Help with finishes! Too white?

Robin GoodrichFebruary 17, 2013

I am trying to pick all of my kitchen finishes and this is much harder than I thought! The home is craftsman style and an open floorplan. I have spent many hours on houzz trying to pull finishes together and I'm having trouble picturing the end result! We have decided on polished nickel pendants and faucet.

I am drawn to 2x8 white subway tiles with crackle glaze, white granite or quartzite countertops and white cabinets with a light glaze. Then, I started thinking this was all getting too white! The floors and island will be a medium brown stained wood, but is that enough contrast? I thought about doing the back countertops a matte black, but the horrors of obsessing over cleaning fingerprints non-stop scared me off. The countertops we found with more color seem to be too thin at 2cm. So, what do you think? Too sterile looking or stunning?

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Faux Edwardian isn't Craftsman. I.E. white cabinets aren't really suited to your description of your home's bones. Quarter sawn oak, cherry, walnut, or maybe barn red, or a olive green or black if you want a paint. Or a yellow if you want lighter colors. Like the colors in the Pewabic tile. And, if you can afford it, use the Pewabic. It's beautifully classic. Craftsman is all about an artisanal connection of the interior to the exterior spaces. Woods, stones, natural materials and colors found in nature. White paint isn't on the list anywhere.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Robin Goodrich

I know it doesn't fit the exterior style of the home but I don't like interior craftsman look at all so I'm not looking to match it one bit! We'll have darker floors and beams so I felt like doing stained cabinets would be too much wood.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:55AM
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My Dad's kitchen is all white--floors, counter, tile, and cabinets. I find is unpleasntly white and bright. Some of the tiles in the backsplash have strawberries on them and they seem to catch all the attention as they float in this sea of white.

My best advice is to get inspiration picture on Houzz, Pinterest, from books. Find a white kitchen you like and see what they did. I love white kitchens but I find that for me they have to have wood floors, s stell/nickel accents, and a countertop that is not plain white (marble looking quartz is often enough). Ann Sachs has some backsplashs that are works of art and I've always thought some brave (and wealthy) person could put these in a white kitchen to beautiful effect.

Good luck

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:59AM
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I think stunning! I love white kitchens!
You'll have the warmth of the wood stained floors and island. Will you be putting a color on the walls? That will help it from feeling too white also.
Then, if necessary, you can bring in color with your accessories.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:55AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Do a mood board with your choices. But, rethink the Craftsman exterior if you don't really like anything about Craftsman for the interior. Having the interior be schizophrenically disconnected from the exterior is NOT a good thing. Your tastes might be more suited to building a Colonial or Greek Revival than Craftsman. Something that has less emphasis on the use of wood and natural materials throughout the home.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Robin Goodrich

This is what the home will look like from the outside to give you a better idea. We are definitely set on this house plan but I'm hoping to combine crown molding and polished nickel with stained wood accents so it's a little of both. I'm not quite sure what that style would be called? I just want to get the right balance.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Neo-Eclectic with some Folk Victorian influences. Basically a modern mashup of many different elements that don't necessarily go together. But not Craftsman. It will need to be well thought out in the materials used to keep it somewhat cohesive. If you used white trim on the exterior, and used white throughout the home as a color choice, then a white kitchen would work. That means using white in your furnishings and upholstery, not just doing white trim. It would work best if you didn't do white on white in the kitchen and brought in some other color for the counters. Maybe do a white counter on the contrasting island though.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Doesn't look Craftsman at all, but beautiful just the same. I think a white kitchen would be fine especially if you have white trim everywhere. Agree, look to Houzz and other websites for inspirational photos.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Robin Goodrich

Thanks for the opinions! The architect calls it craftsman but that's (clearly) not my style, so I'm definitely trying to go in another direction. These are some pictures I saved from houzz. I love them all but have trouble figuring out how to combine everything in a way that makes sense.

Eclectic Kitchen design by Other Metro General Contractor Gabriel Builders Inc.

Traditional Kitchen design by Denver Kitchen And Bath Angela Otten; WmOhs Showrooms Inc

Traditional Kitchen design by New York Architect Pickell Architecture

Eclectic Kitchen design by Other Metro General Contractor Gabriel Builders Inc.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:27PM
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I love white kitchens and I have one, but not all white. The all white kitchens made popular by Christopher Peacock are losing favor
Yes do white cabinets, but like your last picture, the counters are brown and there is a wood island.
If you do a traditional kitchen, it will be fine with the exterior.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Oh, and I'd explore with your architect about ditching the hipped roofs in favor of gables. It would be closer to the Folk Victorian style and be more charming. It would also be easier to have the space in the attic be convertible to more living space at at a later date. Especially if you increase the pitch of the roof.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:24PM
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I agree with ellendi - it will be gorgeous, but consider using something other than white for the counters. There are so many shades of white - you will end up with different tones in the cabinets, backsplash and countertops. You really may not like the white of your subway tiles up against the different white of your countertops.

None of these photos actually show white tile abutting white countertop. The Denver Kitchen has appliances sitting in all the places where the backsplash meets the countertop. You can see that the picture from Pickrell Architects shows a soapstone countertop against the white backsplash. Even the first picture, which at first glance seems to have all white, actually has a lot of grey in its countertop. It seems that a little contrast is needed to set off the different elements. Black might be a bit harsh though.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:03PM
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I see English Countryside when I view this photo. I also see a beautiful white kitchen fitting right in! I do not feel it will clash with the exterior. Having the medium colored hardwood floors will ground it and keep it from being too stark. Stark and utilitarian is not what this home begs for. When I design a house for someone, I suggest they cut out photos of different rooms that they see in magazines. Once you have done several, compare and see what it is that you like in each. Chances are you will probably find a similar theme. This is your style! Good luck with the design. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:36PM
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White kitchens are timeless. When you look at the kitchens on Houzz, the ones that make your heart sing are the ones for you. White is like a blank canvas and your color comes in with accessories. Also, there are so many shades of white. A creamy white will be more "soft" and less stark than a stark white. I have not seen any indication of white going out of style and who cares anyway if it is what makes you happy. My Mom had white cabinets in the 60's and brought in color with red wallpaper and it was striking. Our family still talks about how much we loved her kitchen. You have wood floors and a wood island for depth. You are having a light glaze on your cabinets for interest. I think keeping the basics, the things that you cannot change readily once they are done, varying shade and textures of white and highlighting with colored dishes, towels, flowers, cushioned seating in colors of your choice, etc. is the way to go. Sounds like you are on the right track. I vote stunning!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:42PM
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Wow LOVE the first and third photos you included! Where did you find your photos for inspiration?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I think with your medium wood floors and your wood beams that mostly white will look wonderful. It can be very difficult to match shades of white, though, as I am finding in my own DIY kitchen facelift!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:34PM
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