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How to include wood in kitchen

26 days ago

This is our kitchen design. We are in the final phases and my husband is saying he doesn’t like the wood on the ends (it’s stained white oak). I want to do it because the island which is that same white oak will have quartz waterfall counter top and so the wood will be more minimal. I can’t change where the stove is because they already put in for venting and the tall cabinet to the left is a hidden pantry door that looks like a cabinet.

Comments (40)

  • 26 days ago

    Why do you have a floor to ceiling column of cabinets on the stove wall? It interrupts the flow of the countertop from frig to stove. This would drive me nuts when using this kitchen. I agree with jck910 that the thing to do is to eliminate the wallfall on the island. This is quite expensive, not consistent with Shaker front cabinets (usually done more with modern style) and is taking away from the warmth of wood you said you want. Unless the cabinets are actually flat-front but the rendering doesn't reflect that? I would not make the end of the perimeter cabinets wood, either. Just eliminate the waterfall so the wood of the island can shine.

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  • 26 days ago

    The tall cabinet is to make the hidden pantry work

  • 26 days ago

    I understand you may not be able to to change cabinet layout at this point , so it can be annoying to hear critiques. But yeah, that pantry cabinet in the middle of the counter run is not good. It make the blind corner counter very oppressive, and boxes you in at range way more than necessary for that size kitchen, especially since you’ve got another one blocking counter on the other side. . Could you possibly figure out different pantry storage? I store some food items in upper cabinets that aren’t “ pantry”, but are point- of use— cereal, snacks, bread for example.

    Are you sure this was not a design that is focused on cabinet “ symmetry “ and how it looks in a rendering, rather than functionality for your family?
  • PRO
    26 days ago

    Skip the silly waterfall and hidden pantry. Those are the hand painted Tuscan grape vines of the 20’s. You will look back in horror that you even considered them.

  • 26 days ago

    "to make the pantry work" what is the meaning of this? You have one pantry at the far end..and for the size of kitchen it should be enough if you ordered rollouts and set it up to meet your needs....eliminate the awkward pantry......order upper cabs and lower drawers and redo the sizing on that run between the corner and cooktop a little bit. As far as the husband's comments I would do the entire perimeter in the light stained oak...along w the island but you could do the island in white.

  • PRO
    26 days ago

    No waterfall counter in that kitchen . What is a hidden pantry ? I love true pullout pantries and for sure in a small spac elike yours IMO you should have done a double oven range and for sure not that silly cabinet sitting where the counter top should extend that cabinet makes no sense .I do not like 2 toned kitchens and for sure not done like that. It looks like you could not make up your mind at all. Do a oak island all the same counters everywhere and thats it for the 2 tones. All those base cabinets should be drawers if at all possible .A sink and cooktop directly across from each other bad design that is the busiest space in the kitchen .

  • 26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    Having tall cabinets interrupt counter space is just plain terrible design. It violates NKBA rules. Hidden pantries are always weird, because no one ever closes the doors. Like ever. Doors stay open, so it’s a waste of 7K.


    The island should be wood, with no waterfalls. And no wood anywhere else.

  • 26 days ago

    This will look odd when done. The pantry in the middle of the countertop run, the two tone cabinets and a waterfall island are not working. Please don’t move forward with this until you get a designer who can give you a better layout and work in some wood elements more cohesively.

    This is an expensive project and should be close to perfect before you buy a single item.

  • 26 days ago

    Unfortunately i agree with your husband. i would echo others and just do wood on the island and skip the waterfall. or do all wood! i have 8 year old painted cabs but with all the paint dings i am wishing i had done stained wood as it holds up better over time (especially with young kiddos!). i assume the pantry can’t move at this point so i would try to do a pocket door not cabinetry- that would be much less obtrusive. the extra cabs are just in the way - i don’t understand the hidden pantry fad but if you are going to do it seems like it should be in a wall of cabinets not sticking out on its own.

  • 26 days ago

    I’m curious about the multiple comments saying skip the waterfall on the island…. Are waterfall counters on islands passé?

  • 26 days ago

    Add a wood cover over an insert exhaust fan over the cooker.

  • 26 days ago

    Your cabinet seller is no kitchen designer.This is a really bad design as a whole. Not just the glaring mistakes of the hidden pantry and waterfall. Those are just the 2 biggest mistakes.

  • PRO
    26 days ago

    Where is the flat on paper, 2 dimensional cabinetry and appliance plan for this plan that should be fixed asap?

    No water fall and the tall hidden whatever needs to GO. As in Ta Ta.

  • 26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    " No water fall and the tall hidden whatever needs to GO "

    100% and I really no nothing about kitchen design. The wood needs to go away on the cabinet run as well, either all wood or all painted, not mixed in that manner. They just do not belong and throw off the entire kitchen.

  • 26 days ago

    I'm with your husband. Do white cabinets and a wood lsland or wood cabinets and a white island. Don't mix and match the cabinet finishes. It looks super choppy in your kitchen.


    Waterfall islands can look really clunky in an average sized kitchen. They are good for huge spaces. Having three different vertical surface finishes is bonkers in your square footage.


    I too am so sad to see such poorly laid out cabinetry butchering up your counterspace. Too much trendy, not enough good design happening here. Trends come and go but adequate storage and flowing counter space never goes out of style.

  • 26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    Is it too late to put the pantry next to the refrigerator? That would improve the flow of the kitchen.

    About the wood, I agree with most here, instead of wood on the outer cabinets, use it on the island and go without the waterfall counter.

    Another thought not mentioned yet, what if the island counter is wood? A beautiful contrast with the white.

  • 26 days ago

    Allie - a lot of comments and input so far. Can you provide feedback or responses?

  • PRO
    26 days ago

    I'm in the camp of not having wood doors on the end cabinets. Would look better IMO to have them match the rest of the cabinetry.

  • 25 days ago

    These photos are the type of kitchens that can looks good with a waterfall counter ... modern and minimalist. The average suburban house usually isn't the best place for it.

    Finished projects · More Info


    Modern Perfection · More Info


  • PRO
    25 days ago

    There is a lot of missed opportunity here to say NO to everything faddy and the kitchen sink ideas. You need an actual Kitchen Designer. STOP and hire a Kitchen Designer. One who tells you the same truth that strangers on the internet tell you. No, "sure, we can do that". Yes, should not ever be the answer when it's a bad idea.

  • 25 days ago

    @chloe00s "Are waterfall counters on islands passé?" We've seen many posts on the forum from folks who are unhappy with their waterfall islands, many because veins don't line up or the mitered edges don't look good. A really good fabricator is key.


    Some might consider waterfall islands a trend on its way out, but as chispa points out they can look nice (in the right setting.)

  • 25 days ago

    chispa and chicagoans - Thanks for the pics and comments! Good advice !!

  • PRO
    25 days ago

    Oh dear... I actually don't mind the tall pieces being the white oak, but only if you expose that island. I am also not a fan of the waterfall for all the reasons mentioned above. Does it look cool? yes ; Is it interesting? Yes; Does it fit your kitchen and design? No. If you like that closed in look on the side of the seating overhang, then do it with a cabinet column


    Is there a way to access that pantry area from the other side? I like a hidden pantry but it must be at the end of a run. It is also usually the size of a small room. I can't really tell how big yours is. You have great length of countertop that is now really interrupted. If you keep it then I would think about removing your cabinet pantry and making that the wall ovens and slide your ref to the end. This will open up that second counter area.

    A few other things ( it could just be the angle of the pictures ) - how big are the walkways? It looks tight by the ref and wall oven ( should be 44-48" in front of wall ovens ) . The island shows 5 seats. The means that the seat area needs to be bare minimum 120" - then add in the 1 1/2" of overhang on each end and you need 123" top. You may wind up with a seam in that top. Have you had a chance to look into that?

    Hopefully no one has hurt your feelings too much. It is just a shame to see someone steered in the wrong direction.

    Good luck and keep us posted

  • PRO
    25 days ago

    Please just post the 2 d plan?

  • 25 days ago

    We have decided to forgo the waterfall and do similar to what you have posted, Debbi. We are still leaning towards having the wood on the end as well as I found this example and do like it. The island is 117” and I only intend to put 4 chairs unlike the rendering. I am going to ask if the hidden pantry can be moved over into the corner more to be at the end of the run but the pantry is already there and behind it and I want a hidden pantry (no matter what other peoples opinions on it may be). They said that was the only place the pantry could go unfortunately as I would preferred it to the right of where the range is. They informed me yesterday they already put duct work in for where the range is though (which I didn’t realize) so now I can move that down which is too bad because I would prefer if it was even on either side and if we moved the hidden pantry door down it won’t be symmetrical.

  • PRO
    25 days ago

    They may have put the duct in but there still maybe a possibility of moving it. Just ask. Even if there is a cost - in the long run you may be happier and the additional expense won't matter.

    I really like you inspo pic above which is why I don't mind the 2 end pieces being stained wood.

    It would be nice if you could reconfigure to that layout.

  • 25 days ago

    Anything can be done. It will require more time and money, but probably well worth it when you will be using the kitchen for many years. Now is the time to make changes and not be stuck with a poor layout for the next 10 or 20 years.

  • 25 days ago

    The newest inspo pic of wood on the ends makes it look to me like you found lots of different cabinets on sale and jammed them together into the same kitchen. With just one or the other it seems fine, but with both on two ends it just seems really off.

  • 25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    Here is what you’ve been asked to provide in Jan’s comment:


    The above was a completely revised layout for a user here on Houzz. She posted two options, and asked for input re: which one to select. The answer was neither.

    Jan provided her with a much better layout in her very first post - unfortunately for Jan, this thread continued for MANY, MANY, MANY months (I’m not sure exactly how many months - but it was definitely over a year - there are around 550 comments!!!)



    While three dimensional mockups are helpful for a homeowner to visualize their new kitchen, the two dimensional ones help others tweak (or completely redo) a kitchen layout.

    The OP received a ton of help from Jan (along with rebunky and Rabbitt Design). That help was possible because OP provided the requested 2d plans.

    FYI - the OP in that thread also wanted to incorporate some white oak in her kitchen - same as you do. Her island was white oak also (no waterfall).

    The two oak + one white countertop cabinets are NOT 24” deep (= they don’t block the countertop run - the oak ones are only 15” deep).



    Side note - the nice computer generated wall doesn’t accurately depict Jan’s hand drawn plan bc the white oak countertop cabinets should be one door - not stacked cabinets - looks a lot better with one door.

    So, white oak can be mixed in with white perimeter upper and lowers - if it’s incorporated in a way that makes sense (looks intentional - and is thoughtfully placed).


    White uppers/stained lowers/stained island:



    Another one with white uppers/stained lowers/stained island (actually two stained islands):



    White uppers/stained lowers/white island:



    Another one with white island (white uppers + stained lowers):




    Here is one with white uppers/stained lowers + white island with waterfall - notice that the doors drawer fronts are more modern - slim/skinny/micro shaker - probably 3/4” rails/stiles (although inset doors/drawers are more traditional):



    Another kitchen w/ micro shaker style doors/drawer fronts + stained lowers + white uppers:





    Stained white oak for all cabinets (I know that you’re not asking about doing all stained wood - but this is so beautiful w/ the marble, I had to include multiple photos 😂):



    Same kitchen - it has a lot of light (+ stunning marble):



  • 25 days ago

    Here is the other plan I have but it is from the first draft the cabinet supplier made so the island isn’t accurate and it doesn’t include the added on 30” cabinet on the right side

  • PRO
    25 days ago

    This is not what you want to hear since you love the hidden pantry but it just doesn’t work. Put the door to the pantry (an actual door) between the left side and the right making a broken L. Much more efficient not having a dead corner.

  • 25 days ago

    Maybe I am crazy but I'm pretty sure that the OP Allie already had a long thread a while back about the layout, with a lot of discussion of the hidden pantry/tall cabinetry door.

    Hallett's is a good solution!

  • 25 days ago

    I love Hallett's solution. An actual door. Gosh maybe a french door with mirrors. I love that you want to incorporate wood into your kitchen. The cold white sterile serious kitchens of the past do need to be warmed up with some soft nature. Going all wood cabients could be a sweet solution. Make the cost effective changes now so you can really enjoy the space later.



  • 22 days ago

    I would introduce the stained white oak in one more place, the back of the island. That would balance the look.

  • 21 days ago

    "They said that was the only place the pantry could go unfortunately as I would preferred it to the right of where the range is."


    Sometimes, being stuck on One desire, can poison the entire issue. I know you don't want to hear this, but placing your desired pantry where you now have it, spoils the entire design.


    If your pantry could be the tall cab to the right of the range, that would overwhelmingly improve this design. It's also better placement for a door that gets opened. As is, if your pantry could be placed where the ovens are.

    You didn't say *why* "they" said that is the *only* place for pantry. This indicates a forced decision, which is not where you want to be.


    Why put the ovens on the outside of the refrigerator? The placement of frig and ovens side by side is quite awkward. Ideally ovens ought be to the right of the range. At the very least, opt for counter-depth frig.


    What also bothers me about this design is the sink location. Right where folks are seated, is where you want the dirty-dishes piled up? In your kitchen size, the island top should be reserved for food prep and accoomodating those seated.





  • 21 days ago

    Hidden pantry doesn't work regardless of the finish.

  • 21 days ago

    Looks like a very tight squeeze between your refrigerator the oven and the end of the island. When you open those appliance doors you don’t have any real space.

  • 21 days ago

    It’s too much white in my opinion…I would do all the lowers in the wood and all ceiling to floor cabinets in the wood also. If you’re set on the colors and layout, your hood could also be the wood to balance it out??

  • 21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    No need for more wood with the wood floors, as all the cabinets should be the same color - no wonder your husband does not like the idea of mixing! Add color on the walls between upper and lower cabinets - varnished wood or tile or wall paper or paint a solid color - use same color with towels. You need to find a place to add a towel rack like the vintage ones with 3 sticks on hinges sticking out of one bracket. Since you are re-doing all, be sure the new cabinets are solid wood or plywood and not fiberboard (wood fibers with a lot of glue w. formaldehyde off gassing). I used antique cabinets to avoid cheap new ones (and avoiding spending a fortune on new solid-wood), and spent less than $5k on the entire kitchen with some of the cabinets being custom made of maple plywood. And not having drainboards around the sink is crazy, but most new kitchens do not include them and water gets all over the counter tops. Large old antique cast iron sinks with drainboards on both sides are nice when refinished. And no need for a range hood - they just make noise and are useless taking up space - Best to not have something to bump your forehead when cooking and a good place to add a hanging pot rack.

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