Kitchen Fever: Houston, We Have a Kitchen

We are officially in Week 6 of the kitchen renovation, and I’ve had enough Panera dinners to last me a lifetime.  I’ve been continuously reminding myself that renovations take time, and that I will be so happy with the end product, but I’m not going to lie – waiting has been getting to me.  Last week (pre-appendix rupture) marked three stagnant weeks without any progress, and just when I thought I might snap, we had a breakthrough.

Say hello to our beautiful dark gray countertops, heretofore known as Steel Rock granite, from Everest Marble in Clifton.  Let’s review how we got to this point (and for an even earlier review, check out our first post on choosing kitchen materials).

Back when we originally began planning the kitchen renovation, I had my heart set on white everything.  With our small physical layout of the space, coupled with my penchant for light and bright things, choosing a white countertop seemed only natural.  We debated the merits of quartz, quartzite, and corian, but we ultimately found the aesthetic and practical elements of granite to be the best choice for us.  I really thought that quartz would be our best option for quite a while, but I couldn’t seem to find one that had such variation and interest as the natural granites that we looked at.  Quartzite is still one of my favorite materials, but it was out of our price range, and the Super White option we really loved was just very, very white – perhaps a little too white.  As much as I thought I would want an all-white kitchen (a friend recently pegged me for someone who would choose all white – how did he know?!), I loved the contrasting look of kitchens like this one and this one.  It definitely makes the space look much more modern.  To further prove my point, see Exhibit A: our former white-on-white laminate kitchen below.

Instead of a completely blank slate of white on white, I thought I would break out of my comfort zone and move towards a dark gray color.  This particular granite has some warm brown tones as well, which also works well with our medium dark wood floors.  We also surprisingly chose a smaller pattern for our granite as well, despite being drawn to larger, more wide-sweeping, veiny patterns like this.  I had to get practical with my countertop choices by recognizing that again, our kitchen is a small space, and we want to be able to actually see the small pattern move and change.  A larger pattern would simply look broken up since we don’t have any particularly large slabs of counter space, like those you might see on top of a kitchen island.

The stretch of countertops pictures above is really the largest amount of counter space that we have, which compared to the before shot below, looks pretty darn spacious.  We also added those floating shelves above the sink to break up the cabinets and add some fun into the design.  In this shot, you’ll see that our below-sink cabinet is much smaller, which is fine with us – it’s not so useful anyway, since it’s full of plumbing.  To the right of the sink is our garbage and recycling (built into the cabinets! Oh, the luxury!), and to the left, you’ll see that we moved our dishwasher over slightly as well.

You might notice in this before shot of the kitchen that the sink was right in the middle of our kitchen layout, more or less centered in front of the big window.  This was nice for staring directly out into the parking lot while washing dishes, but it was not so nice in creating one continuous stretch of countertops, especially one that I can sprawl all over, purring with happiness.  The corner sink was the best option for us, and it’s still pretty big.  One day I’ll get my farmhouse sink , in my Fixer Upper dreams.  Now, moving on to the whimsy that is our kitchen backsplash…

Be still, my beating heart.  Our backsplash is complete!  For this part of the kitchen renovation, Dan and I toiled over subway tile, penny tile, herringbone tile, and basically drove ourselves crazy for about six months (okay, I was the one going crazy) until we found this magical quatrefoil tile at Apex Tile in Parsippany.  Once the cabinets and counters were installed, I kept feeling like something was missing, and I couldn’t help but wonder if we had made some wrong choices with our redesign.  However, once the backsplash was installed (we’re still waiting for the grout to fully seal and dry before wiping everything down), I knew that it was the right choice.  It’s bold and fun, but still classic.  It just ties everything together for me.

Here’s a closer look at the backsplash tile.  We originally had chosen a dark gray, almost black grout, but our contractor showed us that our tile was actually quite porous, so the grout could potentially seep through.  Instead of going with our first choice, Dan and I decided to trust the process and went with a lighter color (two buckets of platinum polyblend non-sanded grout from Home Depot).  The color of our new grout choice is still pretty bold and creates another deep contrast that we really like so far.  Hooray for progress!

You may be jumping to the conclusion that I so wish were true: the kitchen’s done, right?  Right?!  Let’s review what’s been done and still needs to happen.  This final kitchen reveal is a long, long way away, so you’ll be getting quite a few updates as we chug along on this renovation train.  Almost all of these remaining updates will be in Klein family hands!

Krista & Dan’s Kitchen To-Do List

  • Choose contractor and sign contract for kitchen renovation (this was too complex for us to take on ourselves for the first time, but we’re ready for the kitchen in future house #2!)
  • Choose custom cabinets and have them installed
  • Choose countertops and have them installed
  • Choose hardware for cabinets and have them installed
  • Choose backsplash tile and have it installed and grouted
  • Reinstall the dishwasher that’s been dismounted from the countertop
  • Restock our kitchen cabinets and pantry (everything is still in the basement, save for a few essentials)
  • Paint exposed kitchen spaces and ceiling
  • Find a use for our blank, left side kitchen wall
  • Decorate floating shelves and glass cabinet shelves
  • Update kitchen blinds on the kitchen windows
  • Make and install a no-sew roman shade on the kitchen windows to add color
  • Replace two kitchen light fixtures
  • Update the left-side kitchen pantry to match our existing cabinetry
  • Create and design a kitchen command center (like this one) under our new glass cabinet and bar top area
  • Build a kitchen table (definitely a Dan project)
  • Find and/or update current kitchen chairs and potential bar stools

Whew!  Perhaps putting that list together was a bad idea: I’m exhausted just thinking about it!  Either way, we’re going to take a little bit of time to enjoy the kitchen now that it’s functional again.  Let us know what you think about our newest update!







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