Tag Archives: kitchen remodel

Food & Wine Magazine : Food Bloggers’ Best Kitchen Design Ideas

Guess which notable food blogger made it into Food & Wine Magazine’s January issue and website? I’m happy to say that would be me, representing the veg edge à la “Suburban Chic.” I’m sure that title was meant in the kindest way possible.

I don’t have my issue of F&W yet, but do check out my kitch on the magazine’s site.

With the baby coming soon I have not had time to properly index my remodel posts, but if you want to see my entire finished kitchen, do look for the link on my sidebar.



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Strap It On!

Cross posted @ Horton Brasses Blog (under a different title 😉 ).

My mother-in-law just left after a weekend visit, returning to her DC home. While staying with us, she and her husband admitted to feeling some kitchen envy for our new remodel. That being said, she is hesitant to tear out her 40 year old kitchen and trade up to something more contemporary. One of the things she doesn’t want to part with: the copper functional strap hinges adorning her cabinets. They have definitely retained their classic beauty, despite the years.

Now, I know most people are not running to the hardware store and clearing out the bins of strap hinges when it comes to updating their kitchen hardware. The majority of strap hinges tend to end up on barn doors and hope chests, bought by men who wear their Wrangler dungarees and plaid flannel shirts in a not so ironic way.

But does that mean you shouldn’t consider these bands of hand forged stylishness for your remodel? Of course not! You are not a kitchen trend follower but rather a style setter. How many European bar pulls must be tolerated to spite the expression of individual personality in the kitchen?

Sure, not every application may suit the strap hinge. You may feel that a complete kitchen outfitted in strap hinges….or even the strap hinge’s less lean cousin, the butterfly hinge….may be a bit too period for you. Still, you can use these traditionally styled, hand forged iron hinges to quirk up the joint–adding some visual interest to an otherwise standard and un-noteworthy space.

photo courtesy retrorenovation.com

This vintage Kohler sink photo should be added to the inspiration file of anyone contemplating a period kitchen remodel for an American farmhouse kitchen. The cast iron apron front sink is just one aspect of perfecting that early American look. Iron strap hinges decorate the cabinets and add beauty to the pared down decor of this functional kitchen.

An updated take on that same traditional style can be seen in this photo from Morgan Creek Cabinetry. All modern conveniences are on hand with a high end range and new fireclay apron front sink while keeping period inspired details like a beadboard ceiling and functional strap hinges mounted on the custom cabinetry.

The clean and modest kitchen of this British cottage rental has a neutral palette and limited cabinets. However, the pantry door adds charm to this otherwise staid space. The large strap hinges and iron knob elevates this cottage kitchen to the expectations of patrons by infusing it with a shot of authenticity amidst the contemporary utilitarian design.

This kitchen by Karin Blake, as it appeared in Architectural Digest, is a  tableau of simplicity, classic Americana and modern design. A mix of inset slab front drawers and wainscot doors, the vintage style lab stools, farm table and windsor chairs all add to the smooth, seamless allure of a style indicating New England old money when, in fact, this home is Malibu new construction. One of the key details that makes this look work are the barn-style cabinet doors finished with forged iron strap hinges.

While a Karin Blake kitchen may not be in your budget, such a look is definitely attainable with stock cabinetry and the right hinges, of course! Whether your cabinets are inset, overlay or frameless, you can rock this designer look by either using real functional strap hinges or dummy hinges. And don’t forget the other hardware to compliment your look. There are a variety of handles sized to create the perfect drama in your kitchen. At Horton Brasses, there are the oversized Suffolk Grips as well as the modestly sized Iron Grips.

And check out these matching knobs from Horton Brasses. Honestly, this stuff is not just for period kitchens! Imagine how appropriate these would look in some kind of industrial modern space. Like I said at the start of this post, ditch the European bar pulls, people! Nothing screams modern more than industrial. Just think lab coats and beakers and all that mad science that went on, marking a new era. Forged iron is not just barn. Below is a pic of a  kitchen from 1966 that merges the suburban colonial look with modern stylings. This should definitely get you thinking outside of your forged iron box!

photo courtesy retrorenovation.com

The above picture is a great find for anyone with an older home and a budget. There are many ways to update a kitchen, but if you cabinets are in good shape, the most cost effective way involves soap and water and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Strap hinges were definitely more popular in decades past, but hopefully this post will have you embracing your older hardware with a style savvy gaze. Or, even better, taking on that full remodel with courage to add some spark to your kitchen with some well chosen accent pieces. Karin Blake would be impressed!

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Mixing Finishes

This post is cross posted on the Horton Brasses Blog.


Whether decorating a new home or snazzying up an older model, the question often arises as to whether or not it is okay to mix finishes. Maybe all the doorknobs in your house are a shiny brass but you had your heart set on satin nickel in the kitchen and oil rubbed bronze in the loo. Or maybe you just can’t decide between polished nickel and polished brass. And satin nickel. And milk glass. And want them all in one space–the super expensive kitchen you are remodeling. You want it to look finished and pulled together and are afraid mixing finishes will give you a final product more akin to a Home Depot kitchen showroom than the Crown Point Cabinetry website.

Well, rest your pretty little head. While it is true that most of the pics of kitchens you find online will make you believe matchy match match is gospel, some Google Image searching will turn up quite a few well executed examples of mixing finishes in the kitchen without looking like you outfitted your cabinets in salvage off of eBay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Here are some real life worries regarding mixed finishes:

I am planning on stainless cabinet hardware but want to get an ORB faucet….will this look okay?

Can I mix matte bronze light fixture with satin nickel cabinet hardware?

Brushed nickel cabinet hardware, stainless steel sink and faucet…can I go dark bronze on the lighting?

These kinds of threads always pop up on the GardenWeb Kitchen Forum, possibly the most useful reference and interactive website when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. As you can see from visiting the linked threads, there are some traditionalists out there who probably go so far as to match their faucet to their saucepan. That definitely is playing it safe.

But mixing finishes is not a strenuous task best undertaken by design mavens only. Even us commoners can use our good sense to pull off a fabulous mixed finish space without looking mis-matched. Let’s call in some visuals!



This shaker-style kitchen from the Crown Point Cabinetry website shows stained wooden knobs, stainless steel hood/range/sink/faucet and a wrought iron chandelier. The result is positively un-quirky.




Another example from the esteemed custom cabinet maker Crown Point, painted wooden knobs, copper sink and wrought iron pendants. Three different finishes, one unique charm!



GardenWebber Cotehele's gorgeous kitchen remodel, complete with Horton Brasses dark antique cabinet hardware, stainless steel faucet and white fireclay sink.



From Souther Living, this kitchen shows the eclectic pairing of antique brass pendants, stainless steel appliances and oil-rubbed bronze cabinet hardware.



Bronze, stainless steel and brass finishes adorn this Nantucket kitchen featured in House Beautiful.



Above is a glimpse how mixing finishes can give a high end effect on a budget. This Ikea kitchen remodel, by DIY Gardenwebber Brickmanhouse, was done for under $20k. Finshes include glass as well as chrome bin pulls, fireclay sinks and a black chandelier. This kitchen definitely is an inspiration on many levels! For more pics and info, click here.

Below is my own personal favorite, which not so coincidentally happens to be my personal kitchen. I could bore you with the details: white enamel light fixtures, satin nickel and polished nickel hardware. And milk glass and crystal and antique brass. Satin nickel faucets as well as chrome w/brass. I could go on and on about the four different tiles, two different grout colors etc., but instead, you can look for yourself.

So, while I don’t want to squelch your creativity, let me share some guidelines (I use that word loosely) to help you ease your fear over mixing and matching your finishes.

1) Know your style. Defining your decorating style will give you a design neighborhood to work in and help you achieve a cohesive end product. Are you going for a cottage look? Is a vintage or period feel where you are headed? Or are you trying to create a sleek, modern space? Asking these questions early on will allow you to narrow down your style choices (bin pulls vs. bar pulls) and may also steer you towards certain finishes or away from certain finishes.

2) Look for natural divisions of space. Good design is organic and not over thought. Examine your space and determine where there are natural divisions or breaks. You may want to offset a work island from the perimeter cabinets with different hardware. Or maybe bring in a finish on a hutch or pantry cabinetry. Another way to visually divide up your space is to think in terms of horizontal layers. Ceiling fixtures, then sink/faucets then cabinet hardware. There are many ways to break up the space, adding reason and order to your varying elements.

3) Be practical! Don’t forget to find out what kind of care goes into the finishes you’ve selected. Most lacquered hardware won’t require much upkeep at all, but do your homework. And don’t rule out chrome faucets just because the rest of your kitchen is chromeless. I promise you, the shine of chrome, while being bluer than the pink tones of polished nickel, will not clash. There will be no pictures turning up in the press with your kitchen listed as a “Fashion Don’t.” I promise.

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff. This goes along with “be practical” but I feel it is de rigueur for any list of guidelines to include this cliche’. What I am thinking about here is your sink drain. Get chrome. Trust me. I don’t care if your sink is black or white or stainless or pink. Chrome is the most durable finish and perfect for water applications. I had a Brasstech satin nickel basket for my drain and within a month or so I had myself a two toned satin nickel/brass basket where the finish rubbed off. Of course, if that is your idea of mixing finishes, than go for it.

5) Fill your kitchen with what you love! Another cliche’? Oh, totally! This is actually one of the most over-simplified decorating advice I’ve come across, but still, on one level it works. Of course, if you are like me and find yourself completely adulterous to any one style, you’re on your own. Perfecting that bohemian, time traveler look is probably one of the most complicated styles to execute. But if you’ve made it this far down my list of guidelines and have honed in on a specific style, divided your space up visually and have some practical ideas for your choices, then I say you have enough parameters to pick out your faves and deck your kitchen out in those things. That’s what I did.

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Finished Kitchen: Details!

(Originally I had these links just at the bottom, but what the hell…it’s a lengthy post.)

How I organized my new kitchen!

Before and after pics!

Garden Web Kitchen Forum Link To My Finished Kitchen Page


STYLE:  Modern Classic Island Galley


Schuler (Lowes) Plywood Cabs /

Hampton Door Style /

Maple Wood Divinity Paint / Cherry Wood Chestnut Stain


Carrara Marble (Magma Granite / Ocala)

3 Integrated drainboards / honed island / polished perimeter

8′ x 30″ Tabletop: Sapphire Brown Granite


Kenmore All Fridge (purchased in 2005 from Sears) /

Samsung Dishwasher (Lowes Clearance) /

Broan 60″ Hood (Discontinued / Sears) /

2 30″ Fivestar Dual Fuel Ranges (AJ Madison)


Hakatai Classic Series in Mint Ice / Meadow / Porcelain (white grout)

American Olean White Glossy Subway Tile (gray pearl grout)

Angled Plugmold:

Gray sockets on aluminum (Tasklighting.com)


Avian Fan (Lowes) /

Seagull 76012 Lighting Modern Flush Mount /

Progress Lighting Functional Flush Mount (single light) /

Progress Lighting Functional Flush Mount (double light) /

Kichler 9112 Transitional Single Light Outdoor Wall Sconce /

Fluorescent Undercabinet Lighting (Lowes)


Kingston Brass Wall Mounted Faucets /

Model # KS200SN /

Model # KS3228AX /

Model # KS216SN /

Seisse RO Faucet


Porcher London 30″ Apron Front Fireclay Sink /

6o” Custom  Belvedere Soapstone Double Bowl Sink (M. Teixeira)


Aubrey Pulls & Duluth Pulls 8″ / Satin Nickel (Restoration Hardware) /

Aubrey Pulls & Duluth Pulls 8″ / Antique Finish (custom finish by Horton Brasses) /

Cast Brass Bin Pulls 4″ / Antique Finish & Polished Nickel (Horton Brasses) /

Classic Kitchen Knobs 1.25″ / Antique Finish & Satin Nickel (Horton Brasses)

Diamond Cut Crystal Glass Knob (D. Lawless) /

Octogonal Cut Old Fashion White Milk Glass Knob (D. Lawless)

Open Shelves:

72″ 16-gauge Stainless Steel Restaurant Shelving (The Web Restaurant Store)


Rustic Pre-finished Red Oak    3/4″ x 2-1/4″ (Lumber Liquidators)


Custom Steel Table Base (Gainesville Ironworks)/

Large Wood Table (Purchased 2003 from Pier 1 Outlet)

Wood Chairs (Purchased 2004 from Target)

Aluminum Jailhouse Chairs (Discount Seating)


Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk (Walls) /

Alabaster (Ceiling)


Coqo Floral Curtain in Natural (Anthropologie) /

Dahlia Curtain Holdbacks (Clearance / Curtain Rod Store)


Chris Nietanbach @ Nietanbach Construction 352-246-3098

KD Clinton Moreaux & Lotus @ Moreaux Carpentry 352-339-6801

Shout Outs!

Loved working with Ted & Paula from Magma Granite in Ocala! They gave *excellent* pricing, were super nice to deal with and did an exceptional job on the fabrication.

The internet was my best friend, allowing me to price engineer a killer kitchen at a price point we could swallow.

Orion at Horton Brasses is a sweetheart. This hardware company is family owned and Orion will personally talk to you on the phone, send you cute little cards and just bend over backwards to make your hardware purchase perfect.

My husband is such a generous guy with, thankfully, flawless credit! XOXOXO

Chris, KD and Lotus are the BEST contractors in the Alachua County/Gainesville area. Ridiculously hardworking, strong like oxen, precise and all around gems–these guys are a terrific buy and do amazing work. Love them!

I am extremely happy with how the kitchen turned out. So close to perfection! If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten the cabinets in White Icing, not Divinity (prefer the white white look to creamy white), worked in island seating for the husband to hang out and would paint the walls a different shade of white. We used the same paint that we had elsewhere in the house, but the 1962 walls are plaster and concrete. The paint looks different on the sheet rock and it is driving me slightly crazy. I know it is relatively easy to repaint, but we have other parts of the house that need our love now. Gotta move on. Same thing with the stone dining table. Originally planned for white marble, that didn’t work out, had a granite I could deal with fabricated, an accident happened on the way to the truck and then had to pick a new slab. Not my all time fave, but it is nice, and the husband really likes it. The dark color will make it a prime spot for spreading khandvi.

What I love loVE LOVE?

*The functionality. I am a walking disaster, possibly one of the messiest cooks you will ever meet. Clean up is a cinch in the new kitch. Love the galley layout, which is basically in the same footprint as the original, just longer.

*The soapstone sink, which is not too deep but plenty roomy. Belvedere was not my first choice but it is the hardest soapstone in M. Teixeira’s repertoire and also in the cheapest class category. But you know what? I love it so much now. We are leaving it unoiled

*My marble! For those of you who have kept up with my kitchen obsession on this blog, white marble has an affect on me akin to a dinner of oysters, chocolate and Viagra. Sorry, it’s true. My countertops, especially the honed island where I do most of my work, is like a dream. A very sexy yet soothing dream. It is stone yet it is soft. Evocative of a cloud, pocketbook friendly carrara has a certain translucence and lightness that is divine and inspired. Love it.

*The big sink wall. I love the el cheapo white subway tile. Love the gray grout. So easy to clean. Wall mount satin nickel faucets MMMUH! And the mirror. The mirror was an unauthorized purchase before the green light was given for the remodel. We had no funding. No firmed up plans. Just my vision. And I spotted this beauty at Pier 1 and let me tell you…it was a lot of money for Pier 1. I bought it on the spot and, well, the husband and I were at odds for an entire weekend over it. Ooops.

*Integrated drainboards…yay.

*Hakatai Classic Series Tile. Whenever I showed people the tile sample or pics, they really tried to be polite. I saw it in their strained smiles and read it in between the lines of their courtesy emails. Very few people liked it. They thought the tile was too bathroomy and that the colors were too bright. But I think everyone agrees now that the Hakatai tile choices worked out fabulously, bringing color into the space without kitsch.

*I love the cheap stuff, like my $2 curtain holdbacks, $17 ceiling lights, stainless steel restaurant shelving, Kingston Brass faucets and the magnetic knife holder we recycled from the old and ugly kitchen.

Basically, I am living in my dream kitchen. If you don’t see me out and about, it’s because I would rather be home cooking. Cleaning up…well, not so much.

I am going to work on getting a page up devoted to the remodel, including the worker bees who toiled so hard on what somedays seemed like an endless vortex of monster kitchen–so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are links to the finished kitch:

How I organized my new kitchen!

Before and after pics!

Garden Web Kitchen Forum Link To My Finished Kitchen Page


Filed under kitchen, kitchen design, kitchen remodel, kitchen tips, Uncategorized

Finished Kitchen: Cabinets–Inside & Out

The following people may be interested in this post:

a) someone who wants to rob me of nutritional yeast and coconut oil
b) persons interested in kitchen organization in anticipation of a remodel
c) my husband, who is still learning where everything goes


Finished Kitchen Details Click *HERE*

Sabjimata’s Finished Kitchen on Garden Web Kitchen Forum Click *HERE*


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Finished Kitchen: Before & After Pics

I am working on getting all my finished kitchen details together, but in the meantime, here are the before and after shots. We’ve come a long way!

BEFORE: (view into kitchen doorway)

AFTER (view into kitchen doorway)

BEFORE (corner shot from big window)

AFTER (corner shot from big window)

AFTER (corner shot from big window 2)

BEFORE (corner shot from kitchen window)

AFTER (corner shot from kitchen window)

BEFORE (from where stone table is now)

AFTER (from where stone table is now)

BEFORE (kitchen sink)

AFTER (kitchen sink)

BEFORE (old door)

AFTER (new door)

BEFORE (doorway to living room)

AFTER (doorway to living room)

BEFORE (shot from laundry room door)

AFTER (shot from laundry room door)

BEFORE (standing at big door)

AFTER (standing at big door)

BEFORE (standing at upstairs door)

AFTER (standing at upstairs door)

Sabjimata Garden Web Finished Kitchen Post Click *HERE*

Finished Kitchen Details Click *HERE*

Finished Kitchen Pics *Inside & Out* of cabinets click HERE


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Eating For Two

Look at me! I feel better! I am 14 weeks pregnant! My back hurts! Ow!

Here I am! all pregnant and hungry. During my first pregnancy, I craved cherries, apples, shrikand, chocolate cake, pancakes, spinach and nutrella (tvp). I loathed eggplant and didn’t eat any cheese. Second pregnancy was all about grilled tofu and zucchini, eggplant parmigiana, spelt chapatis and salad and an avocado a day minimum.

This time around, I am yogurt and bananas and raw oats. Sweet apples. Cheese. Lots of cheese. Blended soup. Fettuccine. Garden tomatoes. And artichokes with brown butter. Seriously. I am.

Artichokes are a Babu food–a favorite of the husband. I make them for him on special occasions but I usually refrain from joining in on all that toothsome, scrape-y fun. But now I am  an artichoke eating pregnancy machine. Artichoke hearts, buttery artichokes–I’ll take them any way I can get them…except marinated in vinegar. Burns my tummy.

I meant to cook artichokes yesterday for dinner, but we were out in the heat and, like the old pale woman that I am, got totally worn out by the exertion of existing in the sunlight. So, I made this:

Eating for two--simple dinner of collard greens, tomato, tvp, fettucine w/ ricotta.

Today I invited some lady friends over for lunch. It is difficult lunching with the ladies, because all the ladies have kids. Today’s ladies only brought four kids with them, three of which were pre- or pre-pre-school age. Thankfully, it was only mildly exhausting. For their moms.

I stayed up late last nite, preoccupied with excitement over cooking lunch in my not quite yet put away kitchen. When my nite-owl children awoke from their angelic slumber, I told them we would walk to the store for food shopping. We departed the house many tens of minutes after the initial “Okay, we’re leaving” was sounded. Despite the morning hour, I felt hot, humid and pregnant. Two large bags of groceries and some frustration with dawdling, rock climbing and lizard chasing later, we arrived home with one hour to spare before friends arrived.

My first real baking attempt was underway and it turned out to be a disappointment. I made brownies (recipe here), which somehow (chocolate) turn out pleasing no matter how imperfect they are. The vegan pound cake (recipe here), however, was a stodgy disaster. It tasted like something you would buy at Book Lovers Cafe. Okay, if you’ve ever eaten there, you know I am hysterically funny here. And that that cake must have sucked. I figured out why the oven stuff was goofy and that is because my convection oven is non-digital and I must manually increase the temp when the fan is on. I really need to get an oven thermometer.

Everything else turned out swell, despite my undersalting. Not a major catastrophe considering, when in a rush, one is more prone to disastrous red-sea-ification of dishes. After doctoring some things up with a little salt and spice, we had a very nice light lunch.

Summer rolls with tamarind peanut dipping sauce.

Our summer rolls contained shredded beets, carrots, marinated tofu, lettuce and avocado. The sauce was tamarind, peanut butter, soy sauce, water and green chili.

Soup was supposed to be Kurma‘s black bean soup, but I didn’t buy any black beans (yes, i was going to buy canned). I know Mohini is a kindred blended soup spirit, so I just improvised with what I had on hand and gave it a boil. And then a whir with the stick blender.

Baby food: Blended soup of sweet potato, potato, plantain, and a little carrot and celery for good measure.

What kind of friend invites you over for lunch and then has you assemble it yourself? Well, ask these gals who happily got lunch on the table.

Padi and Mohini summer rolling.

Without conviction, I insisted the kids eat their rice before brownie time. They did a great job at rearranging the grains on their plate in order to skip ahead to dessert. At least I am getting a good jump on my organic compost pile. Thanks, kids!

Shyami eating a brownie. Awwwww! Chubby baby!

For my husband’s dinner, I repurposed the plain brown rice by tossing it with leftover pizza sauce, freshly picked basil and cubes of soft tofu. It tasted very yummy and my baby wanted more and more. That’s right, I’m blaming it on the baby.

Brown tomatoey rice with tofu and fresh picked garden basil.

In addition to cooking, I also worked on cleaning up and putting away (that’s why my back hurts, complain complain). Got stuff up on the shelves. Looks cute and I am sure this will be a revolving station of items over the years. The 40″ high base cabs make for a great spot to lay out serving dishes. Well, in this very informal case, pots and jars and plates of deliciousness.

Just thought I would show you my shelves, all glammed up with faux jadeite mixing bowls, authentic milk glass and some other hodges and podges. Babu's dinner awaits him on the countertop, bananas excluded. Babu would never eat a banana after dark!

And would you looky here? I finally made Babu his artichoke! After filling up on soup, I thought there was no way I would be hungry at dinner time. Think again. Babu generously shared an artichoke half with me. Thanks, Babu!

Cravings: artichoke with tarragon brown butter sauce.


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