So Tired of All the Mistakes - Not Loving my New Kitchen - HELP

jrroseJune 20, 2011

We are building a new mission/craftman style home and although the GC promised us design help we have been given very little guidance for 2 reasons 1) the CG and his wife "designer" simply do not understand the home's mission style (not many in this design where we live) and 2) they do not want to offend us by telling us the that they do not like our design selections. When we ask for their opinion on a particular item they will act like we are making a good choice but when it comes out wrong will say things like "well I probably would have gone a different way but its whatever you like". Um hello people we have no clue what we are doing - we have never done this before.

So that is my vent but here is my problem. I was told to give them a picture of the kitchen I wanted which I did - it had dark cherry cabinets, black granite and glass tile. So i picked the same. Here is how my cabinets came out.

(sorry I cannot figure out how to post the picture - sigh)

They are splotchy and I have no idea if glass tiles will work with them.

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Hi jrrose - I can really sympathize with tiresome mistakes, as well as professionals who are supposed to know more than I do, a rank neophyte, who don't, somehow.

There is a thread on here: Buehl's FAQs for newbies that will help walk you through the steps of posting pictures. I think you'll find this forum so helpful in so many ways that it will be well worth your while figuring out how to post pictures.

Can't wait to see your pictures! I'm sure someone here will know just what to do...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:19AM
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I'd love to see your pics. Create an account with a photo sharing site like Flickr or Photobucket. Follow the directions in the post Aliris linked to upload them here. We hate to see anyone unhappy with their new kitchen!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:35AM
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Cherry can get blotchy (like several other woods) if the finisher didn't know what s/he was doing. It needs to be conditioned before any finish goes on. Who did the finishing? Cherry is also photoreactive; it gets significantly darker upon exposure to light. This may work in your favor to even out the color as the cabs age and oxidize.

BTW I love the mission look. I tried to put a bit of a craftsman spin on my cottage-style home that is currently being remodedled. It's hard to do! I think you guys will have to carry the load with respect to design decisions. If someone doesn't appreciate the mission aesthetic they may not do so well with creatig the "right" look.

I'm SURE you'll get tons of advice from the huge knowledge base here. I'll try to throw in my 2 cents where I can.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 10:55AM
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There could also be a disconnect if you say you want one thing but then pick another...for instance, if you say you want to keep with the mission style, but your inspiration pic looks more modern, which we won't know until we can see pictures...that the GC may not know how to react to (or, he may just not be strong in design). Good luck and keep trying with pictures! This is a great place for feedback.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:26AM
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You may want to hire a designer yourself. Especially for a brand new home, I know how heavily laden those can be with expectations (I've done a couple of those myself now).

Also, it sounds like you're not going strictly mission/craftsman, so a good designer will help you blend the eclectic elements.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:45AM
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Sounds like you have two issues: a disconnect with your team on what mission/craftsman is, and an unsatisfactory stain job. This community is great for input on style, and a KD would be an asset here, but you will need to get your contractor to fix the latter. A bad stain job has absolutely nothing to do with your design choices and they need to fix it. This may be a blessing in disguise, as it is going to give you some time to get some help, so you get the kitchen of your dreams. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Here are a few pictures...maybe you can tell me if I'm even close to what you're trying to do. The last picture has a darker tile backsplash, that might work, depending on the cabinets. How bad is the finish? Should you have them redo it?

Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 4:18PM
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Thank you all so much for the support and help. Here are some pictures. As you can see the house is not yet complete (entire house is a new build).

Thanks for your honest opinions.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:09PM
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I agree with you that the stain on your cabinets looks splotchy and needs to be fixed. I gather from comments I've read here that cherry can be tricky to finish properly, but that is no excuse for your cabinet people to deliver a poor job. You paid good money for those cabinets, so insist that they be done properly. I'm sure someone here will be able to tell you exactly why they are the way they are and what needs to be done.

On the plus side, I really like the trim on your windows and the pendant lights. I envy your walk-in pantry, but I hope no one needs to get in there when someone else needs to open the fridge. I think the green backsplash tile will be just fine when the appliances are in, and your counter is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 2:26AM
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Love the lights, probably going to steal the idea of fluted stiles, but with an alteration or two, and I agree, the stain job is not very good. Either the wood was not prepared very well or the stain job was just poorly done. Either way, I'd have them fixed at the cabinetmakers expense. I just cannot believe that whoever did it thought is was acceptable. Even his seeing eye dog surely told him it was not! :)
BTW, the arched hallway is awesome as well!
Good luck. Hope things turn out well in the end!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 2:44AM
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Actually, I think it looks quite lovely!

Of course, I'm into week 6? of no kitchen, major demo, suffering through heat wave without A/C....

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 5:27AM
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1st, I'm sorry for your poor experience. And this is only one room for you :(

2nd, I agree that they need to refinish those cabs. I love the other choices you made. It'll look great when the painful part is over.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 8:59AM
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So sorry to hear you are having trouble with your GC. Been there!! It may take a while, but things will work out. Hang in there!

I know when I posted last year I was at first a little annoyed that people "disagreed" with some of my decisions, but realized that they were kind to offer their opinion and I could take it or leave it. Therefore I am hesitant to offer mine, but here goes:

I agree that the cabinet staining does not look perfect, although I don't think its as bad as you think. I love the style of the cabinets although they really aren't Mission style. What stands out to me are two things: 1) the glass tile color seems to not quite match the floor tile, although it may just be how it appears on my screen and 2) the white drywall? back to the island - it seems to stand out - were it me I would have that done in wood to match the cabinets.

I also agree with suzannes1 about the pantry, although that could easily be fixed by changing the door swing direction.

Your pendants and countertops are lovely. I, too, really like the archway. You are so close. Keep fighting until you get it way you want it.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:05AM
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you have so many positives that i cannot begin to list them.

i think the pantry door swing is better like that. I would leave it as is.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:31AM
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The cabinets have a fair amount of variation, but having stained a fair amount of wood with a lot of preparation, I can tell you that sometimes that is in the wood you have chosen and difficult to compensate for. I don't know what you chose, what you were expecting or what you were told you could expect -- or whether the wood choice might be one that will deepen over time. Whatever it is, I see it, but it looks like wood variation and doesn't bother me in the photos.

The main thing I'm seeing is the pendants. I love the fixtures. Seeing one was great, but I wondered what else was happening -- then I scrolled down and saw four. Even though I love the fixture itself, when looking at the kitchen as a whole, my eye keeps being pulled up to these white and lots of lines spots and it becomes very distracting. Maybe they can be dropped down a bit so you see them more against the cabinets and not the ceiling. Or maybe paint the ceiling? Or maybe it's not an issue in the room -- just something to think about.

I think painting a color or paneling the back of the island might be a good idea.

To me, the glass tile looks good. I thought is was the floor tile that was too close and yet not a match to the cabinets. Then I looked at just the cabinets and floor -- maybe Kayl is right -- it's the fact that you have cool tones in the glass tile and everything else is warm. I like that green glass, so I'd be hesitant to change it, especially before seeing how everything comes together. That's something you might be able to accessorize to help balance everything. Worst case, the splash is easier to change once everything is done than most elements.

Keep in mind that my comments are looking for issues because you brought it up. My first reaction was not one of horror. You still have a kitchen most folks would be thrilled with. During installation, we look at every detail with a critical eye and not as we will when we are living in the room. Some of the things that look awful in the rough look great when it is all put together (often an issue with tile in progress).

I'd have someone look at your concerns in person so you eliminate things like camera and monitor issues. Accessories, even light bulb changes, can help you pull the things you love together. Think of it as needing some finishing detailing -- not a lot of major mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:05AM
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From your photo, I think you have maple cabinets that have a cherry stain on them. What's with the top edges of the base doors and drawer fronts? Is it just the photo.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:21AM
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Love your house - the arch, the interesting angles down the hall! And the pantry - I have pantry envy every time I look at kitchens with room for a pantry!

I personally like stains that let the wood speak through and agree with lascatx - the photos look like a natural wood cabinet with a couple of coats of stain. However, if your vision was cabinets with less grain and more consistency... you should talk with your GC. Especially if that was what was discussed prior to order. Our custom cabinet manufacturer will often use the same stain but vary the number of coats to create very different looks. It provides consistency of tone and colour through a property, but gives, for example, a more "solid" colour for a bathroom vanity, while fewer coats will let the grain show through for the kitchen. Works well, especially when the same flooring is used throughout a property. He stains an example of the wood being used, cuts it in half, and gives half to the client and keeps the other as a reference. Prevents misunderstandings and also gives him a bit of recourse if the clients are unhappy with the product in the end.

I too would also suggest paneling the back of the island. Good luck and be happy with it in the end!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:24AM
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I agree that the cabs look like maple stained to look like cherry. Maple can be tricky with a darker stain. If you do choose/can get them re-done; I would suggest something less red, a little more brown in tone to go with the mission theme (think QS oak). I think the glass tiles go really well and would recommend putting beadboard up on the back of the island painted in a greenish tone to match the tile. On my monitor your floor (insome pictures) appears to have a "rosey" hue. I can't tell if it's more tan then it appears. Door swing is the answer for the pantry... which is great BTW. Your house appears to have alot of great features... when it's done and together... you're going to LOVE it!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:02AM
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That's just what DH said when he saw the photos - maybe it's another wood (like maple) stained to look like cherry - seems like the grain is not right for cherry. Would be good to figure that out; you wouldn't want to pay for cherry and get a lower-cost wood.

I agree with what's been said...there are so many nice features in your kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Is that pantry door custom? Could you replace it with a bi-fold door so it doesn't hit the fridge?

I think the idea of beadboard around the island to match the doors would be nice, maybe white on the bottom and that darker shade above.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 5:49PM
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I have maple cabinets with a stain like that and they look very much like my cabinets do. I think they look fine but since you don't have you talked to your GC? Are you sure they are cherry?

I don't see the problem with the pantry, just keep the door shut when not using!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 6:23PM
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I think the cabs look ok, but if you want a more solid look, I agree that would look even better. I think it is doable.I'd tone the orange tint a little because that is not compatible with the floor tone.

I am also concerned about the tile and floor colors not playing well together. I'd be extra careful to get grout that coordinates with the floor to help tie them in.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Thank you all so much for the comments. They are helping me tremendously. The cabinets are maple and the stain color is not what we originally agreed upon. We requested cherry cabinets (offered to pay the upgrade) but were assured that the maple could be stained to look like cherry. Guess we were sold a bill of goods on that one.

We are having wood paneling installed in front of the island as many of you suggested. It was an add on so is not in yet.

I agree the floor tile color is off but we are stuck with it. My main concern now is that we built this kitchen around our RED kenmore pro oven which is being installed tomorrow. I see a train wreck coming but if it really looks bad we will send the oven back and get stainless (all other appliances are stainless).

I think we are stuck with it for now but the floors will have area rugs on them and we will have to decorate around the rest.

I have done a kitchen redo before and it came out quite nice but never have I started from scratch like this - and I will never do so again.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:57PM
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I would not accept the finish, send it back.
The stain job is awful, a professional finisher would be mortified to send that out. Did a cabinetmaker make the cabs or was it the gc. ( Despite what gcs' say they are not cabinetmakers ).

Have a local cabinet maker do new doors for you with the stain you want ( He will even give you physical samples )

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:03PM
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