Ktichen Confessional | Learn from my mistakes

Brooklyn Limestone
Whether you are thinking of renovating your kitchen or knee deep in demolition dust - this is the post for you! With 10 years of living in this kitchen, I can now share the ultimate in kitchen renovation lessons learned. What I wish I had done differently and what I'm so glad we did right the first time. Hopefully this scoop is helpful for your own renovations. It certainly has helped me with other projects over the years. [Check out this post for the before photos and more on the renovation.]

Let's start with the planning. When I was pouring over inspiration back then, I was told multiple times that "white kitchens are on their way out" In fact, I've seen this statement every single year since then as well. Will white kitchens one day go out of style? Never say never but white is pretty classic. I don't see it going out of style anytime soon.

Lesson #1 | Don't listen to the naysayers.  Pick what you like.

Ten years ago, soapstone was a pretty infrequently seen countertop material.  We had to go to a special supplier.  Lots of people warned me against it saying it was soft and would be trouble.  He was right,  it was softer than granite - but I knew that already as I had done my research.  I still loved the look and thought the dings and scratches would work well in an old house that has plenty of patina already. Well 10 years in, it definitely has plenty of wear but I still think it looks lovely.  It requires no maintenance whatsoever. While soapstone isn't for everyone, it was the perfect choice for us.

Lesson #2 | Even good contractors can be wrong. Do your own research.

When we were doing the layout, I was pretty against using the over the stove microwave for purely aesthetic reasons. I just didn't think it looked that great. But for a multitude of reasons we ended it going with it anyway.  Little did I know that the placement of that microwave over a hot stove creates a perfect storm for microwaves going ker-plewy.  This is our third microwave in 10 years and I don't think one is long for this world.  So not only is it generally unattractive but it has created an added expense and aggravation that is super inconvenient and hard to fix (and they always break at the MOST inopportune time - how does it know?). This is my #1 biggest mistake by far and it still makes my blood boil.  Learn from my mistakes, do not do it.

Lesson #3 | No microwaves over the stove, eveerrr!

Next up is flooring.  This isn't so much as a mistake as a warning. We went with wood flooring because this kitchen is open to the dining room and I wanted it to flow.  We have old parquet floors that are thinner than modern hardwood floors so that added a bit of complexity as well.  Ten years in and the finish is definitely past its prime. In fairness we are not careful at all - we do not baby anything in our house except the actual babies - but still, wood floors don't like water and a kitchen has water everywhere.  Considering our limited options, I think we would still have put wood floors down because I think redoing them every decade or so is totally worth it but it's a cautionary word.  If you want something that won't require work, you might want to opt for a different flooring.

Lesson #4 | Decide what items are worth maintaining and what are not and make decisions accordingly.

If you look closely you will see there are 4 different kinds of lights in this kitchen - over the island, in the ceiling, under the cabinet and in the upper cabinets.  Quite a lot for such a small space.  I'm quite sure my contractor thought I was crazy for putting so many lights in but let me tell you that it's so worth it. Having good lighting in here is SO important - do not scrimp here.  Aside from just being safer to be able to see well in here (no sliced off fingertips yet!), having options is such a pleasure.

Lesson #5 | Do not scrimp on lighting!

I think that about covers all the bigger points and takeaways but there are a couple of smaller points about my kitchen in particular that I wanted to add as well.  First about the farmhouse sink - it's still lovely to look at but it's handmade nature means it doesn't have a perfectly sloped base which results in crumbs hanging around.  Not a huge deal but considering the price of that sink, I would have expected more.  If I did it again, I would get a cheaper factory made sink and not have this issue.  Second, there are a few cabinet accessories that I really love and would absolutely recommend - the pull out garbage with the recycling bin is worth it's weight in gold.  I also love having a skinny cabinet to store cutting boards and pull out shelves in the base and pantry cabinets. Other than that, we don't have much in the way of doo-dads in there.

So what's next?  As much as I love this space and it has served us well, I'm thinking I might make a couple of minor changes to the island lights and stool sometime this year. And of course the floors will need to be redone at some point but we are waiting a few years until the kids are older to do it. Other than that, I see many more years spent at this counter pondering life's mysteries (and picking up cheerios).

I hope my kitchen confessional has been useful to someone out there. If you have any questions, just ask.

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