Sara’s Kitchen Tour: Part 1

FlowersWe moved into a new house a few months ago, and as we were building, the number one question people asked was, “What’s your kitchen going to look like??”  That was a good question, and I never really had an answer.  We actually didn’t plan on building a house; we were about to purchase a different house nearby, and due to some random, serendipitous events, we suddenly found ourselves starting a new build.  We actually put our house together rather quickly.  In a way, it was a good thing; we didn’t stress over decisions- we just sort of picked things we knew we liked and it all came together.  In the end, the kitchen is one of my favorite places in our house.   It’s definitely the heart of our home; where meals happen, where homework happens, where life happens.  So here’s a little peek into our home.  This post is crazy long as is, so I’m going to do a part 2 to tell you about the appliances I chose- because that’s the second most common question! (–> Click Here for Part 2 <–)

Sara Well's Kitchen

Picking cabinets was fairly easy; for photography purposes I knew I wanted white so it would be light and bright.  I also knew I wanted a gigantic island; this one is about 9 feet long by 5 1/2 feet wide with a granite top.

White Kitchen

I also wanted a great spot surrounded by windows to snap pics of all the food we make around here.

Kitchen nook

We picked a soft gray for the walls (Sherwin Williams ‘Sensible Hue’); it’s actually one shade darker than the gray we painted the rest of the house.

World Market Arcadia Table

The floors are an engineered hard wood.  Yes, the dark wood shows crumbs and dust much more than a lighter wood, but on the flip side, that actually makes me keep my floors clean and sweep more than once a week like at my old house.  Seriously.  I love the warmth the dark floors bring to the house.  They also have a hand-scraped texture that adds character and makes me not care about any dings since it’s blends right in.

The cabinets are painted Sherwin Williams ‘Snow Bound’ and glazed in ‘Van Dyke’ stain for that dark highlight.  I went back and forth and back and forth on whether I wanted them glazed and I’m really glad my husband, builder, and cabinet guy talked me into glazing; I love the dimension it adds and the detail it highlights.  I also love the white cabinets and haven’t had any issues with them being hard to keep clean (like some people warned me about).  Sometimes the cupboards we use the very most get finger prints on them, but all it takes is a quick wipe to clean them right up.  I’m glad I went with white.

Glazed White Cabinets

For contrast, we painted the island black.  All of the appliances on the back-side have panel fronts on them so they look like cabinets.  Hiding right there in the cabinet next to the pull-out garbage is my most favorite appliance, ever.  You’re going to have to wait to see it!

Pull Out Garbage

When it comes to home decor I employ the same tactics as my wardrobe.  Splurge on some nice expensive things, and balance out with some bargains!  For example, we splurged on a granite upgrade that I loved, but found this great glass and marble backsplash tile at Costco for a fraction of what similar styles cost.  I love that the clear glass has a blueish tint that goes well with all of the blue/turquoise accents in my kitchen.  And the rest of my house.  And my wardrobe.  I have an obsession.

Glass and Marble Back Splash

One thing I knew I wanted from the beginning was some metal tile.  I’ve always loved it, but didn’t want to overdo it with an entire backsplash or ceiling.  So I used a simple section above my stove and I love how it blends with all of the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.

Tin Tile Back Splash

I also had the idea to do a recessed panel centered above the island.  This is one of my favorite parts- and I feel cool and designer-ish for thinking of it myself, designing it out, and seeing it happen!

Our Best Bites Kitchen Lighting

Metal Tile Inlay above kitchen island

Metal tiles can be crazy expensive, but I special ordered these from Home Depot for about $35 per 2’x4′ panel.  They have faux plastic ones for almost that much, so I think the metal is quite a steal.

Tin Back Splash

Those mini chandeliers hanging over the island are from the Camilla line at Pottery Barn (which I got at a bargain during their annual lighting event).  We have the large version in our entry way, and the globe light (seen later in this post) over our dining table.  LOVE them.

This is me saying, “Hi everyone!” Obviously.

Sara Wells in her kitchenA lot of people in the comments have been asking to see better photos of the twig-like things sitting above my cabinets.  It’s just something I picked up at Gordman’s.  They’re real branches, nailed to a board and white washed.  It would probably be pretty easy to make for you crafty peeps out there:

Painted TwigsI have a few single ones as well; I just thought they were cool.  I honestly stuck them up there temporarily because I wasn’t sure where I was going to put them and wanted them out of the way, and they’ve just stayed!

Single Twig DecorBack to the kitchen…

I almost did an apron front sink but decided I just wanted a nice big under-mount basin with no dividers.  I love having one big, deep spot to pile in dishes and large pots and pans.

Kitchen Sink

The island has chunky legs (resisting so many puns right now…) and those stools are from Ikea.  We actually bought the super high ones on accident.  We got them on a trip to Utah, so there was no exchanging happening.

Black Barstools

However as it turns out they are the perfect height for the little people around here.  It turned out to be such a happy accident.  And adults can fit comfortably on them too, even though they feel higher than normal.  We eat a lot of our meals at the island so it’s perfect.

High Bar Stools

Another thing I made sure to do was take advantage of every space available.  I wanted nothing wasted.  So there are big giant cabinets under the island for stowing away things I don’t access very often.

Under Island Storage

And nice deep shelves for my appliance addiction.

Appliance Storage

Even little spaces like the molding flanking the stove got put to good use

Extension panels for spice storage

They’re hidden panels I can grab with my foot and fit about 4792 spice bottles.

Pull-Out Spice Storage

Having all of the spices in there frees up tons of space in the upper cabinets.

Pull Out Spice Storage

Speaking of storage, people tend to assume I have a massive pantry, but it’s totally average-sized.  I found with a large pantry at my previous house that it just got used up with storage, and I’d much rather have that space used outside the pantry.  So I have a huge separate storage room nearby and tons of shelves in the garage where I can store big stuff.  One thing I did do however, was make some extra tall shelves with electric outlets to keep the appliances I use regularly (like my toaster and my blender.)  I have this thing with cluttered counter tops and I hate having appliances sit out.  I also hate pulling things out over and over again.  This has seriously been the most convenient thing.  This pantry shelf (and the rest of it that you can’t see in this photo) become an extension of the kitchen that we use all the time.

Pantry Storage

I made sure to do a few cabinets with bubble glass fronts to let some of my pretties peek through- like my wedding china that finally got removed from their boxes after almost 9 years of marriage.  Yes!

Bubble Glass Doors

And my collection of blue glass.

Bubble Glass Shelf

Everything turned out as lovely as I imagined it, and for that I am happy.

Flowers on table

Here’s the other Camilla light- the globe version.  My favorite thing about this light, is that as the afternoon sun goes down and shines though the window, it casts sparkly little rainbows all over the house.

PB Camilla Globe Light

Watching my little kids chase those around is priceless.

PB Camilla Globe light from Our Best Bites

I hope you all enjoyed the little peek into my home; I wish I could have you all sit down for dinner!  Here’s a list of specs, if you have other questions, about anything, feel free to ask in the comment section!

Home Builder (In Boise, Idaho): Morgan Creek Homes
Wall Color
: Sherwin Williams ‘Sensible Hue’
Cabinet Color: Sherwin Williams ‘Snow Bound’
Cabinet Glaze: Sherwin Williams ‘Van Dyke’
Granite:  This same granite was called by different names in different places, but it’s most similar to “White Ice”
Metal Tile: Home Depot
Glass and Marble Backsplash: Costco find!
Flooring: Mohawk Flooring, Engineered Hardwood, Santa Ana Plank (Purchased through RC Willey)
Granite: I totally drew a blank, I’ll be back with the name of the granite!
Mini Chandeliers and Globe light: Pottery Barn, Camilla Line
Kitchen Table: World Market ‘Arcadia’
Appliances (Click Here for Details): Thermador from Orson Gygi


woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I LOVE your pull out spice rack. LOVE.
    It is exactly what I have been dying to put in my kitchen… 🙂

  2. Love your kitchen! When we built our new home 3 years ago, I told our builder I wanted a plug in the pantry for my wheat grinder. He though I was nuts. But I have loved it from the day we moved in! I also love my big island, although it’s not quite as big as yours. It’s great for rolling out pie dough, sugar cookies, bread, etc. Can’t wait to read about your appliances!

  3. I loved your kitchen – it is just perfect! My favorite features are the lighting and your huge island.

  4. Gorgeous!!! I am so jealous. I keep telling my husband that when we get rich I want to build my own kitchen (or house…) 😉 My mom has cream colored cabinets (not white white, but still very light) and she LOVES them. They are also distressed so when they were installed we kids joked about how we could dent them and she would never know, she overheard us and said “I’ve counted the dings/cracks, I would know.”

    1. They’re just that- twiggies, lol. They’re white-washed birch branches that kind of sit on a stand. You can’t see the bottom because they’re sunken in- I didn’t have a spot for them so I just threw them up there for now!

      1. I love the way it looks. Did you make them or buy them? If so, where did you get them? I’ve been struggling with what to put above my cabinets that doesn’t look too cluttered.

  5. It’s gorgeous. You did an amazing job on the design! I never would have thought of the spice rack or the outlets in the pantry. You’re a genius.

  6. Your kitchen is my dream kitchen–just beautiful! My favorite part…ok of of the the tin ceiling inlay…..can you saw AWESOME!!! And the lights….beautiful.

    I am so happy for you….enjoy your kitchen….mine needs some work so I will just dream about yours when I am in mine for now 😉

  7. I love the kitchen! LOVE the floors. We just put engeneered hardwood in our kitchen/greatroom as well, though its little lighter than yours. I have gone back and forth on putting a rug under the table to avoid scratches. Your table looks great. I think I’ll settle on no rug as well 🙂 Beautiful job.

  8. I LOVE your spice jar organizer! I seriously think those are the coolest things ever, and they do save so much space in other cabinets! I hate how unorganized my spices are!

  9. I might be just a little bit jealous. Love it everyday for the rest of us with slightly below average kitchens.

  10. We have the same backsplash all the way in Texas! Though we did not find ours at Costco. Boo for us! Beautiful kitchen.

  11. I cleaned model homes and one had the floor you choose in aboout a year from now you’ll be sorry…Love the other look but gives me flashbackes on ice melt on the floor! From the outside being tracked in off the streets..!

      1. I don’t really like the look of a faucet coming out of the wall, plus my sink is literally right there next to the stove. Also, I don’t fill up giant pots of water very often 🙂 As for the floors, ours are incredibly durable and they’ve held up great (snowy shoes, messy boys, and lots of toys!) for several months now. I fill in any scratches with a stain pen and you can’t tell the difference- I’m happy I picked it!

          1. I have had those exact same floors for 4 years and still love the heck out of them (dings and all!!) they do shows dust but I actually, like you, don’t mind since they are so easy to clean and it just keeps me on top of it! Love your kitchen, it is gorgeous!!!

    1. It’s a crazy massive beast! You’ll get pics of that, along with the rest of the appliances next week 🙂

  12. So beautiful! I love the colors you chose. I also love the color blue which can be overdone, but you did it so tastefully! Nicely done. 🙂

  13. A-ma-zing!! Love the spice pull out. Will you post a pick of your whole pantry (like a from far view)? I like my pantry but did some things wrong. I love your appliance shelf idea. Thanks for the tour

  14. Thanks for sharing this!
    I love all the great detail you included.
    The spice rack idea is so clever.

    I’m lucky that I’ve been able to enjoy and be in your new kitchen!
    Lucky Me! It’s just as great, even better, in real life.
    Congrats on a beautiful new home and kitchen.

  15. Love the bar stools! Exactly what I have been looking for! I have 3 little boys so I am thinking maybe I should buy the taller bar stools too. I’m glad you suggested it because I was going to get the shorter ones but the taller ones make so much more sense…no booster seats needed! 🙂 Thanks! Oh and I love the kitchen! And I am really liking your table, might need one of those too! Do you like the bench? Or do you like the chairs better!?

  16. WOW Sara love your kitchen!!! Who says you cant have too many appliance!! Well my husband. That is one dream kitchen i would love to have!! I dont like appliances sitting around either. Love the idea of putting outlets in the pantry pretty amazing.

  17. Just beautiful! It looks like the kind of kitchen that was MADE for having stacks of pancakes ready on Saturday morning, with bleary-eyed kiddies stumbling in and mom & dad in their robes with a mug of something toasty. Well done!!