Need counter help right away - Peppercorn cabs & espresso floors

BettyBoop999January 5, 2014

Hi. I've just joined this site after spending many many hours perusing your posts for help with my kitchen. I'm so stuck, I'm now pleaing directly for your help. I have already purchased Kraftmaid quartersawn cherry cabinets in peppercorn stain (espresso color but with some hint of underlying red due to the cherry). My floors will be a espresso stained maple (already installed and partially stained). Which I had gone with lighter cabinets, but cabinets and floors are a done deal. My kitchen in is an end unit townhouse, which I have opened it up to the rest of house, installed a huge additional window and installed plenty of additional lighting. My style is contemporary (definitely East coast girl rather than Mid-west). I do like the organic contemporary look and plan to have a mix of espresso, browns, creams and greys in the house. I had planned to do the carrera backsplash with white quartz counters. I have purchased Meram Blanc and Meram Carrara 12x24" tiles for BS but they are returnable. Here's my angst list: Worried this look is becoming overdone, worried too cool or modern, and the biggie is that I hate that my island cabs and perimeter cabs are the same (long saga led me to that). If I do same counters, then the island looks exactly like the perimeter, and I think that is kind of boring. I wanted two toned cabs, but the colors and layout of my kitchen just didn't allow me to work that out well; no changing this aspect now. All I can do now if vary the counters. So I've contemplated combination of white (will do on either perim or island; both would be boring), black (like that looks like furniture with peppercorm cabs but maybe too dark given dark cabs and floor too), grey (goes great with marble BS but tone not great with peppercorn cabs. I do not really want granite as I think it is dated and too busy given carrera BS, marble on counters impractical, so I am planning on quartz. I've considered Viatera Magnolia (I think similar to CS Organic White), Cambrian Black, and some solid greys from various brands. I will post my pics now. My reno is now behind because I am stuck on the counters. We've been without a kitchen for 4 weeks!!! Please help.

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If the floor isn't completed yet, have them go a few shades lighter on the stain. Also look at doing toekick lighting to keep the cabinets from fading into the floor. For one of your counter choices, a maple butcher block would be a good choice. It's a modern look and breaks up all of the dark wood. Or, a bright modern color like Ceasarstone Apple Martini.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:44PM
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Here is my new kitchen in it's current half done state.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen layout

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:07PM
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Floor will look like the dark area (I'm not changing this aspect):

Here is a link that might be useful: sample of espresso stain on floor

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:13PM
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... and here are the counter options:

Here is a link that might be useful: counter options

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:15PM
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@ live_wire_oak: Thank you for your response. I won't be changing the floor. I do not like medium brown and the floor cannot be lightened (it just had one coat of stain applied). I love an espresso floor and will stick with that at this point, although I do understand that a lighter floor would have balanced the dark cabinets. I had thought of going with bleached maple but while it would have worked for the kitchen, it would have felt too cold through the rest of the house (I just installed hw floor on entire main floor).

While I really do appreciate the pics you provided, they just don't capture my taste. I have spent countless hours on Houzz and this site. My main issue with my kitchen reno is that I do not want the island to be the same as the perimeter. Given the dark cabs and floor, I have the walls a very light grey and selected the large polished marble BS tiles to reflect the light. I will use some white countertop (probably Viatera Magnolia) but am stuck on not wanting it on both the perimeter and the island. So for other counter I'm thought of the greys or black. I don't like butcher block really (would be dark walnut if any that I could live with, but prefer the modern aesthetic and low maintenance of quartz) and don't really like granite much either as they all look way to busy to me and don't coordinate well with my BS. If I go with one of the non-white quartz as the other counter, I am also stuck on whether to do the white on the island and e.g. grey on perimeter or vice versa. I'm looking for specific materials (brand/color) that anyone can suggest to vary the island from the perimeter. Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:27PM
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You could do a quiet white/cream countertop with little movement or pattern for your perimeter countertops & something more dramatic for your island. It could be something with a cream background with vivid veining/color. I would go to the stoneyards & see if you fall in love with something. If you don't want granite, there are some beautiful quartzites available.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 2:56AM
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I love your cabinets and the floor will be beautiful in the expresso finish. I wouldn't worry about the look being overdone, since that is what you have chosen. Since you are set on the floors and cabinets being very dark though, you need to bring in the light in the rest of your choices. Of the samples shown against the backsplash, I like the large, light creamy color sample to the right. And I agree with Romy, a beautiful, light, dramatic stone on the island would be gorgeous!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:26AM
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Why don't you have the island painted? The cabinets are so pretty.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Looking very pretty. I like the light counter with a simple backsplash. Looks like a beautiful space! I would keep the countertops all the same.

Transitional Kitchen by South San Francisco General Contractors Dijeau Poage Construction

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Peppercorn, on it's own is dramatic. I don't think you need to worry about your kitchen being boring. Right now, your just looking at your cabinets & your floors. Once you add hardware, light fixtures, appliances & some accessories on your countertops, it won't be boring. I like the picture rtwilliams posted & agree light countertops on pereimeters & island. This is another pic of dark cabinets (not peppercorn)with perimeter & island the same wood & countertops all the same. Maybe hold off on your backsplash choice until your countertops are in?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:27PM
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As Romy suggested, take a look at some of the quartzites: Taj Mahal, Princess White and White Macaubus can have more subtle veining and movement (slabs vary). If you put it on the island and the white quartz on the perimeters, you won't have the issue with pattern conflict with your BS, but can be tricky to match with quartz.

If you do want a different color quartz, I would stick with the lighter one for the island, not the black or dark grey. You could end up washing details out, as LWO points out. In addition to the choices you highlighted, look at CS Pebble, Silestone Kensho or Cygnus. These are lighter greys that could complement the BS and quartz nicely, pulling out the darker areas in your BS.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:15PM
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What about stainless steel or concrete for your island countertop?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:39PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. Sorry for the late reply, but I've been pouring over stone sites, design sites and tending to the troublesome floor staining (another story). Anyway, I've decided to open up my thinking on the use of granite, and agree with those of you who've posted on the need to go with a light surface. So after having visited the warehouses of almost all the main distributors in my area and spent countless more sleepless nights searching and hyperlinking through Houzz, I've come up with these few options: 1) Fantasy Brown (with minimal peachy brown more grey and white flows) on island, some kind of plain white on perimeter, and white marble (see my large tiles) or brown/greyish mosaic on BS, 2) Taj Mahal or similar off-white/beigy quartzite (love these stones) on the island and ?? on perimeter (maybe forced to use same as I cannot come up with coordinating option), and ?? on BS, 3) Golden Crystal on island (like the mix of warm and grey) and ?? on perimeter and maybe greyish mini subways on BS..

Here is a pic of my dusty partially installed cabs:

Here is Fantasy Brown option (found others with more beigy brown but prefer this slab with more white, grey and darker brown):

Two of the Taj Mahals:

The Golden Crystal (colors a bit more rich than shown in pic):

I think I have at least solved the boring counter dilemma! Which of these options do you like best for my kitchen counters and why?

Thank you!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Various views of kitchen and current counter options

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 3:43AM
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OK, I guess pics from Google Drive have to be done another way to be embedded.

A view of kitchen:

Here are the countertop options:
Fantasy Brown:

Two of the Taj Mahals:
And here's a Madre Perola looking very similar to the Taj Mahal's:

Golden Crystal:

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 4:09AM
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This is my now stained but unfinished (no-polyurethane yet) floor:

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 4:13AM
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Well, I am definitely prejudiced in that I love the Madre Perla, but thats because it is what I have with my dark cabinets. It is stunning and people always comment on it and ask what it is. I also love the first Taj Mahal you posted.
I Golden Crystal is beautiful. I love the colors, but for me, it is too showy and something I might grow tired of.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:19AM
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