One Room Challenge {Cottage Kitchen} Week 3

So it’s week 3 of the One Room Challenge which means we are at the half way point.  BANANAS.  My kitchen has been demolished and the new cabinets are installed (except for crown moulding.)  While that feels very exciting we have a long way to go.  For one, we are still without countertops and more importantly NO sink.  Life without a kitchen sink is really challenging.  Obviously we’re talking about #firstworldproblems but still I’m a mess and I have been doing a lot of take out.

Two quirky things about me as a kitchen designer are

1) I don’t cook much myself



Stainless has been the “luxury” appliance finish for the past several decades, but I personally see it as more “the standard” rather than luxurious.  (Plus the finger prints!  Ugg.)  For my own kitchen, I wanted to do something a little more special and stylish, yet also classic  I am using black and white as my main colors with a few brass accents, so I had to keep this in mind when selecting my appliances.  I don’t mind mixing in a little stainless with brass, but I didn’t want the strong visual effect of a stainless refrigerator.  Instead I decided to mix up the finish appliances.

My appliances were delivered and minus the fact that the microwave is MIA, I’m very pleased with my selections.

Naomi's Cottage Appliances Black and Stainless Kitchen Aid Bosch

A mix of black and stainless plus a paneled dishwasher that will also be black.

Hood (no longer available)/ Stove

Refrigerator / Microwave Drawer / Dishwasher

EXHAUST HOOD // When selecting appliances I started with the range hood.  To me, the hood is the biggest style setter in the kitchen.  I generally prefer custom hoods (wood, metal, plaster) but that was prohibitively expensive for me, so I decided to keep my beloved black chimney hood.  It is the Datid from Ikea, but it looks like it is no longer available 🙁  I love that the black finish just gives it a slightly different twist than your typical stainless chimney hood.  George MAY add a small decorative treatment to this.  Stay tuned…

re-use black chimney hood in black and white kitchen

MICROWAVE // I don’t care how small your kitchen is, I don’t want to ever see a microwave over a stove.  Micro-hoods are the absolute worst.  Functionally it’s hard to use both at the same time.  Plus it’s visually crowded and cheap looking.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but nothing says Budget Kitchen more than a microwave hood.  I’d much rather see the microwave built into a wall cabinet, or better yet, placed under counter.  For my own kitchen, I made room for a microwave drawer because a lot of re-heating goes on in this house and I enjoy the ease of the drawer.  (vs bending down to open a door.)  Mine is still missing in action, but I’ll be sure to post about it once it’s installed.  I’m pretty excited about its flush design and the drawer that opens and closes with a touch of a button.  (Fancy!)  I’m thinking it will be definitely worth the splurge.


DISHWASHER // My dad raised me to be a Bosch girl, so selecting the dishwasher was a no-brainer.  I prefer them for quality and quiet operation.  I will be adding a full overlay cabinet panel onto the dishwasher so it will match the rest of my base cabinets.  (BLACK) I cheaped out a bit and bought the 300 series but I’m already kicking myself for not upgrading to the 800 and getting the 3rd rack.

dishwasher detail

REFRIGERATOR // The real drama began when I started to shop for a refrigerator.  I knew I wanted a french door model with nice handles.  At first I assumed I would just do stainless since cabinetry panels were not a good option.  (I’ll save fridge panels for another post- lot’s of thoughts there.)  But then I found this Maytag and became very intrigued…

white maytag

Would a white fridge with clean metal handles bridge my gap between cottage and modern?  I loved the idea that it would blend well with my white upper cabinets.  It’s also pretty well priced, so that helped the budget.  I even started thinking about DIY’ing fancier handles.

But so many questions filled my head.  Was it chic, or too vintagey?  Was the white bumpy?  Or modern like glass?  After calling dozens of appliance stores in the area, I finally tracked down a white Maytag and was able touch and see it.  In person, the white finish was OK- not glass (bummer) but also nut bumpy/cheap.  The doors are rounded on the ends, which added to the vintage feel of the unit.

kitchen aid handle

Kitchen Aid Handle

I compared that to the Kitchen Aid, which is also offered in black and white.  The Kitchen Aid doors are more clean lined/ square edged.  Plus KA handles are chic!  The stainless handle have a decorative textured style that I really liked.  So basically I purchased the refrigerator that had the cutest handles.

kitchen aid refrigerator

In the end I decided that a black refrigerator was a better choice than white.  It felt a little more modern, a little more glamorous, plus it seemed more consistent with the rest of my appliances.  It’s not a black glass or black stainless- more like something in between polished and matte.  It’s finish actually works really well with my cabinets.  Had it been super glossy, it wouldn’t flow as well.

Just a small aside about refrigerator practicality and planning the proper size for your remodel:

One of my limitations was my size; this kitchen only fits a 30″ refrigerator.  When laying out my kitchen I consciously chose to shrink my refrigerator to fit a trash cabinet next to the sink.  I decided to do a full depth fridge to gain back precious cubic feet.  With my layout, it really doesn’t matter if the refrigerator is full depth or counter-depth, so this was an easy decision to gain storage.  To compare- my 30″ wide full depth refrigerator is 20 cu ft, yet many 36″ wide, counter-depth models are also only 20 cu ft.  I really didn’t give up that much to gain storage for trash and cutlery.

inside kitchen aid 30' refrig

Also, I CANNOT talk about refrigerators without talking about clearances.  If your refrigerator is next to a wall (like mine) then you need to leave yourself several inches clearance from the wall to allow the doors and interior drawers to fully open.  3″ minimum, 6″ is better.  In my case, every inch was so tight.  I left a 3″ gap and it’s just barely functional.


STOVE // The last piece of the puzzle was the stove.  When stove shopping I had a few requirements

  1.  Gas on top / powerful burners
  2. Convection Oven
  3. Slide-In.  (Controls are in front- I hate the look of the high back of free standing ranges.)
  4. Clean style/ Nice handles

Had the budget allowed, I would have gone for a duel fuel range, because (most say) an electric oven is superior to gas oven.  I’m not a baker so I don’t really care.  As long as it heats the pizza or roasts the veggies, I’m happy.  So I saved by doing an all gas range.  I initially selected this Bosch range because I think it’s a great product at a moderate price.

bosch range

But once I finalized the refrigerator, I switched the stove to Kitchen Aid as well.  This was purely a stylistic choice- I liked that the handles matched.  I usually don’t care at all about my appliances matching, but the KA handle is pretty distinct, so I felt it was appropriate in this instance.  Also it’s nice that it has 5 burners in only a 30″ space.

kitchen aid gas range

PS- I would have bought this in black if they offered it, but I’m fine with the stainless here.

With the appliances delivered, suddenly the kitchen has grown crowded REAL quick.

kitchen after appliance delivery



Next Week: I’m going to dive into the rest of my finishes: countertops, backsplash tile, sink, faucet and cabinet hardware.  My counterops are supposedly getting installed Tuesday, so that means I may be a very happy girl in week 4.


Be Sure to check out my fellow ORC participants below!

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

Catch Up on My One Room Challenge Kitchen Renovation

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3

Week 4 / Week 5 / Week 6


*** Edited *** I want to apologize if my words about microwave hoods were insensitive. I was speaking candidly about luxury kitchen design. I’m really not trying to crap on anyone. Renovation in general is a huge luxury. Most people really don’t “need” to renovate. I think no less of someone who has a small, old, “cheap” kitchen than someone with a super fancy expensive designer kitchen. It’s mostly about the meal and company anyway.  


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  5. PREACH on the microwave hood! I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 So many great details and I love all of your tips too!

  6. Came here from instagram =) We have the Sharp microwave drawer in our kitchen, and it was truly worth the splurge. For us, we wanted to save counterspace, so decided tucking in under the counter makes the most sense. Plus, the drawer meant no need to bend down to get food from a swing-door microwave. Your new kitchen looks gorgeous already!!

    • Naomi

      Thanks and welcome! Appreciate you taking the time to pop over from Instagram.

  7. Sherry S.

    Hi, Naomi–I emailed you yeaaaaars ago to ask about fabric and you were super lovely. We are mid kitchen “facelift” and I had a moment of mild horror because I didn’t even think to ditch the microwave hood! Almost speed dialed my contractor! Then I took a deep breath, remembered my budget, and read the rest of the post. I thought your post was educational–so while we still can’t afford to change it right now, I know that is something we should do in phase 2 of the kitchen project to increase the value and aesthetic of our home. So, thanks for your honestly for for all the FREE design advice you give on your blog! And your apology was super sweet, too. Cheers, SSR

    • Naomi

      Thank you so much, Sherry! I’m humbled that my words have that much impact. Love your new kitchen, microwave hood and all!! 😉

  8. I love your choice of the black! I’m a kitchen designer as well and I’ve been wondering when the swing from stainless to the next thing is going to happen-awesome job for jumping into new waters! It looks like it will be STUNNING!

  9. Devon

    I totally get your point about range hood microwaves, stainless appliances, etc. You don’t do cheap or even mid-range remodels, so why would you incorporate cheap or mid-range elements into one of your projects? I’ve been reading long enough to know you wouldn’t insult your readers, but I do value hearing from an expert what decisions a person might regret. I built a home in 2010, back before I was into design blogs, and there are definitely things I’d do differently today. I hope you’ll keep sharing your honest opinions.

  10. R.P.

    @jane Ill give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that when you read the blog post and wrote that rude comment that you were having a bad day/bad week and needed somewhere to vent. If you have been a loyal reader or read more than 1 blog post you would know that Naomi is most definitely not an entitled person and has designed kitchens of all sizes, for all types of clients and budgets. In fact if you read more than 1 post on how she approaches the design process it would be evident that she is an excellent, more than qualified space planner and kitchen designer that takes all client needs into consideration – sometimes you need to put a microwave instead of a range hood to make the space or budget work (which she has done a million times – even her own condo see the last one room challenge), doesn’t mean she can’t have an opinion on it and make the choices she wants for her kitchen. No need to be disrespectful or leave mean remarks on a blog – talk about #1stworldproblems #

  11. anne

    In my opinion, you don’t need to apologize for anything, but I enjoyed seeing George come to your defense. Hearts!

  12. Black and white with brass accents will be stunning! Great choices!

    Cheers! xo the Waiting on Martha team

  13. Meg

    We’re right in the middle of a kitchen reno at our house too and this post was really helpful for me. My husband is a contractor who works mainly on really high end luxury kitchens, but we’ve chosen to downsize our whole life to live in a modest (small) ranch style home in an amazing neighborhood. The result of this choice has been that we are able to finish all the spaces with much more luxurious finishes – since there’s a relatively small amount of materials required. I appreciate your take on the appliances, since we’re also making these choices right now. And I’m also with you on the microwave range hood thing – my parents have one like this in their high end kitchen, and it just makes it look cheap. It’a also impossible to use because it’s up so high. Even though our space is tiny, we refused to do the micro-hood combo!

    • Naomi

      I’m so glad you found the post useful, Meg. Good luck with your own renovation!

  14. Laura

    I so enjoy your blog and all your design choices so far in this space! Thanks for sharing it with us all. But what I really want to say is that I LOVE you response to commenter who is outraged about you opinions on microwave hoods. (Good grief!) Good for you!! I read this blog for your opinion and I want to know your opinion on ‘good design’ whether or not it validates choices I may have made for my house.

    • Naomi

      Thanks for the support, Laura!!

  15. Brittany

    oh I can’t wait to see this when it is finished. Thanks for posting about it!! I have a question about the stove. I really love the look of the slide in ranges with the knobs on the front (especially as we are planning our kitchen reno and I don’t want upper cabinets on that wall) but I’m worried about my small kids playing with them. In your experience as a designer can you speak to if this is a valid concern? We will not be doing gas, only electric.

    • Naomi

      Hi Brittany,

      My kitchen aid range has a control lock. You have to hold it for 3 seconds to lock it or unlock it. Good feature for young kids! (And me who accidentally leaned on it and started the oven 😉

      Ultimately I think it’s up the parent. How much freedom do the kids have? Do they know “off limits” toys. Electric is tough because you can’t always tell if the burner is hot- but that’s true if the controls are in front or back. Have you looked into induction?

  16. Lynn

    Love it all! Where are the controls for the microwave drawer? I would love that if I don’t have to bend down too much. Bad back! I don’t care for stainless either.

    • Naomi

      I’m not sure, but when it shows up I’ll figure it out!

  17. Mary

    Poo. I wish those black appliances were available when I did my kitchen several years ago. Now you have me hoping my current stainless ones bite the dust. I hate trying to keep them clean. They always are smudged. Your new kitchen is going to be great!

  18. Lynn

    Love everything you have chosen! I didn’t know about microwave drawers either. Do you have to bend down to see the controls? I have a bad back and try to avoid bending but love the idea of a drawer. My microwave is over the stove (25yr old kitchen) and it IS ugly! I still have white appliances and the white on the microwave has yellowed. I don’t like stainless either so am always interested in other choices just in case I get to redo!

    • Naomi

      I’ll be sure to blog about it once it’s used!

  19. sherry

    I could not be more jealous! I would kill for a new kitchen….but am settling for new cabinet doors! Love hearing your thoughts on this project….I pretty much agree with everything:)

  20. I love my kitchen the way I have designed. Really now after checking out your ideas I’m going to implement few of them in my kitchen. So excited to give new look to my kitchen.

  21. Lindi

    I LOVE this design. Those matte black appliance are exactly what I would want!! LOVE!

  22. George

    @Jane , I looked over what Naomi wrote, took into consideration her client base, style and approach to design and frankly my dear, I think you are trolling. Microwave hoods suck, we have all had them when we had to have them, but in reality they have low CFM’s, are often gunked up with grease and are a less expensive and square footage budget solution. I’m 6′ and don’t care for anything I use to be lower than my thighs nor did Naomi say this is what she would do for a tall client. AND I MUST point this out… you go on to use racism and sexism in a self directed victim statement, ” Tiny kitchens are the norm all over the world (eg: outside of white lady USA) ” Why even say this? First off, what does race have to do with microwave hoods? Second, suburban kitchens are small, urban kitchens are smaller per se but USA? Where are you going with this one? It looks more like you have some personal issues that are coming out in your attack and following “unfollow” threat. Maybe you should consider thinking your post through a bit more before attacking this person who works hard to post about her work, style, recommendations and love for the craft. She posts to share and help others and your post sounds more like an attack on her work. Microwave hoods do suck and if anyone had their choice, wouldn’t have them, where is the harm is sharing that opinion? Why are you so salty? …by the way, I am an industrial designer, interior designer, fabricator and love to cook. You can troll me anytime you want.

  23. I had no idea a microwave drawer was available. I love the idea. Oh well, I’m sure I have at least one more kitchen Reno in my future. Love this

  24. OBSESSED with the black kitchenaid appliances. Great choice!

    • Naomi

      Thanks girlfriend. Me too!

  25. You are making such great progress… your kitchen is going to be so chic! I’m a Bosch girl too when in comes to dishwashers! They are the best!


  26. RP

    That fridge … in love. The kitchen choices keep getting better and better! 3 weeks until the reveal and I can’t wait. #naomiqueenofkitchendesign

  27. Tilisa

    I am loving the look of your kitchen so far, especially the black bottom cupboards with the white uppers and the black fridge. So pretty! It will look amazing!

  28. Vel

    The refrigerator looks so sleek! Stainless or not, I am sure you will have one of the most gorgeous kitchens out there!

  29. Brenda

    A good looking and functional kitchen? This gives me hope for my sad kitchen. What did you decide about your mirrored doors?

    • Naomi

      Still sorting that out. Definitely leaning towards my original idea of mirror on the back and glass fronts.

  30. Dawn

    Gorgeous appliances — Beautiful plans! You have me intrigued about refrigerator panels, please do tell us your thoughts! I wish you lived near me so I could hire you to give my kitchen a facelift! Thank you for a great post.

    • Naomi

      Thanks Dawn. I will do a post on refrigerators post ORC. Promise 🙂

  31. Joy

    Digging the fridge finish and the idea of a microwave drawer… well that just changed life! So excited for next week’s post.

  32. judith

    Thank you for saying what I have always thought about stainless in the kitchen – COMMON. It is also industrial and not homey. I love your appliance choices and found it amusing that it came down to the handle style on the fridge. Sounds like something I would do. I once had a friend who chose between two new cars which she liked equally by testing which one had the better cup holder. We should all be happy with our choices. Thanks for going into so much detail as to how you make decisions. But most of all, thank you for respecting the architectural integrity of your home and not totally wiping out your “period” kitchen in favor of something more “modern.” I have seen many an old home destroyed by this practice.

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Judith!

      PS- I nearly backed out of my Jeep purchase over the leather interior. We all have our sticking points 😉

  33. Kelly

    While I would never ordinarily put a microwave hood in my regular kitchen, we DID do exactly that in our Siesta Key vacation rental, largely because there is only 18” of counter space between the fridge and stove. The whole kitchen is only 6 feet long and the other side has the sink/dishwasher, with no uppers so the cook can see out to the palm trees. BTW, I just chose the exact same fridge for my home kitchen. I’m with you on too much stainless steel not being appealing.

    • Naomi

      Hey Kelly- It’s not my intention to make people feel bad about their microwave hood. There is always an exception to the rule!

      • We installed a microwave hood in our kitchen (after living with the microwave directly next to the oven hood – which was the worst layout and waste of space… why not combine them I thought?!). But for our future kitchen, I think I will have them separate…

        I never knew people had such strong thoughts about them haha!

        And I looveeeee the black appliances 🙂

      • Jane

        @Naomi “It’s not my intention to make people feel bad about their microwave hood.”

        Oh really? Then you might want to rephrase how you wrote it. “I don’t want to EVER see a microwave over a stove…” “Micro-hoods are the ABSOLUTE WORST…” “VISUALLY CROWDED AND CHEAP LOOKING.” “BUDGET KITCHEN.”

        Yes, emphasis mine, but those are pretty strong words.

        You don’t care how small a kitchen is? Really? Wow. What an incredibly tone deaf, privileged thing to say.

        Tiny kitchens are the norm all over the world (eg: outside of white lady USA) and space is a serious premium. A micro drawer might be suuuper for you, but maybe some of us NEED an actual drawer in our small spaces, and the space where a pretty vent/hood would go could be better utilized with an appliance.

        You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but holy cow. Unsubscribing. I’ve never done this: be a troll haterade type in a comments section, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. There are lots of nicer ways to say that a micro hood isn’t your preference without crapping all over the people that a) have them and can’t afford to renovate, or b) chose a micro hood for their own reasons.

        Personally, my husband and I are 6’5″ and 6′ respectively. No way are we putting a microwave in an island (the only other place it could have gone) so that we can hunch down on the ground to use it. It went over the stove.

        I don’t care if you delete this or not.

      • Naomi

        Hey Jane- I’m trying to speak truthfully here. If you like microwave hoods, more power to you. I don’t. We are not talking about serious world issues here.
        This is just my personal opinion and what I like to do with kitchen design. I’m speaking to people who ARE looking to renovate and are looking to add luxury elements to their home. Some people don’t realize there are other options for the microwave.
        You don’t need to take my advice or read the blog for that matter. Best of luck to you.

      • Naomi

        I want to apologize if my words were insensitive. I was speaking candidly about luxury kitchen design. I’m really not trying to crap on anyone. Renovation in general is a huge luxury. Most people really don’t “need” to renovate. I think no less of someone who has a small, old, “cheap” kitchen than someone with a super fancy expensive designer kitchen. It’s mostly about the meal and company anyway.

      • Kelly

        Naomi, not to worry! You did not make me feel badly. I was just saying that sometimes, there are no good viable alternatives. And I love your kitchen and your blog and I appreciate all the time and effort you put into it for the enjoyment and education of people like me. k

  34. Elise

    Ohhhhhh this just stirs my kitchen reno dreams and goals in my heart so much. So funny the you said that about the microwave hood. YES! I was feeling annoyed about our microwave hood yesterday and dreaming of it being hidden in an island one day. Sigh! LOVE your choices. LOVE the fridge!!!! French door fridges have my heart! xx

    • Naomi

      Thanks Elise!

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