Kitchen trends and fads

by laurafrombaltimore

My favorite topic: kitchen porn! Fad or trend?

Small Kitchens, by Choice

My nominee for the “well, duh” award: “The novelty of a small kitchen may well change once the millennials start families.” Ya think? Well-paid singles and DINKs have always found ways to blow their extra money and time; for DH, it was mountain bikes and scuba gear; for these guys, it’s the “overpriced hipster 7-Eleven” and food shopping several times a week. But priorities tend to change when the kids come along.

What are your favorite/least favorite kitchen trends or fads?

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92 thoughts on “Kitchen trends and fads

  1. We have a late 70’s house and kitchen. It isn’t quite micro, but we have the cabinet under the sink and four more “standard” lower cabinets. We have four “standard” upper cabinets, plus the basically useless ones over the frig and the stove (it houses the vent-a-hood vent to the outside). We also have a small “pantry” its just bigger than a “standard” cabinet, but a full length and designed like a closet. It is mainly a one person kitchen. You cannot have cluttered counters or you have NO workspace. For bigger cooking projects we often spill over into the breakfast area.

    I’ve had bigger, though never “huge”, and smaller kitchens. The main thing I don’t like about our kitchen is it was designed for smaller refrigerators. Since the frig opens into the end of an L shaped counter, we have to have a side-by-side or your can’t get the door all the way open. I lust after a french door type with the freezer on the bottom!

    As we have limited space, I dislike the “gadget or special kind of pot” trend.

  2. Ooh! I am excited about this topic today. We need to finalize plans on The Money Pit’s kitchen. It is an awkward space – a small original foot print (1920s house) that has had the back wall taken out to transition to an addition. So, not tiny, but lots of entries and exits, meaning very little wall/cabinet space.

    We will be putting Ikea cabinets in with custom fronts from a company called semihandmade. I actually really like the quality and the amount of various interior designs, but don’t love the fronts.

    The current kitchen trends, grey grey grey with subway tile in a greenish/blueish shade of grey is not bad in itself. But it feels so very much this moment and so ubiquitous.

  3. This is the look we are considering (putting the link in a separate document so I don’t get moderated). Grey grey with a bit of texture. So superior to grey grey grey.

  4. Our kitchen came with builder’s grade cabinets in a shade that is lighter than I would have picked and Corian counters in a very dark, almost black green that I would not have picked. But the layout is perfect, imo. It’s a mid-sized horseshoe with tons of cabinets and an island in the center. Crucially, there is nothing on the island but a slab of counter, so I do all the prep work there and it simplifies cleaning. The dishwasher is cheap and loud, but it gets the water very hot and works flawlessly (especially when I read about so many problems with high-end brands that also need special detergents). There’s a double oven, which allows us to keep a pizza stone permanently in the lower one. The ovens and gas range are GE Profile, which I suppose is about the level many of us try to target.

    If I wanted to spend money, I would swap out the counters, darken the cabinets, replace the tile with hardwood, and change nothing else.

    Oh, and for some reason, when I used to watch Food Network cooking shows, they all used hand-operated can openers. So that’s what we bought and used for 10 years. It was the kind that cuts under the lid and leaves no sharp surfaces. I thought we were being innovative, but it eventually stopped working well. Recently, since we’ve been using a lot of canned beans and tomatoes, I replaced it with a $15 stainless steel electric can opener from Walmart, and it’s like I suddenly rediscovered the revolutionary, life-altering joys of harnessing electricity to assist with simple, mechanical tasks. The can opener lives in Appliance Corner on the counter; its neighbors are Keurig, Cuisnart, Vitamix, and toaster. I don’t know if we’ll ever rediscover the practical utility of the under-cabinet mounted can opener circa 1986, but never say never.

  5. Oh, I just noticed the Kitchenaid mixer is in that corner, too. So it’s nice having enough counter space that these things don’t need to be stowed away.

  6. My brother has a galley kitchen in his U.K. house. It is only possible for one person to move around freely in the kitchen area. The storage space is also very limited. The house, OTOH accomodates a family of four comfortably. Now, that they have kids and cook at home, they remodeled the downstairs which added more storage space. They were unable to change the footprint of the kitchen. I say no thanks to such a small kitchen. OTOH, one of my relatives owns a home with a large open kitchen/family room. The kitchen area with a big range, refrigerator and tons of space is not used. The family usually grills or does take out. The small kitchens in the article will continue to be adequate if the millenlials continue with their same life style as they age.

  7. Ada – we have grey tile in our kitchen, doesn’t show dirt easily unless you drop flour on it. Love that look !

  8. The smaller the kitchen, the less walking around time you have, so I like smaller. I would love to fit our washer and dryer into the kitchen area, so I would never have to leave.

  9. Ha! That ‘microkitchen’ in the article looks a whole lot like my kitchen in law school. It was wholly inadequate! No space for making cookies or chopping or doing anything.

    Our kitchen now is *pretty* big (open to DR with a peninsula, not an island) but I would always like more counter space! I end up doing things like rolling cookie dough on the dining room table because there is not enough room on the counters. We have a 48″ Bluestar which I looooooooove and a giant hood. Miele dishwasher with the top silverware drawer – the drawer is awesome but the dishwasher gave us a lot of trouble for a while until they replaced a part. We have a Kitchenaid fridge that is only OK. When going to the next kitchen, I would definitely go for the subzero or *ACTUAL* counter-depth fridge instead of the one that sticks out like 3″ even though it is supposed to be counter depth.

    We did the white kitchen when it was just coming in, with soapstone counters and subway tile, and now all of the developer houses around here have white kitchens with subway tile. :) We also had the counters raised to 39″ since DH and I are both tall – it makes a big difference when chopping.

  10. Our kitchen is not very big but now that we’ve remodeled it works great. We put in drawers in place of all the lower cabinets, and our upper cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling. Those two things help with storage dramatically. Aesthetically, one of the best things we did was put in a counter-depth fridge.

    Next up is bathrooms. I’m in the planning stages now. Starting with our very tiny guest room, then master bath. For those who have done bathrooms, and great storage/organization or other features you love?

  11. Also, the relative with the big kitchen has marble countertops. The house came with them. They are constantly worried about stains to the marble, so they end up covering the countertop and the island with paper. It is very impractical to cook with that limitation and worse if your cooking involves spices.

  12. Louise – That’s something I would never tolerate. Expensive options are supposed to make life easier.

  13. My relative who just put in a huge new kitchen chose gray for some of the cabinets. Now I now it’s a trend. Their kitchen island is about 5x the size of mine, which is really just a 2×3’rolling cabinet. I guess we’re part of the tiny kitchen trend.

    I plan to replace my aging, low-end toaster oven with one that has more features. I decided this after seeing this Breville Smart Convection Oven Plus that has a slow cooker feature that got me very excited. It also has a warming feature and other niceties. My main concern is that the inside dimensions may not be as large as the toaster oven I have now, which is on its last legs. Apparently Breville is a beloved brand with high ratings. We currently use our toaster oven extensively, and I expect upgrading will be a smart decision. Any opinions on toaster ovens you like?
    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/breville-smart-convection-oven-plus/?pkey=e%7Ctoaster%2Bovens%7C40%7Cbest%7C4294967106%7C1%7C24%7C%252Ftoaster-ovens%252Felectrics%7C10&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH

  14. I recently saw a kitchen remodel show where they substituted something that looked like white marble but did not stain.

  15. I love my black granite tile countertops. We cook with foods that can stain (beets, turmeric, red wine) and I love not having to worry about it. We can also put hot pots on it or cut on it, even.

    Our kitchen is medium sized. Our appliances are not fancy and are all 15-20 years old (except for the dishwasher which we recently replaced). It works for us, and gets a good deal of use.

  16. “What could you do in your kitchen that you couldn’t do in the 400 Grove Street kitchen?”

    Hahahahahahahaha.

    1. Cook while DH does dishes (note placement of sink between stove and fridge)

    2. Store sufficient food for all 4 of us to be able to shop merely once a week.

    3. Store my required kitchen gadgets, which even at a minimum include Kitchen-Aid, Cuisinart, blender, Instant Pot, coffee maker (for company), and tea-making paraphernalia. Not to mention mixing bowls, whisks, measuring spoons, pots/pans/wok, etc. etc. etc.

    4. Store any dishes that we actually use (open shelving? I think not. Though they’d work for the platters that get used only once in a while).

    5. Cook Thanksgiving dinner.

    If that were my kitchen, I would add more cabinetry over the sink, add a magnetic knife-and-tool strip along the wall, add one of those drop-in cutting boards that fits right over the sink when you need it, and replace the cutesy teensy island with a big farmhouse-style table. At least that would give me space to work in and let us all sit down when the food is ready.

  17. The trend in newer suburban houses that I just hate is the tiny island that is basically all cooktop. It seems useless, and dangerous to boot if you have young kids! I much prefer an island like Milo describes, that is just counter/prep space. Our current kitchen has the cooktop on the island (we couldn’t avoid some variation based on the area/price range we were looking in), but at least the island is large-ish so there is prep space on 3 sides and you have somewhere to put a spoon rest, etc.

  18. 2. Store sufficient food for all 4 of us to be able to shop merely once a week.

    You couldn’t store a weeks worth of food in that big fridge and the floor to ceiling pantry to the right of the fridge?

  19. “We cook with foods that can stain, and I love not having to worry about it.”

    It’s funny, but you know what else doesn’t stain, and is the easiest to clean with just about anything? Laminate. It also doesn’t break glasses and plates as easily. I’m starting to think that it’s only downside is that it’s too affordable.

    When I was planning our office built-ins a few years ago, I was looking at different materials for the desk surface, including wood and various stones. All of those were going to have some concern with fading, re-staining, coffee spills, crayons, markers, ink. My contractor suggested laminate, and it’s awesome. Windex cleans everything off of it so easily. This is a part of one of the workstations:

  20. A year ago, Danny Rodichok, 31, and Christina Bruce, 28, moved into an 860-square-foot apartment with a kitchen not much bigger than a king-size bed, on the 23rd floor of the Via6 apartment building in downtown Seattle. Amazon is building its world headquarters across the street. They pay $3,379 a month in rent.

    I know location is everything, but over $3k for 860 square feet? That’s just absurd.

  21. We are trying to figure out whether the lack of storage in the new house’s fridge (particularly in the freezer) is a problem specific to it (it’s a side-by-side, which I always find to be a less useful configuration, plus it’s counter-depth) or an issue with all counter-depth fridges. Our fridge at the previous house was french door, freezer on the bottom, non-counter depth–we loved it and the configuration was super easy to use. Anyone have any insights?

  22. @Ada — we had the same problem with our old-house kitchen retrofit: the area we decided to use for the kitchen had doors to the basement and to the front of the house on one wall, a door to the dining room on the adjacent wall, and a big fireplace and opening to the back porch area on the wall next to that — we had one wall with no doors, and that one butted up against the basement door, so we couldn’t have run a countertop there. We ended up closing off the basement access, just so I could get one uninterrupted L of countertop.

    My one suggestion to you is to do whatever you can to provide yourself a “working aisle” that is out of the normal flow of traffic. We put all of the working stuff within that L — the main sink is on one end, and the fridge is on the other, and there’s an island in the middle, so that people who need stuff can go outside the island to get to the fridge or sink without running in front of where I am trying to cook. (We also installed two separate pantry cabinets for this reason — one with all of the things I need for cooking within my L, the other with cereals and lunch stuff and kid snacks and juice boxes outside of my L). The old kitchen was a galley with the fridge and stove on one wall and the sink and dishwasher facing them — and it was basically in a hallway on the way to the back door, so the traffic flow was a *total* disaster (you couldn’t open the fridge and dishwasher at the same time — now imagine kids trying to run through, too).

    Re: countertops: I refuse to deal with staining, etc. — like Milo says, the more I spend on something, the easier it better make my life. I found a Silestone that looked just like limestone (though it’s not the one they call “limestone,” which has that speckled fake-granite look I hate). It is soft and mottled and lovely. The only thing that has ever stained it is marker, but I’ve always been able to scrub even that out. It’s freaking awesome.

  23. @June: counter-depth fridges suck on storage. Sorry. What we were able to do in a prior house was buy a normal fridge and recess it just a few inches into the wall (it was just an internal wall, so there wasn’t any structure or wiring or anything to worry about) — it wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t stick out too much.

  24. DD,

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  25. The small kitchen is great if you are the only cook and have no small children, in the same way that the large kitchen is wonderful with a large family at home but seems like a vast empty space when the kids move out and you just buy take out. To every kitchen there is a season :)

    We did our kitchen to my taste – white cabs, wood floors (standard here, no one uses tile and it is too cold for me), blackish green marble countertops, light green tile walls to the ceiling, copper hardware, lowered island so I can work on it comfortably.

    From what I read about last year when we were designing ours, the next big thing was supposed to be brightly painted kitchen cabinets. I thought I would get tired of those, in a way that neither white or wood bothers me.

    Not a fan of gray in decor, largely because all of the flooring here is red oak. It’s very hard to pick a shade of gray that works with that much oak. With a gray or black floor, or a very pale wood floor the color of birch gray walls and upholstery can be stunning.

    Ada, those cabinet fronts may be the least likely to show fingerprints I’ve ever seen – well done :) I spend way too much time cleaning mine because every fleck stands out.

  26. June, I know a lot of people complain about a lack of storage in side-by-side compared to the freezer drawer, but I just don’t get it. We get a lot of freezer drawer styles in VRBO vacation houses, and it seems like you’re just throwing everything in a big pile, and it never seems more useful. I could see how it’s more energy-efficient.

    I’m having too much fun with Tinypic, but this is our fridge right now. In the freezer, it’s not even showing a ton of pre-prepped Let’s Dish meals that are tucked in the back.

  27. June, look up the cubic feet of storage area for your model and compare it to your old one. The french door refrigerators tend to have a lot more square inches of shelf space, too.

    Depending on your room layout and how much you care, one of the best solutions for that without replacing your cabinets or sacrificing the “look” of counter depth is to have a carpenter re-frame the wall behind the fridge to make a cut-out about 6-8″ deep (depending on the replacement refrigerator dimensions) so you can fit a standard-depth fridge there.

    In my high COL area I would expect it to cost about $300-$400 for the framing and drywalling if you have a handyman type guy or someone there with a larger project. In most houses it’s not a complicated re-framing job, but you might discover some component of your HVAC or drainage when you take the drywall on the kitchen side off – and if you do, just put that drywall right back on and live with a non-counter depth fridge!

    Obviously works best if your refrigerator backs into a closet, and not so well if backs onto a long flat wall between the kitchen and living room :)

  28. @Rhett — Not the way my kids eat. :-) I’m sure I could manage — heck, I lived with our corner-galley-hallway kitchen for more than 2 years while planning the remodel. They could buy lunch at school, I could force them to finish a box of cereal before buying a different variety, I could buy things like chicken stock and refried beans and condensed milk and salsa and olive oil as I needed it instead of keeping an extra can/jar/box on hand, I could buy DH a six-pack of Pepsi every week instead of buying four 12-packs when they go on sale. But, boy, it’s nice not to have to think that hard.

    ITA on side-by-side fridges — I freeze a ton, and I find their freezer space by far more useful. The problem is the counter-depth thing. Then again, if you don’t use the freezer for much beyond ice cream, a French door variety is awesome — we have one of those at work, and the fridge space and visibility is fabulous.

  29. We have a French door fridge with freezer drawers on the bottom. We found with freezer drawers, things were more organized. I think opening one drawer at a time prevents you from just sticking things on any shelf which used to happen when we used the side by side. Then there would be muddling through the shelves to find the required items. Our fridge is now not countertop depth like our old one was.

  30. Has anyone else seen the “leather finish” marble/granite counter tops. It is a matte, sometimes pitted surface. I know someone who has it – it seems much easier to keep clean-appearing than a shiny surface.

  31. Ada – if you look at Rhett’s picture with the pitted countertop, we have that light shade of cabinets. They also go with the grey floor, if you are looking for a lighter option for the cabinets.

  32. Blergh, that leather-finish (unless it is actually flat) would be a huge PITA to clean – the pancake batter that spills would totally get stuck in all those tiny dips.

    Denver – I had clients who just paid $85,000 for a parking space, very close to that Troy apt complex.

  33. I’m not sure if I would like a pitted surface for countertops, but I seriously considered putting in distressed wood floors (with nicks and scratches) when I remodeled. I decided against it, but we seem to have achieved that look with the passing of time. :)

    I’ve heard the side-by-side fridges are sometimes a problem with storing larger platters. We’re preparing large antipasto platters for Christmas dinner, and I wonder if they would fit.

  34. No thanks on the leather-textured finish. They must be popular only with people who rarely cook and never clean. The help must hate them.

  35. Oh! I think granite is the worst for cleaning – darker is even more terrible. It always feels gritty, and looks smudged. We lived with black granite and it showed every fingerprint. The leather finish is much more like a laminate counter – very forgiving. The one person I know who has it, loves it – though they have only had it a few months. They have it in a rustic mountain cabin, with one room, wood stove, etc. – so not a pristine, clean place.

  36. Our kitchen is smallish, but the layout is fabulous for actually cooking & there is plenty of storage. And I have a lot of gadgets as at one point I used to work for a housewares company. It’s got the “triangle” and it’s easy to move around in. Plenty of counter space with a big peninsula for working (or eating breakfast) and counters in the back to hold tr toaster/coffee maker/mixer/fruit bowl/breadbasket, etc.

    We have laminate countertops, which are functional enough that we always choose to spend $ on other things rather than replacing them. I do hate our sink though – it is a side by side and I wish we had a big farmhouse sink. But we haven’t gotten around to replacing it as then the discussion about countertops always comes up with it.

    One current trend that I don’t care for is mismatched cabinets. This is HUGE in the newest places around here – black cabinets on the bottom and white on top. Or a black island and white cabinets. It’s just not my style & I think that it will look very “2015” very quickly.

    I have never seen those “leather” countertops. No thanks.

  37. Personally, the worst part of that kitchen is the glass door cabinets. That pretty much defeats point of having cabinets.

    Or even worse a glass door fridge:

    Who wants to see that?

  38. Love this topic. I have a smallish kitchen in terms of cabinetry, but lots of counterspace. It is a functional space, but not very pretty. Our fridge is tucked away in the counter, and prior to getting french doors, the doors couldn’t open all the way because they would hit a cabinet. The cabinets are original to the 1950 house, have about 8 coats of white paint, and the doors and drawers are starting to fail. And we don’t have a pantry, so storing dry goods in the kitchen is a problem. I’m waiting for the kids to be out of daycare before we renovate. I can’t wait to get ride of the horrible tile floor. My DH also worked for the housewares company (maybe the same one Ivy), so we have lots of stuff that gets stored in the basement and brought up for each use.

  39. Our kitchen is a remodel (our house was originally a cape). I suspect it’s on the small side, but it works fine for me. I like that the sink, fridge and stove are three steps apart from each other. I also like that the major appliances are placed on a “U” shaped footprint, and that traffic can pass through the kitchen having to enter the “U”. Part of the “U” is counter seating for 3 and it’s wide open. I find double sinks to be ridiculously small and impractical, so I have one large shallow sink. I don’t have to bend over as much and big a$$ roasting plans fit flat in the sink with room to spare. We have ample cabinet space. We have gas now, but we didn’t when we purchased our current stove. I like the ceramic cook top. It’s very easy to clean and when I’m entertaining a big crowd it extends my buffet area because it’s a nice, big flat surface.

    One thing I wish for is a double oven, but we just do not have room for it. I usually am able to work around the oven limitation, even on Thanksgiving.

    We have a tile floor now. It was great when the kids were younger (because it cleans up so easily) but when it needs to be replaced I’m thinking of switching to another surface with radiant heating.

    We have granite, previously laminate. I found that the laminate stained and the edges chipped, but like everything else, laminate may have improved since we replaced it 16 years ago.

  40. Quartz counteracts are impervious to stain and gouging (they meet strict kosher standards for sterilizing), but hard if you drop something on them. Marmoleum (genuine natural fiber linoleum) floors are soft on the feet and so stain resistant they are used in commercial kitchens and operating rooms.
    I am very content with my step saving one cook galley kitchen. A deep sink, good lighting, and a firm clean as you go philosophy serve me well. Plus a properly filled stemless wine glass during prep.

  41. My kitchen in my first studio apartment was so tiny that a pint of ben and jerrys wasn’t able to fit standing in the freezer. I couldn’t wait to move to get a real freezer.

    We have the same refrigerator as Milo because I had to get cabinet depth for that space, and the side by side was the best choice. I really dislike the freezer, and I don’t think I have enough space. We are just a few people so it works, but it was a pain when I had people here for Hanukkah. My husband does not want a freezer in the garage, so we generally manage and it just needs to be very organized.

    I love quartz countertops. You can practically do anything and they look GREAT. I have a cambria that I love in my kitchen, but we were able to get leftover pieces of natural quartz for my bathroom renovations. The one in our hall bath is sort of leathery. The surface is raised in a few places, so there are no pits. I cried for many days over my master bath because the slab that I selected for my master bath cracked when they finally went to template it. I had to just pick something at the marble place when I went back since it was the final days. I got another piece of natural quartz, but I don’t love it. The material is wonderful, but I don’t like the colors as much as the piece that I originally selected. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just picked something from Cambria or Ceaserstone so I wouldn’t have those same issues. Some of the manufactured quartz is gorgeous.

    Our kitchen is a good size, but it isn’t really large. When we did the renovation, DH didn’t want to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the dining rooms. We have plenty of stooge and counter space, but I think it would have been a little easier to have the wall down for the times that we have people here for holidays etc.

  42. @Rhett – yes like that. The glass door cabinets (on the bottom??) make it even less my taste.

  43. I was in the local library yesterday and one of the librarians was talking to a resident about selling her home. She told this woman that is also a real estate agent that she doesn’t want to touch her home because it is clean, and she doesn’t want to invest any money in it. She is 78, and moving in with her daughter in another state. I almost laughed when she said the kitchen was original, and they purchased the home in 1968!

  44. Oops – that was me. New computer!

    @Lemon – possibly! It was a great place to work when I was there.

  45. Those small kitchens are available in the new apartments behind my office (I work in a mixed use complex). I find small kitchens annoying but I like space.

    Our kitchen is about 10×11 feet. It’s 2 walls of “kitchen”, a wall of window and door, and then the open archway to the dining room. In terms of kitchens it’s very efficient. Nice honey colored cabinets, blue Corian counters (gross), oak floors and brick red walls. We have a small prep island in the middle. I have the bottom drawer freezer because it fits more than my previous freezer and because my fridge is against a wall, we couldn’t do a side by side. The left door wouldn’t open fully.

    In a couple years we plan on a face lift. Reface the cabinets, throw out the Corian, get a stainless steel sink, and a new backsplash. Something more modern and less country.

    I would love a true pantry. Or a wall of cabinet. And a larger island. Maybe in the next house.

  46. Ivy,

    The ones one the bottom and, even worse, the ones against the back wall that are glass fronted and internally lit.

  47. @Rhett, is there a sink along the back wall, or just that one that is about 25 paces from the stovetop? All I picture is carrying boiling hot water to the sink to drain with a child underfoot. The blue and white cabinets aren’t the problem, it is that they also have different countertops. There is too many styles going on there.

    @Ivy, if you are in chicago burbs, then yes, probably the same. The free goods, and summer tent sale were a nice benefit. Before we moved we stocked up on a lot. I won’t be needing any cake pans for a long time.

  48. @Lemon – I didn’t realize before how far the sink is from the stove in that kitchen. That would never work well for me! That kitchen probably has one of those faucets by the oven for filling pots, but what about draining them?

    @Rhett – the bottom ones look especially off to me, but I suppose it is a built-in kinda look. And the mirrored color – white cabinets with black countertops and then on the island black cabinets with white countertops. I can see why people like it, but it is one trend that I think looks very “now”. And not necessarily in a good way. I am also not a huge fan of that window by the sink – it looks as though it looks into a family room. Somehow a paned window seems odd to me there.

    This time of year, I am just glad to have a very functional kitchen, if not the prettiest.

  49. I have tile floors and I like them. Cool in the summer, which is great, but cold in the winter, which is not great. Luckily, where I live, the coolness in the summer matters more. The tile floor has stood up to A LOT of damage and still looks great. People with wooden floors that I know have to be so careful with them.

  50. Milo: Love your fridge.

    My fridge is organized. My freezer is a dumping ground and I need to work on it. It’s so easy to pop some leftovers into the freezer or buy extra food and just forget about it.

  51. You can install radiant heat if you go with tile floors. I didn’t do this in my kitchen because I didn’t think it was necessary. The cost for my master bath was relatively low compared to most of the other items that I had to purchase.

    I am really glad that I didn’t install top, top of the line for anything. I am VERY happy that I never touched my basement. The reason is DD friends. I had a group of 8 girls here last week and they are destructive. I can’t be in every room, and i want to give them space. They just don’t care about what they do to floors, furniture etc.

  52. “Where’s the beer, Milo?”

    Bottom drawer. Under the juice boxes. It’s mostly hard cider, which I usually prefer. More importantly, the Jack and Maker’s are in the cabinet.

    “Love your fridge.”

    Now that must be a joke, Houston. But imagine if the mess were on display behind the glass door in Rhett’s picture.

    Lauren, my late grandparents’ house was sold only a few years ago for a very good price with the original circa 1950 cabinets–thin yellowish knotty pine that closed with a firm magnetic “click.” I think either Betty Draper or Trudie Campbell had something very similar. OTOH, the appliances were newer, the counters had gone to Corian, and the vinyl faux-brick floor I remember as a young kid had long ago been replaced with hardwood.

  53. My kitchen is 20 years old and the cheap cabinets are failing, so I love this topic too. My kitchen has a pantry, two cupboard with glass doors that I hate, an island, and looks like pretty much every other kitchen in a suburban 2000 sq ft home for the past 20 years. I hate my white cabinets, because they are always dirty/smudged.

    We have hardwood floors in the kitchen/dining area and have refinished them twice. Last time, we put on 5 coats of polyurethane instead of 3 and they’ve held up better to our family. We are planning new carpets/floors in the future and are leaning toward oak again. I recommend 5 coats of polyurethane instead of 3.

    Our biggest inexpensive improvement was redoing the pantry. We installed 18″ (instead of 12″) shelves in the back, made the shelf heights different based on how I wanted to organize (the cereal/bread/peanut butter shelf is reachable by the boys), and used wire racks that are slightly sloped and brackets/corner braces for extra weight to support the canned goods, making them easy to rotate. (Google pinterest for the concept if interested.) Since I use at least a dozen cans of stuff a week, especially in the winter, storage/organization of canned goods is important to me.

    We have a cooktop on our island and I don’t like it. We want to put a range where the oven is.

  54. WCE, look at Barker cabinets – they are RTA but much higher quality than Ikea. Your DH sounds like he could handle assembly himself if he gets or has the right clamps.

    I got sample doors from Barker and they were gorgeous; we ultimately used Conestoga because the supplier was nearby (comparatively) and the quality was equally high.

    With the better RTA cabinet companies, you can also do the measurements completely custom without an up charge, which helps in an older house.

  55. Sky, cabinets are one area I’d like to buy locally. We have lots of wonderful local cabinet makers and friends have a kitchen I really like. I don’t know yet whether it’s feasible to choose local wood or not. Speaking of local wood, we currently have a 13′ tree in our living room with 20′ vaulted ceiling. It’s more work to haul it out of the woods and decorate such a large tree but I love feeling overwhelmed by the grandeur of my Christmas tree.

  56. Like WCE, we have high ceilings too. After years of struggling to decorate a 13-15 foot tree, this year I gave up the ghost. Instead I bought two 6 foot trees. One in the main room and one in the office where both Junior and I always hang out. I like this more than a lot better and I feel the Christmas season as I work away.

  57. I dream about one of those super-sized, mostly white and stainless steel kitchens with a big island that are in right now. I’m sure they’ll be dated in a decade, but love the look. If we ever build a house, the kitchen is the first place I’d add extra square footage. Even though we’re not gourmet cooks or anything, I think it’s the most natural gathering place in the house.

  58. No, Milo! I’m a bad writer, I guess. I love that we have spread Christmas this year into the room that we most use.

    And I’m sorry. For two people to lug, haul, stand upright and straighten, then decorate a 13-15 foot tree is beyond the pale. (We don’t have a staff.)

  59. Oh, I don’t care about the tree. I just knew that you were keen on Trump. Watch the video. It’s not the Grinch.

  60. Thanks all for the fridge thoughts. The consensus that it’s the depth and not the layout seems right on, especially comparing what Milo’s fridge looks like to ours–the difference is striking. The cubic square feet of our previous fridge is significantly higher, and it does look like that mostly comes from the depth.

    Unfortunately, our fridge is on an outside wall and opposite our island, so recessing is out and a deeper fridge would significantly impede the traffic flow. Looks like it’s just one of those things we’ll be living with. On the upside, it’s nearly impossible to lose or forget about something.

  61. We recently moved to a new house and it has leathered granite. I cook all of the time. My favorite to least favorite countertops have been leathered granite, quartz, polished granite. I managed to stain and chip my quartz in my old house and the polished granite always looked spotty. I will report back on the leathered granite after having it for longer, but so far, so good.

  62. PTM, I can’t tell if I should respond
    “I *am* the staff” or
    “There are six of us, but the four people whose combined weight is 166 lb are not much help hauling and righting the tree.”

    On the bright side, nearly all of the ornaments are out of Baby WCE’s reach.

  63. WCE and PTM, you could probably rig up a ceiling-mounted pulley system for the tree. Although that might raise some eyebrows when you want to move….

    On that note, merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and safe travels to everyone on the road or a ski slope :)

  64. We have our lovely 7.5 ft tree with our 8-8.5 ft ceiling. Easy to decorate. But Baby Rhode finds lights and ornaments. So the tree and tv are surrounded by a beautiful baby gate.

    on a bright note, I figured out how to rearrange the living room to give everyone more room. I even measured the room and furniture and plotted it out on graph paper. I’m a geek. After Baby Rhode’s birthday we are going to rearrange the room and deep clean.

    Happy Christmas and safe travels.

  65. WCE, you mentioned that you don’t like your white cabinets because of smudges. When we remodeled our kitchen 15 years ago (!) our architect dissuaded us from going with painted white cabinets for the same reason, so we have light wood (don’t know the wood). We also have a wood floor, so it is somewhat monotonous. I never minded because I was so thrilled to have a nice new kitchen, but now I am wondering if I should change it.

    White kitchens are everywhere, but am I behind the curve ball so far that they will be out before I ever get one? Does anyone have a white kitchen that loves it??

  66. ssk, lots of people linked below do. Mr WCE hated our white kitchen when we bought the house. I prefer home decor that hides dirt to cleaning and wiping regularly, so while I didn’t mind the aesthetics, I find white impractical for my cleaning preferences. (and Mr. WCE cleaned/cleans less than I do, even pre-kids)
    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/2454072/does-anyone-regret-their-white-cabinets

    In my ongoing laundry saga, I will admit that I scrubbed my floor yesterday (the cleaning lady only spot cleans) because from Baby WCE’s white and pastel pants, it was apparent that my kitchen floor needed it. But if no one were scooting around on my kitchen floor in white pants, it probably wouldn’t have been scrubbed.

  67. On small kitchens – Meme’s observation is spot on. If you cook in a small kitchen, you need to clean as you go. Many small kitchens lack dishwashers so if you let everything pile up in the sink or sit on the counter, it adds to the cramped feeling.

  68. I have two refrigerators — a medium-sized one in the kitchen and an apartment-sized one in the basement. They both stay relatively full, and this time of year when I host large family parties I wish I had even more refrigerator room. Usually we count on cold weather to store drinks and some food on the patio and in the garage before party time, but this year with temperatures slated to exceed 70 today that’s not really an option.

    One of the problems is that *other* family members stash all sorts of food in the fridge and forget about them. They also do things like open another mustard jar even though an opened one is in clear view (IMO) on the fridge door. So I have dupes of several items at any given time.

    Why is mom the only one who can find “lost” stuff (shoes, mustard jars, earbuds, wallets, etc.) that other family members have misplaced in the house? And then when I find them I get blamed because I put the item in the “wrong” place!!!

  69. CoC, I charge the kids 25 cents as a “finder’s fee” whenever they want me to help them find something. Won’t help with the extra jar of mustard, though.

  70. Milo, I agree with you on the benefits of laminate. However, it is often installed on particle board, which does not stand up well to water. One of the things that pushed us to finally pull the trigger on our remodel was the laminate peeling from the crumbling particle board beneath it, especially near the sink.

    That problem could be addressed with a better choice of substrate. One summer during college, I worked for the same fast food place where I’d worked in HS, but building a bunch of custom furniture for a new location that was to open soon. I addressed the substrate issue by using an exterior plywood.

  71. I have had two white kitchens in a row and I love them (but I also like the gray cabinets even though I know they will probably look dated in ten years). In the last house we renovated the kitchen and had custom built white cabinets (made out of a cheaper wood) and I never had a problem with smudges. This house, we inherited a white kitchen with icky laminate white cabinets and the smudges and dirt are awful. I can’t wait to get rid of them. And glossy black granite which I also dislike. We’re getting ready to hire a kitchen designer and do the kitchen this year. I love the look of marble and have it in both of the first floor bathrooms we redid but my contractor has convinced me it’s too impractical for kitchens. We’ll probably change the existing L shape with a wall of windows to a U with a peninsula (kitchen is too small for an island if we want cabinets on both sides). Our kitchen has too little counter space right now for actual cooking.

  72. DD, I read that and wondered whether CO juniors would also take the PSAT, or if they would no longer have the chance to become NMSF and have the merit aid options that status earns.

    I also noticed that it says both tests would be given in spring. While that’s no big deal for the SAT, it would be a big change for the PSAT.

  73. BTW, Dec SAT results were just posted. That, and early decision/admit decisions, have been hot topics among juniors and seniors.

    PSAT results will be posted soon, although official NMSF announcement usually come in in September. DS told me people usually hear about that first via the local paper.

  74. WCE, unless you are using Baby WCE as a floor cleanliness tester, why is she wearing white pants?

  75. @Finn – did your DS do early decision ? I think you mentioned some of his classmates already know where they will be attending.

  76. WCE – I love my white kitchen! The one thing I wish I had done was make the overhang for the countertop 1″ instead of 1/2″, since the water from the sink splashes onto the cabinets below the sink.

  77. People gave Baby WCE white and pastel pants. (It’s not just white- pink, yellow and lavender don’t look too great after a few trips around my island.) In other news, the stains from the previously frozen blueberries she ate last night came out in the wash.

    Mr WCE has refrigerator issues. We have a running joke that we need a guy refrigerator that is 6 feet wide and 12″ deep. Part of the problem is leftover buildup and the needs of six people. I had chicken salad yesterday consisting of the end of a roasted chicken, some grapes that needed to be used, an apple from our tree that had gotten a couple of spots and needed to leave the apple drawer and the green onions from tacos last week, mixed with plain yogurt that needed to get used.

  78. Louise, DS isn’t a senior yet. He has senior friends who have applied early action, but he’s only told me about a couple who know where they will go. Others will wait to be able to compare net costs.

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