The other thing that happened during our initial meeting with Ben and Mike was we began getting really excited about our kitchen. The first design we solicited from a different company was beautiful, but didn’t ultimately seem workable for us. For example, the windowed china cabinet I wanted for storing glassware was positioned next to the refrigerator, as opposed to the dishwasher/sink. The long island that would replace our table required the four of us to eat lined up in a row, a conversation-hindering arrangement that, in this house, could also cause concussions when our children inevitably topple off their stools. And the open shelves I envisioned stacking our everyday dishes on would have appeared to the right of the stove — again, not near the sink — had the designer drawn them in, which she did not, citing dust concerns and her belief that “most dishes aren’t worthy of display.” While it’s true that our plates, cereal and mixing bowls, and mugs are nothing fancy, Martha Stewart taught the world that a collection of whiteware can be quite pretty, no?
I believe I got us off on the wrong foot when I said that I have “written a lot of articles” and learned from various architects and designers to downplay wall cupboards as much as possible, so that your kitchen doesn’t end up looking like “a cabinet showroom” (to borrow Falmouth designer Linda Banks’ phrase). Professionals love when their clients proclaim themselves “experts,” right? I immediately regretted those words. Still, we had our vision and were told that this first plan was mostly fixed — it was not possible to move things around — although the designer did say I could have my dusty shelves!
Because he works with custom cabinetry, Ben was able to be more flexible. He recommended sequestering the refrigerator, stove, and solid upper cabinetry on the northern end of the kitchen (where we have a window now), freeing up the long western wall for a china cabinet, open shelving, sink, and dishwasher. To solve our dining dilemma, Mike proposed attaching a wooden table to the central island. He also offered to match the kitchen’s original fir flooring on the side of the room that is currently finished in newer oak — an idea we love. To add character to a cased beam, Ben suggested covering it in reclaimed wood and installing another beam 4 ½ feet away. These supports will continue down the walls, setting off the shelves and bringing warmth and interest to a fairly buttoned-up design.
So, what do you think of our plan? I would love to hear your input!