Somewhat Finished, Somewhat Budget... White Vintage Kitchen

janie-kFebruary 25, 2009

Here is a preview of our not quite finished kitchen. It has been in this same state since before Christmas and I'm guessing it will be a bit before we get around to finishing things (such as molding and the backsplash). Anyways, I thought I'd go ahead and post it now, since I'm so grateful for all the kitchens (finished or not) I was able to see on this forum when I was in the planning phase.


Before Kitchen

This kitchen didn't start out as a budget remodel, but since we were/are doing a whole house remodel, by the end of the kitchen we had spent much more than planned and so the Kitchen budget was cut to 20K.

Some of the details...

Range, Dishwasher & Micro: GE Cafe

Fridge: Counter Depth Bosch

Floor: Ceramic Tile 13"x13" with 4" black marble insets.

Ceiling Lights: Restoration Hardware

Cabinets: Custom by local cabinet maker

Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura Paint in White Dove (DIY)

Cabinet Hardware: Restoration Hardware

Sink: Elkay stainless zero radius sink from Home Depot (it can under-mount or top-mount)... we had a sad story involving a beautiful stainless farm sink received with shipping damage that lead to this sink. In the end I'm totally happy with this sink, so it all worked out :)

Counters - Wilsonart Oiled Soapstone Laminate in 3cm thickness to simulate soapstone. I couldn't decide between Soapstone or Marble, so we decided to go laminate for the time being... I'm actually so happy with it, I think it will stay for quite a while.

Breakfast Bar: Walnut top done by cabinet maker

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Breathtaking!! I LOVE white kitchens and yours is done so well. I really like your lights.

Hope you enjoy your new kitchen and get a thrill everytime you walk into it. Although remodelling the rest of your home, when do you find the time to appreciate each project?? LOL.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:42PM
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Beautiful kitchen! Every time I hear custom cabs for a budget kitchen, I think darn I should have explored more options there. I love your tumbling block floor design. Great job!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:45PM
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Your kitchen looks very comfortable and not 'too white' as my DH would say. (What is it that these guys have against white cabinets? :>) In my monitor at least, your counters really do look like soapstone! I love the floor- those marble accents add a certain something! I also love the 'artwork' - bulletin boards are great to have in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Great kitchen! I love your floor and countertop! I really like the breakfast bar, too.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:51PM
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I love your lighting and your floor! So pretty! Cabinets are lovely,too. This is really lovely as is all around. It's very warm and calm. I can't wait to see when you do more! Congrats and enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:54PM
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Beautiful kit, you did an excellent job.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:55PM
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Gorgeous kitchen, well put together. Love the floor. Seems very cozy, but yet classy. Congrats!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:07PM
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It sure doesn't look like a budget remodel. I love the arched doorway and think the kitchen must fit right into the style of the rest of your home. Looking forward to seeing it in the FKB soon.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:12PM
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Cute, cozy, and very nicely done. The gorgeous floor is a nice balance to the white and warms it up. The lighting choices are perfect, and this is a great example of how soffits can be a great design element...Makes a sleek and elegant crown, and helps make the kitchen feel homey.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:21PM
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What a great job! I can't believe you did that for $20K. You have a lot of very nice, unique details. Love the cabinet over the doorway and your bar area with the drawers. You made some very nice choices. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:24PM
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Love your flooring and your neat window bar. Great transformation,
very comfortable, congrats!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:30PM
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I cannot believe that this beautiful kitchen cost less than $20K, including custom cabinets with inlaid doors. Wow. It's such a spectacular change! Enjoy.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:59PM
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good job. Wilsonart has some pretty laminates. I'm about to redo my cottage kitchen and I was looking at them and liked a bunch. I didn't look at the "soapstone" version. Very nice looking.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Great kitchen! You really did a fantastic job. I love the floor and the breakfast bar, and the lighting, and everything else.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:15PM
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Love it! Especially love the floor. I can't get over what a difference your new windows made! Great!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:15PM
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I love your kitchen! It doesn't look like a budget kitchen at all! I am glad to hear that you like the laminate...I'm considering the Wilsonart Soapstone for my (budget) remodel.

Can I ask you how you like the Restoration Hardward cabinet latches? I was looking at some similar ones from Rejuvenation, but they are more than twice the price! Did you use the hinges from RH too?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:17PM
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Your kitchen looks wonderful! I really like your floor, and your counters, and the way it all pulls together. Are you sure you need a backsplash and more trim? It looks very nice!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Beautiful transformation. It looks fantastic! The new windows really do make the space look that much better. Good job!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:39PM
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Oh, it's just wonderful! People have already talked about the cabinets, the floor, the counter, the hardware - all of which I like - so I'll mention the lighting. It's beautiful, and beautifully put together.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Your kitchen is classic, really nice!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:48PM
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Thanks everyone for the nice comments! I'm happy to answer any questions, as this forum was such a great help to me for planning all the details along the way.

We are so happy with the tile floors. I struggled to try and make wood work because I like the way it warms up a white kitchen. We have existing wood throughout the rest of the house and matching the height would have been difficult due to the sub-flooring in the kitchen. After living with the tile for awhile, I couldn't be happier. We have a 2 year old and I don't have to worry about damage to the tile floors. We had wood in our last two houses and I don't miss it one bit in the kitchen (especially when DH flooded the kitchen one night when he thought the plumbing was put back together.) It would have been very bad with wood!

We do like the laminate a lot, so far. I didn't expect to like it so much. Really, this looks so good that it seems silly to rip anytime soon, just to spend $$$ on soapstone that wouldn't look very different. I also had granite in my former kitchen and don't really miss that either.

As for the Restoration Hardware latches... with my 20% off coupon they were WAY less expensive then the Rejuvenation latches. I'd have to say they look great but the quality on some of them was not that good. In fact, I'd suggest you order 30-50% more then you need so you can pick through them and return the extras. I would have been pickier about ours but the cabinet guys were here that day and I said just put them on. Luckily I had ordered some extras to be able to pick out the worst ones. Many of my bunch were sticky, some were fine and some of ours are still a bit stiff (but seem to be getting a bit better with wear). The bin pulls and knobs are great quality, it was just the latches that had some issues. The polished nickel is beautiful and I get so many comments on how cool our latches look.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:01PM
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I have to say I love your kitchen because the finishes are very similar to mine ;) But I don't have your floor and I wish I did. Love it! Enjoy your new kitchen.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:13PM
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You did a wonderful job - fabulous floor design with those cabs! It may not be very fashionable any longer but I think laminate is great stuff and a wonderful value. Good work!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Gorgeous!! I love it! Can't believe it only cost $20K... way to go!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:54PM
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If you can pull that off for 20K, you have a career waiting in the remodeling industry, because that kitchen is worth twice that amount. If you were doing it for a customer, you would have just put 20K into your pocket.
Of course, it goes without saying that its beautiful, nearly stunning. Unexpected nice touches. All that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 8:41AM
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Wow - what a great looking kitchen and your countertops really look like soapstone. When I first read your title that said "budget" and saw the photos I was thinking "this doesn't look like a budget kitchen at all." I also love your floors - they have a great impact in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 8:43AM
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I love your kitchen. I LOVE LOVE the lighting... I love the orb or dark finish on them and how vintage they look, and also the placement of them. Really spectacular!

Great job.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 8:58AM
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I'm with downsy - I looked at the photos and said, "Inset cabinets? Soapstone countertops? Budget??? What budget??!!"

What a beautiful, unique, intelligent job. You really maximized your dollar in there, and it looks gorgeous. I'm always impressed by people who go from a white kitchen to a white kitchen - I mean, you must not have liked your old kitchen if you were tearing it down, but here you go putting up white cabinets again! (Well, much nicer white cabinets. ;-)) But that works because it's in keeping with the style of your house - and the touches are all much better - and you've got that gorgeous floor. What you've got now looks absolutely timeless.

Oh, and expensive. :-)

Enjoy your new kitchen!!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:12AM
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ohhhh...that EVER

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:36PM
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Thanks again everyone! We bought this house a little over a year ago and started ripping things apart with the thought that we would just do a few things and move in... Haha, we finally moved in a year later, right before Thanksgiving. Our house was a originally a big single family home that had been converted into a 4-plex, we returned to a single family home much to the happiness of our neighborhood :)

Once we started the demo, we just kept saying, "Well it would be easier to do it all at once" and that's how our few month project turned into a year and counting...

The good thing about taking a year was having ample time to tweak the plan and search for bargains. I am so happy we took our time because if we had just thrown together a kitchen, it would have been completely different. The plan evolved so much, I would have not been nearly as pleased with the results. I only have a couple of "wish I done it differently" and they are very minor in the grand scheme of things.

The way we were able to stay under 20K was by doing all of the kitchen demo, down to the studs (gotta love that lath and plaster removal) and all painting including the cabinets ourselves with the help of my parents. Can I even tell you how many late nights I spent with those cabinets... good times:) I did save a bundle, we would have had to pay at least 2K for the cabinets to be painted. My dad also put in our counters right before Christmas because I couldn't commit to soapstone or marble. With a houseful of company coming, the plywood had to go... so I put this in to make sure I didn't think soapstone was too dark in our small kitchen. As I said earlier, we're so happy this will just be staying.

Here is a close up of the floors... showing the marble insets better. It's hard to see in the other pictures but they are actually tumbled, which added a somewhat rustic feel. The floor ended up being my favorite part of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:38PM
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If that is a budget kitchen I will eat my hat.

That's beautiful! I'm sooo jealous! Are you happy now?

:) you should be. That's gorgeous, clean and elegant.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:45PM
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May I please archive your kitchen in the Finished Kitchens Blog?
If so please submit the FKB Category Checklist so I can easily categorize your kitchen. And be sure to add it to the "Low Budget" category!
Thank you!

Here is a link that might be useful: FKB Category Checklist

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:49PM
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Your kitchen is insanely fabulous! We're all home sick today and while I keep trying to write a response the littles keep preventing me from getting too far (but on the bright side, at least I've been able to repeatedly drool over your kitchen!).

I am so grateful you posted your budget so people can see what beauty and functionality can be achieved - you are also living proof that going with local custom is feasible. (I used to be one of those who thought local custom could only be out-of-reach expensive.) Those pictures you posted of your countertop are lovely: when I first (and second and third) saw them, I thought for sure they were soapstone. That laminate is incredible! Holy cow.

Gotta go, but can't stop thinking about your kitchen. Love love love it!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 2:24PM
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I feel so honored to be receiving compliments from owners of kitchens I have long admired. I have spent so many hours studying and drooling over all of your kitchens.

I too thought that custom was out of reach price-wise. I started out by making the rounds to Lowes and HD to get quotes and was stunned to see the quotes coming at $8000+ (not including the breakfast bar). After that, I decided to try custom and got 3 quotes... all were less then HD.

I wanted to add a breakdown of the budget because I really appreciate it when others share that info. Rmkitchen, I specifically remember reading every line your post on cost and found it really useful. I was really in the dark about actual costs when we started this project, so hopefully someone might find this helpful. Here is a rough breakdown of what we spent... I tried to remember everything. With the windows included, it comes in right about 20K. I tend to put the windows in the whole house category since we did all the windows for the house at once, but DH puts them in the kitchen category :)

Cabinets- 5000
Tile- 600
Tile Install- 1500
Elecrical- 2500
Sheetrock- 1200
RH Lights- 300
Pendant Lights- 100
Hardware- 500
Appliances- 5500
Cabiet Install- 300
Paint & Misc- 300
Sink- 250
Faucet- 100
Countertop Supplies- 300

Total: $18,450

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Wow, wow, wow - what an inspiration! I may have to go with laminate countertops due to budget constraints but looking at yours I think I am going to be pleased to do so! That is a fantastic inspiration kitchen and I am going to save all the pictures. How is your laminate holding up? Any issues so far?

Also how is the paint finish holding up on your cabinets? Did you do any special prep? Can you let me know what primer and what Aura finish you used? I recently did all the trim in my house in the Ben Moore Aura satin and it looks great, just like an oil. I am thinking of white painted cabinets but if I get the factory finish and it chips then I am in trouble. However, if I paint them myself then they can always be touched up easily. I need to know more though about painting my own cabinets and if any special finish is needed.

Thank you!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:15AM
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That is one gorgeous kitchen! I love the floor, it's definitely a feature without completely stealing the show. Well done!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:35AM
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WOW!!!! Just amazing you did all that with that budget! I agree the windows make a huge difference - I love the floor, the cabs+hardware+lighting are perfect. And I can't believe how great that laminate is - I saw it on the just beachy blog and was very impressed, at least w/pictures. Glad you like it enough to keep it!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:56AM
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We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen similar to yours and were considering using latches on the cabinets like you did. We love how they look, but weren't sure of the practicality of them on cabinets that you use on a regular basis. How do you find them? We are just concerned that opening and closing the cabinets with latches might get to be bothersome.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:10AM
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And once again.


A sophisticated "pantry" style kitchen that hits all the style points (inset, lighting, glass), has a wonderful sense of space and proportion, gets points for innovation (that floor!) practicality (the counters, the diy) AND comes in at $20,000?

This kitchen is going to be talked about for a veeeerrry long time around here, Janie.

Really nice! It doesn't just make you want to gawp, it makes you just want to stay awhile ... the best compliment.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Wow, wow, wow! Unbelievable! You have very good taste to have achieved such a great look with so few shekels.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:11AM
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Thanks again everyone. Someday we'll get around to completing the finish details!

buffalotina - I want to go look at the paint cans to double check the primer and gloss we used. I'll get back to you with details tonight...

bkatz- It's funny because there was a good thread last week about this... I'll add the link at the bottom.

About the latches: a bit annoying but I think it's worth it! I'm going to be honest... we often don't totally close our 2 most used cabinets (the one for glasses and the other for plates) just shut them to the point of the door resting closed but not click the latch (It's mostly DH who does this) He complains from time to time about the latches... but then also says it worth it when other people ask!

We have the Restoration Hardware latches. I LOVE the way they look and almost everyone who comes in our kitchen comments on how lovely they look. I had a coupon for Restoration Hardware so the price I paid for them was significantly less then any others I found. The quality of the latches seems to vary a lot from latch to latch... some are quite easy to open while others are a bit sticky to twist. Luckily I had way overestimated the amount we needed, so I was able to pick through them and return the stiffest ones. We are hoping they will loosen up with time. Would I use the RH latches again? Yep, because I really didn't want to spend anymore on hardware, but really wanted the look.

Something I realized from reading this other thread is that if you have a lot of double cabinet doors in your layout, the latches will probably be more annoying. I hadn't about this beforehand and luckily we only have one cabinet that is a highly used double door situation and it is more annoying then the rest. Wow... I had no idea I had so much to say about latches! Sorry so long.

Here is a link that might be useful: Latch Info Thread

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 12:57PM
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Beautiful!! Love everything you did, especially the floors!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 2:43PM
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I think I need to be checking our some local custom cabinet makers... I don't need near the number of cabinets you put in.

also, what did you do with your corner cabinet? access to it?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 8:27PM
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The laminate is holding up well... so far no scratches or any other complaints.

LOVE the Aura paint! We used it to paint the entire house.

The cabinets are painted with Aura Satin and the walls in Matte. I'm very pleased with the Aura paint so far... It's holding up well and any spills wipe up nicely. We primed with the Benjamin Moore Fresh Start, Stain Block primer (waterbased). Their primer was more expensive but went on smoothly and coated much more like a oil based primer, so we felt it was worth the $$$. I have to say that painting the cabinets was a LOT of work! Honestly, more work then I expected. I was also pretty burnt out on painting at that point, as we had just painted every wall, ceiling and trim piece in the house. We sanded before the each coat... and it probably took between 2 and 3 coats to get them perfectly smooth with good thick coverage. I was lucky to have my mom helping, she has painted many cabinets and is quite an experienced painter. It was worth the work in our case, because I didn't want to pay $$$ to have them sprayed...

One other thing I noticed about the Aura paint... it stays a little sticky for about a month (only notiecable on the shelves). We painted fire place mantle and built-ins with it too. I asked at the store and they said the Aura takes 30 days to fully cure. So just an FYI if you're painting any shelves.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 1:52PM
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desertsteph - I forgot to answer your question. We have a pullout system thing... it's kind of like a lazy Susan, but rotates and pulls all the way out of the cabinet so you can access stuff in the back corner... I hope that makes sense. I can take some more pics if you need.

Please excuse the unfinished toe kick. Until I looked at this photo... I had forgotten that we never got around to finishing the paint after the tiling was done.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 4:33PM
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Holy cow! Totally agree with others--the kitchen easily looks to be double, if not more, your total cost!

I am green with envy. Great job.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Ok, Im totally budget jealous! How in the world did you get painted white inset cabinets for 5K??!!! And I had no idea you could get a laminate counter called "oiled soapstone" LOL. That rocks! You did an AMAZING job, I love it!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 10:07PM
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Thanks so much for the paint information. I too am interested in your countertops. I just read on a kitchen remodelling website that standard laminate countertops are 1 1/2" thick but that if you get them just the thickness that you normally do stone countertops then they can look more like stone. Your countertop does not look too thick and chunky. Did you have to specifiy a custom thickness and was it difficult to obtain? It looks like you have a straight banded edge - is that correct?


    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 11:41PM
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I agree...WOW.
I thought I was doing wood floors, but then I saw your floor.
Can you disclose the tile mfg/color info?
Was that pattern hard to do?
GORGEOUS. Your counter has given me new food for thought. I've been on a rampage to get wood and stainless and the stainless is just out of our budget. Soapstone was even more expensive so I'd written that off a year ago....and here you go with a gorgeous laminate. THANK YOU for sharing! I want your floor!!!!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Hi Tina,
Our counters were done by my father, so I don't know how hard it would be to order them in a specified thickness. Our counters were done spur of the moment because Christmas dinner was scheduled at our house and I didn't want to have plywood counters... part of the reason we still had the plywood is because I couldn't decide between soapstone or marble... so when I found the soapstone laminate, I figured I could get a preview of what the real soapstone would look like... plus it was very budget friendly! In an effort to create the look of soapstone, we decided to make them 3cm (the thickness of soapstone in our area). The thinner laminate looks so nice in my opinion! Even if I wasn't trying to look like stone and was just getting regular laminate... I would still go with the thinner size.

Our edge is just a plain old straight edge. I alternated with a gray and black Sharpie to color the little bit of brown showing on the edge seam and it looks great! Our custom cabinet guys did counters too and I'm sure they could have made them however thick a person wanted... but I don't know if the big box stores could do it?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:01PM
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I didn't forget about you... I just had to go digging around our basement a bit to find the boxes!

The bigger gray tile (13x13") is made by Emser and labeled Pamplona. I don't see a color listed but Shade 051 is printed on the box. I'll take a photo of the numbers on the box for you.

The black (4x4") tiles i used as accents are from Home Depot (special order)... the box is unmarked for the most part but I'll also add a pic of the codes for you.

Hope that helps... let me know if you need anymore info and I'll see if I can find it for you!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:34PM
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Hi Janie-K,
I clipped your kitchen post a long time ago, and we're just getting around to choosing paint for our kitchen. Did you use the White Dove on the walls and trim, as well as for the cabinets?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Your kitchen gives me hope....

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 10:40PM
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