a forever farmhouse


Almost universally across all of my clients’ wish lists for their remodels, updates or builds is for their design to be “timeless.” That’s understandable; no one wants to invest so much time and money in a project that they’re going to feel is outdated in 5 years. From a design perspective, there are fewer things more frustrating to hear. Why? Simply because there is nothing in the kitchen/bath realm that is truly timeless. I can give you the design of your dreams, ticking off every item on your wish list, but ultimately, nothing is going to be “in style” forever.

I give clients looking for “forever design” this advice: design for what you want to be timeless and live with forever. Don’t design around resale value – you’re still the one who has to live in the house! Smart design, quality product and good installation are what’s really going to make your home timeless.

For those looking for the “forever” look, this design is inclusive of several elements that are about as timeless as it gets, yet still adds a huge design punch:

1. Two-tone cabinetry: a dark Maple cabinet on the island with lighter Alder cabinets everywhere else creates a nice contrast and very subdued design element. Keeping the lighter finishes up-top will aid in making your space feel open and airier.

2. Cambria countertop: sticking with one densely creme-colored Cambria for all of the countertops creates a cohesiveness between the dual-tone cabinetry and has a subtle, very elegant veining to it. Cambria is an incredible material and I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s chip-proof, stain-proof, anti-microbial and will last you a lifetime. This color and design in particular is understated and subdued, making it just about as timeless as it gets.

3. Cast-iron apron front sink: what’s a farmhouse if not an apron-front sink? Cast-iron is one of the most durable and timeless materials available. In a subtle off-white color, it’s not going to show watermarks or slight stains either. To increase longevity, always use basin racks to protect the bottom of the sink. Proper upkeep will keep your sink looking pristine for years.

4. Pull-down kitchen faucet: side sprays used to be a necessity, but that featured has segued into a pull-down faucet. Pull downs and single faucets keep your countertop free of minutia, and the single handle is simple and efficient. As opposed to Chrome, which can be appear very sterile, cold and cheap, or a brushed finish, which is difficult to clean, a Polished Nickel finish has warm, rich undertones that are more jewelry-like than anything.

When it comes to fixture finishes, quality is a huge factor to take into consideration. Kohler uses a PVC coating on their faucets so they won’t patina or tarnish. Fingerprints, waterspots, etc., will rub off with a cloth or Clorox wipe (nothing abrasive) and it will maintain its shine for years. Do not expect the same with cheaper faucets.

5. Statement tile backsplash: tile tile tile! In terms of dating your home, it can be extremely easy to do so with tile; it’s a very fine line. Getting carried away with beautiful, elaborate materials and designs is easy, but so is being so scared that you’ll be “sick of that” in a year that you just go with a plain white subway. Choose a tile that has one unique element in it – texture, in this case. The color is flat and matte, but the dimension of the tile and placement on the wall creates unique shadow play and forms. Simple, yet subdued. It’s a very “now” tile, but it’s also going to be a very “now” tile in 20 years. Now That’s What I Call Timeless.

6. Wood-like floor tile: extremely durable, affordable, and beautiful, ceramic wood floor tile is a fantastic alternative to hardwoods, and looks almost the same – a design element we all know will never go out of style.

7. Hammered metal hardware: one of the easiest ways to update your kitchen is to switch out your hardware. Your knobs and pulls are the most prominent “jewelry-like” pieces that are all around your kitchen. This Polished Nickel, hammered hardware with gnarling detail is beautiful and makes a gleaming statement.

8. Trough bar sink: a newer concept, depending on the size of your kitchen, a trough sink in your island could be an excellent idea.


Fill these trough sinks with ice and beers when entertaining, or use it to soak some dishes before you’re ready to wash. It’s a great unique and functional design detail, and functionality never goes out of style.

9. Chandelier: chandeliers aren’t for everyone and this is certainly more of a decorative element than not. But make a beautiful statement that ties all of the warm off-whites, Polished Nickel elements and hand-made feel of the tile into a chandelier over the island.

I often get asked if it’s appropriate in a design like this to mix cast-iron, stainless steel and Polished Nickel. My answer: absolutely. The off-white sink doesn’t need to match anything directly as it blends nicely with the Cambria and other finishings. The stainless sink becomes more of an appliance than a statement fixture, and that’s okay – because it is! The Polished Nickel is carried throughout the rest of the design in the hardware and coordinates with the warm hues, so is okay as well. Never be afraid to mix materials!

Sink: Kohler
Bar trough: Kohler
Faucet: Kohler
Knobs & pulls: Schaub
Counter: Cambria
Floor: Emil America
Cabinets: Omega
Tile: Ann Sacks
Chandelier: Restoration Hardware

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