August 2, 2018

My friend Bethany has an incredible sense of style and she and her husband do impressive projects for their 1930’s craftsman – lots of it diy-ed! Her kitchen is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. It feels fresh without being trendy, or just like every other kitchen you’ve seen over and over. More than maybe any other room, I feel like going for “timeless” is most valued in kitchens.

You know I’m pretty devoted to a good, white kitchen, but the warmth of her wood tone cabinets stopped me in my tracks. THEY ARE FANTASTIC.

I asked Bethany a bunch of questions about her style and process and included the interview below!

How did you make sure you had enough storage while still being able to do open shelving?

We went with the design more for the aesthetic rather than making storage the highest priority. When we were in the planning process I drew up an idea of how I would organize the kitchen to make sense for our family. Our cabinet maker said once the cabinets were installed it was easy to come back in and make storage adjustments as needed which we did end up doing. When I was taking everything out of our kitchen prior to demolition I pared things down to the essentials as much as I could and did a little more when I moved things back in. I knew the floating shelves were not going to be a main source of storage since I only wanted to put things on them that we use on a daily basis so they wouldn’t just be dust collectors. With a little organizing I was satisfied with the way everything fit.

What items in the renovation did you find worth splurging for? Which ones good for saving on?

We wanted quality cabinets. Other areas we were willing to spend a little more were moving a wall, the sink, faucet, and hardware. We were gifted our faucet, so we were able to use that budgeted amount on the other more expensive items. We chose wood countertops, which saved a lot. After a little research it seemed there really wasn’t a countertop that was infallible, at least not the ones we liked. Since you had to be careful about something whether it was heat, spills, or whatever no matter what, we chose wood. It was different; we liked the look and we definitely liked the price. I’m also not worried about my kids ruining them. If for some reason there is an issue, for the most part it can be corrected with some sanding and more polyurethane. We also chose to save here because this is an area that can easily be upgraded later. By doing shiplap from floor to ceiling instead of a tile backsplash we saved a ton. It provides a hard enough background for repeated cleaning without the cost of tile.

oil and vinegar bottles | salt and pepper shakers (similar) | utensil holder | tea kettle | enamelware mugs and plates

How did you choose your flooring?

This is the flooring we installed in our house when we moved in, which is a rustic maple. We thought the stain we had orginally chosen would compete with our new cabinets, so our plan was to sand them down and apply a water based polyurethane. However after my hubby spent hours sanding, it was clear that the labor, time, and money it was going to take to get the previous stain off was more than we were willing to put into it, so I ended up painting them.

What is the story with that incredible table and chairs?

They were a score at a local thrift store. When I bought them they were a mix of brown and pink and had been badly painted twice. I started spray painting them pure white like our shiplap, but didn’t like it when I brought them in and set them against the walls. Then I opted for an off white spray paint and liked the subtle contrast much better. The original table top was traded out for a bigger one we found online.

lotus pendant (similar) | white rattan chairs (similar)white rattan table (similar) | art (similar) | cabinet hardware

Do you have any tips for thrifting? How do you see something’s potential?

  1. Go regularly. I have a few favorite places that I try to hit often even if it’s just a few minutes to do a quick perusal for gems. I have learned the hard way that the good stuff doesn’t stay long.
  2. Keep a list. Know what you need and try not to stray far from it or you could find yourself with a lot of cool things and no place to put them or a lot of “projects” and no time to do them.
  3. Know your measurements. We have a list of door sizes, room dimensions, furniture pieces, etc. that we save to our phones in case we’re out and find something.
  4. Bring a tape measurer.

As far as seeing potential, I feel like this is something I’ve had to work at and learn with some trial and error. I usually consult my husband as to the quality of the construction and his general opinion if I’m on the fence about something.

Did you make any particular choices for your kitchen so it would work for young children?

We tried to use materials that would take a beating and age well so that when kids banged into things and nicked something it wouldn’t look horrible. For instance we went with the natural wood color instead of painting our cabinets so we wouldn’t have to deal with paint chipping (which was our experience with the first set of cabinets we had done seven years ago, prior to having children). We also added the table in the corner so the kids could have a place to hang out while I’m cooking and we could do more informal meals out there. They are very excited about this.

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Thank you Bethany! I love the idea of storing the most used items on the open shelving to fix the dust collection problem. And it gives good reason to do one of my favorite things, finding and buying beautiful versions of everyday objects. 

And she definitely has my wheels turning with her comments on how most countertops have special things you have to be careful about, so it might be best just to opt for a really inexpensive wood option. 

I love hearing her warmth speaking about working with her husband and thinking of her children. Her respect for them is so clear. AND TO TOP IT OFF HER KITCHEN IS ABSOLUTELY FIRE.

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  • Allison

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting this post! Bethany, could you explain more of the process of working with a cabinet maker? We’re considering using one for our home and would love to hear what you would recommend doing.

    Thanks for featuring this kitchen, Rachel!

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