All-white kitchens have certainly been popular for a while, and homeowners still love the crisp look it brings to their home, especially Farmhouse Style. But for the last several years the kitchen with two-toned cabinets has been increasing in popularity. And I love it!
What started out as a tip toe into the “world of two colors” has morphed into multiple ways to bring your favorite colors into the kitchen in a way that works for you.
A lot of color makes me happy! But since we tend to move a lot, my first thoughts are to go neutral with most improvements so that they’re something a future buyer would like. Even before we sold our last home, I remember thinking, “you love bright color, so why aren’t you using it?” And so I did!
With our new 18 year old fixer upper, I stepped totally out of the box (in the end). The entire time I was designing the kitchen I visualized white cabinets around the room with a dark navy blue island. Clean, simple, and uncluttered was the plan for this kitchen. It would still be a kitchen with two-toned cabinets, just a little ordinary. And I needed to have it finished ASAP!
You see, when we moved into our new home, the kitchen was very outdated with a lot of wasted space cabinets. Storage was minimal. The gold cabinets had so much glazing in the corners that they looked dirty. We were anxious to make a change.
MLS image of our original kitchen
But good design needs a well thought out plan, not one that’s rushed. And that’s what we were able to create..once I took a step back and slowed down. Remember, I love color and being a little bit different than everyone else. On my first trip to the cabinet showroom I found exactly what I was looking for, and it wasn’t white and navy blue! This meant taking a leap of faith and stepping out of my “play it safe” comfort zone. I had my happy colors at last!!!
Shiloh Cabinetry: taupe stain on alder and aqua stain on alder
Ta-Da! Here is the big reveal of our new kitchen, which we love. Even though the footprint is basically the same, the amount of storage space we gained is amazing. Work areas were arranged to suit the way we like to work in our kitchens. A vent hood was added where a downdraft had been. And a fun backsplash was added in my favorite shades of blues and turquoise.
Are YOU ready for a kitchen renovation? Remember that it doesn’t always need to be a full reno to make a big impact. Making simple changes like painting your island to create your own two-toned cabinet look and installing new cabinet “jewelry” can be a big improvement to a dated kitchen.
And when you’re finished, you might need a break to focus your time, energy, and money on another big project. It’s OK if your kitchen becomes a work in progress as you add the Finishing Touches like window treatments, counter stools, or rugs.
I’m here to help! Email me here: AskADesigner@randidestefano.com
When you’re dreaming of a beautiful kitchen, and know that buying new cabinets is more than your budget will allow, maybe it’s time to consider a makeover that includes new countertops. If your cabinets are in good condition and the the space plan works well for you this might be your perfect solution!
There was a time, in my old EXPO Design Center days, when I was known as the Queen of Countertop Remodels because I helped so many clients with them. And because of that, I learned exactly what to do, so that stress was kept to a minimum.
Let’s take a look at my list of Designer do’s and don’ts that will help you with your own countertop remodel.
Do: One of your first decisions to make is what material do you want to use, because you have a few options. There are natural stone products (granite, marble, quartzite) and there are quartz composite products (Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, etc.)
Do: Know what “look” you want to achieve in the space. The material you choose will help you get there.
Do: Decide if you want a lot of movement (veining) in your countertop material.
Quartzite Mont Blanc
Don’t buy a slab that has a lot of movement and imperfections if you think it will drive you crazy. Stone is a gift of nature, and definitely not perfect. Also, if you need to have a seam because of a large area to be covered, the veins will not match. If that is a problem for you, then choose a slab/pattern that has less movement and a quiet pattern.
Do: Decide on your fabricator (the person who will template, cut and install). They often display granite, marble, and quartzite slabs in their warehouse. But sometimes they’ll send you to look at a larger showroom that has more to offer. These showrooms typically do not sell directly to you, the consumer. So this means they won’t be able to quote you a price. They’ll give the price to your fabricator who will then factor in the additional labor costs before giving you a quote.
Granite Colonial White
Don’t visit a granite showroom without a designer, contractor, or fabricator name. They can call ahead to let the showroom know you’re coming, or they can go with you to help you select. Sometimes a showroom will recommend a fabricator if you don’t know who to use. A few showrooms/warehouses will let consumers come in to look without an appointment. Your fabricator will contact them for pricing.
Do: Find out your fabricator’s price levels before you visit a granite showroom. Since most of them don’t sell directly to the consumer, they won’t give you a price. But they can point you to the slabs that will be in your approximate price point. Many large fabrication companies have enough space to have countertop slabs on display. In that instance, they’ll be able to give you a quote.
Don’t: Assume that the initial quote is the final one. Your fabricator will send someone to make a template, and that will determine the final cost. But before they schedule you, they will need a countertop plan with the shape of all your counters, and the dimensions.
Do: Make sure that you have your sink, and sometimes faucet, when they come to make your template. They will take it with them back to their shop.
Do: Know that some fabricators require you to purchase an entire slab, and some will only charge you for what you use. Be sure to check this out in advance. Quartz composite products seem to require purchase of an entire slab. But this is also at the discretion of the fabricator.
Don’t: Ordering less than 25 square feet is not acceptable to most fabricators. Sometimes they have a scrap yard to choose those pieces. If they do, it’s your luck day!!!
Don’t: Order countertops when you’re in a rush to have it installed. From the time they make the template, until the time it is installed could take anywhere from 5-15 business days.
Don’t: Have your heart set on a slab too early in the process unless you’re prepared to make a deposit so they will hold it. Also, make sure that your fabricator is going to hold onto the unused part of your slab. I have had slab “scraps” sold before projects were installed, only to be upset when they made a mistake cutting. Time was lost while they waited to find another slab to match.
Don’t hang on to a sample that you love and expect it to look the same in 6 months. The look of natural stone is determined by where it’s mined in a mountain. Even though it has the same color name, it can look completely different in pattern and color.
Granite sells quickly in certain markets and new shipments aren’t always cut from the same area of a mountain. Always inspect your slab before purchasing! If you need more than one slab for your countertop, make sure that there are more in the stack. Sometimes they’ll be labeled by the order they’ve been cut.
Do: Know that there are options to choose from for your countertop edges. Standard edges are included in your quote. Non-standard edges are sold by the linear foot.
There are a lot of things to think about when making your countertop selection. And it probably seems like a lot to remember. But Do’s and Don’ts are meant to guide us in the right direction and keep us from making painful or costly mistakes.
If you’re still confused and unsure of what to do next, feel free to leave a comment below, or email me at Randi@RandiDestefano.com with your questions. I’m here to help!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to be perfect. Some people would call it a value, others a flaw. No matter how you look at it, the need for perfection pops it’s ugly head for most of us at one time or another. We want everything to be “just so” before we put it out to the world. How do I know? Because I’ve been there!
For a few months now I’ve been postponing a few projects that have been on my list for a long time. Different excuses seem to get in the way. Then, I began procrastinating, which lead to guilt, and then stress. Sound familiar? It wasn’t until I watched a video in a class I’m taking, that I realized I was stuck in being perfect.
Some women need to be perfect in everything they do. Other women are selective. We all want our children to have perfect manners when they‘re in public. We usually want to look our best for a date or a job interview. And when I make the time to sit down and paint, I expect it to be perfect every time! Of course it’s not!!! Then I avoid painting for a while and do something that I know I’m good at.
What about our homes? There are so many ways we create perfection in our minds. We want the perfect paint color, the perfect designer, the perfect budget, the perfect weather before we start the kitchen remodel. The list goes on and on. How many times have you passed on an opportunity to join a book club because you were self conscious about hosting it at your house? I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t have a sleepover because the house wasn’t clean enough! Often we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t even begin the process. We’re on “overwhelm” before we even get started! The sad truth is that if we just take action without waiting for the perfect kitchen, the perfect wall color, or the perfect window treatment, our lives would be more enriched with relationships and happy memories.
Let’s take a look at a few things that can make a huge difference in getting us out of perfect and into action:
Realize that nothing is perfect. Did you know that Amish quilters always leave one mistake in their quilts because “only God is perfect”?
Be realistic. Acknowledge your limits of time, money and resources. Don’t let these obstacles keep you from moving forward with little changes.
Be flexible. Realize that the project will probably take longer than you expect. Go with the flow and relax. Enjoy the process.
Trust yourself. If you inner voice is telling you not to buy something. Listen to it!
Be authentic. Be true to yourself. And, please, don’t check your personality at the front door. Every woman brings their own dreams, visions, and talents to the table. Don’t be afraid to let your uniqueness shine.
Make a plan. Small steps, done consistently, are sometimes better than one big effort. You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time.” Use these words to guide you through your home makeover.
Mistakes happen. Sometimes you have a “What was I thinking!” moment that sends you into a panic. Instead of feeling like you’ve failed or having a meltdown, sit back, take a deep breath, and get creative. There’s almost always a way to fix it. Did you forget to measure the wall, or test the paint color in the room? Learn from your mistakes and take that with you into the next project.
Take risks. Sometimes it’s fun to shake things up a little. Go ahead. Add some turquoise to the walls. Throw an animal print pillow on the sofa.
Seek help. Network with your friends, hire professionals, or take a class. I can’t stress this enough! So many design disappointments happen because you didn’t ask for help, assumed your contractor could read your mind, or didn’t want to pay for help.
Be kind to yourself. If updating your home is taking too long because of no money, no time, or no help, it’s time to tell yourself “good enough…for now”. Throw caution to the wind, call your friends, and have a spur of the moment party. Sometimes entertaining at the last minute is the perfect excuse to not be perfect ! You’ll be more relaxed and feel less pressure. Best of all, your guests will feel welcomed. And isn’t that the point… enjoying what life has to offer?