Kristin has a busy life. She's juggling family, home, career, and even blogging, with a weekly podcast she creates and shares at her website Manic Mommies. With young children and a busy schedule, her kitchen is at the heart of her home, and ever since last year she and her husband have been slowly yet steadily renovating it. Well, it's finally done, and here's a peek into her brand-new kitchen! We love Kristin's huge and lovely kitchen. It looks so professionally done, and yet she and her husband did just about all the work themselves. Even that amazing glass tile was installed with their own two hands! Here's a tour through how they did it, and some of their inspiration, as well as favorite budget resources.
The Kitchn's Kitchen Questionnaire
1. What's your cooking style?
With two of us working, in the past our cooking style was largely driven by speed, as in what can we get into our kids' tummies before they stage a revolt!
During the kitchen remodel we overdosed on frozen foods and take out. At the same time I started watching Gordon Ramsay's F-Word, which has inspired me to focus on easy, healthy, homemade dishes. We've discovered our kids (7-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl) have pretty sophisticated palettes, so we're always including different flavors for my kids to try.
2. What inspires your kitchen?
Our old kitchen was dark, small and separated from the living room. We wanted to create a space that was light and bright, but also very family-friendly (with lots of space to gather, store school supplies, keep track of events, etc.).
We wanted to combine traditional elements that would match our home (a saltbox colonial) and more modern elements. The colors were inspired by a piece of china I had owned, and a watercolor painting my grandmother gave me (she bought it from a street artist in Paris over 50 years ago!).
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Such a hard question — I love so much about our new kitchen. But if I have to pick anything it would be the new windows and backsplash. We removed a small window from above the sink and replaced it with two, fixed windows to maximize the amount of light coming in from outside. The backsplash took us three weeks to install (we could only work on it during the weekend) but makes the biggest impact and gets the most comments.
4. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
My friend and business partner on Manic Mommies, Erin, has the cleanest house I've ever seen. She always tells me the key to keeping her house clean is to have a place for everything — so we made sure to include a ton of storage. I also once heard someone on HGTV say that drawers are more efficient than cabinets, so you'll notice that most of our storage is drawer-based. It does make keeping the kitchen neat and tidy so much easier!
5. Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
The main motivation for remodeling our kitchen — removing the wall between the kitchen and living room — also provided our biggest challenge. While it wasn't a loadbearing wall, it hid a lot of systems including the chimney for the furnace. We removed the furnace in the summer with plans to replace it with a geo-thermal heating system. We didn't get the new system up and running until October (after an unseasonably cold September and October).
6. Biggest indulgence:
It's a tie — The induction cooktop (and new cookware because none of my old pots worked on the new cooktop) and the glass tile backsplash ($18/square foot - which was a bargain compared to what we found elsewhere, but still added up).
7. Dream tool or splurge:
Hubby says we splurged on the Electrolux Icon High Speed Oven. I say we splurged on two pieces of Le Crueset cookware.
8. What are you cooking this week?
Now that the holidays are over, we're going back to basics - tonight I'm making Skinny Fish Chowder, a family favorite which was recently made over by our friends, the Meal Makeover Moms.
• Here's the recipe: Skinny Fish Chowder
9. What cookbook has inspired you the most?
I've been most inspired by Gordon Ramsay, but I find recipes everywhere! I actually don't have that many cookbooks, instead I rely on friends, family and the internet for recipes.
10. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
After the dust had settled, and 90% of the work was done, I settled in to make homemade pizzas from a recipe given to me by my mother. While the meal itself is pretty simple and maybe not so memorable, the moment was historic. I remember sipping my wine, with the sauce bubbling, the dough rising and my family gathered and thinking how happy I was in our new kitchen - and that maybe it was worth all the pain and dust!
• Electrolux: High Speed Oven and Oven
• Kenmore: Induction cooktop
• Dupont Zodiaq in Borealis Blue
• Bruce: Pre-finished oak gunstock with natural inserts
My husband is amazing at finding great deals and saving us money. He mainly does this by purchasing items online - including through eBay. Here are some of our favorite home improvement resources (online makes life so much easier!!!)
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful kitchen with us, Kristin!
• Visit Kristin's blog: Manic Mommies
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(Images: Kristin of Manic Mommies)