Let’s talk kitchens for a second. These rooms are the heart of the home. So much happens in this space, even beyond the making and eating of a meal. When entertaining friends and family, it’s the first place people gather. Most of my days are spent in the kitchen playing with the little one. Contemporary home design has dramatically enlarged kitchens (yay) and incorporated them into the flow rest of the home (also yay). Kitchens are the most common space to renovate and talk to any realtor and they will tell you, “a kitchen sells a home!”
So then why (seriously, WHY?!) are they often so boring?! It’s like there is a basic template that ‘Big Box Home Builders’ (not a technical term) use. They always seem to design very predictable, mundane kitchens. Cabinets, counters, a fridge at the end, a range and hood, a stainless sink (for an upgrade), some pendant lights and BOOM – you have a kitchen.
After giving it more thought than one person should, I attribute this ‘one design fits all’ approach to the over abundance of cabinets. I understand that kitchens need a lot of storage, but wooden boxes everywhere give them a serious cookie-cutter vibe. Different colors and creative hardware only do so much to inject inspiration into a box-filled kitchen. Apparently I need more of a creative outlet than ‘rubbed brass or polished nickel’ finish choices.
Also, they’re mind-boggling expensive. Even the IKEA try-not-to-go-insane-building-them-yourself versions are pricy. So needless to say I wasn’t really amped to spend a lot of money on something I wasn’t all that jazzed about in the first place.
So one Saturday, a few months ago, Ian and I were walking through an architectural salvage store (these are the fun things I make him do on the weekends) and justlikethat I fell in love. It was a ‘shut up and take my money’ kind of moment when I saw it. This was going to solve my boring and expensive cabinet overload conundrum. So what was this magical find?!
An antique work bench.
It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t even a color I was considering. But it spoke to me. And, amazingly, it was the right size. It would be the perfect fit as an antique table kitchen island. It had just enough character and charm to be a statement piece, and enough of the right elements to function as I need it to. And, like I said, it spoke to me!
I will be losing some below counter storage by switching to an antique table kitchen island, but I’m ok with that. It comes with two operable drawers and I decided to do closed built-ins over the fridge and ovens. Plus, that whole walk-in pantry thing. I should be fine.
I’d like to think that my kitchen was never going to be ho-hum boring, as it’s a restored (and enlarged!) pre-war home with tons of character. But even so, I was getting a little carried away with the wooden boxes everywhere. Then when you throw in marble countertops, a white farm sink, stainless appliances and some subway tile…I was feeling like I’d seen this kitchen before. Like, everywhere.
So yay for changing it up with the island (and saving a boatload of cash on the cabinets and countertops)! We finally picked it up from the shop over the weekend and I’ve been staring at it all heart-eyes ever since. I plan to make a few modifications so that it sits a couple of inches higher and can easily accommodate bar stools, but that’s it. And I think an antique table kitchen island is going to be a conversation starter the second people walk in our kitchen.
Even with all of the boring boxes around it 😉