We did alot of planning and research before undertaking this project. We snatched up every magazine with period kitchens that we could get our hands on and thought about what we could afford and what was most important to us. I started to notice quite a few period-style kitchens used shelving rather than upper cabinets. This appealed to us because we didn't really like the boxed-in look of upper and lower cabinets. Also, we have a walk-in pantry and didn't feel the need for all that additional storage. It also has the added bonus of making
the room seem more spacious.
Flooring ideas: We almost went with the checkerboard look on our floor using commercial grade VCT, but when we removed the 3 layers of old tile, we found we had almost pristine maple floors. We couldn't bear ruining them by installing a plywood subfloor over them and instead sanded them and finished them ourselves. I do think the checkerboard is a nice look though.
Subway Tile and Exhaust Fan ideas: We are using Cobsa Wave bone subway tiles for our backsplash with a few Motawi art tiles as accents. We also went with a wall-mounted exhaust fan like in this picture since an overhead exhaust vent would not look right with no upper cabinets.
This was the first picture I saw that gave me the shelving idea. Thank Martha Stewart I guess- it was in her magazine. The idea was presented as a way to save money, but it really depends upon what you make your shelves out of. This approach would only save you money, if you used inexpensive wood or particleboard shelving (God forbid!). We will be using oak for the brackets and shelving to match the beadboard and existing moldings.
more kitchen shelving options
Good magazines we used: Renovation Style, Kitchens & Bath Ideas/Fine Homebuilding Magazine, American Bungalow, Old House Journal, This Old House, House Beautiful.