We have a new kitchen! Actually we’ve had it since July, but I kept deluding myself into thinking I would get around to taking pictures with styling and proper light and perfectly displayed cheeseboards House Beautiful style (you know, for when I just casually snack on figs and brie off my china by myself…). I’ve accepted that isn’t going to happen anytime soon so it’s time to share ma nouvelle cuisine – currently the most exciting part of my maison.
This is the “before”. It’s giving me anxiety just looking at the cluttered yellow mess it used to be. We always planned on remodeling the kitchen, so when I moved in we decided not to paint over the yellow in anticipation of the remodel. Also, husband liked the “country” yellow…not sure what about me screams “country” yellow but I let it go. For 3 years. I actually felt like the yellow was suffocating me towards the end…but it also could have been the over abundance of stuff I hung on the walls subconsciously trying to cover up the yellow. As if I would forget the walls were yellow if there were 24 Mexican talavera plates on it…right.
You might remember my inspiration board posted way back when. As planned, the floors were left alone – husband installed hand scraped, wide plank dark wood floors throughout the entire house when he moved in. And I’ve really loved having wood floors in the kitchen, it’s much warmer than tile. We also kept our existing cabinets – while nothing fancy they were in good shape and generally unoffensive. However they were dingy off-white – a fresh coat of glossy white (Valspar’s Creme Fraiche) did wonders. I borrowed my friend’s electric spray gun and went to work – two tedious days and multiple thunder and windstorms later we had close-enough-to-perfect for me newly painted cabinet doors. We also added two sets of matching cabinets above the existing on the sink side, and a trash can cabinet to the left of the range. Our carpenter did an excellent job of matching the cabinets perfectly.
I managed to find matching hardware online at build.com to add to the new cabinets (a miracle) so we decided to keep the existing hardware also. We switched out the old painted over hinges for matching black – which really made the hardware pop even more. We love the contrast to the rest of the white kitchen, and it also ties in the light fixtures and dark floor.
For appliances we went with Frigidaire Gallery for the gas 5 burner range and microhood. We chose Whirlpool Gold for the fridge and dishwasher. I was not nearly as concerned with everything matching as I was product reliability and quality. After spending approximately 38 hours on lowes.com and consumerreports.com, we bit the bullet over Memorial Day weekend because Lowe’s was having a huge sale. Appliances probably caused me the most anxiety, but I do have a few tips.
Cosmetics -Each brand of appliances has a slightly different stainless steel and different shaped handles. While I was not concerned with everything matching, I did care that the range and microhood were the same brand as they were on top of each other. I also liked that the fridge and dishwasher matched since they were on the same wall. For the dishwasher, it was more than worth the extra $100 or so for us to get one with a concealed control panel as our dishwasher essentially faces our den. Also we discovered that many fridges have black plastic sides even if they have stainless fronts. Since our fridge was not in a built in cabinet, it was worth spending a little more to find one with gray sides. For the range – many stainless ranges have black plastic knobs or control panels on the front. Finding one with all stainless was important to me.
Prices – We found that Lowe’s had the best selection and prices for the mid-range appliances we were looking for. Since this is not a “forever” house for us, we were not going to spend multiple thousands on each appliance. That La Cornue will just have to wait…ha. We did feel it was worth it to move up a price point from the basic lines – the Gallery line of Frigidaire and Gold line of Whirlpool – to get nicer finishes and a little higher quality. We also found a fridge on clearance because it was last year’s model. (side note – I loved the french door fridges until I realized that the freezer space is practically non-existent. I freeze everything and that absolutely wouldn’t have been practical for us.) We bought on sale, and also on Memorial Day every year energy star appliances are tax free, which saved us several hundred more dollars. Lowe’s also stored our appliances until we were ready for install (almost 6 weeks) free of charge. And delivery was free.
We got a huge, single basin deep sink and it might be the best part of the new kitchen. We don’t leave dishes in our sink, so a double bowl only made things less efficient. With the huge bowl I can wash all of my cookie sheets, cast iron pans, and dutch ovens easily and without spraying water all over the entire kitchen. Faucet is by Delta – the pull down sprayer features the Magnalock so it won’t start to sag over time. I also wanted only one hot/cold control – much more practical for someone who actually cooks and often has dirty hands.
The granite is Bianco Romano, purchased through DFW Granite. While I absolutely adore Carrara marble, it’s just not practical for this house because of potential stains. With white granite I got the overall look I wanted but a much more durable surface.
We used a large, beveled white subway tile for the backsplash. Behind the range we used a smaller subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern. It adds just enough visual interest for my taste (no fruit mosaics in this house). Tile purchased at Floor & Decor.
My other favorite part of the kitchen is the cookbook shelves we had installed. The old counter top extended too far past the cabinets anyways, and if we cut it off so that it lined up evenly, we would have had to replace the paneling behind it. So instead we took the counter top out another 10 inches or so and used the space for shelves. I absolutely love having the cookbooks off the top of the counters but still easily accessible. Big time hearts for this.
Finally – and what probably made the biggest visual difference – is the wall color. We said
good riddance au revoir to the yellow and painted the walls in the kitchen, breakfast room and den a greige with a touch of green undertones – Sherwin Williams’ Techno Gray. It coordinates with the granite and is enough of a neutral to work with the rest of our decor, but it has just enough depth to it to satisfy my color-loving soul.
Maybe when Emily visits in October we will stage a proper photoshoot and give you some updates! Also we are still working on the breakfast room, there is lots of repainting in my future and I just haven’t been able to face it yet.