Dream Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel Part 2: Dazzling Design Details

Farmhouse kitchen with finished doorsIn part 1 of our Dream Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel article we talked about the construction process and major features of Keely Hersh’s (owner and designer of Right at Home Interiors) kitchen remodel.

Now, it’s all about the details.

Keely is known as a detail specialist, and this design shows exactly why. She knew she wanted a classic black and white combination in her farmhouse kitchen, but it’s the way she brought all the elements together that makes this finished kitchen so stunningly unique.

From black hardware choices to an island to die for, let’s see how Keely brought this award-winning cottage farmhouse kitchen remodel together.

Heavenly Hardware

From a distance, the hardware may all look very similar. Yet, this kitchen actually includes 11 types of handmade handles and knobs. Keely’s decorative hardware pieces are all satin black to play off the classic black and white theme. While the choice of hardware is eclectic, the way Keely uses each piece in her design is refined and purposeful.


The first way Keely incorporated black metal hardware into her design was with custom brackets. She knew they would help create a great farmhouse look, so she had them custom-made for her design.

(For more on these gorgeous brackets, see part 1 of our Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel!)

Ornate Hinges and Handle for the Pantry Door

Can you believe this ornate black hardware is actually gate hardware? Keely chose them because she knew the hinges would fit beautifully with her pantry door design. The result is a cool, dynamic layout.

The large, ornate hinges are something different in the room and add a cottage flair. Keely’s contractor had to chisel out custom hinge slots so that the door could open and close correctly. It took the contractor nearly half a day, but he did it.

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

The handle on the pantry is surprisingly smooth, given that it is outdoor hardware. The finish is not rough as you might expect but feels nice to the touch. This is not always the case, so it’s important to know what you’re shopping for when you go to purchase your hardware pieces.


Clavos are decorative nails of Spanish origin. When you see them up close you can see the detail of a sunburst design. They act like jewelry in the design—the perfect accessory.

Keely chose the clavos to highlight the room’s cabinets a little more and to bring balance to some of the cabinet doors. She placed them in the corners of some of the cabinets, adding a nice contrast of black against the white painted wood.

Clavos nailsNormally the nails are used on exterior gates in Spanish-style homes. Keely’s husband, Steve, cut off the nail portion (a difficult task!) so that Keely could glue the head of the clavos onto her cabinets.

It would be an easy choice to use clavos throughout the entire kitchen, but Keely did not want to overwhelm her design. Instead, she placed them strategically; not every cabinet has them.


Keely chose a variety of handles for her farmhouse kitchen. Each twist design is handmade, which makes them all a little different. The handles help to create a cohesive look without the room coming off too “matchy-matchy.”

As this farmhouse remodel shows, working with a diverse mix of hardware requires a detail-oriented designer. It’s not just about what fixtures you use, but where and how you use them. While it may seem like this is something easily accomplished by a trip to the hardware store, it really takes a designer’s eye to utilize each piece in a way that creates a consistent look. 

The Fridge: An Essential Element

As happens with appliances, Keely’s old refrigerator broke. When she and her husband, Steve, went to purchase a replacement fridge Keely knew they needed to do so with their new dream kitchen in mind. Keely chose a fridge with a French door style. She knew she wanted to build custom fridge doors for the new fridge.

Custom Fridge Doors for the Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel

custom doors for fridge in progress

The custom fridge doors were built before anything else and served to inspire the cabinet details in the kitchen’s design. Keely and her husband Steve (who took a week off work to make the doors!) designed and built the doors together. This was not an easy task, but certainly a rewarding one once they finally installed the cottage-style doors on the fridge.

Black handles, clavos details, and bead board insets adorn the pair of refrigerator doors. These details were very important to Keely, as they directly reflect the farmhouse cottage style she knew she wanted in the rest of her design.

close-up of fridge door beadboard insetWhen planning the custom doors, Keely paid special attention to the sides of the doors. Custom fridge doors are rarely built to wrap around the sides of the fridge. When not wrapped, the original fridge finish shows on the side of the doors. In this case, there would have been a visible black strip, as Keely’s fridge is black. The result of not wrapping the sides of the fridge is invariably jarring and throws off the rest of the design.

Wraparound design ensures that the sides of the fridge are covered.

So, to ensure her entire farmhouse kitchen would flow beautifully, Keely and her husband completed the extra work wrapping the custom doors around the sides. This is a unique design element many kitchen remodels do not include, but Keely knew it was going to make all the difference.

One Fridge, Two Plate Racks

blue plate rack on side of fridgeThe larger plate rack to the left of the fridge was already custom built along with the custom fridge doors Keely’s husband built. They lived with the fridge doors and the plate rack for a year before the rest of the remodel commenced.

Once demolition was set to begin for the farmhouse kitchen remodel, they took the plate rack apart and put it in the garage in front of the old pantry door. When Keely went out to the garage later and saw the plate rack and old pantry door together she said, “this is where I want to put my pantry door that I love so much.”

Keely painted it Sherwin-Williams Copen Blue (SW0068) to highlight the door a little more against all the white. It is one of the only built-in parts of the kitchen that is not white. The plate rack features a groove cut into the shelf that holds the plates in place as well as a decorative plate rail.

On the right side of the fridge is a smaller plate rack. Keely’s carpenter built this plate rack for her from an inspiration picture she gave him. The slats in this plate rack are at a diagonal, rather than the more traditional straight up and down. The carpenter installed the rack with a trim around it that makes it look built-in.

Keely painstakingly applied touches of blue paint for added dimension. It’s little details like these that give each of Keely’s designs a personal, one-of-a-kind look.

Custom Kitchen Island: A Star Feature

The dimensions of this custom-built island are 45” x 82”. The dark wood used for the thick countertop is mahogany and the lighter stripes are maple. The striking pattern of lighter and darker strips of wood is one of Keely’s custom design features. It proved visually stunning once the countertop was complete.

The countertop is built 3” thick and you can see that thick edge all the way around the island. And you’d better believe that countertop is heavy. In fact, Keely, Steve, and the installer all had to help hoist the countertop into its final place. It wasn’t a smooth process—the trio definitely dropped it a couple times—but when the countertop was finally in place it struck Keely for the first time that she really was going to have the beautiful kitchen she’d dreamed of for so long.

Keely designed the island to:

  • Reduce the need for cabinet storage in the rest of the kitchen
  • Have no appliances and no sink so she could have full access to the countertop.
  • Be slightly taller (38”) than the standard height (36”) of the rest of her countertops.

Each side of the island has a specific purpose in addition to its beauty. Let’s take a look at each of the 4 sides.

A Pretty Collection

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

This side features Keely’s pretty antique jar collection, which was the inspiration for the entire island’s design. She knew she wanted to display them on the end of the island. The jars sit on shelves made from leftover marble from Keely’s adjacent baking center design. Each shelf is wrapped with a mahogany edge—a designer detail.

Keely’s contractor, Bill, routered a detailed edge into the legs for a little more style, and Keely used decorative round circles of wood for an extra finishing touch.

The “Workhorse” Side

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

The side of the island with the paper towels is lovingly dubbed the “workhorse” side of the island. It features:

  • A paper towel cubby with antique spring-loaded paper towel holder
  • A trash compactor
  • A recycling center
  • Extra-deep drawer storage that eliminated some of the need for upper cabinet space
  • Thick drawer fronts with a distressed finish that really sells the cottage farmhouse style of the kitchen.

The Backside

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

The backside of the island is complete with fun details. It features a paneled end with just-for-show drawers finished with rounded hardware for the drawer pulls—the only place where that type of hardware is found in this kitchen.

Keely had electrical wiring put into the island. This allows electrical for the trash compactor and gave her the ability to include an electrical outlet in the island.

The “Front” of the Island: Storage for Days

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

Keely used clavos and knobs on this side of the island. The knobs are ceramic with a black metal base and work beautifully with the clavos to provide balance to the cabinet doors.

This side of the island faces the living room, so Keely knew she needed to design it with beauty in mind in addition to function. The result is deceiving; while the drawers and cabinets look simple and pretty, inside there is a ton of storage thanks to the extra deep dimensions.

The Pantry: Making Good Use of Empty Space

Keely and her team extended the feature wall, which created a corner in the hallway that was in danger of being wasted space. Keely decided it would be the perfect place for a pantry. She had to be careful with the design as the feature wall goes down the hallway a little way. Keely ensured that there was still a 3-foot space for ease of movement.

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen

The pantry doors have a custom recessed panel design. The addition of this pantry maximizes space, provides a nice deep place to store food, and gives even more fun detail to this dream kitchen.

Mouldings on Top of Mouldings

Moulding is a major part of cottage design. Keely decided to build up moulding on the upper edges of the cabinets and pantry. This was a purely aesthetic choice meant to enhance the overall cottage farmhouse look.

Moulding in farmhouse kitchenThe mouldings continue on the upper two cabinets on the side of the range hood adding more of the textured detail on the top of the cabinets. The carved cutout design on the range hood complements the mouldings and makes for a dramatic, eye-catching look.

Moulding can also be found on three of the edges of each shelf on either side of the stove. While this look is beautiful, it also has a function: The trim sticks up ¼” which stops things from sliding off the shelves. 

A Classic Farmhouse Sink with a Helpful Twist

The kitchen sink is the most used fixture in any kitchen. If you’re going to spend money in one area of your new kitchen remodel, this is the place. Get exactly what you want to get and don’t compromise. A good rule of thumb is to consider which sink option will provide you with a balance of durability, functionality, and style.

Keely nearly compromised on her sink—she almost reused the old sink from her original kitchen—but in the end she went with the farmhouse sink she truly wanted. Part of this decision came from the realization that the kitchen sink is built-in. Once she chose, there would be no going back.

In the end, Keely chose a 36″ Kohler farmhouse sink, which is the biggest they come. Usually a farmhouse sink is 30”, but Keely wanted the extra space to fit big trays. She went for a sink with a thicker front edge to lessen the likelihood of water splashing, which can happen with farmhouse sinks. This detail is often overlooked but can save you from unnecessary splashes.

A Smart Layout for Easy Cleanup

farmhouse kitchen sinkThe faucet selected is a farmhouse-style faucet by Franke in a beautiful satin nickel finish. Keely also purchased the matching sprayer, water dispenser, and soap dispenser.

Water invariably splashes between all kitchen fixtures, but that’s a very hard place to dry. As you can see in the picture above, Keely chose to space her fixtures perfectly for easy cleaning and drying. If you would like to do this in your home, remember to mention it early in the design process, as this is an element that needs to be planned for.

A smart fixture layout for your sink helps in your day-to-day activities. All these little details make for an easier, smoother cooking and cleaning process.

Tiny Touches with Big Impact

Below the sink are chicken wire doors with cute fabric curtains, clavos, and ceramic knobs. These small touches make a big impact when it comes to selling the cottage farmhouse style. This is also a versatile touch to the design. Change out the curtains, and you have a whole different look.

Light Fixtures

Goose Neck

Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel

Keely loved the 12” goose neck light fixtures from Barn Light Electric Company, but she needed them in exactly the right color. She ordered them finished on the inside, but not the outside. She then painted them the color she wanted with a double-layer paint technique.

As a finishing touch, she painted a clear coat on top of each one for a shiny effect that matched their interior. She also used amber Edison bulbs in the goose neck fixtures that give off a warm glow. These bulbs cut down on the glare that comes naturally with open fixtures.

The Lights Over the Island

Completed farmhouse kitchen renovationThe lights hanging over the island are ceramic with metal framework attached. Keely got lucky and they happened to be the right shade of blue that worked with the color scheme.

Keely made custom fabric shades that weave in and out of the lights. Because she made a custom pattern she can reuse it and make more sets out of different fabric. The fabric on the metal cages also helps to reduce glare from the bulbs.

Custom Window Treatments and Hardware

This kitchen is so rich with color, you might not be able to believe that this is an entirely white kitchen! Without the black hardware, light shades, and the blue pantry door behind the plate rack next to the fridge, there is no fixed color to speak of.

Keely brings in color with her selection of detailed elements—most especially the fabrics Keely chose for the window treatments. A beautiful thing about a white kitchen is that it provides a “blank slate” of sorts. Switch out the fabric and accessories and you have an entirely new look.

These award-winning window treatments combine custom-made curtains and hardware for an eye-catching design that pops. Let’s look at the different elements that brought this window treatment look together.

The Fabric

The French General Fabric featured on these top treatments beautifully complements the remodeled kitchen

Keely used French General floral fabric for the curtains in her farmhouse kitchen remodel. The soft floral had the perfect white to go with the distressed white cabinets. To show off the beautiful floral print, Keely designed a valance with a flat backdrop and curved shape at the bottom. Keely framed the curtains and valances with a faux red welt, mini white scalloped trim and blue plaid ruffle to add more country cottage details.

The Decorative Hardware Details

Farmhouse Cottage KitchenJabots and cascades were slipped into metal napkin rings with the same floral detail as the curtain fabric for a special touch. Keely attached the rings by drilling two holes through the front board and then tying the rings on. Keely painted the the napkin rings and finials on the rod for the coordinating café curtains the same rose red color that is found in the fabric.

All parts of Keely’s window treatment design flow beautifully with the backsplash of beveled Calcutta gold marble subway tile and matching countertops. The valance and café curtains are the crowning touch that makes Keely’s dream farmhouse kitchen just perfect.

The Dream Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel is Complete!

Farmhouse kitchen with finished doors

This 6-month farmhouse kitchen remodel shows that when you reach for your design dreams, the result is a room full of features you’ll always love. For Keely, it’s her 13-foot wall of Calcutta gold tile that gives her the most joy every time she sees it. What will it be for you?

What’s your design dream?

Farmhouse kitchen with finished doors

Just like she did with her own farmhouse kitchen remodel, Keely Hersh of Right at Home Interiors can turn your design fantasies into reality. If you have a dream room design in mind and you’re ready to take the next step to make it happen, set up a design consult with Keely today. Right at Home Interiors serves Folsom, Placerville, and El Dorado Hills, California. Virtual design options are also available!

PS: Did you miss part 1? Check it out here!