We used only basic big-box cabinets. I found the door handles at IKEA for 50 cents a piece. My fridge is small but huge in comparison to most used in Europe. I love bamboo for flooring, not only is it earth friendly, it is also warm and gentle on my feet (and knees), not bad at $2/sq ft. The counter is laminate, I haven't regretted my choice once, especially since we added gorgeous 2 inch glass and stone tiles as a back splash. We chose a more expensive tile and installed it as a border, which makes this an affordable way to add luxury.
I chose a less expensive floating island, which also adds more storage, for every day bowls, baking sheets and strainers. Plus the huge roaster I bought for Thanksgiving which fits no where else.
I like to keep my counters uncluttered - cooking is much easier when you can use every last bit of the counter. I do keep a cutlery container full of cooking tools close to the stove, this way everything I need is within reach.
On the other hand, I don't mind open pantries, it screams family to me, and that's what the kitchen is all about, isn't it! We eat here exclusively, except for dinner, the girls watch and often cook with me around the island, and I can help them with homework while finishing up the dishes. It simply works.
I do dream of a modern country home, I love panelled walls and am surprised how these 80's panelled walls, installed horizontally, turned out. Modern country in small town suburbia, done.
When the weather turns warmer, the girls and our pooch will have a little outdoor photo session. I am hoping for gorgeous face-only close ups to put in these large frames. I love simple, detailed close ups.
All kids adore jars with treats, I fill mine with organic dried fruit, instead of sugary cookies. (It's a big hit.)