Our New Modern Kitchen: The Big Reveal!

I’m just a big bundle of nerves as I’m about to present to you the BIG REVEAL of our brand new modern black and white oak kitchen at The Forest Modern!!!  When I started designing our new custom home over two years ago, I had no clue what I wanted our kitchen to look like.  I knew I wanted it to feel modern yet comfortable.  The kitchen is the heart of our home, isn’t that true for most homes?

If you have the opportunity to work with a kitchen designer that does those fancy (and so helpful) renderings, I’d highly recommend that route. That was not the case for me.  I worked with a local “old school” cabinet maker who basically sketched very basic cabinet dimensions per my guidance with basic kitchen layout that I had designed. I relied on a few photos to show him for specific looks I was trying to achieve like our specialty rift sawn white oak cabinets and paneling. More on that in a bit. To design a kitchen this way is risky, but I had to trust my instincts and pray that what I was envisioning in my crazy design mind would actually look and feel how I wanted it to.  There were a few key elements that were a must for our kitchen.

Bright, airy and open

Our former kitchen felt a bit closed off from the main living area so I wanted this one to feel like just an extension of our living room space.  We have 12′ ceilings throughout the whole main floor.  Those can be a blessing and a curse all at the same time when dealing with design challenges. I love ours though and I worked through those “challenges.”

Modern Kitchen with double islands black and rift sawn white oak cabinets open shelves steel transoms

Notice there are no upper cabinets (other than our built ins).  I made smart decisions regarding storage solutions in all the lower cabinets in order to have no need for uppers.  I’ve loved the look of open shelving for a few years now. I can’t wait to get busy styling those shelves with practical daily dishes as well as fun, yet simple, accessorizing. Even the shelves were custom made by our cabinet maker.

white oak open shelves in kitchen

Steel Transoms

I didn’t even know I needed these in my life until I started researching ways to delineate two spaces without obstructing views. The kitchen needed to feel defined within a space yet not bound by it.  Originally there was a two foot dropped down soffit between the kitchen and living space and I hated how it felt. So we knocked it out and I worked with a fantastic local metal fabricator who designed this steel transom based off some sketches I gave him. Nailed it!

Modern Kitchen with Black and Rift Sawn White Oak cabinets with open shelves and steel transoms

Bold Cabinets

With all the rage about white kitchens these days I felt the need to rebel and go opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I love those dreamy white kitchens yet I knew I wouldn’t get the butterflies in my tummy if I designed a kitchen based on popularity. Always always always go with your instinct!!  Black is my favorite color. I feel most comfortable when I’m wearing it and I knew that I would feel edgy and bold living in it in my kitchen. The black pops so beautifully against our crisp white walls.

All appliances are hidden behind cabinet panels so everything looks sleek and integrated. You better believe I put two dishwashers in again! Best tip I can give on kitchen design if you have the space.  Helps keep that gorgeous farm sink clean and clear of dirty dishes.

modern kitchen black cabinets open shelves white farm sink

Modern kitchen black cabinets white oak open shelving double islands

Quartz Backsplash

In keeping with the concept of sleek, modern and minimal, I didn’t want to introduce a separate backsplash against our marble looking quartz.  So I floated it up the wall. There are some details to consider when doing this that I’ll get into in a later post.

black shiplap hood in modern kitchen

quartz backsplash in kitchen

quartz slab backsplash in modern kitchen

Black and Gold Faucets (that look like jewelry)

I love glam so why not glam up our faucets. You guys, that knurled gold faucet head!!!  Feels like I just slapped a gorgeous 14 karat gold bracelet on my kitchen.

brizo litze black and gold faucet in modern kitchen

Rift Sawn White Oak Cabinets/Paneling

If you’re wondering what the heck rift sawn is, I had no clue either.  I just knew in my design that I was drawn to kitchens that had a juxtaposition of bold and natural.  Never ever ever did I think I’d put oak in my kitchen. This is not your setback to the 90’s era oak cabinets. Rift sawn describes how the lumbar is cut from the logs.  Without getting too technical and boring you to tears, rift sawn oak eliminates the typical “cathedral” patterns on the face of the board which is what we saw commonly in basic oak cabinets. Rift sawn cuts produce a linear grain which is more modern.  How did I figure this out? Research. Obsessive research until I figure out how to get the look I want. Those sleepless nights paid off.

Let me insert here that the double islands were a very last minute design shake up. Originally I had planned on one massive island, but how impractical is that? The waterfall quartz island will now serve as our eating space that smartly seats 10 people! Bonus, there’s even more storage underneath.

Modern kitchen design rift sawn white oak cabinets with waterfall double island and black shiplap hood

Modern kitchen with rift sawn white oak cabinet panels on built in refrigerator freezer

black glass pantry pocket door with steel transoms in modern kitchen

Gold Hardware and Lighting

I have this same cabinet hardware in our beach cottage.  Love it that much.

Black shaker style inset cabiets with white quartz gold hardware

I have a huge crush on gold light fixtures. I think it’s here to stay for quite some time, especially when balanced with elements like our rustic natural white oak floors.  There again, mix elements…glam with natural. Bold with subtle. With 12′ ceilings statement lighting was a must. You won’t believe what I paid for these gorgeous gold orb chandeliers. (all sources are listed at the end of this post!)

Black steel transom modern kitchen with black cabinets double islands

Modern Kitchen with double islands black and rift sawn white oak cabinets open shelves steel transoms

I can’t wait to get this kitchen accessorized and styled! We are taking our time though and enjoying just having a finished home. New counter stools are ordered for the island so I’ll be sharing those later this summer!

In the meantime, decorating is very simple and minimalistic. I think I love it.

Modern Kitchen with white oak open shelves waterfall double islands black cabinets

*affiliate links used for your shopping convenience. See our full disclosure policy HERE.

Thank you so much for following along with our design journey! I hope you love our new modern kitchen as much as we do!

If you’d like to catch up from the beginning of building our dream home, you can do so HERE








  1. I have been eagerly awaiting the big reveal and it is STUNNING!! Can’t wait to see more of your rooms!!

  2. Shauna I’m dying!!! Even though I had a sneak peak I love seeing the photos in the order you see your kitchen!! It’s glam yet comfortable and gorgeous to boot!! So happy for you and your sweet family! Now go enjoy this incredible space and the rest of it ❤️

  3. It is gorgeous! You really knocked it out out of the park…the whole space is so bright and beautiful. I especially love all the lighting together. Congrats!! Do you mind sharing the white paint you used? I don’t see undertones and it looks very fresh and modern!

  4. Shauna I am speechless!!! You are so beyond talented I can’t even! So so stunning. This is a spectacular, show-stopping, better than magazine worthy kitchen! I am dying! I’m so thrilled for you and just so happy you finally get to live here! Congratulations my friend! Xoxo

  5. It couldn’t be anymore perfect! Every single decision you made is absolutely stunning! Totally worth waiting for!

  6. I have been following your journey on this build from the beginning and all I can say is wow! It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s sexy, it’s modern, and just stunning!

  7. You did a phenomenal job!! I have been following your progress and was anxiously awaiting the reveal! I look at this kitchen and see so many things I want in my dream kitchen!! Could you tell me by any chance dimensions of this kitchen space?

  8. Shauna this is freaking INSANE! Between your gorgeous black and oak cabinets, that fabulous lighting, and your double islands I am literally dying over it. I think this is my favorite kitchen of all time. Simply spectacular! All of your hard work paid off x10000!!!!

    1. Kris!!! Thank you so much my friend! You know all too well what kitchen design feels like and the struggles but so worth it in the end!! Thank you for stopping by and leaving me the sweetest compliment!

  9. Shauna I’m so happy for your family! What a beautiful kitchen to gather in and make so many precious memories!!!! I hope you get to relax and enjoy it!

  10. Oh, excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor and wipe the freaking drool off my face! IT IS EVERYTHING I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE! Where’s the LOVE button??? Shaunaaaaaaaaaa!!! The four lights! The waterfall islands! The hardware! THAT FAUCET! Kinda mad I didn’t know that existed, to be honest. Lol Where was that 2 months ago when I started my kitchen? Lol! I kid. Love my faucet. But hot damn, that’s pretty! So proud of you, friend! Enjoy this space with your sweet fam!

  11. Absolutely stunning!! I’ve followed your journey and by what you’ve shared, know how much you’ve poured into it but oh so worth it!! Wow!! Wow!! Usually, when I see a kitchen reveal on IG, there’s always some part of it that I would want to change but NOT this one. EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. PERFECT!! I think one of my favorite details is that you differentiated the islands by only doing one a with a waterfall counter. It’s very difficult balancing modern while still maintaining a feeling of warmth but you nailed it!! I can’t wait to see the butler’s pantry!! God bless your family and may your new home be filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories!!

  12. Wow! What a beautiful kitchen! Absolutely stunning design…great job! And those floors!! Can I ask what they are and where they are from? Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful new home of yours 🙂

  13. What a stunning kitchen! Those gold pendants work beautifully. Enjoy making many special memories in your new home ????

  14. Oh my gosh it is so beautiful! I love the black cabinets and the oak cabinets, and the steel, and the open shelving. I love your design decisions because they match with mine so much. 😀 Black and white contrast is my favorite. I redid my kitchen last summer and have similar things there. Now I am thinking I got inspired by you and your plans. 😀 I kept the steel features that were there from before, put black cabinets on the bottom and the upper cabinets are made from ash tree. I know the tree name in Finnish and I Google translated it but I don’t know if that’s the right name.. 😀 And I have a couple open shelves because putting an upper cabinet there would have made the space feel more closed in.

  15. Your kitchen is absolutely stunning. The details are beautiful. Wow!
    I found this post through Dimples and Tangles and now I’m subscribing
    so I can see more of your work. I’m looking forward to it!

  16. I’m not modern. At all. White kitchen, cottage design for me all the way. BUT. I can certainly appreciate incredible design when I see it. Stunning kitchen all around. Great job.

      1. Checked out your beach house kitchen on your blog (and subscribed while there ). Love love love it! What an incredible improvement to that space. You’re very talented. While every single thing is beautiful, I do have a HUGE crush on the tea towel with the lobster. Details, indeed!

  17. WOW Shauna! Absolutely amazing!!! So modern and beautiful! Love love love. I hear your challenges about 12′ ceilings, we have the same issues and they are certainly challenging. I love seeing your solutions like the metal transom and more of your amazing home! thanks for sharing!

  18. SHAUNA!!!!! I have no words! It is absolutely spectacular! You designed the perfect kitchen. I just know every moment you spend here will be a true blessing after all of your hard work. I just want to hugs you and congratulate you on this gorgeous design! YAY!!! So excited to see it in person soon! xo

  19. Beautiful job! I have 2 kids 2 and under and ran across your post in the middle of the night and Im glad I did. We have near the exact layout and it was nice to see what you did with the space. A definite inspiration for our own kitchen renovation. I would like to ask the color of the kitchen cabinets you used? Also, I’m also interested in the flooring, which I read you will post at a later date. Thank you for your help!

    Phoenix, AZ

  20. This kitchen is so beautiful! every detail is right on spot!
    I wonder if you could help me with few questions:
    1. size on the islands.
    2. what is that black color & wood light color/name of the cabinets doors
    3. these gold pulls name/info.
    I’m designing now a kitchen in SF BAY AREA. this is one of theB-E-S-T kitchen I have ever seen! Thank you for sharing.
    Best of luck.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for the sweet compliment! Our kitchen islands are 4.5′ x 10′, black cabinet paint is “Black” by Pratt & Lambert, oak panels are rift sawn white oak. The cabinet pulls and all other sources are listed and linked at the end of this post. Good luck with your kitchen!!

  21. would love to know who is these ebautiful black french-doors maker? just stunning! Thank you so much.

    1. Love your kitchen!!! In fact it is my “inspiration kitchen” as I’m remodeling now. Thanks for listing all of the details. What is the size of your base boards? Why did you go so thick? They look amazing !!!
      Thanks ,
      Renee Dallas TX

  22. Gorgeous work! Would you mind telling me the name of your quartz counter top? It is stunning.

    Thank you.

  23. Love it. We were looking at these same counters. Do you find it hard to keep the shiny look? Do they show dirt or fingerprints easily! I just have 3 boys ????????

    1. Hi! Well I have 3 boys too and no they are super easy to clean. I always clorox wipe them for initial clean up and then follow up with a granite surface spray cleaner with a damp microfiber cloth. Polishes them up beautifully!

  24. I am absolutely obsessed with your design style but most especially your kitchen. I am getting ready to build and am trying to figure out where/how to hide my kitchen outlets. Where are yours hidden (specifically on the range wall)? I spied one to the right of your range that you cleverly hid with a lovely plant but I cannot find the outlet to the left of the range. Where is it hiding? Thanks for all your inspiring posts!!!

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