Originally, the entire kitchen was designed with all custom walnut cabinetry [see below]

kitchen vie 2

kitchen view 1

When the budget numbers came back way too high, we started cutting costs wherever we possibly could without sacrificing too much of the desired style.  So we decided to mix white IKEA cabinets with custom walnut cabinets.  The base cabinets in the u-shaped part of the kitchen were all standard sizes and easy to swap out.  The large tall wall of cabinets around the fridge, the microwave hutch, and the retro sliding laminated doors with floating shelf over the sink were designed custom, therefore not-so-easy to change. Once I drew it up on the computer, Matt and I actually liked the entire look much better.  It felt more happy, airy and bright; more like “us.”  [see below]

kitchen globe lights

hood 6

Get a quick glimpse of the process in the video below:

The other spot we saved some money was the vanity cabinet in the master bathroom.  It was originally designed as floating custom walnut cabinets with a tall storage tower on the left.  We found an inexpensive cabinet with the right dimensions on  Luckily, this cabinet already had a white/gray laminate top so we didn’t have to pay for a stone top either.  We saved on the cabinet and countertop costs.  Although, we did pay our cabinet guys to retrofit the center 3 drawers since they had to be cut to make room for the drain p-trap.  We also had them go ahead and put metal soft-close glides on them so they open easier than before.  [see below]

Original design:

Master bath east elevationmaster bath topmaster bath

New Cabinet Layout:Master Vanity EastMaster Bath 12x24 floor tile

Start of the Finish-Phase

Once insulation and drywall are in, the finish-phase can begin!  This is my favorite part because it’s when all of the things I’ve picked out, designed, specified, and envisioned start to show up in the space.  This includes trim style, cabinetry, lighting, plumbing, tile, countertops, carpet, hardwood flooring, and paint.  I enjoy the framing stage because it’s vital for the pieces that come during this last phase (such as: shampoo niches, incorporated shelving spaces, etc..) but, it’s less obvious to the homeowner and not as exciting.


Matt and I installed some of the trim-work ourselves to cut back on the timeline and work load for our contractor.  When you have the right tools, it’s a piece of cake.  Hints the handy dandy nail gun.  Luckily, we did not have any crown molding or intricate trim designs installed in this project.  Crown molding is not for the simple DIY-er or mathematically…we learned the hard way on our old home.  We used all flat 1×4″ for our door/window casings and baseboard.

Up next, painting!

From Top to Bottom

This post highlights some of the wood we’ve added in the home.  There’s a quick video below showing the installation of the wood floors and the tongue and groove ceiling in the front living room.


We added 2 1/4″ wide solid white oak flooring (less expensive than wider planks) with a water-based matte clear coat finish.  We had dark espresso stained floors in our last home, and I learned the hard way that dark shows EVERYTHING!  I wanted to do something different, but also I wanted to incorporate a bit of Scandinavian design influence.  Commonly in Scandinavian modern design things are bright, light, airy, simple, and natural.  Lots of white and light natural woods.

The tongue and groove ceiling boards we added between the front beams are pine and will be all painted white.  The main purpose of these are 1) to add texture (making the space feel cozy and full of character despite being white), 2) to cover up some ceiling cracks from settling that aren’t worrisome, but also will keep reappearing even if we patch them, 3) most importantly to mimic the authentic look and feel of a common trend seen in KC Drummond contemporary homes built in the 50’s/60’s.  Matt helped install these to cut some cost and more importantly time!

In future posts I will highlight some other wood touches we are adding.  One is Walnut cabinetry in the kitchen; my absolute favorite species of wood.  The natural color that has brown, but hints gray, and movement that is so pretty always makes me swoon.