When a small fire broke out in our kitchen, my husband, Scott, and I used it as an opportunity to build our dream kitchen. With the help of a contractor, we designed it to be efficient, family-friendly and visually appealing. It was so much fun watching our dreams become reality.

It amazes me how organized my kitchen is now. The placement of each cabinet and drawer was carefully planned. Everything has a place, from canned goods to measuring spoons.

We designated two basic centers—one for baking and one for cooking—with a large island in the center. The baking area has cabinets for specific pans and utensils, and the island features bins for flour, sugar and other staples. The cooking area has a built-in cutting board and pull-out spice rack.

Being on the short side, I found working at standard countertops uncomfortable. Lowered counters in the baking area make it easier for me to roll out dough.

My favorite features are the white oak cabinets and the six-burner, double-oven stove, which is housed in a rock archway. A cabinet builder who specializes in dovetailing made the cupboards. The glass in the door matches the glass in a hutch we had built for our 10th wedding anniversary.

I love spending time in the kitchen with our kids—Jessica, 14; Elisha, 12; and Kathryn,10. I don't remember a time when they haven't been with me baking and cooking. Last year, we compiled a book of our favorite recipes.

I home-school our children, so they sit around the island or table and continue studying while I fix lunch. We are pork producers, so when they finish their schoolwork, the kids help Scott on our farm.

Our new kitchen makes it fun to entertain. When we have guests, I get the chance to use my large collection of teacups. We can gather at the island or the table…or in the living room and still be part of what's going on in the kitchen. It has a warm, welcoming feel that seems to invite family and friends to stay a little longer!





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