Suggestions for french country kitchen open to other rooms

lavender_lassApril 5, 2011

I finally have a plan I love, but the kitchen is now open to the dining area, sunroom, living room and entry. That's a lot of other rooms, looking into the kitchen! I'd like to keep my french country theme, but it needs to 'work' with the 8' high, floor to ceiling brick fireplace (with raised hearth) in the living room.

The fireplace is actually very's kind of a dark rose/red brick and it was built by my husband's uncle. We don't want to paint it, but we do want to bring in the outdoor or country colors of blues, greens, yellows and cream. The living room will probably have soft gold walls and look a bit like this, with not quite so much pattern. Oh, and not that rug! Wood floors with a much calmer area rug. Probably a sofa or sectional in front of the big window, with a TV across from it and a big chair in the corner, by the smaller window, similar to the picture :)

I want to include a plate rack and some other open storage, maybe some glass uppers and the hutch, by the dining table. I really like this style...

I love china and teacups/saucers in all kinds of meadow flowers...violets, lily of the valley, roses...but not too formal, more cottage style.

And of course, anything french...

So, I was thinking white cabinets and appliances with maybe soft yellow or gold walls, with blue accents and plants. As many of you know, still not entirely sure about countertops and backsplash, but I'm getting closer to making a decision.

Before I do, any suggestions or ideas, with what I've shown you for my layout and inspiration pictures? Thanks in advance :)

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I love your pictures... Which granites are you considering? I also will have white cabinets and soft yellow or gold walls, and I am looking at blue pearl granite...
and delft tiles...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 4:09PM
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KD- That's the look I started with, too! At some point, I decided to stay with a more neutral finish and bring in the color with paint, fabrics, accessories, etc. While I still love the blue, I'm thinking a lighter tie in with the sunroom. I'm thinking about painting the sunroom, a light robin's egg blue, since it faces west...and it will look great with all the plants! :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 4:35PM
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I've decorated in the FC style, but haven't used any bright colors, just gold/black/cream with various stained furniture pieces. I absolutely love the warm and cozy style!

Here's a few inspiration pix. ;o)

Here is a link that might be useful: French country

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 6:33PM
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LL where are those blue canisters from?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 6:35PM
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Patty- Thanks for the link...pretty pictures!

Beagles- I'm not telling!(LOL) Just kidding, here's the link :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pretty Canisters

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 6:58PM
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Just imagining the transition between your delightful new kitchen and the living room! Your inspiration photos are all beautiful. While in some, there is a softer (gold) effect -- in others (the "Farine" French jars set, and the following dining/kitchen pic with the drapes and the checked dining chairs)there is more vibrancy. I think there is an important choice there, of what kind of feel you want that would be continued in both of these rooms. How bright the rooms are could also make a difference to your choice. To me, the Farine and blue-check chair rooms are like the French Provencal colours (including stronger blues and yellows, brickish reds, mauvish olives...), and look so nice with the rich wood accents as shown in those pics. The softer colours are also lovely and relaxing, you seem to be tending this way? White cabinets and trims would be a good choice in either case. Are you still considering a marble top for your island/work table? Wouldn't that look nice on a rich wood base...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 7:21PM
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I love the blue and yellow, but I'm not fond of the yellow walls in the picture. You could get sick of the color pretty fast, IMO.

Here's a picture of the yellow I have in my kitchen, but most of it's in the dining room, hallway and utility room.

It never gets bold in color and sometimes it looks creamy. It SW Tea light.

Also, I'm glad you're choosing yellow for the walls! It's such a perfect and cheery color for a kitchen, and will match just about any accent colors.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Thank you LL :) Those are going on my list of things to consider for the new kitchen :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 8:04PM
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This is an older house right? Can you lay hands on more of the brick or something close to it? If it were repeated on the kitchen end of the view and on the range end of the view it would coordinate. If you don't want it directly behind the range you could put it in two "pillars" either side of it perhaps even with some kind of wood moldings at top. (Think back to that French B&B we saw recently--it had a distinctive stone wall that rooted the room in natural/traditional materials.) You can still add tiles and paint and decor items to add complexity but keeping the brick theme could coordinate things.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 11:41PM
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Florantha- I think you have a good idea! I saved this Boxerpups' picture from another post...because I liked the brick and thought it would tie in nicely, with the fireplace. I just wasn't sure it would work with my other colors, but I think with soft gold walls, it would be great. You're right, it would provide more of that rustic french country feel to the kitchen.

Beagles- I think you should get them...they'd be perfect in your kitchen!

Oakleyok- I like the yellow in your picture. I was thinking about a soft gold, but not so bright as in some of the pictures. That would be hard to look at every morning, at least for me...and I need something that will work with the blue in the sunroom.

Northsong- I love your idea about using the wood and marble for the island. Plllog was just saying on another post that the work table was such a great feature, it would be too bad to lose it. Maybe we can create an island that looks more like a separate piece. It would look great with the brick, too :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Florantha- I meant to add that I think you're right, the full brick backsplash might be too much, but I like the pillars in the picture and think they would look amazing. I would rather have marble on the island, or even a light granite or quartzite that looks like marble, instead of black. While I like the idea of iron stools, I think something less elaborate would be a better choice.

I would like to add some whimsy in the kitchen and bring in a little of the outdoors (or what we see outdoors) so I thought a tile backsplash with butcher block countertops would be nice for the perimeter cabinets. Not exactly these tiles, but more the colors from the first one, but the size of the second...maybe even just some accent tiles. Unfortunately, the woman who painted these passed away, but her work is lovely. This is just one small sample of the types of tiles she offered.

I thought something with vines and leaves (but still small) would tie in with the sunroom and the fairy tale quirkiness of the house.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:33AM
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As a flower maniac I can't pooh pooh the botanical & critter tiles, but I urge you to put the most distinctive decorations into non-permanent things. You will have more flexibility over time and your kids can sell the house easier this way. Did this artist do framed pieces also? Or is there another artist--perhaps someone local-- who does work you like? Plan a fabulous art wall or two and let them be some of the celebrities of the room. Kitchen gear is "busy" visually and you won't want competition between the room's objects and its permanent structures. I say this especially because your postings show what else you have in mind for the room decor. Even those brick pillars will add more complexity than a solid brick area.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Oh, I don't plan to do anything this big, more like a narrow branch or vine, along the bottom of the backsplash. The good thing, tile is not that difficult to replace and from what I read, the butcher block won't hold up forever, either. I thought, why not have fun with it and do something I would like to see, every morning, when I walk into the kitchen.

As for resale, it's a farm, we don't have kids, and whoever does inherit it will just have to learn to love my quirky style...or do their own remodel :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Have you seen the marble-topped French Kitchen Island at Crate and Barrel? (Sorry, won't let me post the link, but here it is:

We just bought one for our kitchen remodel but won't get it until next week, but I have to say it was stunning in the store. Maybe you can work it in?

We have a French Country theme to our house and the kitchen has white cabs, wood countertops except for the marble on teh free-standing island, and pot rack with copper pots. Oh, and soft butter yellow on the walls. The dining room it opens too will be a medium french blue. I hope to be posting photos in about a week! Very excited.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:44PM
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What color will you paint the vestibule and hall? And are the stairs all wood, painted, or carpeted? I really like the more vibrant golds than creams with white cabinets and blue and white accents.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Are you finished and settled enough with the kitchen plan to cycle back to the woodstove placement issues in the sunroom?

I think it's great that you have moved it out of the corner because you've simplified your clearance issues, but now you've got a different problem with the chimney placement.

The sunroom appears to be 15 or 16 feet deep (measured from wall of kitchen). And the w/s is placed at roughly the halfway point along that distance, right?

That makes the chimney about 7.5 or 8 feet out from the (current) exterior wall of the north side of your two-story, plus attic, building (assuming that height because you have drawn stairs to a second floor). The requirement for safe, and even more importantly, effective draft of a w/s chimney is that the height of the top of the chimney must be three feet HIGHER than the nearest part of a roof or building within 10 feet, measured horizontally. That means with the chimney no more than 8 feet from the main house wall (and roof over the main house attic) that your chimney will have to run out of the roof of the sunroom and then stick up, vertically, at least three feet (probably more like four to six feet, because of the main house attic space) higher than the eave edge of the main house roof. (And I'm really hoping that it is an eave wall on that side of the house, not a gable wall there - otherwise it gets even more extreme!)

In other words, assuming it emerges from the sunroom roof at a height of, say, 11 or 12 feet above the floor of the sun room (adding up room height, ceiling joist space, "attic" cavity space under sunroom roof and the roof rafter and cladding depth), the chimney will still need to rise another twelve feet, or likely even more, to its cap in order to be "three feet higher than the nearest object within 10 feet, measured laterally". (And as an experienced wood burner, I can tell you that even then you may have draft issues because of the even higher obstruction of the whole roof over the main part of the house.) With a stack forced to be this high above nearest objects you will get an awkward-looking, factory smokestack appearance of the external part of the chimney. In addition such a tall chimney, while drafting better, may accumulate more creosote (with added risk of chimney fire and increased need for maintenace) as the smoke cools more in a taller stack.

Now the other issue you have mentioned is the need for a fairly steep roof pitch because of heavy snow. With an addition 15 feet deep and with planned room heights at least eight feet, then the height of the roof where it meets the main building will be pretty far up that side, perhaps interfering with any windows you have there now. A shallower room, will allow a lower roof, but compound the chimney placement (by moving it closer to the height of main building).

Unless, you design the room with w/s placement along the far wall (where you have windows now). That moves it farther from main building's roof, so you may not need the chimney to be so weirdly high above the roof of the sunroom. For instance, instead of having to be (overall) 23 to 25 feet tall, the chimney might only need to be 15 feet high since the nearest part of the roof that counts for the calculations may be the sunroom roof, not the roof over the main part of the house. A chimney along the far wall will look better, be cheaper to build, draw better, be much easier to maintain and overall be safer.

The first thing to do is determine the minimum acceptable roof pitch needed over the sunroom. Then figure how high the proposed width of the room and the needed roof pitch place the intersection between sunroom roof and main house elevation at its highest point. That will tell you exactly how far out from the main house the sunroom can extend. As long as the exterior wall of the sunroom is more than 10 feet from the main house, then the chimney need be no taller than three feet above any portion of the sunroom roof within 10 feet, and this will be way less than the height needed for the plan as you have currently drawn.

I know this will interfere with the wall 'o windows look you have been thinking about, but you won't loose all the windows, and you will gain the direct view of the burning w/s from your table - and that's a lovely, comforting sight on a cold evening.

The other positive is that moving the w/s farther outboard would gain you some small measure of time/safety in the event you did have a w/s or chimney- generated fire. It would take that much longer to reach the main house proper, perhaps saving the larger portion of the structure - at least for a critical few minutes - which may allow enough time for it to be knocked down.

As you know fire safety with a proposed w/s is my biggest concern, but with the design as you've drawn it, I am equally troubled because a stove where you have put it will smoke and puff back all the time unless you have a freakin' tall chimney stack. Moving it to another wall solves that problem, too.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 2:40PM
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Baligirl- Can I add a prep sink to this island? I'll have to go take a look...thanks for the link. I would love to see pictures of your finished space! It sounds very similar to my style. I'm so excited for you, to be so close to finishing :)

Marti- The stairs will be wood risers with creamy white trim and a wood handrail. I really want to put one of those carpet runners (with the brass rods holding down the carpet) on all the steps. Very traditional, but classic, IMHO.

As for paint, not sure...might even do something crazy with wallpaper. Entries can be so boring, if you don't have much room for furniture, which I don't. In the vestibule, it would be fun to do a vinyl floor that looks like brick. I want low maintenance and something that will look good with the bench and hooks, for coats...and wipe up easily from wet and muddy boots!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 2:40PM
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L- I appreciate that the wood stove is always a concern, but I assure you, I'm not planning to install it myself. The sunroom is large enough that I'm sure we'll be able to have a wood stove that will work in the space. For now, it's just to give an idea of possible furniture placement :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 2:45PM
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traditional kitchen design by san francisco interior designer ADEENI DESIGN GROUP Here's a pic from Houzz. It made me think of your French country quest. : )

I have to warn you, we just painted over our creamy yellow walls. I thought I would like them, really I did. I tried very hard to like them for two whole years. I should have known better. I did a two year stint of pale yellow walls a few years ago in a different house. Can I just say that my eyes are completely relieved that we repainted? Yellow is nice. In buttercups, daffodils, the center of daisies, and even dandelions. Creamy butter on a delicate plate. A delicious hollandaise sauce drizzled over asparagus. Pale yellow roses with peaches and cream interiors are some of my favorite flowers. But whole walls of yellow was not something my system could handle. It's such a relief to have it gone. I hope I learned my lesson the second time around.

Before you commit to yellow, maybe see if you can find someone that has yellow walls and spend some time there to see if it relaxes you or irritates you.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 4:05PM
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lavender_lass, what are you considering for countertops? thanks

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Laughable- Thanks for the beautiful picture, but I agree...yellow walls and cabinets would be too much. My mom loves yellow and has it in her entire living room and entry. I, however, am a blue person and yellow tends to make me a little...well, let's say too energized! LOL

I am much better around calmer colors, but I do like soft gold. We found a beautiful color we've used in our kitchen now...and our bedroom. It's a soft beige/gold with a gold tone that shows up more in artificial light. So, at night and on cloudy days, it's warmer and under looks soft and calm.

I think I'll find something similar for the living room and bedroom in the farmhouse...and maybe the kitchen. Although, a softer yellow might work better with the blue sunroom. I think with all the cabinets, hutch, doors and windows....there won't be much yellow wall showing! :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Dreaming- I think your blue pearl granite countertops are going to be beautiful, but I'm trying to find something more neutral, that will look good with the brick, in the living room. I'd like to do marble on the island. I just found this picture and really like it!

On the perimeter cabinets, I was thinking of using butcher block, with the white cabinets...but these wooden cabinets are very pretty. I really like this light wood too (I know I already posted this, but I love the look)

For years, I've wanted a white kitchen, but now I'm starting to like the more rustic look, too. What to do...too many decisions! LOL

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:29PM
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Of course your sunroom is large enough for a w/s! That's not the question - it's where you have placed it.

I'm just pointing out that where it is, now, along that wall, you will need a disproportionately tall chimney that sticks up weirdly high because it must be at least TWO feet taller than anything else within 10 feet. In this case, that includes the main box and roof of your house.


Moving it to another wall, i.e. the window wall, will if the sunroom is more than 10 or 11 feet deep, make it so the highest object needed to be considered is just the sunroom roof itself, not the roof over the two stories and attic of the main house. That will make a huge difference!

As far as sticking to furniture placement considerations at the present: woodstoves, like fireplace hearths, have a way of forcing themselves into the decorative planning, even if you'd rather they didn't. That's why it's better to consider the w/s placement issues at the outset, rather than later on when you're more committed to design details. Considering where to put the sofa is a waste of time until you know where the stove can be, not just where you might wish it could be.

You use up a lot of bandwidth here soliciting comments and decorative help for your plans, only to run into structural hurdles that require scrapping room plans wholesale. That's OK, as we are all TKO and the more plans we get to chew over, the happier most of us are.

I'm just chiming in here (at this point) because I can easily forsee two big issues with the plans as you have drawn them:

1) The depth (from present exterior wall of the main house to exterior window-wall) of your sunroom addition combined with your previously noted need for steeper roof pitches because of snow load that mean the roof of your sunroom will have to either, a) meet the back wall of the house pretty high up on it or, b) be lower-pitched but significantly sturdier to support the snow. (This doesn't affect the w/s placement directly, except that a narrower sunroom needed to lower its roof could result in the need for an even taller w/s chimney.)

2) Where you have currently have the woodstove sited will require a chimney that sticks up out of the sunroom roof tall enough to be higher than the eave edge of the main house plus rise up tall enough to equal the height of any part of the main roof that falls within 10 feet of the chimney plus an additional TWO feet. That's one really tall stack!

A masonry chimney that high will be pricey (unless you DIY) and the less-expensive solution, a double-walled metal chimney, will likely require guy wires down to the roof for stability and will present significant maintenance challenges since you can't rest a ladder on it in order to go up and clean it.

Getting the inescapable "bones" right as early as possible will save you much trouble in the long run.

If you are still in speculation-mode rather than actual-project mode with this, then it doesn't matter where you park the w/s. But if this is a real plan, for a real house, then you can't avoid dealing with (real) chimney height and placement issues.

Just sayin'.


Here is a link that might be useful: Jotul stove installation manual; see pg 7 for chimney height specs

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:35PM
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L- This is a plan to get a budget, or a general budget idea, from our contractor. The woodstove will now have plenty of space, unlike when it was in the kitchen, so I'm not concerned.

If we have to, we'll put it back in the corner, but right now, I'm just getting a general idea. If he says the rooflines will work, the budget is something we can afford and I can put the powder room in (a bigger concern) then I'll figure out the wood stove.

While I appreciate your concern, I'm more interested in finishes for the kitchen, in this post. Having the kitchen open to the living room, changes things a bit. Just trying to get a general idea what we want, right now, but I appreciate both your responses.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:53PM
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thank you! I know blue pearl is beautiful, but I am still undecided. Did not mean to divert your post...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:56PM
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Dreaming- You didn't...this is something I've been struggling with, too. The blue pearl granite is beautiful, but for me, I don't want any one feature to overshadow the room. Since you love color and will have color on the walls, fabrics and countertop, I think it will all balance out and be wonderful! What are you planning to use for a backsplash?

I love the look of that picture, with the marble and wood. However, I would love it even more, if it was a more durable/forgiving finish than marble. That's probably one reason I'm undecided. If I find a similar look and feel with a lot less maintenance...that will be my countertop! I need to go look at actual finishes (which means a long drive into a bigger town) but it will be nice to see how they look, in person! :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Love this whole post and all pics. As you may have read in some of my posts, I have a relaxed french style also. I also must chime that my last house was painted vellum (BM I think). After some time, even it felt too yellow, and it was practically cream. After 6 months on the market, we repainted with BM Wheeling Neutral and it went under contract a week later. Possible coincidence, but for my patio home under construction, I did all neutral walls--BM Manchester Tan. My color splashes are going to be with fabric, paintings, accessories, just like you. If money was no object, I would have done a plaster finish on the interior walls and gone even lighter than the Manchester Tan to really get that Provence feel.

I really like the idea of some sort of brick in the kitchen, no matter how you bring it in. That will look awesome.

I'm adding some pics to photobucket, and maybe I can post some of the things I'm choosing... along with my inspiration photos. Who knows, maybe you'll see something that catches your eye.

BTW, my sister has those canisters, and I've always loved them. :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 6:27PM
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LL- I was just reading this post, and I thought you should bring some brick into the kitchen, and then I saw florantha already suggested it. I think when we try to tie 2 rooms or more together we don't usually try to bring the existing space into the new space, just vice versa. So, go ahead and add brick somewhere, it will balance it all out. And what's going on in that sunroom? What kind of floor? Is it possible to have a brick floor? I know, you don't have to say it, I'm just thinkin' thangs....

So happy you have found your perfect layout!

I would also like to suggest you don't get too "theme-y" on us. I know you want it to be French, but sometimes we get a little too literal. I think if you look at some French kitchens in France, and not just ones that are designed to look "French Country", you might arrive a really nice place. Go to Google, and type in "kitchens in France" as opposed to French Country Kitchens. You will find a lot of interesting ideas.

I was just looking at one article where the author said:
"French provincial kitchens only exist outside France. The average French kitchen is a modest, uncluttered, practical affair. It is not designed to be an exotic showroom of carpentry and exquisite furniture. We do not crowd the walls with cook books, artworks, eccentric displays of dried herbs and other paraphernalia. We don�t suspend pots and pans and other jangling ironmongery from the ceiling. We like to keep our gadgets and our utensils out of sight, just as we hate to smell what we�re cooking throughout the house. Cooking smells, like cooking equipment, are confined to the cuisine and the salle de manger. Just as good food must appear effortless and fresh so must the kitchen appear spotless and ready to burst into action at a moment�s notice."

(Don't take that the wrong way, I just thought it was "interesting", that's all).

Your inspiration photos above are quite lovely.

When will you be starting? I can't seem to remember.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 6:33PM
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CheriPatrice- I'd really like to see your pictures...not only to see your beautiful kitchen, but to maybe get some wonderful ideas! I think those canisters are so pretty :)

Beekeeperswife- The brick does need to come in somewhere. I don't know if you saw I'm planning to do vinyl floors (easier to clean and we live on a farm...with lots of dirt, mud and snow) so vinyl will be so easy to keep clean. I could do a brick look floor in the sunroom. Honestly, I know some people think vinyl...yikes! but I like it and since I don't plan to ever sell...I don't care if it would impact resale or not :)

What do you all think of the wood tone cabinetry? For YEARS, I've dreamed of a creamy white kitchen with blue and wood accents, but now, I'm not so sure. I have a lot of great accessories that will work, but I can also put them in the sunroom...and make the kitchen a little more rustic country. It's so fun to have some options, with the extra space! Any ideas?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:15PM
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lavender lass, about wood tone vs. white cabs. I, like you, thought white cabs were the only thing I was "sure" about before I even got formally started with planning. Ordered a sample door, had it less than 24 hrs, and my whole plan changed! Get yourself a sample. I'm going with a decent cab company, but I have to say I just looked at that door and it constantly got little marks on it like pencil marks (I think a lot were just from my wedding ring touching it). Granted, I could wipe them right off, but they seemed to show everything, and I knew there was no way I could live with constantly having to wipe them down. Maybe the antique finish is different, and obviously tons of folks here have white cabs, so I would just say get a sample and see what you think.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:30PM
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::sigh!:: L-L,

I do realize this is the time when you're just looking for a general budget estimate from your contractor. That's why I'm raising the problems I see that pertain to the roof lines and chimney location now, while everything is still on the table and in the early planning stages.

These are cost and structural issues, not room planning or decor issues.

(BTW, Moving the w/s back to the corner will not change the chimney height or placement concerns, just ADD internal corner wall issues. It's much better along a flat wall.)

Do yourself a big favor and at least ask your contractor about the issue of roof slope on the addition and the required chimney height in the position you've proposed before you go much farther along.

I'll shut up now.

Bonne chance!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Hi again. I'm going to try and post some of my inspiration pics. I also need to say that I've had stained cypress cabinets in a couple houses, and I won't do it again. Maybe on an island, but they just darken the kitchen too much for my taste. My cabinets are SW Antique White, and I may add a glaze in the future, but for now I have plenty other things that have a higher priority for my upgrade dollars. That is a personal choice though, as I'm sure many would say how they love their stained cabs.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:15PM
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    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:15PM
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I like this because it is not fussy yet adds a customized touch.

I am going to use these accents in the center of a pencil rail like the one above. That way, I get a little something special under my venthood backsplash without getting too personalized for future resale.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:06PM
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hi lavender...

well i'm decorating-challenged, so i don't post, just peruse your threads. ;) but i want to add my 2 pence about the "dreaming of white cabs" thing. i also love cherry wood, and dh would MUCH rather have cherry cabs. and they would have been less than the painted finish, to boot.

but in the end, i knew i wouldn't be happy if i got the stained wood cabs just because of the "lightness factor" one gets from white kitchens.

but it's just a personal choice, as i'm sure everyone knows. just thought i'd mention the "wouldn't be happy" thing since you've been dreaming of them so long.

the cleaning issue is whole other thing. ;)

i'll go back to lurking now....

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:02AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the beautiful pictures!

CheriPatrice- You have some wonderful inspiration photos!

Laughable- That's a nice kitchen, but those windows are lovely :)

As for the wood/white cabinetry, I so appreciate all your input. I have not made a decision, but I am trying to find different examples, to make comparisons. I'm pretty set on white appliances and I like the idea of white backsplash tile, with some leaves or vines...and if I have wood cabinets, I would want white countertops. White cabinets, probably wood countertops. I know I want to use some blue and green accents with the yellow walls. I'd also like to include some reference to the brick, without being too heavy.

As you might imagine, not a lot of pictures available, but I'm still looking. The only thing I don't like is wood floor with wood tone cabinets. It all seems to blend together, so either wood floor with painted cabinets or wood tone cabinets with a different floor.

The lightness factor...that's big! I do want a kitchen that will bounce some light around, but not too white. Sometimes white can actually look gray, if there's not a lot of natural light. That's one of my concerns, too. My mom had white walls in her new kitchen, but they looked gray on cloudy days. She painted the walls a soft leaf green and it's beautiful.

What light we do have in the kitchen is not really bright. We have the window over the sink (4' but could be a little wider) and the french doors to the sunroom...indirect light at best. The kitchen window faces southeast, so good morning light, but not much in the afternoon.

One idea is to use the wood lower cabinets, with few uppers (mostly plate racks, open storage and a few glass doors or fabric...with only frames of the wood showing. This would lighten up the heaviness, associated with wood uppers and maybe paint the island green. The hutch would be lovely in blue...maybe tie in a few accent pieces too...a plate rack or the niche by the fridge. The table and chairs are also wood, but the chairs could be painted...and I'd like to have metal/wrought iron stools, at the island. Maybe tie it in with some wrought iron on some of the pendants or accessories. For hardware, antique brass and probably the same finish on the chandelier, over the table. I want it to feel like a country kitchen with a french spin, but as Beekeeperswife says, not too theme-y! LOL

Now for the floor, I know it's totally 70s, but what about a vinyl floor that looks like brick? I love brick patios and I have some antique brick out in the I'd like to find something a little more rustic (less red) if possible. Still just an idea...but I'm kind of liking it!

Sunroom...I'd like to paint it a soft aqua/blue, very light, to look good behind the plants and look like a warm, sky blue. We have that soft color, in the summer, on really warm days...and it's beautiful. I'd like to find a small settee and some comfy smaller chairs, for this space. Either wicker or small upholstered pieces. The little table and chairs would be more bistro style, maybe with some wrought iron for the base, wood top, iron chairs. Maybe back to vinyl 'wood' floors in this room...softer with the blue. Now, I'm totally digressing, but it's a slow day at work :)

Any pictures, input, ideas? Don't be afraid to tell me what you really think...I may or may not agree with you, but it's good to get feedback.

And L...the placement of the woodstove will partially be determined by whether we extend the upstairs part way over the sunroom. If we do, the pipe would still have to be tall, since I do know about the 10' rule. I have been talking to installers, but whether the stove is in the middle of the wall or the corner, will be decided by what we do upstairs. There are advantages to the corner placement, but I lose a few windows...but that's the northwest maybe not a big deal :)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:50PM
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I like these brick floors...and hopefully I can find a vinyl version that looks something like them :)

Be honest...what do you think...and remember, I was already planning to use vinyl floors, so no change in quality.

Maybe some copper accents

And did anyone else notice, how much this picture, looks like my favorite work table? Probably obvious, but I just noticed a few hours ago! LOL

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 10:50PM
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Can you use the same red brick under your wood stove and perhaps behind it? Check with code--material under and behind woodstoves has to be of a certain quality. Today's wood stoves have much shorter requirements for distance to non-combustables, so you might want to go check out stoves ahead of time so you can plan. E.P.A. requirements have forced greater efficiency and safety.

If you're using an oldie you need to be sure it's functional and safe. Again, better to know in advance than to have to adapt the room later.

Vinyl flooring is fine with me. I had originally planned to use it myself. (Biggest problem for me is that we once had a dog who wedged his chewy bones against the floor with a paw and it sawed holes in the floor over time.)

If you're using vinyl flooring in sunroom also, is there a flooring that picks up the reds in the brick and continues that theme? OR if the room's on a slab, can you find a ceramic tile in red tones that allows you to use the sunroom floor for solar heat storage?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 6:51AM
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Florantha- All very good ideas! I might switch back to the vinyl floor that looks like wood, for the sunroom, but the brick would also look nice. The idea of 'catching' the heat with the tile or brick is a really good one!

Maybe a lighter tile that will tie in, but be better with the pastels I had planned for this room. I really want to paint the walls a light blue (picking up the blue accents in the kitchen). A whitewashed brick, behind the stove, would be an interesting way to use the brick, but have it work more with the pastels. This room faces west and will be pretty warm in the reason for all the screens, in the windows :)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Didn't you meet with your contractor last weekend to go over budgets for your plans? I hope you had good news!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 10:44AM
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You didn't say whether the sunroom is on slab or is a regular floor or an old porch floor (slight angle toward the outside).

If it's on slab and if it faces south, you will want to look into passive solar concepts, something we heard a lot about in 1970s but has been rather ignored since that time. Dark mass absorbs solar heat better than light mass. Vinyl doesn't have heat holding qualities. If you could actually use the space in this way, you could also make heat passages into the kitchen via pass-through or windows.

I live in a home with a passive solar porch--has poured "gypcrete" concrete floor above walk-out basement (long story). At this time of year we run furnace fan to distribute heat of the porch to rest of house--it gets very warm in there. Very sunny long days. Have to have thermal coverings for windows for night and cold snaps; otherwise we'd need to isolate the room from the rest of the house in winter when sun isn't shining and floor has gone cold.

Did not mean to hijack this thread. Write me privately if you want more info.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 10:48AM
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Marcolo- Actually, that's been rescheduled for next week, thank goodness, because I am still not quite ready.

Florantha- The sunroom and the mudroom are the only 'new' parts of the house. Everything else (except 3' of the vestibule) is already part of the existing house.

I was thinking about radiant heat for the floors, with maybe the same thing in the mudroom. I would like to be able to keep these rooms a little cooler than the rest of the house, in the winter. While my sunroom does not face south (the corner faces west) it's more of a place to look out at the horses and get some sunshine during those long winters...five months this year!

In the summer, I want to open the windows and have screens in the morning and evening...very nice. It's also a great place to have some plants and maybe a few flowers, when it's snowing outside...and the kitties can't chew on them, overnight :)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:12AM
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LL, while you are still planning things, including floors, I'll put in my two cents for *carpetless* stairs. You wrote,

"I really want to put one of those carpet runners (with the brass rods holding down the carpet) on all the steps. Very traditional, but classic, IMHO."

but you have also written about the dirt and dust around a farm, which I know about well : ) and also your fondness for easy-care surfaces. I had always thought about carpet runners for a new house, but now that we are getting close, and each year I get older, I've decided to instead on a lovely wood staircase I can sweep with a broom. The thought of dealing with a vacuum cleaner on the stairs every day or so makes me weep. Might be better to think about using the money you'd spend on carpet runners and rods on refinishing the wood on the stairs, if necessary.

For kitchen cabinets, you might want to get sample doors, one stained wood, one white, and anything else you might be considering, and prop them in the kitchen on the countertop for a while. And definitely take your light conditions and geography into consideration when it comes to colors. One of the reasons I love yellow (walls) and cream (cabinets) in my kitchen is that we live on the prairies in Canada where it is dreary and white or gray outside from early October until at least late April (as I write there is still snow on the ground). By contrast, in my parents' kitchen in the West Indies, we just repainted a very dark green kitchen white (the cabinets are maple), and I wish we had done it sooner. It looks wonderful, with all the greenery outside, and much lighter, considering the heat and often oppressive humidity.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:51AM
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