Life at the Kitchen Counter
Saturday mornings are my favorite day of the week - that feeling of waking up panicked that you missed your alarm and then remembering you have nowhere to be. We tend to wander downstairs around 8 am and then spend a good few hours in our kitchen every weekend. C makes breakfast, I clean out the fridge from the week, Nell scribbles with crayons and tries hard to patiently wait for her eggs. Our kitchen is by no means our dream kitchen, but it’s a good amount of space and the previous owners did a really high-quality renovation when they updated it in 2008. We’ve been hesitant to touch it as we’ve been scared we’ll get carried away and waste funds on a 1.0 remodel that we could be saving toward a holistic kitchen reno in 5-10 years.
That said, I had a particularly low-key weekend a few weeks ago and “accidentally” started ripping off cabinet doors to the point of no return (oops). The previous owners had put in bar top height cabinets next to a small area for an eat-in table. It’s always been cramped, as you’re either halfway in the hallway or bumping into the cabinets when you try to sit there, and we’ve never used the cabinets for anything super functional as they are clunky to access. We eat in the dining room for dinner, but we appreciate a more casual arrangement for weekends when we’re all multi-tasking. I decided to take matters into my own hands and ripped off the cabinet doors, dismantled the shelves, and filled in the holes before wallpapering the sides and painting out the cabinet frame in a crisp white. I nearly got carried away and started painting the rest of the kitchen cabinets too but thankfully reminded myself that job is best left to a professional (plus we’ve already committed to a painter this spring :)
This tiny tweak both gave me an excuse to clean out a bunch of clutter (be gone, junk drawer!) and created the perfect kitchen counter space for a few beautiful bar stools. Without even talking about it (aside from my husband teasing me about wallpaper cabinets on a Friday night) we immediately started using this space 10x more. These stools, arguably Serena & Lily’s most iconic style, have sturdy, comfortable backs that I feel a lot more at ease about with a climbing toddler (although they do also come in a more casual backless version if that’s more your thing). They also wipe clean easily, a key feature for sticky pancake hands! We went with the grey and white (fog) as I needed something that wouldn’t clash with our dark granite and/or blend in against the new pop of white on our counter cabinets. I really love how they look with our wall color (Benjamin Moore’s Fog Mist, funny enough!) and how they coordinate with our Serena & Lily bar cart that we bought several years ago. They’ve come out with several new styles since then and I really love the smaller footprint and versatility of this one and the fun push cart style of this one!
We also added this fun teak step stool - we originally chose it so that Nell can see what I’m doing at the counter (and I can stop cooking with one hand) but she had other plans for it any now eats every single snack on her “sit!” as she calls it. She somehow managed to snag a good chunk of C’s bagel sandwich this Saturday… we found crumbs from the everything bagel leading right to her new perch ;)
In the future, we plan to extend the counter along the far wall and push out our new “L” to make room for an island and better utilize the space. I’m not sure if we will keep the breakfast bar at bar height or bring it down to a lower counter height (probably easier with children!), but I’ve already got my eye on these raffia stools (so many fun fabric options and I LOVE the chic brass caps on the feet!) and the subtle stripe against the warm wood of these. I think these would really pop against white cabinets in high gloss black and I LOVE the casual elegance of this director-style vibes (and indoor/outdoor versatility) of this stool.
In the meantime, we’re waiting for our contractor to get back to us with a quote to more permanently convert the breakfast bar and to replace our backsplash with simple white subway tile. We are having the cabinets painted white in the spring and hopefully that will brighten things up enough to push out a full renovation until 2025 or so. Regardless, I couldn’t be happier with the cheerful little updates we made to create a much more functional place for our family to gather.
All photos via Amy Patrice Photography