My Dream Kitchen Remodel: The Layout

The renovation itself took a little over a year, but I’ve fantasized about cooking in my dream kitchen since I was a child. Complete with custom cabinetry, a huge island and the most stunning countertop my eyes ever did see, I designed this kitchen to be equal parts functional, durable and beautiful.

In this post, I’m sharing some before and after photos and will go over the general layout of the kitchen remodel. In future posts, I’ll do a deeper dive into the Materials, Paint Colours and Hardware, the Appliances, and the Wet Bar, so stay tuned for those if you’re interested in that sort of thing or are just looking for some inspiration for your own dream kitchen remodel.

Dream Kitchen: The Before…

Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

We closed on this home in October 2021 and one of the biggest selling points was the kitchen layout and how much potential it had. It has a large, open concept flowing into the living room, a south-facing view with a wide sliding door leading to the backyard, and a big square footage that would allow for a huge island and wall-to-wall cabinetry. On a clear day, the kitchen is flooded with sunlight and very warm, which we love.

The existing kitchen had a good general layout in terms of where the appliances and sink were positioned, but because everything was pushed into one corner it meant we had to do a little bit of work to move some of the electrical, plumbing and exhaust. We also had to run a gas line for the new range because the existing one was electric.

Overall, the kitchen was perfectly fine and I very happily cooked in it for almost an entire year. If I had any complaints it was just that the fridge was so deep and close to the island that the doors almost hit it every time you tried to get something out.

Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

The Inspiration…

Dream Kitchen Remodel Inspiration Primal Gourmet
We incorporated a lot of our favourite designs and elements from various projects we found on Pinterest. Studio McGee, Becki Owens and The Cabinet Gallery in Utah were huge sources of inspiration.

We spent A LOT of time on Pinterest looking for as much inspiration as we could handle. In terms of style, we wanted something that balanced traditional elements with modern features. Something that was warm and inviting, but also timeless and elegant. Something light and bright, but not stark or jarring. We also wanted to make sure we maximize all of the usable space, but not to the point that it feels bulky or cluttered.

What we landed on was a combination of some of our favourite features from various kitchens. The trick was trying to adapt them to fit the specific dimensions and layout of our dream kitchen. Sometimes that meant making things smaller or bigger, taller or shorter, wider or longer, lighter or darker, etc.

I am a huge fan of designs from Studio McGee, Becki Owens, The Cabinet Gallery in Utah, Studio Dearborn, and deVOL Kitchens, to name a few. There’s no shortage of inspiration on the internet, which I find to be both a blessing and a curse because it can make things feel a bit overwhelming.

Sketching My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
This was the general sketch I put together and showed to my cabinet maker who wasted no time in telling me that it was not to scale, but workable.

The Layout…

I should start by saying that we did not hire an interior designer or general contractor to design or work on the kitchen. Instead, I sketched out the rough plan myself based on the inspirational sources and decided to take on the role of contracting each of the trades. One of the best decisions we made was to work directly with our cabinet maker to nail down the overall layout and specific measurements for each of the cabinets, shelves, drawers and island.

I think the only reason I was able to do this is because my cabinet maker is my best friend’s father and I’ve literally known him my entire life. For my 13th birthday, he built me a solid-wood bed and the quality is so exceptional that it’s the same one we sleep in to this very day over 24 years later. He’s semi-retired now but has been building kitchens for almost 40 years. When we were young, I used to joke with my friend that one day his dad would build my dream kitchen. So when I say that this project is a dream come true, I mean every word of it.

The After…

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

For the range wall, we loved the overall look, feel and symmetry of Studio McGee’s Mountainside Retreat. This is probably the kitchen I personally kept coming back to over and over again because it ticked so many of the boxes. You’ll probably see a lot of general similarities in terms of the island, range and hood positioning, but on a smaller scale and with some different finishes. We loved the counter-to-ceiling upper cabinets that are broken up into three sections, the placement of the pendant lights over the island and the overall symmetry of the space.

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

What differs is that we mirrored the counter-to-ceiling upper cabinets on both sides of the wall and mounted floating shelves to flank the range hood. I think this helps keep the space feeling open and airy, drawing the eyes up, but also practical and beautiful because it allows us to display some of our favourite pots, books and photos.

The main pieces of the puzzle were the 48″ range and hood – both of which I LOVE. After we selected and ordered our appliances, we could map out the rest of the space, breaking it up to figure out the dimensions of the upper cabinets, lower drawers and floating shelves. The heights were determined based on the fact that we wanted reeded glass doors, which can only extend to a certain height and width before they are structurally unsafe.

We also chose to widen the upper cabinets slightly so that we could reduce the width of the floating shelves. This then meant that the lower drawers would be slightly different widths, which is not necessarily a bad thing. And to fill out the space, we added pull outs on either side of the range for everyday cooking items like utensils, oils and vinegars.

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

For the fridge and pantry wall, we drew a lot of inspiration from this Becki Owens Summit Creek Project. It made full use of the side wall with a panel-ready fridge and freezer, small cabinets above for extra storage and a full pantry wall beside it. I also loved the fact that it was entirely wood-stained, which adds a beautiful amount of warmth to the space. I won’t lie, this was probably the hardest design decision I had to convince my wife on, but I’m happy to report she now loves it.

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

The main inspiration for the island was this Instagram reel I saw from The Cabinet Gallery. From the countertop to the wood-stained cabinets and gold accents, I love absolutely everything about it. So much so that the colour scheme of the kitchen is almost entirely based on this single piece of content that I just randomly happened to come across.

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

The kitchen island is easily the most used space of the home so it was very important to make it as long and wide as possible. It’s where we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as a family, where we do a lot of arts and crafts with our daughter, where we host friends and where I record all of my cooking content.

One side has plenty of seating with extra hidden storage space underneath. And the other side has a dishwasher, pull-out drawer with full-size garbage and recycling bins, smaller drawers for knives, towels, and cleaning supplies and a cupboard to store all of my large butcher blocks, cutting boards and even a step ladder so that we can reach the upper cabinets. The size of the island was determined based on the width and depth of each of these components, plus the additional space needed for the end panels with electrical receptacles on either side.

In this one small corner of the island, I have just about everything I need within arms reach for prep work and clean up so it’s extremely practical and an essential component of our dream kitchen.

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

You may notice that the sink is actually not centred in the island. We did this on purpose to maximize the workable counter space to the right of the sink. This space is closest to the window and where I do all of my prep work, plus content recording. If we centred the sink, it would have cut into the usable space, without adding any real advantage style-wise since the island itself couldn’t be centred against the back wall because of the framing of the house and the wet bar area – which I’m very excited to share soon!

My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

Probably one of the best and most practical decisions we made in our dream kitchen design was to include as many lower drawers as possible. The only lower cupboards we have are for under the sinks and for the cutting board storage. Aside from those, it’s drawer heaven in here. You end up paying a little bit more for the extra materials, cutting and hardware, but it makes things so much more accessible and easy to find so I would highly recommend including them if you’re planning a remodel.

Before and After Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet
My Dream Kitchen Remodel Primal Gourmet

Building this kitchen has been an incredibly long and, at times, very stressful project, but I can honestly say that I loved every second of it and would do it again in a heartbeat. I’m very excited to finally share it with you all. I know that many of you have followed the process on my Instagram stories over the past year with genuine excitement and that makes this all the more special.

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1 Comment

  1. I love everything you picked ….well done. I too was left the the responsibility to design our space with of course the help of the kitchen cabinet company. I saved and did idea boards as you did and loved all the same designers.
    Anyway great choices and I have enjoyed many of your recipes!
    Thanks for sharing and I looking forward to ready more of your posts.
    Keep well,