I learned first and foremost, do your research! Anyone who has been doing (fill in the blanks) for however long will have an opinion about how you should update your space. Personal opinion can easily come across as expert opinion, but doesn't necessarily make it right. It's up to you to know the difference. For example, my cabinet maker was adamant that the pony wall between the kitchen and dining room be 42 inches tall, which is standard. I wanted it to be 48 inches tall. My husband and I debated long and hard about how to handle the situation and in the end I stuck to my guns and my wall is 48 inches. My rationale to the cabinet maker: "If the stovetop is counter height at 36" and I have a 42" pony wall, that's only 6 inches of backsplash behind the stovetop. If I have an 8" tall pot on the burner, it's going to be taller than the wall behind it and that's not going to work for me." He agreed that he never would have thought of it and that it made perfect sense. The guy doing our counters was horrified that I wanted plain white subway tile for the backsplash with absolutely no color to break it up. While he has years of experience and did a great job on the counters, obviously he doesn't spend much time on Pinterest or he'd see that white subway tile is everywhere! And for the record I love it.
Notice how even at 48 inches the wall doesn't look that high, but visually it creates a barrier from the dining room. When you're sitting at the table, you aren't looking at the mess in the kitchen waiting to be cleaned from dinner prep.
The new range is one of my favorite aspects of the kitchen, both for form and function. We searched and searched for the right range and this one was exactly what we wanted and in our price range. Woot woot! It's a Frigidaire and works like a dream. I adore the gas burners and I'm so glad that we made that a priority. The oven is electric with a convection option and heats up very quickly and cooks evenly. I haven't used the convection option yet but the reviews were all positive.
Another feature in the kitchen that I love is the pendant lighting above the island. I originally found the fixtures at Ballard Designs, but ended up having to buy one of the lights at a different company because of an unfortunate issue with Ballard. I won't go into it but it was a pain in the neck to say the least. At Ballard they call this fixture the Newport Pendant and we bought the large size.
Here's a little close up.
The apron-front farmhouse sink is wonderful. My husband wasn't sure about how it would look when I first showed him some pictures, but in the end he agreed that it was the right choice. I only wish we had this sink when our little ones were babies because it would be awesome for baths in those early days. It's big enough that I can fit the drawers from our refrigerator in the basin for cleaning and they sit flush on the bottom. I love the exposed front with the new cabinetry. The only issue I've had is that it sits just a little lower than counter height and sometimes I accidentally spray over the edge. Other than that it's been fantastic. And just for clarification, it's white, not cream as it sort of looks in the picture. That's just the light.
I have to say we were very fortunate that our renovation went smoothly with only the smallest issues here and there. Our contractor was great and it was done very quickly compared to stories I've heard. I love cooking and entertaining in our new space, and I'm excited to get all the decor arranged so it's truly finished.