Kitchen Design Plans: Round One, PLUS a FREE 12 page Kitchen Renovation Planning Guide

Over the past few months, I’ve been quietly working on our new kitchen and main floor renovation plans. We’ve had contractors and engineers over, taken measurements, and I’ve even gone shopping for samples… and I didn’t share any of it with you. SORRY! Between our own projects, client projects, and the holidays, I haven’t had much free time to hop on and write a blog post!

Take this as my apology: today, I’m sharing everything that I’ve been working on and planning for the new kitchen. Some pieces remain tentative, some are solid ideas that just need specific sources tied to them, and some pieces are already purchased and being stored in our home!

The Before

When we bought our 1961 home, we knew it would require a complete overhaul. The kitchen hasn’t seen in update in at least 40 years, likely longer. It’s cramped, boxy, and just plain ugly! Here’s what it looked like when we moved in (all photos from MLS listing):

Ok, ok- these photos make it look nicer than it actually is. Real estate photos, right?! For proof, here’s what it looked like over the holidays:

We’ve used this kitchen for 4 solid months now, so we’ve had plenty of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, on more than just an aesthetic level.

We know it’s cramped, the appliances are old and not quite as functional as we’d like (*cough cough, small side by side fridge and freezer*), the vent hood doesn’t really work, the coffee pot situation is less than ideal, the drawer situation is weird… I could go on but I will spare you!

That said, here’s what we have planned!

The Kitchen Wishlist

When designing our kitchen I first wrote out a lengthy list of our wants:

  1. soapstone or black granite honed countertops
  2. inset or full overlay cabinetry with brass hardware- mushroom greige on perimeter, stained wood in island
  3. undermount black sink, double bowl
  4. island with seating for 3-4
  5. pillars or panel on either side of seating for island
  6. 2 pendants over island, sconce over sink window, under-cabinet lighting, recessed lighting
  7. built-in range hood
  8. built in microwave (island)
  9. garbage drawer
  10. microwave drawer
  11. soft-close drawers and cabinets
  12. drawers built inside lower cabinets
  13. spice rack storage
  14. prep-sink in island
  15. pot-filler above range
  16. appliance garage (cabinets sitting on countertop) with outlets inside
  17. 30-36″ pantry with pull-out shelving
  18. in-island outlets
  19. slab soapstone or tile backsplash
  20. floating shelves somewhere?
  21. cabinets to ceiling (8′ ceilings)

We knew it wasn’t ALL going to be able to happen, but it is helpful to write it all out on paper. Due to budget constraints, we decided to cut back on the pot filler first, then the microwave drawer, then the prep sink. Cutting out those pieces alone saved us thousands. So far, everything else is staying, but I’m sure we’ll have to make some adjustments as costs get more solidified!

Kitchen renovation inspiration image via High Street Homes, designed by Brett & Kara // Sima Spaces kitchen renovation
One of the kitchens at the top of my inspiration list, designed by Brett & Kara, construction by High Street Homes

The Details

The Overall Design

My goal with this kitchen is to create a warm, cozy environment that Josh and I and our family and friends feel comfortable and at home in. Kitchens are always the hangout spot, and when we’re able to entertain again (and the renovation is done… which will come first?!), I know I’ll find our find everyone around the island.

Kitchen remodel moodboard: details for our new kitchen! // Sima Spaces
The overall vibe of our new kitchen: natural textures, warm colors, and elevated details

The style will be updated traditional, with classic, timeless features and materials like inset cabinetry, beautiful brass knobs, and soapstone countertops, though the cabinet style will be more simplistic and modern.

Beautiful inset mushroom colored cabinetry with brass hardware via Studio McGee // Sima Spaces kitchen remodel
Loving the inset cabinetry profiles seen here in this kitchen designed by Studio McGee

I also want it to be durable and practical, so I’m seeking high quality, natural materials that can stand the test of time (and cooking!). Since it’s small, maximizing storage will be a goal. We wanted high quality appliances that not only looked nice but also performed well, but didn’t push our budget TOO much.

To accomplish the warm feeling, the perimeter cabinetry will be painted a mushroomy-greige color (exact color TBD) and the island, range hood, and floating shelves will be stained white oak (exact color TBD also). I’ll select warm brass knobs and pulls that will tie into the brass pendants and sconce lighting. The black countertops will provide contrast, texture, and help to anchor the space. Optimizing the lighting situation is crucial as well, and we’ll add layers to the lighting by having the sconce and pendants as well as recessed lighting and under-cabinet lighting. Each will be controlled by its own switch and the overhead lighting will be on a dimmer for optimal cozy vibes.

Kitchen Renovation inspiration by Light and Dwell // Sima Spaces kitchen renovation
Loving this color and material combination in this kitchen by Light and Dwell


We purchased our appliances during Black Friday specials, so we were able to save a bit. As I had mentioned, we cook a lot and we wanted high quality appliances, but had to keep overall costs in mind due to the scope of our project. Instead of a Wolf Range, we decided to purchase a KitchenAid Professional range, saving us a couple thousand dollars but still getting a high quality range. To take our kitchen up a notch in both function and style, I wanted to do a built-in range hood. We loved our french-door fridge in our previous home and wanted that again, so we chose a 36″ Bosch french door professional fridge. Since we had a great experience with our previous Bosch dishwasher, we purchased the same one, just in a panel-ready version! That way, the dishwasher will blend into the lower cabinetry and create amore seamless look. Finally, our microwave will be built into the island so it’s hidden from sight but still easily accessible.


I had priced out semi-custom cabinetry but it ended up coming in around $20K, which was more than we could allocate, and I didn’t even LOVE the cabinetry choices that afforded us. Our contractor recommended a local custom cabinetmaker that he works with, and I was surprised to learn that his quote was quite a bit cheaper! He will be able to create the cabinetry of my dreams and we can have every single detail to our (ahem, my) liking.

Kitchen renovation inspiration via Jean Stoffer Design / Sima Spaces Kitchen renovation
Beautiful stained island with inset cabinetry via Jean Stoffer Design

He’s able to create the inset cabinetry that I’ve dreamed of (don’t ask me why- I just love it!). As of right now, I’m thinking of doing flat-front drawers with narrow shaker doors in a mushroomy-greige. The lower cabinets and pantry will have drawers built in so that nothing gets hidden in the back. The appliance garage will sit next to the fridge and will have adjustable shelves so we’re able to store blenders, coffee bean grinders, crockpots, and more. In the other corner, there will be two thick floating shelves to store our glassware and commonly used dishes (or maybe just to decorate?). The range hood will be oak and stained the same color as the island and shelving.

Range hood inspiration via The Creativity Exchange // Sima Spaces Kitchen renovation
Stained range hood goals via The Creativity Exchange

The island will be stained oak and will have a trash pull-out drawer as well as a builtin microwave. I’d also like to try and incorporate more drawers as well as shelving so we can put Dexter’s dog bowls on it! We’ll also incorporate seating on either one or two sides, allowing for 3-4 stools. The island shape is affected by the stair placement, so we need to wait until that gets finalized to decide about the island. Behind the island will be the dining room table, so we also need to consider that distance.

Island inspiration via Ancerl Studio // Sima Spaces Kitchen Renovation
A creative arrangement of seating around a square island in this stunning kitchen designed by Ancerl Studio

I’ve been considering a mix of antique brass knobs and handles for the cabinetry to add warmth- exact selections TBD.

The Countertops

We had an all white kitchen in our previous home- white cabinets, backsplash, and carrara marble countertop. This time around, I want to go to the dark side on the countertops and incorporate a black countertop. I have been looking at both soapstone and honed, leathered black granite slabs. The final slab choice is TBD and will depend on how costs compare, but I am loving the overall look and am confident it will be the right choice. I’m also considering doing a different (lighter) material for the island… stay tuned!

Soapstone countertops and backsplash via David Lucido // Sima Spaces Kitchen renovation
Love the use of the soapstone as a backsplash in this design by David Lucido

Other Details

I chose two warm brass pendant lights to hang over the island. They are eye catching, though won’t necessarily steal attention away from anything else.

Over the sink, we’ll have a sconce light with an antique brass frame and glass shade for added texture. I purchased the lighting during black Friday sales so got a good deal on everything!

I have always loved the look of bridge faucets, and wanted to mix metals a bit so I purchased a black one. It will blend into the countertops and the black is a bit more modern, though the overall shape is fairly traditional-looking.

The backsplash is still TBD- I’d love to run the countertop material as a backsplash, but I think costs will be prohibiting. At the very least, I’d like to do the countertop material backsplash behind the range, and then a handmade tile everywhere else.

Kitchen cabinetry and color scheme inspo via Park & Oak // Sima Spaces Kitchen renovation
Another stunning combination of materials via Park and Oak

So there ya have it! Hopefully you’re able to get a decent idea for what we have planned. I will be sharing every step along the way- as the title said, this is “round one”, so there might be a change or two that happens before installation. Be sure to follow along on my Instagram for behind-the-scenes action.


Are you starting a kitchen renovation of your own soon? I know how overwhelming it can be- there is SO much to think about! I’ve created a FREE 12 page COMPLETE guide to everything you need to think about for your own remodel!

Of note: If you’ve never designed a kitchen before, I would highly recommend involving a kitchen designer in your plans. Even if you can’t afford (or don’t want) a designer to completely take the reins, your local kitchen cabinetry showroom will likely have a designer who is able to create a cabinetry layout that will best suit your family’s needs, and there is often no charge when you purchase the cabinetry through their company. They’ll be able to walk you through the latest and greatest cabinetry design details, maximize the layout and counterspace, and possibly even create renderings so you can see the “after” before you even get started with demo.

That said, my guide will walk you through every detail to consider, from layout to plumbing fixtures to budget and more. Enjoy this free download, and please Pin to Pinterest to share the love with others!

The COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE For Your Kitchen Renovation

The COMPLETE PLANNING GUIDE for your kitchen remodel: 12 pages with every detail to consider for your project! // Sima Spaces

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, soaking up the sun on our boat, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio!

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