For the last eight months or so, Betsy and I have been slowly (SLOWLY) working on a fairly massive renovation for our downtown historic Denver home. I haven’t written much about it because, honestly, there hasn’t been much to write.

Did I mention that it’s going SLOWLY?

At some point I’ll probably share the plans of the full renovation and maybe even do a full blog post series on the project, but today the kitchen is on my mind. We have the opportunity to build a kitchen from scratch. We are adding onto our house and what is currently our kitchen will become a living room and the addition will be a large new kitchen.

As you might imagine, I’m pretty excited about the possibility of building a kitchen from scratch, but it’s a daunting project and one that we eventually hired a designer to help with.

One thing I began to realize though as we worked through the millions of options for a brand new kitchen, is that I have fairly simple tastes. (Which is good because we have a fairly simple budget!)

Sometimes I find myself having to check my expectations and remember what is actually important in my kitchen.

So I thought what better way to go through these then to write about it!

There is some basic stuff that obviously any new modern kitchen should have (fridge, sink, dishwasher, etc.), but I wanted to break out the five things that I’m prioritizing in my “dream” kitchen and five things that, for me, are lower on the list!

Most importantly though, if you have experience with kitchen remodels, please help. ALL ADVICE IS WELCOME IN THE COMMENTS!

Dream Kitchen Must-Haves

Five Things My Dream Kitchen Must Have

Good Work Flow – My kitchen is not a museum. It’s a construction site. It needs to have absolutely optimal workflow for me to be happy there. That means the range, the sink, and the fridge all need to be within reach. This is the kind of thing that, believe it or not, some architects and designers don’t think about. You have to keep bringing it up to make sure it happens.

A Gas Range – This is personal preference, but after having a gas range for many years and then having both an electric range and an induction range at various points in my life, I’m going with gas since I have the choice.

Granted I have had one bad run-in with a gas grill over the last decade, but I still prefer them.

Sturdy Cabinets – Cabinets aren’t important for everybody but ours get banged into by kids and used a lot. I want sturdy ones that fit the space. We will be paying out the wazoo for this part of our kitchen and they won’t necessarily look fancier than a much cheaper version, but there’s nothing more annoying than living in a kitchen for a few years and having cabinets that are falling apart. (Spoiler: I think we are going with Avalon Cabinets – a local cabinet company!)

Proper Storage for Equipment – This again seems like a no brainer, but you have to think about it on the front end. Where are pots going? Where are knives going? Where are small appliances? Right now everything in my kitchen is shoved in drawers and wherever it fits. There must be a better way!

Work-Ready Counters and Island – To continue the theme, I want counters and an island that are work ready. Easy to clean, can take heat, and don’t chip or discolor. We are most likely going with quartz because it seems to check all the boxes.

Five Things I Don’t Need in My Dream Kitchen

I wouldn’t say that any of the things on my list are particularly flashy. That’s not to say that our new kitchen won’t be beautiful. I think it will be very beautiful, but in the eternal trade-off of works well or looks pretty, I’ll always take the works well.

After analyzing SO many kitchen options, here are five things that I’m passing on in our new kitchen.

A Walk-in Pantry – This one is controversial. We could’ve fit a walk-in pantry in our new space, but it would’ve meant sacrificing a few other things. At the end of the day we live in a house in the city. Space is at a premium and it didn’t make the list. We did find a way to rework an area of our basement for a storage pantry, so we have some extra storage outside of the kitchen.

Smart Appliances – I didn’t realize the complete takeover of smart appliances until I went through the appliance showroom. Call me old, but I don’t need a TV in my fridge (or want one) and I don’t need my stove connected to the internet. These things will just break and be one more thing to fix. Hard pass from me!

A Pot Filler or Various Extra Water Sources – This one is one of those would-be-nice features, but when you think about the extra plumbing involved it’s just extra in my opinion. Most restaurants don’t have instant hot water or a dedicated pot filler. They have a sink. That’s all you need.

Farmhouse Sink – Speaking of sinks, farmhouse sinks are the rage! I get it. They look very pretty. But they are expensive and I’m not sure that they are any more functional than a standard sink. This one might just come down to style and it’s something we passed on.

All White Everything – If you look at kitchens in magazines or in showrooms, you might think that they actually don’t make non-white colors for kitchens! I didn’t realize this until we started researching but all that white also equates to LOTS OF GREEN. If you want white cabinets and countertops, it’s going to be expensive. Our kitchen will have colors in it. SHOCK!

Okay. Your turn!

Have you done a kitchen remodel? Any advice? Leave a comment!