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  • Neyir Urminsky

How to create a Free Standing Kitchen with marble countertops!

Free standing kitchens are not new, in fact it used to be that if you wanted a kitchen you would by default create a free standing kitchen. Kitchen cabinets as we know them today, with the run of ideally, uninterrupted countertops didn’t emerge until around the 1930s. Before then kitchens were comprised of a free standing sink, a stove and free standing furniture. A work table was often a central and hardworking element.


I am loving participating yet again in the One Room Challenge, the ORC is a wonderful event in which anyone can participate! The challenge of the ORC lies in completing a space within 8 weeks. Be sure to click on the link and learn about all the wonderful projects and participants!! If you want to catch up on this year's project my first post is all about the overall plan and mood board. In previous years I have completed A DIY Limestone Patio, A Colour Saturated Vestibule, and a Bedroom for Busy Boys.



What we now consider a ‘traditional’ or fitted kitchen is the modern descendant of the Frankfurt Kitchen created in 1926 by Austrian’s first female architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Schütte-Lihotzky designed a kitchen based on efficiency incorporating fitted cupboards, she was influenced by the work of both Christine Frederick and Benita Otte who created the kitchen for the Haus am Horn





If you would like to start learning more about the history of kitchen design beginning in the early 1900s there is a fantastic series on Apartment Therapy by Nancy Mitchell and you can see my fav Frankfurt kitchen in another article by Mitchell, spoiler its blue!


I am striving to create a hybrid of free standing and modern fitted kitchen elements. My goal is to craft a kitchen that serves our family and values. Which means a kitchen with as light an environmental footprint as possible that is still elevated in its design and function. And in my view the best way to achieve that, with a frankly limited budget, is to use antiques. Furthermore I wanted countertops in natural and long wearing materials, ideally natural stone, which I initially thought were out of my budget. Then I realized that some antique pieces already have pre cut marble tops, plus the cost of the entire piece was the same or less than buying the marble counter itself! Well once we solved our layout issues, making the decision to move the stove to the opposite wall I took my measurements and started hunting.



I wanted as close to the ideal width as possible to cover the space on either side of the stove but I knew I needed to be more flexible on depth and height. We weren’t concerned if the cabinets were not the exact height of the stove top and actually preferred them to be slightly higher, we are a tall family after all. The other consideration was continuity, I knew I would be creating a certain amount of design tension simply by marrying the antiques with a run of modern, glossy flat fronted cabinetry so I wanted continuity with the type of marble tops and some sympathy between the antique cabinet designs themselves. I also knew that I did not want to go in a country or shabby chic direction. While there are many gorgeous examples of relaxed modern free standing kitchens created with antiques that is not my preference nor does it feel organic to our 1960’s sidesplit. I would have loved to go in an Art Deco direction but the cabinets that I found in that style were both outside my budget and not the correct dimensions. Also I wanted to minimize wood tones as I already had 2 pieces for the kitchen that are walnut. Painting the cabinets was also out, it felt too shabby chic and was not what I was looking for.


This art nouveau buffet was one of my favs, the marble was stunning!

I spent a lot of time looking! If you are on the hunt for something on FBMP or thrifting in general then I highly suggest you check out the resources of these two amazing experts; The Makerista and A Glass of Bovino. What is wonderful about this approach is you can, patiently, create the look you want! A few of the other options I considered;


I loved this one but the dimensions weren’t right


Nearly grabbed this one with it beautiful pink marble

Then it happened, the same week that I booked the electrician I found this piece, I wasn’t 100% sure about the marble top but it was so amazing and unusual and incredibly practical that I bought it and let me tell you we have not been disappointed! It is beautiful, incredibly well made and has a gorgeous finish, I believe it is cherry! In the layout of the kitchen this cabinet is more visually prominent than the other antique I bought.




Which brings us to the second piece, I already had it saved on FBMP. It felt a little more informal than I wanted but visually had enough in common with the first piece that I was confident I could make it work! Once I had it home and examined it in detail it was evident that it was a different wood altogether (oak) and the finish was in rough shape. My plan is to refinish it to match the colour and finish of the first piece.



So this is where we are this week. The electrician came and after a dramatic day discovering that the bottom half of the new stove wall was not only structural but also made from cinder block we were able to get the 240v stove plug installed. The cinderblock does mean that the stove is 3 inches out from the wall itself which we plan to rectify by building a shelf behind the stove that will be covered in marble, the same material as the 3-4 inch backsplash.


Our cabinets are in place but not installed but we still love it!!!

Goals for this week include matching the stain and refinishing the oak cabinet and installing L shaped legs to raise it to the same height as the other piece. I am also on the continual hunt for another piece of marble for the original cabinet as well as for the backsplashes and a few other things. I’m also looking for the modern cabinets we need for the fitted cabinets, mainly 2 drawer units and the sink cabinet as well as a sink and sourcing the acacia wood countertops. That feels like enough right - haha.


Looking forward to staining the left cabinet

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