...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.10.14 / The Kitchen

Ohhhhh, the kitchen.

kitchen before

The original kitchen was walled off from the living and dining rooms.

kitchen before 2

kitchen before 4

If the cabinets had been in better shape, we might have tried to work with them but, sadly, they were rotted and the doors / drawers didn’t open or close properly. The odd layout assigned the refrigerator to a lone corner with no storage or counter space nearby. There was no dishwasher.

kitchen before 3

One thing we liked about the kitchen was the window above the sink which looks out onto the backyard. It was one of the few windows that had been replaced by the previous owner.

kitchen after

kitchen after 3

To enlarge the kitchen and create a more functional layout without altering the house’s original footprint, we removed walls separating the kitchen, living and dining rooms. We aren’t formal people so the small dining room was relocated to allow for a large island. The dining room window was replaced with french doors to connect the kitchen to the backyard. A vaulted ceiling and skylights flood the north-facing space with natural light. It’s a far cry from the dark, soffit-heavy room we started with.

kitchen after 2

We had our plumber run new water and gas lines to accommodate the current layout. A counter-depth refrigerator stands where the stove once lived. A freestanding range occupies the site where a wall used to separate the kitchen from the original dining room. A new dishwasher is located to the right of the sink. It’s hidden behind a cover panel that matches the base cabinetry. When the house came to us, a microwave sat in a corner eating up precious counter space. We added a shelf next to the refrigerator to house the microwave and a few cookbooks which freed up counter space for a coffeemaker, toaster and shelf of drinking glasses.

kitchen after 6

kitchen after 17

One thing we didn’t change was the location of the sink. I like that I am able to look out the window when I’m washing dishes to admire the greenery or watch the kids playing.

kitchen after 7

We opted for solid surface countertops around the perimeter of the kitchen for easy maintenance. An extra deep, under-mounted, single basin sink makes cleanup a breeze.

kitchen after 5

The nine-foot-long island is the hub of the house. It sees as much Play-doh, crafting and homework as it does meal prep, entertaining and casual dining. We topped it with a walnut slab to give it the feel of a wood table since we eat most of our meals here. It’s a warm contrast to the granite in the rest of the room. Guests always comment on the island and wood top saying they feel like they’re at a bar. We take it as a compliment.

We suspended a trio of pendants above the island. I wanted something that would punctuate the island but not impede the view of the kitchen from the adjoining living space. Clear globe lights were an ideal choice. I especially like the black cloth cords. The pendants are on a dimmer so we can have bright light for food prep or low light for dining and ambiance.

I chose durable metal counter stools to stand up to the kids and their inevitable messes. I wipe them down with a wet cloth and they look brand new. To keep the view from the living room to the kitchen uninterrupted, the stools are backless. This feature also makes it easy to turn around to talk with someone in the living room. Initially, I had some reservations about using backless stool with kids but it hasn’t been an issue.

kitchen after 11

We kept the back wall free of upper cabinetry and installed reclaimed wood shelves. A sleek range hood and minimal backsplash add to the open feel. It’s nice to look over from the living room and not be bombarded with a slew of wall cabinets or an entire wall of tile. I really wanted the kitchen to feel like an extension of the living space instead of a kitchen thrown into a living room. To achieve this, we continued the engineered hardwood flooring into the kitchen. The wood flooring, walnut island top and reclaimed wood shelving help bring warmth to an innately utilitarian room.

The cabinetry is Ikea. From the get-go, I had my heart set on a tuxedo kitchen: dark lowers, white uppers. I wanted dark base cabinets to ground the kitchen in such an open space. I wanted white wall cabinets to keep things light. A mix of black and white just made sense.

We fell hard for the Ramsjö black-brown base cabinets but were disappointed with the slightly pink tone of the coordinating white wall cabinets. In the end, we used three different door styles. (Ramsjö black-brown, solid front for the bases and Lidingö white, solid and glass-front for the uppers.) I was a little worried about the mix on paper but in real life I think it goes a long way in helping the kitchen feel less generic.

kitchen after 12

One end of the kitchen is devoted to paying bills, making grocery lists, creating meal plans and all the other secretarial tasks that go along with running a household. It’s also where I do the majority of writing and photo editing for the blog. Essentially, it’s a home office. Base cabinets hold a printer, office supplies and the kids’ crafting supplies. Upper, glass-front cabinets provide pretty storage. I use an assortment of baskets, bins and boxes to corral vitamins, batteries, camera accessories, receipts, crayons and a bunch of other miscellaneous. The planked backsplash is a repeated element also found on the ceiling and TV wall.

kitchen after 16

To give the kitchen space a cozy vibe, I added greenery, artwork, vintage rugs, an upholstered desk stool and a linen-covered lamp. It feels lived. It is lived in.

kitchen after 9

kitchen after 10

kitchen after 8

kitchen after 15

kitchen after 13

kitchen after 14

There are a few tweaks yet to be made in the kitchen. (We need to add a trim piece next to an upper cabinet in the corner near the microwave and I’m brainstorming an interactive side panel for the refrigerator.) But I’m very lucky to be able to spend the majority of my time in this bright and airy space. In the evening when the kitchen is tidy after dinner and the dishwasher is humming away, I pour myself a glass of wine and golden light glows through the skylights. It’s my happy place.

kitchen plinth

fridge side panel 2

UPDATE: The trim piece and side panel are done! See the trim piece here and the side panel here.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore tapestry beige
trim, ceiling, planked backsplash paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
french door paint – Glidden trim & door oil paint, extra high gloss in deepest black
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
base cabinets – Ikea, Ramsjö black-brown
wall cabinets – Ikea, Lidingö white
perimeter countertop – kashmir white granite via Stone Design
walnut countertop – Hardwood Lumber Company
island corbels – The Home Depot
hardware – Ikea (Värde handles sans rosettes)
refrigerator, dishwasher, gas range, range hood – Ikea
microwave – LG
sink – Kraus 32″ undermount single bowl
faucet – VIGO stainless steel pull-out
backsplash tile – imperial bianco gloss 2″ x 12″ via The Tile Shop
backsplash grout – Laticrete epoxy grout in natural grey
globe pendant lights – West Elm
counter stools – Overstock
wall sconce above sink – Barn Light Electric
house artwork near sink – gift
spice rack – Ikea
glass storage containers – Wal-mart
kitchen towels – Crate & Barrel
step stool – Ikea, painted & stained
rug near sink – ebay (seller was manhattanrugs)
open shelving – DIY using Ikea brackets and reclaimed wood
oil & vinegar drizzlers – Amazon (These are the best!)
stainless steel containers – Target
antlers – etsy
black & white planter – vintage
rug near desk – etsy
desk stool – Blu Dot knicker stool
laptop bag – STM
blue & white planter – JoAnn’s
letter tray – Ikea
magazine files – Ikea
linen lamp – Crate & Barrel
wood cubby – Kalon Studios
highchair – Ikea
art above highchair – Clare Elsaesser
mat & frame – Utrecht art supplies
tongue & groove planks – Home Emporium
skylights – Velux

In case you’re interested in seeing how this space came together over time, a slew of kitchen-related links:














































For ease, you can access this kitchen tour under the “See My House” tab in the side bar along with a general house tour and other room tours. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I always wondered if you had a microwave! We are in the beginning phases of making some changes to our kitchen and the first item on the block is whether to keep the microwave. I want to heave ho it, but truthfully with 4 little beans running around, it does come in handy. I would like to move it and place a hood in it’s spot and do some open shelving. Glad to see it can be still be utilized in the kitchen, but not as a focal piece over the stove top!


I was all for getting rid of the microwave but my husband insisted on having one…a LARGE one. (Probably because it’s where I keep his dinners warm during the week until he’s home from work.) Like the TV above the fireplace, this was yet another compromise ;)


I didnt buy a microwave when I moved into my new place, and five months later, it has only bothered me once (when I bought microwave popcorn without thinking about it). Truthfully, everything can be heated on the stove or in the oven… although I’m very curious about these now: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/space-aged-microwaves-for-the-21-century-181275.

Why did you chose not to bring the cabinets all the way to the wall? Specifically the glass-fronted one closest to the french doors, or the cabinets perpendicular to the kitchen window- that gap looks a little odd to me. I know sometimes the ikea cabinets dont all the way fit- but I’m curious why you chose not to put a facing piece there to close the gap? (It totally bugs me when cabinets dont reach all the way to the ceiling like in the yhl show house, or in centsational girl’s built in bookcases- i might just be weird on this point)


Near the end of the post I mentioned we still need to add a trim piece next to the upper cabinet near the microwave to fill in the gap at the corner. We have the trim just haven’t taken the time to cut it and install it. After a huge renovation, even the smallest tasks start to feel overwhelming. Or maybe we’re lazy.

For the kitchen desk, we didn’t want the cabinets (base or upper) hugging the corner near the french doors. We like that the desk area sort of resembles a freestanding hutch and I like the placement of it on the wall instead of crowded over to the corner. I slide painted foam boards (photo backdrops) into the gap at the floor so…bonus storage?

Taking the cabinets all the way to the ceiling wasn’t really an option for us since the ceiling is sloped. Maybe you mean taking them all the way up to where the back wall meets the lowest part of the ceiling? The refrigerator dictated the height of the upper cabinets. We didn’t want staggered cabinet heights. I guess we could have used some trim to bridge the distance from the top of the fridge to the bottom of the over-fridge cabinet if we hung it higher to meet the height of the sink wall but I’m not sure how it would have looked from the side.

Good thoughts! I think it’s a matter of personal preference.


Thanks for sharing! My home’s 1960 split level ranch layout is very similar to yours (vaulted ceiling, etc.), except that we have walls separating our kitchen area from our living space. It is a dream of mine to knock down those walls and remodel the kitchen, and I feel like I could just hand a designer/builder/architect a link to this and say “make mine look like this” and I’d be thrilled. : ) Aside from money, my only hesitation has been wondering if I’d ever miss the separation that you forgo with an open floor plan. I feel like I’m a messy cook/mom who always has the kitchen clean at the END of the day, but well…in the interim, it’s not always pretty. I take it you have no regrets, though? I can tell you are tidier and better at being minimalist than I am, though! Do you find the openness inspires to you to tidy up the kitchen more? I suppose, though, I have to remember that most of the pics we see here are not of your heaviest “in-use” moments.


One of my favorite kitchens — out of many I have on Pinterest!


I love it!! I love the dark cabinets on the bottom and the open shelves/glass cabinets on top. My favorite change, and I’m wondering how hard it was, is the ceiling and the skylights! Beautiful!


This is one of my all time favorite spaces. The fact that you designed it in a budget conscious manner is remarkable. If ever I redo a kitchen, rest assured I will be borrowing your design ideas! If you were doing another kitchen today, is there anything you would do differently? Love reading your blog. Many thanks. Margaret


I have to start by saying awesome job! Your kitchen is amazing, I love everything about it. I’m thrilled that you posted this. We are getting ready to renovate our kitchen and the hope is that it will turn out very much like yours. We looked at these exact cabinets at IKEA a couple weeks ago. I was deflated when I read the sign that said black-brown as they totally looked black to me. I was worried that they may look more brown once out of the ikea showroom. But in your photos they look like exactly what I want. Maybe we should go for them after all. Do you have any comments? Do they look black in your space in “real life”? Thanks so much for sharing!


Your before and afters are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing all the great photos.


Your kitchen is so perfect. My favourite change would have to be the vaulted ceiling. We are putting in a skylight in our kitchen at the moment but I really yearn for a window over my sink to look out to the yard. Sadly it would just look at the side fence.


They look black in our space in real life. The only time we notice the wood grain / brown is up very close or when sunlight shines directly on the cabinets through the skylights…which is very rare and brief since the skylights are north-facing. (It only happens for a little while midday during the summer which is when I took these photos so that should give you a good idea.) The accompanying side panels and plinth are a truer black and the subtle difference between the side panels and cabinet fronts isn’t that noticeable once the entire kitchen is put together. I would say to dismiss the sign and just look at the cabinets to make your decision. The fronts are solid wood (which is a great thing) so some wood grain is to be expected but in our experience it isn’t enough to make the cabinets look brown.

Beautiful kitchen! I love how you considered the sight lines in your layout. The walnut island top brings so much warmth and texture to the space. My favorite change (other than the fact that you created an open great room) is probably the installation of the french doors leading to the backyard! I love that it’s painted black too.

Thank you for sharing your new kitchen. The kitchen is high on our own renovation priority list. It’s great to see inspiring transformations like yours. Gives me hope!


Oooooh, great question! The answer is yes I probably would do some things differently but not because I’m dissatisfied with our kitchen…it would be because I’m finicky and there are way too many awesome options for kitchens out there and I want to try them all!! Haha. My taste and style evolve on a daily basis so who knows what I would choose if we were starting over on this space. Assuming we were still on a tight budget, I would choose Ikea again in heartbeat.

I truly love our kitchen. There are a few nit-picky things I wouldn’t mind changing if I had the chance. I would definitely get a different faucet. I love the look of ours but somehow I missed the fact that it doesn’t have a spray feature. I want to add a trim piece over the gap between an upper cabinet and the corner (near the microwave). I have plans for DIYing a side panel for the fridge so we aren’t staring at the side of the fridge / over-fridge cabinet from the living room. I sometimes wish we would have installed the sconce over the sink a few inches higher to allow for some woven shades to be mounted above the window…to match the rest of the windows in the house.

I think Ikea should offer cabinet frames in black. There are a few spots where a sliver of white is visible in between doors / drawer fronts. (The cabinet frames are white.) This is only noticeable to someone who lives with the kitchen every day and stares at it, picking out the imperfections – that’s me. I have the notion to paint those areas black. It’s not the end of the world but I am surprised that Ikea hasn’t noticed this discrepancy and offered up darker cabinet frames by now. Also, I don’t like the narrow clear plastic trim that runs along the bottom of the base cabinets to cover the seam with the floor. It kinda sticks out against the black cabinets and wood floor. Not sure why there isn’t a darker option. But it does give a clean line and keep crumbs and dirt from falling into the seam where the bottom fronts of the base cabinets meet the floor.

One other thing that comes to mind is the way the french doors were framed / installed. I wish the framing matched that of the french doors in the mudroom. (You might notice this when I share the mudroom tour.) In the mudroom, the doors are recessed a bit and there’s no trim framing the doorway. In the kitchen, the doors were installed flush with the drywall so we had to add trim around them. I think it looks a bit odd and doesn’t feel cohesive with the other set of french doors. It probably has to do with the fact that the french doors in the kitchen were once a window and the french doors in the mudroom were once a set of sliders and already recessed.


You can read all about how we vaulted the ceiling here if you like…



Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!


I am a tidy person by nature. Always have been. Having an open kitchen does motivate us to clean up after each meal but, when we’re in a rush or not up to the task, it’s amazing how many dirty dishes our sink will hold! The openness also forces us to keep the counters mostly clutter-free. Luckily, we have plenty of storage so it isn’t an issue. There’s a place for everything.

I would venture to say that if we had a separate kitchen, I would still keep it tidy and keep clutter to a minimum. I just breathe better that way. And, you’re right, I don’t normally take pictures of my kitchen right after we eat dinner. (maybe I should?) I can definitely see the advantages and disadvantages of both setups. You should choose what works best for you and your family!


I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I just noticed that you don’t have a dishwasher! I applaud you for being able to keep up with the dishes for a family of five. Do you think you could share a post about your cleaning routine and how you keep your house tidy? How much do you have your kids participate in cleaning the house, etc?


I think my comments on your blog are pretty much all the same… I love your kitchen. Love your house!!! Very inspiring. xx


Actually, we do have a dishwasher! I mentioned in the post that it sits in between the sink and gas range. It’s hidden by a cover panel to match the base cabinets. The cover panel and dishwasher with controls on top of the door were big deals to me when we were looking at kitchens. I love that it’s so unobtrusive.

I would love to write up a post on general housekeeping. I’ll put it on the list!


My absolute FAVORITE kitchen, ever! You and your husband did a seriously amazing job transforming this house. So inspiring! :)

I become more obsessed every time I look at your gorgeous kitchen! The transformation is amazing!!


What ever happened to the wall planter? I bought one after reading the post but it failed miserably. Haven’t seen it around your house and wonder how it worked out.


Your hard work and thoughtful design shine! I applaud your conscious effort to keep the original footprint of your house and maximize its space and usability. You are inspirational!


What is your best tip for keeping the dark cabinets clean? I have dark cupboards and cabinets and I find it to be an endless battle with smudges, water drips, little finger & hand prints.



Oops! I missed that part! Yes, it is so nice to have the dishwasher disguised to match the cabinets. It really makes for cleaner lines and a more streamlined appearance.I look forward to your housekeeping post! I appreciate that your house is lived in and yet stays so aesthetically pleasing. It is both well designed and well maintained.


Just beautiful! What a transformation. Do you get any scratches on your hardwoods and how do you maintain them? We are looking to replace our laminate with hardwood floor soon.


This is one of my favorite kitchens. I like the idea of a panel to cover the side of the refrigerator.
BTW, I love that pic of your daughter at the sink with her diaper peeking out from under her dress. It reminds me of my daughter, who hasn’t worn a diaper in many, many years *sniff*!


I think it’s a fantasticidea to add a home tour to your blog. When I discover a new blog I love to look through tours. But for people who have been reading here for a quite awhile, the posts and pictures are redundant. I like the idea of announcing the tour, but then put it up and people can click on it. Please spare us the posts of each room we’ve already seen. All these posts are the same thing over and over.


i love this kitchen. it looks so comfortable and functional. i’ll definitely be referencing it for our future remodel!


I appreciate your feedback. Feel free to skip the tour posts if you aren’t interested. I’m sorry if you find them redundant but thank you for being a long-time reader!

The images are all new (even though the rooms aren’t) and due to popular demand there are additional source lists and post links related to each space. I get a ton of comments and emails wanting to know where I got what or how we did what so I thought it would be nice to have access to everything in one spot.

These tour posts take A LOT of time to put together. From taking the photos to editing them to writing the text, creating source lists and linking to archived posts. Creating these posts AND new content at the same time is almost impossible for me right now (I have three bored and hungry kids) so I am sharing the tours on the home page as well as the side bar.

I live in these spaces on a regular basis and the tour sometimes feels like old news to me. But I’ve been surprised by how many long-time readers have contacted me since posting the tour to let me know they’ve never seen true before images or they had the house’s floor plan flip-flopped in their minds or they missed a past renovation project or they overlooked a minor tweak and seeing the tour has helped them grasp a better visual of the house. So I do think they’re worth the air time. Personally, I enjoy seeing current images of other bloggers’ homes even if I’ve seen them before. I might notice new artwork or a new pillow or a tweak in their furniture arrangement and it’s enough to set the wheels turning in my head.

What I really want people to take away from all of this tour business is that THIS TOOK US THREE YEARS and we still have some major projects to tackle. Renovating a house doesn’t happen overnight unless you’re on TV. As much as I drool over wham-bam-thank-you-maam before-and-afters, I appreciate reading about and seeing the process. This tour is just a culmination of that process but please don’t feel obliged to follow along if you aren’t getting anything from it.


There are scratches on our floors! We are a real family!! I go around with a Sharpie wood touch-up marker from time to time to disguise deeper scratches. A “How I Clean My Floors” post is in the works…


The base cabinet fronts are solid wood. I use a microfiber cloth and Bona to wipe them down…maybe every other week.


There’s a post about that…


Right now, the planter is sitting (empty) in our garage. We plan on using it outside near the grilling patio to grow herbs. I will be sure to share an update when we hang it. The plants I transplanted from the wall planter to an outdoor planter are THRIVING!


If you’re talking about reheating a plate of food and you care about energy conservation, stick with the microwave.


Oh! I didnt mean to criticize that your cabinets dont reach the ceiling- it makes sense with a vaulted ceiling. I meant in rooms with 9-12 foot ceilings, that cabinets reaching the ceilings look better than having empty space to collect dust.


No worries!! I think I just misunderstood you. I like cabinets that reach the ceiling as well…when the ceiling is flat. It makes the space feel larger and takes advantage of often wasted space.


Dana, LOVED this post! I drool over your kitchen on a regular basis. Your fiddle leaf fig purchase inspired mine (Leaf Garrett has lost 2 leaves, but it’s sporting some new growth at the top, so I’m happy happy!) The engineered hardwood is gorgeous and I love the hand-scrapped look. How has it held up in the kitchen with kids and food? Someday I would like to run hardwood throughout our one-level semi-open concept cottage-style home (when we win LOTTO!) so I’m curious to know how it handles spills/scratches, etc. Love the pic of Mabrey at the sink, so adorable! P.S. the kid-friendly, soft-close potty has been getting lots of use lately now that my middle girlie is WAAAY into potty-training, best.purchase.ever.


Oops! This is what I get for only scanning the comments, sorry. I asked you something similar about 5-6 comments down. You can disregard but I can’t wait to read the post on how you clean the floors now! ;-)


This is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I’m so impressed.

this is beyond inspiring. Love everything about your kitchen – plus the befores and afters are pretty shocking!

I must say, it has been so fun to watch the transformation of your home. you’ve done a great job of going through it slowly but not too slowly…can’t believe the amazing space you have now!


one word, inspired! Thanks for the great list of resources for where you obtained everything!

[…] Feeling- Blown away by this incredible kitchen renovation. […]


Do you mind sharing how much the ikea portion cost, cabinets, appliances etc? We have our design appt and our kitchen looks about the same size as yours. Thanks!


I love your blog and what you have done with your kitchen and the whole house. I seriously wish I could have you come over to my house and draw up a new floor plan for everything. Our house has potential but I feel so stuck. I will have to borrow some of your ideas for our house. I look forward to all your future posts! :)

[…] Favorite Kitchen. […]


What are your thoughts on the quality of the Ikea cabinets? I’m going back and forth between painting our current cabinets (and the risk of them not coming out right) or replacing them altogether. I’m pushing for Ikea cabinets, but my husband is worried about the quality. He loves the look of your kitchen so I’m hoping you can shed some light ont he upkeep/quality? Forgive me if you’ve covered this, I’m a reqular reader and did some searching to see if you spoke about this, but can’t seem to find much on this specific topic. Thank you in advance!


So far, so great!! 2+ years in, we have had no issues with the quality of the cabinets. I am glad we decided to go with a solid door / drawer fronts on the lowers. In our sometimes chaotic house, the cabinets take a beating. Not sure that the foil finish types of door / drawers would hold up as well. I can easily take a Sharpie and disguise scratches and markings.


I am in awe. I love this kitchen remodel so much. I cant wait to check out the rest of your site!


I just clicked through to your blog from YHL and am so happy I did! Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! I am in awe of the amazing transformation! Great work!!


Absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your kitchen! I did my IKEA kitchen in Ramsjo white, Ceasarstone Nougat counters, white subway splash and a large format gray porcelain tile floor. Cabinets were a toss up between that and the Ramsjo Black/Brown but chose the white because our kitchen, though fairly large is (unfortunately) the only room not open to rest of the living space (dining, family, living room all open to each other) and we wanted to keep as bright as possible. Never thought about mixing the Lidingo with the Ramsjo – GREAT RESULT! I too am very happy with my IKEA kitchen and would choose IKEA again, though, I do wish they did offer more door options in “wood”.


I feel the same way about the wood door options – more would be awesome!


love.love.love your kitchen!
This space mirrors so much of what I want someday.
I also love that its totally lived in – with kids art on the fridge and a dish rack on the counter. I feel like so many people try to hide these things – when its a part of everyday life.


Hi Dana! I was wondering if you would recommend your kitchen sink faucet after living with it so far? Ours just broke, and I am in the market for a new one. Curious if you like the VIGO or would get a different one if you were to buy again.

Thank you!


We like the Vigo but beware that it doesn’t have a spray feature. It does pull out. At first, I was disappointed about the missing spray feature but now that we’ve lived with it a while, it isn’t an issue. We’ve had no problems with it!


Hi Dana! I’m new to your blog, I found you while searching the web for iKEA kitchen testimonials. So glad to find yours! Very helpful. I have a question though, do you find the lack of upper cabinet space hard to manage your glassware? I want to do open shelving but my husband is worried about losing glassware storage. Thanks!


Not really…we just had to get creative with how / where we store our glasses. One of the open shelves near the hood holds the kids’ glasses and my coffee mugs. Another open shelf near the fridge holds everyday glasses. The slim cabinet just above that shelf holds the rest of our glassware that doesn’t get daily use. I do keep a few (four, to be exact) wine glasses in a tray on the fauxdenza in the dining room / mudroom. But they’re rarely there all together because I need one every night!


LOVING the globe pendant lights from West Elm. Which size did you pick for over your island? 11inch or 14inch?


When we bought ours a few years back, only the 11″ were available. So ours are 11″ in diameter. I think the 14″ would be too large for our space.


Hey Dana- have been a follower forever but wanted to ask a quick question as we are just now planning a kitchen renovation and I have read some reviews…wanted to get your take since you have kiddos running around like I do. Do the black/brown ramsjo cabinets show fingerprints/smudges easily? Its a big concern of mine as I love the color, but am afraid that they will always look dirty. Also, read that with that color door fronts, you can see the birch/white colored cabinet bases through the doors. Any feedback on that? I dont notice it in yours, but wondering if its only something seen over time. Thank you!!


The most annoying things I’ve noticed turning up on the dark lower cabinetry are usually lighter colored powdery substances – like flour, Steve’s protein shake mix, dust. Fingerprints aren’t really an issue for us. Sometimes I will notice prints on the back of the island from our kids’ sweaty feet. Ha! I usually wipe down the cabinets every other week with a microfiber cloth and some Bona (the same stuff I use on our wood floors). I think it helps that our cabinets don’t receive any direct sunlight which can amplify the appearance of dust. The kitchen gets a ton of indirect natural light but it’s positioned so that there’s rarely direct sunlight streaming onto the cabinets.

There is one location where you can see the white cabinet frame in between a door and some drawers. It’s over by the corner lazy Susan unit (left of the sink). I think it has something to do with the accordion-like door on the lazy Susan. No one notices it but me and Steve. It’s one of those things you don’t really look at unless you’re the homeowner. It bugs me enough that I’ve thought about painting that strip of white with black paint or even running a strip of black electrical tape down that part…but it doesn’t bug me enough to actually do it yet. I am a little surprised that Ikea doesn’t offer darker colored cabinet frames to go with the darker doors and drawer fronts. Still, I love our kitchen and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.


Beautiful kitchen! How do you feel about your island not having a full 4″ recessed toe kick? Is it hard to work up to? I like the look but am concerned it may be hard on the back as we have our cooktop in our island. Thanks!


The island works great for prep. Our stove / oven is freestanding and open underneath so that’s not an issue. We have no complaints!

[…] a new faucet, and painting the cabinetry. I was inspired by the contrasting cabinetry from House*Tweaking and decided to try it in our kitchen. We used the Benjamin Moore Advance series to paint the […]

[…] Proyecto de Dana Miller. Mas información en House*Tweaking. […]


Love your kitchen!! Can you explain how you did the shelf for the microwave. I want to do this in our kitchen!


what is the distance from the countertop to the bottom of the globe pendants on your kitchen island? your kitchen is a favorite. thank you for your time.


The distance is ~30″! Hope that helps.


Hi! Love your kitchen! The ceiling change is my favorite feature! I would love to hear more from you about how you approached this change. Did you know what you wanted and sought out the contractor?

Thanks for your pictures! Inspiring!


Read more about how we vaulted the ceilings here…



Oh, wow, the turnout is just breathtaking. It’s just so wonderful! Love the little corner you have designated as your office – makes the kitchen more useful than it already is.

[…] first saw this look on House*Tweaking where Dana created a gorgeous kitchen with IKEA cabinets (seriously, it is unrecognisable from the ‘before’ […]


Great post!! Love the inspiration it gives.


I just spent the last several minutes touring your new and old home. and I am hooked! I love your sense of style. I pinned several images, and I am your newest follower!


Thanks for reading!


OK, I am returning to this post for the umpteenth time… I absolutely love this kitchen! One question that I haven’t seen in all these comments is: How are your gorgeous kitchen rugs holding up to all the activity? I am really wanting to put a nice rug in our (small, sadly 1980s) kitchen, but I keep thinking maybe it’s a bad idea. We have two little kids and a dog, and I cook A LOT (though I rarely spill much LOL). I’m in the kitchen so much, that’s why I really want to make it a space I love. I just painted an accent wall and really want to add a vintage rug… But I’m thinking about one of those colorful recycled plastic rugs instead, so I can just hose it down if need be. Thanks so much — I love your blog!


The rugs are holding up beautifully! They are vintage and the Turkish one probably lived on a dirt floor at some point in its previous life. Because they aren’t brand-new, I don’t feel so bad about crumbs and the random splatter. I vacuum regularly and when the weather allows I take them outside to shake them out. Since they aren’t rare collectibles, I’ve even cleaned them outside with a little Charlie’s soap powder, water and low-pressure hose then air dried (in the shade). They add so much character and warmth to the kitchen and I can’t imagine the space without them! My thought is if the rugs have held up for decades, then they can probably stand up to our lifestyle.


Hi again. I just posted asking about your lights but I found the posts with all the resources listed. So helpful!! I am wondering though if you are pleased with your IKEA appliances? Any insight into them would be great. I am hesitant.


LOVE our oven / stovetop and fridge! No complaints or issues there. We had an issue with the dishwasher’s soap dispenser shortly after it was installed. It was still under warranty so a technician came out and replaced it. No problems since. I don’t love the utensil holder but that’s a little thing.


Ok I don’t think this was in the other comment questions.
1) Is the hallway also Tapestry Beige? We’re painting our living room + hallway in the next couple weeks and I’m curious. :)
2) Did you use flat, satin or semigloss for the kitchen/hallway?
3) Is the White Dove semigloss in the whole house? What about your bathroom? So curious!

Thank you!


OH – and I see the small spice rack in the kitchen… are those the only spices you have?

And do you still like not having a dishwasher?

And do all pantry items (snacks, etc) go under the island?

And do you only have place settings / glasses / flatware for 8 total? I can imagine that would help simplify cleanup.

Thank you again!


We have the spice rack for ground spices and magnetic spice containers on the refrigerator (near the microwave) for dried spices / herbs. We have a dishwasher! It’s between the sink and stove. It has a cover panel on it that matches the cabinets. I love that feature! All pantry items are in the lazy Susan or in the cabinet above the microwave. We have everyday dishes for 10-12 (some have broken over the years) plus fancier china that I keep in a cabinet in the laundry nook since we don’t use it too often. Hope that helps!


1) Hallway is tapestry beige.

2) It’s eggshell.

3) The white dove is semigloss everywhere except the vaulted ceiling (satin). If I had to paint the bathroom over again, I would use a good bathroom paint in eggshell. I don’t care for semigloss on the walls.


Hello Dana,

First, like many others have said your kitchen is gorgeous! I was so inspired by your island that we decided to take down a wall and make a small breakfast bar. We are at the point now where we are ready to order our counter top and we will be going with the same company you used. My questions are, how thick is your wood counter top and did you choose an edge detail? If so which edge detail did you go with? Thank you again for sharing your home!!


Hi! I love your home! I’m planning a kitchen remodel for my house and I am wanting to use sealed butcherblock countertops for the whole kitchen. Do you still love your bar, and would you recommend the whole kitchen having butcherblock?


I’m not very “careful” at the sink. I make a big water mess when I’m cleaning up after meals. For me, I don’t think wood around the sink would be a good idea. It might be fine for someone else with tidier dishwashing tendencies.


I absolutely LOVE your kitchen! We’re getting ready to break ground on a “hangar home” (part house/part airplane hangar) and was looking for kitchen ideas and IKEA kitchen cabinet reviews when I found your blog. Do you know if the IKEA dishwasher cover panel will fit non-IKEA brand dishwashers? What are the dimensions of your kitchen?


Hmmm…I don’t know if the cover panel will fit other dishwashers. Our dishwasher is from Ikea but it’s Whirlpool. I would assume it’s a standard size. Our kitchen is ~12′ x 20′.

[…] Pretty makeoverDana’s kitchen and bedroom makeover is […]


I keep coming back and back to your kitchen. I love how lived in it looks, a real created over time look that I love. I’m wondering if you considered going with an IKEA butcher block island and perhaps staining it darker? Why did you go with the more expensive wood? I’m about to go out and buy a walnut slab, but I’m wondering if it is worth the additional expense over stained ikea. Thoughts? Thanks!!!


Our primary reason for not going with Ikea butcher block was size. The island is 9′ long and we wanted one continuous slab. Another reason we didn’t go with Ikea was thickness. We wanted a thicker slab for a more substantial look since the island is overscale. If our island had been smaller maybe we would have stained and sealed Ikea butcher block. We really wanted the island to feel more like a table. Hope that helps!


I love your kitchen! You all did an amazing job.We are getting ready to expand our countertops and island out, similar to what you did only we won’t have any walls to remove. My question is, do you have a pantry or any food cabinets? It doesn’t look like it (unless I’m missing it) and if not do you miss them or find that you would really like to have some? We are trying to figure out how we would configure in some storage space for food cabinets since we would be getting rid of our pantry to expand the counter. We have considered putting some in next to our fridge (same position that yours is in). But we just aren’t sure yet how that would look.


See our “pantry” here…


As with many things after downsizing, we have come to value quality > quantity when it comes to food. Best of luck with your project!


I love love your home! We also live in a small house we call our “Love Shack” . Small living has fit our families needs perfectly and I love the freedom it provides us for actual living. I have been contemplating taking down a wall between our kitchen and living room and wasn’t sure how I would like it. After seeing your home I think it would look awesome. I do have a question….. Would you mind telling me how many feet it is from your front wall (living room) to the back wall (kitchen)? Thank you so much for sharing your home with us!


You have a great eye for design, I love the way you mixed the butcher block island with the granite countertops. The black cabinets really makes them granite pop, I want to do something similar when I do my kitchen remodel. Bookmarked this page I’m gonna be stealing some idea’s from you, hope you don’t mind. =]


Steal away!


Your house is beautiful. We have a similar layout and your house has been a great inspiration to me since our layout is very similar and we are getting ready to do some work on our house. I have two questions:
1. I was wondering if you would be willing to share a picture of what it looks like when you enter the front door and see the kitchen and the distance from the door to the back of the kitchen (noticed that question in previous post). I am having a hard time visualizing that and worry that in our small space (I think our space is smaller than yours) it will feel like we are walking into the kitchen.
2. Do you feel that after taking down the walls and vaulting the ceiling, those changes make the room feel spacious enough? We have considered an addition to the back of our kitchen/dining area, but I think those changes will add enough sense of space without the expense of an addition.
Thank you!


1. I will post a picture to my Instagram account this week from the vantage point you’re speaking of. From front door to back wall in the kitchen, it’s ~25′. To me, it doesn’t feel like we walk straight into the kitchen from the front door, but it does feel like we walk straight into the living room – which is a reality!

2. Removing walls and vaulting the ceiling definitely makes the space feel larger and allows for better traffic flow even though we didn’t actually increase square footage. I think it really depends on how you live. For us, it’s enough space at this point in our lives.


Please tell me where you get your cutting boards. They are so artful! Your whole space is very well thought thru. Thank you for sharing.


The cutting boards are from various sources. One is a DIY from leftover butcher block in our previous home. One is from Schoolhouse Electric. The pizza peel is from Wayfair.


Hi there!! I am wondering if you have dark bases or white bases under the Ramsjö panels on the bottom? Does any white show through? I am on the fence about getting white or brown bases for our cabinets. I plan on using the Laxarby panels to cover them, but would love a nice bright white when I open up the cabinets. Anyways, just wondering if you might tell me your thoughts on that! I’m also wondering about the vaulted ceiling! We have a ranch style home similar to yours (pre reno), I really want to vault the ceilings (like sell my soul kind of REALLY want), but everyone I’ve spoken with tells me it’s impossible in an older ranch style house… How was the experience for you?


Our cabinet frames are white…the only option available when we bought. The white does show through in a few places but I think I’m the only one who notices. The good news is IKEA now offers dark cabinet frames – something I wish would have been available when we ordered our kitchen.

Read more about the vaulted ceiling here…



We’re planning on remodeling our kitchen in the next year or so, and I want to do butcher block on the island like yours, but my husband is not sold on it. He thinks it will be too much work. How is it holding up? Have you had any issues with marks on it? Do you do anything special to maintain it or does having it sealed with Waterlox allow you to just wipe it down like a regular counter? Thanks!


It’s holding up great! The Waterlox allows us to forgo coasters. Water isn’t an issue. Hot plates and mugs are no problem but I do use trivets for trays/pans coming straight from the oven. Indentations from the kids’ pencils (homework and art projects take place at the island) are in the Waterlox topcoat – not the wood. They’re only noticeable from certain angles and could be sanded out if desired but they don’t bother me at all. (In fact, I’m a little sentimental about them.) I wipe down the wood top with a wet rag several times daily and use dish soap + water less regularly for a deeper clean. It’s much like a wood bar top you would find at a restaurant. I would choose it all over again in a heartbeat!


Thanks so much for that info. That’s how I treat the laminate counters that came with the house so it’s great to know that the Waterlox pretty much makes the butcher block just as easy to maintain!


I don’t know if you feel comfortable sharing this, but I was wondering if you could share, or have ever shared a cost breakdown of redoing your kitchen. I haven’t been able to find a lot of people that put that information out there, and we don’t want to step in to a remodel and get completely blind-sided by the cost.


The IKEA components (cabinets + hardware + all appliances except the microwave) were $7,700. That does not include countertops, sink, faucet, backsplash and lighting. It’s difficult to put an exact number on the kitchen reno as many of the projects were part of the main living area as well. (Vaulted ceiling, planked ceiling, flooring, moving/adding gas lines, electrical, skylights, etc.) My best estimate would be <$15k with us doing much of the work ourselves. We hired out for the granite + sink installation and had our plumber hook up the gas to the new stove. Hope that helps!


LOVE your kitchen. I would not have ever paired black cabinets with the dark floor – but I simply adore it! Beautifully done!


We are thinking about doing a similar floor in our home and I was wondering how they’ve held up – any major scratching/denting? How careful do you have to be with them – felt pads on furniture legs/feet?
I love your kitchen


Question: Did you get shorter wall cabinets and then just place a shelf for the microwave that met the bottom of the longer cabinets next to it? I’m designing our third kitchen (second with Ikea) and I noticed the new Sektion line doesn’t have uppers with microwave cubbies which I’d really like. I remembered you had a microwave spot with your uppers but I can’t find much information on how you did it…


Hi! Love love your kitchen!
Is the wood island topper useable without a cutting board for things like rolling out dough?

Thank you! Gorgeous blog!


I roll out dough (and playdoh!) on the island, but we don’t cut on it without a cutting board.


The microwave cabinet is actually one tall cabinet (like the one next to it) but we added shorter doors and moved a shelf into position to act as the “bottom” of the doored cabinet just above the microwave. For the microwave shelf, we cut a matching shelf to fit and screwed it into the the bottom of the entire cabinet. I’m not sure I’m explaining that very clearly. Maybe a post is in order?



Thank you so much for posting in such detail about your experiences buying, installing and using an Ikea kitchen – it’s so hard to find reviews! I keep coming back to all your Ikea kitchen posts for insight and ideas!

My husband and I are considering redoing our kitchen with Ikea cabinets, likely the light grey and white combo or all white. We have a galley kitchen and while I’d love a tuxedo kitchen I’m afraid it will be too dark. But I’m curious about the white of your uppers, are they white or off-white? The new door fronts are off-white and I’m hesitant about incorporating them in our home since I was so set on a bright white. But your kitchen is beautiful, so I’d love to know the specific color of yours.

Thanks so much!


Our upper cabinets are off-white. To keep them from looking yellow, I chose Benjamin Moore white dove (a warm white) for all the trim in our house and the walls in the kitchen are Benjamin Moore tapestry beige (a very light greige). I did a cabinet color-match here…


Not sure if those paint colors are still in circulation but hopefully it gives you an idea!


Looking into remodeling our pantry and have to gut the existing cabinets. I went to ikea and looked at their cabinet options. Do you think yours are holding-up well? Worried they won’t because they aren’t solid wood construction. Thoughts?


We’re nearly five years in and so far, so good! No broken cabinets to speak of and we have granite countertops and kids who like to climb…if you catch my drift. The corner lazy susan is a little squeaky. It could probably use some WD40.


I love your kitchen! Can you tell me the distance between your hanging lights? We also have a 9 foot island and I am trying to figure out the best spacing between the lights. Thank you so much!!!



I am currently planning my kitchen renovations and more than likely will go with an ikea kitchen. I can’t find the black model in our Ikea. Do you know if the model you got in Ramsjö is the same as the LAXARBY in black/brown? I also would like to have black on the bottom and white on top. I absolutely love the look of your kitchen!




The LAXARBY is pretty close! Not exactly the same, but I think you’ll get the same look.


From center of globe to adjacent center of globe is ~26″. Hope that helps!


Hey there, we’re doing a kitchen remodel and yours is my inspiration.:) I noticed that the west elm pendants you have are on sale this week. Just for reference, I was wondering whether yours are the medium or small pendant. We have the same size island, as you, but I wasn’t sure which would be best. Thanks!


Hi Dana
First I really want to thank you for inspiring me! I just totally renovated a fixer upper in New Jersey that looks a lot like your house and looking at your blog you gave ideas and courage to vault the ceiling and tear down walls in order to have an open plan. We also planked the ceiling and painted it white like you and it’s the most beautiful feature of the whole house! Thank You!!!
I have a question about the backsplash in your kitchen. Did you finish it at the top and the sides with bullnose or just grouted the edges? the subway tile I chose does not have matching bullnose and I’m not sure I like those vinyl or metal edges they sell at home depot.
Thanks in advance :)


Not sure if you reply to comments anymore but I have been loving your great room!!! And was wondering if you would feel comfortable sharing the demensions? I have looked at ranches like this in my area but didn’t know this kind of transformation was possible.


My question, because you have 5 people in your house where is like a pantry at? I have a smaller house(with a tiny galley kitchen) and am trying to achieve a design like this but I am wondering where food and appliances would go.