A Little Advice Please

Okay..this house thing will probably drive me crazy…I just can’t decided what I want.  I know I have repeated told you that I am notorious for not being able to make decisions.  We are working on the kitchen design with cabinets and all.  Everyone keeps telling me that I want the modern conveniences of wonderfully closing drawers and an islands..but do I??

Coming up on an auction is this stove.

It’s one of those reproductions that is actually electric.  I have always been attached to these.  I love the antique look but is it fake looking??

On another auction, they have a butcher block….Hubby and I both have always loved these.

But do I want that for an island??  It is 30″ x 40″.  With the drawing the cabinet maker has, we have something like a 7′ long island.  I attached a pdf of the kitchen sketch…Kramer Roger Jo-Kitchen.  If you look at the kitchen drawing there is a big step in pantry in the corner.  You can’t see it in the drawing but across the room on the opposite side of the stove is a laundry room with a sliding door.  On one side of that is extra storage too…the crock pot and such can go there.

Everyone says island-island.  Hubby and I like having a table in the kitchen…we like the farm house feel.  Everyone says you’ll regret loosing all the cupboards and counter space without an island.

I just don’t know what to do..what to think.  I like the idea of the house being more time period..but others say not in the kitchen.

Advice anyone??  Please??

48 thoughts on “A Little Advice Please”

  1. Lynda from Chicago

    The best advice, do what makes you happy. You will be living there. You like the country look and feel that is all that is important.

  2. I currently have a modern kitchen with a long built in island, and would LOVE to tear it out and have the butcher block one instead. I also LOVE the farmhouse look and would actually prefer to have old freestanding antique cabinets in my kitchen rather than built in cupboards. I say definitely go with your heart!!!

  3. If you plan on staying in the house for many years, then do what YOU want. IF you and Roger like the antique/old style then go with it. Get what you want in your kitchen. I have never regretted doing my kitchen MY way as it is one of the rooms I spend a great deal of time in. Counter tops (if not granite) can be changed rather inexpensively in the future. An Island can be added at any time… especially if you go with a really basic cabinet style. Just keep some extra stain on hand to match.

  4. Jo, I think you have answered your own question “Hubby and I like having a table in the kitchen”. It doesn’t matter what other people say, it’s your kitchen, and you have to live with it when it’s done – not them. I think you should ask for a revised kitchen sketch, with a table instead of an island. We recently had a new kitchen built and we asked for an island, but the man from the kitchen shop said he didn’t think there was room, we asked him to add one anyway, and that was the design we went with, it was perfect for us and that’s all that really matters in the end. I love the stove too, it may be a reproduction but it is also practical.

  5. Jo – get the butcher block for sure. You can always shorten the island by that much and pop it on the end (that is what I have at the end of my island in front of the stove – perfect height for me to cut and prep things as I am short!) Does the current amount of storage and space for prep without the island match what you are used to? If so – go with the farm house feel and get the stove. You’ll find a spot for the butcher block. You can always do cabinets to go with the feel of the stove. If you need the extra space – go for the island. It is also a great place to do a buffet when having lots of people over for holidays. Your kitchen and your call. Good luck.

  6. Yes, go with your heart. There may be cabinets that work for you (with some conveniences). Think also about how you use a kitchen, and that you are hoping for grandchildren (who will visit, so you need to have safety features). I’m sure you can come up with a plan that works for YOU. Those who say “you have to do it my way” won’t be working in YOUR kitchen!! And Have FUN!! Don’t stress too much. You can always change something in a few years if it’s not working out for you.

  7. I’ll agree with so many others and say you should do your kitchen in the style that you love. You’re the one who will be living there and working in that kitchen. So many people think about resale value, but the truth is that if you love a certain style so will someone else when the time comes to sell. If that time comes when you’re too old to care does it really matter?

  8. I agree with everyone — go with what you and your husband want — you have to live there. Having said that, I’m not sure about the stove. The biggest issue my mom had when buying a new stove/oven (I think she bought 2 during her life) was the “newer” ovens were too small. Mom finally got to where she would take her biggest cookie sheet with her to ‘prove’ to the sales staff she needed a larger stove. I don’t know if she ever took her turkey roasting pan – that was the other thing she needed to get in the oven. So all of this to ask if the oven is going to be big enough?

  9. Go with what YOU love. The stove and the butcher block are both wonderful. As for the island vs. table – which would you rather have in your kitchen, “stuff” or people? Thanks for sharing this house adventure, I’m so excited for you!

  10. I say go with what makes you happy! An island is certainly functional but as you say not particularly fitting with the time period of the house. I also feel that all kitchens look essentially the same these days. I really like the ideas you have and I think they will make for a beautiful, unique kitchen. I do like the pantry idea though, that would provide for a ton of storage without taking away from your country kitchen.

  11. I love both of cutting table I have one, not as big, that stove is adorable, just reading your blog, I say go for the old not the new, IMHO I think with that new kitchen your would always feel like a guest in your own home

  12. Since the kitchen is usually the gathering place of a family, I suggest a table, so you don’t have to carry the food and dishes very far. If you go with modern cabinets, I would suggest pull out drawers instead of shelves for under the counter storage, I have a set of each in the new house (2006) I’m living in, and I much prefer the drawers. With the pull out shelves, you have to have both doors fully opened or the shelving with scratch the doors. I highly recommend these pull outs, because as we age, It sometimes is harder to lean down and reach the back of shelves, esp. if they are as deep as the counters.Think of what is going to make life easier as you and hubby grow older. Laundry on main floor. With an older house it will be hard to make wheelchair accessible doors, but you may need those down the road. Consider the maintenance of everything you do to this house. Make is as easy as possible.

  13. I’m like everybody else…go with your heart. My last two homes had kitchen islands and I wished they didn’t! Since you will have storage in other areas, go with the farm table! You can move a table around to suit your needs, you can’t with an island! Love the butcher block!

  14. Hi! Just a quick comment, (we built 15 years ago and wanted the antiques to be ‘comfortable’ in our new environment) Love the butcher block! We have an antique maple candy counter for our ‘island’. Although the wood and stain are slightly different from our built-ins, it is wonderful (IMHO_lol). We also have an oak Hoosier for extra storage space. As for the stove, it kinda looks like a toy, I have seen antique/moderns that look more genuine. It is ‘cute’, I will bet you would also like practical along with the look!

    Don’t worry about woods and stains matching, just like your quilts, they need to compliment each other. If everything was the same, it would be boring…

  15. Is the island the right height for cutting? If so, you could use it in the sewing studio if it doesn’t work in the kitchen.

  16. i think i would say no to the reproduction stove and yes to the island. the reason for no on the stove is that i don’t think it will be able to handle things i would want to do on it, such as canning. but, as everyone else has mentioned, it’s YOUR kitchen! do what you want with it! enjoy!

  17. Hi my two cents worth is that you should make sure you can get your biggest pan in the stove and then go for it if you like it. I would also get the butcher block. It is nice and a good one is hard to find. But here is a thought. Why couldn’t you put a farm table on the end of the butcher table? To make it part of a island as such. Then put some kind of moveable cabinets under one side of it. That way you could live with it for awhile and see if you like the whole island sort of thing but have the kitchen furniture you like. If it doesn’t work out you could move the cabinets to the sewing room.

  18. Love the butcher block but have doubts about the repro stove. In the photo it looks as if the cooking spots are rather close together. On my gas cooktop I have some close together too and it’s a pain when I want to use larger pots next to each other. I have to juggle the pots and can’t use everything I would like at one time. Something to consider.

  19. Now a days you can make a kitchen look “old” and still have the modern conveniences. Go with a farm house sink. The hardware you choose can completing change the looks of a kitchen. My dream is to have an island and more counter space. I know you are planning to make a space in your garage for canning, but I would still try to get as much flat surfaces as you can. I vote no on the stove, I think it looks fake. Remember with 5 children, there will probably be lots of grandchildren down the road, and lots of big meals to serve. Ask me how I know!!!

  20. Lots of great suggestions here – ultimately, you and hubby sit down and discuss the pros and cons together. If you like the farmhouse feel, stick with the table in the kitchen and get that butcher block. IMO, the stove doesn’t look very good, quality wise. But again, it’s up to BOTH of you – make it comfortable/practical for your lifestyle now and in the future. Best wishes to you!

  21. There are ways to make the modern cabinets look more like antiques by using baseboards that are cut to suggest legs and using different colored finishes to break up the run of cabinets. Old House Journal magazine is a good place for examples.

    My husband would salivate over the butcher block. If you get it at the auction I say cut down the size of the island and use it! Another option would be to put it between the ‘fridge and the stove (instead of the drawing’s cabinets.)

    You could have a island that serves as a table by making it table height but using a piece of marble for the top — 30″ (table height) is suggested for bakers for rolling out cookies or kneading bread dough and the marble stays naturally cooler (although it does stain fairly easily.) You could salvage some of the “lost” storage by hanging a pot rack above. If you don’t want chairs around the island/table all the time you could store them by hanging them on the wall, Shaker style.

    I would be careful to measure the reproduction stove to make sure it provides the same cooking surface size as a “regular” stove. Get too many big pots on it and it could be frustrating. (MIL was persuaded to put in a smaller-than-standard wall oven and fusses about it _every_ Christmas.)

    If you are right handed, please consider moving the dishwasher to the left side of the sink. Think about it — when you wash/rinse dishes you (if you are right handed) hold the dish in your left hand and wash with your right. If the dishwasher is on the right you will either have to change hands or reach across yourself to put dishes in it.

    And I’m a big fan of corner cabinets with built-in lazy susans. Sooo much easier to get at what’s in the back.

  22. I would say no to the stove and yes to the butcher block. You can always add an island later if you wanted to. We have a large kitchen with an island and while it is convenient at times, I kind of would like to get rid of it sometimes too.

  23. Jo, you should have your kitchen the way you like it. It is your home, put the things in it that are important to you! As for the island, I have one and I love it. We also have a table in our kitchen. I do not have a sewing studio, so I cut my fabric on the island, also it is great for food prep. It is the perfect height and the lighting is pretty good. I also press fabric in my kitchen and run to an extra bedroom, made into an office/computer/sewing room, to sew. The great thing about our island is it is moveable, not permanently attached to the floor. It does not have electric or water in it though. There are slides on the bottom so we can move it closer to the cabinets if we need more space for the table. The table is against a wall when it is just my DH and me, then we pull it out when we have company. It works great for us. Let me know if you would like to see pictures of it just for an idea. But still, create the kitchen that will work for you!

  24. I have to secretly admit, Jo, that I check your blog frequently every day, just to see if you’ve posted anything about the new house. Looks like I’m not the only one interested in your doings!
    I read everyone’s comments, then looked at the pdf and I could see how BEAUTIFUL a kitchen table would look in there! It would look so spacious and friendly. I agree with the comments: no island, maybe the stove, for sure the butcher block, yes to the table, and Do What You Want. You can always put in an island later if you change your mind.
    Do take your cookie sheets/turkey roaster and see if they fit in the reproduction stove, or ask what the inside dimensions of the oven are. One of my neighbors showed me how a regular size cookie sheet wouldn’t fit in either one of her wall double ovens in her new house. She was so disappointed. She loved to bake (I could tell by the cookie sheet) and she couldn’t use any of her cookie sheets because they were too big.

  25. I have to agree that you want your kitchen as convenient as possible. If you go to bigchill.com you can see some retro stoves that to me, don’t look fake at all. The one in your picture would be better, imo, without the white panel on the front. I personally LOVE that rolling butcher block though! I would have that in addition to a permanent island. The butcher block is too small for an island to me, but is small enough to find a spot for it.

    If you go to houzz.com you’ll see a ton of different options and I think they have retro/vintage ideas there too.

  26. Jo –
    If I had to make that decision, I would count the cabinet space in my old kitchen and compare it to the new drawing. Will you have enough cabinet space? If so, put your farmhouse table in the kitchen, put the butcher block in…. do whatever you like! One thing I would consider is having extra tall wall cabinets. Soffits are a waste of space as is the open area above the cabinets (dust collectors too). I love a farmhouse kitchen. You go girl!

  27. Can you fit in your largest cookie sheet in the oven? If so, go for it! If not, do you want to buy smaller ones? Do what makes you and DH happy. You’ll be living with it the longest. A friend has an antique looking stove/oven in her very modern kitchen and it looks great! She loves the look and using it. It makes her happy and you should pick out items that do the same for you. The island has a bar in it for informal eating. But I see you as more kitchen table people. It sounds like you’ll have plenty of room for storage. Maybe you could ask the cabinet maker how difficult it would be to add the island at a later date should you change your mind.

  28. We have shelves that go up behind the soffits in our kitchen. Because they’re so high, I wind up on a chair and then stretching to get anything up to or down from there. Works for decorations and things I never want to see again, but I wouldn’t count it as useful storage space.

  29. I would say make the house yours. When I was searching for a home I would not settle. I made the house what I wanted. Go with what you and your husband like and would like to live with. Don’t let anyone push you into buying something you don’t like or want.

  30. I’ve had 2 islands in kitchens and I love them. First house island was shaped like half a hexagon — useless for cupboard/drawer space. This house has a rectangle island and we eat there on stools all the time. GD was here last week and the island became “her” spot as she could use her computer and still be part of conversation. If you do get an island make sure it has an electrical plug. This one doesn’t so cords hang dangerously.

  31. I’m with those who say go with your heart. A table in the kitchen will keep your company there to talk with you while you cook and you can always sit down for a cup of coffee! The butcher block is lovely and will be movable so that makes it more flexible. On the reproduction stove, I cooked on one in a house we rented for a few days and hated it. I was really glad it wasn’t a long term deal! What ever you do try to talk to someone who has one they like. I got one when we remodeled our kitchen a year and a half ago and I hate it. Too late now.

  32. I love the butcher block. I would go with a double oven if you like to cook a lot we built two houses and never had one. We moved to an existing home and bought a new freestanding oven. We bought a Maytag double oven cooktop. The top oven isn’t as deep but its awesome for casserole dishes, cookies etc. or when you just want to heat up some leftovers without having to heat up a big oven. I absolutely love it and can’t believe I ever cooked without one! Just a thought. As others said do what works best for you and your family. Make sure it has a good flow for you. Best wishes :0)

  33. We have both a table, and an island. DH put it in b4 we met. I like the island but if we had it to do over I think I would have made a little more space between the island and the deck door, and the other end by the oven, it could use a little more space. We have a built in electric oven, and a gas stove. I like it that way.
    As for the self closing cabinets, and closing drawers I wish I had those!
    Not my preference for the stove, but it’s your kitchen,

  34. I love big islands as they are always a great buffet station…the size of that one is so small it’s not worth having. For stove, I’d choose what you like as far as size/type but I have a double oven range and love having two ovens even when it is just the 4 of us. The other thing I have and LOVE are lots of pullouts. I have full width/depth pullouts in my island cabinets, I am not that old and am still happy to not bend over and down in the dark to get what I need. good luck, it’ll be fun!

  35. I had a 1950’s kitchen for years, tore it all down to the studs in 2003 and updated all of it. JO, I have regretted it so many times. I lost all the charm in doing that. I did add cabinets and that was nice, and extra counter space was nice, but I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had my old one back. Do what you feel you will love for years to come. That is the right answer.

  36. First do what you want. Second I’d vote no on the stove and yes on the butcher block on wheels. Don’t know why. Just how I feel about it.

  37. Go with the butcher block for now, and use it like a small island. You can always add a larger, permanent island later if you wish. (Might even be able to incorporate the butcher block into one end.

    I’d pass on the stove, but you’re the one who has to be happy and comfortable in your new-to-you home. Do what makes your heart sing!

  38. Personally, I don’t like the stove because in the long run I don’t believe it would be very practical. While it’s quaint, it might not be as efficient and make cooking enjoyable. Looks small.
    As far as a butcher block island. If you go to Houzz.com and in the search bar you but “butcher block island” you’ll see some beautiful kitchens that have incorporated butcher block tops and islands into kitchens. It’s a wonderful website that has a wealth of ideas for anyone who may be building, renovating or just to “dream.” Maybe you could take the butcher block island and make it part of the bigger island using it as an end. Good luck with whatever your decide.

  39. Table, table – you can move a table and use it elsewhere if need be, can’t do that with an island. My dining area opens off my kitchen but I still have a small table in there, just the right height for rolling out pastry and kneading bread dough. I am really enjoying watching the progress on your new home, thanks for sharing.
    Regards from still warm and sunny England

  40. I say go with what you like. If after a year or two you want the island and newer stove, you can change it. It’ s not permanent. Everything can be changed if you really hate it. I would live the butcher block in my kitchen.

  41. Love the butcher block!!! It’s your kitchen and you will be the one working in it. Do it to suit yourself. The only thing I would hate it give up in my kitchen ( I do not have an island) is my drawers in my bottom cabinets. I love the drawers instead of cabinets because I don’t have to get on my knees to get stuff from the back. Make it comfortable for you and Hubby. If you’re comfortable it will be comfortable for anyone who comes to visit. Don’t overthink it. You’ve raised a family so you know what works for your lifestyle. I love an eat in kitchen because it asks for cozy chats and gatherings more than a formal dining area, in my opinion.

  42. My advice is to stand in the middle of the kitchen as it is now and think about what you want and what is practical for the way you cook and the way your family works. Think about what the house is telling you. And yes…they do speak… there are good bones there.. and it most definitely will be a HOME. As far as the stove…is it big enough for a big casserole dish? We have an in the wall oven here that I can’t fit one into..drives me nuts! I LOVE that butcher block..I wish I had thought of that rather than the built in one I have…LOTS of wasted space for me..

  43. Go for the butcher block and farm table in your kitchen. The stove looks a bit like a toy to me. A suggestion on the cabinets, the lower ones, think about large drawers instead of cabinets. They are so much easier to get things out of…no digging through all the stuff in front of regular cabinets and they seem to hold more weight easily than the pull-out shelves. I just got back from visiting friends in England and they had the coolest drawers in the lower cabinets that hold all their dishes – so much easier for “older” arms! I would love to have that option! Go with what you want, you are the ones that have to live there and be happy with it.

  44. We we remodeled our kitchen, we took out the peninsula. I didn’t like the “Last Supper” feeling with everyone sitting beside each other and not looking at each other.

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