You can have too many cooks in the kitchen, but it turns out you can never have too many designers. For over a year now, Emily Henderson's been inviting readers into the mountain home she's been renovating from top to bottom, letting them weigh in on—and even help her make—every design decision in the process. It sounds like the recipe for disaster, but Emily insists the process has only made her home that much better—especially when it comes to the kitchen.
The room has gone through so many iterations that even Emily's most diehard fans may be surprised to see the final result (hi, were you expecting beechwood?)—but that's half the thrill of this project. As people weighed in with fresh ideas—and Emily's design team carefully measured, vetted, and tested their options, down to sizing the silverware drawer to perfectly fit the butter knives—the kitchen grew sleeker, cooler, and more efficient than anything one person could've dreamed up.
"I joke that I feel like the father of the bride finally giving her daughter away to the love of her life after four mediocre ‘almosts,’" she said, referring to all of the cabinet options she considered before finding The One. They considered cabinet fronts with varying-sized grooves in both off-white and a greenish-gray, rough-sawn and stained wood plank ones, you name it. Nothing seemed to fit that Goldilocks degree of warm and inviting yet not too busy or rustic, Scandinavian but not full-tilt hygge—until the team found beechwood from Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber. It was bright and modern without falling into all-white-kitchen boringness.
"I felt so relieved—overwhelmed with happiness and just so proud," Emily said. "It’s truly stunning."
The cabinets may take up the most visual real estate, but that's far from the only major decision made. In fact, Emily's readers actually had the biggest influence on her kitchen's layout. They helped her decide to move the Viking dishwasher from the left of the sink to the right, where it'd be closer to the drawers where she'd be storing everything, making loading and unloading a breeze.
Readers also convinced her to go for Cambria quartz countertops instead of marble. "[It] was very much pushed by everybody’s insistence that for a modern house—one that should be a second home—should be as low maintenance as possible," Emily said. She wound up loving how clean the white matte counters look every day.
Emily's team added a little sparkle with a polished brass Kohler faucet, providing a gleaming contrast to the matte black light fixtures, drawer handles, and pulls. "It just feels so simple and yet so warm," Emily explained. "It's full of texture and character, without a lot of different finishes."
That's the thing about this space—it doesn't have to shout to get your attention. And clearly, all the attention it's gotten so far has paid off, big time.
You can follow the entire Mountain Fixer Upper saga (including before/after pics of the kitchen!) at StyleByEmilyHenderson.com.
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