Detailing the Design: Our Kitchen

In my Round Top post, I showed a few of my favorite antique & vintage finds that we have in our kitchen. But my truly favorite antique we have in our kitchen actually inspired the design of the whole space: our sink!

Our sink was original to my Moms house that I grew up in, but it was never functional and sat decoratively in a dish room off the kitchen. When my mom renovated our kitchen when I was in high school they removed the sink- and I begged her to save it for me to use one day. Sometime over the next decade my mom must have figured I didn’t want it anymore, and sold it to an architectural salvage yard here in Houston. Well as soon as we bought our house I called her up to ask if I could have it… oops! Luckily it was still at the salvage yard. Unluckily, I had to buy it back. 

Once the sink was safely back in my possession, we began planning the kitchen renovation around it, which provided us with quite a few challenges. The first functionality issues were to be expected- we had to retrofit the drains to be able to accommodate a disposal, and find a wall mounted faucet that could swivel to direct water around the large basins, but that would work with the shallow bowl. Once we figured those issues out, and knew the sink would actually work, we had to design around it which was harder than I expected. 

I wrote a little bit about our renovation a few months ago– as a reminder this was the shot that ran in House Beautiful:

Image by Trevor Tondro for House Beautiful

And the before/after of that side of the kitchen. 

The issue I struggled with in our kitchen was how to design a kitchen around our industrial antique sink, with the more delicate and refined style throughout the rest of the house. We couldn’t go too rustic or it would seem out of place, and it couldn’t be too fancy or the sink wouldn’t make sense. 

I wanted to choose materials that would patina somewhat quickly to match the age of the sink, and I recalled this kitchen Kelly Wearstler designed using brass countertops. Unsealed, brass countertops would stain and show their age, and while brass has been trending for a few years now, it was an appropriate material to the style and age of think sink.

Our decisions on the walls and shelving were driven by the layout of the kitchen. We were keeping the kitchen within the existing footprint, which was spacious but not huge. A duel-range and hood would go between the two windows on the long wall, with our sink and double refrigerators facing each other on the two shorter walls. The island became longer and narrower, and we put in a larger front window to match the width of the sink.

The only space for upper storage was on either side of the sink, and next to the refrigerator, and we debated between cabinetry and open shelving. Once we began demo, and the upper cabinets came out, the space completely opened up- all of a sudden you really noticed the light from the windows! So, open shelving- check.

Applying marble to the walls served a double purpose- practically it made it easier to clean as we do a fair amount of cooking, and it’s much easier to clear off the shelves and really wipe everything down. It also made it feel more open not having a break between a backsplash and the wall- all while making the space feel a little fancier and more in line with the rest of the house. 

A pantry/office just off the kitchen which takes care of most of our storage needs, as well as an antique china cabinet opposite the stove for less chic service items (read plastic kids cups) and small cooking appliances which allowed us to squeeze all of our appliances in to the lower cabinetry. Since we entertain a lot, I didn’t want to sacrifice any function for form. We managed to fit in a full size dishwasher, as well as a smaller unit for glassware, two trashcans, a microwave, and ice machine all beautifully hidden in the lower cabinets. 

The only appliances we use daily stay out, integrated in our little breakfast station. The “coffee and chicory” is our bread box, and we store cookie cutters and other occasional items are stored in the grain jars at the top. 

When it came time to dress the windows I was initially stumped. I wanted something a little unexpected- maybe modern?- to create some interesting tension with all of the traditional finishes without adding distraction. Miles Redd’s deconstructed stripe from his Schumacher collection was just the thing.

I am including sources below, but let me know if you have any questions in the comments! xo

Images by Roger Davies for Bailey McCarthy

Source List:

Hood: Custom Made Stainless Steel cover painted Onyx by Benjamin Moore w/ riveted brass strips, hood insert is Wolf

Light fixtures: Urban Electric Company // Anson Ribbon | No: MA-4200 // Black finish, Regular size

Backsplash: Bianco Marble by Walker Zanger

Window treatments: Roman Shades in Miles Redd Deconstructed Stripe

Custom cabinetry by Windham Builders, painted Onyx Benjamin Moore, hardware Class Brass model 1832 in brass finish

Range and stove: 60” Viking Model #VDSC-6GQ

Refrigerator: Custom panel from 30” SubZero, millwork and paneling custom by Windham Builders

Sink and fixtures: Antique double farm sink, Faucet Horus Polished Unlacquered Brass Finish

16 thoughts on “Detailing the Design: Our Kitchen

  1. It’s just so lovely! We are redoing our kitchen soon and I’m intrigued by the brass counters. I’ve seen testing that show brass is super high in lead. I’m guessing this isn’t the case for your counter tops?!

  2. I’m curious about your switch from a La Cornue range in your last house (stalker status) to the Viking you use here. I’ve often wondered if the La Cornue’s are more for looks (they are surely beautiful) but avid cooks should stick with wolf or viking. Or did you just like the look of the stainless steel in this room? Thanks and love all the reveals of the new house you’ve been doing!

  3. I feel like we need to take a deep dive into the fact that your mother sold the sink; I mean she is THE mother of the greatest designer/business woman/blogger/jokester of our time. After all these years like her talented daughter wouldn’t want the sink? Although your mother cashed out and you ended up with the sink. Win. Win. I love your kitchen. I wish we had a 360 degree shot.

  4. The open shelving was custom by the people who did our countertops- it was a company out of Austin and the name escapes me now. I will report back if I find it!

  5. Hi Jennifer!
    The La Cornue is beautiful, but it was irritating that the oven spaces weren’t big enough for a lot of pans. Also, I missed having glass doors to check on cooking without having to open the oven/let out all the heat.

  6. perhaps a view from above the sink looking down into it and a pic of the antique cabinet and pantry

  7. Hi Bailey-
    Great post and love that you followed that sink and could finally use it- nice story behind it!
    Just a suggestion that was touched on in the other conment: you have had the unique experience of gutting and redoing several kitchens for yourself. Therefore, you have lived with your choices and I’m sure have loved some things and regretted others. I’d love to see a post on what worked and what didn’t from a logistical standpoint- especially faucets, open shelving, layout and appliances. For instance, I too was wondering about the La Cornue/Viking/Wolf debate. I think everyone aspires for a La Cornue, so it was interesting to see you do something else. Made me realize that you have a lot to offer in terms of experience and then living with the actual products and decisions. I think people would love to hear your perspective on overall kitchen design and decisions. Just a (long!) thought! Thanks again for sharing!

  8. Bailey, Just wanted to say I’m so happy you are blogging again! Loving all the sneak peeks of your home and this kitchen is beautiful. I agree with Meredith and would love to know your thoughts about do’s/don’ts of kitchen remodels – what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Thanks!

  9. Meredith & Whitney- I will definitely work on a kitchen remodel guide based on our past efforts. Thanks for the great suggestion! xo

  10. So beautiful! Would you mind sharing the source for those amazing pink bowls/mugs/cake stand? Love!!

  11. Hi Erica- The bowls/mugs are my Mud Australia, and I can’t remember the cake stand source off the top of my head but I think they carry it as Neimans and other big registry places. xo

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