White or wood kitchen?

lavender_lassMay 20, 2012

I've been dreaming of a white kitchen, with wood floors and lots of light, for years! Then, it became popular again...you see them in all the magazines...and a few things have me reconsidering.

First, we're moving the kitchen into an area that has a beautiful, floor to ceiling raised brick fireplace. It's a very nice red brick (almost a bit of a rose color) and we do NOT want to paint it.

Second, we like white appliances and have chosen a tile backsplash with a white background...so it's starting to feel very white, if we use white cabinets.

Third, in the new plan, we have lots of windows in the kitchen and not many upper cabinets...so the wood will feel a bit lighter, IMHO.

And finally, white sometimes seems a little cold. Maybe it's the stainless steel appliances and marble countertops you see in many of the designer kitchens...but with our long winters (and not living on a Florida beach) we're having second thoughts about white.

So, I'm wondering...what are you choosing for your new kitchen? Are you planning white, wood or something else? What about appliances, backsplash and countertops? Is the kitchen open to other rooms or its own space? Do you have a fireplace open to the kitchen area?

Thanks in advance and I'm just wondering what other people area planning to do with their homes :)

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Hey there LL: First of all, I think you, Lavender Lass, need to decide what personality you are, and don't let others decide everything thing you're putting in your new home. You've got great taste, so don't keep second guessing yourself, and don't do something just because everyone else is. (do I sound like a mother...egads!)

I really love white kitchens, but not with white appliances. White appliances seem to yellow over time, or at least change a bit, at least the plastic parts like the handles, and I personally don't like that look with white cabinets. But that's a very personal thing. My DD had a white kitchen, with 5 little ones, and those cabinets were all chipped and looked awful. They were low end, I'm sure, so if you get white, get good ones...do it right. Everyone right now seems to be putting in totally white kitchens (white cabinets, white marble counters, white walls, white trim. It's is a stunning look, and can be quite formal I think, but not my personality at all. I do love a white kitchen in a cottage style home. So cozy, as long as it's not all white. Check out the linked kitchen (oldhouse1's). Absolutely my favorite white kitchen. If I had a white kitchen, this is what I would want.

We chose hickory for our kitchen just because we love a home with lots of warm woods. Counters are Bianco Romano and Blue Pearl, stainless appliances, white subway backsplash with a black marble listello. The black marble listello is the same color as the Blue Pearl so it kind of ties it all together. I've always wanted a log home, but DH said it was too much maintenance at our age. Our kitchen does not have a fireplace, we do not have a formal dining room. The DR is part of the large kitchen, and it's not open to the living room. My personal preference.

Oh, one other thing I wanted to mention. If you have no uppers, be sure you put in adequate lighting. One area of our kitchen doesn't have uppers, and the recessed cans and pendants we put in aren't quite enough in that area. I didn't think about that during the planning.

Good luck to you!!

Here is a link that might be useful: oldhouse1's kitchen

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:04PM
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I LOVE white kitchens and marble counters. My plan was to put that in our new home however I am starting to appreciate natural wood as well. I think I will end up with a combo. Staning the island and painting the other cabinets. One of my favorites is a garden webber named kateskouros. Although she is a tad more traditional than I am.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:21PM
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I've also always wanted a white kitchen. But it's taken DH a long time to get to that point. And he really wouldn't have gone for it if I'd have gone all white with white appliances and whitish countertops too.

We did a quartzite on the island and a leathered dark countertop on the perimeter and are putting in stainless appliances. I think it's HOW you do the white more than anything. Have you been saving inspiration photos? Do they include the elements you've chosen? I'd gather the ones you gravitate towards the most and try to narrow them down to 3-4 and see what elements draw you to them the most. If its NOT white appliances, maybe that's something you need to rethink rather than the cabinetry finish.

Our kitchen VERY MUCH in progress:

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Now that I am in the "house building mode" again, I am thinking once again about cabinets. I love the look of white, but I keep going back and forth. This morning I read that OAK is making a huge come-back. I like the warmth that wood seems to have, but my problem is that I want white appliances and white/white/white/white is not my style...to me, it looks too much like a hospital~~must my .02~~

I have also thought of natural maple with some type (other than granite) of darker counter-top.

LL, I always enjoy your posts...and looking forward to your finised product :-)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:30PM
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I think this is totally personal preference. I have always had a white kitchen, and probably always will. Love them. I am not a fan of stained cabinets but it is just a preference. I wish I was - I can see that they would be much more practical, long lasting . . . just pull out the stain pen if they get a nick.

We did white cabinets and white marble on the perimeter with a black walnut island and dark stained floors (dark brown, not black) in our new house. The island top just went in and I LOVE it. Most of our appliances are paneled so not much stainless (just rangetop and ovens), and our island is huge (to me - almost 9' long) - but the dark walnut top gives the island some depth. A white top would have been too white for my husband. Our cabinets are not a bright white but a "barely cream" though so they are a little softer looking.

I do love kate's kitchen though!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Its all about personal preference .... no one can answer for you. I personally ahte white kitchens and white appliances. Others love them which is fine. Go with what you want.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 11:14PM
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If you like wiping, white is the way to go.

I'm strongly considering white uppers, dark lowers on the next build if it ever happens.

Or maybe go all grey.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Thanks for all the wonderful responses, pictures and links! :)

I'm staying with pretty much the same kitchen...just rethinking the white cabinets. With the brick fireplace, I think we need more wood to soften the transition between the white trim/moldings/windows and the darker brick.

Here's a picture I really like with the wood and green together...and another kitchen where I like the layout but with the blue the white seems a little cold. I do like blue and green (and some soft gold) and think those colors will look good with the brick...but the wood might warm things up a bit. From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Epiarch Designs

I have a white kitchen currently. Its nice, but it does show things. Minor spills, drips, anything, it shows. And lets me honest, we are never good and cleaning it spotless the moment it happens. Other marks show up over time. While I am personally a big fan of a whiteish/grayish perimeter cabs with dark blue island and soapstone tops, for the new build we are going with a super super dark stained wood. While white is great, there is something that is just warm about stained wood. In our case, we are going for more of a mocha or espresso type stain with quite quarzite tops if we can find them (no one in our area seems to have them).
My design too uses very few upper cabs. It is a typical L shape with a very large island. One wing of the L is all windows (sink wall) while the stove and fridge wall only have 3 or 4 uppers. Backsplash will be a solid color glass subway tile, probably clear glass or maybe a light blue or green tone. We want it simple, clean, more modern feeling.
After living with the white kitchen, I think the darker ones will last longer and look better. I wouldnt care what the current trend is. All you have to do is look at the current Better Homes mag or Houzz and see all the craze is white. Go with your gut and what you like.

With that being said, we do plan on having a creamy/silvery painted white buffet area in the dining room with a black soapstone top.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:07PM
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Thanks, Lzerarc...it sounds like your kitchen is going to look very nice!

I think another thing that has me rethinking white is that our kitchen is larger than I had first planned. A smaller kitchen in white is so light and cheerful...but with cabinets on three sides (rather than two as originally planned) I think the wood will be a better choice. And, yes...living on a farm, we don't always catch every spill/spot as they happen, either! LOL Anything that hides a little dirt until I can get to it that night (or the next morning) is a big plus :)

Here's the layout for the kitchen and a picture I like for the front window/hopefully bump out window seat. White trim is my favorite and that should lighten things up, too! From Farmhouse plans From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Look at this one LL

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Red lover- What a beautiful kitchen!!! Thanks for sharing :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:49PM
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LL - Ten years ago we did a kitchen in solid cherry and loved it. Our taste has changed somewhat and we are mixing stained cherry and painted maple. We love the look of both and decided to blend stain & paint. There are some excellent examples of the perfect marriage of the two on the kitchens forum. Alabamamommy's kitchen comes to mind.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Motherof3sons- I do like mixing painted and stained...and Alabamamommy's kitchen is very nice!

The more I look at Red's kitchen, the more I like those upper cabinets by the range. While I love the 'idea' of the windows on each side of the range...I'm getting a little worried that I will miss the extra storage.

So, here's my plan, with the main sink and range switched. Dishwasher on the left of the sink, trash on the right...or maybe under the island. I still like the prep sink (Rhome convinced me it's too handy to the baking area to lose) so what do you think? Also, with the bump out window seat...there's more room for the dining table. From Farmhouse plans

And my favorite Laura Calder kitchen...with all those lovely windows! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I plan on doing wood lowers in walnut and white uppers. i love the wood look, but think the white uppers will make my kitchen brighter.
there was an article on houzz this week about cerused oak, i guess wood that is sort of waxed to show its wood grain more. it looks very nice and rustic and made me think it might look nice with the red brick you describe.
i am eagerly anticipating seeing your new kitchen as your home planning is sounding so unique and interesting!

Here is a link that might be useful: houzz article on cerused oak

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Red Lover: Thanks for posting the picture of that beautiful kitchen. The layout is almost identical to mine, but that one has so much more warmth. I might take some ideas from this one. Where did you find that pic?


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Joyce--I know, I love this kitchen too. I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to figure out where I got these pics. I know it was the kitchen of a shingle style house I loved on Houzz, that is in one of my idea books, but I don't have the pics of the kitchen in an idea book just on my iPad.

I must have found the pics on the architects website, but I don't know which one. Grrrrr. Anyway, I do have 2 more pictures. It does remind me of your kitchen which I love BTW!

These are mine :-)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 4:01PM
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Michoumonster- Thanks for the link! I have read about limed oak and there are some great examples there.

Red lover- More pictures! That kitchen is beautiful...but what happened to the first picture?

After spending more time on the kitchen forum, I have one more idea. The prep sink doesn't really fit on the island anymore, but I do like the seating on two sides! So much better with the nieces and nephews :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:42PM
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LL-that's all the pics i have and I don't know the original source!

Can't figure out what happened to the first pic. It's still in my photobucket. Try clicking on it and tell me if you see it in photobucket. Thought maybe someone took it down and I was getting sent to Disney.

I love the square island. My island now has 4 seats in a row and it makes it hard to visit.

I'm not supposed to be playing tonight. Hubby took boys to cards game so I could work on ceus to renew my nursing license and I'm playing instead :-)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Red lover- LOL! It's more fun to play on the GW forum, isn't it? :)

I'm glad you like the island! I was trying to figure out how to seat more kids there, when we're baking cookies...and I must have remembered seeing one on the kitchen forum. I think it fits the space better, too!

Here's the picture...I saved it, I liked it so much. Don't know why the Photobucket is not working. I clicked on it, but it just said 'private Photobucket account' and asked for a password. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Epiarch Designs

LL- beautiful, warm kitchen. that layout is basically what we are after, with the wall of windows over the sink and minimal uppers around the range. I just think it keeps things more open.

Here is our inspiration photo:

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 12:04PM
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LL--I wish I could remember which house that kitchen was in. I just remember that it was a shingle style house and although new--it looked very old.

Looks looks quarter sawn oak don't you think? And the ceiling fan...who would have thought of doing that? But it works so well. Wallpaper too.

Lzerarc, like your inspiration pic. Very snazzy looking.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Red Lover, thanks again for posting this wonderful kitchen. Love your antiques....how beautiful.

Yes, those cabinets are definitely quarter sawn oak. Although I'm not a wallpaper fan, it works here. Aren't those lights in the soffit interesting? In lieu of the cans. I do love a well done soffit. Love the deep windowsill and the "cubby" area underneath. I could move right in. It's a "forever" kitchen...looks like it's been there since the home was built.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Joyce, yes the soffits and lights are wonderful. Hadn't even noticed the cubby area until you pointed it out. Those windows tilt out too. Interesting. The wallpaper is so subtle and pale.

Did you notice the beautiful transom above the door going into the dining room? And that custom china cabinet. Sigh.

I love this kitchen. It really is my favorite. I am going to keep looking for this house on Houzz so that you all can see it. I'll let you know when I find it.

I have lots more antiques, but hubby put the whammy on any more. He hates old things as much as I love them. My mom bought me an old oil can when we were treasure hunting, and I spray painted it black. He can't stand the thing :-)

LL-Fun thread. Thanks for starting it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Red Lover: we put transoms like this in our new home in the public areas. Now I just have to get busy and get some stained glass pieces made. So much to do, so little time.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 5:05PM
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I like the white with white kitchen in this house. It does not look to stark to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: white on white kitchen

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:38PM
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You must have the wrong link archie... that kitchen's cabinets are not white, nor are the walls. It is not a 'white on white' kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:48PM
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