...because home doesn't happen overnight.
05.17.11 / Kitchen Inspiration

We’re revamping the kitchen in the Underdog.  That means scouring the internet for images of beautiful kitchens is no longer a time waster but my new part-time job.  And totally necessary.  I’ll even go as far to say it’s research.  My lab is the living room sectional and my equipment includes my MacBook, my fingertips and Google.  A few blankets, a cup of coffee and I’m set.  Life is good. Here’s what my research has turned up so far.

Jenna Lyons’ kitchen is just about my fave ever.  With dark base cabinets, concrete countertops, open shelving, industrial elements, rustic woods and a simple design it’s not hard to fall in love with this one.

Loving the large, contrasting island complete with open shelving.  The symmetry of the kitchen isn’t exact but it feels well balanced with the hood taking center stage.

Green cabinets + black island + lime pantry shelving + upholstered stools + open shelving + schoolhouse lighting + chevron rug + coffered ceiling + white walls = a great mixed-and-matched kitchen.

Hello, herringbone floor tile.  You and your friends – black door, black window & contrasting cabinets – are welcome over at my new place anytime.

My fondness for white and gray is still very much alive.

Dark cabinetry that looks anything but in this light and bright kitchen.

Can you say “holy woven pendants!?”  I especially like the cathedral ceiling, glossy white wall tile, striped rugs, and the view to the outside.

Did you happen to notice a common denominator that is present in each of my inspiration kitchens?  As much as I adore classic, timeless white kitchens {I still love my current one}, it seems I’m ready for a little more contrast in the kitchen. As long as most everything else is kept white and natural light is allowed to pour in, dark cabinetry can work in an airy and bright kitchen.  We may just give the whole contrasting kitchen thing a try in our Underdog.  Hmmm…

images:  1) Melania Acevedo for Livingetc  2) Jessica Helgerson Design  3) Roger Davies for Cottage Living  4) Michael Graydon for Tommy Smythe  5) Decor Pad 6) Gridley + Graves photography, Sandi Holland design  7) Jean Philippe Piter Photography for Coastal Living


Loving the inspiration pictures! If you aren’t already on Pinterest you should check there, or Houzz for more lovely kitchens!


I must say the last one is my favorite too. I’m eyeing some pendants of similar nature for my kitchen. They are such a great way to provide a textural element in the kitchen. I adore white kitchens as well and that’s what I am currently in the phase of creating. I love your current kitchen as well but its nice to know that you are going for something different. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!


I love your current kitchen, too! I finally settled on the color I want for the kitchen cabinets, but I’m going to start with the little vanity in the little bathroom (I’m so unsure of my ability to do this). If it turns out nice, THEN I’m going to start the kitchen cabinets. Good bye, orange-oak and hello! Almond Cream.


I second the Pinterest recommendation, I (and many others) have an entire board that is just kitchens I love.

I love the herringbone floor pattern. You mentioned considering tile floors – I had an “ahhhh” moment recently when I saw a post advising to cut inexpensive square tiles in half for pattern on the cheap. Probably not news to you, nor is it a new idea just something I hadn’t thought of myself!

I’m loving the contrasting cabinets, too, even though my husband and I painted all of our cabinets white early last year. I’m now considering a way to convince him that moving out of our lower cabinets for a week wouldn’t be so awful….


LOVE all these great kitchens!! Can’t wait to see all the changes you make in your new home!!! (=


Love your picks! So fresh and light… and I love that lime green pantry for a fun, unexpected surprise. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do in the new kitchen!


Dana – surely you know about pinterest, right?!?!? so much inspiration there my friend! if you want an invitation, let me know and ill send you one. that’s reall the only way to use it!


Im still in love with the white kitchens but the dark are very pretty as well. Cant wait to see it!


Just came in here to recommend Pintrest, too! Let me know if you need an invite. Cheers!


I love the idea of black or charcoal gray bottom cabinets -perhaps with a bit of distressing – and white cabinets on top (if opting for wall cabinets) or shelves. Also with a bright white quartz countertop. Backsplash is where I am stuck – white 3×6-in subway (in a running bond pattern) or 1×2-in herringbone tile or my latest obsession white Moroccan tile (not sure what the pattern is called) but am afraid that last one might look dated in the near future.
Since I am only doing this once, I want something that will not look dated anytime soon.

I was also going to suggest Pinterest! I’m about to start my kitchen remodel and have been storing all my inspiration there (including Jenna Lyons’ townhouse and a slew of images from my old fave shelter mag, Domino). Happy planning!

This link should direct you there:

My “For The Home” board has the kitchen ideas.


Elaine – Good luck with your cabinet painting!


Kate, Melina, Jenny, Leigh, Cait – Thanks for the Pinterest idea. I actually do have a very rookie Pinterest account going already. I’ve only been at it for a week or two but love organizing all my inspiration. I’m trying to avoid pinning every single thing I like and instead am trying to pin only those things that inspire me enough to actually interpret/DIY/try them on my own. If you wanna have a look, here’s the link…


Like I said, it’s still in its rookie stages but I’ll be adding more each week if you want to follow along. Thanks guys!


You had me at “school house lighting.” I am recommending similar lights for a client’s mudroom and can’t wait to see them go up! If only I had a room in my own house for such bold light fixtures.


I like the idea of different colours for upper and lower cabinets a lot…you’re pretty organized, too, so I bet you could go with open shelving instead of upper cabinets.

I love your inspiration kitchens. The black and white just gorgeous. My favorite is #3 with the school house lights. A great store to get some from is Schoolhouse Electric Co. They have so many to chose from and a great online catalog filled with ideas.

Good luck!

Jen @ chicagobungalov


I’m loving all your choices! I’m doing my kitchen now and it will be white surrounding cabinetry with a black island. I’m stuck though for countertop ideas. I love the look of carrera marble, but I am a personal chef and know that marble is porous and stains so I want something that can take a beating from myself and my three kids. Any suggestions? I was hoping to find a granite that has a similar look to carrera or I was considering caesarstone in an all white or concrete- any thoughts???


Elke – Young House Love used Kashmir White granite in their previous home. It’s a white granite with veins of gray and specks of scarlet throughout. I think it would make a great marble substitute! My local Home Depot sells it so you could check there first if you have one close by. Good luck!


love your site! I am going through the same kitchen”thing” and have been exploring dark islands and white cabinets. I can’t get past the white kitchen—I like others but don’t feel right in them. Love the dark on bottom and white on top but for me I am considering a very dark island with a very dark (brown) top and a white kitchen with a white counter top, looks pretty clean. I saw a honed chocolate granite today – very warm -great option:)


Where are these woven pendants from?