There were three things about this kitchen remodel that were really important to me. Open shelving, concrete counters, and a gas range. I stuck to my guns on all three, and I'm so glad I did. The open shelving took convincing the contractors. I know, you shouldn't have to convince your contractor, but they did try to talk us out of them. Someone pointed out that you'll see the clutter. Well, we have plenty of cabinets to hide the cluttery stuff. Someone else pointed out that the stuff on the shelves will get dusty. Well, I have an answer for that too. The things on the bottom shelf, and most of the middle shelf really, we use almost every day. The things on the top shelf, my pretty platters, well we always wash them before we use them anyway. Dust-schmust.
The gas range was important to me too. I would not say that it took convincing necessarily, but Neel might have needed time to understand how important cooking with gas was to me. Given that getting gas to the kitchen was a tricky task, I had a bit of a stand to take, but he gets it. Cooking is a big part of sustaining our family, not only physically but emotionally. We had a gas stove in California, I dearly missed it when we moved here to Virginia. This stove has an electric oven (bonus) and a griddle that we use all the time. It's good. Good to me and good to our family.
I felt pretty strongly about concrete counters too. Partly for the look, partly to not take something else away from the earth, and partly just to be different! Neel took some convincing here too. After he let me do some research and looked into it with me, he was on board. Our contractor didn't have any experience with concrete, so I can't blame him for suggesting granite. We didn't want granite.
It was our concrete guy who recommended that we place tiles from the backsplash in the counter in the hallway. Good call! The thing that's tricky with concrete is that you can do anything you want with it. Any color, most any shape. If you want to add your wine-bottle collection, well, do that too. It was hard to decide. Ultimately (obviously) we thought that the dark charcoal would provide a nice contrast to the light cabinets.
We put in new floors too. The old floors were pretty beat up, and knowing that we couldn't match the orignal floors in the house we went with full-on contrast. The floors tie the hall, kitchen and family room all together.
Are there things we don't like or things we wish we'd done differently? Oh, sure. The sink is a bit low to be as deep as it is. Especially for taller folk. I wish we had a better placement for the microwave too. Right now it's on the counter in the hallway (see above), and I really, really don't like it there. I'm working on it though. Much as I'd love to tuck it away somewhere, I'm not sure it's possible. At this point I'd settle for getting it up off the counter. Maybe a shelf above the counter in the hall, but I might be getting carried away with shelves! We need some doors in the hallway, one in particular to hide a storage area (I'm leaning frosted.), and I'd like a better bar/wine cabinet. In the family room, the coffee table is too small, but it works for now. We probably could use a better tv table too...more to scale. But seriously? That's it. Not too bad.