Walnut kitchen island with plaster range hood

Since 2020, Cabinet Joint has featured the outcome of 10 or so kitchen remodels that used Cabinet Joint cabinets as a part of our Kitchen of the Year (KOTY) Contest. Home remodelers go head-to-head as the labors of their hearts and hands are posted on Instagram and voted on by fellow users of the app. With the first post going up on December 1, the 2023 KOTY season featured ten beautiful kitchens, an adoration for the combo of warm wood and whites, and lots of enthusiastic support from you, the Cabinet Joint community. For this competition only one kitchen may win the grand prize, but all are cherished and admired. Those who did the cherishing and admiring also had a chance to win – 2 lucky followers who participated on each daily post and cast their final votes were randomly selected to each win a prize as well. Across each kitchen and post, commenters found lots to love. Let’s review.

1. Warm and Inviting – @huberamy

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Overlay, Door Style – Amesbury, Finish – Frosty White, Wood – Quarter Sawn White Oak w/ Nutmeg finish

Quartersawn White Oak kitchen cabinets

A blend of floating shelves, contrasting finishes, and bronze hardware lended itself to an open feel in this kitchen remodeled by @huberamy which was previously darker and more closed off. Instagram users praised its spacious appearance and harmonious design, with @the_revived_home writing, “Wow! Makes the space look so much larger!” and @officerhoppy, “I like how all the hardware matches, even the fridge handles! As a white bespoke fridge owner, solid choice! The cabinets are beautiful and the two tones are very complimentary and warm. The lines created by the cabinet drawers and doors are so crisp and clean!” Remarkably smooth, the quarter sawn white oak cabinets created an atmosphere of warmth and openness.

2. New Traditional – @checking.boxes

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – TW-10 (perimeter cabinets), Door Style – Wayland/Boulder (island), Finish – Antique White & Marina, Wood – Walnut w/ Autumn finish

Walnut island with kitchen ladder and plaster range hood

Outfitted with a scullery, a drink station, and a mudroom, @checking.boxes puts a spin on the classics in their bright, modern kitchen flip. With time traveling pieces like an apothecary-esque functional sliding ladder for out-of-reach storage and a drink station reminiscent of an old fashioned hotel bar, it takes accent pieces like geometric pendant lighting to return us to the modern day. This modern twist on classic elements incorporated a pop of color with a marina finish and chromatic hardware, earning praise for its timeless yet contemporary vibe. Commenter @sesnyder15 noted, “So many unique features! LOVE the library ladder and the chrome and glass shelving!”

3. A Heron Dream – @chestnutandoatmeal

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style– Amesbury (painted cabinets), Door Style – Madison (wood cabinets), Finish – Heron, Wood – Quarter Sawn White Oak w/ natural finish

Quarter sawn white oak cabinets with black range and plaster range hood

This kitchen, bright with its soft sage finish and white oak cabinet towers, is a harmonious blend of warmth and sophistication. Custom cutouts on the appliance garage add interest with subtlety, complementing the natural finish of the Quarter Sawn White Oak. The mix of painted Amesbury cabinets and natural Madison wood cabinets exudes both grace and rustic charm. Instagram user @sarah.denna described this best by writing, “Love the detail in the upper cabinets and cut outs! Sleek but still inviting.” This remodel managed to simultaneously modernize and create a timeless element in place of the old space, exchanging dull grays for warm white oak, and whites for a more earthy (but still light) Heron finish.

4. Functional and Friendly – @duncanrellis

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – Albany (Slab top drawers), Finish– Regent Blue & Arctic White

blue kitchen island and white cabinets

Step into this fusion of functionality and family fun: this remodel by @duncanrellis hosts a sprawling 14 ft. island at its core, containing an induction cooktop, a commercial hood, and plenty of room for family and friends to gather. Commenters picked up on some of the unique custom concepts employed here, such as @mwtrn who wrote, “This kitchen is probably my favorite! It’s so cozy with the butcher block and the navy island!♥️” Some of the customized concepts are hidden from users’ views, such as the warming drawer in the island, perfect for keeping food or plates warm before dinner, or the beverage bar in the dining room with an under-counter fridge. Overall, this space uniquely harmonizes cooking and gathering; a feature not lost on Duncan, who reported, “It’s so nice to be able to cook without turning your back to others in the kitchen.”

5. Clean and Bright – @ourhomeinthehill

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – CRP-10 (Slab top drawers), Finish – Arctic White & Hearthstone Grey, Wood – Hickory w/ Driftwood finish + Sable glaze (desk)

From bare studs to bright and stunning, @ourhomeinthehill tore their former kitchen down to its foundation in order to build this kitchen inspo. With a soft blend of whites, grays, and Hickory wood throughout the space, the natural light from the windows makes this kitchen glow with warmth. As commenter @jarjourpottery captured, this kitchen is an example of “When the beauty of materials speaks for itself,” and simplistic elegance is enough. Featuring a custom beverage bar, a charming small desk, a walk-in pantry, as well as an intentional bottom-heavy design with few wall cabinets, this kitchen marries aesthetics and functionality, the familiarity of a farmhouse and the efficiency of a commercial kitchen.

6. Walnut Elegance – @wheelsoffthebus

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – Madison (some Slab drawers), Wood – Premium Walnut w/ natural finish, Finish – white cabinets were ordered ‘unfinished’ and painted on-site

Walnut kitchen with inset cabinets and dark cabinets

Classic diamond checkered tile floors underlay this breathtaking walnut kitchen by @wheelsoffthebus. Intricate details of this space correspond to craft a profoundly elegant style – warm bronze hardware highlights the richness of the dark walnut cabinetry, drawers neatly tucked away on the island ends, custom island leg posts, matching marbled countertops and backsplash, and base molding details. A walk-in pantry is connected via a lovely arch, of which commenter @cowboysndboots noted, “I adore the arched doorway making way to the light through the window. Elegant yet relaxed.” Open shelving and an accent wall of full-height white cabinets create a gentle contrast to the kitchen’s lovely browns and predominantly base cabinets, admired by @sgreinhardt who wrote, “Gob smacked it is so pretty! Brown is back baby! 😍 well done!”

7. Cozy and Creative Haven – @oho_interiors

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – Amesbury (Slab top drawers), Finish – Hearthstone Grey

Inset kitchen cabinets with arched feet and cookbook shelves

A cookbook nook is just one of the features of this @oho_interiors kitchen that makes it so homey. A myriad of textures, colors, and patterns, this space is interior designer Melissa’s artistic vision sprung to life. The different patterns and colors are tied together by a few common qualities like the gold and gray that runs through the kitchen. Details such as the furniture toe kicks and a retro cream-and-gold range lend themselves to an enduring classic foundation for eclectic characteristics to really pop – multicolored plates decorate a corner of the wall, various gray textures add interest, and greens and blues cast a soothing glow into the space. Many commenters appreciated the custom toe kicks, but @feelinsaksy captured the overall tone of the kitchen with, “Love the dreamy cottage vibes,” and @lovnrockvillelife similarly wrote, “So cozy, love all the details.” As for how the kitchen functions beyond pictures? Interior designer Melissa said, “Trust me, there’s nothing that makes a kitchen feel functionally excellent like soft-close door hinges and drawer slides. Love that I didn’t even have to ask for it… it’s just a Cabinet Joint Standard.”

8. Black, White, and Wood All Over – @shannslaughter

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – Crawford (Slab top drawers), Finish – Frosty White & Ebony, Wood – Quarter Sawn White Oak

Black built-in cabinets with quarter sawn white oak inset cabinets and wine storage

Few things are more time-honored than the classic contrast combo of black and white, or Frosty White and Ebony. Between 2022 and 2023, kitchen remodelers went from seeking high contrast drama to a more subtle contrast between light colors and warm wood tones. Well, this white oak kitchen captures it all and achieves it with grace! John of @shannslaughter described the remodel by saying, “Our house is small, old, and completely lacking standard measurements, square edges, et. The ability to get the cabinets made to exact specifications let us maximize our available space.” The long, narrow pullout units to the right of the fridge, custom wine storage, and a window bench are examples of how storage is artfully integrated into the heart of this home. Commenters appreciated the contrast, warmth, and smart use of space, like @officerhoppy who wrote, “Beautiful job on your kitchen, John! It is clean and the wood tones bring in warmth! I love how you brought the counter up as a backsplash! And the cabinets really do use every square inch of space, while remaining eyecatching!” The matching countertop and backsplash and black island chairs weave consistency and nuance into this fabulous remodel.

9. Bright Whites and Drawers, Alright!

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – CRP-10 (Slab top drawers), Finish – Frosty White & Regent Blue

A contrast navy island and warm browns in the seats and wood floors breathe novelty into this clean and efficient white space. Broad spans of counter space, floor-to-ceiling cabinets, and an abundance of drawers for easy appliance access are assets visible to the eye, but with appliances hidden behind matching Frosty White panels, a secret charging drawer, and three discrete trash pullouts, this kitchen was remodeled to excel in hosting and operation. The charming utility of this space was not lost on commenters. @sgreinhardt wrote, “Love all the storage solutions. Pretty and functional!!” A full wall of backsplash provides texture and interest in several gray gradations of subway tiles. Recessed lighting, in combination with the white finish, emphasizes the space and airiness of the room. In reference to the kitchen’s original state of heavy natural wood tones, Instagram user @karianncoble commented that this remodel is “So much brighter and open! 🙌”

10. Warm Maple Elegance – @nataliedech

Kitchen Stats: Cabinets – Inset, Door Style – Albany (Slab drawers), Finish – Antique White, Wood – Hard Maple w/ Saddle finish

Dark stained kitchen island with wood range hood and inset drawer cabinets

Finally, capturing the spirit of what was most sought after in 2023, Instagram user @gratefulelle commented on this remodel, “The warmth of the wood with the white is perfect”. Warm woods and white tones are the epitome of class and elegance in 2023, and yet one would be hard-pressed to get any more classic than this. Lighting choices like toasty crystalline pendant lighting and wall sconces allude also to the enduring beauty of this kitchen. Paired with a lighter wood floor and a full wall of light gray stacked backsplash, both features provide the midpoints for the lighter Antique White and darker maple wood and Saddle finish on the island and drink bar.

Your Feedback

Across four days of voting, every kitchen was represented in the final votes, and passionately, too. Heart and fire emojis, exclamation points, and repetitions of the difficulty of the choice commenters were called to make flooded the comment section. After deliberation between our creative and vote-casting followers, it was clear. As commenter @angela.rhoton expressed, “#2 had a lot more than kitchen. #2 it is.” Kitchen #2 by @checking.boxes checked all the boxes and beyond for Instagram users in 2023 with that winning combination of whites and warm walnut woods, and this family of five’s own original mixture of antique and modern. This kitchen made new waves from traditional features, like a scullery painted in a fun pop of mint green, or a sliding ladder for reaching the tops of full-wall cabinetry. While each year, kitchen remodelers gravitate towards different colors, woods, finishes, and patterns, the infusion of one’s personal style is what really helps make the kitchen the heart of the home.

Each kitchen featured in 2023’s KOTY contest brought a unique blend of style, functionality, and warmth. From each incredible remodel concept taken to Cabinet Joint’s designers came a dazzling new space, showcasing the magic that can happen when Cabinet Joint cabinets are used as the canvas behind these incredible transformations. Customized cabinetry crafted to meet the unique needs of each homeowner has the power to revamp a kitchen’s function and tone. From traditional to modern, dramatic to bright and easy, cozy to expansive, and back again, and again, Cabinet Joint supplies the quality and capability to each individual looking to breathe new life into their homes. 

Looking to the year ahead, it’s undeniable that new trends will come and pass. Personal tastes will evolve, things that we feel we just bought will start to need fixing up or adjusting. Whether it’s inspiration you’re looking for, encouragement, or a DIY community to learn from and connect with, follow @cabinetjoint on Instagram to see all the amazing transformations Cabinet Joint collaborations will bring to our community’s kitchens and homes. And, depending on what projects you get up to in 2024, maybe we’ll even see you there!

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