kay’s house : the kitchen

A few of you may remember the post I did about two months ago: a bathroom for my friend. Today, we’re discussing the possibilities behind her kitchen. Kay’s kitchen. I think it’s fun to say that out loud, because it would make one awesome business name, especially her own. She’s kind of a master chef, so her favorite room in the house is getting a bit of a makeover, as she is slowly but surely doing every room in her home…and I get to help her!

First things first: Kay’s {And John’s} kitchen has a wonderful layout, with plenty of storage and great potential to be a real charmer, in the heart of their home. When John {aka welder man} and Kay first moved in to their home, they stained these cabinets and trim themselves. They love the finish, and prefer more of a rustic look, but Kay is also looking to bring a bit of her own personality in, to not only lighten and brighten, but give the space a bit of feminine spunk. My vision for their home is to add a little eclectic farmhouse to all the rustic. We know from this post, that sometimes these can make the most interesting spaces, right?

John and Kay have lots of fabulous antique and vintage pieces, both collected, and passed down, from their families. I think that one clever solution for this room would be a great way to display these pieces, while still keeping it super functional when all is said and done.

The kitchen has a bar on the other side of that sink for serving and eating, as well as an eat in area {below}.

So, without any further rambly ado: here’s what we came up with:

1. First things first…I think you know what I’m going to say about those cabinets. 😉

I’d love to see some corbels like ours underneath. But instead of white, stained the same dark color. {Available for around ten dollars at Home Depot} It’s a minor investment, and not only gives the cabinets more architectural interest, but more of a customized, built-in look.

Before they do that, however, I’d love to see most of the doors removed from those top cabinets. If they’re game {and it’s a risk, though not much of one, because if they don’t like it, it’s reversible} this will seriously lighten that space.

The dark wood is so heavy on the eye right now, along with the dark countertops, and I’d love to see some of that lightened up. The kitchen has zero backsplash, and I want to see a white bead board in that area that wraps itself around the cabinet area. To preview a little of how that contrast would look, check out the oh-so-clever Sarah’s kitchen {Thrifty Decor Chick} and read more about it, here.  Isn’t it gorge?

…Only for Kay’s kitchen, picture it with the dark corbels, and most of the doors removed. I’d love to see items like those mason jars displayed ever so prettily with some of Kay’s collection of vintage plates, and some baskets for added textures in those cabinets.

Instant interest! To up the ante, the same bead board, backing in those open cabinets for an additional pop of white would be incredible…that way the white is carried upward, and throughout the rest of the kitchen.

Finally, let’s get some color on those neutral walls for some instant personality. Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue is a gorgeous blue-green with a hint of grey.

Can you see it yet? Moving on to no….


2. I’d love to see a white table in that eat in area, along with some built in booths against the windows and walls side. On the opposite, open side, some mismatched chairs in various shades of color would really look ten kinds of fantabulous.



ahhh there’s just something awesome about a banquette, isn’t there? Ironically, the one above is from sweet home, Alabama. Be sure to click on over to Hooked on Houses, and check out the before. Awesome transformation!
9. While we’re at it, topping it all off {and completely out of order at no. 9} is this fantastic hanging light. I love the unpredictable feeling of refined rustic that it brings to the space, especially over the table.
3. Speaking of lights, a series of three small basket pendants hanging over the bar space would work wonders for the room. Not only would they introduce a great new texture and lighting in the space, but would be super affordable using some baskets and a version of this method, here. 
4. Give it some wow with these fabrics:
Some great pillows for the seating would be wonderful in this fabric, or you can DIY, here.  I’d love to see it paired with these handsome stripes. Bonus: this fabric is indoor/outdoor so major stain resistance is a definite win in the stain category.

For the windows, I’d love to see them opened up, and treated with some simple, tailored roman shades. With the striped fabric in the place of the blue above, paired with a nice linen, the fabric choice is sure to brighten it up.
5. Simple accents like this hand towel would really bring some color into the other areas of the room. I’d really love to see a series of three of these, framed on the wall in various colorways.
6. For barstools, a collected look of vintage industrial, in a shape similar to these knock offs,  {even at different heights} would bring some incredible character to the room.
7. An occasional piece like this one, would bring an unexpected touch of modern, to balance out and lighten up all the rustic cabinets. I love the subtle texture they display.
8. Created by the ever talented Vintage Skye, Kay loved these, and I think they would be the perfect, charming fit for her lower cabinets.
So there we are! While preserving the integrity of the original dark wood, and working light in with the process to give it a bit of personality, I hope this is a fun kitchen that John and Kay both can enjoy!
{And hopefully let me come back, and photograph it all for you!} Bon Appetit!
PS. Our WUSLU giveaway ends tomorrow. Have you entered yet?

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Responses to kay’s house : the kitchen

  1. Jessica says:

    Hey Great post! Funny you mention BM paladian blue….I just posted a couple days ago pictures of our renovated kidtchen with painted white cabinets and paladian blue on the walls! I love your bead board idea….I have been trying to think of a backsplash idea that would be inexpensive….that just might work! Head over and check out the blue it is awesome!

  2. I love the colors. She could really brighten up the kitchen by just getting lighter counter tops. It looks like granite from the picture though, and who really wants to replace granite.

  3. Love the kitchen ideas!

  4. Ooh, what a fun project. I love all your ideas for it. Can’t wait to see how Kay’s Kitchen turns out! :)

  5. Kay Ellison says:

    Whew hew! Love it love it love it! Can’t wait to get started. Thanks Ashley!!!!!

  6. Sarah says:

    Ah! I love this! It’s refreshing to see a kitchen scheme where the cabinets are NOT white. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some white cabinets- but I live in military housing and I can’t exactly get that look. But a style worked around darker cabinets? Right up my ally! Thanks for the inspiration, as always. :)

  7. Cindy says:

    I love all the colors you chose. That is one kitchen I’d like to wake up to! Do you have a source for the green windsor chairs? I love them.

  8. Christina says:

    LOVE it. Love the corbels…Love that pillow fabric. I’m stealing that fabric for somewhere in my house because it’s so up my alley and all the right colors :)

  9. Beth Miller says:

    I have that same pillow fabric lining the back of a cabinet in my den! Love all the colors in it! Wish I had enough left for some pillows. :(

  10. Jennifer says:

    NICE. love it; those colors will really brighten things up! that pillow fabric is awesome!

  11. Yarnista says:

    Um, YES. Yes to everything! Absolutely love your ideas. Kay needs to get crackin’ ASAP! 😉

  12. Dorothy says:

    Love it. Palladian Blue is so gorgeous, and banquettes?? They’re the equivalent of little forts for us adults!

  13. I have dark cabinets in the kitchen in our new house! Trying to figure out how to work with them. For now. They are a really nice rustic, craftsman dark so I’m keeping them. For now. Good ideas !

    Hope you had a great summer! :)

  14. Wanted to say a quick thanks for featuring my suzani pillow. That pillow has been my most popular pillow so far this year. the colorsare really asperky and bright as they are in the pictures. Pure sunshine. Thanks again… Cheers Christine

  15. Erin says:

    I checked the link for the pillow fabric. I LOVE all of the fabrics that came up. They will go perfectly with what I already made to lighten up my chocolate brown sofa. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  16. Debbie says:

    Beautiful ideas!

  17. Oh what great ideas!! Its amazing what paint can do. I just finished a laundry room update with lots of paint ! I cant wait to see the finished product!!