Kitchen Fever: Cabinets, Countertops, and Quatrefoil

Happy spring everyone! Here in New Jersey, we’ve gotten our first whiff off (almost) summer weather, and I am loving every minute of it.  In fact, I’m participating in an annual event called Skirtathon, which is run by a group of women who are determined to wear all of the dresses and skirts that linger in the back of their closets for years.  It’s given me a chance to be creative (as Dan joked, “you’re CREATING Krista!”), which I love.  I’ll probably put together a post at the end of the month and showcase how I made it all work.  Here’s just one of my skirting adventures:

Speaking of making things work, it’s almost time… for a kitchen renovation! Dan and I have started putting our heads together and brainstorming all of the fun and exciting possibilities for our mini-dream kitchen.  I’m calling this the mini-dream kitchen because it’s not quite as big as we’d like it to be, but it’s still going to be bee-you-ti-ful.  In any case, we have quite a few decisions to make regarding our kitchen plans.  If you’ve ever gone through a kitchen renovation before, you know how many choices hang over your head for weeks before you even make one step forward, so it’s been a long process.  Here’s what we’ve learned so far…

1) Kitchen Cabinets: We headed to Merit Kitchens in Totowa, New Jersey to decide what types of cabinets we wanted.  For us, this was probably the easiest decision to make.  We had planned from the start to go with all white cabinets, so our process was mostly about choosing a cabinet design.  We decided to go with shaker-style cabinets and drawers, which feature a recessed panel like the ones above. Shaker style is a classic design from the 1800s which focuses on a simple, clean, and basic style (perfect for a small space).   To update the kitchen but keep the changes within our budget, we decided to go with semi-custom cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling with a trim piece at the top, but we are opting out of crown molding.  This makes sense for us because we’re going with a more modern style, and our house doesn’t currently have crown molding, so it will fit in with the rest of our dining and living area design.  We’re also looking to add a glass-front cabinet like the one above and some shelving to change things up.

2) Kitchen Hardware: While the cabinet choice was easy for us, we found the hardware decision-making process to be more challenging.  It’s one of the most stylistic features in the space, so we’ve spent a lot of time looking at our options.  I love the oil-rubbed bronze finishes that we chose for our bathroom (and the kitchen above), but in such a large space, it would be difficult to keep all of our finishes the same.  I really love this post from Young House Love about mixing metals, which explains that you don’t want your space to be too matchy-matchy, but you also don’t want it to be disorganized and haphazard.  I’ve been thinking about having some fun with mixed metals and hardware when it comes to light fixtures and other materials, so we’re looking at something a little more versatile like this antique pewter handle from Home Depot below (bottom option).

We like the handle design like the one above much better than the large pulls on the cabinets in the kitchen above.  They look simpler, fit the shaker style cabinets, and are easiest to grab when trying to quickly open or close one of our cabinets.

3) Countertops:  Dan and I went on an adventure at a granite warehouse earlier this winter and started to identify what we like and don’t like about certain countertops.  We discovered quickly that neither of us likes large, dramatic changes in color or swirls of pattern.  We like a toned-down natural look, but we also don’t love one solid color for our countertops (quartz and corian tend to be more streamlined in color).  When we discovered this super white quartzite, we really felt like we found something that we loved.

Quartzite is a naturally occurring, extremely hard material that can be used for countertops.  It’s actually harder than granite and can sustain heat very well, which was a plus for keeping our kitchen user-friendly and durable. Unfortunately for us, we picked one of the most expensive materials at a very high-end warehouse.  We immediately realized that it was out of our budget and had to begin brainstorming other choices.  While we do like granite, we’re still on the fence about it, and we’re mulling over quartz as well.

The jury’s still out on countertops.  In the meantime, enjoy the view of this marble slab that I like to call “oreo cheesecake”.

4) Backsplash: If you want to truly experience indecision, I suggest taking a trip to your local tile store.  I am not exaggerating when I say that Dan and I spent over an hour toiling over dozens of tile samples for our kitchen backsplash.  To me, this is the one area of our kitchen where we can get the most creative, but it can also be the area that most turns off a potential buyer.  While I love a good subway tile design in so many different kitchens, I just can’t help but want to push myself out of my comfort zone on this one decision.  I love the hexagon tile design too, but I question whether that’s better suited to a bathroom (smaller space, smaller tile).  Our top choice originally was this funky mix of octagonal and rectangular tile pieces in a gray finish, until…

Be still, my beating heart.  This quatrefoil pattern nearly jumped off of the Home Depot shelves and into my (very excited) hands.  When I saw such a fun pattern in a classic white color, I started daydreaming about dark grout and light spilling in from the kitchen window… sigh.  We may have a winner (though we haven’t quite bit the bullet on purchasing the tile yet).

The kitchen process continues.  Does anyone have any thoughts for us on the quartzite dilemma of 2015?  I can only pin so many ideas before I begin to spiral out of countertop control.  Let me know what you think!


2 thoughts on “Kitchen Fever: Cabinets, Countertops, and Quatrefoil

    • Jessa, I just realized that I never responded to your comment about the quatrefoil tile backsplash! We are going to ultimately go with something very similar, and I’m starting to craft my post about it now! I do like the colored grout, but in terms of resale value in the future, we are going to keep it simple. Our good friends just used black grout, so we’re going to see if that’s an option for us!

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