freestanding kitchen

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Decorating, Favorite Finds107 Comments

Just imagine a kitchen without built-in cabinetry and long stretches of counter tops.  That’s a pretty radical idea in the US in this day and age, but, for our next house, that’s exactly what I want.

freestanding kitchen | house to home

photo via

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now…a kitchen that is gutted and furnished with freestanding antiques mixed with some modified or custom-built pieces to make the space functional.  I get giddy at the thought!  Imagine being able to rearrange your kitchen when you get the itch!

(Jeff, don’t read that part.)

But seriously.  Not only do I love how custom it will look, but also how economical it is.

And, I must confess, I have already been quietly keeping pieces that might work for my future freestanding kitchen…


I already have an amazing antique counter that would be a great centerpiece and provide loads of storage.  Imagine my shirt counter with a marble top and a cabinet, plate rack or shelves hanging above?


Something like this…

freestanding kitchen

photo via

And the “crusty counter” would be a perfect kitchen island…


Imagine it with my pot rack hanging overhead.


There are deep drawers on both sides, so it would be very functional.

I have a baker’s rack that could be stacked with cutting boards, dish ware, pots & pans, mixing bowls, linens, etc…


It could look something like this…

baker's rack | me and alice

photo via

And a large hutch for height and more storage…

my rustic farmhouse hutch

photo via

…which I also already have…


And, I even have a kitchen sink. It just needs to be hooked up.  I imagine a marble tile backsplash with a wall-mounted faucet.


I may decide to go for a reproduction sink, though, so I can have a garbage disposal, but we’ll see.


When I talk to Jeff about all of this, he gets a little wide-eyed.  Like I said, it’s a bit radical, but I’m sold on the look.  And he said he’ll default to me, which means we’ll have a freestanding kitchen as soon as I get the chance!

So, when the time comes to look for the next house, I’m not even going to care one bit what the cabinets and counters look like.  I’m just going to look at the bones of the room and imagine how all of my pieces will fit in the space and what we can build to make it perfectly suited to us.

Does anyone have a freestanding kitchen?  Is anyone else considering going this route for your current or next kitchen?  Am I completed outside of my mind?


PS – I just listed a bunch of things in the online shop, including the original ruffled linen tree skirt I made years ago…

freestanding kitchen

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107 Comments on “freestanding kitchen”

  1. I love the idea! I don’t have one now, but I have a large open area with a small corner with cabinets. It would not take much demolition to get me where you are headed. I just might try it!!

  2. I got giddy when I started reading this and literally laughed out loud when you said, “Jeff don’t read that part” Hahaha. I LOVE the idea. I love those huge old chunky pieces like your crusty counter and the shirt counter and what better way than to use them in your kitchen?! They would be perfect! I think it’s an amazing idea. Being able to rearrange my kitchen would be the icing on the cake lol. Those pictures you posted are drool worthy….seriously! Now I’m giddy thinking about my dream kitchen 🙂

  3. Hi !
    I haven’t comment in months… But just had to say something on this post… YES! I have a free standing (unfit) kitchen. Ours is a line of cupboards along one wall with over head cupboards but the rest is furniture mixed and moved to just the right place to make my kitchen workable. It’s a hybrid. The parts that are built-in are desparetely needing to be replaced… And I’d do it in heartbeat as soon as the funds and right pieces come along. The rest of my kitchen as been either built for this kitchen or found and serves a purpose there. I have mounted wooden bookshelves to the wall for storage and display… I’ve used crates and mounted those to the wall for my vintage canisters … I don’t have a large piece with drawers but am always looking for one to replace my old built ins. It would be even better if it had large casters like you’ve picture here so that I can move them whenever I like… The best part is a kitchen like this is a work in progress!! It have grown and developed over time. I love mine and I know you’ll love yours too.
    Oh… And you don’t have to live in a farm house for this to work— it can work in any kitchen.
    Just think, in the pioneer days — when the families moved west, they packed it all up and moved it. So even though the pieces were the same- the lady of the house got a new kitchen every time they moved!

  4. I love free standing kitchens, they have such a charm. Ikea’s varde line is a free standing kitchen. We used pieces from that line to make our basement kitchen, I love it. I want to do the same for upstairs, but mix in old and new pieces and possibly flip our kitchen and family rooms. Good luck!

  5. I’ve never even thought of this as a possibility! If anyone can make it work (and make it beautiful), it’s you. Can’t wait to read about it.

  6. I use several freestanding pieces in my kitchen. I have an antique side table as a microwave cart, with wall shelves above it, and we use an antique stove as a coffee station. We’re in the middle of turning a huge antique counter (100+” long) into a combination kitchen table/island. We plan to add wheels to the bottom, so it can be moved when needed. I plan to tear out some cabinets to free up more space, since the antique counter takes a lot of space. We have all opening shelving, because our ceiling is low, and upper cabinets would make the room look really short.

    I love using eclectic old pieces, rather than traditional cabinets!

  7. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had freestanding kitchens, so why not? The old Hoosier cupboards and bakers tables are still being reproduced today because people still love them. I’m pretty sure I could make better use of my large kitchen space with antique pieces than the builder did with built-ins. Go for it, Marian! It will be beautiful.

  8. Love the look! My husband would have a stroke if I even considered it. If anyone can pull it off you can. Can’t wait to see what you do 🙂

  9. I love the idea of free standing kitchen cupboards. I would choose a nice decorated one, Mechelen hunting cupboard would look really great all painted shabby..
    I wish I had my own house, and let me loose with some paint and a brush..
    xoxo Angela.

  10. A local antique dealer friend has a freestyle kitchen and when I first saw it, I fell in LOVE! Having just bought a house and needing to redo our kitchen, I told my husband it’s what I wanted! He’s a custom cabinet maker and did not agree. So we opted to paint the cabinets we have and brought in some antique pieces for the pantry and island. Someday when we need to totally replace, I’m gonna bring it up again!

    I love the inspiration pictures you shared and agree you have the perfect pieces. It will be amazing!

  11. I don’t think it’s at all crazy! I’ve been wanting to do the same exact thing for years, and that’s just what I’ll have in my next house as well! I look forward to seeing your future kitchen as inspiration for my own. If I recall correctly, I saw one on a no longer active blog called The Fishermans Wife (not sure if that’s correct) it was my original inspiration, and was just gorgeous!

    1. Correction to my last comment…
      It was ‘The Fisherman’s Cottage’ and was actually the first pin I ever put on my pinterest kitchen inspiration board!

  12. I love free standing kitchens! And yes, they are economical to boot. So often I see fantastic antique armoires and old cabinets on craigslist that would be perfect. When you think about what you pay for a box with a door on it (kitchen cabinets), they are one of the great rip-offs of the modern age. Free standing kitchens are more common in European kitchens (read: French).

  13. You’ve mentioned you grew up in Germany. Freestanding kitchens are very common there. When you rent or buy an apartment, the kitchen is often a big empty room. You bring your free standing cabinets and appliances with you. I wonder if you saw that when you were in Germany.

    1. You are right, Lisa- I grew up in Germany and still remember the minimal kitchen we used to have, just a few cabinets and some open shelves, and a tiny little bottom only refrigerator. I also remember my mother forever having to clean those open shelves! When we moved to the US, we lived in a huge Queen Ann Victorian with the kind of kitchen Marian wants- some free standing units and open shelves.The reason it worked in our old house was that adjoining the kitchen, was an old fashioned butler’s pantry with floor to ceiling built in cabinets that held all the dishes and glasses, etc. and kept it all neat and tidy..

  14. Love the idea! We’re looking to re-do our kitchen in anticipation of selling our house next year. The ‘custom’ cabinets we have now were built by a previous owner – one with not good cabinet making skills! The thought of paying big bucks, that we don’t have, for a kitchen we wouldn’t be using for very long (hopefully!), is disheartening. But a free standing kitchen – priceless! I’m saving the pictures you posted and will look for others online to gather all the ideas…
    We live very close to an antiques auction so will be going there with measuring tape in hand, more often.
    BTW, we do live in a farmhouse; it’s 223 years old – my dream house. However, its really a money pit. We’ve spent more on fixing those things buyers can’t see (electric, plumbing, leaks, more leaks, and oh yeah, even more leaks), than we have on the things they do. I can’t wait to move to a more modern home – where I can ADD the farmhouse look!

    1. That is Jeff’s concern about the old house I dream of. He wants to build a “new old house”, so that it can have brand new guts, but looks old. I love that idea, too, but I also love the idea of saving a piece of history.

      1. I felt the same way 25 years ago, I wanted an old farmhouse and fix it up. My husband is in construction (not house building) and wanted to build a new house. I said ok as long as I got to pick the floor plan and everything else. I never plan on moving. The only thing I wish I had was hardwood floors. Freestanding kitchens look great as I’m sure yours will Marian. If you build, I would think as long as the kitchen passes inspection with plumbing and electrical, everything else is your choosing.

      2. We are just about to embark on building a new-old house. Luckily my husband is totally on board. Every time I look at prices in an antique store/estate sale/auction vs a home improvement store I am more and more convinced that it is the way to go for us. The house plan is the hardest part for me because I want to make sure that we don’t find the perfect piece AFTER walls are up and the space is 1″ too short. Ha! We already have the farmland, just need to sell our old house first.

  15. Free standing kitchen, Absolutely! That is my plan for our next home…slowly warming ‘husband’ up to this! :0)

  16. I too, love this idea and if anyone could do it well it would be you! That said, do your research beforehand. Friends were building a new house a while back and had to give up this idea because
    of the house not meeting building code. There was also an issue of getting a loan on the home if the kitchen did not conform. Don’t want to rain on your parade, but you need to consider all angles.
    Good luck!

    1. Yeah, I had actually written that initially that you most likely can’t get a mortgage without a fitted kitchen, but once you’re in the home, I don’t see why you can’t rip the cabinets out.

  17. i LOVE this idea!!!! I thought I was the only one…. :’) tears of joy! Sure, I can appreciate the beautiful kitchens in my ‘rich’ friend’s homes and magazines, and in the homes I’ve shown as a REALTOR over the years. But a bona fide farm style kitchen would look like this. YOU GO GIRL!!

  18. No, you haven’t lost your marbles. My parents did this same thing on a much smaller scale in a home they built in the mid-80s and it was lovely and very homey. My daughters and I now have several of those pieces, nice reminders of their grandparents’ home. Dream on and your envisioned home will soon be yours.

  19. Hm, I haven’t thought of doing that. I’m kicking around kitchen ideas but I don’t think Bruce would go for this. It would be so cool though! Loads of character and charm. Oh well, I’ll live vicariously through you. 🙂

  20. This is a topic near and dear to me. I am in the middle of my kitchen renovation and my farmhouse cupboard, Hoosier cabinet and vintage armoire are all part of it. I found a designer who was not put off by my pieces but encouraged their use. I do have standard cabinets because I need the storage and a very large 48 in. dream range because we all LOVE cooking. My contractor’s team have made it all happen. I was not extravagant using a designer because she measured each piece to fit properly. It’s a very big project and I only want to do this once. She totally got my love for vintage charm and made this project so exciting. In my 110 year old house there was a lot of hidden problems which are all now solved. So love your plan!!!

  21. I think the ideas are brilliant and gorgeous! I think it would be great for cupboards, but for me personally, I’d struggle with antique drawers and I do love to store things in drawers. If someone knows the secret of getting those to glide easily and can share it with me, then I would be all in for our next house as well!

    1. Yes, this was my exact thought as well. I love the feel of antique pieces, but I can’t stand drawers that don’t have modern glides. It’s one of those things you have to interact with every day, many times a day.

      Now, on the other hand, if someone was looking for a good idea for a furniture line, maybe they could create free-standing antique-looking kitchen pieces that can work in a variety of modular configurations, and yet have new construction. That I would go for.

  22. There is a possibility that you are having flashbacks to the 1700s, when you lived happily with a brood of kids and your hubbie. I’m just saying.
    When I think of an open kitchen, I think, dust and dirty grease congealing in the corners. My two cats and a dog are another point of reference.
    All the rest of you can have lots of fun with shelves, but I’m sticking to cupboards.

    1. Karla, I will be spending a lot of time with your blog post which is full of inspiration! Thank you for sharing.

  23. No, Marion, you are not completely out of your mind. I think your concept is charming. I am sooo tired of all of the modern look, (but in fairness to people who like it, it just is not my style.) I keep thinking this trend is over, but it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. After reading so many of your comments, I am pleasantly surprised to learn that there are many of your readers who have incorporated this design into their lives. Am anxious to see your plan come to fruition!

    Lisa D.

  24. You are not out of your mind. I have saved pictures mostly from European magazines for at least 35 years of unfitted kitchens. It is ALWAYS what I have wanted, but so far, I don’t have it. I hope you get yours. Our house is in a subdivision and it would be very hard to sell if it didn’t have a “normal” kitchen. About 20 years ago, we thought we would build a house and every contractor I interviewed looked at me like I had three heads. The TV designer Lynette Jennings from years ago published her own unfitted kitchen in one of her books. I love the inspiration photos you show, and I am pinning them. I still haven’t given up hope!

  25. Love your inspiration. I have many of those images pinned myself. We put cabinets along one wall and uppers on one short wall but left most of the upper sections open for shelving etc. Still haven’t decided what I’m putting there even though we’ve been in the house for over a year. The wall opposite our lower cabinets has a hutch and our island is currently a painted wood table on casters. I really love the freestanding look and might have done it 100% myself if we hadn’t been in a rush to finish the kitchen so we could move in. I say go for it! You have nothing to lose. If everything is freestanding then it would be easy to change down the line if you decide it isn’t working!

  26. I never heard of the idea of a free standing kitchen……but I LOVE IT! We are now looking for a fixer upper house and I really want to do this in the kitchen! I didn’t even realize that I already have 3 pieces that would work perfectly in a free standing kitchen. Thank you so much for this idea!

  27. I love this Marion! I have a friend who took out all her upper cabinets and hung primitive cabinets. Looks incredible! It’s so practical! And so lovely! Go for it. (Sorry Jeff)….

  28. I love this idea and may do it myself in my next (and hopefully final) house. Great way to get sturdy, well made kitchen storage for a fraction of what cabinets cost now.

  29. I like you have been saving pieces for this very purpose for a few years now. I know it will not be for this house but for my next house. . .a lovely white farmhouse farther into the country. With more land for more animals. I have a few pieces in the house now that will work and a few in the garage not even painted yet. Life is an adventure! Happy Holidays to you.

  30. I am struggling with this at this very moment!
    Our kitchen is falling apart literally and now I have the right to replace it…..So off I go to the cabinet maker and although they look so fresh and correct…they are all wrong to me and my house.
    Now to find me some pieces for inspiration her is Australia, now that will be the issue!

  31. I live in an old farmhouse, and even though our kitchen is not entirely freestanding, most of it is. I have one wall (mostly windows on top) with a few base cabinets and original sink. The rest of my kitchen is freestanding and consists of a bakers rack, a hutch, a pie safe, and a tall pantry cabinet. When we first moved here, it took some getting used to, but I love it, and it is unique. It looks like an authentic farmhouse kitchen because it is, but that also means that it comes with the crazy quirks of old furniture, drawers, etc.

  32. Yes–do it!! I have been pitching this idea for a few years now, extolling the beauty of it along with how it just makes sense. Can’t wait to see your version :).

  33. I desperately need a consultation. A freestanding is what I’ve wanted for years but I’m not quite sure how to get there. I need new counters, etc in my kitchen so now would be the perfect time to change it out instead of buying new cabinetry. Do you do home consultations? If I have a plan I think I can carry it out.
    Pleasepleaseplease. I’m in the Shenandoah Valley, about two and a half hours from you.

  34. Unless you’re completely gutting and executing new space planning, electrical and plumbing or new construction, your kitchen layout is still going to be pretty fixed. Even then, once you’ve worked out the work flow [usually a triangle between stove, sink and refrigerator or galley style] you’ll find you won’t be “moving” pieces around. To make this work one really does need to work with at the least a space planner and/or an interior designer who specializes in kitchens. Kitchens are one of the most expensive rooms in the house not because of the cabinetry, but rather the mechanical infrastructure required by appliances, plumbing electrical.

    1. I don’t think she means she’s going to move the sink around at her leisure. I think she means if she gets tired of a Hoosier cabinet and finds a pie safe, she is free to change it because it isn’t bolted to the wall.

  35. Love the idea! Seriously I think you could do it and make it look amazing. Especially with all the fabulous pieces you already have. And what a great bargaining tool – looking at a house with a severely horrible kitchen, rolling your eyes at the real estate agent and saying how very, very much they must come down in price!

  36. My grandmother had a kitchen like that, she was a pioneer. She had a Hoosier cabinet, a farmhouse sink, and a freestanding pantry with doors and shelves. She had very few things to put in them. Dishes, a few pots and pans, and baking dishes. Her only ‘appliance’ was a hand can opener. But she could put on a Sunday spread of food for her, her husband, and five children! Please consider all we have today – mixers, coffee makers, food processors, juicers, electric can openers, crock pots, bowls, refrigerator dishes, blah blah. You must eliminate those if you do not use them, or hide them (surely!) with enough doors in one of your free-standing pieces. Put electric plugs everywhere if you plan to move pieces around, but I’m sure you’ve thought of that. My point is in the pioneer days they had very little, today we have a lot! Hope it works out for you.

  37. Please consider what doors keep out: dust, and grease particles. We can’t have open shelves anywhere in Texas, even bookshelves in the family room, b/c of the wind blowing the dust (we are in a ten year drought). Maybe it is different there!! :-))

  38. I think that being “outside your mind” leads to being in your heart. So it’s the perfect place to be. If a freestanding kitchen is what your heart wants, you should go for it whenever the time is right. After all, even tho’ it might cost money, if you tire of it, it’s not written in stone. You can easily go back to a more conventional design. Follow your heart, dearie!

  39. My Grandmother had a free standing kitchen, complete with Hoosier cabinet. There is nothing new under the sun. Your ideas sound so workable, practical, and so you! Maybe even a butlers pantry for all your extra ironstone.

  40. Definitely!! I already have an old baking table with a beautiful wood top. I plan to do an unfitted kitchen in my cottage (which I do not currently own but dream of). I love it and like you, the idea of being able to rearrange the space makes me giddy.

  41. I absolutely L O V E the way your mind works! I think a kitchen done this way would be absolutely breathtaking! What a great idea … now you have us all rethinking the things we have 😉
    Blessings for a Happy Thanksgiving!

  42. Yup…have been dreaming of this for years! We are working on house plans and our designer can’t quite understand that I don’t want “uppers”. To be honest, I frequent restaurant supply stores & websites a lot. (Including used restsurant supply firms) We [I] 😉 plan on having a restaurant fridge —double door fridge and a double door freezer. I want the kitchen to be easy to clean, fancy new “eye candy” boxes aka kitchen cupboards do not interest me– give me old pieces mixed in w/ industrial. Digging around in cupbaords is no fun for tall folks (don’t get me started in on my tupperware cupboard) I had to chuckle because ever since you posted that bakery rack you scored for $150 I have been searching for one online! Best wishes & keep us posted on your “future kitchen” finds!

  43. Yes half of my kitchen is freestanding. I pulled out a long 2m counter top/ cupboards and replaced it with a freestanding pantry and large pine hutch. Both pieces are painted white to tie into together. Just got the sink/ stove area still to do.

  44. Years ago when we remodeled our kitchen, the thought crossed my mind, but being a young wife I kept my thoughts to myself, and was happy just to have space to put things. But…. to this day I still dream of having a free standing kitchen with one of those great old sinks with drying shelves on the sides and faucets coming out the wall, and a freestanding island and and and….. oh the possibilities!!!!?

  45. Wonderful idea – and probably much more functional than a builders kitchen! You can tailor it to your day to day needs, whenever you want! Go for it!

  46. In 1974 about an hour southwest of Raleigh I lived in a home built around the latter part of the 1800’s. It was a large farmhouse built on a land grant from King George back in the day. It had only electricity. Well, walls and floors, 5 fireplaces 3 of which we had wood heaters hooked up, no insulation, no air conditioning, no indoor plumbing. We were poor, so our renovations consisted of paint and a water line to a kitchen sink. At that time one could still buy a new wood cook stove in the nearby country stores. I loved my wood cook stove. We also had an electric stove, very retro and one could find them many of them around in excellent condition for not much money. I loved that stove too. For my work area I had built a long counter with the sink put in, a long shelf underneath, and open shelves put above the long counter. I covered the long counter with gathered fabric to make it look nicer. Now I am not poor and live in a new house with traditional cabinetry. And I miss that old kitchen. It was the easiest kitchen to work in and things did not have to be searched for because everything was right in front of me. You will not regret a made kitchen and you will not miss a manufactured kitchen.

  47. This is exactly my sentiment. I have the hutch. I have the old sink I got for free at a dump and I re-enameled myself. I will put in a small sink near where I built the prep station and put the garbage disposal in that. I want to find a vintage frig and rework that as well.

    I love the feeling of not being closed in. This also brings back those comfortable memories of may grandmother’s kitchen. I would even like one of those one piece sink cabinets. I love the drain boards on them. I would take the metal cabinet and have it powder coated to a really cool color like duck egg blue or Mamie Eisenhower pink. Would powder coat the frig the same color. You see…I think way to much about these things.

    Love this post. Thanks for the inspiration-Sue from michigan

  48. I have a traditional kitchen but also collect antique cabinets. I love how much storage they have. I have no more room for may large antique cabinets so I would love to redo my kitchen one day and use my mismatched antique ones instead of the built ins.

  49. In our last house in the UK which was 350 years old…it was originally an old blacksmiths shop with a huge hay loft on top and stable block..but then 150 years later they built a 2 up 2 down farm workers cottage on the end…all the good stuff had been taken out of it by the time we purchased it although it did still have a galleried ceiling in the shop with the original oak beams including the old nails and horse shoes imbedded in them.

    We decided to have our kitchen built on the free standing idea…I loved that kitchen…there was an inglenook already in the kitchen with a coal burning rayburn which heated our hot water, heating and a big plus you could cook on and in it too. The kitchen units were handbuilt from really old oak planks and then we had it painted and roughed up. We also had them build us a hutch…the kitchen was 32 feet long and 16 feet wide not so wide, but the length allowed me to buy a really beautiful 1940s extendable table from an auction that had these huge bulbuous legs, it was in bad shape, so i striped it down and painted the legs in the same colour as the cabinets and then oiled the top. We also had the pan rack you have shown in one of your pics and a double ceramic butler sink.

    I loved that kitchen but the house was sold over 3 years ago and now someone else is loving that kitchen. It was the kitchen that sold the house!

  50. Lol. Well, if you are a person or family with pets in the house, I don’t think all the open dish space would be recommendable….pet hair in your dishes…..?? Nope, don’t think that’s the route for everyone.

    1. I totally agree with the pet hair. I love the idea too but with one open cupboard and two dogs with hair that finds its way into everything there is no way I could do it and it be practical.

  51. I would love an old glass front store counter as our kitchen island/peninsula someday!! Not sure if we’d do the whole kitchen in old pieces though. Our kitchen is from the late 40’s so I can’t wait for some fresh and new and clean cabinetry. The drawers scrape and drop sawdust into the lower cabinets each time you open or close them 😛

  52. The thought of cleaning behind and under all the freestanding units would make me crazy.
    I think it will look great, like everything that you do – but it’s not for me.

  53. I love that idea…the wheels are turning. The idea of moving things around resonates with be in a big way. My husband always jokes that it’s a good thing he’s not blind or he would be tripping over things. Invariably, he comes home twice a week and I’ve rearranged the furniture….

  54. It would be beautiful. Through the years I’ve always admired such kitchens. Mostly I’ve seen them with a more primitive or country look but I think a MMS style kitchen would be amazing.

  55. We are building our custom home in our avocado grove in the theold european farmhouse style with a kitchen concept much as you describe. Of course Maria Carr of Dreamywhiteslifestyle is creating just such a kitchen in her renovated farmhouse in northern California. She is installing a Lacanche freestanding range. Talk about swoon! Go for it MMS… and hopefully soon!!

  56. I have a friend you need to meet! She is an antique dealer married to a farmer in NM and lives in my hometown. She did exactly what you talk about in this post. I love going to visit her and just walking through her home. Her kitchen has cabinets from other countries lining one whole wall and a fireplace in the kitchen. Her home is the style of the homes in Fredricksburg Texas. She had the same rock installed on the outside walls of her two story home. You would love!

  57. No, I get it!

    I am thinking the same thing…… my next house……the kitchen will be huge… open…. free standing!!!

    I love it!!!

  58. 2/3 of my kitchen is freestanding. I have a beautiful hutch that holds my everyday glassware and my platters and bowls etc. I have a shelving unit that holds the microwave and some appliances and cookbooks. Theres a beautiful old bureau that holds assorted pans, linens and gadgets. I do also have open shelving and dog hair has never been a problem. I have a small run of cabinets that we bought as knockdowns and put together and installed ourselves with a farmhouse sink. I love it.

  59. Yes, I grew up in a house with a freestanding kitchen.
    An enormous black, cast iron AGA style stove was recessed in the wall for both cooking and heating purposes. Staffordshire dogs adorned the large shelf over the top. Your typical old British country kitchen.
    Growing up, we thought our kitchen with its terra cotta floor, an ‘old-fashioned’ embarrassment. Today, I look back wistfully and am considering this old concept when replacing the brand new, but ugly, melamine kitchen in our weekend cottage.
    Coincidentally, yesterday I visited a wonderful brocante out in the countryside….a barn, three stories high and jam packed with welsh dressers, bureaus, armoires etc….which further fuelled my dream of how I could easily go about replacing and furnishing a free standing kitchen, myself….
    I think your free standing kitchen will be stunning, Marian.

  60. I would love to do this to my current house. I might have a hard time selling it to the husband… but maybe not. Love the idea!

  61. I’m in the UK so forgive the question – but what is it with garbage disposal things in the sink? I’ve never had one, nor even seen one. I have a little bin for food waste which goes to the compost heap, a little bin for land fill plastic wrappers, and a bigger bin for recycled stuff. What goes in the garbage disposal? The solids from the cat litter tray go down the toilet. The granules go under a hedge.
    I’m mystified!
    I love the idea of free standing kitchens. Bits of mine are – where there are spaces for missing fitted units or white goods. Fitted kitchen cupboards have weird boxed in spaces to the back and below in which heaven knows what lurks out of sight.

    1. I don’t use a garbage disposal either. It’s a hole in the sink that grinds up food and spits it into the ground or your retaining tank. We also compost, recycle, etc. Maybe the disposals will become obsolete. It’s time to rethink the disposal.

    2. Ha. I smiled that you are mystified by a garbage disposal. 🙂 Instead of just a drain in our sinks, we have a disposal, which will grind up any food waste that is from the dishes, so you don’t have to scrape off your dishes before washing them, I also throw peels and stems in there when I’m prepping fruits and veggies. It’s a convenience thing that I’ve gotten used to.

  62. We are in the process of doing this right now. We’ve been remodeling this house since we moved in just a few years ago – the kitchen and one bath to go. Collecting furniture is a passion of mine, no matter what shape it’s in. With 4 barns and basement full, we should be able to retro-fit a pretty awesome vintage kitchen. Mine won’t be mobile though — I have to have double wall ovens and a cook-top, sink in front of the window and most likely will paint all one color (maybe) and unify it with a marble counter-top. I am anxious to get going on this next week.

  63. We have one and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is a one of a kind kitchen. Our house is farm house built in the 1790s so all of the pieces chosen for the kitchen are circa 1800s. I even have a 12 foot general store counter with marble top.

  64. I admire your inspiration! I often shake my head at all the money invested in getting the “kitchen look” with custom cabinets, granite counter tops, etc. — with the reason behind it as “better resale value”. Well, my house is mine…and needs to just please my family, not the next home owners. So of course our 1857 farmhouse has a mid 1800’s free standing pantry, the original farm sink & hutch and a round pedestal table at the center. When our city appraiser came by, he expressed his interest in how we updated our kitchen…imagine his surprise when the country rebel in us said we would have none of that. We just love our kitchen…it is ours & makes our house our home!

  65. Yes! We’re doing a very slow remodel of our kitchen, and our plan is to do as much freestanding as possible. We’ve started with a large pantry my husband built (that I really should take pictures of and post, because it’s GORGEOUS!).

    I’ve lived with open shelves in a kitchen before (an old 1800s farmhouse with a wood cookstove), and I found that any dishes that weren’t used daily quickly got dusty and greasy. So we’re going to stick with closed door cabinets for dishes, but we’re thinking more of an old fashioned hutch style instead of traditional uppers. Being blessed with a husband who’s done work as a skilled cabinet maker, we have lots of options for making reproductions of antique styles.

  66. Oh my gosh, YES!!! I love this idea, and can totally see it with your pieces. It would all be to die for charming! … I really love they way they painted the cabinet with all the drawers white… how cute is that!!


  67. I love the vision of your new kitchen! I added a Hoosier cabinet to my kitchen, a faux fireplace with an open shelf above it with antique corbels and a barn wood shelf which makes it sort of have a free-standing kitchen look. I love your current kitchen but I’m sure your next one will be gorgeous with free-standing pieces!

  68. All the pics (especially #4) are beautiful! Our small apartment kitchen is the standard, narrow, galley with all built-ins. however, I needed more storage, so our dining are has two bookcases (one large, one small) that house pretty glassware, vintage mixing bowls, my cow collection, cookbooks and recipe box, tea canisters, and other items. I painted the bookcases gloss black, to reflect light (I know, a lighter color would’ve been brighter, but it needed to “go” with everything else in the entry area). I put furniture handles on them, so it’s easy to pick them up and move them when we move. Extra dishtowels, etc. hang on the handles. To reflect more light, I put mirrors framed with burlap on a few of the shelves. Just a few freestanding items make my kitchen feel more “me”. Don’t wait for the next house, do something with the kitchen you have. Whatever you do, Marian, it will be lovely.
    The garbage disposal? If one has a yard and no bears, a disposal isn’t necessary. (I used to live where there were a lot of bears, and leaving food out, whether compost or not, is a bad idea.)Living in an apartment means that my food waste has to go in the disposal, or in the trash. It starts to stink within a day or two. A garbage disposal is a must in an apartment with no yard, unless one wants to take the trash out to the dumpster every day.

  69. We currently do not have a freestanding kitchen but when we lived in Germany during my childhood virtually all kitchens were freestanding. In fact we discussed this with our exchange student last year. His father’s house has a freestanding kitchen but I am not sure what his mother’s new house has. I think they took all the counters/etc with them on their most recent move.

    This is something we have discussed and are currently discussing but not for this house. I know that in a couple of years we are to be moving so it will not be an option for years to come but we do own so much already as well for a freestanding kitchen. Card catalog, 1840’s hutch, metal shelving, and a plate rack my father in law made me. Just love working in the freestanding kitchens!! And yes I have worked in them before and it was simply delightful! That being said she did have a pantry as well but I would definitely opt for one!!

  70. I have an antiques dealer friend that has done this very thing in her home that she had built. The only problem she has is there is not enough counter tops. She has three Hoosier and a few other free standing cabinets and only one built in cabinet which holds the farm sink. Very nice idea but make sure you plan for those much needed counter tops!

  71. I am maybe a fourth of the way there to a free standing kitchen. When we built 30 years ago I didn’t want any upper cabinets. The long wall does not have any cabinets but two nice windows.
    I also have a hoosier cabinet which extends beyond that long run. So when you walk in you
    see that look. Also have an long narrow island. Thirty five years ago I read a book by Thomas
    Conran from the UK. He must have been the “father” of kitchen islands. So in that house I had
    my husband put in an island with two lengths of wood with a sink and built in bookshelves. Everyone thought it was rocket science. Now it is as common as peanutbutter and jelly! I still have Conran’s kitchen book. Yes it is out of date but with some marvelous ideas. I could be wrong but I think he was “knighted.”

  72. Ten years ago I got to design our major remodel. Wanted the free standing kitchen, but had to compromise with hubby so it has the basic look, feel and function, yet no mobility. Be careful when creating your work stations to include a toe kick, there is an ergonomic reason kitchens have changed over time. Open shelving is great for function and time saving, but dust, crumbs and pet hair are a daily event. Also, GFI switches/ code requirements come into play with all new construction/ remodel some outlets I was able to hide behind false drawer fronts. Can’t wait to see your kitchen!

  73. I think it is a wonderful idea and I can’t wait to see your future kitchen. I have a semi-freestanding kitchen. I use an old postal sorter for dish storage, cubby lockers for a pantry and an old counter ht. table for a center island. I didn’t want traditional cabinets, but let my brother talk me into a more traditional, although somewhat custom (shelves and baskets), base cabinet. I have open shelves for the upper. I also have a side table that we use for a coffee / snack station. Rather hodge podge, but no other kitchen is like it and it suits my laid back, love of old things, way of living.

  74. That was my first idea for my kitchen in my old Cottage. But, having tried it during the renovation, I realised it was not for me because it was a little difficult to keep clean… I can’t tell you how many cat dry food tended to slip between the old table and the shelves for example… But I tried to keep the “vibe” of it by not using upper cabinets on one side of the kitchen and using there old cabinets I had thrifted.

  75. You ask if you are outside of your mind!…..and I say that’s the beauty of of it, you need to be, to have the free flowing creativity that goes with such a fantastic idea, I too am heading in that direction, so far I have a butler sink, and a few pieces I’ve been collecting along the way…..This excites me to the point of no return 😉 Go for it I say, it’s a fabulous idea.

  76. Hmm something about antique dirt, dust ,and germs that come built in with antiques that doesn’t appeal to me when thinking food preparation. The crusty counter found outside would not be appealing to me for a kitchen andmy OCD would go nuts in this type of kitchen that doesn’t have slick wipeable surfaces.

  77. Free-standing kitchen? Why haven’t I thought of that! I love to rearrange furniture in every room of my house…adding the kitchen to the mix would be a dream come true!

  78. YESSSSSS!!! I have dreamed of a free standing kitchen since I saw one in a book as a child!!!!! I love hearing of others planning the same:) Kindred Spirit!:)

  79. That is an awesome idea! And for someone – like me who cannot afford to redo the kitchen. It is way more affordable given all the furniture I have collected in my garage. Unfortunately I had a collection of beautiful white cast iron sinks that a supposed friend who was storing for me got rid of. They were irreplaceable- but still searching for that perfect sink! Another idea is you can get leftover marble or granite pieces cut to size to fit on any top to use as counter space. There are always leftover pieces that they sell cheaper!

  80. We looked at a house this afternoon that I love – except for the kitchen. I told my hubby that I have enough freestanding cabinets that we could just rip out the kitchen and start over with my cabinets!

    1. We have a septic and told not to use a disposal. We recycle, vegie scraps composted, actual garbage in the can. The worst part is cleaning the sink drain several times a day.

      I bought the vintage stove, double drainboard Iron sink, hoosier cabinet. But we will move next summer and retire. I guess with 4 doorways we’ll keep a simple L shape with Shaker cabinets.

  81. Been telling my friend this bc she is going “tiny”. That is ideal and really should moving be in the future, out they go to keep!!

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