Shed Some White

Shedding some white on her farm kitchen made it look brighter and bigger.

By Susie Rush, Walton, Indiana

New Kitchen Photo

New Kitchen Photo

Lighten up! That was my mission when my husband, Joe, and I decided to remodel our farmhouse kitchen a few years ago. We moved into the house in 1984, so I had been living with the old kitchen for years…and it was a dreary brown!

There was brown-stained plywood above wood cabinets, reddish-brown woodwork, butcher-block laminate countertops and beige flooring. Imitation red brick was everywhere else (old kitchen shown below).

Since everyone enters our house from the back door, the first thing they see is the kitchen. I wanted people to be greeted by a brighter, bigger-looking kitchen, but we didn't want to change the layout or expand. So I pored over magazines to get ideas…and decided on white cabinets with dark green countertops and oak-look flooring.Old Kitchen Photo

Although I love wood floors, I didn't want the maintenance that wood involved. Because the kitchen is a high-traffic area and we run a working farm, we needed something that wouldn't show the dirt. So we replaced the beige vinyl with laminate.

When I started shopping for cabinets, retailers tried to sway me toward hickory or oak for easier upkeep. I knew white cabinets would be harder to keep clean and new-looking, but my heart was set on them. We chose European-style white birch cabinets with hidden hinges. To break up the walls of white, some cabinets have glass doors that show off my china and glassware.

Instant Accent

Potato Drawer PhotoAt a home improvement store, I found some unfinished trim with a leaf and vine pattern that I thought would make a lovely decorative accent on the cupboards. The cabinetmakers stained the trim dark green to match my countertops and installed it for us.

The white cupboards are not only bright and attractive, they're full of fun features. The cabinetmakers turned a 6-inch "filler" space next to the wall oven into a pull-out rack for my spices and colored sugars. They also designed an angled cupboard near the entrance to house the wastebasket. Four cabinets have lazy Susans.

I bake a lot—when I'm not helping Joe farm our 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans, that is! I not only drive the tractor and combine, I do the paperwork, too. We run the entire spread ourselves, with one hired hand. Our son Greg works in nearby Kokomo, and son Roger lives in Michigan with his wife and three children.

There's also a covered bread drawer, a laminate-lined drawer for onions and potatoes, and a tip-out drawer at the front of the sink. I even have a place to store my baking sheets.