Darby’s kitchen

Hello, I’ve hit a wall.

I’ve been out of town and out of town and out of town.

Something that might interest you while I regroup – my sister’s kitchen remodel is featured on Apartment Therapy today.
darby kitchen

my kitchen intervention (details)

TGIF!  I’m back from Vegas.  KBIS was great, I’ll post on that next week.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very kind comments on my kitchen!!!

There were a few questions I’ll answer before I start in with the details…


Someone asked: if you had another $1,000 to spend what would you spend it on?

What a great question, I have thought about this all week… and of course I can’t narrow it down.

A) I would buy a new dishwasher (I saw a Bosch on clearance at Lowe’s last week and was so tempted).

B) I would buy a new range.  A dual-fuel downdraft one. This one, which I actually already own (it’s in my office), so maybe I’d spend the money on a propane tank (we don’t have natural gas here at our house) and pay movers to move the range from my office to my house.

C) I’d buy a casement window and replace that squirrelly door that swings into the kitchen counter


1x6 v-groove pine

Why did you choose tongue & groove wall paneling over a tile backsplash?

Mostly because I prefer the look for my house.  And… it was less expensive.  I may have said the boards were 1x4s in the first post, but they are actually 1x6s.  The white trim color was already in my house, I just had the painters match it.  The 1×6 pine paneling can be purchased from any hardware store or lumberyard.

How do you secure the shelves to the wall?

After taking the old wall cabinets down we took the sheetrock off that wall and ran the wires for the under-cabinet (undershelf) lighting.  (There are new puck lights in the bottom shelf that illuminate the countertop.)  We then sheathed the wall in 1/2″ plywood, which acted as blocking – a secure material that would help support the shelves.  It also helped the the shelves dead end into a wall on the right, the shelves are actually hollow and straddle a strip that was applied to the two walls (back and side) and the farthest left bracket is secured into a stud. The brackets aren’t just decorative… I didn’t want the shelf to ever sag and so they support some of the weight as well.

tracery brackets

NOTES shelf bracket

The brackets and shelves?

I actually found the brackets when I saw this publication in Food & Wine featuring my friends at Tracery Interiors.  As you may notice, I turned the brackets so the longer side was beneath the shelf instead of against the wall.  I did this because I felt like it would give me more clearance/space on the shelves… and I preferred the look of the bracket when turned on its side.  When I saw the publication I emailed Doug (@ Tracery) and inquired about the brackets.  He gave me his cabinet shop contact info, but I first contacted my local cabinet shop.  My cabinet shop identified the brackets right away, they can be purchased from a cabinet supply source (I wish I knew what it was, but I don’t).  I let her know how many I wanted and they painted them to match the shelves, which they also made.

Is dust a problem on the open shelves?

The dishes and glasses on those shelves are mostly used everyday.  Of course when I climb up on a barstool to get one of those cake plates off the top shelf I usually take a swiffer cloth with me and dust a little… but because we use the dishes so often dust doesn’t have time to settle.


Where is your microwave?

In the pantry!  That open cabinet to the right of my kitchen sink (where I keep my cookbooks) was actually supposed to house the microwave… but I don’t like seeing it, so I moved it to the pantry.  Which works great for us, and keeps it out of sight.

lenox butlers pantry

What are your white dishes?

I registered for those when Chance and I married, they are Lenox Butler’s Pantry.


More details are noted on the photographs below….

NOTES wide angle pantry doors open

NOTESbase cabinets

NOTES shelf details

NOTESshelf detail skewers and julep cup

NOTESat the sink

NOTES shelf detail glasses

NOTES shelf detail dog creamer

NOTES shelf detail birds eye

NOTES shelf detail cake plates copy

NOTES calendar corner

NOTES overstock barstools

NOTES locker etc

NOTES nancy thomas plates

NOTES cooler bottle opener and sloaney height

NOTESfridge wall

NOTES antique soap dish

NOTES roman shade fabric


The roman shade fabric was a splurge… I loved it.  It is a to the trade only fabric, but if you are interested you can contact us for pricing. (allison(at)urbangrace(dot)com)

Thoughts on painting cabinets…

As I mentioned in a previous post I removed the doors and drawer fronts and had my local cabinet shop (the same cabinet shop that made the shelves) spray lacquer them.  I then had my favorite painters (Bryan and Bobby) paint the cabinet boxes with an oil-based satin finish paint.  Now, if I had gone with white cabinets I probably wouldn’t have used an oil-based paint.  White oil-based paint tends to yellow over time.  I would suggest a very high quality water-based (latex) paint.  My sister used Coronado’s Rust Scat paint when she painted her kitchen cabinets white.  It claims to be an “acrylic enamel” paint.  I’ve used it before and the quality is great.


The Makings of a Kitchen!

Hey Everyone! It’s me, Marla! It was so fun to read all the compliments and questions about my kitchen in the HGTV Holiday post, but way too hard to reply to everyone individually. I thought I would sneak on to Erika’s blog and post the 411 for you guys. She is working on a post on the specifics related to the dining area as it was styled for the HGTV photos… that will be a later this week.  As far as this post is concerned please note NO styling or tidying up was done before shooting these images. Here we go!

Let’s start on the right side. The range side. Here is what it looked like originally:

Erika designed the kitchen to have upper cabinets, but our budget was tight so at the last minute we opted for open shelves instead. We have a huge walk in pantry so I knew that it would be easy to find a place to hide all the unsightly stuff that lurks in the kitchen cabinets. As you can see in the drawing we also planned to have tile with an interesting variation over the range. (No, I did not plan to have stars of david over my range-Erika is just funny like that!) In the end, a friend of Shane’s who owns a masonry company, offered us the brick+labor at a price we could not refuse so we went with it. Here is how it looks now:

On the window side of the room, Erika suggested we change the original plans to include three large windows and it was a GREAT decision! One of my favorite things about the kitchen, for sure!A current shot of those windows:

We decided to change the kitchen windows to casements and we are so glad we did.  Another favorite thing about our kitchen design is the use of large, deep, full extension drawers on the bottom vs. cabinets. We find it so much easier to fill and organize them with tupperware, kidsware, paper ware etc.  I picked up the knobs and pulls at our local Home Depot.

The countertops are custom concrete by NEOCRETE. I worked closely with Tammy to make sure the color mix was perfect for coordinating with the rest of the room. I was adamant that I wanted the edges of the concrete to be rough finished and not perfectly smooth and I love how they came out.

Another decision when working with concrete is how much “motion” or texture you want to have. I like a little, Shane likes a lot. We met in the middle.

The lights over the three windows are  boston functionals and the one over the island is the Reeves large antique brass pendant. Both are available through Urban Grace.

The light over the range is from Kathleen’s Kottage on Hwy 331. It is a reclaimed, recycled, repurposed, whatever you want to call it, Marine Light. My electrician was able to rewire it and make it work perfect!

The main faucet is from OVERSTOCK.com

The flooring is 6 inch Walnut.

The brick is old chicago brick and they went over it with extra mortar rubbed over top. Color is off in this picture but you get the idea.

Fridge is Frigidaire Commercial Freezerless Fridge. (We have a full size freezer in the pantry).

Range is Jen Air downdraft.

Stools are Overstock.com

I have no idea what else you could possibly want to know. Go forth. Have a very Merry Christmas. Give Thanks. Be Joyful.