Help With Accidental Remodel of a Small Kitchen

swampfeverSeptember 8, 2010

We're in the middle of an unplanned kitchen remodel of a galley kitchen in our Florida Beach House. It all started when my DW decided she wanted to have the tile changed in the kitchen. That led to us finding salvageable terrazzo underneath. We had the terrazzo refinished and it came out stunningly beautiful. The DW then found granite that matched the terrazzo, then a sink and a faucet and now we're redoing everything but the cabinets. The problem is, we don't have a plan. After reading these forums for a few weeks, we decided to put the brakes on and ask for some advice.

Where do I begin...We need ideas on paint, lighting, how to add a little punch, you know...everything.

I've a attached a few pictures. I couldn't get the color accurate. The granite is tones of brown. Some people seem to see a claret color in it. There is also some white, black and buff. The colors in the close up picture of the sink and the picture of the floor are pretty close. Both the counter tops and the terrazzo floors have a high gloss. As a point of reference, the cabinet pulls and knobs are maple and too yellow for the current counter tops. We have lots of paint samples on the walls, mostly blues and greens and more light yellows and creams to try. We did find some 1" x 1" glass tile for the backspash in a pattern called "Ocean Blues" that matched nicely with some pale green, but were afraid the white grout would get dirty too fast...Anyway, my frustration must be coming out in my post. I'm afraid we're going to end up with a kitchen that is too monotone.

Please, What would you do?

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger version.

Thanks for any help.

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I'm too new at this stuff to be of much help, but you'll get lots of good suggestions soon enough. The people here are amazing!

I just wanted to say that's the prettiest sink I've ever seen!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:15PM
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love the floor, love the counter top! what color are appliances?

I'd put ORB or black on for knobs/pulls, change the lighting, put in under cab lights.

what's around the wall above the cabs? wallpaper? stencil? it needs to go too.

I'd probably be putting teal and a rusty orange (not Halloween orange!) around in things like fabric (curtains/roman shades), chair seat covers, table runner, some dishes, vase etc.

what other colors are in the floor?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:19PM
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With the tarazzo floors and flat panel cabinets, your kitchen seems like it's taking on a slightly modern/mid century look which I absolutely love. You are right that those maple pulls have to go. I would get some brushed nickel simple long modern looking ones to replace them. As for the backsplash, I might pick some glass tiles that have some black or charcoal in them to pull out some of the dark spots on your granite thereby creating some contrast. That will ensure that your kitchen is not monotone. It's looking great! Keep going!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:23PM
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WOW Gorgeous kitchen. Can you show us the glass tiles you like or have you just seen them in the store?

I remember when the terrazzo floors were all the rage back in the 70's. I always loved them then.

Sink and counter to die for. I agree with Steph about the stencil on the soffet. Unless you are heading in a kind of country look. Oh Wait they are shells and this is a beach house. Hummmmmmm

I might be inclined to go with the blues. Paint swatches on cardboard to lean against the counter to give you an idea. Usually people paint it on the walls but with the white of your walls now I am afraid the testers might show through.

The handles are nice shape but I agree on the too yellow of the maple. Maybe even a sanding and gel stain on them to get them closer to the counter color so you do not have to to tally change them unless you really want to.

Again lovely kitchen.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:31PM
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What kind of tile was over terrazo, something grouted? It came out beautifully.

Are your cabinets painted or laminate?

Since you already have the granite backsplash, you don't really have to put more backsplash on top of it. You could just paint there. That might actually look best and if you do a satin, it's easy to scrub.

I can see a really modern look with your cabinets, and if you really want tile in the backsplash area, you could go with something that matches the granite so it doesn't look chopped up. If you didn't have the dark backsplash there already, I'd say go with a light colored natural stone subway tile, and sleek stainless hardware and appliances.

Have you looked at the finished kitchens blog for ideas?

Paint is always hardest for me too. If you go modern and have a lot of stainless, I'd leave it white (but paint over the furdown), but if you go with a more traditional look, I think a soft blue-green.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:06AM
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Love your kitchen. That sink setup, including the detail of the area behind the sink, and the faucet, are killer nice.

I would recommend that you check the IKEA catalog for the hardware.

If this is a Florida beach house, the window coverings could be very simple, even bamboo slats or matchstick rollup blinds with old wood brackets and wood dowels for curtain hardware, and then some simple big-grommet drape panels....but only on the windows where additional privacy besides the matchsticks are required. Keep it simple.
The glass tile, where were you thinking of using it? I'd keep a nice clean pallette picking any paint color to go with it. Something with only a hint of a tint toward the blue would be nice. Blue and brown make some of the best and most current color combinations I've seen used lately. Even gray and brown is becoming quite popular.

My old galley style kitchen has white cabs, and it is my choice to keep them that way. Changing the cabs can really wait until the last thing, when you see they do not fit with the rest of your choices. Then, look for door replacements. Honestly, I'd go for a beadboard look in a beach house. And I'd also put the beadboard wallpaper above your backsplash under the cabs. It is paintable. It is marvelous stuff, and would give a very old style Florida cracker look to the beach house. You can find the beadboard wallpaper online at Rhoda's Southern Hospitality blog, link given below.

I love the way you call this an "ACCIDENTAL REMODEL."
Inspiration and spur of the moment can be charming.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rhoda's beadboard wallpaper

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 2:35PM
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Sounds like lots of good suggestions, so far. If you decide to go with the glass tile (blue and green are my favorite colors for a kitchen, too) I would not use white grout. Try to find something closer to the color of the tile. I think it makes the tiles look nicer and you notice the tiles...not the grout.

Bottom line, it's your kitchen, so do what you love. Even if you're not sure it's the most current look, if you like it and enjoy spending time in your room, that's all that matters :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:18PM
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For the 'little punch', I'd definitely look up. I could see a collection of pendant up-lights up there, with a high gloss ceiling paint.

The rest looks great to me -- I'd simply darken the stain on the existing maple hardware, and paint the backsplash with a color similar to the overall tone of the granite countertop. Love that you restored the terrazzo.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:58PM
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Since there's a lot of white, I'd definitely go with a slightly bolder color on the walls. After all, it can easily be re-painted if you don't like it.
Those knobs are too unique to get rid of. How about painting the wood portion and keeping them?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 4:39PM
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Gwbr54, I am very pleased that you mentions a high gloss ceiling paint. My DH thought I wanted the crown molding and the ceiling to be painted the same PAINT, when I said the same COLOR, so he put a semi-gloss white on both. WOW, and DOUBLE WOW. So now I am really planning to use the semi-gloss (we have rough plaster ceilings) on the bath, the kitchen, and the new master closet at our house.

Sometimes ACCIDENT is the best way to make a choice! Glad someone else likes the look for the ceilings too.

Idie2live, have you ever tried a GEL STAIN? Would such a stain work for the wood knobs? I've never used a gel stain so far.I think it lets the wood grain show through.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:58PM
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WOW! Thanks for all the suggestions. I hope I don't get too long winded, but I'd like to respond to some of them. First there are some design constraints: The kitchen is tiny, only 88 square feet, we plan on keeping the white appliances for now, heat from lighting is an issue, we can't install a vented range hood and the worst "wall" will be the first one you see. We still don't have a feel for what we want it to be. Normally you start with a concept and if something complements it or advances it you use it, if it doesn't you reject it. To me we started this bass ackward, so I'm still not grounded. I kind of feel like we'd like something elegantly playful and the DW is thinking beachy? I'm having a hard time transforming what we have into beachy.

I know it would be easier to change the appliances and lighting, but lighting is in a transitional phase right now with LED's just entering the market. It makes more sense to integrate the fluorescents into the design and update later. We thought about pendants, but the ceiling isn't really high enough nor wide enough. Layering the light makes sense. Spotting the faucet and sink area seems like a no-brainer after all your comments. Adding under-cabinet lights would highlight the granite, again another no-brainer. These would solve the problem of the "worst wall"" wall during night-time hours as well.

Color is still a problem. We are leaning towards blues and greens, but getting the right one is difficult. You all know how a shade or tone can make a huge difference. We tried some black pulls on the cabinets and it really brought the black out in the granite, but it was too much, a little formal for us. I went to Lowes and grabbed 9 baby blue knobs and slapped then on the drawers. It changed the mood completely. It was the wrong shade of blue according to the wife, but the point was made. If anyone has a specific color they think might work, I would appreciate it. Is anyone familiar with"Spa Blue"?

Thanks for the complements on the pulls. I made the pulls and knobs myself. I found the hardware and adapted it. It took quite a while so they are dear to me, however, they probably should go. We tried about 50 different pulls and the ones that looked the best were the simple "euro" pulls. They made a nice counterpoint to the sculptural quality of the faucet and they introduced a vertical element that helps in a small space. They may still be subject to change.

We wanted to paint most of the walls one color and put a darker tone on the side with the range. We can accomplish that with paint, tile, wood, etc. It would be nice to add some texture to that wall as there isn't much in the room. As mocasinlanding was suggesting bead-board wallpaper, I was out cutting tongue and groove for the area behind the stove as a trial. We were thinking of painting it high gloss and again it would add a vertical element. I think I might like a little more texture and might go with bead-board rather than the tongue and groove. The tongue and groove I used was from Lowe's and is only about 1/4 inch thick. Cost only $9 to do the whole area behind the range. Not bad for a trial.

We found a tile sample we liked and might try some of the colors. We thought of using it behind the range, but it might be too busy. Here it is:


As usual, the color is off, its bluer. A solid color glass in a larger tile is another thought. What do you think? Glass tile may be dated soon and the wood treatments have a more timeless and "beachy" quality

If anyone has any more ideas, I'd love to hear them, especially ways to make the first wall you see more interesting.

Thanks again for all your comments. I now realize this is going to take a lot longer than I thought!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Can you paint just the wood part of your door pulls? It's a shame to let those go just because of a little bit of wood on them. Look in Nancy's kitchen post for her trim around her island. You can do that with any metallic color so you could match your granite easily I think.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 1:24AM
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