This past weekend, Shaun and I managed a date night, and just like the DIY/house/design loving nerds we are, we spent it touring houses at our annual Parade of Homes (where new, custom homes are open to public viewing for a limited period of time).


{Taking selfies in bathrooms that we could drive our cars through}

And THEN, we went back for round two on Sunday afternoon and spent a bit of our afternoon driving around, taking turns running in to do whirlwind tours while the other waited in the car with the kids (thank goodness for our van’s DVD player).


{The design on this particular house wasn’t fancy, but the decor was super cute}

Honestly, the predominant home aesthetic here in East Texas does very little for me. Whereas I love light, airy, and colorful, the style here tends to be dark, heavy, and monochrome. Still, it was fun to see some of the more elevated elements like hot water pot fillers attached to the backsplash behind the range, Carrara marble countertops,  gorgeous freestanding tubs, and maaasssive walk-in closets.

Like this one.


(And that’s only half of it!)

That closet actually belonged to our favorite home (by far) of the tour. In fact, we loved it so much that we circled back for a second look on our way out of the neighborhood.

When we built our house from scratch, our predominant consideration was budget, since we were using cash to build it without debt. We knew we wanted a custom home with certain design details, but we forewent some of the fancier elements for the sake of staying within our budget. The goal was style we loved at a price we could stomach.

And honestly? I’m happy with our results. I’ve never particularly missed having granite countertops. And while our engineered hardwood floors aren’t quite as nice as the real deals, they certainly do the trick. And our custom/bartered cabinets look pretty in deep teal AND white.

Still…there’s at least a chance that we’ll build again some day. And even if we don’t, a girl can dream, right? I don’t get on Pinterest very often, but if you noticed my flurry of pins this past weekend, then just know that I was busy doing “research” and that almost all of it centered around the best room in the entire house.

Which is, of COURSE, the kitchen. I mean, where else can you combine so many fun, sparkly, fancy, useful things in one room?

Things like…




Shiny, shiny lights, vent hoods, and countertops. Honestly, this kitchen is a little too white for me (although, I love the playful touch of those aqua knobs), but it’s hard to argue with the sparkling clean effect.



There are several things I love about this space, but if you’ve been reading for a while, then you probably know what immediately caught my eye. Hint: it starts with “st” and ends in “ls.”



Exposed brick, lots o’ white, silver, ship lap, open shelving, and an overall industrial vibe?

Somehow, I think Joanna Gaines would approve. Meeeeee too.



I love so many things about this kitchen–the backsplash, that ladder, the hanging aqua cups. But what slays me is that antique buffet doubling as an island. So stinkin’ clever and gorgeous to boot.



This is not my dream kitchen, but those chunky exposed beams, the moody green cabinet color, and that 60″ range sure do make my heart go pitter-patter.



There are so many cool pendant lights out there these days that it’s almost impossible to decide. But for me, nothing quite tops the old-school glamour of a full-on crystal chandy over a rustic wood island (if it just so happens to be paired with checkerboard floors and cloudy gray cabinetry, I won’t complain).

If I were to make a dream list of kitchen design “essentials,” I think I’d have to go with:

  • wood floors
  • stone countertops (not sure which direction I would go, but marble’s definitely out because even in the dream version, I would still have lots of kids)
  • furniture-style island big enough to seat our entire crew
  • fun bar stools
  • killer range/oven
  • farmhouse sink
  • sparkly backsplash (call me a trend-lover, but I’ve fallen for white subway tile)
  • exposed shelving
  • color somewhere (I’d be tempted to do my lower cabinets in a shade of my beloved blue-green while keeping the uppers white).
  • massive windows for tons of natural light
  • gorgeous lighting

So, yeah. I’m not picky at all. Ahem.

What would YOUR “perfect” kitchen look like? (Honestly, I’ve got my perfect kitchen. It heats things it should, cools others, and works great for our family. NO complaints!)


  1. I love touring the Parade of Homes as well. We don’t get too do it much, but I enjoy seeing all the designs & ideas! I love the style of kitchens in your post so much. We gutted our kitchen in 2004 when we purchased the house, and now I’m itching for a change. I’m nervous to tell hubby because he thinks its perfect from 2004 til infinity. I’ve fallen for the design aesthetic of Fixer Upper. Not sure exactly what its called, but it is so pretty! I’d take all the kitchen “essentials” you listed plus a ice machine that makes Sonic ice (oh dream!).

I love hearing from you guys!