Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Dreaming of a Fancy Girl Kitchen

Posted on | March 30, 2010 | 27 Comments

I met with an architect this morning. Greg wasn’t able to make the meeting because he had an unexpected meeting in Boston. I was on my own trying to field questions about heating and insulation—normally Greg’s area of expertise. I think overall I sounded kinda like I knew what I was talking about—actually I probably sounded like an idiot—did Greg say we wanted radiant or wanted to keep the forced hot air? I can’t wait to move forward with the project and hopefully get a real plan to work with.

I of course forgot all about leaky roofs, heating, insulation, and important things I should be researching so I don’t sound like such an idiot in our next meeting. Instead my mind wandered to my someday kitchen. I really can’t believe that someday I will have a real kitchen that I can cook in. Neighbors could come over for afternoon tea and cookies at my kitchen table. I could host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner without apologizing for the mess or lack of seating. How lucky would I be? Above and below more photos from my ‘kitchen’ inspiration folder.

Image Credits: 1-2 plain english kitchens, 3 unknown, 4 domino, 5 new york times, 6-7 domino, 8 plain english kitchens, 9 unknown.

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27 Responses to “Dreaming of a Fancy Girl Kitchen”

  1. Jane Flanagan
    March 30th, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    I’m so glad you took this step. I could tell you were feeling like your tires were spinning, so hopefully you’ll get a boost from the architect’s insight!

    And, as for the kitchens, Plain English is my ultimate. Absolute swoon.


  2. Kate F.
    March 30th, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

    Once you have a framework in place, with all that pesky heating and so forth, I have to seriously recommend considering piecing together your custom dream kitchen using Ikea cabinets and possibly counters if you want butcher block. Happy to chat about my experience any time. We went high-end with the appliances and couldn’t be happier with the whole package.


  3. S@sha
    March 30th, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    I especially like that sixth picture. I have a wood ceiling in my kitchen that I’m on the fence about keeping natural or painting white, and that plaster/beam ceiling is sort of a nice compromise. I just recently painted one wall and put up shelving for cookbooks & sundries in my kitchen, after several years of the kitchen remodel being in progress, and it totally freaked me out for a couple of days to have such a finished looking area. It made me realize how foreign the kitchen will seem once its all finished!


  4. Jenn
    March 30th, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

    So jealous! I know what you mean about a “real” kitchen. Right now I literally have about 2 square feet of free counter space.

    A few of these are in my inspiration file too!


  5. Wendy
    March 30th, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    What about the sinking back addition? You left us all hangining? What did the architect say?


  6. Katy Elliott
    March 30th, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    No real news. We just talked and my idea our problems/issues. We have another follow up meeting next week.

    Stay tuned…


  7. mopar
    March 30th, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

    That first kitchen is just so beautiful I can hardly believe it. They’re all lovely. Maybe some day ours will look like this too. Right now it’s a huge mess with torn-out walls and unfinished floors.

    I think there’s a place in Maine that makes vintage-style custom kitchens. Do you know it?

    I’m sure you didn’t sound like an idiot. Re heating, ask the architect what they think is best choice (efficient, effective, reasonable cost) for your house. Personally, I wouldn’t install radiant heating with wood floors, for example. I’ve heard baseboard heat isn’t as efficient as, um, radiators, I think it was.


  8. Katy Elliott
    March 30th, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    Yeah the architect suggested radiators in the majority of the house and radiant in the bathrooms because they are small and we are doing stone floors.

    The house is forced hot air. We need to decide. Radiators would be ideal but for how much?

    Again, we’ll have to see and research.



  9. Kristen
    March 30th, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    Gorgeous inspiration photos! We are also looking forward to the day when we won’t feel like we need to apologize for one aspect or another of our kitchen…


  10. Beauty Bets
    March 30th, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    I love all of these, and I feel your pain! I’m trying to decide between black or white countertops, with butcher block on the island. The white-on-white seems to require color elsewhere, but I’m kind of loving it as long as the floors are warm.
    @kate f – need to hear more about your experience with IKEA!


  11. Kate F.
    March 30th, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

    Beauty Bets-
    You can get a visual on our lightening kitchen remodel by paging through the photos in this Flickr Set, starting here. From plumber taking out the old sink to coming back and hooking up the new one, it was one week.

    Basically we were starting from scratch, with no existing cabinets. I measured about 900 times and figured out a good layout (which did require switching the radiator for a smaller one that had been elsewhere in the apartment). My brother and I assembled the cabinets and installed the counters while my husband painted, because if he assembles things they lean funny. This was in October 2007; I work the kitchen *hard* and have no complaints about the Ikea pieces at all. The cabinet finish (it’s a painted white) holds up perfectly and is easy to clean. The slow-closing drawer mechanism is terrific. And the butcher block has also held up extremely well. I treated the counters with Tried and True brand Danish oil after installing (I think I did 4 coats?), and have treated once since (I should hit them with another layer soon). They remain in very good shape; I don’t use usually them as cutting boards but I’m also not careful about them. BTW I also love our now-ubiquitous Domsjö sink.

    The key is the same as with anything from Ikea: The more careful you are assembling, them better your results will be. Thus my husband’s banishment to painting duties.


  12. Kate F.
    March 30th, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    One addition–I didn’t use the Ikea kitchen planners. I am really into design and interiors and knew that I would have more luck playing around with the configurations myself until I found one that worked for me and my space. I think I used the paper doll-style punch out pieces they have, on graph paper. (Couldn’t make the online thing work on my computer.)


  13. pam robinson
    March 30th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    i love your blog and this post is simply charming… i love them alll.. so clean and lovely… xx


  14. Donna
    March 31st, 2010 @ 8:08 am

    Hello all,

    The most amazing—though expensive—source for radiators: antiqueplumbingandradiators.com in Somerville, MA.


  15. Morag
    March 31st, 2010 @ 8:10 am

    All beautiful – especially the ones with a big kitchen table rather than an island. Seems more versatile.


  16. merry
    March 31st, 2010 @ 9:10 am

    This house is lovely – you might like the kitchen, the chairs are Plain English – and very expensive! Check out alabaster house too – it is a very famous photo shoot location house.
    And you would love the Plain English brochures, can you get them in America? They very lovely indeed and I have a spare if you can’t get them.
    good luck with the house – it will be worth it.


  17. Ben
    March 31st, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    The Plain English kitchens look great although they are expensive in the U.K. (where I’ve installed one) and I’m guessing are unavailable in the U.S. I also wasn’t that impressed with their customer service but this may have been an anomaly. One thing about custom kitchens, though, is that they cost so much and yet, when you look at what they’re made of, it’s mostly plywood type stuff with fancy fronts. You can pick up some amazing old kitchen cabinets at great prices (probably made with old craftsmanship, e.g. http://www.historichouseparts.com/) that would fit with your aesthetic, or we found that the Viola Park price point is better than others. We’re using them for a New York kitchen.


  18. pleasesir
    March 31st, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

    You had me at fancy girl kitchen! Glad to hear things are going well with the architect. Also – if you get a chance please pop on by to discuss being a creative entrepreneur – would love your input!



  19. Mopar
    March 31st, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    If y’all don’t know about Jane Powell’s book “Bungalow Kitchens,” check it out. Tons of stuff like this, and construction diagrams.


  20. Katy Elliott
    March 31st, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

    Thanks for the book tip Mopar. I don’t know that one.


  21. erin, reading my tea leaves
    March 31st, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

    oh! what i would give to be sitting next to that enormous hearth! lovely finds, katy.


  22. Mrs C
    April 6th, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    I’m in love with Plain English kitchens, especially painted in darker earthy tones.

    I’ve just commissioned my own take on Plain English style form a local cabinet maker here in Ireland. I have my fingers tightly crossed that I’m going to love it!!

    Will pop back soon to see how your renovations are coming along..

    Bye for now
    Mrs C x


  23. Alicia P.
    October 4th, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Man, those are all so very beautiful. [Sigh.]


  24. Christian Tosi
    November 5th, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    Hi Katy,

    Great stuff!
    I can tell you from experience there are pros and cons about forced hot air and forced hot water alike.
    The primary benefit of a forced hot-air system is the lower upfront cost. Let’s say for budget comparison only, a value system can be installed in a new home for 10-15K. They are single speed, (on-off) units, the A/C unit uses the same ducts, and they generally require minimal labor and materials, especially if using the dreaded “flex-duct”. They can be very energy efficient and if planned properly, do a fine job. You can go up to say 30K by upgrading to a multi-stage fan (super quiet, multiple speeds for varied heating/cooling needs),higher efficiency A/C condensers, filters from fiber and paper to HEPA and electronic, multiple zones, humidification, (another discussion altogether),etc, etc. The down side can be noise, dust, drafts and the lack of flexibility in design.
    Hydronic systems, (forced hot water), have many benefits, cost however is not one. They may run 30-60K depending on the bells and whistles. They consist of a boiler which heats up water, circulators to get it to the radiators, (of which there are many types), manifolds, expansion tanks, valves, etc. They provide radiant heat that continues for a while even after the system shuts down. They are quieter, move less air around, (therefore dust), and you can also pull a zone for radiant floors and one for heating the homes hot water. These systems also seem to provide heat without drying the air as much as FHA systems. The downside is the cost of materials and labor to install them. This is a plumber’s territory as opposed to HVAC guys for forced hot air. The knowledge base for your typical plumber vs HVAC techs is significant as is the difference in hourly rates. The radiators can be baseboard, in-wall, and old-style (standing). Most are cast iron and can cost over $100 a foot. They are installed using copper pipe or PEX tubing, neither of which is cheap. This system doesn’t address central air conditioning either. So if you want that you still need ducts, air handlers, filters and the condenser. You have both radiators and supply and return grills going this way.
    In closing; If you can afford Hydronic, get it, you’ll love it. If not, go with a multiple-speed furnace, a really good filtering device and skip the humidification. I would go with stand alone humidifiers. Your system will last longer and it is far more effective. Here in New England, you may want a heated tile floor (electric) in the bath if you go FHA.
    Kitchens? Well, that’s a passion of mine for another time.


  25. ERA Interiors
    November 17th, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    Great kitchen inspiration folder…I love #1&#5! Incorporating natural wood elements in a white clean environment will definitely create a timeless interior space. Can’t wait to see your new kitchen.


  26. franky
    April 27th, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    Great kitchen inspirations! Picture #5-7 is definitely my favorite. White kitchen has to be my ultimate choice. A clean and open space to cook/entertain. Beautiful work!


  27. franky
    May 1st, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for a small kitchen? What color should I do or what type of flooring should I put in?


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