That there is a hodgepodge of what the kitchen looks like today. We have made some progress over the past couple of weeks worth sharing, so here it is – we’re about 3/4 way “there”.
*Sconces are upside down.
So much to say hence the title of this post. I must organize by topic.
We got appliances about 3 weeks ago and you might have thought we were two 10 year olds on Christmas morning. We danced in circles around that island as we unpacked those beautiful, stainless babies. We went with this KitchenAid fridge, dishwasher, range and range hood. We didn’t have a dishwasher in the rental, and I haven’t quite figured out what life is with a dishwasher. Something tells me I will figure this life out very soon.
I had very specific criteria for the appliances. (All form over function, obviously.) My first choice in finish was actually a black stainless steel suite, but it was going to be an extra month without appliances (we were already 1 month in at this point) and just decided it wasn’t worth it. A part of me wishes we would have waited it out just because I think black stainless would have looked really nice with the kitchen elements, but another part of me remembers that they’re appliances. Yes, you want them to “go” with the kitchen, but they’re not decorative and never will be.
We’ve been suuuuuuper happy with our new fridge, dishwasher and stove. (Range hood not installed yet.) Parker does all of the cooking, but these shiny appliances make me want give my cooking side another chance. (We both gained 15 pounds when I was the cook during our first year of marriage. AS soon as Parker realized what was happening, he aggressively took over in the kitchen and hasn’t looked back since. He now calls himself an “amateur foodie”…..
Appliance Criteria –
Fridge – counter-depth (absolutely no wiggle room here, HAD to be counter-depth), no front ice-maker (weird? I wanted the appliances to be as seamless as possible. No attention drawn to them.)
Range – gas burners, 30″ wide, no back lip, buttons/screen on top & knobs on front
Dishwasher – no front buttons (so not seen from the front), flat door (might add a panel?)
Range Hood – You can see the range cover we had built to cover the range hood. Knowing this, I wanted the cheapest possible range hood that would still work with the range cover. The range hood had to be wall mounted to work with the cover and the buttons had to be on the bottom since the front would be covered.
We went with “ready made” cabinets. As mentioned a while back, Lowes is sponsoring this kitchen project, and it was decided that the budget on the project was $15,000. This kitchen project would not even be a thought without Lowe’s generosity, so it goes without saying (but I still want to scream it from the rooftops) just how grateful I am to Lowes for taking a chance on me to showcase their product in a unique way. We’re not there yet, but I do think it’s going to be a cool space if I say so myself.
So we were asked to stay within 15K. When undergoing a full kitchen reno, cabinets are typically the first thing that you figure out. We happily waltzed into the Lowes kitchen dept and sat down with one of their designers to plan out our kitchen with semi-handmade cabinets. The quote came back at 14K for cabinets. “Yep, not gonna work” I said. I had already browsed the ready made cabinets online, so I was familiar with them, but the kitchen designer told me a bit about them and how they might be a good fit for the project.
Ready made vs. Semi handmade vs. Custom Cabinets: Price is obviously the biggest factor here. For 9 ready made cabinet bases, we spent around $1200 on cabinets. (Remember no uppers, just lower cabinets for this price.) Like I mentioned above, the “semi-handmade” price for basically this same setup came in around 14K. Huge jump there. The difference in ready made and semi handmade is the quality of the wood as well as the flexibility in size/finish/color. With semi-handmade you can choose your finish, color, door front style and have more size options for the cabinets. With the ready made you basically choose between unfinished (what we went with since we were painting), white, black and some different stains. If you have a pretty standard kitchen setup (no crazy sizes needed), ready made definitely does the job. Another factor that determines which is best for you is where you are in life…. If you plan to live in the house for 20+ years, ready made cabinets likely wont stand the test of time. For us, the quality of ready made was great as we wont be in this house forever (don’t even want to think about that) but also being first time homeowners/renovators, it just made sense. As for fully custom cabinets, the kitchen designer told us you’d be looking at spending around 20-50K on cabinets. So there’s that.
Ready made it was. We went with an unfinished option by Project Source and primed and painted this scrumptious green. The only “issue” we ran into was the pantry. Project Source doesn’t have the pantry size we needed in the unfinished option, so we went with this one and had custom doors made to match the other door fronts. I think we paid around $250 for those two door fronts to be made. While he was doing the door fronts we also had him make an end leg for the fridge to create a built in look. We have an over the fridge cabinet as well, so he attached the end leg to that.
Also painting cabinets isn’t a thing?? We have jankily done SO many projects, but Parker’s paint job on those cabinets looks pretty good. He used a “weeny roller” (what Jeff calls it) and very patiently primed then painted several layers of paint. Mind you, our cabs were unfinished so this was likely a whole new ballgame for cabinet painting. If they were already painted/finished, much more work would have gone into it. I’m just saying……. if you’re looking for a way to cut costs, we were happy with our own paint job.
I wanted soapstone or something that looked like it. I went in with a totally open mind and did not make my decision based on what’s popular. I honestly didn’t care if the material we went with was “popular” or used often by others. I knew what I wanted the countertops to look like, and since the kitchen was coming exclusively from Lowes, I chose the closest option I could find. This is what I wanted the “L” shape counters to look like –
My thinking: I want black. But nothing “shiny” like quartz or granite. I wanted it to almost look matte. Just simple and functional. I didn’t want the countertop to be a big “thing” or huge attention hog.
I originally wanted a butcher block countertop for the island but either Lowes doesn’t offer it or I just couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. I definitely wanted something that contrasted against the black on the “L” shape in fear that black on the L and island would be too dark. SO I went with the same material but in a creamy white for the island.
The material? It’s a sintered stone made by Duralosa. From what I understand, it’s a man made stone that compresses several different kinds of stone for an extremely durable, hard surface. That video on Duralosa’s homepage…. Parker sent that to me a while back and said he was doing it. I shall let you know how the countertop takes a flame……..
Because the ceiling is so high, I never even thought about going with upper cabinets. I prefer for uppers to extend to the ceiling, but with a 12′ ceiling, that is not an option. Instead, I started researching open shelves. Going back to Lauren Liess’ kitchen above (just so good), I loved how those steel shelves looked. I didn’t want anything that looked DIY, but rather a higher end look. The guy that did the woodwork in the kitchen also does steel, so he is currently making those shelves. He’s charging about $725 for two sets of shelves – 6′ wide x 4.5′ tall.
So….. scroll up to that second image where the shelves are taped off. The range/range hood are centered under the ceiling arch (couldn’t possibly be any other way) BUT because of that door on the right, there is less counter/cabinet space on the right side. I couldn’t get past having the left shelf be 6′ wide and the right shelf be 3′ wide, so my solution was to have the top right shelf extend 6′ (over the door) while the bottom right shelves are 3′ wide. I think that having that one 6′ shelf on the right side will add the symmetry that I must have or else i explode. And I know I said it up there, but those sconces above the shelves are currently hung upside down.
I thought about taking the steel shelves all the way around to the above wall so that they met the pantry. I decided against it and instead think I’m going to do a vintage barrister bookcase on that wall………
(again) Lauren Liess
Oh baby. So much anxiety over this. The original kitchen design that I pitched to Lowes had the saltillo tile going all the wall to the ceiling. That whole back wall!!! That’s so much saltillo tile. Then I chickened out and decided to subway in this beautiful off white tile all the way to the ceiling and tile the range cover in the saltillo tile. Best of both worlds right? I get my saltillo tile but don’t scare people away with too much saltillo tile.
Wrong. The beautiful creamy subway tile that so perfectly matched my wall color is currently being discontinued. I then had not enough days to make a decision. No tile and only tile the range cover? What about the grease we splatter on the wall???? TILE THE WHOLE WALL (RANGE HOOD INCLUDED) IN SALTILLO TILE???????????????????????
I caved and did it. The tile is sitting in our garage right now waiting to cover that wall. I am so nervous. What if it hurts the resale? What if the next people hate it? So many what ifs, but I’m going with my gut on this one and hoping for the best.
Also, one more thing that keeps me up at night. When we were buying this tile, we told the Lowes tile worker we were putting in on the wall. (OH, forgot to mention we are cutting them into smaller pieces, so they wont be huge 12″x12″ pieces.) The Lowes worker casually said “well make sure you use the right kind of glue or that tile will pull your wall off” ………… What?????? Pull my wall off??? We can’t have that ?? !! Jeff’s tile guy says it’s not an issue, however, still something that makes me stop breathing and doze off for 10 mins when I think about our wall crumbling to the floor one night while we’re sleeping.
I am actually winded after all of that. Below is a quick board I put together with the main elements that are either in the kitchen/on their way.
Saltillo Tile | vintage rug | Faucet | Brass Pendants | hardware | Copper Sink | Sconces | White Island Countertop | Black Countertop | Cabinet Paint Color