Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kitchen Update!

Just like the little engines that could, Mr. C and I have slowly been renovating our kitchen ever since we moved into our first home last summer. Here is what our kitchen looked like that fateful day we moved in:


The first order of business was all new, stainless steel appliances, because, well, our house didn't have any appliances. Read about that experience here.


Next up was repainting our kitchen cabinets white (aka Behr's "Vermont Cream") and replacing the hardware with antiqued nickel pulls. While very time consuming, painting cabinets actually isn't too tricky. The most important thing is to educate yourself on how to properly prepare your cabinets to be painted and allowing enough time for the paint to fully dry before rehanging - no matter how excited you are. Because we used a heavy-duty, oil-based primer (Kilz's), we were able to prime and paint without having to sand a single cabinet door. Check out the tutorial here.


The last phase of our kitchen renovation (besides minor improvements that are still in the works, like a subway tile backsplash), is to replace the cobalt blue formica countertops. We have researched and debated long and hard whether or not to go granite or butcher block. I chronicled the key points for both side here. It seemed like granite was the clear winner for a while. We even went and got the formal estimate for a honed jet mist granite countertop and carrara marble breakfast bar. But as the reality of saving up thousands and thousands of dollars for this particularly expensive type of granite sunk in, I began to rethink our choice....especially since we have other projects we are itching to tackle. Plus, I felt like the biggest reason we were getting granite was to lure future home buyers...not necessarily because it was our first choice. But what if we don't move for awhile, or ever? If we're redoing our countertops, whether it costs $1,000 or $10,000 I want to love what we get. Mr. C suggested we consider an inexpensive granite, which I considered, but unfortunately the low-end options were very busy and not so attractive in my opinion. And yes, while it's still very enticing to home buyers when they see granite in a prospective house, but if they see ugly granite I don't think it helps for the home sale. Personally, I would rather see laminate over ugly granite in a house I was buying, because I would feel much less guilty tearing out the laminate versus tearing out the new and ugly granite. But that's just me.

So once again, butcher block has called my name. Besides the cost saving benefits (if we went the Ikea route) that we could allocate to other projects and investments in our home, butcher block is just as beautiful and dare I say - even more beautiful than granite. Butcher block brings warmth to a kitchen unlike any other material I've seen. Many of my kitchen inspiration pictures pulled from designer magazines and websites feature butcher block countertops looking absolutely stunning:
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Butcher block is also a natural material, and it can remain in its natural and beautiful state, or it can be stained a variety of different shades. As far as durability, it is just as durable as many of the other popular countertop materials out there, especially if sealed properly with a chemical such as WaterLox. One important note to keep in mind regarding the cost savings of butcher block - the price will fluctuate strongly based on where you purchase your butcher block. Ikea currently offers 3 different types of butcher block (beech, birch and oak) for extremely reasonable prices (keep reading to see what we paid for ours). However, custom butcher block purchased elsewhere can be extremely expensive - even at places like Home Depot and Lowe's....we're talkin $100+/SF here. In fact, custom butcher block that is crafted of maple or walnut can be much more expensive than granite. So, it's important to be aware of where and what you're getting when it comes to butcher block.  
After looking at Ikea.com numerous times, off we went to the big blue store to check out our options in person. We both preferred the oak butcher block, but unfortunately it (and the other options) were ALL sold out. We were told we could get on a waiting list for when the new shipment arrives (a month and a half from now). While that timeline actually isn't too bad, when we got home I looked again online and noticed that this item is eligible for purchase online and can be shipped right to your door. So after measuring our kitchen countertops for the 10th time, we placed our online order for three oak numerar slabs at $169 each. We will even have 40x25" left over, and I'm sure our crafty minds can think of a use for it. Our contertops Our countertops cost $507, and with tax and shipping the total came in at just over $600. It is scheduled to arrive March 31st (or earlier), but we may have to hold off on installation until after our Napa vacation because it is going to involve a lot of work (staining, etc.) and we are pretty busy between now and April. But I am totally fine with waiting and I am relieved that we have made our decision and are moving forward with our kitchen reno!

We also purchased a new sink - a huge farmer's sink, to be exact.  Let me back up, though. I was happily surprised when Brian announced he really wanted to get a vintage style farmhouse sink for our kitchen, just like this:
kitchens - topiaries subway tiles backsplash pot filler creamy white kitchen cabinets farmhouse sinks black marble countertops calcutta marble countertops bamboo roman shades
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kitchens - Benjamin Moore - Mascarpone - White Carrara Marble Subway Tiles creamy white cabinets apron sink chrome fixtures black countertops kitchen island marble island countertops black stools white carrara marble tiles backsplash glass light pendants kitchen
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Colour Me Happy
...Then my surprise took a turn for the worse when I checked out the prices. Even at Home Depot and Lowe's, these tubs are going for no less than $1k (not including the faucets, which can go for hundreds). But....in the back of my mind, I recalled an urban design blog myth that Ikea also sold farm house sinks on the cheap. Unfortunately, I heard that these sinks had been sold out in the USA for several years and the waiting lists were so long, Ikea wasn't even taking new names to wait. All year though, I kept coming across blogs with kitchens featuring these gorgeous Ikea sinks. Then I examined the blogs a little closer and realized they were all Canadian....and sure enough, when I logged into Ikea Canada, there were the illustrious farm house sinks - double and single bowl options. Lady luck was definitely in our corner last weekend when we went to Ikea for the butcher block....on a whim, we decided to check out their sinks "just to look." And what did we see!??!!? Glorious farm house sinks!!! IN STOCK!!!! For only $299 (double bowl) and $179 (single bowl)!!!!!!!!!!! We snatched up one of the double bowls then and there (no way were we goin on a waiting list at that price) and the hundred-plus pound box is still sitting in our car. Oddly, the USA Ikea website doesn't list either of these farmhouse sinks on their website...yet Ikea Canada has the double bowl here (for $399 - which is $100 more than what we paid in the store), and single bowl here (almost $100 less than the in-store's price at our local Ikea). It does say on the Canadian site that you can buy the sinks online, but when it's time to enter your location, you can only select Canadian locations from the dropbox. If you are an American and you're really on the hunt for one of these like we were (and you're not within driving distance to Canada), I suggest calling Ikea to see if it can possibly be shipped from Canada, or stop by your local Ikea (if you have one nearby). I had no idea Ikea was selling these in stores, as it's not listed on their American website nor is it advertised in any of their current catalogues....unless I've missed an issue??

Last topic of note regarding our kitchen renovation is the breakfast bar. To replace or not to replace, that is the question. The bar is granite and is a mix of dark grays/blues/browns; the colors actually match our overall color scheme very nicely:


 Surprisingly, the previous owners did leave the granite breakfast bar behind (basically everything else was ripped out). It's definitely pretty enough and I would be fine leaving it as is....but if we did replace it, I think carrara marble would be the perfect replacement. It would provide a high-end feature to our kitchen which we tried to remodel as inexpensively as possible. I think it's important to save where you can, so you can hopefully afford one true splurge that's important to you and impactful to the space. And carrara will definitely make an impact:

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kitchens - pendant lights carrara marble white cabinets drum pendant lighting  beautiful white kitchen  white kitchen cabinets, white carrara
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Shorely Chic
For now though, the breakfast bar replacement is on the stainless steel back burner, at least until we get the countertops and sink installed.

7 comments:

  1. Your kitchen is going to be gorgeous when its finished. My son and daughter in law used IKEA cabinets, butcher block and farmers sink when they redid their last home, they loved it.

    I'm planning to paint my kitchen cabinets this summer and have been kicking around using IKEA's butcher block rather than granite, at least on my island. I can't wait to read about your transformation and see how everything comes together. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I want an all white kitchen too! Love the inspiration pics. Love your new table!

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  3. Wow that is great about the sink! Can't wait to see it all happen.

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  4. The kitchen is a key part of the House. Your kitchen is going to be beautiful when its completed. Love your new kitchen furniture.
    Fitted kitchen

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  5. Kitchen countertops made of granite tiles are an extremely good solution for anyone who wants to have a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere in their kitchen while still having privacy and warmth.

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  6. Awesome... Lovely kitchen design and decoration. I am so impressed by that. Every management and design looking awesome. I am so excited for make this kind of my kitchen.
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  7. I am so impressed by that. Every management and design looking awesome.
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