Early 00’s builder grade homes.. Maybe the most boring of all houses. No character, no trim work, barely even baseboards, and dated vinyl floors! I was so excited to redesign this kitchen but I knew it would be a big project; a full gut renovation. I wanted to tie-in old world elements with mainstream design. In other words, a modern traditional kitchen!
My goals for the kitchen:
- Gain counter space
- Brighten up the room with light colors
- Mix modern with traditional, and a touch of old world charm
- Hide the microwave (haha, always my goal)
- Add an island with seating
- Install the world’s most beautiful countertops!
But for a while, this is what I saw when I walked into the room:
Deciding on a Kitchen Layout
Designing a kitchen cabinet layout from scratch was harder than I’d thought. This was my first time choosing countertop length, shelving placement, island placement (exactly how many inches from the oven?) and everything in between. The floor plan had to stay somewhat the same, as relocating windows was not in the budget. Therefore, the corner sink would stay. I opted for the island to run perpendicular to the range, the opposite direction the previous peninsula ran, so there would be plenty of space to move on either side. I also liked that the bar stools wouldn’t have their backs to the rest of the room.
I had a non-negotiable vision for beautiful white marbled countertops. Because of a previous nightmare experience with concrete counters (#joannagainesmademedoit), I wanted the most durable material out there, so quartz it was! I landed on Lumina by LG Viatera.
Greige Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
I wanted the island to contrast in either counter material or the cabinet color. Butcher block counters would save money, while painting the island a different color would not. We were easily able to DIY the butcherblock, so decision made there!
To achieve a light, bright kitchen in a home with very little natural light, I chose a near-white color for the cabinets. You can read more about my cabinet choice here. The color with the cabinet vendor is called Stone Shaker Gray, but it’s actually a custom color at Sherwin Williams. SW doesn’t have this color in their line. See the paint can photo below if you want to paint your existing cabinets this custom color!
I searched for a weathered version of white subway tile. After hours searching, and buying and returning a few of my choices this 3×12 Antique White ceramic tile from Home Depot was the winner. They have texture and color variation, and they were super affordable at $4/sq ft! It was going up to the ceiling after all.
Floating Shelves and Vent Hood
The floating shelves are an unstained pine to match the island butcher block. I wanted them to be thick enough to draw attention to the natural wood grain. I ordered these custom shelves from Etsy. We built the range hood from scratch – I wanted it to have an authentic stone look. I achieved this look with real Venetian plaster. They sell it on Amazon! It was my first time applying plaster and there was a learning curve, but it came out great in the end. I’ll have to write a separate blog post / tutorial on that soon!
I have a soft spot for bamboo shades. They bring the texture, they bring the neutral tones, and they go with so many different styles. I ordered mine from Select Blinds because I’ve used them in the past and they have good prices and deliver so fast! I chose their Classic Woven Woods in color “Yarrow”. I had them in my previous home too in a darker color.
Mixing Metals with Faucet, Sconces and Cabinet Hardware
Since there is so much bright brass in this room, I wanted a contrasting faucet. We had small pops of black in the room – our framed art and some of the nearby doorknobs were visible (matte black at the time). Yet the matte black faucet options seemed too modern, or perhaps too industrial, for the style of this kitchen. I stumbled upon a “black stainless steel” faucet – a softer black in a satin finish – and I was sold.
I’ve been on a brass cabinet hardware fix for years and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I can get on board with all different metal finishes for various projects, but brass is just the best cabinet hardware finish in my opinion! I mixed knobs with pulls, and you can find links to both at the bottom of this post.
Finally, my cherry of top was brass and white sconces above the windows. I also upgraded the window trim using my window trim shortcut trick! It draws the eye up, as does the backsplash all the way to the ceiling!
We’ve been super happy with the result! I love the contrast of the brass and dove grey, the warmth of the natural wood tones and hot damn I love that venetian plaster vent hood.