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Kitchen Love Story: A Review and Giveaway | Killer b. Designs



Kitchen Love Story: A Review and Giveaway

kitchen love story


It’s no secret that I built my kitchen from the ground up. We did everything ourselves, from building the cabinets to installing appliances. It helped to have a handy spouse, he’s an electrician by trade and a plumber by birth (well, sort of, his dad is a master plumber and he grew up learning the trade). With my history of furniture building, and the invaluable help from the amazing Ana White, it didn’t seem like too much of a leap to try out building kitchen cabinets. Overall, I consider our kitchen a resounding success!



I love my kitchen. So, so much. But. There are a few things I don’t love, now that I’ve used it for two years. That’s where Camille Finan comes in. Here I thought I had covered all the angles. I had dozens of magazine tear sheets, hundreds of pins on Pinterest, sketches for cabinets and house plans to study layouts. I got a few things “right”. I’m glad we moved our sink and dishwasher out of the island and onto the wall. Everyone told me that was crazy, that I would want to have a “view” when doing the dishes. Wrong. Doing the dishes means staring at dishes, so who cares where the sink is? I’m happier to have a huge solid space that’s basically indestructible (thank you, stainless steel!) and leave my huge piles of dirty dishes somewhat hidden behind the refrigerator. I’m still quite happy with our open shelving, and we use those island stools just as much as we do our dining table.


Before I read Camille’s book, I was happy enough with my kitchen. Sure, there were the annoying things. My trash can cabinet worked okay as long as you didn’t try to pull them too hard. And the uncovered bins did attract a lot of fruit flies. The flip-up drawer front above it where I intended to store paper towels lay empty, as we nixed the paper for cloth rags to save on waste. The baby is constantly opening up the island cabinet doors and pulling out all my jars. My upper cabinet with vertical dividers for baking pans is pretty much a joke since only half of my vintage oven is actually an oven, and I have two generous shelves on the other side for my pans. When I read through Camille’s book, it was like the skies parted. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? I should replace those door with wide, deep drawers! Then, I wouldn’t have to empty out half the cabinet to grab the big jar in the back. I would just pull out the drawer. Now that I don’t need paper towel storage, I can make a drawer for that space to keep our dish cleaning supplies. Adding in a few shelves to the pan cabinet would make several small cubbies that will be great for those odds and ends with no real “home”. Over and over I was hit with new, great ideas every time I finished a chapter.


Kitchen Love Story serves as a primer for your kitchen renovation. Gone are the layouts and floorplan examples and confusing jargon. Camille fills you in on the secrets behind the curtain. She shows you how to  “Design From the Inside Out” when planning your kitchen. That’s one key step I missed. She advises to think about every last little detail. It’s great to look at pretty hardware and paint colors, but where are you going to keep the zip-top bags? I have small children, so I need to think up the best way to store sippy cups and snack bowls. What about the bakeware and food storage containers? She explains that those fancy custom cabinets don’t have to be as pricy as you think. And that some of the flashy add-ons are just that, all flash and no real substance. She shares where you should save your pennies, and where you should splurge.


Planning a kitchen, whether it’s a renovation or a new build, can be extremely confusing. There are thousands of choices that have to be made. Camille helps guide you through the process, explaining that really, it’s not so scary after all. Each chapter is chock full of great tips on how to avoid the “little lady” treatment from contractors, which I often faced. You don’t have to settle for builder-grade standard options. With a small bit of customization, you can achieve the kitchen of your dreams!


So by now you can probably tell that I loved the book, and 100% recommend it to everyone planning to make improvements on their kitchen. The only thing I feel the book was lacking was listing a few of the less standard, creative, or budget options for things. For example she mentioned solid surface or laminate countertops, like granite, marble, corian, etc. My absolute favorite surface hands down has been our stainless steel island. It’s fabulous. It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. We’ve processed raw meat, rolled out cookies, made play dough, chopped veggies, and performed basically any and every kitchen task on that thing. It’s a simple wipe, rinse, repeat. I also wish there had been some mention of looking outside the standard procedure for a few items. As an extreme DIYer, I know we saved a bundle by doing things ourselves, getting inventive with materials (open shelving saved us a huge amount) and sourcing vintage and great used appliances on Craigslist. But that’s a pretty nit picky criticism. Many people plan to hire out all the jobs, and Camille has great advice for how to handle things as your own General Contractor. I wish I had read it before trying to work those issues through myself!

If you have any kitchen projects coming up in the near future, be sure to pick up Kitchen Love Story before you get started. And one lucky reader will have the chance to win a copy! To enter, leave me a comment with your favorite kitchen organizing tip. Whether it’s how to stack up the dishes or the best undercabinet lighting you’ve used, I want to hear about it!
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  1. Gayle P

    I love my spice drawer next to the oven and in the baking center. It has slanted racks that hold the jars so I can easily read the labels and find what I need; the spices are kept dark and pretty cool, and I don’t have to shuffle through a stack of spice jars crammed into an upper cupboard to find things.

    1. Brooke

      Awesome! That was actually one of the tips in the book: don’t buy the fancy pullout spice cabinet, just pop in the slanted insert into a drawer and you can actually read things without bending down and scrounging through them all!

  2. alex 575

    Sounds like a good book. I definitely have a few things I love and hate about my kitchen. Recently I condensed all my cookie/baking supplies into one area and that has saved me a ton of time not searching for them when I need them

  3. Erin @ Fierce Beagle

    I keep baggies and foil and saran boxes all in one shallow drawer. They kind of fit together like a puzzle, and they’re always handy.

    1. Brooke

      It’s like Kitchen Tetris!

  4. Kelly Smith

    My husband and I DIY’ed our kitchen as well. I read your blog for all the good ideas and plans I built large pull out drawers instead of lower open cabinets and that was my best decision! My kids can easily reach the plates and bowls since they are lower. Makes emptying the dish washers very easy!

    1. Brooke

      I am definitely taking the doors off and building drawers. Doors and deep cabinets just don’t work!

  5. Allie @ Everyday Adventures

    We live in a rental right now, but back in Texas I wanted SO BADLY to redo our whole kitchen – stained white laminate counters, scratched up orange-wood cabinets. So ugly.

  6. rottieprncs

    I hang my measuring spoons and cups on the inside of the cupboard 😀

    1. Brooke

      I totally need to do this. I’m always shuffling through the drawer looking for the right one

  7. Tina C.

    We’re looking into DIY’ing a kitchen renovation in the near-ish future. I don’t really have many organization tips, my method seems to be cram everything in anywhere it’ll fit! My only requirement is that after living many years without a designated pantry I know I’m a huge advocate of having a pantry!

  8. Kristin

    The roll out shelves are amazing in our kitchen cabinets. Its so easier to see everything.

  9. Talina

    Drawers, drawers and more drawers, I’m going to replace most of my bottom cupboards with drawers, I think I’ll be able to store twice as much stuff. I’m going to keep one cabinet and put in a pan rack to store my cookie sheets.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  10. Shannon b

    We had a pull out pantry made in the 12″ space between the fridge and wall. It holds so much food in such a small space, one of my favorite features of my kichen.

  11. staci torgerson

    We moved to a new (older) home last year and my kitchens cabinets are tiny in comparison to my last kitchen and fewer too. The previous owners built a new laundry room so the kitchen laundry has now become the pantry. I had a ton of old gym lockers I’d collected and decided to use those in the pantry to coral like products ie: can godds are in 1, pasta and dry beans in another, cofeeding and teas in another and so on. It’s helped my kids also with putting up the groceries. They’re not asking me where everything is now.

  12. Theresa

    This Is so minor but it still makes me happy. I bought a couple of the clear drawer organizers and finally arranged my drawer with all the small cooking tools. Like measuring cups, spatulas, can opener, graters, etc. so nice to see everything has a spot and not just thrown into a drawer.

  13. Christa

    My husband and I are restoring a 100 yr old farmhouse so I am gathering kitchen ideas. There is one I will copy from my mothers kitchen – a deep drawer for all of those plastic storage containers.

  14. Sharon Flasche

    I put a wire divider under my sink, to store my cookie sheets and baking pans vertically. Love it.

  15. Megan

    I would LOVE some pull-out drawers in the cabinets. I have big, deep lower cabinets but they almost feel useless because it’s so hard to get to the back of them. The one thing I do love is a little narrow shelf next to the microwave–we were using cabinets bought on Craigslist that didn’t *quite* fit the space–in order for the microwave to be centered, we had to build a little narrow shelf. Turns out it is the perfect size for oil and little baskets with the spices–things you want next to the stove anyways!

  16. Rhonda

    How does one organize the endless pieces and parts of little people dishes?!?!

    1. Brooke

      If anyone figures out the answer to this, I will be forever grateful! I shove everything in a double deep drawer and constantly mutter under my breath while digging around for this or that lid

  17. mamallama100

    You can never have enough cabinet space, and by saying that, I don’t have enough. I’ve decided that if I ever build a home, I’m going to hang an antique metal box springs from the ceiling and hang all of my pots/pans from it.

  18. Linda Baldock

    Thank you for your review of this book…well-done. Although I love the layout of my 60’s kitchen, there are several things about the cabinets that need to be considered when we remodel. I plan to read this book before we do so.

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