81-kentucky-derby-kitchenThousands of fans headed to Louisville this week to be part of the magnificent Kentucky Derby festivities.  As much fun as it would be to join them, some of us are left to daydream about the horses, roses, big beautiful hats, parties, and ah… the mint juleps!

When you drive through the beautiful Bluegrass state of Kentucky, one can’t help but notice the rolling countryside blanketed with thoroughbred farms.  The lush green grass, oak tree lined streets, majestic old barns and stables framed with miles of plank fencing.

Are you looking for creative ways to freshen up your kitchen?  How amazing it would be to bring in some of the nostalgia of the Kentucky Derby?  Here are some ideas to bring in the look and feel of this annual tradition.


We published a blog post in January titled “Which Cabinets Wood You Buy?” which shows that oak is a solid staple in the kitchen cabinet industry for looks, durability and pricing.  How fitting, since oak trees are such a staple in Kentucky.  Oak is a very hard, heavy wood with a coarse grain, which gives way for a nice texture and timeless quality.  There are many different stains to choose from, colors can range from light tan to deep reddish brown.

Traditionally, on Kentucky horse farms, fences were a natural wood color, or were painted brown. If you came across a white fence, well that was a symbol of wealth.  So keeping these colors in mind, another option would be to paint your cabinets.  Painting oak cabinets takes a little more effort than some other species due to its open grain, but this may be a way to tie in your colors of brown and white, and you can bring in red and green accents as well.  As always, don’t be afraid to consult an expert regarding your cabinet decisions.


When thinking of the derby lifestyle, I think of the old barns, and my mind immediately goes to a wide plankreclaimed wood floor. There are so many options with this: oak, pine, chestnut, and even barn wood.  With the wide variety of wood species, there are many colors to choose from.  Reclaimed wood adds such a warm history; you can almost feel the spirit of the past as you walk on them.  If you know where they came from, imagine the stories you can share with friends and family.


If you are looking for a budget friendly short term kitchen re-do, here are a few items that can make a statement, keeping with the traditional colors of red and green  to represent the Garland of Roses.  To tie in with the history of “racing silks” which hang in the jockey’s room at Churchill Downs, add bright silk window treatments or even throw rugs and decorative dish towels.  Hang brushed nickel spotlights over the counter in the shape of the Twin Spires, bring in gold cabinet hardware to represent the solid gold derby trophy – you get the idea.

However you decide to “derby up” your kitchen, have fun with it.  Then make sure you bring in your friends to see your new space with an evening of mint juleps.