my reveal

sstrazisarFebruary 6, 2014

It took a year from the time we started seriously investigating our kitchen remodel until the last tile was installed. I received a lot of help from all of you generous people, and so I wanted to share my results in case they could be helpful to others. I didn't take all the advice, but it always made me think.

The former kitchen was 14 years old, original to the house. We needed more space at the island, and wanted to make the whole area more kid-friendly. It was also time for the formica to go! The natural maple cabinets were still in decent shape, but had yellowed with sun exposure. We found them a new home, avoiding the landfill.

Major Details:
Cabinets: Schrock painted Pearl on perimeter, and Decora stained Teaberry on island ($17,800) Cabinet accessories purchased separately included wine rack, trash pull-out, shelf slide-outs, cutlery inserts, hanging file folder.

Granite: Leathered Antique Brown ($6,200)

Butcherblock and Bar shelf: Character walnut from Hardware Lumber ($1500) with DIY Waterlox finish

Heath ceramic 3"x6" backsplash tiles in matte Dew ($1,200)

Appliances purchased included U-line bev fridge ($1100), GE Dishwasher ($480), Whirlpool slide-in range ($900), GE Panasonic microwave, Arietta Lazio hood with recirc kit ($400). Fridge is 14 year old GE that will be eventually replaced. We're not into cooking enough to splurge on higher-end appliances.

Pendants are Kitchler Sayre antique pewter ($350) and drum chandelier is Restoration Hardware ($285)

Table and chairs are Canadel ($2200) purchased locally and island stools are Restoration Hardware ($1350)

Franke sinks, including the Oceania with integral ledge, and Delta Cassidy faucets. Pulls are Restoration Hardware adeline in chrome.

Labor was approx. $8000. No major demo was required. The floor was not a part of the reno, having been replaced 2 years ago.

Mostly drawers in my base cabinets, except for corner cab & sinks

Added feet at the last minute

Garbage bags stored above the trash pull-out

Microwave accessible to the kids, instead of above the range

Cutlery insert from Wood Hollow, which I read about on this forum!

Charging drawer

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Very pretty! All your planning and forethought show. Love the backsplash tile!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Lovely! I'll be stealing the microwave idea.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:47PM
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How lovely!
It sounds so well planned, and, well, it's just plain eye candy.
Great job!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:49PM
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Love the back splash and the butcher block. Thanks for sharing the cost of each of the items. It really helps people get an idea of how much it might cost to do something similar.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:29AM
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Very, very nice. I love the butcher block and the drawer inserts. Congrats on a well done kitchen!!!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:51AM
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It is gorgeous! You did a fantastic job!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:45AM
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Very well done, congratulations! I love your utensil drawer. The butcher block is gorgeous. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:51AM
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Stunning! I love the wood on the island and the contrasts between light and dark -- simply gorgeous!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:12AM
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Aw, thank you so much all for your kind words. It's so much appreciated from folks who know the effort (& tendency to overthink!) that goes into these projects. I'm glad the numbers are helpful, I know others' cost breakouts guided me!

merrygardner, regarding the microwave they are Aventos hinges from Blum...super smooth! One of my learnings that might be helpful for you: I probably should have put the cabinet up a little higher. If you are taller than 5', the door blocks your view unless you stand back a bit because you're looking down at the MW. Not a big deal, but I missed that detail. We put it at counter height for kid-convienence, and it's perfect for them at least.

All the butcherblock love: it's one of my favorite parts of the kitchen too. Another learning: the original Waterlox is awesome to use, but the satin sheen Waterlox is terrible. If you want a lower sheen, apply orginal Waterlox & then buff final coat with auto rubbing compound. We tried to use the satin version for the final coat, and ended up having to sand it off. It does not go on as nicely as the original formulation.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Your kitchen is beautiful. I am in love with antique brown granite…Do you have any close up pictures of it leathered? I love the look of leathered, but worry about the practicality of using it…is it easy to clean?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:33AM
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That's a kitchen I'd love to work in! Such great finishes, too. I especially love the Heath tile, with its soft mottling. Really pretty. The open shelves by the bar/prep sink are unusual. I like the combination of glass shelves and wood shelf underneath, with the spaces for the wine bottles in between. Your TKO paid off!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:47AM
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You are all making me smile! Thanks for the kind words about the tile too. Heath makes beautiful tiles for those of us that like just a little bit of variation. I have ~20 sample tiles left over from when I was trying out different glazes...if anyone is considering Heath I'd be happy to send them to you for just the shipping cost. (Heath charges $1 per sample + shipping, and limits the # you can sample in one order)

Pwanna1, here's one during construction that shows a bit more of an up-close view

And here's a pic of the slab in the warehouse.

I can try to take a better pic tonite when I get home if you want. I really like it. It's not shiny, so it doesn't show fingerprints & smudges. It's no harder to clean than the formica I used to have. There is a texture to it though, so if your paying bills/doing homework, your writing would be a bit bumpy. That's one of the reasons why we did something different at the island.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Kathy Rivera

I want to touch your island and counters!! Is that creepy?!?! The island top is just beautiful! And when I was stone shopping I loved all the honed darker granites - I would stop and just stare and touch them. Didn't go with the look I was after - but I'm trying to find a place for one somewhere else in my house!

Love your bs tile, too!

Great job!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Congratulations! I am certain others will be thankful for you listing the prices by major component. I really like the leathered finished on your granite; I bet it eliminates the issue with any watermarks. I love Heath tile and love the charging drawer.

I have my MW pop-up at head height, but putting it lower makes complete sense for the smaller kids. I wonder if people could do a "pop down"

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:55AM
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Thanks you…I'm looking forward to the current pics if you get any tonight! I wanted Antique Brown when I put counters into my old house, but went with Absolute Black b/c it was cheaper…I loved my last house, but always wished for the Antique Brown. :) So, I figured 10 yrs later…we've moved to a new state and are building, so I'm gonna get my Antique Brown counters now dang it! I'm thinking Antique Brown on the perimeter and a lighter island (something like Champagne Quartzite maybe?) Anyways I've always loved the leathered look and thought, since it won't be my main baking surface, the texture would be okay (as long as it's not harder to clean) Thanks so much…your kitchen makes me drool!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:14PM
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Gorgeous, congratulations! I love the way you used glass fronts and the dark/light contrast, very sharp!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 5:18PM
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All the kind comments are much appreciated! For Pwanna1, and all you fans of honed/leathered finishes, here's a close-up. The pics don't do it justice. Gooster, we inquired about a pop-down, but it'd take a severe alteration of the hinges. Apparently they are designed with counterweights to flip the door up, and the balance would be out of whack to flip it down. But I like how you think! Maybe for someone doing it from scratch there'd be a solution?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 6:41PM
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Ooooohhhhhh!!!! LOVE the butcherblock island.... my kryptonite (sigh).

Congrats on a beautiful transformation!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:21PM
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What a beautiful space, and what wonderful little touches--your planning definitely paid off! Thanks for sharing more about the granite. We're looking into something very similar for our perimeter, and it's always very helpful to see these kinds of surfaces on a bigger scale, and against other materials.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 9:54PM
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I agree with every one, it's very beautiful. I love the contrast of the cool icy color of the tiles, and the warm rich butcherblock.

Thanks for including all the detailed information, including the info about the satin version of Waterlox being hard to apply. In my foggy memory, I think I've read other folks say that too. I'm happy to know you can dull the regular version down a bit by polishing with auto compound.

I love how the butcherblock island really makes all the pretty stained wood trim around your doors and windows sing.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:30PM
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For some reason the pictures are coming through really small on my computer? But! That backsplash is absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful variation of color! Your counter looks super nifty, too. Never seen that particular kind of counter pattern... very neat.
Beautiful job!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:39AM
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Great transformation. Absolutely love the countertops!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 7:35AM
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Very impressive, and oh so functional! Thanks for sharing! Its beautiful.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Your backsplash, I love it, the color and the variation from tile to tile ( just what deedles said). The walnut top is stunning. I was surprised to read it was Waterlox as I don't remember seeing a Waterlox finish with so much sheen.
Great storage. Beauty & functionality, congrats on your new kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:45AM
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I am on my iPhone and can't see all of the detail but loving what I see so far!
More comments when on terra firma :-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:28PM
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Holly- Kay

It's beautiful! I love every aspect. Enjoy many years in your lovely kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 7:55PM
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I remember you mentioning that Heath Tile a while back - it really turned out beautifully!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Thanks again all, for the recent nice comments. First guests for dinner tomorrow in the 100% done kitchen. Ironically, my hubs is using the Weber smoker outside! Anyway, we do really like the variation in the BS, and I'm so thankful to folks on this forum for explaining how subtle can be stunning. Left to my own devices I'd'a probably went too far.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:22PM
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I want to say I think the kitchen looks very nice. I have been watching the replies, and am kind of thrown by how you spent your money -> I repeat "your" money, not mine, so I respect your choices and do appreciate you posting costs.

you spent almost 25k on cabinets and counter tops; yet less than 3k on appliances? Where did the 8k in labor come from? You stated no major demo and you kept existing floor?

I am comparing your kitchen and expenses to what I am doing/getting for my $ and my breakdown is vastly different, yet totals are comparable

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Looks great! I love the counter & backsplash combo. Great job, enjoy!!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:35AM
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Hi Zivman, no worries, I'm happy to explain! Your question is part of the reason why I posted the figures. While I don't mind cooking, it's not a passion for me or my family. I know that's unusual for this forum. We use the kitchen more for hanging out and doing fact we eat a lot of take-out. High end appliances are great in other peoples kitchens, esp when they have me over for dinner...when you're boiling water for noodles they don't add much. :) I wanted to make the space fit better for us being in it (4 seats at the island was key), more organized, and much more beautiful! This is our forever house.

The granite was a "V" grade, but we loved it and nothing else would do. I shopped around for the butcherblock....that was actually cheap for my area. We used a mid-grade line for most cabs, and a higher end one for the island, this time it was me that fell for that higher end line's tea berry stain. A friend works at a big-box store and I was able to use his employee discount on the cabs, so that helped.

As for the labor costs, I had other quotes that were double! We added plumbing in the bar area, and power in island and in bar area for new bev fridge and MW. Under cab and in-cab lights were put in and that labor quote included the light bars and pucks. That labor also includes the tile install, and the addition of extra few sq ft of flooring where the footprint changed. It also included all the incidentals like thinset, nails, outlets, and other minor materials I did not purchase independently. He spent many weeks on our project, and to be honest I'm thrilled with the price we paid. I actually gave him a bit extra as a tip because he rolled with every curveball I threw him, and I never heard the dreaded "that can't be done". And I rounded up, it was actually $7,425 but I didn't want to seem anal by being so specific. But I am, so I should own it. I've heard labor is geography specific, I'm in a mid-sized city. (Pittsburgh)

I'd be really interested to see your breakdown too. I will look for your reveal...sound like you are still mid-reno?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:29AM
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thanks for the followup.

yes, I'm still in middle of things.
the link below has info on what I am doing.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 ovens thread

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:46AM
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Thank you for posting this. We're going with Schrock, too. I found this thread with a search.

This is just gorgeous. :-)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:08PM
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I love the tile and your countertops.
And I'm very impressed with your posting your cost breakdowns, and your frankness in assessing your own needs. That should be very interesting and helpful for others who're renovating.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:25AM
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I'm trying o figure out how to print and save your open bar area. I want something like that over my peninsula.

The brown granite is one of my fav.s I appreciate that you put the extra money into sink, faucet, hardware, BS, CTs, lights; the things that won't be changing. Having the MW at kid friendly height, and away from range, is a very good idea.

My cost for cabs, BS, sink are all pretty much like yours. I paid FAR more for labor, as I paid a KD to do whole thing. If I had stopped with him doing cabinets, I'd hve been fine. The 6 months you spent planning shows; both in saving labor costs, and attention to details.

just lovely

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Mlweaving_Marji, you have mail. :) bookworm, if you want to provide an email, I can send you pics as attachments, if that helps.

Byzantine, good luck with your Schrock purchase! The soft close is smooth!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:29AM
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sstrazisar - we're in Pittsburgh too! Nice to see another local...most of the other PA people that have been on here have been on the eastern side of the state!

Love your kitchen. It looks very functional and well thought out. I enjoyed hearing your breakdown of costs as well as why your appliances didn't wind up being a higher cost than they were - from how you describe your lifestyle, you spent your money wisely (not that you need approval from us) an area to gather and do some light cooking.

We wound up with our MW a little higher than yours, but we did a barrister style opening (the door retracts back...although it sticks out some). Although the MW isn't in it's place yet, in opening the door, I've found that there is shadowing from the door into that area. While I was at IKEA, I found an LED bar light that I'm planning on installing - it plugs in (same outlet as for the MW) and it's motion activated - I can't tell how much room you have between teh MW and the top of the cabinet, but it might work for you...if you have interest in checking into that, here's the link: - it comes in 3 different lengths ($20, $25, or $30), although I only remember seeing the one in our store. You need to get the $5 Ansulta power supply also.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light for in the MW cabinet

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:52AM
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Very cool backsplash. It goes really well with everything else in there. Also thanks for sharing numbers for anyone who's planning their own work and figuring out what ballpark numbers to expect.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Lovely kitchen! Wondering about the dimensions of your space? In particular, I was wondering how far your fridge is from the sink and whether walking around the island to get from one space to the other poses any problems during meal prep? Not a criticism, mind you, just a question. We're buying a house (fingers crossed) that will need a kitchen reno, and I can see a configuration like yours working in our new space. However, I DO like to cook and my current kitchen has a really tight work triangle. Considering form and function and trying to find a way to balance both.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Thanks andreak100 for the tip! I'm checking that out. We considered the barrister style, and from what you describe we may have had the same issue we're having with the lift hinges. We did the lift hinges because we figured we could just use standard door front, but I've always liked doors that tuck away. Go Pens. :)

Edeevee, it's a good question. Many here suggested I swap the fridge with the pantry area, and I think that would've been a fine choice. But I probably cook with the pantry ingredients as often as I do the items in the fridge. Partly to compensate, I added the prep/bar sink with undercounter filter and disposer right next to the fridge, and we often clean fruits and veggies over there. As the crow flies, it's 14' from main sink to fridge. It's 8 steps for me, less for hubby.

I have been cooking more in the new kitchen. I'm happier in it, and also poorer post-reno so I'm saving on restaurant costs! Still, with 2 working parents and school age kids, take-out will always have a place in my home. :)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:58PM
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"Still, with 2 working parents and school age kids, take-out will always have a place in my home"

Been there, done that ;) While I've always liked to cook, I didn't have as much time to do it till the kids grew up and moved out. During little league seasons we ate a whole lot of "lucky" hot dogs from the snack bar, and during gymnastics seasons we sometimes counted Skittles as a fruit.

Thanks for the info re your kitchen. It really is fabulous looking and I'm glad it works so well for you.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:12PM
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