Cottage Dining Room Update

The best fringe perk of renovating my kitchen for the One Room Challenge is that I was inspired to pull together my dining room as well.  I didn’t make a ton of changes – swapped out a chandelier, added a roll of wallpaper, 2 pillows and a runner- but it really made a huge difference in aesthetics and function of this “room.”  I use quotes around the word room because my entire first floor is open concept, so it’s super important that each area flow and feel cohesive.

For a little over a year my dining room looked liked this.  Glass table made by Coldren Design, Panton (knock-off) side chairs, vintage Chinese Chippendale head chairs and a vintage chandelier I found on 4th Street in Philadelphia.

old dining room

As much as I absolutely Love my vintage chandelier, it wasn’t functional in this space.  My dining table is multi-purpose ans also serves as our main work desk.  We do a ton of design work here and the old chandelier just wasn’t bright enough.  If this was solely a meal time table it would be great, but but for a place to work, I really needed UP the wattage.  Don’t worry, the vintage chandelier is staying in the family.  I’m long-term loaning it to lil sis Becca.

I did a little searching and selected Crystorama’s 6-light Calypso Chandelier to hang over my glass table.  Crystorama has been such an awesome partner for the past few ORC’s.  I love working with another family-run company and their lights are really exquisite.   Like this bad boy…

calypso chandelier crystorama

This 6-light chandelier hit on every category I was looking for:


This chandelier puts out so much light!!  It’s super functional and bright when we need it.  Plus, we have it on a dimmer, so it can go from very bright to quite romantic in just the movement of the switch.

DIMENSIONS / 30″ wide x 20″H  (Height is from bottom of crystal to top where 3 rods join together.)

I love the scale of this chandelier.  It’s both substantial yet airy.  It makes a statment from when you walk in the door but it also doesn’t block the view.

STYLING/ Modern Glamour / A new Twist on traditonal

The shape is contemporary but the crystals add this traditional elegance.  I thought the mix complimented the vibe in the kitchen.


crystorama calypso teardrop crystal detail

Yes that would be hundreds of gorgeous tear drop crystals that have to be hung individually.

Thank Gawd for assistants 😉

Now that it’s hung, I really love how it looks when it’s lit up. The light bulbs are placed inside the metal ring so the crystals do a nice job of concealing them whether the fixture is on or off.  (Great for you exposed bulb haters.  I don’t really get you, but it’s cool.)

Another big change in my dining room was adding wallpaper to the stair wall.

Stair Wall Before.  This always felt so unfinished to me.

stair wall before

And Stair Wall Now.

Design Manifest Dining Room black white abstract geometric wallpaper glass dinig table panton chairs calypso teardrop chandelier

I really love the simple graphic nature of this wallpaper.  The paper is Nixon by Milton and King.   I can’t tell you how many people have told me (unprompted) that they don’t usually like wallpaper but they really like this wall.  Converting a hater is definitely exciting for me 😉

Dining Room looking into kitchen Crystal teardrop chandelier white shiplap wall

Adding a small runner to the dining room really helped it come alive for me.  I’m pretty obsessed with this vibrant tribal rug from Dash and Albert.  Sometimes a little color can go a long way in a space.

chinese chippendale chair

And the cherry on top was new lumbar pillows for my vintage chairs.  Pink shibori stirpe for the win.  I got these through Minted.  They have so many cute pillows now and they are pretty well priced.

design manifest dining room and kitchen

Images by Courtney Apple


Chandelier by Crystorama

(You can purchase chandelier here)

Dining Table by Coldren Design

Chinese Chippendale Chairs are vintage (Similar)

Panton knock-off chairs- (Similar)

Wallpaper by Milton and King

Rug from DecoratorsBest

Pillow from Minted

One Room Challenge {Cottage Kitchen} Week 6

REJOICE.  We have reached the end of the One Room Challenge!  I would like to personally thank and congratulate you guys who have been following along the past 5 weeks as I’ve renovated my cottage kitchen.  For those who are just popping in today, your timing is perfect— scroll down below for for major Before & After action.

Catch Up on My One Room Challenge Kitchen Renovation

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3

Week 4 / Week 5 / Week 6


kitchen celebration naomis cottage

We demolished my old kitchen 30 days ago and it’s been a intense, crazy ride to get to the finished room today.   Of course the preparation of this project started well before the official start of the Challenge.  I wrote the first edit of my cabinetry order back on February 24th and I’ve been planning, pinning and dreaming about the space for months… years really.  Seeing it transform from jumbled thoughts in my head into a reality has been truly magical.  I feel so lucky that this is my kitchen.  It’s functional, it’s glamorous, it’s modern, yet it still feels charming.  And it’s a lot of fun too.  I love my kitchen.

I still have a hard time believing that this was my kitchen six weeks ago…


Before Kitchen

And this is the kitchen today…


Design Manifest Kitchen Black cabinets white shiplap

Renovation Fast Facts//  I kept the flooring, island, pendants lights and range hood and updated the rest of the appliances, perimeter cabinets, countertops and backsplash tile.  We also added architectural elements like crown moulding and shiplap and new stools and window treatments to finish the room.

The shiplap (technically a plank wall) is EVERYTHING.  I love how it finishes off the space and makes it feel so much larger and more dynamic.  I had initially planned on a rug and art for this room but in the end I really felt like less was more.

Black Kitchen White shiplap wall orange wishbone counter stool brass glass pendants

Obviously I went bold with my orange and leopard counter stools.  I love the timelessness of my black and white kitchen, but I really needed a fun moment. I can’t thank my friend, Melissa, enough for painting them for me.  I knew from the start I wanted something a little surprising for my stools.  It’s low commitment, high reward.  In 6 months if I’m so over orange, I’ll just beg Melissa to paint them a new color for me 😉

white plank wall shiplap wall pierre frey art shade

A last minute addition to the room was the shade on my back door, made with Pierre Frey’s “Arty.”  I just love the watercolor brushstroke fabric.  The modern pattern makes for a fun juxtaposition against the plank wall.  It will be easy for me to mix in yellow, blue, pink or red accents because this fabric has it all.  The black ball trim at the bottom is just ridiculous.  Ridiculously good if you ask me.


Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


Black refrigerator with black base cabinets and white upper cabinets marble subway tile brass hardware kitchen by design manifest

What I love about this kitchen is its bones are neutral and timeless.  Black and White rules in here.  I’m so glad I went for the black Kitchen Aid refrigerator.  It ties in nicely with the base cabinets and I’m still obsessed with the handles.

how to build in a full depth refrigerator black kitchen aid - design manifest

A favorite element for me is that we “built-in” the full depth refrigerator.  I specified a 28″ deep refrigerator end panel and pulled out the wall cabinet above to be flush.  We also spaced the base cabinets 2″ off the wall so that the countertops are just a little extra deep.

Design Manifest Kitchen - White and Gold China Cabinets with glass doors and mirrored backs

I love my “china cabinets” over the sink.  Those who have been following along know that I ordered these cabinets with glass doors, but they arrived with mirrored doors.  I toyed with the idea of using the mirrored doors (hides the mess inside!), but in the end, I trusted my first instinct which was glass doors with mirrored backs.  The mirror back reflects light and expands the space without the weird effect of staring at my reflection while doing the dishes.  And most importantly, it allows my custom gold trim to shine!!  George fabricated this simple trim for my doors and it adds just the perfect touch of glam.

Also, I was debating back and forth between large or small glass knobs.  In the end I chose neither.  Sadly, the glass knobs distorted my face upside down in in a creepy way.  It felt less vintage, more fun house mirror.  These undersized brass knobs felt just right and let the other elements shine.

White Glass Cabinets with gold trim mirrored backs glass shelvess by design manifest

I have no problem displaying my dishes and glasses.  Once this kitchen gets used and abused, they probably wont ever be stacked this neatly again.  That’s OK, I still think this wall will look great and I prefer the glass as opposed to a solid door.  I think that would have made this small room feel more crowded and closed in.

Black and White Kitchen white quartz countertop marble backsplash orange kitchen brass accents Design Manifest


before range wall wide


black range hood marble subway tile all the way up the wall design manifest

BOOM, MARBLE EVERYWHERE.  I love love love my full wall of marble subway tile.  And thank goodness I do, because I sure gave my tile guy, Kevin a lot of grief over “too gray” tiles.  Trust me- marble tile can look a lot darker when setting.  Once it dries and is grouted it’s a whole different ball game.   I think the variation is perfect.

Black kitchen with full wall of white marble tile black range hood with stainless stove- Dessign Manifest

George came up with the idea to dress up my Ikea range hood with a little stainless trim.  I debated back and forth between stainless and gold for the hood trim.  My end reasoning was this… I have two categories: Appliances and Cabinets.  Cabinets are black and have gold hardware.  The appliances are black with stainless.  Therefore stainless on the hood felt most consistent.

double laminated quartz countertop glass knobs

My counrtertops are Arctic White Quartz- double thick with a mitred edge.  Oh baby I love these.

My large glass knobs did find a home on this little drawer base.  Obviously I feel no need to match my cabinet hardware.  It’s all about coordinating, not matching.

I have these extra deep window ledges that I chose to top with the same quartz as my counters.  It’s the perfect spot for my herb garden, which makes me ridiculously happy.  Now I just need to cook more.  Or serve cocktails with Basil and Rosemary.

marble subway tile wrap into windowsill quartz windowsill

Another fave detail is the marble wrapped into the window jambs.

Thank you to Lowe’s for their generously providing this budget friendly subway tile.

utensil divider and roll out shelves next to stove

Hello, new efficient cabinets!!


before kitchen range wall


black cabinets full wall marble tile backsplash white shiplap wall

Dining Room looking into kitchen Crystal teardrop chandelier white shiplap wall

My Dash and Albert Rhapsody rug found a happy home in my dining room.  It bridges the gap perfectly between my kitchen and living room and adds a little warmth to this space.  I love that I can see it from pretty much any spot on the first floor.  (Yes, my house is that small.)

white shiplap wall country bohemian space

Thank you to DecoratorsBest for providing the beautiful fabrics that I turned into pillows.  I love the little repeat of leopard from the counter stools and the pop or red-orange in the ikat.

design manifest living room with orange pink ikat pillow leopard black and white photography

My Minted art ended up finding a home in the living room and I really love it here.  I chose the ballerina  by Zanne Bedore and Rachael chose the birds by Donna Rosner.  I think they make for a dreamy pair.

If you’ve been going Gaga for the peeks of my chandelier, here it is in all it’s glory.  It’s the Calypso by Crystorama and it’s everything I dreamed of and more.  The teardrop crystals are stunning and look extra dynamic when lit.  I love the substance it brings to my glass dining table.  The styling is vintage yet modern and it felt like the perfect compliment to my kitchen design.  Me Loves.

Design Manifest Dining Room black white abstract geometric wallpaper glass dinig table panton chairs calypso teardrop chandelier

Black Kitchen White shiplap wall orange wishbone counter stool brass glass pendants



This renovation never would have happened without my amazing extended Design Manifest team.  A lot of people have told me I’m bold for taking on a project of this size in only six weeks, but I can’t take the credit for this alone.  So thank you to the following talented folks for upping my game… First and foremost, my father, my mentor, my cabinetry setter, Andrew Stein.    Our carpenter, Angelo Iannitelli.  My assistant and right hand, Rachael Herman.  My metalsmith, creative collaborator and cheerleader, George of Coldren Design. Plus Kevin of Love Tile and Marble, Bryan of Buono Construction Group, Dan Curran Builder, Katie of Kieffer’s Appliances, AAA Hellenic, Bill Gordon Painting and Vince D’Angelo Plumbing.  (Plus our intern Chrissy!)  It really does take a village to renovate a kitchen.


And finally a HUGE Thank you to Linda for organizing the One Room Challenge and the amazing sponsors listed below.  This space wouldn’t have happened without your support.  The ORC is a LOT of hard work, but it’s also ridiculously fun for me.  I’m just so honored and grateful to do what I love, improve my own home and be able to share it all with you.  It’s pretty cool.




COUNTER STOOLS- all modern











I really hope you enjoyed the tour! 

Please let me know what you think.  Your comments really are everything to me :)

Personally, I love being in the space.  I’m seriously sitting in this kitchen feeling giddy right now.  It’s amazing how an environment can influence our mood and lifestyle.  

This is why I love being a designer.

I’m working on a full source list that I will post next week.

For those who like to nerd out, I’m also planning a second kitchen post that goes into more detail about design elements- like how I chose to mix cabinetry, hardware, plus essential measurements to keep in mind.


19 Reveals to Go.  Make time to check out the fellow participant’s room reveals below.  SO much talent in this group it just blows me away.

one room challenge


One Room Challenge {Cottage Kitchen} Week 5

I’m just gonna give it you straight: Week 5 of the One Room Challenge SUCKS.  As my deadline rapidly approaches, panic and exhaustion are overtaking me.   My punch list is growing longer, subcontractors are trying to back out last minute, frantic orders are being rush shipped and predictably, I’m second guessing a few design decisions.   It’s a hot mess over here  and I’m just trying to hold it together during work hours so that I don’t concern my clients and employees.

Renovations are taxing and when you act as your own general contractor you better multiply that by ten. Ratchet it up a notch with a 6 week deadline, you’ll need plenty of booze and tissues on hand.  I’ve grown a whole new level of empathy for my clients that will be very valuable for me moving forward.  Thank you, Linda, for another learning lesson 😉

Luckily there is lots of fun to be had… in the design!  This week I’m talking about about the decorative kitchen elements.  My kitchen is SO much more than the cabinets, appliances and countertops.  My kitchen is going to have Soul.

Before Cottage Kitchen

From the start I knew I wanted to do something with the back wall.  It has always just felt so assymetrical and unfinished and I’ve never gotten it right.  I considered wallpaper or a gallery wall.  It was really important to me that the wall be interesting yet subtle so that didn’t detract from the kitchen design.  I decided that shiplap would be the perfect mix of texture and charm.  This room by Sherry Hart really sold it for me.

neutral shiplap dining room by Sherry Hart

Hubba Hubba.  I love everything Sherry touches.

I partnered up with our ORC sponsor, Lowe’s, to build the shiplap wall.  My dad used pre-primed 1×8 boards and milled out a little gap between the boards.  I loved it the minute I saw it.  It really expands the space!  (You know what they say about horizontal stripes…)

shiplap wall sneak peak with gold pendants and pierre frey arty

I decided to paint it in Farrow and Ball’s “All White.”  It’s a clean, crisp white with warm undertones.  Since my countertop is a warm white, I didn’t want to choose a white wall that read Cool.  (Pssst check out Farrow and Ball’s 9 new color introductions HERE.  I contemplated doing a “Peignoir” ceiling but ultimately decided it would be one element too much.)

So far the whole story of this kitchen has been black and white.  Black and white cabinets, white walls, white countertops, black refrigerator.  I love a neutral base in my kitchen, but I’m also a lover of color so I knew I would want some vibrancy in here as well.  Since I have commitment issues, I decided on accessories and soft furnishings to bring in my current color crushes.  My goal is for it to be fun, colorful, yet also classic and timeless.  I think I called it Modern Cottage Glamour in my first post.  I forgot to add that I enjoy a side of Boho.

textile mix

top ikat fabric / leopard fabric

I actually started my color scheme with a refresh in the living room.  I fell hard for this textile combo and ordered fabrics from DecoratorsBest to make myself some custom pillows.  I’ve been talking about my orange crush for months now and I thought that Samarkand ikat was the perfect jumping off point for the design.

Stepping into the actual kitchen, the bones are so neutral, I decided to go bold on the bar stools.  I honed in on the idea of a painted orange (tangerine) bar stool, but I wasn’t quite sure of the right shape.  After perusing tons of options I selected this wishbone counter stool from all modern.  I love the classic mid-century feel of these chairs and they are super comfy!  Seriously, it’s like a lounge counter stool.  I also like that they aren’t too visually heavy in my small space.  It’s orange, but not too much orange.

wishbone counter stool in charlotte locks black and white leopard

All Modern Stool with Farrow and Ball’s Charlotte’s Locks plus a little leopard.

Oh yes, I went there.

Next up on my list was a rug.  I fell quick and hard for this Dash and Albert rug from DecoratorsBest.  Just a bit of dark to tie into the cabinets, just a bit of orange from the stools and a lavender surprise.  It was a done deal, slayed at first site.

rhapsody wool rug lavender pink orange tribal flatweave

Being a wool flatweave, I think it should be pretty practical in the kitchen.  I plan to shake it clean and flip it occasionally (it’s reversible.)  It should also spot clean well.

To finish off the space, I’m planning a bit of art for my kitchen.  I hit my color threshold, so I focused my art search on black and white prints.  The photographs below are limited edition from our sponsor, Minted.  I just love their new matte brass frame!

3 kit bw balerina art

Musing of Synchronicity by Zanne Bedore


Black Birds by Donna Rosner

There’s probably more I want to say, but honestly I’m so exhausted I not thinking completely straight.  So I’m going to say a little prayer we can pull this rabbit out of its hat in the next two days.  Rachael, Chrissy (our new intern) and I will be cleaning, re-stocking and zhushing the kitchen all day tomorrow.  We’ve also got some 12th hour final fixes and feats from both Dad and George.  Then it’s the photo shoot with Courtney and we have another One Room Challenge in the bag.  Boom, it’s a Room.  Then it’s back to real life.  Luckily our day job is pretty fun.

Next Week:  The big Reveal.  I promise less chatter, more kitchen porn. 


Is anyone a bigger mess than me?  Check out week 5 One Room Challenge for the rest of the participants…

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Catch Up on My One Room Challenge Kitchen Renovation

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3

Week 4 / Week 5 / Week 6


One Room Challenge {Cottage Kitchen} Week 4

I’m laughing at myself because I was up late last night manically culling marble tiles for my kitchen.  I sorted through box after box pulling too-gray tiles into reject pile.  I am literally THAT client.  No doubt my dad is rolling his eyes (and hopefully smiling) while reading this .

It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge and I am soooo ready to get my kitchen back.  My entire first floor is a construction zone complete with tools, drop cloths, boxed up belongings and dust.  Lots of dust.   And NO functional place to live.  It has me a little on edge. The good news is there’s been a lot of activity and progress and its all very encouraging.  I may get my sink back today!  Fingers crossed.

I’ve talked about my cabinets in week 2 and appliances in week 3, so this week I’m covering the other essential kitchen materials.


I usually choose countertops and wall backsplashes at the same time because they are closely visually related.  Since I now have black base cabinets, I knew I wanted white tops and white walls.  White with a bit of gray and caramel was definitely welcome.  I narrowed my combinations to the following:

Option 1- Carrara Marble Countertops (Honed) with gloss Ceramic White Subway Tile

Option 2- Arctic White Quartz (Polished) with Venatino White Marble Subway Tile

Cottage Kitchen cabinet countertop backsplash options

DESIGNER TIP // Take a look at your kitchen and evaluate if your horizontal surfaces (countertops) or vertical surfaces (walls) will make a bigger impact.  Focus on the stronger element when choosing your focal point.

I decided the walls should be more visually stunning, so I chose Option 2.  We will do marble tile on the wall and keep the countertop very simple and clean. I selected Arctic White Quartz which is a man-made product that is very durable, practical and neutral with just the faintest of pattern to give it a little depth.  I would describe it as a warm white.  I upgraded to a double thick top so it’s a bit chunkier and substantial.  It was installed yesterday at 6pm and I’m still pinching myself.

design manifest arctic white quartz double laminated mitred edge

They mitred the edge so there is no seam between the slabs.  It was an expense that added NO function to my space whatsoever, but it makes me pretty giddy.  The perk of a small kitchen is that it’s easy to splurge on things like countertop treatments, which are charged by the lineal foot.

lowes marble subway tile

When shopping for tile, I popped into Lowe’s to check out some budget friendly marble tiles.  I debated between the Allen + Roth Venatino marble in a 2×4 tile and Anatolia Tile Venatino Marble in a 3×6.  I chose the 3×6 because the size is more classic and I thought the variation would be less busy.  Also I liked that the majority of the Anatolia tiles are a creamy white base with caramels with grays.  Since my countertop is a warm white, I wouldn’t have like that paired with a cooler white/gray marble tile.  Thus why I’m sleep deprived for removing those few pesky gray marble tiles.  (Note: It’s marble and I welcome the variation, I just wanted to make sure the overall feel was warm instead of cool.  I’m hoping it pays off and/ or I’m not crazy.)


My challenge when sink shopping was that I needed to find the biggest sink possible to fit into a 24″ sink cabinet.  I gave up inches in the sink cabinet in order to fit a trash pull out, so it was important I maximize every inch.  Again, I turned to our generous ORC Sponsor, Lowe’s, to pick out my sink.  I selected a 23″ x 20″ stainless steel undermount sink from Vigo.  I really liked it’s clean lines, inexpensive price and most importantly, its dimensions.  With a little finagling we could fit this nice-sized sink into my small cabinet.  I am so excited to test it out!

delta trinsic champagne bronze faucet with vigo stainless steel sink

I have a Delta Trinsic faucet that is only a year old, so I knew I wanted to re-use that.  It is in their “Champagne Bronze” finish which should coordinate nicely with my brass accents.

To me the most important thing about the faucet re-installation is that it had to go centered behind the sink.  I have a side faucet mount in my condo and I really prefer the look of it being centered.  Since I chose a really deep sink (front to back) this posed a problem for a 24″ deep cabinets.  The solution was to pull them off the wall a couple of inches to allow the faucet to fit behind the sink.  The extra bonus of doing this is that my non-counter depth refrigerator now appears less deep and more “built-in.”  Win-Win-Win.

vigo undermount sink in a 24 sink cabinet- design manifest

This generous sink just barely fits into my small cabinet.  It’s fabulous.




I looked at all different kinds of cabinet hardware; modern, traditional, polished, matte, knobs, pulls, bin pulls.  I’ve been walking this fine line between modern and cottage and I knew this selection could tip me over an edge.  The countertop reads pretty modern, so I wanted more traditional hardware to balance it out. Traditional with a side of Glam, please.  Instead of matching, I’m creating coordinating vignettes.  I have glass knobs, brass knobs,  brass pulls AND lucite pulls.  Sound a little crazy?  I think it’s gonna work out great.

backsplash tile and brass cabinet hardware glass knobs

My lucite pulls haven’t arrived yet and I’m still debating between the large and small knob.

Yesterday the large knob was a big hit on instagram, but part of me still wants the small.


I love my pendant lights, so I had no desire to swap them out.  I did however think it was time to upgrade the chandelier in the dining room.  These two rooms are open to each other so it was important to me that the chandelier reflect the aesthetic of the kitchen, yet also not be too matchy.  Since I’m doing brass in the kitchen, I purposely chose a dining chandelier in another finish.  After looking around, I fell in love with the Calypso Chandelier our ORC sponsor, Crystorama.

calypso chandelier crystorama

I love that it feels modern, yet vintage and I really like it in this bronze finish.  I have two lights in my living room in a similar finish so this chandelier ties in nicely.  It’s been mounted, but we have yet to hang the crystals.  I’m so impatient to see it, but I probably wont hang them until all of the work is done.  Just don’t want to risk it.  Murphy’s Law is serious and unforgiving when it comes to construction.


2 weeks until you (and I!) get to see it come together.

Next Week:  COLOR joins the party!  I’ll be talking about some the finishing decorative touches- bar stools, rug, art, window treatments plus a very special wall treatment.  This is just too much darn fun 😉


See week 4 One Room Challenge for the rest of the participants…

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


One Room Challenge {Cottage Kitchen} Week 2

Warning:  This Post is All About Nerding Out on Cabinetry

Welcome to week 2 of my kitchen renovation.  I’m happy to report that real progress has been made!  We spent the ENTIRE weekend emptying out the kitchen.  Like hours upon hours of sorting and packing.

packing up kitchen

{Saturday April 9th}

Then my carpenter, Angelo shows up on Monday and rips out the old kitchen in a matter of hours.  By Tuesday morning my new kitchen has already taken shape.  Crazy.  (It helps that I am keeping my wood floors and not changing electric or plumbing!)

base cabinets installed

{Tuesday April 12th}

The cabinet delivery is such an epic moment in a kitchen renovation because you can finally see the room take shape.  But BEFORE the cabinets arrive they need to be laid out and specified.  After much floor plan finagling I decided my current layout (designed by me 3 years ago) was the best set up for the room.  The central door and window locations are really killer but there was no way I was cutting into my stone walls to relocate them.  I also really enjoy having the island and was not willing to give that up.


Since the floor plan is mostly the same and room is very small it is imperative that I be efficient with my cabinets.  I decided custom cabinets were the best way to maximize every inch of storage.  I worked with a company in Pennsylvania to build my cabinets to my exact specifications.  I was able to draw out the layout of my utensil dividers, completely customize my spice cabinet and make my two dish cabinets be exactly symmetrical  (31.5”W x 35”H to be exact.)

We are including all the bells and whistles you would want in a small kitchen.  Every drawer and roll-out shelf has full extension, undermount guides to allow for easy access to the contents.  Doors and drawers are soft close, so no slamming shut.  Drawers are solid wood, dove-tailed and sturdy.  The pricing of my cabinets ended up being similar to a good stock cabinet, but I think the quality is much better.

Here’s me testing out the new cabinets before they’ve even gotten their adjustment.

Beyond hardware and construction, the cabinets are designed to be well-organized.  Stuff will be stored where I need it.  On the “cooking wall” we have allocated roll out shelves for pots and pans, organized drawers for cooking utensils, bowls, and pot holders.  And all are within reach from the stove.


We were able to pack a lot into the small Sink Wall.  We added a floor above the trash pull-out so that cutlery could be contained and sanitary above there.  All of my dishes, glasses and eating utensils should be able to be stored right around my sink and dishwasher.


I decided NOT to upgrade the island for this renovation.  It is a painted Ikea piece that works well enough for now and is the perfect dimension for the room.  When the budget allows I will customize the island cabinets to improve storage and certainly upgrade the hardware because the slamming drawers drive me nuts.  I did, however, just splurge new cabinet pulls that probably cost more than the entire island… but we will save that for another post.


I’m lucky in that I have a large (39Wx 93H x 24D) cabinet just outside the kitchen.  We use this as a pantry plus storage for excess kitchen items.  It’s pretty essential to keeping our small kitchen functional and it will stay.

For me picking the style of the cabinets was very easy and clear cut.  I wanted clean and classic so I went with a simple shaker door with no embellishments.  (Machine Edge, Square Bead.)  My knobs and pulls will add character to my cabinets so I prefer that my doors are more simple and timeless.  My deeper drawers will match the door style while the shallow drawers will be slab.  This was an easy place to save in my cabinet budget and I’m fine with the clean look on top.

base door        wall door

For colors, I was pretty set on black cabinets from the start.  I love black because it’s classic, dramatic, rich, and just a little edgy.  Wanting to keep the room light and bright, everything above eye level is white.  So that means the wall cabinets and tall refrigerator panel are white.  I like the mix and match of black and white.  This theme will continue with the rest of my materials.

With the cabinet delivery also came our first rounds of WHOOPSIES.  There are always mistakes and problems in renovations.  It’s just part of the game.  I thought I was ordering my dish cabinets to be glass doors with mirrors on the back of the cabinets.  Instead I got mirrored doors and plain insides.  I’m gonna need to troubleshoot this issue because I’m not feeling it.  I love a good mirror, but staring at myself in the kitchen feels a little weird.  We shall see.  It’s my policy to live with things for a few days before making a decision.

mirrored cabinet door mistake

Oh Hello there.


How are the other participants fairing in week 2?  Check out their posts below.

I personally have so much catching up to do!

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Next Week: My appliances are coming soon, so I will divulge all the details on those.  Picking my appliances proved to be pretty challenging for me.  I really dislike stainless so refrigerator shopping ending up being a little more intense than I thought.


Catch Up on My One Room Challenge Kitchen Renovation

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3

Week 4 / Week 5 / Week 6