robo's u-shaped 2tone kitchen reveal

robo (z6a)April 17, 2014

Hi all!

I relied VERY heavily on GW to help firm up my layout and a million other choices. I want to thank you all for your generous help. This is a really amazing resource and I so appreciate all the time and care that go into the responses here.

My original goal when I started planning in 2011 was "a kitchen that is family friendly, has seating for at least two people, and has lots of useful counter space." I feel like I got there and am very happy with the result.

Most importantly, the kitchen matches the cats.

The room was just a little too small for an island so we ended up with a basic U shape with peninsula. Peninsula owners unite! We love it. The wood counters are warm and comfortable to sit at.

Budget: around $35K. Total remodel budget was $60K and that included new flooring, powder room, laundry room, new stair treads, painting, etc.

About half the budget went to moving the kitchen to a new space on the other side of the house (all new plumbing and electrical, new doors, taking down structural wall). So we were on a very tight rein for everything else. We kept some old white appliances, shopped on Kijiji (Canadian cragslist), used big box lighting and put install-it-yourself quartz offcuts around the sink.

Before - previous owners used as a home office. The house was built in about 1960 and this room was added early on.

After - took down the wall and added a patio door on to the deck.

Before - this fridge sat in here almost a year.

After - I agonized over how to manage the sink wall and realized I could make the leftmost cabinet only 20" deep. This let me center the sink AND keep the dishwasher on this wall.

Fauxrocccan tile behind the stove. My husband is the cook and he does use the KA quite a bit! The house is 2 story, modest, and traditionalish so I tempered my uber-modern urges a bit.

Under cab lighting was LED tape lighting from InspiredLED in Warm White. I found InspiredLED responsive and easy to work with. The lights were plug and play and the company came up with a layout and cut the lights to size for free.

Both of my low corners are costco corners inspired by arlosmom.

The Kindred full depth (appliance) sink I got on Kijiji for $400 (MSRP $2900 CAD). Although I love it and it made it easy to do offcuts on either side, I had to re-explain the concept to every single tradesperson ever. My husband was a single bowl doubter but he LOVES it now.

The kitchen is open to this dining room - still a work in progress but getting there!

This is the old kitchen - now a laundry room. Also a work in progress.

Thanks for reading and thanks again for all your help!

- robo and mr. robo

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 21:25

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Beautiful! I remember your old kitchen, such an awkward space. So happy you have a wonderful, functional area now!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:15PM
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I really like the two tone look. Nice ribbed glass in the upper cabs by the sink. I like your colorful fiestaware. Backsplash is wonderful. Like the choice of beadboard on the peninsula. Enjoy your kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:17PM
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I love your kitchen! The backsplash is fabulous and the wood countertops are s warm and lovely. You have done such a great job pulling it all together, congratulations on a job well done!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:37PM
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WAHOO!! Robotropolis - I really love your 2 toned kitchen. Overall there is a lovely feeling of serenity with your color scheme, nicely done!!

Must ask - what on earth are Costco Corners?!!

I must add - loved seeing the pictures of you and DH. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:53PM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks so much for all the kind words!

ob2b - the blind corner with roll out trays in the back was called a "costco cupboard" by arlosmom. Theory being that on the rollouts, which are slightly harder to access, you'd store little-used or stock-up items, like those three extra jars of olives that come in the Costco four-pack.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:05PM
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That is fabulous! Thank you for posting it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:11PM
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Kathy Rivera

Wonderful! It's modern but also warm and inviting. Love that burst of color behind the stove!

Welcome to the TTKC (Two Tone Kitchen Club)!!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:06PM
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Looks great! I love your bookshelf beside the fridge

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:43PM
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I love the fauxroccan tile - it works so well with the other pops of color in the kitchen and dining room. It looks like a fabulous work space. The laundry and dining room look like they will be equally as special. Cute selfie.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:01PM
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Your kitchen is so warm and inviting. Makes me want to sit at the peninsula and have a cup of coffee with you! Nice job. The range backsplash is a great focal point. Very pretty!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:11PM
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That is a fantastic kitchen! Congratulations on a job well done and for surviving it. :)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:31PM
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Robo, congratulations on your lovely two toned kitchen. What colours of paint did you use in your kitchen?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Cheers Robo & Mr Robo! Nicely done. I really enjoy how you created warmth and a modern, spacious feeling. The two-tone totally works in your space and with your chosen materials. I like how you handled the countertop. You've made budgetary considerations into *features* :) . It is a great kitchen to look at and it appears very functional as well.

- from the Canadian left coast where it POURED today

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:35AM
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First, your kitchen looks huge. Excellent decision on the peninsula.
Second, it's so darn pretty. Love the dark lowers & light uppers. Love your wood countertops. What is the white stone flanking the sink? It's pretty. Love your glass doors & pendants. Love your backsplash. How big are the white subways?Love your cats-what a great match.
Third, that is one huge laundry room-jealous!
Gorgeous kitchen. The beautiful kitchens on this forum amaze me.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:15AM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks so much! This is really the only place that gets the kitchen obsessions.

Renov8r - the walls are benjamin moore French Canvas. It is an off white with a very slight olive undertone. The trim and ceilings are bm Oxford White, which also has the very slightest of olive in it. The cabs were stock colors but the white looks a lot like Oxford, thank goodness. I originally wanted the walls to be the same grey as Sheetrock (also greenish) but the guy at the paint store was NOT a fan of that idea!

Feisty - on Wednesday we had rain, freezing rain, snow, gale winds, and I walked home from work in the sun with my coat off. - from the East Coast.

Romy, thanks! The stone is quartz, caesarstone alpine mist. It's a very light grey with white resin veins. One of the new colors last year. It doesn't look organic per se but it seems to have some depth which I like. I wanted something quiet since, you know, this kitch has a lot going on. The tiles are cheapie 4" x 8" gloss white rectangles. I got the fauxroccan tiles from ebay but I think you can also get them from justmorrocco dot com in Clearwater Florida.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:24AM
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Love it! I am currently doing a two tone kitchen with black lowers and white uppers. Seeing your kitchen has me psyched to get into mine! Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:54AM
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robo (z6a)

I have to give big props to my contractor, who is not only meticulous and patient but has a good design eye and is pretty good at hand holding. He is a small operation and I really appreciated that he was on the job every day.

Scabby really likes the space to spread out and do her homework on the peninsula.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:11AM
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I came back for a second look and I have to say how much I love the little shelves with the Fiesta pitchers! You have inspired me to get my collection in my glass cabinets, finally. And the green blender, I am jealous!!! I really wanted the Green Apple blender, but they were out of stock, so I ended up with a boring stainless steel one.

"Welcome to the TTKC (Two Tone Kitchen Club)!!"

We really need to have a thread with photos of all the great GW TTK's!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:27AM
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I particularly like the narrower peninsula--a good solution to a problem, but the width seems quite practical to me too.

good job and congratulations!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Great kitchen, such pretty solutions to the problems you faced, and it's so inviting and spacious. Love the unique features like your corner display shelves and the way the cookbook niche lines up with the top of the fridge. The wood counters are lovely with your backsplash, and that sink is fabulous. Don't you just LOVE a huge single bowl!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Every single thing is great on its own, and it all comes together for a great kitchen. Love the bright colors of your accessories against the classic wood and stainless...that's the sink I want! And the old kitchen as a laundry, you'll have so much workspace in there, nice idea.

Your GC, Scabby, is very handsome...:)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Beautiful, Robo! I like the combination of butcher block and quartz, the pendants by the sink, and the efficient us of awkward spaces.

What's your favorite part (besides Mr. Robo - that's a given!)

It is fun to see photos of folks I've gotten to "know" over the last year or so that I've been here.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:47AM
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What a wonderful kitchen renovation! Nicely done. I love how the wood counters transition the two tone cabinets nicely to pull it all together. Very cohesive.

I've been looking for black wooden bar stools, where did you get yours? They would look perfect in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:50AM
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Really nice, Robo!!! And I love that sink. What a score!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:00AM
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I love the two-toned look, and the way you mixed it up with the countertops, too. The tile behind your range and that sink ... both awesome! Everything looks really beautiful! And a kitty doing homework .... awwww, how adorable is that??

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:29PM
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You did such a great job robo!!!! Everything ties together so well it looks like it could be in a catalog!!! There are so many different elements in this kitchen, most people wouldn't be able to put so much together without it looking busy. That fauxroccan tile is perfect! It adds just the right level of interest and color. It looks great with the stainless steel, the subway tiles, and both countertops..... not an easy feat to pull off. It looks like a place you'd really enjoy spending time in.

And then you add fantastic function on top of it!! I'm a fan of the U shaped kitchen and of peninsula's.....I may actually be starting to dislike islands (I'm sick of walking around them in my friends

Really, really well done. I hope the robo family really enjoys it!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Your kitchen is beautiful, good decision on the 20" cabinet. Yay peninsulas!
Is the sink all piece up to the windowsill? What a great idea, and I'm a cast iron fan. Why aren't there more options like this?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:57PM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks again! You say such nice things.
Fishy mom - I am a recent and very intense fiesta addict. There is a discount outlet near my in-laws' house in Sarasota. Dangerous!

Annkh - my favorite part is the peninsula. I just love being able to hang out there, or have friends hang out there and chat. Nova Scotians are 100% about hanging out in the kitchen and now it's so easy to do so.

I asked Mr. Robo and he said he really likes the aesthetics. And all the extra workspace.

Lindanew - got the stools on wayfair! But I think they sold out. I don't see them anywhere. They are black with a sort of warm cherry seat.

Magsnj, I love your kitchen and thanks so much for your kind comments :)

Iroll, there is an integral 3' backsplash on the sink. We're trying a piece of stainless panel behind it to the window but I don't know, not 100% sold. I wanted to put little pieces of the colorful Moroccan tile back there but was outvoted by husband and gc. The full depth 'appliance' sink is awesome! I wish so many more were offered. So practical.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 18:31

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:28PM
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robo and mr. robo -- congratulations! I love how you completely relocated the kitchen but that it looks like it always belonged in that location. That sink is especially amazing.

PS: When I see that kitty in the cabinet, I now know why you are seeking a closed sideboard for the DR!

PPS: and I think your cartoon is true not just in NS

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:28AM
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Your new kitchen is beautiful, love the sink and what you did on the sides of it. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:40AM
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robo (z6a)

Gooster - agreed! You can find people hanging out in the kitchen wherever you go! We just make kind of a cult of "the kitchen party" up here on the east coast. It evokes ideas of traditional music and step dancing, that kind of thing. Although we tend more to punk rock than Stan Rogers at my house,

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:42AM
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Love the cats, Moroccan tiles, and wood countertop. Beautiful space. Is the dining room chandelier the original Robert Abbey or the Overstock model? If the latter, how do you find its quality? Absolutely stunning.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:50AM
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I adore this kitchen. It seems suited to you the owners rather than a slave to resale or trends. Great fauxroccan tiles. I think your DR with the twister art and kitchen are perfect party locales. How tall is the sink? Sorry one final question are all the cabinets on the penisula 20" deep?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:07AM
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Very lovely! Nice symmetry, and I really like your counters. Great job! I think bringing those tiles above sink could work...did you try taping them in place to see how it looked? Maybe you could sway them if they saw it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:51AM
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robo (z6a)

Dilzy - it's the knockoff. I just wrote a review on the decor forum so I'll paste it here.

"One thing to note is that the instructions say you need European size light bulbs, but you don't, just regular chandelier bulbs. I used philips LED (warm white) and they look good.

This has glass bulbs (as does the bling). It does not give off the rainbow sparkles of a crystal chandelier . I would say the shadow patterns are a bit more like water/raindrops but not pronounced, in fact the light generally seems pretty even and the strikingness is more from looking at the reflection/refraction in the bulbs themselves.

I like the warm rainbow-ey effect of crystal, so if I get a big raise some day I may go for crystal in the dining and move this to the foyer.

The quality is mid, about on par for the price. I wouldn't want to look too closely at the chrome after a few years and wouldn't wash the metal parts ever - but I am lazy so chances of me washing my chandelier are slight. It was surprisingly easy to assemble and comes with a few extra bulbs (to assemble it just goes big bulb/little bulb). I would say it's easy enough that I would hang first and then add the bulbs. An electrician installed it and I wasn't home that day, so I couldn't use my usual method of counting swears-per-minute to guage installation difficulty. But no complaints".

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:31AM
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robo (z6a)

Nashville - the bowl is 10" deep but like a flush mount or drop in sink, that is to the top of the counter top. So it feels about the same as an 8.5" under mount sink. I was still worried it would feel too deep so I added a sink grid and now you would be hard pressed to pry the grid out of my hands. Pro tip: don't wait a year to buy a grid for a discontinued sink. I had to find the closest equivalent and it was a rough search.

The only cab that's 20" deep is the blind corner on the left. Then the wall jog disappears and all other cabinets are regular depth and pushed in the dining room by 4".

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:43AM
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robo (z6a)

OOTM mom...completely agree! I'll try it. I was outvoted so hard but I can put my foot down...on occasion (every occasion).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:45AM
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Robo- It looks amazing! So nice to see all your hard work and planning result in such a lovely space.

You and Mr. Robo look very do the kitties! Hope you have many years of fun and laughter, in your new kitchen :)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Wow, I love this kitchen! Can you post the sources?

There are so many things that are just so cool. I need to look at it in more detail, but at first glance:
The sink!!!
The fauxroccan tile.
The counters. Smart move with quartz and wood.
The little triangle shelf.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Very nice! Love the tile, and your sink is a fantastic find--good for you. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:35PM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks LL! We'll try :) And thanks peony!

nosoccermom - here's a list. It seems like so little to shop for when I felt like I was shopping forever!

Paint - Ben Moore French Canvas (walls) and Oxford White (trim and ceiling). Both have olive undertones.

Cab colors - stock from cab maker (but the white is a dead ringer for Oxford white, happily).

Cabinets - local semi custom maker (would not highly recommend-they were ok)

Pulls: Richelieu 820 in brushed nickel.Because all my doors/drawers were greater than 24", we just used the biggest one at about 7.5 inches (192 mm).
Fridge - samsung sxs.

Fan - Anconca cheapie from Costco.

Floor - select and better 3.25" maple with a satin poly finish.

Counters - wood - birch butcherblock from IKEA finished with 4 coats of watco butcherblock oil, sanded to 400 grit and rubbed to a matte finish with steel wool.

Counters - quartz - Caesarstone alpine mist offcuts from Nova Tile and Marble (they were super nice to work with if anyone lives in Nova Scotia) with a pencil edge.

Lights: mini and central pendants were Alexa brushed nickel from Home Depot. Very reasonable!

Lights undercab: InspiredLED Ultrabright strips, cut to size and shipped with the cables, a dimmable transformer, and a lutron dimmer. I found this company reasonable and easy to work with. Side note: I had a local guy in and he was trying to sell me 6000K LEDs at four times the price. No thanks!

"Subway" tiles are simple 20x40cm gloss white.

Fauxroccan tiles I got from a now defunct seller on Ebay. But similar or the same tiles can be had from in Clearwater Florida. I have never visited or dealt with this company so cannot vouch for them. Same or samish tiles at

Grout is TEC Sterling but it's a titch too warm, I wish I'd gone with Silverado. Not enough to do it over though.

Sink is a Kindred KCLS36A10 36" Single Bowl Worktop Backsplash Sink with 3" Backsplash and Marine Edge. It has been discontinued but Kindred continues to make "appliance" sinks (which slide in like an appliance) e.g. the KCAS33/10.

Faucet - Delta Trinsic in arctic stainless.

Wooden shelves - IKEA Butcherblock.

Stools - Steve Silver Branson from

Skylights - existing. Doors and windows - local company (Peter Kohler).

Dining chandelier - knock off of Bling Chandelier from

Dining rug - sandee indoor/outdoor rug 8x11. I think it's from Kohls.

Dining table - stockholm from IKEA

Dining chairs - Pier 1 Mason.

Dining art - Kate Walchuck - rec room series.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Sun, Apr 20, 14 at 12:27

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:09PM
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wow, this turned out beautifully! It looks so functional, warm and inviting. Great job! I'm in the u-shaped kitchen club too and i'm taking notes on how you laid out your space.

you, mr. robo and your kitties are adorable!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Wow, that looks great! Love the cook book cubby and the costco corners are pretty nifty, aren't they. I did a similar thing in my close-to-be-revealed kitchen. Also a convert to the one bowl sink... so handy. The tile is beautiful and your choice of elements are perfect throughout; what a lovely, functional space for your DH to work in now (lucky you). Ya, I too am a touch jealous of the future laundry room. Wow, how nice to have that space. Enjoy, you did a wonderful job!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:58PM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks so much! We live in the city and don't have room for a garage, so it's great to have a utility room on the first floor. I have recently taken up oil painting so I think I will stick an easel in there as well.

This weekend I hosted a birthday party and easter brunch, and my book club's coming over tomorrow, so the kitchen's getting a work out. Love it!

If I had it to do over, I would have extended the peninsula overhang to the right. I didn't realize just how much everyone would flock to that seating.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:52AM
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thanks so much for the source list. One more thing: What color are the lower cabinets? Are they painted black, charcoal, dark brown? Or very dark stain?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 3:21PM
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robo (z6a)

Hi nosoccermom, the lowers are painted a dark black similar to Benjamin Moore Onyx and the uppers are painted a bright white similar to BM Snowfall White. Thanks for asking!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:53PM
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