Reader Space: A Domestically Dreamy Kitchen

I have been wanting to update our kitchen for years now, so I am always looking for inspiration.  And you readers always know when to come through for me!

Ashley, the super smart and creative talent behind the blog Domestic Imperfection,  emailed me and shared her divine and dreamy kitchen.  I oooohed and ahhhhed and showed my hubby and shamelessly gazed some more.  I have a feeling y'all will adore it equally as much as I do, so I asked her to stop by and tell us a little more about her beautiful space!

What is the main function of the space?

"The space is a kitchen and dining room, so it's main purpose centers around food. That's the simple answer. Really though, the space is where everything happens. The kitchen is where people always gather whether it's just our family or a large's where everyone wants to be. The eat-in dining room is where we sit around and talk long after the meal is over. It's where my kids color and practice writing their letters. The farmhouse table is great for converting into a cave and running laps around. It's also where paperwork stacks up and a keep all my daily list and schedules. Basically, if there was a bed and a shower in our kitchen we would never leave.

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Superstar? Not quite. I know this is an organizing blog, but really...I'm not naturally an organized person. I've gotten better at it though since my husband is organized and I drive him nuts with my creative mind chaos. My best tip with organizing is to be practical. Organize in a way that makes sense for how you ACTUALLY live, not how you WANT to live. I've tried the latter many times and it never lasts because it's just not how my brain works."

What items did you find were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"For my kitchen, simply adding more usable storage space helped a ton. The pantry is the one part of this space where I had to make a huge change. I had always had pantries that were a hodge podge of stacked food madness, and I had to change the the way it functioned completely. Instead of trying to organize the bags and boxes I got rid of them completely and now transfer my food into clear sealed containers. It sounds like a painful extra step, but that is what made all the difference. I can see all my food, the containers never move, and nothing ever gets lost. Also, if I don't have a designated place for something in my pantry then I usually don't buy it, which also means we started eating healthier by default once the pantry was organized. It doesn't get better than that, right?"

What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"Everything. We obviously made the space more functional, but really...pretty was my goal. Functional + pretty is really my goal in everything I create. I stenciled the back of my pantry...a total time suck and not functional at all, I just wanted to do it. I wanted it to look pretty. My husband and I planked the walls in the kitchen and dining room, which adds zero functionality but totally changes the feel of the space. We also made a penny countertop. Functional? Well, yes actually. Unique? You betcha."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"Everything in the space was DIYed (except the new appliances, obviously). Adam and I didn't have an exact budget when we started, our goal was really just to completely transform the space for as little money as possible. The cabinets are cheap stock cabinets, but we painted them, raised the top ones, and added a floating shelf - all which was crazy cheap but makes a world of difference. The butcher block counters were the biggest expense, but still a budget move since we cut, installed, and sealed them ourselves. Probably my favorite part of the space is the screen door on the pantry. It adds so much character to the room and cost us a whole $18. Th whole renovation only cost us $1,600 ($3700 with appliances) but raised our homes value much more than that."

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"Mostly it just makes me smile. The kitchen was horrible when we bought our house and now it just makes me happy. It functions so much better (having working appliances really helps with that!) and is a place we like to be.The pantry really does keep itself organized and not having it be a disaster is incredibly nice. The command center keeps things more organized - not completely, because I'm still a scatterbrain at heart, but it's better. I use my chalkboard everyday for my to do lists and it's nice always having it in the same spot and out in the open (forcing me to acknowledge it). The best part is that we didn't break the bank to make the space our own. It would be much harder to enjoy the space if we were going to paying for it for years. Plus being on an extreme budget forces you to think outside the box and results in a space that reflects your personality.

Let's summarize some of the details IHeart most about this sweet kitchen space:

  • I had tears form reading Ashley's description of how they use the space.  She really gave new meaning to "hub of the home"
  • I couldn't agree more with her advice about organizing for YOU!  I think we all have tried things that have worked well for others, but fail to be awesome for ourselves.  Go for function first, and then make it pretty!
  • Did you see her budget?  I would have expected it to be triple her final number.  She really did a great job putting together a divine DIY space out of pennies! {Literally - check out her penny counter here}
  • Although she states she isn't naturally an organized person, she sure did a great job putting in some stellar storage.  Lovity love the knife rack, open shelving, command center, menu board, pretty pantry and clutter free counters!
  • That pantry!  So much functionality with the tiered storage, clear storage wall baskets, shelf baskets... oh my!  And a stenciled wall to boot?  This girl has got it goin' on!
  • Let's take a moment to turn our attention to the DIY command center!  So much to swoon over from keeping important papers and notices right out for the family to access, to the darling labeled baskets.
  • That reclaimed chalkboard?  Sigh... my heart is still racing...
  • I can't get over the character that was added by DIY'ing some hanging shelves.  They really add an architectural effect to the entire space, and open shelving means things are simple to take out, simple to put away!
  • Dark cabinets below means that every last speck of family dirt won't be seen and they will remain easy to clean.  {Yeah, I know it that I am a poet}.  And the white uppers make the space feel far more grand!
  • It makes her smile.  It makes me smile.  Hopefully it made you smile.  Cheers for smiles all around!

Ashley shared her entire before and after transformation {trust me, you will want to click over as it is quite shocking}, along with project links and oodles of details over on her blog here.

OK, time to wake up from the dream and leave Ashley a little lovin'.  What was your favorite moment from today's story?

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

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