"When it comes to storage, use every single inch of wall space," says HGTV Dream Home designer Linda Woodrum. "Cabinets that go up to the ceiling create a very tidy look. Use the high-up ones to store things you rarely use." Next to the refrigerator and freezer, Linda created skinny pullout pantries that are great for corralling spices and snacks.
Since the room was already so bright,with windows practically everywhere you look, Linda went with refined pendant fixtures with paper drum shades that give off soft, ambient light. She hung three over the island because "an odd number is always more pleasing." Although standard height is 42" from the counter, she eyeballed it and hung them higher so they wouldn’t block any views. "Ask your electrician to hold the light at different heights to see what works best in your room."
Do We See Two Refrigerators?
Nope. One’s a freezer! Linda installed separate refrigerator and freezer units to get nearly twice the storage space of a traditional combined appliance. This way you can really stock up on frozen and prepared foods. "This house could very well be a vacation home for the winner," says Linda. "And who wants to be running to the grocery store when you’re trying to relax?"
Easy Open Shelving
A lot of kitchens have open shelves above the counter, but Linda broke the mold with the same idea below the cooktop. Keeping pots and pans in full view is not only practical, but it also makes a display out of everyday stuff. She used a 2"-thick piece of manufactured stone—the same material as the counters—for the shelves because it’s a champ against wear and tear. "You can slide pans in and out without a scratch," Linda says.
An Ambitious Island
Linda made sure this large square island would be a total workhorse. It boasts a sliding garbage/recycling cabinet and a built-in dishwasher. Even the ends have smart 8"-deep cupboards that are perfect for glassware and canned goods. "Shallow storage is the key to staying organized," says Linda. "It helps you keep track of what you have so you don’t duplicate items at the market."
The Best Little Detail: a Pot Filler
"When you’re cooking mass amounts of pasta, you’ll be so happy to skip that painful trip from sink to stove," says Linda of the stainless steel faucet she anchored above the cooktop.
Engineered quartz is bacteria-resistant, and it’s harder than granite, so you can cut right on it, says Linda. "It’s a great heavy surface, but the consistent color makes it feel light and clean."
Big Sky Backsplash
"I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do a blue backsplash," says Linda. "Blue and white just always works. Look up at the sky for proof!" The 2"-square glass tiles are laid with white grout, which makes the color look even brighter. Behind the stove, Linda made a frame for the backsplash with 4" slate gray glass tiles.
Sleeker Than Sleek Hardware
"Hardware can totally change the look of a kitchen," says Linda. Ceramic knobs, for example, would be too traditional, and half-moon bin pulls have that country feel. So she chose long brushed nickel pulls to give the flat-panel cabinets a modern look. "I hung them horizontally just to mix things up."
A Casual and Formal Mash-Up
"Nobody wants a closed-off kitchen where you just announce, 'Dinner is served,'" says Linda. "Cooking is a social activity." She wanted the dining space, located right off the kitchen, to be elegant enough for grownup dinners but laid-back enough for family breakfasts. Cushy upholstered ikat chairs and wooden end chairs pull up to a long harvest table.