftovers and raw food.  I think separating these functions would be ideal.  Fridge in kitchen, freezer in pantry?

The issue is water / ice dispenser, so maybe would necessitate a separate appliance for ice.

 
Great thread! We just bought a small fixer-upper at the beach and we're building the kitchen from scratch. If anyone has any space-saving ideas, Id be interested in hearing them as well.

 
One of the things I've always wanted is a separate full size fridge and separate full size standing freezer.  Even the largest fridge can get full with leftovers and raw food.  I think separating these functions would be ideal.  Fridge in kitchen, freezer in pantry?

The issue is water / ice dispenser, so maybe would necessitate a separate appliance for ice.
Freezer usually is garage or basement. I’d never put a full size one in the kitchen because by definition you likely aren’t taking out/putting in stuff often so a full size one would take up too much space. We got a new kitchen fridge a couple years ago and move our other one into the garage and it was really nice for COVID. We had an older smaller fridge out there before so we just had them haul away that one. With two full size fridges it’s pretty close to having a stand alone freezer and you can have ice/water with both if you have water in the garage. We didn’t connect the garage one and I took out the whole ice dispenser to create more room.

 
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Under-lighting on every upper cabinet.  Switched separately from main overhead.  If you have a peninsula bar or island with no upper, hanging lights above are also nice.  Again, separately switched.  The combinations of different lighting styles can really make the room look cool.  We hardly use our overhead anymore, except for heavy food prep.

 
One of the things I've always wanted is a separate full size fridge and separate full size standing freezer.  Even the largest fridge can get full with leftovers and raw food.  I think separating these functions would be ideal.  Fridge in kitchen, freezer in pantry?

The issue is water / ice dispenser, so maybe would necessitate a separate appliance for ice.


I've got two full-sized fridge/freezers and a deep freeze

:nomarriage:

:nokids:

:nomorethan4kids:

 
Most expensive paperweight I've ever purchased. I genuinely don't think my wife has ever used hers despite it being her requested birthday gift years ago. 

It's either that or the sewing machine she has similarly never used and still just pays the tailor to sew our stuff. 
On the bright side, it will last forever 😁 My wife's is over 40 years old and has probably been used for several thousand pies (she first got it as a single mom of 3 kids baking 20 pies a day for a local diner), hundreds of loaves of bread, as well as cakes, etc.

 
Don’t put a sink in an island


Why on this one?  Our plans have a sink in the island mainly because then the person doing dishes/using the sink is facing the great room.

ETA: To be clear this is our only sink in the island, not a 2nd sink.

 
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Don’t put a sink in an island

seating at island, we eat there more than dining table

enclosed area for microwave/mail/phone charging. Hides the cluster when company comes unexpectedly 

have an under counter radio I listen to news every morning while having breakfast. This is in the enclosed microwave area so you don’t notice

under cabinet lights 

we have a couple glass upper cabinets with lights, looks nice…

wife wanted the oversized stove, I caved, it’s nice

range hood with real exhaust vented outside. Don’t do the over range microwave exhaust 
Agree with the real exhaust vent and you can get lights too which helps with the range view as you can just have the hood lights on without the kitchen lights if you want.

Agree with hiding the microwave but we put it on the far side of the island next to breakfast/kitchen table. I’ve got my office downstairs only a few seconds from the kitchen so all the charging is on my back table.

Disagree with the sink in the island although as I posted above, ours is really big so you can have three people (maybe four but only have 3 boys) with plenty of their own space while eating. Makes for easy cleanup since the dishwasher and trash are in the island next to the sink and keeps the sink away from cooking areas so no bumping into each other. 

 
Why on this one?  Our plans have a sink in the island mainly because then the person doing dishes/using the sink is facing the great room.

ETA: To be clear this is our only sink in the island, not a 2nd sink.
See my post above. If your island is big enough, that’s how we have it and it works great. The part of the island facing the great/family room has a deep overhang in the granite, so island height bar stools with no back slide underneath, and it’s close enough to sink to slide dishes to the person at the sink but far enough that each person has their own space for a full place setting. Someone at the sink looks directly at the people eating and looks into the great/family room. Dishwasher under island to the right of sink and hidden trash can under island to the left. Microwave is hidden under island around the left corner from the sink and fridge/double oven is facing island side around the right from the sink. Range top with hood and rest of cabinets is a few feet behind person at sink.

If you put the range (stove top) on the wal with cabinets, highly recommend a pot filler so you don’t have to fill up at sink. I guess a second sink could be nice if you have a monster kitchen but with the pot filler I don’t feel like I’ve ever felt the need. Also, make sure the sink is big enough so that after cooking you can have a few pots and pans in while washing off plates while loading dishwasher. We had a double bowl and the left side is big enough for anything we have. I think I like the two bowls so a stack of pans doesn’t slide into the right side.

 
See my post above. If your island is big enough, that’s how we have it and it works great. The part of the island facing the great/family room has a deep overhang in the granite, so island height bar stools with no back slide underneath, and it’s close enough to sink to slide dishes to the person at the sink but far enough that each person has their own space for a full place setting. Someone at the sink looks directly at the people eating and looks into the great/family room. Dishwasher under island to the right of sink and hidden trash can under island to the left. Microwave is hidden under island around the left corner from the sink and fridge/double oven is facing island side around the right from the sink. Range top with hood and rest of cabinets is a few feet behind person at sink.


Do you have a pic of this?  I'm having trouble visualizing it, but microwave placement if we end up doing a range hood is something we've been trying to figure out.

 
Do you have a pic of this?  I'm having trouble visualizing it, but microwave placement if we end up doing a range hood is something we've been trying to figure out.
Sent you a PM of it from the microwave side. Hopefully that works. 

 
I did mine a year ago:

Really research countertop materials - granite, quartz, etc.  there are variations that make a difference when thinking about maintenance - I.e. polished vs honed surfaces.  Same goes for backsplashes - you don’t want porous stone behind your cooking area unless you have a maid to clean it daily.

Got a Blanco granite under mount sink. - really like the look.

Pendant lights in a vaulted ceiling are a pain to get height matching.


Just finished ours in Feb.

+10 on the pendant light height. Drove me nuts for 3 days before I finally got them all even.

As for a sink, we were gonna go undermount farmhouse apron sink, but then I found a drop-in one that we liked better. It was super easy to install, and if we ever want to change/replace it, we can lift it right out. Weve had several compliments on it, here's how it looks:

Front

Above

We also did a step-up bar on our new island, and we eat there more than anywhere else.

Island bar

Also a fan of drawers for pots/pan storage, as well as lazy Susans in lower corner cabinets. 

I'll be looking into under cabinet lighting soon.

 

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