Help me Design Around This Floor please

barbcollinsSeptember 1, 2013

Our son purchased a house 3 or 4 years ago. He did a good job renovating the top floor, but then was distracted with girlfriends and life, and never finished the first floor. Now, he is tired of the commute and wants to sell it.

Since DH and I just finished up our investment house we volunteered to help. We will need to do the kitchen and a bathroom.

The only thing he has done on the kitchen was to put down some ceramic tile for the flooring. He did a black and white checkerboard. I personally don't like it but DH said no way are we going to tear that up... it's fine. Now I have to figure out what to do for the cabinets, counters & backsplash that won't clash. I will be on a tight budget (nothing unusual there!).

I am going to Restore on Tuesday and see if they might have any decent cabinets. If not, I am leaning toward the white shaker style stock cabinets at Lowes. The kitchen is a small galley so dark cabinets would be bad. There are some used maple cabinets at another non-profit a great price.

For countertops DH thinks we should do this;

If so, I told him I would probably want to cut the backsplash off and do a tile backsplash. Probably a white subway.

But, there is a tile auction coming up and I spotted some tiles I like.

Was thinking about getting this for the counters (I would have more than enough left over to do the bathroom)

With these 2x4 mosaics as the back splash, with either countertop.

Would either one or these work with the black and white checkerboard floor?

Which one would you do?
(And yes, granite, soapstone, quartz etc is too much for the price point on this house).

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Black and white checkerboard reads retro, or young and consciously kitschy. Or, extremely formal and traditional. I don't think those counters go with either vibe, and depending on what the rest of the house's bones are, might not go with it either. If you have an Ikea nearby, the Abstrakt in white or gray gloss would work really well with checkerboard, if it doesn't look like a kitchen transplanted from Mars into a center hall Colonial. For something traditional, a dark "cherry" look, with traditional brass faucets and pulls, and possibly even with a dark green counter would work well with the checkerboard. (Really. It's all coming back in style.)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Hey GreenDesigns,

Thanks, No, I don't have a Ikea close enough for this.

The house was built in the 40's. Most of the trim and floors are original in the rest of the house.

After posting this, I did a little poking around on Houzz

This is similar to the door style I was looking at in Lowes. I see they also did the white subways, but they did a solid black counter.

This one did a marble counter;

Though I have to say this one appeals to me, as they painted the cabinets a soft grey/green (but I gotta remember, it's not what I like it's what the other 9 out 10 people like).

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Here are a few ideas.. from subtle to bold. Mostly black and white tiles, but other checker board floors, too.

Your son is lucky to have so much help! Hope the house sells quickly :)

From 1920s kitchen project

From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project]( From [1920s kitchen project](
    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 6:15PM
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How bad are the current cabinets?

I think the white cabinets from Lowes with gray or dark counters would be safe, Black granite tile is usually pretty inexpensive, Floor and Decor has pre made edges for black granite tile counters. White subways backsplash would be great. Paint gray and add some colorful accessories in aqua which is trendy now. Retro would be fun, but might turn off a lot of buyers.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I would do a solid black or white countertop ... absolute black granite, soapstone, synthetic, or laminate. White tile backsplash, maybe with a black liner, but very plain.

Let the floor be the star.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 8:18AM
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"Your son is lucky to have so much help! Hope the house sells quickly :)"

It's actually going to work out well for us. He is moving into an apartment closer to work and we are moving our stuff over from our investment house (just a bed, TV etc). We will go up on weekends and work on his house. It will probably take several months. I hope to put it on the market early next year. In the mean time I hope our house will sell, and I can sit back and wait for our next project to come along. Then when we sell his, we will split the profits.

"How bad are the current cabinets?"

Bad. Cabinets were original but too far gone to save. Poor layout, and many were broken. He has torn out most of them already.

I had originally suggested the black granite tiles to DH, but he vetoed me. Surprisingly he liked the marble tile.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Lavender_lass gave you lots of good inspiration pics to look at. Here are a few more from a Google images search.

Here is a link that might be useful: Images search for

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:01PM
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If you follow the link that jbrig posted you'll see a preponderance of white cabinets with solid black counters, and that is because it works. You want to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers, so I would recommend playing it safe. IMO you'll be better off putting in black laminate countertop rather than tile, it's easier care and if someone doesn't like it it's the item buyers are most likely to be willing to replace, as they perceive laminate to be very easily and economically replaced. And it's a clean look.
Good luck. Depending on where you are right now, it's a sellers market. In places even as depressed as Detroit area there aren't enough houses in the moderate price range to serve the demand, and houses are going at a premium relative to asking price.

Here is a link that might be useful: blackandwhite kitchen

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:12AM
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Thank you for all the advice.

I started to order cabinets last night on but had some issues. (Of course the sale ended last night). But I called and the lady at the local Lowes said if I print off the sale prices from online, they would honor the prices today. I'm going up this afternoon to order the rest of the cabinets.

I will get a price from her for a black laminate and see what it comes out to be. If I go with black laminate, do you think I should go with beadboard on the backsplash instead of tile? Leaning towards the making it easier for a buyer to replace.

What about mixing surfaces?

The short wall with the stove will have a 12" cabinet flanking each side of the stove? If I put black laminate on the counters, would black granite buy the stove be agreeable? They should not be expensive.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Stopped in Restore today and saw these crackled subway tiles. $.15 each. There is about 300 of them so that would be enough for the backsplash, and that's a pretty good price.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Saw these too. Not sure what they are. Appear to be handmade. All are dirty. But would clean up.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Fori is not pleased

You might save yourself a lot of pain by accidentally removing that floor when the guys aren't looking.

Can we see what the tile on the floor looks like? Is it cheap or classy (no offense, son!)? The crackle tile (pretty!) won't go with any checkerboard tile I can picture, nor will the handmade stuff (which looks like a box of leftovers I have in my garage).

You're looking at nice stuff when you should probably be looking at kitschy. Notice how LLass's photos are all either high-end floors paired with high end kitchens or they're flat vinyl combined with retro stuff.

So let's see the floor material you're stuck with! I could be wrong. It might be fabulous....

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:54PM
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No way am I removing that floor by myself. He correctly installed concrete backerboard with thinset & screws.The floor is 12x12 matte finish ceramic tile. I do not have any pictures of the floor (yet).
Classy? No
Cheap? Probably

Went to Restore to buy a door. Also stopped by Lowe's to get a lockset and looked at the standard white subway tile. I do think that would go better than the crackle.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Ugh, things are not starting well with this project.

Lowe's called me back today to tell me they can't get the wall cabinets. After over an hour with the lady at the store yesterday, telling me the just need to get them from another store, they now say they have to come from the manufacturer. That doesn't sound good. Probably 6-8 weeks? .

Time to back up an punt.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 5:12PM
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I say go with a black laminate counter top. Have you looked online at the choices, especially Wilsonart HD? You might be surprised with what's available. I've read even high end kitchens in Europe use laminate, too. (I know that won't matter to a potential US buyer if they don't know that.)

I'm going with "Kiwi" laminate from Wilsonart because 1. it goes with the look I want, 2. it's saving me money, 3. I'm not into granite, and 4. I also think it's something that would be easily replaced by a future buyer. My cabinets will be a simple, classic look; painted a shade off stark white on top and medium gray on the bottom so changing the counter top to something more mainstream/sedate will still work.

I think white subway tile will be good for the backsplash, too.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 2:37AM
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Well I ended up canceling the cabinet order at Lowe's due to the fact that getting the rest of the cabinets were now going to cost more, and take up to 8 weeks. I don't have time for their games.

At this point we are probably going with maple cabinets. Found some very nice used ones locally at a bargain basement price.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Well, everything that has happened with this remodel has spelled doom for the black and white checkerboard floor:
1) I didn't like it
2) I found cherry cabinets at restore for $500
3) We found a nice countertop at restore for $75, but it is cream with beige.
4) I bought some mosaic tiles at a local auction very cheap for future use, but they go well with the countertop

So I told DH that I planned on putting down some Allure flooring over the tiles.

At this point he told me he didn't like how the kitchen floor was over 1" higher at the thresholds and we should just take it out.

So me, a hammer, a wonderbar and a crowbar got this far yesterday.

And DH and I finished up this morning:

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:35PM
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