The cabinets were donated by Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry, and the Smiths' selections were guided by what was available on their tight timetable as well as by the style they preferred. "We wanted a classic look," says Heidi, "but I wanted a little different look on the top and bottom doors. All the dishes are in a glass cabinet, which I love."

The wooden cabinets are painted white, and if you've ever tried to choose white paint you know that's not as easy as it sounds. "I knew I wanted white cabinets," says Heidi, "but a really bright white isn't me—it's just too shocking—but I also didn't want anything too creamy, or too yellow. We ended up choosing Benjamin Moore's "White Dove," which is just right—not yellow, not too bright, just a nice soft white."

The most visible part of a kitchen, along with the cabinets, is probably the countertop, which can be another difficult decision, as it affects both the look and functionality of the space. "We'd been leaning toward soapstone," says Heidi. "But This Old House suggested we try the Pietra del Cardoso sandstone. It's something a little different, and not a lot of people have used it. It was also donated, which is fabulous. We'll have to treat it once a year, and so far so good - it's holding up great. We'll certainly give it a workout—if it survives us it can survive anything!"

The most difficult decisions, according to Heidi, were about the details. "Fabrics were the hardest, since the choices were limitless. It's a good thing I had the help of an interior designer, and it's good thing she's a friend of mine, since I probably drove her crazy! Suzanne (interior designer Suzanne Cederlund) worked as team with Kris and me getting it right. Kris has a great design sense, so I had a lot of help with the details. Kris would explain what she was thinking, and it all made so much sense. She designed the backsplash, and she paid attention to details that no one would notice, but that make a big difference."

Even when pressed, Heidi finds it hard to say what her favorite part of the new kitchen is. "I love the lighting, the curtains, the colors—I love it all, every detail. I'm so grateful to Kris for her attention to detail—the way she carved out the counter over the sink so you see less sink and more counter, the way she added or changed moldings where she saw something just a tiny bit off. The details make all the difference. But if I had to pick? My favorite part just might be the rope lighting on the cabinets. You can see into the kitchen from the couch in the living room, and from there the lights are just stunning, they just glisten."

And of all the myriad choices she made, where did she go wrong? Where is the outlet positioned not quite right, the appliance not quite what she had in mind? "I wouldn't change a single thing," Heidi says emphatically. "I haven't found anything yet that I would do differently." For a decision-maker on a project like this, that's quite a rave.

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