I’ve been hearing from a number of you about the hexagonal tiles. Since the tile selection has not been finalized, the subject is officially open for discussion (not that any of you are holding back)!
Originally, I’d thought to go with simple subway tiles in an appropriate color. They are clean, can pass for modern or traditional/retro and are most likely very reasonably priced. No tumbled marble mosaics for me! However, when I went to the tile showroom, worlds of possibilities opened. For anyone planning a kitchen or bathroom, I’d highly recommend checking on tile first. You WILL be inspired.
There are still design opportunities in the kitchen—surface lights, breakfast room lighting fixture, cabinet hardware, tile and paint. And because I am a designer, I hope to have a slightly different take on things. The hexagonal tiles appealed on several levels. They are graphic and somewhat unexpected. We’d use a subtle grout color, not dark, so the lines would blend into the background. One concern is that the smooth, sharp hexagonal tiles might look like we’d used leftover bathroom tiles on the backsplash—not the desired effect! The Walker Zanger hex tile has a subtle, slightly crackled glaze and I will investigate color options.
We also saw a handsome dark charcoal slate cut to the proportion of small bricks and set with light grout. Very attractive, but the dark color was not working with the countertop so it was discarded.
People ask how it is to live in the remodel but I don’t think they want the whole truth. It’s no picnic, more like a staycation or an indoor camping trip. At least with camping you get pretty scenery and a respite from the daily grind—maybe some interesting wild life and vegetation.
My current kitchen is comprised of ‘Old Faithful’ (refrigerator), a microwave on top of a chest of drawers, a salvaged cabinet with two drawers and my bathroom sink. The living room has become my walk-in closet and general storage area. The back yard, currently dedicated to tools and storage of large construction items is an overgrown, vine infested mess. Yes, this is lots of fun.
I’m thinking these thoughts as I near month four of my wonderful remodel. It only seems like it is taking forever on the hot, muggy, noisy days. In reality, things are moving very quickly. Progress is made every day and bringing me one step closer to a glorious completed project.
Rolling rack in living room is my walk-in closet.
So many questions! Yes, I did look at the current Consumer Reports Kitchen Issue, but only to confirm my choices.
Here are the appliance selections for the kitchen:
COOKTOP: 36″ Gas Dacor Epicure
WALL OVEN: 30″ Dacor Epicure Electric Wall Oven
WARMING DRAWER: Free with the purchase of two Dacor appliances!
FRIDGE: GE Profile, French door with bottom freezer and NO water and ice service from the door.
KITCHEN SINK: Elkay Stainless Steel, one bowl.
DISHWASHER: Bosch, the quiet one with concealed button controls, not touch pad. Don’t remember the precise model we ordered, but this is close.
30″ Microwave drawer: Do not have details at hand.
Appliances ordered about a week ago. Plan is to begin kitchen installation upon ‘Mr. Cook’s’ return, approximately August 11-12.
The entire house is a combination of stained and painted wood, so I decided to continue that look throughout the kitchen and addition. The oak flooring will be continuous throughout the downstairs including the kitchen. So here’s the lineup:
Upper cabinets, pantry and oven tower: natural cherry
Lower cabinets: buttermilk painted composite (great value!)
Countertop: antiqued nordic black granite
Floor: white oak
For months I’ve considered various countertop materials and keep coming back to soapstone. I did not want a shiny counter that I’d feel obligated to polish. I love the look of soapstone, the feel and the sense of solidity it brings. However, in a last minute change of heart, I went with antiqued granite, surprising Mr. Cook and myself. I initially had steered away from granite because I did not want a dominating or distracting pattern. The antiqued granite has the depth and feel of soapstone without the maintenance. The granite has been treated with an epoxy fill to plug surface gaps. This is visible as shiny flecks that look like mica. Overall the surface is matte, not shiny, meeting my original criterion.
This granite feels soft but not completely smooth.
Simple cherry cabinets will complement buttermilk paint.
Cabinet door has simple bevel.
Here is the new galley kitchen with the drywall nearly completed.
A few more coats of mud and some sanding...
It’s time to lock in a few last decisions and the kitchen countertop has me stymied. I’ve examined all the usual suspects–granite, marble, quartz, stainless steel, butcherblock, tile. I’ve also looked at new and old green alternatives– recycled post-consumer paper, cement, bamboo. Wood might be an option, but would require lots of maintenance. Still stymied.
Tomorrow is the day I’ll make the rounds with cabinet samples in hand and try to put it all together. I’ll be working with Mr. Cook and visiting a few showrooms together. In addition to the countertop decision, we’ll also order the appliances. It will be a full day packed into 3-4 hours.