Seven Favorite Kitchen Features

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I would LOVE to paint my kitchen cabinetry and make some other minor changes in there.  But, my husband (like most men I know) loves to save money the natural maple wood look (sad face here).  So, we continue to live with the current state of affairs.  

But, recently, I decided to focus on the things I do love about my kitchen.  And realized, there are quite a few!  Also, many of the things I love are not expensive items; rather, they're easy (weekend project) fixes that could truly change how you function in your kitchen.

First, here are a few pictures of our current kitchen.

My kitchen is unusual in that there are no windows in the space.  It's really in the center of our home and is open to our den/family room on one side, our dining on the other and our breakfast on yet another.  The wall of cabinets is my only wall in the space.  

Here is a view looking into our breakfast room.

Here is a view looking into our family room (on the right where Lottie is hanging out) and our dining room (straight ahead).  BTW, our dog thinks I'm totally crazy snapping pictures of the kitchen. 

OK, so here's my list of things to be grateful for in my current kitchen.

Counter tops

A couple of years ago, we changed out our solid surface white (dingy white) counter tops for honed absolute granite.  I have loved having them in our kitchen.  They have the look of slate without the maintenance.  I actually increased the size of the island, so we had to add the extra support to the right side (notice I have NOT stained it to match the rest of the maple wood - I girl can hope).  I cook a ton in this kitchen, and they're very durable.  They do not show stains or scratches at all.  Really, could not be happier with them.

Garbage Pull Out
This was a small change, but prior to having this built in, there was no real home for our garbage can.  So, I found a sleek (expensive) garbage can and it lived at the end of my island.  Well, at some point, a very honest friend told me my garbage can was the first thing she noticed about my kitchen. (YUCK!).  So, that spurred me on to find this.

It took my handyman about an hour to install and now you can not even tell it's there. I picked a cabinet between my sink and chopping block so it makes for easy cleanup.  Love it!

Here is a similar one to mine that I found on line.  The key is to find one that mounts to the bottom of the cabinet (as opposed to the sides) to prevent having to find an exact size match to the cabinet you're retro-fitting.


The Knife Strip

My kitchen is very deceiving.  Since it is open to other rooms, people walk in and say, "You're kitchen is huge!"  But, if you really look at the space, I don't have a ton of cabinetry.  In fact, I have only six drawers in the entire space.  I also don't have a lot of counter space, so this knife strip was the perfect solution for storing my knives.  I also keep a pair of utility scissors on the end of the strip for easy access by my children.  They know exactly where to look if they need help opening something.

Here is an on line option I found that's similar to mine.

The Sweep Vacuum

This feature was in the house when we moved in, and it's so convenient.  Never would I choose to put in a central vacuum system, if I were building a home.  But this little feature I might consider including.

 There is a small "slot" at floor level on the end of my island that you operate by pushing a lever with your foot.  This opens the slot and the vacuum begins.   You simply sweep the dirt, crumbs, etc into the slot.  This is part of the central vacuum system which is housed in our garage and periodically you do have to change out the filter bags in the system (just as you would with a regular vacuum).  It makes clean up quick and easy after preparing a meal or eating a snack.

The Refrigerator

We have a subzero refrigerator that was here when we moved in.  Many people have told me they don't like this style of frig since it is very shallow.  But that is the exact feature that I like about it.  It is wider than a standard frig, but very shallow.  I love being able to see everything in there when I open the door.  No more finding leftovers weeks later that got shoved to the back!

My Griddle

We have a Jenna Air cook top with four burners and a side bar for different attachments.  When we moved in, there was a grill attachment.  I used it one time and realized that the clean up of that thing was not worth it.  So, it sat useless for three years.  Then I happened upon the owner's manual for the cook top which showed tons of different attachments, including a griddle.  I ordered it (I think it was $89) and I use it at least three times a week.  It makes the best pancakes and french toast (you can make six at a time)!  Also, quick clean up.  If you don't have options for attachments to your stove top, consider a griddle pan like the one below (you can stick it in the dishwasher when you finish).

Wooden Chopping Block

I don't think I could live without a chopping block.  I only use this wooden one for vegetable prep (I have a smaller dishwasher safe one that I use for meat) and other cooked items.  I like to put out cheese and crackers (for a pre-dinner nibble) on it when we have friends over for dinner.

So, that's my list of seven.  I would love to hear about your favorites kitchen features! Have a great weekend. M.


  1. Your knife strip, that vacuum thingie...dying over these features...don't have them, but very much want them...amazing job on your kitchen! wow!

  2. Dang girl...look at you being all thankful about what you have rather than what you don't. I need to take a lesson from you. Love that vacuum thing also! Maybe you could get your husband to let you paint the island...tradeoff.....:)

  3. My favorite thing is your kitchen is the vacuum thing. I cook nearly every night and we have three dogs, 2 kids and 1 husband. Get the picture?

  4. Wow so interesting about the sweep vacuum..see you learn something new every day I love the honed granite, didn;t know they honed granite, thought it was just marble. Very pretty. You have a eautiful kitchen....the scale is wonderful and the colors so rich and warm. It would fit right in with my post today "six degrees of separation from a white kitchen" Your kitchen underscores my point so well!
    Please visit

    Enjoy your weekend!

  5. That sweep vacuum is so cool! I love your kitchen. It's beautiful. I love it! You should also be grateful you don't have a tiny rental kitchen, like me...blah. :) At least I get to have fun with my dining room decorating - check out my latest tablescape, if you get a
    Thanks for the comment yesterday! I did end up getting the gold flatware. :)

  6. I would kill for a kitchen sweep- sop convenient. I think your kitchen is beautiful and am highly envious of your fridge- gorgeous!

  7. Beautiful Kitchen, I can agree about my kitchen, I love it but I would love to stain my cabinets darker. My next home I want the floor level vacuum cleaner.
    Please visit me

  8. I loved this -- thank you for the "best of" tour! I can't believe that vacuum slot -- how brilliant. My husband also has a passion for the wood grain at our cabin, it is a non-starter I realize I must just get over....

    Great post, this is why I love the blogging world. ebh

  9. your kitchen is awesome. and the slot on the grond for vacuuming - genius!! also - i have that issue with my trash now being so yuck looking - I was looking for a silver one, since I cant hide mine in a cabinet I gotta think of something!

  10. Thank you for all the sweet comments about my kitchen! My intent was not to beg for compliments, but it really does help to see it through the eyes of other people. And the pep talk will get me through a few more months of the maple monster. With that said, I am still working on my hubby. Stayed tuned . . . ;) M.


Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.