Hello Kitchen Renovation!

Photo via Lonny

I’m a big believer in following your gut instinct when it comes to big decisions.  There was no exhaustive list of pros and cons when it came to deciding what college to attend and I moved to Hawaii, more than ten years ago, on a total whim.

But it seems as though my usually reliable gut instinct has gone MIA when it comes to making decisions on my upcoming kitchen renovation.  So while I normally stick to just recipes and food around here, you’ll probably see a bunch of kitchen remodeling/renovation posts in the next couple of months as I try to force myself to finally make some decisions and keep my design-obsessed family in the loop.

But for those of you who are firmly in the I-couldn’t-care-less camp, I’ll be sure to keep the page breaks up nice and high so that your reader and the main page isn’t cluttered with photos and information about kitchens, appliances and countertop materials.   For those of you who love home design as much as you do food, read on…

Photo via Collection 17

So of course the first step is collecting inspiration photos, which I’ve been doing on Pinterest and on Houzz.  Here are some of the kitchens that make me a little weak in the knees.

Photo via The Granite Gurus

Ikea Kitchen (!!!)  via Houzz

Photo by Stacey van Berkel-Haines for Style at Home, via Courtney Lane

Photo via Elements of Style

Photo via 7th House on the Left

Croma Design via Houzz

It’s easy enough to achieve any of these looks with a large space, good lighting, and an unlimited budget, but I’ve got a kitchen that’s less than 100 square feet, no natural light (other than what flows in from the living/dining space) and a tight budget.

Luckily there’s plenty of inspiration around the blogosphere that gives me hope that I’ll also be able to turn my kitchen into a light, airy space.  I’ve done my best to include my favorite design elements (black, white, wood, open shelving, marble, subway tile, etc.) into three different options that I think would work for my light and space-challenged kitchen.

For the record, I’ve got Shaker style cabinetry that I’ll be keeping (and likely painting white) and the floors will be the same dark-stained Cumaru that’s in the rest of the apartment.  Everything else (counters, backsplash, lighting, appliances) will need to  be chosen as things move along…

Option #1.  Trendy Kitchen with Veined Quartz Countertops and Subway Tile Backsplash.

Photo by 7th House on the Left

 Quartz Countertop Options: Cambria Torquay (below left)  and LG Hausys Viatera Cortina (below right)

I’ll get into why I’m going with quartz countertops in another post, but these are the specific two quartz products that felt had the most natural veining and variation.  Ashley and Greg from 7th House on the Left (whose kitchen photo I included above)  used the Cambria Torquay.

I wasn’t able to find any information on the LG Hausys Viatera Cortina online, but I have seen it at Home Depot and it looks beautiful and very similar to Torquay.  The folks at Home Depot said perhaps Cortina is a new variety that’s made specifically for Home Depot.  But Google LG Cortina and you’ll come up pretty much empty handed.

If I went with one of these quartz options, I’d probably pair it with a subway tile backsplash with a medium grey or beige grout to play off the veining on the counters.

Option #2:  Classic Kitchen with Light Grey Quartz Countertops and Neutral/Plain Backsplash.

Photo from Little House Blog

Quartz Countertop Options: Caesarstone Misty Carrera (below left) or Silestone Lagoon (below right)

My samples are actually show that these two are much closer in tone than the photos above indicate and are very similar.  Aubrey and Lindsay of the Little House Blog (whose kitchen photo I included above) used Misty Carrera.  Unfortunately not too many people have posted photos of their kitchens with Lagoon.

If I went with obviously grey counters, I’d most likely stick with a very plain white/neutral backsplash.

Option #3.  Eclectic Kitchen With Pale Greige Countertops and a Fun Backsplash.

Photo via Kohler

Quartz Countertop Option: Silestone Yukon Blanco.

Yukon Blanco is another quartz that doesn’t have a whole lot of photos of it posted online, so I was happy to spot it used in this Bay Area kitchen.  And while this isn’t a kitchen that was done on any sort of a budget (it’s the Elle Decor Showhouse!), I can certainly draw some inspiration from it.

In addition to the area of the kitchen that’s shown above with the statuary marble tile backsplash, there’s another area by the stove that uses another fun graphic tile backsplash.

Photo via Elle Decor

The Yukon Blanco is lighter than the Lagoon and Misty Carrera and reads a bit warmer and neutral in tone… it’s almost like an off-white greige with a bit of texture.  And since it’s so neutral, it opens up a lot of possibilities for backsplash options.  Since I can’t be trusted with a marble countertop (etches, stains, etc.), it might be a good way to bring in some marble to the mix… possibly in herringbone?  Or maybe do this very cool, modern twist on a traditional/trendy subway tile?

So the quartz sale ends in a couple days and I need to make a decision stat.  Any design loving foodies out there who want to weigh in?  Family, I’ll be expecting your calls/emails…

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8 Responses to “Hello Kitchen Renovation!”

  1. #
    Barbara from MA — November 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Love your inspiration photos! Hard to imagine going wrong with any combination of the choices you’ve narrowed it down to. I guess my only suggestion would be to stay away from anything trendy like the fun graphic backspashes or glass tile. They look fabulous now but how long are they going to be “IN”. It might be safer to stay with something classic that will never go out of style.


    • Cate — November 27th, 2012 @ 7:34 am

      Thanks, I always value your design opinion :)


  2. #
    Cheryl — November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Lovely kitchens! We have silestone (can’t remember the name of the color, but it looks very much like the Yukon Blanco – light in color but has some swirls in it for a textured look). The builder thought we were crazy to skip the (included at no extra cost) granite and pay more to replace it with Silestone, but I love the light color – you can actually see if it’s clean, unlike dark granite. We have a natural stone backsplash (little stone rectangles that are about 1″ in height x 2″ in length) with lots of different shades: tan, light grey, dark grey, bluish grey, greenish, white, etc.), so that adds some color. Good luck with your decisions!


    • Cate — November 27th, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

      Thanks Cheryl! And I know exactly what you mean…I’ve lived in a couple places that had granite or marble with really busy patterns and it hides crumbs and food far too easily :)


  3. #
    Mindy — November 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I could look at kitchen photos all. day. long. I bought my house in 2001 and have dreamed of remodeling my kitchen every day since. I love, love, love the white shaker cabinets. I’ve looked into the Ikea ones, but they’re some sort of overlay instead of painted wood, which is kind of a bummer. Although, the price is definitely right. I have an old metal olive oil jug in my kitchen that I’ve just started throwing spare change into. It is now officially my “New Kitchen Fund”.
    Looking forward to watching your decision making process.


    • Cate — December 1st, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

      I wish I’d started a similar jar a long time ago! It seems so much harder to get good deals in Hawaii. I mean, I’d seriously be all over that Ikea kitchen if there was one out here :)


  4. #
    Christina — December 1, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Love those inspiration photos. I agree with Barbara on the backsplash. I would consider going with something more classic for the longevity. On the other hand, backsplashes are fairly easy to swap out so you want to make yourself happy and both marble and herringbone patterns are pretty classic in my book.

    It is hard to say without seeing samples in it’s prospective space and lighting but I’m really liking the Cambria Torquay and the Yukon Blanco. My hesitation in the Torquay is the veining, while the most realistic from your other post, still appears artificial. I also like the sparkle the Yukon blanco has to it. I also agree with Cheryl that crumbs tend to hide too nicely on granite for my taste. But that can be a pro for many. Thank you for your research. Helping me narrow down my own choices. :)


    • Cate — December 1st, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      So glad it’s helpful! Those were probably my two favorites as well but when I saw the Torquay slab in the design center with that harsh, artificial light (photo in the other post) it made me reconsider… especially since I don’t get a lot of natural light in my kitchen. I ended up with the Yukon Blanco. That Elle Showhouse kitchen was pretty much perfection in my book and I loved how the quartz was so neutral… it didn’t read too cool or too warm.


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