Today for the home tour, I'm featuring my friend Danielle's gorgeous new kitchen! Danielle and I are neighbors and enjoy a lot of the same things in life: food, wine, good conversation--and we've never met a dance floor we didn't like. She is one of those people who hosts Thanksgiving, but will still invite friends over for an impromptu taco bar the next day. I love her for that! She and her husband, Doug, recently remodeled their kitchen and she has been killin' it with the family meal planning. I'm totally inspired.
Tell us about the inspiration to update your kitchen.
The inspo to update the kitchen came from a conversation about a porch. The front elevation of the house is just asking for a front porch and we priced it out with local contractors. The costs were sky high due to certain local village requirements! We realized that a better investment for our family was an updated, more user-friendly kitchen. Design inspiration came from none other than the beautiful Joanna Gaines. I love HGTV's Fixer Upper and Jojo's modern, yet rustic farmhouse-y style. Since our house is an 1884 farmhouse, we really wanted a timeless kitchen that would carry with the rest of the house. I really think we captured that!
How do you use the space differently and what do you enjoy the most, now that the space has been remodeled?
The layout changed a bit, with the fridge and sink staying in place and the rest getting moved around. Before the renovation, we had a standard double-oven on the wall and a separate island cooktop. Double ovens now come in a traditional style oven/range appliance, with a smaller top oven and a large bottom oven. My oven space is more usable and wider now than the two separate wall ovens I had before. (Ask me sometime about my Thanksgiving mishap a couple of years back when my turkey wouldn't fit in the wall oven!) By far, my favorite update is the butcher block island. Six full feet of prep space is an unexpected bright spot in the new kitchen. I love the warmth that the mahogany brings to our space and the organization that the island drawers provide us. I also really enjoy the flow of the kitchen now. Movement and flow are key to a functional space and our kitchen now works so well for parties (and we love parties!).
Why do you meal plan and what are some tips?
Meal planning for our family began when we demolished the old kitchen and remained living in the house with no kitchen. As two parents that work full-time outside of the house, we had to dedicate time each Sunday to plan our meals for the week so that we could efficiently get healthy food on the table in a matter of minutes with only a microwave, grill, crockpot, and bathroom sink. Taking the time and effort to plan really made our lives so much easier during the week that we have kept at it ever since. It helps keep my sanity during the week to know that I have all ready made meals in the fridge, just waiting to be reheated. We generally make 2-3 meals for our M-Th dinners. Our freezer is also stocked with easy to thaw/bake/eat meals for Fridays.
My best tip: take some help from the store. It's worth the extra few bucks! Already cooked frozen rice is awesome and a discovery during our kitchen reno! What helps my meal planning/cooking on Sundays is that I purchase items like pre-shredded carrots, triple-washed ready to eat kale and spinach, sliced fresh mushrooms, steam in bag broccoli/cauliflour/green beans. Take the shortcuts, because when you are dedicating 1-2 hours to cooking, these items are time savers. It seems like a lot of time to take out of your Sunday, but it is worth the time so that your weeknight evenings are a breeze.
My favorite recipe - it changes all of the time, but lately I'm really loving these carnitas. Simple & classic!
Thank you Danielle and Doug for sharing your place with us! Can't wait for the next taco party! :)
Adorable family photo by Sue Quinlan