Fabulous Kitchen Design; with Black Cabinets

Fabulous Kitchen Design Advice;  
And Beautiful Black Cabinets By Timber and Lace

Let me introduce myself.  I am Marci and I have recently entered the blogging world with Timber and Lace

In October my husband and I and our three kids moved into the house we built on five acres of land just minutes outside of our hometown.  We were our very own contractor, designer, and tradesman (for a lot but not all of the work), and completed the construction in 7 months.  After showing some photos of my kitchen, Cassity asked if I would share the details on how I designed it.  I was thrilled she asked.  Who doesn’t enjoy sharing the details of their successes.  And yes, I consider my kitchen in every aspect a success.  So thank you Cassity for this opportunity.

A large part of the kitchen design for us started back at the house planning stage.  We found a footprint that we liked the general layout of but needed to tweak to our specifications.  The house was well over 3000 sq ft on the main floor and we were hoping to keep our house under 2500 sq ft.
My goal was to create the look of a custom kitchen without the custom price.  I wanted to be able to work in the kitchen but still be involved with guests when entertaining.  Our home has many straight lines and I wanted to make the kitchen fit into the contemporary feel of the house but also comfortable and friendly.  The first step was curving the island rather than the sharp edges the footprint suggested to soften the look.  We all know there is nothing like a round table for great conversation so we mimicked that for our island. 
I then scoured magazines and the internet and looked through thousands of kitchens and from these photos I came up with a list.
1.  Things that made a kitchen look custom to me:
-concealed fridge with coordinating cabinet panels
-built-in appliances
-crown moldings
-cabinet lighting
-staggering cabinet heights and depths
2. Things on my wish list:
-I have always wanted a double wall oven for the entertaining I like to do
-I hate feeling closed in and crowded when I am cooking over the stove
-I am drawn to the richness of dark cabinets ( I found many kitchens I really liked in various colors but the ones that were most striking to me were the dark cabinets). 
We decided that the concealed fridge with co-ordinating panels was out of our budget but thought maybe we could give a regular fridge a more built-in feel with a little tweaking.
No offense if this is what your kitchen looks like but this is the look we were trying to avoid.  Notice how the fridge sticks out past the lower cabinets and even though the cabinet above the fridge is brought forward, it does not sit flush with the fridge.  To achieve the built in look with a regular fridge we wanted the fridge to sit flush with both the upper and base cabinets.
We selected our appliances before proceeding with the design of our kitchen so that we could give everything a ‘custom’ fit.

I then took the dimensions off our blueprint and started working on the lay-out.  I started with the back wall as I knew this is what the whole kitchen centered on and would essentially be the feature wall.  My drawings are not completely to scale but enough to get the general dimensions.  I then researched online what standard cabinet sizes are so that I could piece together my cabinets.

Base Cabinets are a standard 24″ deep and 34 1/2″ high.  This allows for a typical 4 1/2″ toe kick and allows up to 1 1/2″ counter top for a finished counter height of 36″.  The width of stock cabinets go up in increments of 3″ (9″,12″,15″ up to 36″)  Standard drawer heights are 6″, 9″ and 12″.

Upper Cabinets are a standard 12″ deep and 30″, 36″, or 42″ tall.  Stacked uppers also go up in increments of 3″ from 12″ up to 27″

The standard height between the base cabinet (including the counter top) and the upper cabinets is 18″.

Therefore I already had a few dimensions nailed down.  I wanted to go all the way to the ceiling with the cabinets.  My ceiling heights are 9 ft or 108″.  Minus 36″ for base cabinets plus counter leaves 72″.  Plus 18″ for spacing leaves 54″ for upper cabinets.  I decided I want 12″ stacked uppers at the very top and at least a 3″ crown molding.  That leaves me with 39″.  Which limits me to the 36″ upper cabinet height.  What to do with the extra 3″?  I added a trim piece between the upper cabinets and the stacked uppers so that the doors would not rub while opening and closing.  This took 3/4″.  I also allowed for a little more room between the base cabinets and upper cabinets (I am tall so height was not an issue for me) and then had about 1″ breathing room for a base plate for the crown to be nailed to in case the ceiling was not 100% level.

That determined my heights for this wall.  Now for the widths.  I had selected a 36″ gas cook top and I wanted it centered on this wall so that gave me 36″ pot drawers below both 12″ in height, with 6″ false drawer front to allow for electrical cords, and 4 1/2″ toe kick which gave me my 34 1/2.  One of my wishes was to not feel closed in while cooking on the stove so I added a 9″ pull out spice cupboard to each side of my cook top giving me a 54″ cooking space which I also matched the range hood to above.  To add a little dimension to this wall I bumped out the pot drawers and spice cabinets 3″ but did not actually make the cabinets deeper (cost savings).  This just left a 3″ void behind this area that the counter top covered.  Because of the angled wall joining this wall of cupboards I had to allow for 6″ on each side for the uppers and 12″ on each side on the base as dead space.  I opted out of corner cabinets. My wall was 126″ minus 24″ (12″ on each side dead space) minus 54″ cook top bump out left me with 48″  divided by 2 (one for each side of the cook top  gave me 24″ cabinets which is a standard.  I decided to stay with the 12″, 12″, and 6″ drawer combination.

Then for the uppers.  I kept the open feeling of the cook top and chose 54″ for my hood fan.  We opted to have a hood fan box built by the cabinet company but installed an inexpensive range hood inside. I then divided the 12″ stacked uppers by four so that I could have a symmetrical look.  This gave me 4 x 27″ widths and left a 3″ filler on each side.  (I was a little worried about this but you do not even notice it one bit).  I decided to put glass in the these stacked uppers along this wall and cabinet lighting to add a little detailing to my focus wall.  Then for my uppers I kept the same 27″ width.
I continued working on my two angled walls using the same method.  Determining the known dimensions and then subtracting to keeping everything within the standard cabinet dimensions.  I decided not to have glass in the stacked uppers on these walls to not take away from my ‘feature’ wall.
How did we get the fridge to sit flush with the cabinets?  The wall behind the fridge is also the wall to our pantry so my husband built a 2″x6″ wall rather than your standard 2″ x 4″ wall and then made a recess for the fridge which pushed the fridge back 3 1/2″  The depth dimensions of the fridge includes the handle.  We brought the upper cabinets out the full 24″ to match the counter depth, and had a fridge gable (the wood piece that runs the full length of the fridge) installed along its side to create a box around the fridge for the ‘built-in’ look.
Once I had my design drawn up it was just a matter of selecting species of wood, door profile, and color.  I have always loved the shaker style door so that was an easy choice for me but I decided to keep the drawers all slab with no profile to keep the look simple.  I had already decided I wanted a dark color.  I originally selected maple as my wood species but when we gathered quotes for our kitchen we found a supplier that did cherry (a more pronounced grain) for the same price of maple because of the volume they did in it. The grain in the cherry gives my doors a little more depth than I would have gotten with maple. 

Make sure you gather at least 3 quotes when planning a kitchen because there can be a HUGE difference in prices.

You can view more details of my counter top and back splash selections here.

I am not a professional but this is our third home where I have designed the kitchen.  I hope this information helps.  Feel free to visit me over at Timber and Lace and I would be happy to answer any questions or help you with any of your design dilemma’s.
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. I am remodeling our kitchen and needed help with sketches…just wanted to thank you so much for posting the ‘black cabinet’ sketches…
    thank you for sharing your ‘DIY bad self!!’
    all the best,
    And I will be checking in with your awesome blog….

  2. Love this post! Thank you for sharing. We are building a home and want a “custom kitchen” with factory cabinets to have all the extra features without the added expense, but I was at a loss of how to design it. I particularly love your flush refrigerator and bumped out stove. Absolutely stunning! Details on the island plan please 🙂

    1. Isn’t it lovely? This is a guest post from a couple of years ago, so I don’t have the specifics, but you could click over to the guest’s blog (linked at the top of the post) and ask there.