Traditional Kitchen Ideas with a Contemporary Twist

Beautiful Green and White Kitchen by UK based Wren Kitchens

Paying attention to simple details is the difference between a ho-hum kitchen remodel and one that will make you want to just sit and look at it, like art!

I found this great looking green and white kitchen while looking at the traditional kitchens by Wren Kitchens page of a UK based site. I’m not sure I agree that there really is any such thing as “traditional” when it comes to kitchen design, but I suppose it’s as good a term as any.

No matter what you call it, the ideas and details in this design can transform the most important room in your home.

Here are a few great ideas you can take from this design:

Combine Three or More Colors –

traditional kitchen ideas colors

Far be it from me to recommend completely copying a color scheme, but then again, who’s gonna know? If you like this green and white kitchen (and who wouldn’t?) then go for it.

But the design idea holds true for any colors. Combining more than just two colors creates interest, adds depth, and fills your design with character. notice the varying shades in the green tile, the green cabinets, and the darker green of the doors. These all offset against the bright white cabinets and ceiling accented by brushed metal hardware. Awesome!

Do Something Different on The Bar Front

traditional kitchen ideas vertical joints

Or is that the bar back? Whatever.

I’ve seen a bazillion kitchens with beadboard paneling against the back of the bar area, but I really like the fresh look of this vertical joint paneling. It’s hard to tell from the picture if that is squared off joints, like you might get with a sheet of T1-11, or if it’s a V-Joint like you would get with solid lounge-and-groove lumber. Either way, the look is a great idea.

Stepping Out, Up, In, Down, Etc.

traditional kitchen ideas stepping out up

This idea really does qualify for the name “traditional” owing simply to the fact that it’s been around forever and ever. Maybe because it rocks!

The best way to fix the otherwise boring plainness of a straight wall of cabinets is to add some variation in height and depth of the cabinets. Most traditional designs step out as you approach the center whereas the design above steps in. I like it.

No matter whether you go in, out, up, down… steps in depth and height can make your long flat wall sing. Look closely at the picture above. Brilliance lives there.

Get Creative With Doors and Drawers

traditional kitchen ideas creative cabinet doors

I love the outward facing doors and drawers on this peninsula of cabinets. It’s very common to see this be finished with panels and the only access be from the sink side.

I also think the mixture of doors and drawers, while a little more expensive for sure, really adds something to this.

The final touch is the use of curved cabinet doors to allow for a rounded corner on the counter. It looks great, but if your cabinet maker or provider doesn’t offer this don’t fret. The same idea would look great squared off.


So now that I totally want to go tear out my cabinets, I hope you feel inspired for your own kitchen and you’ve got a couple of ideas to take with you.

Which part of this kitchen design is your favorite?


5 Space Saving Storage Bed Ideas


Recently, a good friend asked me a funny question. “Have you heard of this Tiny House movement?”

I guess he just found the Internet last week because everyone has heard of the major shift to smaller homes. I, for one, love the move to smaller spaces and we can personally vouch for it being a wonderful lifestyle. (to a point…)

What really got Kim and I interested in the idea of small space living was the amount of time we spent with our whole family traveling the US in a motorhome. That was four of us (and two Chinese Shar-Peis) for weeks at a time in a space that totaled about 275sf or so.

Not surprisingly, the biggest issue we faced was storage, but those motorhome designers have been around the block a time or two. (ha!, get it?) They know how to find available storage in places you would never think of.

We found the the most useful storage was under the big bed. So I went out looking for a few inspiring storage beds for my “future” tiny house design. (with wheels or not!)

Small Space Living – Storage Beds


This first model is just like the one we had in our Winnebago. I found this one at a site that had tons of these type beds,

The thing that surprises you most with this kind of storage is how much more you can fit under the bed this way. We would get the space totally full, then add more, then more… It was usually “nothing else is going to fit under here” three times before we were really done!

ImageKeep Your Drawers Under The Bed

When I first started collecting small space storage ideas back in 2009, I wrote a post at Remodeling Guy that included this neat storage option.

Something like this might require a little custom work but talk about making the most of your space!

In my experience (I’ve built a few of these), the issue can be drawer depth and weight. To use all the space under the bed, the drawer has to be at least half the width of the bed if you can get to both sides, full-width if you can only get to one side. This means very strong drawer hardware is needed and it helps to build two drawers as shown in the picture, rather than one.

The Case for Baskets

Baskets are always a great way to get three happy things at once:

  1. Good usable storage
  2. Nice looking and easy to fit with existing decor
  3. No custom cabinet maker required!

We’ve used baskets to create useful storage on open shelves many times. The same idea can be applied to under the bed. These two pictures I found on Pinterest might inspire you.



Wheely Cool!

If you really don’t have time, money, or inclination to get or build a new bed platform right now, how about this great idea.

Use old drawers on wheels to create easy-access storage under your existing bed!

I thought Thrifty Crafty Girl did a great job on this one:


You can see her entire how-to post here:


No matter how which method you choose (and there are so many more) a great storage bed is the perfect small space storage solution!

Gorgeous Black Woodgrain Kitchens

Are you ready for this? Black kitchen cabs have been the talk for awhile but most of the time it’s black painted cabinets, not woodgrain. This kitchen does the whole black thing but dials it back just a tad by letting the wood show through. I love it!


polygon homes on flickr

This whole thing just works for me. It’s not too dark thanks to the beautiful white counters, which appear to be something along the lines of a Silestone White Platinum.

Silestone White Platinum Counter

It really doesn’t end there. I’m liking a ton about this kitchen:

  • The layout is nice and easy – great for real life
  • I like the big island with nothing (like a sink or cooktop) in the way
  • Even though I thought I was over stainless appliances, they work here
  • I know it’s strange, but I like the little metal nailheads on the stool covers!
  • The white on white crown molding…goood

The only thing I’m not sure of is the floor. Another color would have been better.

Onyx Stain on Quartersawn Oak

Here’s another one:


I’m in love with the black stain thing. I was kind of into the whole black painted cabinet thing. I even wrote a post about spray painting your cabinets black a couple of years ago, but something about it just didn’t totally jive with me.

This jives. I guess it’s the woodgrain. Especially the “quartersawn” oak which has a much different grain than what you usually think of when you think of oak. This is very linear, no big color variations. Usually just vertical grain in two alternating shades: dark, light, dark, light, dark, light…

The image above is from Kraftmaid

So what about you? You dig? You can see the top kitchen in a white color scheme and vote on your favorite at Black vs. White on Remodeling Guy.

6 Styles of Beautiful Wood Ceilings

Is your ceiling getting boring? Feeling a little, er, flat? Here’s an idea that’s really not too hard to do and could make a stunning difference. Cover your ceiling with wood planks.

Wood Plank Ceilings in Every Style


Rustic is easy and fast. No painting and no tight finish work.

Rustic is easy and fast. No painting and no tight finish work. This ceiling looks like 1×8 pine that has been naturally weathered, such as when a pile of wood goes unsold at a lumberyard for too long. Buy the whole pile for half price when it looks like this!



Painted wood and open beams are made for each other!

First of all, a sky blue ceiling is always cool, even if it’s just drywall. But when it’s beat up old wood planks over real exposed rafters you’ve got the makings of a perfect cottage room.


Island Style


If the previous ceiling in blue is still too boring and you need real color, then maybe this picture will inspire you. If this is a little much for your taste, check out this next one…

Image: via


Only the natural color of the wood is needed here in a modern kitchen.

It’s funny how tastes change. Years ago I wouldn’t have given this a second look. But today, right now, I’m looking.

This is a stunning example of clean modern design. I love the smooth and naturally finished wood. You could use a design like this to cover-up ductwork or other utility lines in a no-attic situation.

image: Best of Remodeling


Ceiling, floors, view, and not much more

While the urban look is growing on me, I’m not there yet on the minimalist. The above design is ceiling, floor, view and not much more. It looks great, but I’d make a mess of it so fast!




Industrial design includes some pretty neat aspects like exposed ductwork and major structural components like columns and beams without additional covering.

I’d like a closer look at that three pendant light fixture which is hanging from a beautiful example of an authentic (and probably original) narrow T&G wood ceiling.

Image: Windermere Real Estate

Some Easier Than Others

Ok, so maybe I strayed a little from the “easy to do” thought… it happens. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Your ceiling will thank you.

What’s your favorite style of wood ceiling? If you could have one in your house, where would it be?

Have a Breakfast Nook You Can Be Proud Of!

ImageEverybody luuurrrvves a great breakfast nook!

They have the potential to be one of the most comfortable and cozy spaces in any home.

Here are a few inspiring photos and tips to help you transform your nook into your own little slice of heaven!

This little nook to the right is a great example of creatively imagining a space that is both functional and beautiful!

The use of horizontal wood boards as wall paneling and then painting that an accent color is brilliant!

While it may be a little bit pink for me personally, it’s really a great space that looks like an inspiring spot to start the day!

Connect Built-In Seating and Storage


Built-in seating, commonly referred to as banquettes, is a great way to save space while gaining big in terms of liveability!

Nobody loves the feeling of having more empty chairs around the table than full ones. If you’re like me, it just makes you miss your kids wherever they may be at the moment.

The cool set-up above works comfortably for two without seeming empty yet is easily expanded to seat up to five for a larger gathering.

When It Comes to Windows, Think Outside the Box


These windows make this space sing! Designs like this are getting easier and easier to come by so don’t give-up too quickly! Modern woodworking machines are bringing the costs down and the result of something like this is breathtaking!

The simple chandalier, bright white walls, and unobtrusive open beam ceilings are all ideas you could incorporate into your perfect sun-kissed corner.

A Cleaner Approach


If you’re more comfortable surrounded by clean lines and soft, warm tones, then maybe the highly customized dining area shown above is up your ally.

Top-of-the-line cabinetry and custom cushions work together with just the right shade of paint and some fantastic looking interior brickwork to create a space that is elegant, functional, and very, very comfortable.

The wall-mounted lighting makes that corner look like a great place to kick back with a book or a magazine. Is this one your dream spot?

What About a Simple Splash of Color?


Sometimes the difference between “blah” and “bam!” is as simple as a little bit of color! Find a table at Goodwill or Habitat and hit it with some sandpaper and paint and you’ll soon be greeting each day with a smile!

A close look reveals some attention to detail has gone into the space shown above. The assortment of pillows perfectly ties the table with the window shade and wall colors.

Very nice!

No Breakfast Nook?

Don’t fret, just do a bump-out addition! Take a close look at this one:


I love color, so it’s sometimes tough for me to get into very subdued designs, but this really looks fantastic. The way the table and benches cantilever out with no support really look neat.

The cool thing about this space is that the whole entire thing could be added to any home as a bump-out addition. It’s less expensive than you might think and the added space can be invaluable!

I wrote a post about Bump-Out additions over at RemodelingGuy if you want to read more about that.


Well there you have it. A few ideas that you can use to create a breakfast nook you can be proud of!


~ Tim


Photo sources: Ashley Anderson,  CentsationalGirl,, Olivia Kiraly, 28media


Outdoor Fireplaces, Oh My!

With the beautiful days of spring approaching now might be a good time to start thinking about outdoor living spaces once more!

Thank heavens, the days of a plain and bare porch are gone.

The new porch is a living space all its own, complete with comfortable sofas, area lighting, inviting floor coverings, and, if you’re lucky, an outdoor fireplace!


Beautiful and Functional

The visual impact of an outdoor fireplace can be extraordinary.  The photo above shows that the results can be, well, wow!

Outdoor rooms often have the enviable benefit of abundant space available.

The lack of walls open up design opportunities that don’t exist inside.  The ways to make an outdoor fireplace beautiful are virtually unlimited.



But the examples shown here are much, much more than a pretty face!  The functionality is undeniable.  Outdoor fireplaces provide more than you might think!

Fireplaces can:

  • Confine the space – This can be a good thing making an otherwise wide-open area feel cozy and comfortable.
  • Block undesired views – Have a neighbor you don’t want to look at?  Fireplaces, especially with chimneys, are great for this.
  • Create a focal point – Focal points outside can play a huge role in the feel of interior spaces. Use a fireplace to make a great one!
  • Hide structural components – Is there a post right where you don’t want it?  What if it was a beautiful fireplace?

More Options Outdoors

Interior fireplaces have lots of building codes related to chimneys, gas lines, and distances from various “combustible” building components!

Understandably so!  Outdoor fireplaces are much more open to design flexibility.

Notice how the beautiful brick fireplace below is able to stop short at just over head-height.  The short chimney gets smoke high enough to avoid it being in the space, but keeps the sky visually uncluttered and is less expensive to build!


You also get to choose from a wider range of materials outside.  The amazing and massive fireplace below uses the same exterior finish as the rest of the house walls.  The result is a fireplace that looks incredible, blends with the overall design, and is designed to withstand the elements.


Add Space, Create Warmth, Enjoy Outdoors!

Outdoor living spaces are wonderful in so many ways.  Time with friends and family can transform into an unforgettable experience when you turn up the heat a little!

Here’s to an endless supply of beautiful springtime evenings enjoying outdoor living in your home!  Cheers!

Photo source:

10 Country Kitchen Inspired Budget Tips

We’ve taken a few great looking country kitchens and pulled out 10 tips to save you money on your kitchen remodel budget. Did we miss anything?


1. Framed DIY Chalkboards – Skipping the whole set of upper cabinets has two key benefits.  First, it opens up the room and creates a feeling of spaciousness many kitchens yearn for.  Second, it saves a ton of money!  The drawback can be huge expanses of open wall space.  Paint a section with chalkboard paint and frame it with wood that compliments your cabinets.  The addition of some small shelves like seen above complete the look and make-up for some of that lost storage!

2. Make Use of inexpensive furnishings – A table like the one above can be a garage sale find for $20!  Even a new one probably wouldn’t set you back more than $100.  Compare that to a thousand dollars or more for an island cabinet and counter surface.  The metal shelving unit is another great solution that won’t cost much and provides a nice contrast to the wood in the room.

3. White Appliances and Fixtures – Creating a design that works with white appliances will save you a bundle. White appliances are consistently less expensive, sometimes by more than 30%.


4. Learn a little carpentry! – Open shelves like the ones above are very easy to cut from simple 1×8 or 1×10 lumber.  The brackets can be either made or bought.  I found some on that were similar for about $12 bucks.  Decide to take your skill level a notch higher and you can cut these out yourself for a fraction of even that cost. (Hint: The wood beadboard paneling on the wall makes securely mounting shelves about a gazillion times easier)

5.  Consider a smaller sink area – This farm sink looks awesome and farm sinks certainly cost a bit more than drop-in sinks do.  But the picture above demonstrates a different kind of economy – space economy.  This farm sink is a single bowl model that is half as wide as some of the larger sinks.  That space savings means a smaller bottom line budget and less to clean too!


6. Hunt for bargains on tile flooring – Flooring is one of the most wide ranging cost items in any remodel.  Its also one of the areas where serious money can be saved.  The image above shows a porcelain tile floor that is exactly the kind of thing I see on clearance pallets all the time.  Don’t shop only at the big-box stores.  Go to the nearest large metro area and visit dozens of tile suppliers in one day.  You’ll often find them in the same areas making it easy to visit a half-dozen suppliers in a couple of hours.  They always have close-out selections for crazy prices.  The catch:  you have to take delivery now, so be ready or have a storage spot lined-up.



7. Keep paint choices simple – The more paint colors you have, the higher your budget will creep.  More colors means more paint, more tools, and more time.  If you’re paying a painter, that means a lot more money.  Even if you’re DIY’ing it, you’ll save cash by keeping paint choices to a minimum.  I’d never advocate skimping on your design goals for this (I love colorful spaces), but as you can see in the photo above, one color can look fantastic!

8. Combine Spaces – The kitchen above gives new meaning to the term “Eat-In-Kitchen”.  In a smaller home, doubling up on space like this can mean the difference between a house working for your family or not.  It can save tens of thousands of dollars on the cost of a room addition or a larger home.  Small spaces often work out much better than you expect and result in great times with family and friends, so if you can use the same space for cooking and eating, go for it!


9. Um… well, let’s see… There must be a money saving tip in this awesome kitchen somewhere. Cheap cabinets, nope…not even close.  Flooring… it doesn’t get much more expensive than this.  Don’t even get me started on that awesome unit against the wall under the windows.  Windows!  That’s it – lot’s of windows save money on lighting cost while creating a happy and inviting space!

Moving on…


10. Don’t be afraid of “eclectic” – A kitchen like the one above is the kind of space that is filled to the brim with things the owner loves from the bottom of her soul!  Items like that unique baker’s rack/cupboard and the antique table with bench seating are too authentic to be contrived.  This is the kind of space that can only happen over time.

Just start collecting things you love and putting them to work.  After awhile, a look all your own will develop and you’ll love everything so much it will feel like it didn’t cost you a dime!

~ Tim

Modern Outdoor Fire Pits are Hot!

What is it about fire? Fire, in many forms, provides an effect on the moods of people that no other form of light or heat can match. Candles, torches (I prefer the “Tiki” style myself), and fireplaces are all on the menu when looking at ways to add a little “spark” to your home.  One particular form of fire has really been seeing an increase in popularity and use. Hello outdoor fire pit.


Of course with increased use comes competition and good old fashioned one-upsmanship which leads to some incredible backyard firepit designs such as the one above found at  This whole patio looks wonderful and inviting, but I have to wonder how comfortable it would be to sit on those hard benches.  I bet they do warm-up nice on cold evenings though.


While the design in the first picture is most likely a gas outdoor fire pit, it’s possible to create a built-in look using a portable fire pit.  The image above from shows an arrangement of loose stones stacked around a metal fire basket.  That idea could easily be applied to any portable unit.  Still not excited about the seating…


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just feel the urge to walk on hot coals.  It reminds me of Tony Robbins, which reminds me to think positive, which makes me feel happy. At least for a second.  This cool corner fire pit from would make that whole process so much less work. Right?

A quick aside: How awesome is the green grassy mossy garnish-ey stuff!?  It looks great and if you need to finish off a fine gourmet dish you can just run out and grab a bit of it.


Finally, soft seating!  This place looks too cool to be true.  Kim found the picture at and I’m thinking it’s pretty sharp in an ultra-modern, make sure you’re fully dressed at all times, sort of way.  During the rainy season, this one doubles as a goldfish pond.


This picture from includes a really cool looking modern metal fire pit that is recessed beneath the floor level.  Judging by the abundance of firewood in the awesome custom storage areas to each side of the stairs, this one appears to be an old fashioned wood burning fire pit.

One more look at the picture to take note of the incredible panels of glass that are, if your these folks, your back doors.  Nice.

It’s the fire pit time of year.  I’d love to see some of your fire pit pictures.  You can include one link in a comment, let’s see them.  (two or more links won’t publish due to spam issues)