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What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

One of my favorite memories of Florence was the time Chris and I spent sitting outside a tiny bistro café, chatting, people watching, and sipping cappuccinos. It was so relaxing and romantic!

Since our existing kitchen already had an Old-World-European motif going on, I decided to take it and run with it. My goal was to adapt the same look and feel of that café into the workings of a functional kitchen. Here are the traditional and modern elements I married up to create a timeless space that we can enjoy for years to come:

Brass Hardware - Rather than changing the color of our cabinets, I sprung for some new hardware instead. Swapping in new knobs, handles, and pulls is an easy and affordable way to update cabinetry. Hardware is like jewelry for furniture, and you'd be surprised what a difference a tiny change can make! I opted for brass hardware, which develops a lovely patina over time and will beautifully compliment the cherry wood as it ages.

Pendant Lighting - Pendant lighting provides an industrial quality that is often present in classic bistros. My handsome Hicks pendant delivers a solid punch of masculinity in an otherwise elegant space.

Marble Backsplash - I've got a slightly unhealthy obsession with marble and have been searching for a practical way to incorporate it into our home. Marble is a highly porous stone and it stains easily, which makes it a high-maintenance choice for countertops. It also comes with a fancypants price tag, which made it no-go for tiling the bathroom. Our backsplash, on the other hand, only required a minimal amount of square footage. It was the perfect opportunity to pounce!

I went with a polished Carrara Bianco, which has a greyer base and more veining than Carrara Venato, which is a whiter stone with less veining. The cool marble gracefully harmonizes with the warmth of our cabinets and lends a rich gourmet feel to the room. Totally worth the splurge!

Gray walls - Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray is a deep, sophisticated gray with a hint of brown. Combined with a fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling, this new color sets the tone of a very fresh and cozy atmosphere.

I also have a bucket of chalkboard paint that I'll be using to create a chalkboard wall later on. I dare you to find a bistro without a chalkboard! Not only are they extremely useful, they are just so much fun.

Get a load of this spice drawer! This drawer was part of the original kitchen design, and I get a little giddy every time I pull it open.

Wine fridge. 'Nuff said.

The sink and faucet are staying put for now, until I find an ideal replacement. (I'm thinking farmhouse!) Still working on styling those glass cabinets...

This sunny spot on our window sill would make a great home for some kitchen herbs! Even though my two current victims include a lonely cactus and a basil plant, I hope to gradually expand. Maybe some cilantro for guacamole... or perhaps mint for mojitos?? :)

Black & White Floors - I did not touch our floors because they were already the shizz. Black and white octagon tiles are the quintessential example of pre-war aesthetic, and I love how their vintage New York vibe balances out the modern sheen of our stainless steel appliances.

And there you have it! A simple, yet powerful transformation. ("Befores" here) This room feels much more personal now, and it actually inspires me to step up my culinary game. And you know what? I am really, really glad I gave those cabinets a chance :) More later!

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Reader Comments (13)

i LOVE the marble tiles! drool! FEED ME IN YOUR KITCHEN! THANKSBYE!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

love it!!! when do we get to see that brick wall that u were laying down?

haha...is wonki allowed in this kitchen or does he need to back-up? =P

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterreba

WOW!!! this looks amazing. you somehow made the cherry wood work. =) Gotta have stoopeed wonki in there <3 man i love that little thing. and i vote Mint for them mo-gee-toes. ^^


May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEva

@kathy & Eva - Please come over and teach me how to cook yummy stuff!!
@reba - Wonki is allowed in the new kitchen :D Brick wall is ALMOST done - stay tuned! :)
@WoW - Wonka is always photobombing my pix! Okay Mo-gee-toes it is! >:D

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterJennifer

STUNNING!! Love everything about this. Great job, Jenn!!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Jenn I LOVE your kitchen!!! Can you please tell me where those utensil holders are from? They look really special. =)

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Lee

Omg this looks like something straight out of a magazine!!!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Wow you're right about how the cool marble balances the warm cabinets! Great touches and I can't wait to drink coffee at your cafe :D oh and that Hicks pendant is seriously cool.

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNina

@Ashley - Thanks babe! We need to put that wine fridge to good use! ;-)
@Linda - So funny, you're the second person who has asked about those! They are actually repurposed candle hurricanes that I found on sale for $3 each. At JCP, of all places! Glad they are working out so nicely :D
@Maggie - That is a huge compliment! Thank you :)
@Nina - Thanks!! We'll have to keep some soy milk in the fridge, just for you! <3

May 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterJennifer

You deserve a PhD in home decoration!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermm

Love the hicks pendant! Could you tell me what size it is?

I'm thinking of getting the same for my kitchen but I'm torn on what size to get.


June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

Hi Lizzie, thanks for stopping by! This is the large version of the Hicks pendant. I was torn between large and extra large, but went smaller since our ceiling is only about 8.5 feet high and I didn't want to snip off too much of that awesome chain. Hope that helps! :)

June 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterJennifer

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