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All the What’s, Why’s & How Much’s of the Portland Kitchen (+ Big Reveal)



I am very excited to reveal the Portland kitchen today. You know as a parent (of kids or pets) when you find yourself staring at your child unknowingly whispering ‘I just love you so much‘ while they eat Raisin Bran? That’s what I do to photos of this kitchen. The only thing that could make me happier is if were my own, and while it’s not wildly different, it’s just a bigger, better version.

If you ever plan on renovating or updating your kitchen, read every word or bookmark this post. I break down every element on why we chose what we did with costs and tips. I learned SO MUCH from designing this kitchen and you bet I’m not going to leave this blog post without filling your head with all my Portland kitchen renovation knowledge.

Renovating a kitchen from another state wasn’t easy (not sure if I’ve properly drilled that into your head). Sure, I could have easily phoned it in with a basic kitchen, but I wanted it to be this perfect mix of classic + modern, happy + sophisticated, contemporary + timeless with enough special moments that take it from standard to special.

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I’ll be honest that there were some bumps along the way, major ones like the island was originally built too small (my fault for not realizing earlier we could go bigger), and the first set of windows—where the big one is now—was originally three tiny, VERY high ones (I didn’t choose them TBH). But we ponied up and paid to fix them because I wasn’t going to spend months designing this kitchen to have any regrets. I’m so glad we did because I’m so proud of this room. I want to jump into the computer when I see photos. I want to live here. Hang out with my kids here. Make soup after soup after soup here while my kids read to each other quietly between spoonfuls of vegetables (opposite). I designed this for my life, with my family, and I would be so very, very happy here.

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I have many favorite things about this kitchen but I can’t possibly name them in the right order, so let’s arbitrarily start with…

The Cabinets

We went with custom cabinetry (by Craig Cowing from Crestwood Inc.) as we usually do in higher end spaces. We chose a 2 1/4-inch inset shaker design with a slight step to add a bit of interest and depth. You can’t do smaller than 2 1/4-inch without using custom hinges/hardware but we like the narrower look versus a 3-inch panel. If you are choosing your cabinet design, go for inset or flush for a more updated yet simple look. Inset is where you see the stiles and rails (the 2-inch vertical and horizontal framing of the cabinet case) like pictured above. Flush is where the doors meet each other on top of the stiles and rails. Either way, what you get is a flat look versus where the cabinet doors are on top of the stiles and rails with gaps in between them. Inset costs about 20% more and your cabinet maker has to be very precise (it’s easier to cover inaccuracies when you place the cabinet door on top of the frame), but it’s worth it. These cabinets were all custom and cost about $25k (both for manufacturing and installation). I believe the lead time was 6-8 weeks with like 19 rounds of drawings.

Hot tip: The cabinets are often what hold up an entire house renovation. However, you can’t really get started manufacturing them until you are demoed out and your maker can take proper measurements. Therefore, you are sitting with an empty kitchen for often 6-8 weeks. This is why it’s crucial to get your cabinet plan done swiftly.

The Color

We went with lowers and uppers in the same color—Pewter Green by Sherwin-Williams—and we literally could not be happier with the shade. We thought about going white, but we really wanted to draw you in and make a quiet statement. I have done a lot of blue kitchens so I didn’t want to repeat that. We stayed away from gray in this entire house because we were properly warned that in Portland, where it’s gray a lot of the time, people don’t want gray inside, too. We tested out a million greens but ended up loving this super deep green with a lot of gray in it (versus being more teal or emerald). It’s not bright, but it’s deep and saturated. We thought about going white for the island or shaking up the uppers and lowers, but we liked how modern and simple (and dramatic) it felt to do the same color everywhere.

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The Counter Cabinets

We didn’t want just basic cabinets, so we flanked the uppers with counter cabinets to add some interest. We thought about metal wall-hung shelves at first (the new floating shelves), but realized that many people are scared of open shelving. A row of closed upper cabinets, however, can make it feel smaller and just more basic. Glass cabinets are a great option, too, or we could have done the grids that we did at my LA house (which I LOVE, but I didn’t want to repeat the design element). At the same time that we were finalizing the cabinetry plans, we replaced the too small/high windows with this huge one which made the uppers on that end look slammed against the window. The window was ordered. The opening was cut. What were we going to do?

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That’s when I started obsessing over counter hutches and it became our happy accident (I thought they added such character, and good design is meant to introduce any sort of personality into a room). All we had to do was set these back to 9 inches and treat them totally differently, thus giving them style and purpose (and freeing them from being smooshed up against the window frame).

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If your first thought is that it takes up counter space, then know that it’s not a problem because they are just in the corner, which you don’t really use anyway. There is a butler’s pantry adjoining the kitchen that has a ton more storage and counter space, so we weren’t worried about that, either. By doing a single glass panel, it feels fresh and clean, and then that little adorable latch from Rejuvenation… ugh I love it so much. There is painted beadboard in the back, which is hard to see but in person, it adds a nice texture.

Having them flank the uppers like that with the hood in the middle really gives this kitchen a powerful but simple focal point.

The Tile

I toyed with doing a bold statement tile to the ceiling but ultimately decided to go with something classic and timeless, yet handmade and special. We worked with Pratt & Larson on a lot of tile in the house including this one. We are doing a whole post about all the reasons we love them and you will, too, but in short, they are handmade in Portland by people who have worked there for 30 years because they love it so much, and they take so much care and create each tile with such artistry.

We chose this beautiful matte beveled subway tile that is classic, but not just a basic flat white tile (not that anything is wrong with that but I like to have some sort of unique bent on anything that might seem basic). This tile was $56 per square foot, but the install was pretty standard at $8 per square foot (which = affordable).

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We staggered (also called running bond) for a classic look and by choosing matte, I think it looks a little more modern and fresh.

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The Stone

I love this stone so much. We worked with Bedrosians on the honed island and counter marble and while I know marble is a lifestyle choice, it’s one that I will make over and over. It has these stunning green veins and adds so much texture and depth in the room and since it’s not bright white, it’s going to hide any use (ours does at home). Designing a high-end kitchen is different than a budget one because you need some design elements to really sing. We thought long and hard about using a white quartz but chose a real stone because the cabinets were a flat paint and the subway tile which was already in production was a simple white tile. Something has to have movement and texture. Sometimes it’s your cabinets. Sometimes it’s your tile. In this case, it is that gorgeous stone. For less maintenance, go for honed or leathered, but also just relax because age adds soul to a house, full stop. A polished finish is what shows the most stains and etchings. By the way, if your kitchen already has polished marble and you want it to be honed, there are companies that will come in and do that for you even after install, or you can look up DIY versions because I’m pretty sure it’s all about some sort of acidic solution that takes off the shine (but don’t come back here and blame me if it’s a disaster… proceed at your own risk).

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We chose to do a 6-inch backsplash on the other side of the kitchen instead of the tile because there was this “where do we stop the tile?” question since the kitchen has that structural beam running through it. See below:

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So this was perfect and the 6-inch stone was definitely cheaper in materials and labor than tiling that whole wall would have been.

We went with an ogee bullnose edge instead of a squared miter edge (there are other options) to make it look more high-end and traditional. This was one of those decisions that added cost (you can expect to pay $20-$36 per linear foot depending on the stone and manufacturer for an ogee edge), but we all thought it was worth it and went for it. A normal house flipper would definitely save money here, but I’m so glad we added that detail. The stone from Bedrosian would have cost us $7,000 and the fabrication for this kitchen was $5,700.

The Window

As I mentioned earlier, the first round of windows that were installed were three really small, super high and had small grids on them. Unfortunately, we don’t have a very good photo of this, but here’s a rough iPhone photo we snapped during construction, so you can get the gist:

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Since I don’t love playing the blame game, I often just take it because when you are leading the design you just have to, but no, I did not intentionally approve those three windows and it was an oversight completely – not sure how nobody caught them, but alas, we paid the $2k to fix it and we used the small windows on the shed (which turned out SO cute – more on that later). Milgard rushed that replacement window for us (THANK YOU). And you can see how much of a difference it makes.

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Our goal with the new window was to bring in a lot of natural light, be big enough that you can see kids playing in the yard below, and also be able to pass food out to the outdoor dining area through those side windows if you wanted to. We worked with Milgard on the project and these windows turned out so beautiful and classic. We chose to do a picture in the middle, flanked by two grids that match the rest of the house.

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The Window Treatments

We outfitted the entire house with custom window treatments from Decorview, and the Solera soft shades (which are made by Hunter Douglas) in the Layla pattern (in Mercury). I LOVE these shades because they are so simple and easy to use and when all the way up, they take up so little space, whereas a Roman can take up to 6 inches.

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The Lights

The room is bisected by that structural crossbeam, so the island didn’t have an obvious pendant location. Instead, our big light moment was these beautiful articulating sconces above the window.

As you can see, the ceiling was tricky because it’s lower on the side that faces the backyard, so getting something that made a statement but fit the space was challenging and these from Rejuvenation worked perfectly. I chose these also because they mixed in the black from the range, and this warm brass but not so much brass that it would be this huge BLING. They feel classic, with a vintage vibe, and totally timeless.

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The Hardware

Originally, I was going to do polished nickel hardware to match the range and faucets, but the more I stared at the materials board, the more I craved the warmth and modern feel of brass. But the faucets and range were silver!? I found myself googling “How to mix metals” and my blog came up over and over which is when I reminded myself of my own rule: You can mix metals if you do it intentionally and evenly throughout the space. Don’t mix a polished nickel faucet with a brass pot filler; the faucet family should match (same in a bathroom), and I like those things matching the range (although not as necessary). The lighting and hardware is the perfect place to mix it up and add another metal, thus creating more warmth and depth. It’s almost like all the “permanent” things should match and all the “jewelry” should match, but not everything has to be the same across the board.

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Hot tip: To get a custom look in any room, to look like you really cared and thought about your design, you HAVE to shake it up and take some risks, otherwise your home can look mass manufactured even if you customized everything. You don’t want to spend $75k on a basic B kitchen that someone down the street also has. Choose a few things to make extra special (for us it was the counter cabinets, the stone, the beveled tile, the hardware) and give them a tweak that keeps them still simple and timeless but makes them feel totally unique.

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Back to hardware. We have four different styles/sizes all in the same finish, all from Portland’s own Rejuvenation. I’m going to do a whole post on how to choose, mix AND PLACE hardware because this was a struggle even for us and we did a lot of research to get where we got (of which I’m very proud). Hardware is where you can take your kitchen to the next level without spending a lot and I’m excited to show you how, but it’s stressful to drill those permanent holes so there is a lot to learn about doing it the right way. All of these handles and pulls make me so happy.

The Faucet/Pot Filler

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That beautiful range is what drove the kitchen in a lot of ways (which we’ll discuss tomorrow) and like I mentioned above, I like it when the metals on the range match the faucets (again this is just a preference but I’ve seen silver metals in a range mixed with brass faucets and it looks beautiful, too). We chose a classic, antique style pot filler and a BEAUTIFUL gooseneck faucet, both from Kohler.

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We obsessed about the metals of the sink matching the metals of the range perfectly, but when they are coming from different companies (faucets from Kohler and range from Bertazzoni), you can’t really know until you get them right next to each other but you have to purchase them in order to get them next to each other (unless there is a showroom that might have both, which is possible). The range is a mix of polished chrome and stainless steel. The faucet that we wanted didn’t have a pot filler that matched, but the faucet that matched the pot filler didn’t feel right. I really wanted this sweeping gooseneck. The faucet came in polished nickel and polished stainless, but not polished chrome, whereas the pot filler came in polished chrome and polished nickel but not polished stainless. We felt that it was more important for the pot filler to match the range, so the pot filler is in polished chrome and the faucet is in polished stainless (to also hopefully match the range).

THIS KEPT ME UP AT NIGHT. Not knowing how different those three metals would be next to each other (polished chrome, polished stainless and brushed stainless) was a real source of stress for me. The good news? YOU DON’T EVEN NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE and it looks really beautiful. Do I recommend taking this risk and adding this source of stress in your life? No. And yes, of course, I could have just chosen polished nickel for both faucets, but PN is definitely warmer than the chrome on the range. I could have chosen brushed nickel to hopefully match the brushed stainless of the range, but I don’t love brushed nickel.

These are the things that really stressed me out in this project, and I’m glad I learned a lot. I’m so glad I didn’t just phone it in and choose matching brushed nickel faucets that technically “worked,” but one of the biggest lessons I learned is that when a project is finished, when you pull back both visually and mentally and look at is as a whole, what you see is this beautiful layered finished room and you truly don’t notice the tiny things you thought you would.

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Being in this kitchen feels good. The green is the perfect amount of bold, the lighting, stove and appliances just SING and that pretty soft tile and flooring are so classic, timeless yet fresh.

The Skylight

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This room had okay light, but not as much as it could have had and as you know, natural light is EVERYTHING in a space. So we put in this huge Velux skylight that brings it all in and really changed the space. If you are renovating, please don’t forget to think about the option of a skylight—it can be a missed opportunity (I should know, I didn’t in our kids’ bathroom and am seriously considering adding one in a few years).

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While it’s just me standing up there grinning from ear to ear, I think we all know that I didn’t do this alone. A huge thanks goes out to Brady, Julie, Priscilla, JP (the GC of Sierra Customs Home), Ken, Jenna (for initial project management), and Annie the architect.

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There she is folks. The Portland Project kitchen reveal. And yes we have CLOSED on the house 🙂 YAY!!! I’m debating doing a big old post about the construction and staging process and how much it all cost versus the time and investment put into it. Some of you really don’t like it when I talk money, and it can feel gross but you know what, so is the net profit sometimes which I think is fun to share. Also, LESSONS WERE LEARNED and you know how I love to share those. I fixed all my design mistakes and regrets in this house, but there are some project management and budget allocations that I would have done differently, especially for an investment project—AKA there are some things that we probably didn’t need to splurge on and while I don’t regret them because the house turned out so beautifully, the profit margin decreased substantially by a lot of my design choices. So if you are curious about those, let me know in the comments and we’ll pull together the post.

Oh, and be sure to come back tomorrow for a post that’s ALL about the appliances (including my choice to make most of the major pieces panel-ready).

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Before we move on to the Get the Look, I just wanted to quickly put this shot in for anyone who will be all like BUT WHERE ARE THE OUTLETS. We did a poll earlier this week on my Insta Stories after we did the master bathroom reveal, and people seemed into seeing “real life” images instead of Photoshopped for aesthetics. No outlets = visually cleaner for showcasing images like these, but I wanted you to get a glimpse at an image WITH outlets, and get your thoughts in the comments about whether you’d rather see things like outlets in images we showcase, prefer something pristine without them, or don’t really care either way!

1. Planter | 2. Checkered Tray | 3. Natural Bristle Brush | 4. Roman Shades by Decorview | 5. Sconce by Rejuvenation | 6. Window by Milgard | 7. Faucet by Kohler | 8. Sidespray by Kohler | 9. Sink by Kohler | 10. Once ii by Jan Denton | 11. Sink Drain by Kohler | 12. Grid Pitcher | 13. Ceramic Bowl | 14. Mini Wood Bowls | 15. Wooden Round Boxes | 16. Round Wooden Board | 17. Pedestal Serve Bowl | 18. Green and White Dish Towel | 19. Canisters | 20. Stool | 21. Glass Jug | 22. Cabinet Maker | 23. Montclair Danby Honed Marble by Bedrosians | 24. Pot Filler by Kohler | 25. 2″ x8″ Beveled Subway Tile by Pratt and Larson | 26. Switch Cover by Rejuvenation | 27. Round Knob by Rejuvenation | 28. 4″ Drawer Pull by Rejuvenation | 29. 6″ Drawer Pull by Rejuvenation | 30. Large Oval Latch by Rejuvenation | 31. Salt and Pepper Shaker Set | 32. Dutch Oven | 33. Cream Striped Pitcher | 34. Textured Stoneware Pitcher | 35. Marble Tray | 36. Interior Doors by Metrie | 37. Interior Door Handle by Rejuvenation | 38. Brass Appliance Pull by Rejuvenation | 39. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 40. Moonlight – Oil on Canvas by Whitney Jordan | 41. Skylight by Velux  | 42. Crown Moulding by Metrie | 43. Baseboard by Metrie | 44. Wood Flooring by Hallmark Floors | 45. Door & Window Casing by Metrie | 46. Pewter Green by Sherwin-Williams | 47. Pure White by Sherwin-Williams | 48. Oyster White by Sherwin-Williams 

1. Range with Double Oven | 2. Hood Insert | 3. Dishwasher | 4. Refrigerator | 5. Microwave

***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD

***Design and styling by Emily Henderson and Brady Tolbert (and team). JP Macy of Sierra Custom Homes (who I seriously can’t say enough good things about) was the General Contractor, and Annie Usher was the architect.

***For anyone following along with the Portland Reveals, make sure you didn’t miss out on any:

Living Room | Master Bedroom | Master Bathroom | Foyer & Staircase | Office

Fin Mark


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Stunning – sophisticated, quiet, confident, perfect. As a regular reader of the blog, I feel like you’ve talked to me about this kitchen for years, you’ve shown me inspiration photos for this kitchen, it’s been in your mind forever. And now it’s out – it stands, and it sizzles. Congrats!


Love the explanations of what to do to distinguish a high end kitchen. Also, definitely a vote from me for cost breakdown and lessons learned, as well as real photos with outlets! 🙂


Just what I was going to say!

Vicki Williams

Absolutely, yes vote on that. Beautiful kitchen!


Yes! We’re building a new house and all the lessons learned could be so helpful! I would love it if you shared the nitty gritty.


Yes please to all three: cost breakdown, lessons learned and real pictures!

Julie Reuter

I agree – a vote for all three!


I agree – all three please!


I agree too! please all 3!


I agree! All 3!


Beautiful. That green is perfection. Definitely show the outlets. I don’t like my kitchens airbrushed any more than I like my humans.

ha. i honestly didn’t know they were photoshopped away until the master bathroom post (its not like I said ‘off with them’) but they are ‘cleaner’ photos and thus simpler and prettier. It’s a good note to give (and take). xx


I don’t mind them being photoshopped off for aesthetics, especially for portfolio or magazine purposes. However, if we are discussing the details of a renovation, I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from outlet placement, etc.


Agreed. I would love your lessons learned or “rules” for outlet placement.


Yes I would love a post on this too!


I certainly understand the desire to photoshop out all the outlets….however, I wish they were left in more often so that people could see examples of how to deal with them in the design of their spaces. I work at a high end architecture firm and am constantly raining on people’s parade when I have to inform that I have to draw ‘x’ amount of outlets spaced a certain distance apart in order to meet the electrical code. They’ve fallen in love with an inspiration photo that has a full height slab on the wall without an outlet or switch… Read more »

Anna McNinja

Agree with this 1000%!


That is a beautiful green. I also love the counter glass front cabinets. It obviously took a lot of work designing this and I’m sure the home owner will be so proud of this space (not to mention pay for it too in the sale) As for the outlet pictures- when you showed the bathroom with the outlets it was really eye catching (in a distracting way) so I get the photoshop but here in the kitchen I do not notice them the same. So do I want to see them so it seems more real? Yes? Do I get… Read more »


Please do discuss money issues, lessons learned, design mistakes, regrets, etc… That’s some of the best stuff on this blog, sets it apart and makes thinking about/undertaking my home projects tremendously helpful. More, please, on these critical aspects of renovations. Previous discussions on bathrooms and kitchens you’ve done have informed my design and construction process on the few recent reno projects I’ve done and all I can say, again, is THANK YOU!

Oh good. I know that I sure would benefit from someone telling me where they spent too much money. An investment property (aka a flip) should be dealt with differently than say a ‘forever home’ but i’m sure some of the same lessons apply. AND I HAVE SO MANY LESSONS. 🙂


I also vote for a post on budget, lessons learned, etc. ! I look forward to reading it!


We’re renovating our 4th ‘flip’ in the Bay Area so could write a novel for you! Sidenote: Do you still call it a flip when most of them are your own home? 🙂 Beautiful kitchen btw!


Would love to learn more about the money mistakes or areas that you felt you could have not gone custom/totally high end. This is an incredible, and incredibly high end flip, but I’d love to learn where you wish you’d saved a bit.


Yes, I agree here. Would like to know where you could have made less expensive choices. Beautiful kitchen. The green is perfection!

Pui Chan

This is so beautiful. Yes please to a cost breakdown and budget allocation post, that would be super helpful.


Love it all! I want all the budgets and outlets! Real talk and real images!


Did the house sell?

Yes 🙂 Closed last week. xx


Congrats. You deserve this. The house is stunning


Always love reading your thought process and this kitchen was no exception. Just curious why you didn’t take the stone backsplash up to meet the window sill? Seems that sliver of exposed sheetrock will be a food/dust trap. I’m sure there is a reason, so I’m just asking!

I had to scroll up to see what you were talking about. I guess 6″ just felt like the right size whereas 8″ might have felt, well, taller 🙂 I think either is good. I don’t mind the break but hopefully it doesn’t gather dust 🙂


I agree with Stephanie. That was the first thing I noticed also. I would have preferred it to go up to the sill.
All-in-all….beautiful kitchen!


I have the same small distance between my backsplash and the window sill. Does it collect dust? Yes. Is it a pain in the ass? Yes. Would I do it differently? No. I love the interest and texture and that the backsplash isn’t too high. Design wise it’s one of those that was worth it for the look.

Claire Cilip

Good grief, you’re perfect. Amazing, makes me want to move so I can create a custom beauty like in this post. You and Orlando are my absolute faves! Your writing always makes me laugh out loud and I actually READ the entire post instead of scanning…

Beautiful job, your work is amazing.

THANK YOU. that made my day/s. xx

Vicki Williams

Ditto, ditto, ditto on all counts!


I love this kitchen and the whole house is just lovely! The new homeowners are very lucky to have this house,


Wow, great post! I read every word. It turned out gorgeous. I prefer the fantasy shot of no outlets. Just like I enjoy the fantasy of your staging and styling of objects. and those handmade wooden boxes are beyond fantasy. I love them.

ha. yay. one vote for fantasy non-outlet world 🙂


Beautiful! I would LOVE a post on the cost breakdown and the lessons learned!


This house is just perfect. Obsessed with those green cabinets ????


I would love to hear about reno budgets and profit margins – and whether it was financially worth it and if you’ll do it again. It seems like a win win win type of project- at least from afar!


I will now be spending my morning googling how to get rich quick so Emily can design my dream kitchen. Currently have $5 saved….. I’ll get there.

Seriously stunning.. is it weird to be attracted to a kitchen? Cuz damn, this kitchen took my breathe away. I could sit here and compliment this kitchen all day, but apparently you can’t make money from that.

THANK YOU. I do love/miss this kitchen SO MUCH. Glad its not just me. THANK YOU.


Beautiful! I love the color, and the choice of paneled appliances is gorgeous. I’m especially surprised I like the counter cabinets! I’m normally not a fan because they seem an impractical waste of counter space, but you placed and sized them just right here. I do worry, though, about practicality. I cook a ton, and trying to clean the inevitable grease and buildup off that beveled matte tile on the backsplash seems painful. Normal flat, polished tile is hard enough to clean. Also, the sink is very shallow. I have a farmhouse sink that’s much deeper, which is its best… Read more »


Hi there! I have white beveled subway tile behind my range. I was a little worried about the cleaning aspect when I picked them, but I’m happy to report that they just get equally dirty as everything else! No extra time to clean them either. Phew!


Totally with you on the marble. At a certain point it just looks grimy. Ive seen lots of designers say they don’t mind the “character” of the chips and stains but in real life it doesn’t read as “character” lol. If you actually cook in your kitchen- its a total no-go.


Agree on the marble! I recently stayed in an old, high end hotel that had probably last been renovated about 20 years ago and had white marble tile floors in the bathroom. While stylistically this matched the 100 year old hotel, the area around the base of the toilet was stained brown, the tiles by the vanity were cracked, and my overall impression was not “oh what wonderful character!” but rather “ew”. Granted, that’s a hotel, not a house, but it stood out to me because I had heard so many designers talk about the beauty of aged marble with… Read more »


I actually have these exact stone countertops in my kitchen (which I love love love), and while I take great care of them and annoy my husband and children with my efforts, they actually wear really well. The honed finish helps, and I’ve learned to let go of needing perfection. Plus there are some tricks to get little etches out of this specific stone – not sure if that same trick works on other types of marble. A really good sealer is mandatory of course. And little nicks can be buffed out too. I wouldn’t change them if I did… Read more »


I’d also be interested in how the pricing of this house compares to similar size recently renovated houses in the area. Where I live, there are a lot of flips / new builds that seem to fetch a premium for being “new” even though they look poorly designed and not very well constructed to me. I am curious if there’s a premium for actual beautiful work.


Yes to the budget, cost margin, etc. That is so helpful to someone like me…designed our home, finished much of it ourselves, debating on investing in a rental property that I want to be lovely while knowing that much has to be replaced between families. Please do a financial post! Thanks!

Natalie bodenhamer

Bravo! Looks amazing, and as a Portlander myself, I found myself nodding in, “amen” when you steered clear of gray. We’re currently planning our kitchen renovation and this is all so helpful! Thank you!

I’d love to hear more about the construction/staging/lessons learned.


Check out Modern Angle for your Portland kitchen reno needs . We love working with clients who love good style! 🙂


Photoshopping out outlets? That’s really a thing? Actually, I was skimming your post for a section on outlets and specifically where to place them. This is one thing I wish we’d given more thought to when we remodeled our kitchen. One vote for showing what’s real and functional.

We are still planning a full ‘outlet’ post because I, myself, want to know how to hide them or choose pretty ones, etc. Last year I gave the ‘don’t photoshop out cords’ command and now when we shoot we try to minimize them as much as possible, but we leave them in the shots. It’s really about what is the focus – and outlets are never the focus but if people want us to leave them in we will 🙂


Hi Emily, I agree with the other comments that ask for any detail you want to provide on the actual costs, where outlets are located, etc. The reason being that your site is such a resource for lessons learned, that any more lessons you want to provide are gladly accepted! A question that i don’t believe has been posed yet is ‘where are the lights’ other than those you specifically point out over the sink? what about the main part of the kitchen? are they photoshopped out or hidden by the beam?

There are cans in the ceiling that you can’t see because its so high. they MIGHT be photoshopped out, but there are cans (and yes, noted, that we’ll always include some versions with all the distracting but real outlets/light switches and cans). i was telling Sara earlier today that I recently saw a photo of a bathroom in a magazine that has NO light sources. No sconces, no pendants, no flushmount …. clearly there were cans that were photoshopped out and I was pretty annoyed. So i get it, too. Our new motto is IF they could be somewhere else… Read more »


The outlets are something I’m often curious about as they are needed. As well as to where to place or store smaller appliances for less clutter and ease of use. Would also love a post about practicality, and minimizing clutter with regards to cords as well as other items (keys, coins, other items, etc. Also a post about baby proofing. How to organize oneself for the purpose of attaining a safe and beautiful space. What furniture or storage items to prioritize and ideas where to place them. I love and need organized spaces, but it’s so difficult to attain especially… Read more »


Love this kitchen!!! Regarding Photoshop vs real life pics — I think both options are helpful. Beauty shots to sit and dream on and real life shots to help with decision making. I’ve lived in homes where outlets were 1. hidden behind where hand towels hang down to cover, 2. outlet plates were painted to match dark color like with your blue bathroom, 3. Outlets were so numerous i wanted to cover some up and 4. All white rooms so outlets disappeared but cords were the bother. Love all your details about why made design choices and decision options. Unique… Read more »


Yes to outlets! While planning my own renovations I went looking for pictures with outlet placement so I would know what to do and how it looked. No wonder I had so much trouble!! Had no idea they were photoshopped out. For me, the point of good design is the ability to include these details in ways that won’t detract from the aesthetic.

I don’t disagree with you at all. I’m STILL trying to pull together the ‘how to minimize, disguise or beautify your outlets’ post. I need it as much as you guys. xx


Wow–this is an incredible kitchen! The paint color is so beautiful, and the glass fronted cabinets are perfection. One of the prettiest kitchens I’ve ever seen. Great job, Emily and co.!!!



I would love a lessons-learned post. Honestly, your blog is a major educational resource for me in general about homes and home design, and I really love the text-heavy deep dives.

I also (relatedly?) like/appreciate/am fine with the real-life pictures (i.e. the ones with outlets visible).

Kitchen looks great–thank you for the discussion of mixing metals!!


I would love a post about the process and cost/ time investment. I’ll admit they are frequently eye opening because I’m used to seeing costs on renovation shows like Property Brothers and I’m pretty sure that those don’t include the cost of the general contractor and that the labor is extremely discounted. I like reality.

Paula Carr

Preach it!


The counter hutches are so cool! Total dream kitchen.

I would love to read about the expenses and profits! I’m also curious about how the project impacted your relationship with your brother (if it all) and if you’d do another house-to-sell project like this?

Sarah Montgomery

I want the nitty gritty, money wise!


I’d love to know what flatware you picked! I’m putting together my wedding registry and can’t seem to find a modern, not-too-shiny, dishwasher safe set on a CB2/West Elm/Crate budget.


I definitely would love a cost breakdown and to know what expensive things you wouldn’t do again. We all need to know HGTV costs are not real!


I have a question about the dishwasher, I noticed the panel comes up shorter than the cabinetry on either side. Is it possible to add a trim piece to the bottom to make that flush or is there a reason that isn’t the case?


This is absolutely stunning. All of the time, energy, and investment totally paid off because this kitchen is truly something special. Definitely putting in a vote for cost/profit breakdown!


This kitchen is gorgeous – such a good job!!! And I’m very happy that you mixed metals… people are so afraid to do it, and now this kitchen can show everyone that, yes, you can!


It’s stupid beautiful. The counter cabinets have my heart a flutter! I feel like in this kitchen I could make some epic Jenny Mollen style lunches for my kiddo. THE DREAM.


Yes please on the “big old post about the construction and staging process and how much it all cost versus the time and investment put into it.”! And I’m 100% TEAM NO CHEATING WITH PHOTOSHOP. What’s the point of a design blog if not to inspire? And whose inspirational kitchen is non-functional because it doesn’t have outlets? I understand photoshopping for clarity/light/contrast/visual effect/etc., but photoshopping out solid things that are physically part of a space def. seems like cheating. Also, I don’t know if I missed it (I tried searching back in the blog for Portland Kitchen) but I would… Read more »

Jenny M

OMG! I have been waiting for this reveal since the first time I saw a picture. It is beautiful and I fully intend to use as many of the ideas from this post as possible in our kitchen remodel. I think it is interesting to hear about the money despite what some think. It is a part of life. In this case,Ii think it would be worth while for people looking at renovating to know what you think was worth it and what may have been a area of savings. Thanks!!


Beautiful kitchen!

Count me in for interest in a post about the financial details and things you’d do differently/lessons learned. Would also love to see a photo of the space at night – I always wonder how a combination of lighting elements lights up a room in the evening, especially in a room with such high ceilings.

Susie Q.

You COULD whisper it, or you COULD loudly sob, “I LOVE HIM SO MUCH” like Holly Hunter in “Raising Arizona.”

I just had to say that–it was the first thing that popped into my head.

OMG. That made me laugh out loud. Well, chuckle loudly because the kids are still asleep 🙂 THANK YOU.


So in love with this green! Also, I love the real life pictures and stories so please do a post about what you learned doing this investment! All we have is HGTV and I still haven’t figured out how they do a whole kitchen remodel for 8k ????

They don’t factor in labor, which is the BIGGEST cost of a renovation. BIGGEST. its just so unfair when they throw out their numbers. I really should pitch a show called ‘THE REAL FLIP’ and deal with contractors and subcontractors that actually CHARGE FEES. This kitchen was easily $80k. Not my money, but thats what it probably cost between labor and materials. But that’s an unpopular number because its not approachable so HGTV wants people to relate to the show (and lifestyle). But in my opinion its MORE depressing thinking that something is wrong with you because your renovation cost… Read more »


YES!!! Agree!! Just tell me! So then I don’t have my own kitchen redone where it costs an arm and a leg and I’m left wondering where I went wrong. ????

Kitchen is gorgeous and would love for you to share all of the money deets and lessons learned!

sarah t.

I hate not accounting for labor costs too, because it is disrespectful to the laborers. This idea that you can DIY anything and just pick skills up from youtube is nuts. The skilled caftspeople who make these spaces beautiful need to be recognized and valued. I appreciate that you always do that, Emily!

Ellen Switzer

I always want to know cost. As a normal-salaried person i think it is unfair to not show the nitty gritty details of stuff like this, because those who aspire to have beautiful houses need to know the realities that reality television lies about (ironically). How else would we know?????? you are the giver of truth, Emily!


COPY AND PASTE into my house please. Seriously, would not change a thing this is PERFECT. So warm yet sophisticated, earthy yet clean. Love love love!

And outlets, please! The space is not really any less beautiful with the addition of them anyway. Show us more reality!

thank you thank you 🙂


OH MY WORD!!!! Emily, it’s gorgeous. Well done!!


As much as I would hate writing a money post, because talking about money is so often weird, I would love to read one! I look around my house all the time and think, as a non-rich non-designer, what are the small changes that would make the biggest difference? I always learn so much from your lessons learned posts!

The kitchen is stunning. So happy the property is closed and people will be living in and enjoying that gorgeous space!

HA. I would read it in a SECOND, too, but when you are talking a high figures (even when its not yours and its your brother/sister-in law who invested) it throws a lot of people off because people talking about money is gross. Its tricky. The world asks for transparency then berates you when you give it so I’m always trying to figure out what its worth to me to open myself up to that.

Julie S

Yeah, you totally get it, Emily – the big numbers for this sort of project are so completely beyond what my family will probably ever have or spend on a room, and it feels weirdly uncomfortable for me to read about it. I would NEVER make a mean comment because I’m a fan of the free market and love when people get successful enough to make beautiful houses like this… but I would prefer to read about what budget choices make the biggest difference i.e. where to spend and where not to, rather than a bald costs breakdown with so… Read more »


I wish designers would show everyday things like outlets, tv’s, etc. Maybe a rollover gif (mouseover gif) that show these things?


I very much appreciate any and all details you provide. All those detailed decisions about tile height, window size, outlets, island size, cost compromise etc.. make a huge difference. When we redid our kitchen there were an avalanche of issues like those and more which did not fully reveal themselves until construction started. And that happened after we worked on the design for almost a year with a professional kitchen planner. There’s no way the planner could have known that our original gas lines were installed incorrectly, the city would changing permit issues etc,, I am so grateful for the… Read more »


I would love if you would do a money post! I don’t know why people are weird about it, but personally I’d love to tackle a big home reno one day and would love to know how much things actually cost!


Stunning! And I love that you share your thought process on why you chose what you did. That’s what I love about your website. I’m always learning something new and come away inspired! It helps me to process through ideas I’d like to do in my own home.
And I vote yes for a cost breakdown and lessons learned! Yes! yes!
As far as outlets go, feel free to add them to show “real” life. This project is beautiful!!! Congrats to you and your team!


Its magnificent!!! Please do a cost breakdown. It’s so educational! I love the detail in your posts. It’s nice to know what I could achieve on my budget vs. what is a dream item 🙂


The kitchen is gorgeous!! I wanted to add a quick comment to say that the site has been crashing on me (just on my phone) most days for say the last several months. I haven’t even been able to read the last bit of today’s post b/c it has reloaded at least 7 times. I thought you would want to know. Congrats on this amazing house!

Annie K

Beautiful! And helpful. Thank you.
Outlets, please!


The green cabinets are beautiful. Love this room so much. And can someone from Emily’s team let me know where those pants are from? Love them, too!

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