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Our Modern Farmhouse Kitchen: The heart of our home

One of my favorite places in my house is definitely the kitchen.  It’s the place where everyone gathers, and like most homes, it’s the heart.  When we were designing this house, my goal was for the kitchen to be expandable and adaptable to our needs.  So every part of this kitchen was designed with a purpose in mind.

When the kids were little, we always had small kitchens.  One of our houses had a galley kitchen, and it was barely big enough for one of us to be in the kitchen, but you couldn’t open the oven and get by. It was tiny.  But what I loved about the kitchen space is that it’s the place where everyone wants to gather.

We love entertaining.  From game nights to holiday parties, we are always hosting a group of friends and family. The kitchen is always full of food, and people just want to be in that space.  We always daydreamed of having a big country kitchen, and that was the first thing we went to when we started with our modern farmhouse plans.

Check out what it looked like BEFORE it was a real kitchen:

Decorating for a Modern Farmhouse means reaching into the past and embracing imperfections.

For a lot of my childhood, I was crawling through the woods of Tennessee. When I was about 9, I found an old house left to be forgotten in the woods. Trees were growing up through it and it was my favorite place. I remember running my hands over the aged hardwood floors and falling in love with the feel of old worn wood. 

Even today, I find myself running my hands over some of our furniture that we have had build from reclaimed wood out of those old floors and barn wood doors.  

I love the wormholes, the cracks and the imperfections left in the wood. And with that in mind, the antiques and handcrafted items in our house aren't perfect, they are dented and loved through decades of use.  And I love it! 

My favorite part of the kitchen is the custom-made rustic farmhouse island.

Michael and I made a massive change to the concept of our kitchen by not including an island in our original floorplans.  The was meant to ensure that our floors were fluid from the kitchen through the family room and then through to the rest of the first floor. We also knew we were going to be working with a custom furniture artist to design our centerpiece of the kitchen.

Our island is fully moveable, even though it is cumbersome because it has wheels that I wanted to be included in the creation.  This was to make our kitchen expandable.  We can pull it in close when it is just me in the kitchen, or I can pull it out further for when we have friends and family over, and everyone can stand around it. ( With lots of food loaded on it, of course!)

The kitchen island is fantastic.  I really love it. Made by Bruce Grimes – Old Mother Hubbard Antiques.  Bruce worked with us to understand our goals for the island.  Michael wanted to make sure it had plenty of storage for my canning and appliances since I was removing kitchen cabinets for an open shelf wall. I wanted to make sure it had plenty of old farmhouse charm and including aged cast iron pulls and even a soda bottle opener was a must. Bruce also found perfect towel bars for the ends that matched.  

The island was made from repurposed barn wood from the Maryland area. We used both light and dark wood with plenty of character. I love to imagine the stories the wood could tell. We wanted to keep the rustic farmhouse style, and this piece really captured it.

Our farmhouse kitchen needed feature shelves and rustic cabinets

The cabinets were a big risk for me.  I had initially considered white, navy, or light gray.  But when we started to sit down and actually look at the design of the kitchen, it was clear that this kitchen needed to be dramatic. I spent a lot of time looking for the right farmhouse kitchen cabinets.  I knew that this was going to set the feel of our house, and boy did it!

I actually cook in this kitchen. From canning to making pasta, I am in the kitchen almost every day making something from scratch.  This means I also make big messes sometimes.  My kitchen needs to be able to handle real use.  White wasn’t going to cut it.

So we went black stained maple. And they turned out so great. I love the color and how it really ties in the black and rustic look that we have throughout the entire house.

Our counters are granite. They are a light gray swirl, called London Fog.  Which actually reminds me of our travels through London and the time we spent in cozy little bistros there.

The open shelves were a must for me.  I love my antique pitchers and teapots.  I use them all the time. I don’t believe in keeping the things I love locked away and never using them.  So I wanted my favorite things out where I can not only reach them but see them used.

The shelves were cut from aged local wood with an antique mill saw.  They have these incredible tooth marks. They remind me of visiting my Gram’s family in deep Tennessee.  There was so much pride made in the work you do with your own hands in those handmade pieces.  I wanted to bring that into my home.

The brackets and shelves were customized to fit together perfectly in my kitchen.  They have fantastic texture, and I love them so much. I could gush about them all day!

Modern touches, in our rustic farmhouse kitchen

We added undercabinet lighting around the whole kitchen.  I need a lot of light in my kitchen, so the recessed lighting was great, but I wanted more. Lighting is so important, and even though we opted not to add a chandelier, we spent a lot of time looking at where the light was going to come from and how to blend it in.  So we added lights inside the glass cabinets and under the lip. 

 Another more modern touch was the range hood. The Ventahood was brought in to combat my crazy cooking.  This industrial vent is excellent for clearing out smoke and smells.  It’s great and surprisingly quiet.

We have a double oven, the GE Profile ovens are great and do so many cool tricks. We also have an induction stovetop.  This is the first time we have used induction, and it does take some time to get used to. But it heats up FAST!

And lastly our giant refrigerator.  Yes, the shelves are taller than I can reach and I do have a little step ladder that hides in the pantry.  But it’s great because it has so many shelves inside and holds a ton of things.

The coffee nook

Michael and I love coffee, our daughter Sara is a barista, and we all love a good latte in the morning.  Michael grinds the beans fresh, and we needed to have a space in our kitchen just for our coffee needs. We have a Keurig, that’s the quickie machine ( even though we always use fresh ground coffee in reusable pods for it.) We also have our espresso machine and a French press.

Having our own espresso machine used to seem unaffordable. But we love our Breville espresso machine, and it is actually reasonable in cost.  It can do all of the fancy grinding, brewing, and steaming without the bulk.

I love coming up with amazing new latte recipes just so I can play with syrups and flavors.

So that’s it!  This is our kitchen, the heart of our house, and the gathering place where friends and family come to hang out!

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