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Vision for the Kitchen – Part One {My New House}

by | Nov 3, 2015 | Decorating Inspiration, Kitchens, My Kitchen, My Seattle House

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Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}Jenny Wolf Interiors

******UPDATE****** October 2016 This post features the before photos of our kitchen and our initial design thoughts when we first moved in. We’re currently in the process of remodeling, so be sure to scroll through and follow along with my new posts to see the progress here.

Greetings, friends! Hope you all are having a great week so far!

If you are new here or just catching up, you may be surprised to find out we moved from the house that we’ve lived in for the past six years, the house that is in my newest book! We loved so much about our house and leaving it was hard. We’ve only been away from it for a couple of months and there are so many things we miss.

But while it’s always hard to close a chapter of your story, there’s really so much to look forward as you turn the next page. Even if your home isn’t your dream house, you just have to remember how blessed you are to be where you are and even though there may be work to be done or things you don’t like, there’s potential in every house! I’m excited about my adventure here and I’m glad you guys are along for the ride.

You can catch up on our story by scrolling back in these posts, and see the preview video tour of our new house here. *UPDATE 2016* scroll through these posts for the latest updates to this house!

So today I thought we would finally talk a little more about our galley kitchen in our little 1950’s ranch. It’s ready for some updates. I know the kitchen is the room so many of my readers always love to dream about. It’s the room that I have been the most passionate about and love working on the most.

I’ll share some before pics and some inspiration pics, but keep in mind that the inspiration pics aren’t necessarily exactly right. The layout, style or colors or size might be different than what we have or will choose, but they do help us to visualize possibilities.

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

I’ve had a couple of tiny kitchens in houses before so even though this one is little, I’m just excited about the opportunity to work on another small kitchen! Sometimes little is the best of all. Yes, I miss my old kitchen. I loved the colors and choices we made. But it served us well for several years and I’m ready for a new challenge.

I gave a little preview of a project we are planning in this kitchen when I shared about the Dutch door. You might want to take a moment and read that post if you missed it. You will see in that post that our house really wants to be more of a cottage. She has big dreams of being spiffed up a bit, she doesn’t want to be a time capsule house. I’m OK with that because I’m kind of an eclectic modern cottage girl myself so, we will get along pretty well. :)

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

Even though this is a pretty small kitchen, I have a lot to say about it. I know, right now you are probably sarcastically thinking “What? You? Have a lot to say?” because when do I not have anything to say? Right? I DO HAVE LOTS TO SAY. That’s why I’m still blogging. I’m not done yet. Ha. Anyway, that’s a rabbit trail. What I wanted to say is that even though it’s a small kitchen, kitchens are something you want to ponder and get right. You don’t want to just slap one together and hope it turns out right and on budget. I want to create a kitchen my family will enjoy and any new owners down the road will have a crush on, too!

But in order to fit in all my ideas, talk about all the options and inspiration pics for the kitchen, we’ll have to just take this one side of the room at a time. I’ll show you my ideas and then we can ponder all the thoughts about other things in this kitchen over time.

You already know about the Dutch door, so now we are going to go to to the other side of the kitchen and talk about the view side. I can hardly believe I got a house with a view of Puget Sound! I’m still surprised, that was such an unexpected gift.

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

We have a nice large window looking out to the backyard, the water and the most glorious sky and sunset views. That’s a big plus in this house, it has really lovely views all across the back of the house, which is where the living room, dining room and kitchen are located.

There is a lot of light coming from that kitchen window, the big corner window gives you a sense of being more open to the outside (which in a galley kitchen is a big deal) and of course there’s the view! But, you don’t have wall space when you have a window. And below that window is a counter that isn’t the same height as the rest of the kitchen because of the placement of the window. The window is in the right spot, it matches the rest across the back of the house. It’s just lower than the counters.

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

So essentially that counter in question is like a desk, too low to really work at unless you are sitting. As we’ve lived in the house for the past two months, we know something about that space now. It’s a clutter magnet. Dog food, recycling, stuff that doesn’t have a home, all the things end up there…on the counter and below. Remember what happens to clutter magnets at our house? We took out a breakfast bar in our old house because that’s what it became.

The question in this house is, do we leave that shorter counter because it offers more counter space (perhaps redesigned to have built in storage below, so we don’t see all the things under it), or do we do something else with that space, like add a bench seat with drawers below? Or do we just remove it entirely? It’s not a big enough space to add a table, nor would we need that because we have a table right outside that dining room door.

We for sure will be removing the cabinet that is hanging on the wall to the left, and replacing it with some sort of useful built in cabinet and/or counter where the microwave is set (currently on a chair). Walls will be painted, floors changed, lighting, cabinets and counters all updated. And yes, we’ll discuss the fate of the appliances in a future post. :)

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

Whatever is in that corner under the window will be seen from the dining room (I’ll come back and share the grand idea for the doorway and dining room that I alluded to in this post), so we definitely want it to look nice and be as streamlined and clutter-free as possible. Counter space in a galley kitchen isn’t generally something to take away, but I just don’t have a lot of patience for clutter magnets. I’d have to be convinced it was worth keeping because so far we haven’t once used it as an actual space to prepare food. It’s just another surface, I guess because it’s too low to feel comfortable.

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}Jenny Wolf Interiors

Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}
Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}
Vision for the Kitchen - Part One {My New House}

Ultimately what we will do comes down to how we feel to live in it. You’ve got to take the time to live in your space to really know what will work best. I’m glad we haven’t rushed into anything in the 8 weeks we’ve lived here because we have changed our mind a few times already! But I think we are zeroing in on a good direction and that is starting to make us so excited about making this house our home!

I’ll be sharing more about the kitchen in another post, and we’ll go back to the dining room next so I can tell you my idea :).

*UPDATE 2016* scroll through these posts for the latest updates to this house!


  1. Debbi S

    A great space to work with. That window corner is fabulous. I can see a little diner there, with room enough for just one person on each side and a freestanding table hung from the wall under the window. We put in a four seater diner (next to the kitchen in the living space) and it gets used more than the dining table. Believe me, you may use it more than you think–a quick cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the view, a quick laptop perusal of Pinterest, writing out the menu for the week, whatever moment you might want to enjoy there. I can see it.

    And to streamline and open up the kitchen, removing the upper cabinets (and soffitt if possible) on the sink wall will make such a difference.

    Good luck, it will be a great project to tackle.

    • Laura

      I agree with removing that upper cabinet to the left of the sink. It blocks that window view out back.

  2. Laura

    Before I saw your inspiration photos I was thinking you should have a cafe table and a coffee station where the microwave is. The coffee station would be great when having family dinners in the dining room and a lovely spot for am coffee breaks in the kitchen. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  3. Laura R.

    I LOVE your vision. Clean and fresh, yet warm and inviting.

    I have the rug in the last picture — it’s from– I absolutely love it. I used it in my upstairs hallway, but HSM often uses it in kitchens.

  4. Heidi

    Yes-definitely take away that low counter clutter magnet. I would put in a little window seat-definitely nice to have a little spot for someone to sit and hangout while another person cooks. (Especially in a galley kitchen where there is no other seating area.) I can’t wait to see what you do in there-I know it will be beautiful. And I’m intrigued by the original oven-does it still work??

  5. Patricia

    We have a corner breakfast nook and use it every single day. We eat there, do crafts with the grandkids there, do the crossword puzzles and sudoku there and set up for parties there. Ours has lift top storage underneath and all the stuff I want but don’t often need, lives there.

    Am looking forward to more kitchen planning posts. Loved your inspiration photos.

  6. Carmen P

    That view is to die for. :) I love the first inspiration pic the best.

  7. Judy

    The idea of a window seat where a family member or friend can sit and chat with you as you prepare a meal, or where, before others get up in the morning, you could curl up with a coffee and that view – just lovely!
    It made me smile to think of this as a small kitchen – a good reminder that we are all shaped by the cultural norms of the places we live. I’m really looking forward to seeing your transformation of it. Happy planning!

  8. Elizabeth

    What if you took away counter space elsewhere and made this the main work space, or baking area. It would be lovely to look out and see that view while “working” in the kitchen.

  9. Christie

    Great ideas and advice to live with the house awhile. I think your home will look like a home lived in and loved over the years.

  10. Kari

    I just love your new place. I absolutely love the cover photo (or the title photo) and the Jenny Wolf photo (which I believe is just a different angle of the 1st). Anyone who can get their hubby to put in those floors. . . ahhh. . . power to ’em!!! My hubby fought me tooth-n-nail about the barnwood flooring. So I caved. But I just snuck in a front porch project, so I guess we are even. Keep us posted on all the changes and visions. I just love it.

  11. Linda Peterson

    I would replace the existing window with a window covering the entire wall to capture more of the view and with a height that would allow for a counter top with cabinets below. Can you imagine all the light and view coming in to the kitchen? A long countertop would provide much needed prep area and much more storage availability underneath. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it will look beautiful! Love your inspiration.

  12. lisa

    Your inspiration photos are wonderful! They’re so perfect for the space you’ve got. I have been wondering: how do you find your inspiration photos in the mass sea of options online? I have a decorating/designing project at home and don’t know the first place to start because it’s overwhelming! Do you have a suggestion for how to search? ( I have both your books, by the way! LOVE THEM!)

  13. Pam Cates

    I absolutely love your idea of a long bench in the space off your kitchen. Be a great space to have guests or family visiting while you cook.

  14. Pat Kleinmaier

    I had a stove/oven like that in our house when we moved in 37 years ago. We updated and took it out and I so wish we never had. It’s was so convenient.

  15. Ms. Maggie the Elder

    I agree on moving slowly but you may not want to wait 22 years to get your kitchen done; we just waited and waited since we did not like this or that of our friends’ kitchens- too much granite, too dark, too hard to take care of, and just too much. I want simple and easy to care for- I am going with cork on the floor and it looks like soft gray leather planks so I am glad I waited- easy to take care of and soft on the feet…we also wanted to work with someone we like so that took time to establish the relationship since it is lots of money and time. I like the first set up too- but I am going with top cabinets in white and the bottom gray to break up the mass of cabinets and there will be shelving (which I have seen before in your kitchens too) instead of cabinets to store the beautiful dishes I have near the sink and dishwasher wall. What fun to someday think that we both will have a good place to dish in ~~~

    • Ms. Maggie the Elder

      PS look at the Sunset remodel of a midcentury at Our island home maybe from the 1980s but it was given a midcentury look so we are farther along with that project, just had to update a few appliances and give it wood and cork floors. It was fun to buy some Midcentury furniture to go with it- now it feels like a place from the past but with the comfort of the present. Maybe you can consider a few pieces of MC to make your place feel welcome…

  16. Valerie kuykendall

    Melissa, we moved into a new house a year ago knowing we would have to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms. I have gotten two design ideas for the kitchen . Not really sold on either. My dilemma is whether or not to open up a wall. The kitchen doesn’t feel totally cut off from the family too. Due to a cut out over the kitchen sink. The room on the other side of the kitchen is being used as a little sitting room since we moved the dining room out to the sunroom- large room with vaulted ceiling and the only time we use the dining room is for larger gatherings anyway. We have a good sized table in the kitchen in front of a bank of windows.
    Anyway, wondering about your thoughts on open concept versus contained kitchen. I have been trying to “love the home I have” in case I just can’t afford the expense to open a wall and even if we do, will it make that much of a difference in the space.

    I love your blog. Thank you, Valerie Kuykendall

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you Valerie! Everyone has a different feeling on the open concept verses a contained kitchen. I can go either way depending on the space. I try to spend as little as possible but if you have a strong feeling about the wall than it can be a totally worthwhile change! But cozier kitchens are wonderful so I don’t think it is a must if you enjoy being in the kitchen and you don’t feel it really needs to be more open!

  17. Kris

    As a fellow small-kitchen-owner, I agree with you completely–take your time planning your kitchen! I think my kitchen is smaller than yours, and having the right space for everything makes SUCH a difference. It took us over 10 years to reno our kitchen (longer than you want to wait, I’m sure!) but I lovelovelove the results. It’s pretty AND so much more functional! Enjoy planning and dreaming. :)

  18. Cathy

    I agree with Heidi. I love the first inspiration shot in this post. I think a bench, even without a table, would be a great focal point and very practical.

  19. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

    I love the idea of having a bench with storage underneath and a small table if you have room. I’m excited to see what you come up with!

  20. Kathy Harris

    I totally agree with Cathy (FromOurHideaway). It appears from the photo that you can pretty much plunk that design down into that space in your kitchen perfectly. It so much goes along with the ideas I see developing in your whole house!

  21. Maggie

    Ooooh I love the last pic beach style dining by Laguna Beach. How adorable.. So when is the remodeling starting? After the holidays or before. Lots of kitchen remodelers down time is usually around the holidays. They are usually able to cut you a better deal just to stay working. If you can negotiate you might want to consider.. Just a thought. Maggie @magsjag

  22. Janet Woodman

    Hi Melissa, I would definitely go with the Beach style galley kitchen with the eat in banquet. Pure perfection! That’s the one I would do Melissa! It’s so much fun seeing your beautiful ideas. Your view is like a picture. Worth a million dollars.
    Be well

  23. Janet Woodman

    Is there a way to pin things I like on Houzz? I haven’t been able to do so. I wanted to add this beach style kitchen pin and I am unable to do so. Please let me know. Thanks Again, Janet Woodman

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      They make pinning difficult. I redid the Beach Style Kitchen photo another way, see if you can pin now? Thank you! :)

  24. Kimberly VanDyke

    I love the window seat with the built in storage cabinets/pantry. Its clean and inviting…love, love, love.

  25. Kathleen Steenson

    I totally agree with Linda Peterson. Replace the window and add the L-shaped counter. After all, how much seating do you really need versus counter space you will use all day every day. View to die for, btw.

  26. teresa

    You have some wonderful ideas….love the last inspiration picture….what fun it is to plan and dream!
    Happy Day

  27. Mitzi

    I read many blogs but I rarely comment. Today is an exception. That view! Holy cow! Enjoy!

  28. Victoria

    Bench seat. Bench seat. Bench seat!
    And taking out the cabinet by the sink that others suggested to really make the most of the view. Even if you replace it with open shelving if you need the storage, it will be better than a cabinet

    • Ms. Maggie the Elder

      I agree and am doing that since cabinets lined up look odd and who does not like a view when doing dishes???

  29. Gayle

    I would put a large picture window or better yet doors leading out to a deck at that end of the kitchen. You may sacrifice storage room but wow what a beautiful pot look you have!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      A deck would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? I’d take a great window view or a deck with a view over storage any day. :) Less storage is definitely more view, in this case! :)

  30. Mary

    I think I’m going to follow your lead here. I also am new to Seattle and have a small kitchen I must redo (think brown cupboards, ugly floor, etc.) I love your blog and know you will be my guiding light.

  31. Susan

    Omg! Your stove! It’s a fridgedair flair! Just like the ones in the old bewitched episodes! Please tell me you love it? Have you used it yet? I love the pullout burners! I love that stove so much. Be still my heart. It was quite the thing back in the 60’s!

  32. Kate R

    I just love the light that you have in this kitchen – just gorgeous! I can tell already that it is going to work out to be fabulous. A window seat would be so charming! Loving your blog!

  33. Maiken

    From what I gather you like to cook and have your kitchen be a place you dwell as well as cook. If that’s true, I think this idea for a small bench and table for a small breakfast nook/tea break is perfect! If you leave the space underneath the bench open it’ll make the kitchen look a bit bigger since more floor space is visible, but of course that means sacrificing an opportunity for extra storage space. How does all your kitchenware etc fit in the existing kitchen cabinets currently? My family bought our first home four months ago so it’s fun and encouraging to follow along with your move! Thanks for sharing! So excited for my copy of your book to come in the mail; I’m like a dog in the window when my mailman comes by haha.

  34. Jo

    That space below the window is perfect for a little bistro type dining set. I can imagine you and your hubby sitting there sipping your coffee and enjoying the view, either in the morning or enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine! Galley kitchens are very efficient kitchens to work in. My first home had a small galley kitchen and I loved it….sink, fridge and microwave on one side and the stove on the other with plenty of counter in either side. Have fun dreaming and finalizing your plans. You’ve got some great inspiration photos here. ?

  35. Jenni@LittleYellowRanchHouse

    Hi Melissa,

    I have not visited your site in awhile but I am so excited to see your ideas on your new home. We currently live in a 1950’s rancher that has some similarities to yours, and I have the same type of aesthetic, so I am eagerly following what you will do with it. I am also on the hold list to read your “Love the Home You Have” book at the library, as it is something I feel God has been saying to me lately. It’s so easy to see the faults in my home, but recently I felt challenged to view it as a person, and to try and notice the positives about it as well.

  36. Kristin Cadwallader

    Melissa, I love the inspo for your space. One thing you said really resonates with me:
    Even if your home isn’t your dream house, you just have to remember how blessed you are to be where you are and even though there may be work to be done or things you don’t like, there’s potential in every house!

    That is so true. My husband and I made the decision years back to not spend on a bigger house and fix this average 1950’s ranch I grew up in. Is it the dream house I would love to have…ummm…not even close. Is it becoming my dream house? Surprisingly, yes. I totally get what you are saying. We are blessed to have a safe place to rest our heads at night and raise our families. We can polish a diamond in the rough and make it shine.

    I can’t wait to see what you do in here. I know it will be awesome :) xo

  37. Shauna

    That view Melissa!! How peaceful to look out the window and see the water. I know your new kitchen plans will be so creative and perfect for your new sweet home!

  38. aussiebushgirl

    Hey Melissa. The Jenny Wolf kitchen has big appeal, but the downside is size as it’s really geared towards apartment dwelling. I’m leaning towards the more ‘open plan’ aspect of the Boston Architect-designed kitchen (#3) because, by removing the dividing wall you’d be incorporating the dining room into the picture, and maximizing on light at the same time!

    The other point worth mentioning, is the kitchen window seat. If you go down that route (and I think that corner is begging for something like it), you’d have to shelve any idea you have about creating something similar in the dining area. It would just be bench overload to replicate the same idea in two adjoining rooms!

    I’m loving the potential, but I’m definitely leaning towards opening up the two rooms which will provide more fluidity between these separate spaces, and a focal view point from the hallway. Can’t wait to see which direction you’ll be taking! mwah, heather x

  39. Tracie

    I almost hate to put this idea in your head, but that window looks like it MIGHT be just high enough to run the counter into it.. the counter then becomes the window sill, basically. Google counter height windows. They are beautiful and with that gorgeous view you would probably have the best example of one out there! If that’s possible, I would consider putting the sink and DW under that window, then put the range on the former sink wall. Then you might consider an (arched?) passthrough from kitchen to DR to frame the range. Fridge/pantry stays where it is.

    Whether you do this or not, I would also recommend deepening your countertops to 30″ (or even 27″).. you can do this somewhat inexpensively by building a 2×6 or 2×4 frame behind the cabinets and running the counters over both cabinets and frames. I grew up in a house with THE tiniest kitchen and I totally never noticed because of those few extra inches in depth.. I sure did notice the lack of them when we moved, though! Good luck, I’m so excited to be along for the ride on your new house!

  40. Tracie

    PS – If you are replacing the cabinets, you can’t get more bang for your buck than IKEA’s cabinets. I am totally in love with mine.

  41. Lyka

    Hi Melissa!I love the design of your floor and your kitchen. All the interiors look so classy. I feel a bit of envy when I see people posting articles about their house interiors. Its really beautiful .I hope my house look like this.

  42. Cindy B

    Hi – I have a kitchen just like yours but from the 1990s. We’ve had great discussions about what/how to update. I look forward to seeing what you do with your kitchen – I’m sure it will help and inspire me!


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