My two counter and cabinet make-over options

momto4boysMarch 26, 2009

I posted a couple wks ago about these counters. Wanting to do something to work with them, instead of replace. Mostly because of $$$. We looked into painted, resurfacing, etc. And dh just isn't on board.

So, long story are the two options with our TINY budget.

Option #1

We go for the Wilsonart High Def laminate, installed. $830 or something like that.

Leave cabinets as they are. Add backsplash ( I know, many will say don't bother with a backsplash. But, I REALLY want one) I have few hundred dollars in Lowes gift cards taking care of my tile right there :) So, it's either use it on that..or dh buys a new lawn mower with my b-day gifts, NOOOO :)

This way, I leave the red I love. It's a LOT less work, and we're done. Should hopefully keep me happy for the next couple yrs. As we don't intend to be here forever. Only planned on a couple yrs when we bought that house, HA. But, we all know how bad the market sucks.

Option #2

We buy Labrador granite laminate sheets. It's a very neutral color, even though I see it in EVERY duplex, and cheapo remodel around, sigh. But, I figure we could buy the material, and dh could give it a whirl, and attempt a DIY counter job. I wouldn't want to risk that to buy the HD, cause it's someting like $350 for sheets. Where the other is only like $150.

Since, we're not spending $$$ on counters, we raise the cabs, and paint lower green, uppers white. Like my inspiration pic. And subway tile, too :)

Yes, there's a LOT more work in that one. But, with the cost of supplies, paint, and shelving, we'll maybe be close (if not over) for JUST the counter on the other option. And we really do enjoy taking on these projects. Even with a busy house of boys, it's nice time for the two of us :) And the kiddos often get involved.

Oh, and walls get painted back to a neutral.

Still with me!?! :)

Another reason I'd leave the cabs as is with the HD, is because it has a strange purple color in there. It's very pretty, though. (for laminate) Even with the ugly builder grade oak cabs like I have. But, I can't see the green with the purple.

And to those following along in not only my annoying kitchen drama, but my life one. My ds made it through his heart procedure with FLYING colors!!!!! Thanks again everyone for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers!!

inspiration pic..sigh. I do love this so.

labrador granite laminate

wilsonart HD belle noche

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I'd paint and go with the laminate, you'll get the most visual change and it's what you want sort of.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 1:45PM
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Yea, it's true I'll get more visual change. Which is what I so desperatly want. But, have I mentioned less work?? LOL..kidding. Resale is weighing on me. All the comments about being 7ft tall to reach top shelves, etc. But, hey..I have a really nice step stool I can leave new buyers in a few yrs :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 2:19PM
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With the second option (raising the uppers) what is your plan for the hood area? I would strongly advise against raising the hood as it will greatly reduce it's efficiency. It would seem you'd need to get a new cabinet for that area it you want it to go to the ceiling.

I am all for painting the cabinets since oak is a very dated look and I feel painted cabinets will enhance your resale value. I think backsplash should be the last priority as you can always add it in later as funds allow. Your crown is so pretty (and paint color too), I'd rather you not raise your cabinets all the way to the ceiling, but they do look rather low as is. Perhaps you could compromise and raise them up perhaps 6" and the run a little shelf below. As pretty as your inspiration is, I just don't think it's a workable solution in a small kitchen of your size where there is not enough room for lower storage of everyday items. Another thought is to remove the leftmost cabinet and replace with open shelving.

See thread below from kitchen's forum for some pics with open shelving along side cabinets. It's a much more practical and may still give you some of what you like in your inspiration pic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some pics of open shelving

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 2:52PM
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For the hood, I'm thinking about maybe putting in the microwave/vent thingy we bought last yr and never put in. I just seemed sooo low, and I hated it. So, yea..we've been without a micro for over a yr :)
But, will that put the micro way too high? Possibly.

And no, we don't plan on going ALL the way to the ceiling. Mostly because we don't want to mess with the crown on the cabs, OR around the ceiling. I figure up about 10 inches. That way the shelf will be where the cab is now, and the cabinets will start about 10 inches from that. Dh is actually hesitant to put in a floating shelf. He's not sure how sturdy it would be. So, he's wanting to more of an add on to the ones we have. Very simple, box like addition. Make sense?
I love the complete open shelf idea!! It's what I'm really drawn to the most. But, I don't really have enough nice stuff to display in a whole cabinet. All my dishes are white. So, I planned on putting cups, bowls and plates on the open shelf. And move up canisters, maybe get a new, nice spice rack. But, like you said..this size kitchen. I don't have enough space for those other items if it's all open.

Right now, there's just a HUGE space over the cabs and I hate it. I had a bunch of junk up there until last wk. Just stuff my mother had given me. I already like it better without. But, it's so blah.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 3:14PM
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You've probably already thought about this, but what about adding some short 15" or 18" tall cabinets above your existing cabs to take it to the ceiling? With simple doors like you have, I would think you could find some inexpensive unfinished cabinets to add above and then paint everything to match. It would be less work than removing and rehanging the current cabinets, in my opinion. The current ones are already plumb and level and you could just sit the new ones on top, shim a tad, and screw them in (I've done two DIY kitchen remodels, and removing things carefully for reuse is always more difficult than it seems ;-) Lowes carries unfinished cabinets; maybe you could buy them there instead of the backsplash and come out even!

The reason I suggest this is because, although I love your inspiration photo, I'd be very concerned about function given how high the cabinets would be. I'm only 2" shorter than average, and I can only reach the bottom two shelves in my 36" tall upper cabinets. They're hung the standard 18" above the counter. In the photo, it looks as though the open shelf is at regular bottom shelf height, which means I would only be able to reach one shelf inside the cabinet. To take advantage of the look, it seems you wouldn't want to store much on that open shelf, so you might be climbing on a step stool all the time. It would certainly affect my decision about buying a house, even if the kitchen looked beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 3:29PM
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I totally get what you're saying. Raising the cabs could turn out to be a HUGE mistake, resale wise. :( I think in a forever home it'd be different. But, a 5 yr old cookie cutter that I don't plan on being in long. Probably not a great idea.

I've not seen many examples of adding on the little ones. Even though I DO like the idea. Simply for the ease of the project. But, there's the problem with not wanting to go all the way up. I'd be afraid to have dh rip off the crown on the wall AND on the cabs. Same reason I'm also afraid of taking the cabs down. Like you said, removing things to reuse..not always easy.
All this is probably why I have option #1 on the table, lol.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 4:24PM
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I love the look of the raised cabinets but agree they're not real practical. I have 39" cabinets installed at the proper height and I can only reach the bottom two shelves as it is. Yes, I have a little stool, but I only store rarely used things on the top two shelves.

As far as resale, I'm torn. Most people don't consider practical things when they're looking at a house. They're caught up in the emotional appeal of a cool kitchen. They may curse you after they moved in.

That said, I guess I'm voting for a combo #1/#2. Why can't you get the laminate professionally done, still use your gift card for the tile, and still paint the cabinets? The cost of two gallons or so of paint can't be a breaking point in your budget.

One last thought - and I know you've thought and thought about this, but why are you doing a busy pattern for the laminate? Your inspiration photo looks like soapstone or honed black granite. Why don't you do a black honed looking laminate? I've seen them in the store. I think that would be a better choice with the painted cabinets and red walls.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 5:50PM
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Honestly, I don't think your oak is bad looking at all. If you don't get all hung up in the "oak is dated" thing and really just look at the cabinets, they are nice looking. They look like they are in good shape and the style is current.

Paint them if you want to, but don't do it for resale. I think as many people would like the natural oak as would like green and white painted cabinets. And you don't know what will be popular in a few years anyway.

I suggest you do the countertops first and paint the walls if you want and see how you feel about the cabinets then. I like both countertop choices.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 5:55PM
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I think that this would look laminate on countertops, white sub-way tile and leave those beautiful RED walls and don't paint the cabinets~~~ I guess I just am not sold on raising those cabinets....I would really not like that if I were buying your house when you get ready to sell it..... You can keep the other idea for your next house....when this economy isn't so stressed....hopefully!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 5:58PM
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caroleah, I had to laugh about the next owners cursing me once they moved in.
As far as having laminate professionally done, I can still do that with a different color. But, there isn't much difference in price from the HD. I just figured something more high end, I'd pay to have done. Something cheap..I couldn't justify. I'm strange, I know.
And no, painting wouldn't break the budget. But, raising the cabinet and adding to the existing cabs, or putting up a shelf would get costly. Materials and such.
That and with the HD, I can't see doing the green.
And I don't want to do lower cabs white. Not with the white applicances. Will that all be a mess, two toned cabs, tile floor, white appliances? Maybe??
And why the busy laminate? Hmm, no good reason. Maybe I'm afraid a solid would show more dust and dirt?? Not that I don't clean like a mad woman. I think when I was going with the HD, I was also trying to pull in the tuape color of my tile, since I don't have hardwood. Also the ones I have samples of, oiled soapstone and one other. Can't think of it. All looked really grey to me.

happy, yea I can see not everyone loving the green. And they're not in "bad" shape. As the house isn't very old. They have some water damage, though. So, something has to be done there.

phoggie, you love my red as much as I do :) Could I pull off white subway with the oak? It's my preference because I just love white subway. floor gets in the way with matching out other tile. That, and it's cheap :)

I wish I could get a good visual of all this. But, my photoshop capabilities are limited to a lowes program that won't allow me to do all that much.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 7:01PM
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I'd self install new laminate countertops and save the money. You can get the counters cut to exactly your size and all you have to do is install. Much cheaper than having someone else do the install. Then I'd get some plywood and edgebanding and construct small cabinet boxes for above your current cabinets, or find a local custom cabinet maker to create these. Make open frame doors from oak molding. Source frosted or clear glass locally. Put in some lighting, and showcase some pretties in there. With some experimenting you can probably match the stain on your cabinets. Or, paint everything so that it ties all together.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 7:24PM
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I tried mocking up small cabinets on top of your existing cabinets, and it looks silly. If you want to do something different, change the knobs.

It looks to me as if your inspiration kitchen is for show and not for blow. The hood vent, for example, is blocked by the shelf below it. The pulls on the cabinet door would be awkward to use, unless the cabinets opened top to bottom, not side to side.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:11PM
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Live, we plan on putting laminate over what we have now. We've priced out new and it's twice as much for new decks, etc. Even self installed. So, it's either them come out and put new over old..or we DIY. Also, don't want the post formed, or whatever you call that rounded edge.

suero, I think it'd look better up to the ceiling, right? I see it looking like I just put little cabs on top of my old if they didn't go that high.
We will indeed change out knobs. Depending on what we end up doing with everything else.

And here's more of the kitchen I love. It was in the last issue of Cottage Living.

scroll about halfway down page

Here is a link that might be useful: urban grace

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:43PM
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No opinions on your kitchen, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and your son and was so glad you posted that he came through with flying colors! I know how stressful a day that was. If you don't mind my asking, how long did his procedure take? Since my son's wasn't normal, I don't have a clue how long a normal one would take, and am just curious. Again, so thankful that is done and he is back to normal life!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 6:47AM
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We went back around 8:30, for them to put him under. They let us go with him, and wait till he was out. They said they'd call in an hour with an update, and they did. Said they'd already found the pathway, and were starting the ablation. And they'd call us in another hour. 1.5 hours went by, and they called said it went great and they'd then found ANOTHER pathway and had just zapped that one. Guess that's not real common, to find more then one. He was in recovery shortly after. Soo, I'd say just over 3 hours maybe??
Hardest part, as others had mentioned..was laying flat for so long. His heels were hurting right away. Probably from how they were positioned during the procedure. He was just really irratible and grumpy :( Just having a hard time coming around. Finally, after a few hours of him pushing my lion stuffed animale I got him back at me :) I forced him to eat some ice cream. Then he wanted another. Then some jello, then some spaghetti, lol. Around 6, we were discharged and back to the hotel. He's done great every since.
His legs were just a bit sore, and he's had a couple episodes of his heart trying to do whatever it used to. Just strong flutters, but it can't go any further.
All in all, I think it went great!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Okay, I've been studying your cabinets and I've read all of the other posts. I'm no interior designer, and your kitchen is FINE the way it is. But I know you are anxious to take it up a notch and I completely understand. So this is what I would do. DIY laminate for countertops in a soapstone look. See if you can get HI store to cut any of it for you to make it easier on hubby. Buy the subway tile and install (love that look). Buy small cabinets at HI store for top of cabinets. If you can't find what you want, hire a cabinet maker to come out and give you estimate. Take off crown molding on top of cabinet and reuse for top of new cabinets that will go on top. Sand/rough up a bit all cabinets. Purchase one step stain in darker color and stain everything to match. I think this really in right now and will take you through a resale when the time comes. Paint may be more of a trendy look and could look dated later. It is too much work to risk being dated later. Change out knobs to cool handles (check out habitat for humanity resale store first - I found brand new ones in there once still in packages). Install microwave over stove and you're done! Wish I could photoshop. Good luck. Glad you're son is doing well!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 12:17PM
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I like the idea of adding cabs above your current ones. Here are a few pics I found that show glass top double uppers. The first is actually from one of the Kitchen Forum's own, lsandler (whose kitchen is gorgeous!):

Hopefully those links work and will give you a better idea of how that might work for you :-)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 1:01PM
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For my future reference.....since I absolutely LOVE your red walls (that I hope you don't get rid of with the popping white crown).....what color red is that?....I might use that in my new kitchen if we ever get to build again.....I just love your look...just add those black counter tops.....maybe get some ORB knobs and an ORB faucet.....and YES, you can most definitely use the white subway tile with your would look sharp!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 3:06PM
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I looked at the original of your inspiration kitchen in the link you provided. I can see why you used it as your inspiration, since her original cabinets, countertop, stove, sink and floor are so much like yours.
I copied that original picture, then mocked up the walls in red (as you have yours now), the countertops in black, the sink in stainless, and the floor in the dark wood. I left the cabinets unchanged.
The biggest pow came from changing the floor, which was a big surprise to me.
The second biggest pow came from "painting" the walls red!
Dark countertops, stainless drop-in sink, and subway tile were ok updates, but not nearly as dramatic as changing the floor.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 4:29PM
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I'm also concerned about the upper cabinets being too high to be practical, and a potential resale problem, if you raise them and put a shelf underneath. I do like the idea of running cabinets to the ceiling by outting more cabinet space on top; the ideal would be to put wood boxes/framees on top to the ceiling and just change to taller cabinet doors so it looks like one tall cabinet, but I suspect that would blow the budget.

The cabinet paint and countertops will make a huge difference and transform the room. I'd suggest painting the cabinets and changing the countertops, and changing the handles/knobs. I like the laminates you've chosen and think they look better than a faux-soapstone laminate (which to me would just look like a grayish black laminate and not very soapstone like). And then, once you've changed the cabinet color, countertops, and knobs, I'd live with it for a week or so to see whether that is close enough to the inspiration kitchen to make you happy. If it's not, only then would I consider raising the upper cabinets to add the shelf (and touch up any paint that gets mussed in the process). Basically, I wouldn't raise them unless that was the only way for you to be happy with the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 6:04PM
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I didn't do a good job of tiling the backsplash, and I ran out of virtual subway tile behind the mixer, and I kept you existing cabinet knobs, but I did paint the cabinets and change the countertop.

Unless you're going to change out your appliances and sink, I don't think that painting the cabinets looks all that good.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Great inspiration photos jbrig. The third and fourth photos are exactly what I was thinking of, with the addition of the glass doors. That would be even better than trying to find a match to the existing oak doors, though probably more expensive. I bought my cabinets without the glass from the manufacturer and found a local stained glass shop with lots of sheets of obscuring glass for much less than the cabinet companies want. I took careful measurements and he cut it for me free of charge.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:51PM
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joanie, I ran to BM today and talked to them about stains. I'll admit, seems a bit easier. But, doesn't make my heart skip a beat like the idea of painted cabs.
The little cabs on top, I can't see being very budget friendly. But, we'll look into it for sure.

jbrig, yes GREAT inspiration pics. THANKS! The one I like the best, has glass and lights. Again, $$$$ But, it's good to see them not all the way up to the ceiling, cause that's not an option.

robin, baby steps is definitly what I think we need to do. Tackle one counters. Do them, then see what I feel I NEED to do after that. Even though I still think spending more on counters will limit our budget for other things. We couldn't do the more expensive counters, and then build/buy stuff to extend cabs or add shelving.

suero, ty so much!! I really like the way the green looks, even with the appliances. No way can we replace those. We just bought a new fridge last yr, and I'm honestly not a big fan of SS these days. Maybe it's the four boys and three dogs that make me think..smudges!! :) And for just a couple yrs (we hope) that's money that's just can't be spent.
If we went with the green lower cabs, the red walls would HAVE to go. Least in my head they do.
I'd probably bring in the tan from the open living room.
Also, that green is a great green! I need something that tone to pull in the couches in the other room.

And I figured we'd use bead board along the back of the counter, and at the ends of that and the upper cabs. IF we painted.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:15PM
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suero~~Could you do an inspiration photo leaving the cabinets as they countertop, white subway, and ORB (or black) pulls and faucet....and leave the walls red......I am so curious...'cause I think it would give the look that would give a change and also be good for resale....not everyone wants painted cabinets....'cause once they are painted, it is A LOT of work to take it off.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Sorry, can't do the ORB; the knobs and faucet are too small for me to manipulate.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:28PM
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OK, I'll take a stab at this, but first things first:) I'm happy your son is doing well. And raising four boys--you deserve a pat on the back!
My inclination would be to do as equest suggested and jbrig linked--the small cabs with lights. But since budget is a concern....would you consider leaving the cabs alone and just adding some dramatic, tall crown moulding? I'm thinking something 7 or 8 inches high (or more--I'm not good with proportion)to eliminate some of that bare space at the top of your cabs.
I think the look you are going for with your inspiration pic just won't be practical with your current busy lifestyle. If you were staying in this house forever, I'd be more inclined to go with it though.
Now that I've seen your eating area--the red looks wonderful, btw, I think you can achieve an updated look with the addition of some big, beefy crown, replacing the laminate, and adding subways. Then you can keep your beloved beautiful red!
Another thought--there is a poster on the kitchen forums (is in Jan in Wisconsin? Does anyone remember?) who has white cabs and swilliams flower pot red in her kitchen. Take a look and see...I think the red with creamy white cabs would look awesome and updated.
And, for what it's worth, 15 years ago we bought sheets of laminate and covered an aqua speckled laminate counter--even did rounded corners on the edging! DH took a book out of the library and followed the directions. The man at the store also gave him some good tips. He needed a good router, I remember.
I can't wait to see what you decide.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:59AM
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Thanks Suero! Personally, I like it. Leaving cabs, darker counters, and subway. Least i like it enough that it could buy us some time :)
Dh, the man who has to do all the work, lol. Says HE now hates the oak. I swear it didn't bother him until I starting griping, lol. Actually, it was our intention from the day we signed the contract to paint the cabinets. Almost 3 yrs ago!!
And ya know, that's what kills me about needing to "update" my kitchen. It's only 4 yrs old!! ugh!

Elle, I LOVE Jan's kitchen. I've drooled over it for hours. Course, it's new and three times the size. Granite, and SS :) I really just can't see doing the white lower cabs with the white appliances.

K, here's a thought. Everyone feel free to shoot me down, lol

What about a darker stain on the lower cabs? And painted uppers? I can keep the red, AND I get painted cabs (half of them) Stain should be more durable for the kiddos and dogs. If I keep away from the green, I won't have to worry about changing out the wall color or stressing over matching greens to my living room colors. Although I do love green painted cabinets, sigh.


Found this.
it won't let me save pic. so here's link.
it's the stained bottoms, white uppers. with pink..yes, i said

Here is a link that might be useful: pink kitche

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:16AM
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Love the idea of the darker stain on the bottom cabinets and white painted uppers! Just wanted to say that if you go this route, I would do a really dark stain on the lowers, like espresso, with really dark counters. Sounds like the perfect compromise and is more practical. I would explore adding crown molding to the top too, like the earlier poster said. Or doing some research on ideas of new and trendy items to put on top of cabinets. Perhaps some kitchen magazines could give some great ideas. (I'm sure you've poured over those though!) Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:14PM
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Yea, I'd love a much darker.

How about something like she did? To beef up the mouldings like suggested.

Dh looked over it, and loved the idea. Almost as much as raising the cabinets :) And her dh gave pretty good instructions on how to.

Here is a link that might be useful: the lettered cottage

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:48PM
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I am glad you liked what suero did with the black counter-top and white subtile (only adding ORB pulls)...that is something you can do on a very limited budget and time...(and keeping those red walls that you and I love). I'd buy that house in a minute with those colors....but don't know how much longer you will live how much you put into it is up to you. God bless you little one....glad things are going well. GOOD LUCK~~

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 1:08PM
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LOVE THAT CABINET! Oohh, this is getting exciting. It's all coming together.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 2:12PM
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I really like the idea of heavier crown molding around your cabinets. If you go that route, consider raising the cabinet above the stove and installing a microwave with a vent in place of your current vent.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:06PM
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Can we raise just the one like that??? Guess they're not all one big unit? I'm clueless, can you tell, lol.
We do have a micro/vent deal in the garage. Bought it last yr when our microwave died, and decided not to put it up. It just seemed really low when we held it in place.

So, we've been heating things like the old days, on the stove :) We rarely miss it. But, would be nice to have one again. We keep meaning to buy a little one, but I hate having all my counter space eaten up by stuff.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 8:15PM
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Look inside the cabinets to see if they're fastened to each other or just fastened by a hanging strip at the top.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 9:06PM
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Your link is exactly what I was thinking....Love the beefy crown moulding--perfect project for you and your diy guy :) Also love the dark cabinet color.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:31AM
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Ok, yea. Dh said they're all seperate pieces. I think I knew that, lol. But, again..I'm kind of ditz on this stuff.

I like what the one girl did with the black cabs, where she removed that cabinets. And put the micro on a shelf. That may be a fun option, too.

Elle, yea my dh and mom are now telling me we HAVE to do all black cabinets, ack!! With the white appliances, though???
And that totally shoots down those two laminates. Point of this post, LOL. Wouldn't I need lighter? Oy, people here won't respond to me posting yet AGAIN about this kitchen :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 10:29AM
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She has white appliances with the black cabinets. So I think you're ok in that regard.

I'm not loving the idea of black countertops with black cabinets. What I love about the pink kitchen is the contrast of the light uppers and dark lowers with a patterned countertop tying them together. I also think the subway tile would look great with the dark lowers/light uppers. Just wish you could afford granite or a solid surface countertop. I haven't looked at laminates but I think they have some nice patterns now.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 10:52AM
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Ok, so we're all in agreement, raising cabinets BAD...beefing up crown, GOOD?? :) :)

Yea, I don't want dark counters if I'm doing all dark cabinets.
I still like the idea of white uppers, darker painted (or now I'm loving STAINED)lowers. For what I'm wanting, I do see why SS would be better. As it doesn't stick out like the white appliances. But, again..can't go there with the budget.
OR granite. Actually, we could probably swing more $$, but I just can't justify that in a house I don't plan on being in for more then a few yrs at most.

Dh has brought up granite tile again. There's a place here we can get a pretty good deal. I'm just not a fan. I just think laminate is easier to take care of, and where it DOES scream budget. I think some granite tile countertops can really look cheap.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:20AM
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Let me come back and add, the granite tile countertops I've seen in person, have looked cheap. HUGE grout lines, set on a diagnol to "save money". I know there's a way to make them look better. Closer together, etc. I actually don't hate a lighter granite tile counter. It's the dark ones, with the grout that bug me.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:33AM
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momto4boys~~~ I seem to have more interest in your kitchen than I do my own.....guess it is those beautiful red walls~~~~ We put granite tiles in our kitchen....and we love them.....we hardly have any grout lines...1/16" at the most....but butted them mostly.....took the edge of the tile float and worked the EPOXY grout (it doesn't stain) into what cracks I did have....actually it does not show much...and for the savings, I don't mind....did the entire thing (75 SF) for about $300.00. You can get uba tuba tile squares (which look black to me, but in the light a hint of dk. green)...use black grout and I think you'd be happy. (This is what my neighbor used and she loves it and to me it looks black). Didn't you like the pics that had the black countertop, leaving the oak cabinets and red walls?
This would surely be a quick and inexpensive fix......or also there is a laminate paint that you could paint them black....that is if your old ones are in good shape and not torn, etc.
If you want to install that microwave and raise those cabinets, I think it will give it a variation....any others you could raise a bit?....i.e. over the frig, etc.
GOOD LUCK GAL because you have been thrown a lot of ideas. If you decide you don't like the oak as it is, you can always paint...but that would be the last resort for me....a good waxing and new dark pulls and it would look great and not be too expensive....and I thought that is what you were wanting.....why spend money you really don't want to...especially in these days?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 3:10PM
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I like the contrast in the pink kitchen with dark lowers, neutral counter and light uppers. (That pink is unexpected, isn't it?)
I know what you are saying about the white appliances and the dark cabs, but, like caroleoh said, it looks pretty good in the link you provided.

Why don't you and hubby put the crown moulding up since that seems to be the direction you are leaning (not paint immediately), get some painters tape and tape up a section of white subways (put the tape on the back, so you don't see the blue in the front to distract you), buy a few oil rubbed bronze handles and pulls, and put your laminate sample on the counter.

THEN take a step back and see what you think! You liked the mockup with leaving the cabs as they are with the red paint and the subways, so give it a whirl and see what you think. Once the moulding is up, you may surprised that you like it so much you won't want to paint/stain the cabs. Then of course the problem will be getting the new moulding to match the existing oak. :)

If you are going to stain them darker, there is a poster named celticmoon who gave detailed instructions on how to do it. Her cabinets came out fabulous. Her instructions get a link from time to time--you may have seen it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 5:06PM
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I love the newest idea of two tone cabinet finishes and built up molding. I have had this inspiration photo a while (from when we updated our previous house, a 1914 bungalow). I don't remember where I found it or whose kitchen it is. I can't tell if the lowers are stained or painted black, but a dark java or espresso gel stain might give you a really dark finish with more ease and durability than paint.

There are some really pretty laminate options inspired by granite or marble that you might consider to work with the red walls if you want all black cabinets. Not that you'll "fool" anyone, but it can still be attractive, in my opinion. We debated going with granite, but I just didn't want the expense and fuss, so we selected a really pretty Formica pattern with neutral and gold shades and I've been thrilled with it. It all depends on your region, but around here, almost all the new upscale houses still use laminate counters (and electric ranges and drop in stainless steel double bowl sinks ;-) so you don't necessarily have to be on the cutting edge for resale potential, just attractive and functional.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 5:14PM
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Have you looked at our kitchens thread in our Gallery for ideas and inspiration?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:52PM
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phoggie, oh I'd sooo love to just change counters, darken stain a bit and get new knobs. It's really why I posted in the first place. To get opinions on the two options. Both come out the same price, but one with a LOT more work. I do like that look, too. Is it enough, though? Dh says no. He's really wanting to paint the cabinets.

elle, I think we are going to try one step at a time. Do the moulding, and prime. If we decide we just love the look of the white uppers (if we can tell with just primer on them), perhaps go with white. Then go with stain or black paint on lowers. As much as I LOVE green painted cabinets, I think I need to work with my red. Or simply do something that more people will like for resale.
Oh, and I have celticmom's pics already saved :)

equest, that kitchen belongs to budge or something (sorry, can't think of the right name) I've had that pic saved on my desktop for over a yr. Was really one of my first inspiration pics for going with the two toned. Until I saw and fell in love with lower greens, upper whites.
Now, you've got me remembering just how much I love this look!!
so, that's your kitchen with the dark knobs? That's beautiful! I showed dh, pointing out that new laminate and and knobs may look just fine. And how great yours looked. He quickly pointed out your cabs are MUCH nicer, lol. He's right!

oceanna, ah I've spent many a late night drooling in that gallery. Thanks so much for putting it together, too :)
I went through it again last night. I realize every single kitchen I'm drawn to has painted cabinets. That's really where my heart is in all of this. Yea, we don't plan on being here a long time. But, honestly..we said that when we bought the house almost 3 yrs ago. That in 2 yrs, we'd get ready to sell. Well, between the market and my decision not to go back to work as planned. It could be 2, 3, 5 yrs. Who knows? But, I want to enjoy it while I'm here :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:46AM
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When we bought our house, we were on the 5-year plan, but between one thing and another we've been in our house 18 years now. For a long time I was hesitant to put too much time and money into the house since it wasn't going to be our forever house. By the time we decided to sell, it seemed the opportunity had passed us by what with over inflated house prices and property taxes so in the end we remodeled it. So, while it's always prudent to keep resale in mind whatever you decide to do, so is making improvements that you like.

My vote would also be not to raise the uppers. I'd prefer to see extra cabinets on top with glass fronts, but if that is not in your budget, then beefier moldings would be a good option as well.

With the countertops, I'd go for any type of seamless counters hands down. I lived with formica for years in my house and it's a very practical solution--esp. if you like to do any baking and knead or roll doughs on the counter. And as equest17 has shown it can be a lovely option as well.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:05AM
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Sorry, I forgot to say that the second kitchen picture is mine ;-) I'm glad you like it! The dark knobs are actually a set I bought on eBay really cheaply in a copper color and painted ORB. It certainly saved a lot of money since the ORB finish seems to be at a premium right now.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 2:50PM
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Ok, not sure if anyone will bother coming back to this. And I feel like a tool starting a whole new thread.

This is the latest idea.

Beef up moldings, paint cabs black, white subway and THIS granite tile.

Still not 100% sold on the tiles. But, when I think of the black cabinets, I feel I need something "shiney" to bounce some light off of. Most of the laminate colors that would come close to working with all that I have going (white appliacnes, taupey color floor) are very dull. Right now, I'm ready to order the Wilson HD on the spot and still do the rest. But, I can't find a single one that is light enough that works with black.

the picture isn't great. Took it with old digital, cause dh has my good camera. The color is really quite pretty in person.
I'm still afraid of all the cuts and stuff for granite tile.
Dh will DIY. The tiles are only $3.69 a piece. And we've been given a tile saw and the polishing thingy. We'd have to do a self edge, because they don't see any edges at the place we'd get the tiles.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:43PM
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Beautiful! Thumbs up!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:11PM
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Love it! I really like the lettered cottage look (and may try something similar in my kitchen). It seems like it would translate well to your kitchen, especially with that countertop you've posted in either a granite tile or a similar laminate.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:22PM
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It looks fabulous! Very nice!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:09PM
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My husband did granite tile a while back for MIL's kitchen counter (6 years ago when granite slab was horribly expensive).

He used straight edge tiles (don't get beveled edge) & butt them tight against each other for the smallest possible grout lines. From a far, you can't even tell it's tiles. We asked the tile place to round 1 upper edge of the tiles that would be outside to give the look of rounded slab edge. If you have the tools you can DIY this part.

I always love black kitchens and I am sure yours will look fabulous when done!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:42AM
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I love the look...I think you will be very pleased! Is that one of your cabinet doors painted black? I like the way the countertop will offset the color of your appliances. I think you've got a winning combination :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:58AM
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Thanks everyone!

bella, I think we're going to have to research on how to do the edges. Because we have no choice but to use edges from the big ones. Hoping dh will be able to figure it out with the right tools.

elle, that's actually just a board I had spray painted black :) I was using it to put my wicker on the other day, when I was painting it. And thought, hey..I can see what black will look ilke :)

I really wish I could just call and order the laminate. I can't believe there's NOTHING that'll work.
I figure the tile won't be a whole lot of $$. If it looks terrible, or dh just has no clue what he's doing. We can scrap it and go with laminate. Even if we lose a few hundred bucks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:39PM
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You have got it!!!! LOVE those samples fact, this granite tile is one that we looked at, but we have cherry cabinets/white applicances, so went with the brown,white,black,gold flecked tiles.... We have such little grout lines that I hardly notice them. There is a laminate that is just about exactly the same pattern as the granite tile that you have chosen, if that is still an option.
As for the edges.....we had wooden edges made and stained to match the cabinets and cut them to fit....DH thought it was easier than trying to cut them out of tile. Check with some of the tile edges that Bill Vincent has done on this site...don't know if it is an option or not for you.

PLEASE keep us posted....'cause, gal, you are going to have a beautiful kitchen.......and hoping you are keeping those pretty red walls that I happen to love.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:39PM
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phoggie, do you know what laminate you're thinking of? I've got a whole ring here, and can't seem to find a thing in the HD. There are a couple premium that aren't bad. But, have too many browns and won't work well with my floor.
I've looked through it best I can, then I start to get sick. Serioulsly, it's a HUGE ring. And it's putting off some kind of horrible smell, and all kinds of dust when I handle it. My eyes start to burn, my throat starts to itch. I seriously think this kitchen is going to be the death of me :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:29AM
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I like your new combination of colors and your kitchen will have a dramatic change. It will feel like a totally new kitchen.

We had our island made bigger about 5 years ago and at that time we had granite tiles put on it. I was very happy with them. My carpenter/tiler laid the granite squares and then cut the pieces that go around the edge. Much to my horror - I hated the edge pieces. I thought they looked horrible and I took them off right after he left. I called and told him what I did and told him I wanted a wood edge instead. So we had oak wood placed at the edges. The oak was painted black to match our black painted oak island. I am attaching a photo of how it used to look.

When we did a remodel in November, I had new granite laid right over the old granite tiles. I wanted my island granite to match the granite I had installed on the perimeter cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:12AM
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I didn't keep all of my samples, so don't know if I can help you much or not...but then I was looking for something that would go with pecan stained cherry cabinets instead of black ones.
But I did happen to find these the might give you an can go to the websites and look at them...order several you might want to see (they are free samples) and ask for 5x3" pieces so you have a better idea of the laminate. Have you looked at Wilson Art?...they have some great looking laminate also.

The one I saw that was similar was Wilsonart Laminate 4550-01 Granite.... If we had used laminate (although it is not cheap by any means) would have been Formica Labrador
Granite Honed Finish #3692-77, but I think it would make your kitchen way too dark with black cabinets, but I just kept going back to that sample.

My granite tiles look similar to downsy's (only lighter), but we had the cabinet shop cut our wooden edges in the ogee (?) shape with their router....and wish I knew how to post pics, but I don't seem to get that mastered in this old mind~~~

Your kitchen is going to look great.....and I know it is a huge stress for you. Thinking good thoughts for you and your decisions.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:33AM
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downsy, beautiful! And it really shows that I DO need something to bounce the light around, ya know? With your dark island, I can't really picture a flat laminate. And I love the tiles close together like that. The grout lines are definitly not all that obvious.
Because of the bar we have, I can't see doing the wood edge. But, it's an option if the other doesn't work out.

phoggie, it's the Wilson Art HD that I want. But nothing appeals to me that isn't dark. And labrador granite (which is a premium, I think. not the HD) is one of the ones I posted in the beginning of this thread. :) That was when I was thinking green and white. Not black cabs. Cause yea, it'd be too dark.
It's funny, I now think of you every time I toss around the option to ditch the red walls :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:24PM
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My DH did the counter top for MIL w/ granite tiles. We got the straight edge tiles and butt them together. You can have the outer top edge rounded with a buff/polishing tool. We didn't have the tool and the tile shop was so nice they rounded the outer edge of the tiles we need for the outside.

I think your kitchen would look great -- your samples go so well together.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:38PM
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Bella, because of where we're getting it. I don't think we'll get much help from them. It's a building surplus place. One of the reasons the tile is only $3 something a piece. So, our only choice is to try a self edge by cutting the 8X10's. Could be tricky, considering dh has never used a wet saw or dealt with tile before :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:48PM
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My husband also cut the tile into strip for the side. However, on the top edge of the outer tiles, he used the rounded tile.

You can rent a buffer/polishing tools to do that DIY.
This site gives pretty good instruction. It isn't difficult -- my DH is not very handy but everybody was impressed how well it turned out.

I notice that some places sell the trim pieces/bullnose for tile countertop now.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to edge trim

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:35PM
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momof4sons~~~ That is just keep thinking about me when you even "think" of ditching those red walls.LOL And if you decide that you are not painting those oak cabinets, I really do like that labador granite would be my first choice if I could have used it........we must think alike~~~and that is scarey~~
BTW, what was the name of that paint?...I am going to use it someday~~

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Realistically speaking....."everyone" LOVES the letered cottage look. So why not just copy it exactly? We'd ALL buy a house with that kitchen in a heartbeat!!!! It would be soooooooooooooooooo cheap to copy!!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:07AM
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