Undoing The “Must-Haves” In A Kitchen

“I Must Have Granite and Stainless Steel Appliances!”

Ok, all you real estate agents, and at home HGTV watchers…how many times do we hear these very words?  TOO OFTEN!   Today we share our own minimal kitchen journey to totally debunk these must-haves in our kitchen.

The Holdover Kitchen


The old saying in real estate of, location-location-location, finally resonated with both Mr. LBD and moi at the same time.  For years we’ve known that walkable, city neighborhoods are our playgrounds.  We’ve paid big bucks to “live like locals” for a month at a time in cities all across this wonderful world.  Nearly a year ago, we successfully acquired a full-time residence in our favorite city.  Within this home, we also were the proud owners of a 12-year-old “must-have” kitchen.

The photo above shows the small kitchen with updated paint, and those stainless and granite amenities all shined up.  Due to the city’s strict building permit restrictions…this space was what we functioned in every day.  Looked good but was not the best use of space for how we live.  We cooked often before the pandemic and, well, I don’t need to tell anyone that kitchens have become even more important to all of us now!

The Kitchen The Day We Looked At The Unit


Renovation Items To Remain

In planning for a renovation, each of us has items that we need to consider when designing a new space.  For us, we chose to retain the wood flooring, (we were confident with the contrasting finishes of new cabinetry the wood grain would be appreciated more) the layout of the recessed lighting, (so the entire ceiling would not need to be permitted for any change) and the existing location of the sink plumbing (in a condo there are very few options).

The New “Must-Haves” For Our Small Kitchen

  • perimeter counter space to accommodate two people at a time
  • 6″ more space to the right of the cooktop and a receptacle in the area
  • a cabinet for a trash can to the right of sink (not a built-in pullout)
  • 15″ deep upper cabinet storage
  • a ventless range hood with good light that actually draws well
  • as few stainless steel elements as possible (no more smudges!)
  • countertops and full splash that not only perform but create visual space

The New Renovated Kitchen


Creating A Contrasting Kitchen Color Palette

When our firm designs a kitchen, or bath, space for a client, we encourage everyone to wait to choose finishes until after the space design is 100% decided.  As mentioned before, we chose to keep the LED recessed lighting in place and wanted to create a strong contrast with the wood floor color.  A mix of highly grained, ebony and white gloss cabinets, splash and perimeter counters, work well with the lighting placement and strong stain on the floor.  Added into the mix, two concrete mimics, on the range hood and island (more info in next post) complete the decor finishes.  Never say no to laminate and research the new quartz products!


Gaining Working Counter Space Is A Must-Have


Mr. LBD and I have had many kitchens.  After living with the wall microwave/oven combo for almost a year, I can firmly say we do not like a stacked wall unit.  We researched under counter ovens and found that most now have racks on ball bearings. Gaining this 24″ of space allowed for a multi-use base cabinet, counter space for a coffee area, and a sleek line of the 15″ upper storage.  Plus, it will not hurt us to keep the bending motion going!  Note:  This is our only “partial” stainless appliance.  Perhaps you remember this past post?


Using Euro Size, Integrated Kitchen Appliances

Here’s a sneak peek of how we have embraced euro-sized, paneled-front, appliances in the design.


Yes, the refrigerator, and freezer, are in the left, tall tower.  Now both appliances are totally in line with the counter depth.  This gave us 6″ more of space in the traffic path.  Visually…it’s a huge difference!  And look, space to the right of the cooktop with a receptacle!  Completely changes the use of the entire cook’s area.


Join us on the next post to learn how these smaller sized appliances have not been a sacrifice at all!

Did you know we do virtual kitchen and bath design?


Now you can share LBD via text!

4 thoughts on “Undoing The “Must-Haves” In A Kitchen”

  1. It’s all that experience that you have that makes it work so perfect for you!!

    1. Thanks…Perhaps..but it is also not going toward trends that fight architecture and function. This is the key to good design which is for everyone!

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