Kitchen Face Lift
When we first saw That 70s House one of the things I liked about it was the open concept kitchen and how it really felt like it was the heart of the house. However, the color choices in the kitchen had no place in my heart!
When we bought the house I knew I didn’t love the style of kitchen but technically, there was nothing wrong with it. I just didn’t enjoy the un-harmonious mix of orange and pink hues. But it was livable, so it didn’t make our initial short list of projects. But as time went on, I started to think about it…….like I was going to live with this forever! My original thought was to change out the counter-tops and back splash to give it a much needed update. To my disappointment, there were not a lot of choices to give it an updated and modern feel that also spoke to our style. The color of our cabinets was just so out dated it made all the counter top options look dated too. I knew from our previous house replacing the counter tops would not be cheap, especially if I wanted stone, which of course I did. If you read my bathroom post, you know how I feel about the DIY options. Not to mention, this is not our first house so I wanted a little bit of an upgrade. I also didn’t want to replace them with a cheaper option only to decide a few years down the road to do the granite I really wanted in the first place. Therefore, I didn’t want to settle on a granite that “just worked” with our cabinets. I wanted to really love it all if we were going to spend that kind of money. This is what we were working with.
So now what? There was nothing I liked that went with our orangey pink cabinets. Should I paint the cabinets? I cringed at the thought of doing this. At this point we were knee deep in our guest bathroom reno so the idea of adding another SUPER time consuming project to our immediate future made me want to cry and I thought Barry might kill me. But I didn’t eliminate the idea completely. Then there was the question of color. I mean I really had no plan……..my head was just crammed with ideas racing at full speed. Not that this is different from any other time. So I had to sit down and focus on the color! We have darker hardwood in the kitchen so I wanted something that would provide a good contrast to that. Ordinarily I gravitate to darker wood, but we have a lot of cabinets and I didn’t want to close in the kitchen. Not to mention, it wouldn’t provide that contrast to the flooring I was after. Completely opposite, I pondered white cabinets. While this seemed so generic, it also seemed so classic. White cabinets would also make the kitchen feel so much brighter and the floor would really stand out. White was looking like the front runner!
Now back to granite. If, and this was a big IF (I still had to sell this to Barry) we painted the cabinets white, what granite would look best? I really loved the light colored granite options, but would white on white be too much white? What if I did the perimeter in one color granite and the island in another? That could get expensive. Flip side, what if we did a white colored granite with white cabinets, but painted the island cabinets a dark color? I liked this idea! I would get the darker color I really liked in the island and it would have nice contrast between the light granite. But I would also get a nice fresh white cabinet everywhere else. I think I was sold.
Barry was a little harder to sell on the idea. He had no interest in painting the cabinets ourselves. In our previous house we stained our kitchen cabinets and it took more time than we would have liked and we had a MUCH smaller kitchen. I understood how he felt. I wasn’t looking forward to that either. Around the same time, one of my best gal pals was managing her own full scale renovation in Ohio. She had mentioned they were having their cabinets professionally painted. Hummmmm…….surely there had to be a company in Denver that did the same type of work? Yep, there is! So I made an appointment for a consultation. I was sure this was going to be considerably more expensive than if we did it ourselves, but if it looked better, was faster, and we didn’t have to do any work, maybe? The company rep brought samples and they looked GREAT! They didn’t look painted at all! They looked like the custom cabinets you order from a cabinet retailer and not the plastic kind. It would also only take a week for them to complete! They would come pick up all the doors and take them to their shop and then come paint the frames in place in two days. Then at the end of the week they would come back and install them all. They would also drill all the holes for the new hardware I wanted. I was already sold……..and hoping this wasn’t crazy expensive! The quote came in about where we thought, so we set up a date to start the job! Below are the samples.
Time to pick out granite 🙂 We contacted a local granite fabricator a friend had used and he showed us different options at local granite yards/warehouses. I really wanted something a little less generic than your basic level 1 granite you see everywhere and I wanted something with a white base. Oh, and I wanted something with a rather consistent pattern or movement to it. I didn’t want any of the pieces to be drastically different from the others once it was cut. Too demanding………nah! We saw a slab of Bianco Antico I liked at one of the granite yards but I wasn’t 100%. The slab had a lot of movement in one area and I was worried it would look like part of the kitchen was done in a different granite.
So we went to a MEGA granite wholesaler here in Denver to check out their inventory. We walked the whole place just to be sure of our choice. They have hundreds of different options from granite to marble to quartz to super exotics. It amazes me how many options there really are! Some were WAY out of our budget, but still fun to look at 🙂 After perusing all the options we still really liked the Bianco Antico and lucky for us, they had a much more consistent slab than the last place. I loved this color because it had a white base like I was after, it had flecks of brown and grey, and it had metallic flecks of silver as well…….a little bling, if you will 🙂 This was a level 2 granite so it was more than the basics, but not crazy expensive like the exotics. It was decided, this was our slab 🙂
What’s next? Well the back splash of course! You didn’t think I was going to re-do the whole kitchen and keep that terrible back splash did you? Heck no! I never liked the back splash in our kitchen. Like all the other sort of updated features, and by sort of I mean not from the 70s but not recent either, this was clearly the work of the 90s along with my orangey pink kitchen. I’m so glad we decided to change that! On with the back splash. Our granite fabricator gave us a sample of the granite we chose to help us pick the back splash. There were so many great options, but of course I gravitated towards the expensive ones…….the Marble. We needed 30-35 sqft to do the entire back splash. It wasn’t a crazy amount so we decided to splurge on the one we really liked.
During this entire process we were also juggling our guest bathroom reno which was finally about to be finished. The cabinet company was scheduled to start in a month, but first the counter tops needed to be installed in case the cabinets got damaged during the tear out. I also wanted to have the back splash in ahead of time since the tiling was going to be messy. We basically had four weekends between when the bathroom was finished and the cabinet company would start, and did I mention we were hosting a wine tasting party at our house one of those weekends? Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to sleep when we are dead …….We REALLY needed the wine break though 🙂
The counter tops went in on a Friday, two weekends before the cabinets would be started. This is what they looked like before.
This is what it looked like once the old counters had been removed.
And these are the new counter tops. I know, they don’t really go with the original cabinet color, but we were making progress!
The back splash took us the two weekends we had left but we got it done! And I really like it! Now I didn’t want to do any tiling for long time!
As you can see, we also replaced the sink and the faucet and this was quite the challenge for me! I originally had my heart set on a stainless steel farmhouse sink, but our granite installer said these were more of a custom job and he couldn’t promise it would work since they would have to cut our existing cabinet. Because time was already tight, I chose to go with an extra deep, modern, zero radius, single bowl, stainless steel sink instead. And let me tell you, I LOVE THIS SINK!!!! First, it is sexy! Second, you can fill the entire sink with dishes while you are waiting for the dishwasher to finish (Wash dishes? Please, that’s why I have a dishwasher.) and you can’t see them until you are standing in front of the sink. That’s awesome! Our old sink had two sides and I never used both. If I have to wash dishes (for my knives and pots and pans only) I wash them, dry them and put them away. No need to leave them out. Did I mention I am OCD and I can’t STAND clutter? True story.
I also REALLY wanted one of those commercial looking faucets with the spring looking neck. Like this one. As I read through the reviews and details online, I realized these are really tall. They were anywhere from 4-8 inches taller than what we had before and we didn’t have a short faucet before. I also discovered the “pull down” feature of this type of faucet had a very short range. What’s the point then? I knew we were getting a super deep sink, so a sprayer that wouldn’t reach the corners was not going to work. Sadly, I scratched that one off the list. Instead, I picked this simple modern faucet by Delta with pull down sprayer and a “normal” height of 18 inches and I have no regrets! Ok, technically, Barry picked the faucet. And he did well!
Everything was installed now and it was day one of cabinet painting. This was the best part! The cabinet crew came in and got to work while Barry and I went up to our bedroom and binge watched a whole season of Breaking Bad! Like I said, the best part………we didn’t have to do ANYTHING! And after our 4 month bathroom reno and tiling the back splash, we had definitely earned a good old fashioned Netflix marathon! After day one, this is what our kitchen looked like.
There was one more day of onsite painting, where we again had a Netflix marathon of Breaking Bad. After all, there were several more seasons to get through! Then the cabinet team came back at the end of the week and installed all the doors. As I mentioned previously, they also drilled and installed all the new handles I bought. Before we just had knobs, but I wanted something more modern like the long cylindrical pulls. Since we had some larger cabinets and drawers, I opted to do varying sizes based on the size of the faces themselves. I spent one evening labeling all the faces indicating what size they would get which is why there are little pieces of masking tape on them in some of the pictures. If any of you have ever seen these at your local Lowes or Home Depot, they range in cost from about $6 for the small ones to $30 for the large ones…….EACH! That’s just insanity! I ordered all of them from Overstock for about $120 and I needed 35 in total. I think they all came in packs of 10 so I had leftovers of several of the sizes but it was still cheaper to order more than I needed than to buy them individually.
And this is the final product! It’s amazing what a difference the color alone made and we love it!
I Love this kitchen makeover. We have a very similar layout (tri-level in Boulder), though I think it’s a big smaller in at least one of the dimensions. I would love to get some help figuring out how we could do something similar. Thanks so much