Spinning - Looking for Traction (Very Picture Heavy)

steph2000October 14, 2012

At Marcolo's recommendation, here are some pics of the house and some possibilities/things I like. This is all in the spirit of moving away from the eye candy stage and into some kind of decision/plan-making.

Please bear with me. I'm swallowing hard in sharing these pictures...It's all very modest compared to even the average around GW. And, on top of it, a mess at the moment.

The house when we first moved in:

And shortly after we moved in:

Old fencing with backyard view (now have new cedar fencing)

Exterior Now (as of last summer)

Some exterior detail (all vinyl)

Inside of the house:

Coming in the front door - Kitchen behind the wall that is coming down. DR to the back left. French doors led to small den/TV room

Den is too small to get on picture, but here's the den side of the 2-sided fireplace built-ins:

Detail (small rope on built-ins, corbels from Costco painted white)-

Dining Room:(pre-sliders and chairs/misc. stuff is gone, but at least it is neat!)

Dining room fireplace today:

Existing kitchen, basically - though the BS window is in and the water heater in the corner is gone:

Like so:

Kitchen wall that is coming out:

View out the BS window (though the camera turned fencing red):

View out the back sliding door in the DR, complete with tools:

Stay tuned. Inspiration pics which are HOPEFULLY much more like eye candy to follow.

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Okay, ugh. GW just froze and I lost the whole thing. Trying again:

These are inspiration pics, almost in chronological order, of things I like or have been drawn to:

The banquette I wanted but it doesn't work with the fireplace so hot:

The first kitchen I loved:

The kitchen that sold me on a U design and playing up the BS window:

The kitchen that sold me on an L+island, even though it wouldn't play as nice with the BS window:

And another that mpagmom posted which reinforced island love:

And the one that sold me on chunky islands I can't have and square glass-paned cabinets over the sink/range that maybe I can:

A kitchen posted by Marcolo that made me think I could actually live with a green kitchen:

Another kitchen I love, though I have to keep some uppers:

Contemporary Kitchen design by Random House

A very modern kitchen with BS window, which wouldn't work with my existing features:

Modern Kitchen design by Los Angeles General Contractor See Construction

I love chunky shelves, but I don't see myself using open shelving like this. The cleaning seems like a nightmare to me. In any case, another BS window:

Modern Kitchen design by San Francisco Architect Feldman Architecture, Inc.

A GW 2-tone kitchen:

An IKEA 2-tone kitchen:

Things are going wonky, best post this before I lose it again!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:29PM
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And...one more 2-toned kitchen, posted on a thread here on GW:

My aunt's Florida house with a BS window in a traditional kitchen;

A tile I love. It works great with white counter. Not sure it would with white cabinets and something else on the counter:

Mazy's clean lines, functional cabinetry and pendants also spoke to me:

And just to top it off, the latest that came up in my spinning thread.

First, the modern cottage:

Then, mgagmom's cottage with modern appliances:

Things are going wonky again...what is UP with Photobucket?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:51PM
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I am drawn to cottagy OR that chunky, earthly modern zen look. I didn't post any walnut inspiration kitchens, but I do see some that I like - especially when done with a nod towards modern instead of traditional.

I love chunky shelves. Even these are sort of neat:

I can also be drawn to either very colorful and traditional oriental rugs - or on the opposite extreme, very graphic rugs, like herringbone, trellis, zigzag or ikat. I like them in either tone on tone or stark color contrasts.

When we were in Seattle, we looked into these tables I had heard about. I'd love to get one, if we could snag on the right size for our small DR:

They also sold chunky shelves:

I like all white plates/platters/bowls. The chunkier the better, but even just basic white works for me.

I'm vacillating all over the place about lighting. Everywhere from crystal bling to lanterns to modern glass drum pendants. I can even fall for industrial. I'm absolutely a pingbong ball on lights!

Actually, that's the first light I saved and I still light it, so MAYBE that says something...

I want medium brown wood floors throughout the public space. People keep trying to convince me to go blond to bring light in. I dunno, might be swayed, I guess... Real wood is out due to concrete slab. Engineered wood, laminate (not good for kitchen and sliding door area) or vinyl wood look are all in the running as of now.

Went to my first granite yard and only found a few stones I liked:

I like these both. The bottom draws me more, but the top has both warm and cooler tones:

They called this Arabian Nights satin. It appeared to be honed:

This is neat, but I'm not sure how you work with those giant splotches when the rest of primarily white:

And this was very linear, which I like. However, it really reads blue/purple, which I just feel is a) cold and b) narrowing of decor/options.

There was a light green one there, but it had a lot of peach/pink in it. I just can't do peach/pink.

My partner REALLY wants a real stone. I've been liking the quartz direction. And I like Witch Hazel/Rain Cloud from Corian, though most of their products don't appeal to me. We are not marble worthy.

Oh, and did I mention, there's a budget? lol

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I have no advice. I just wanted to say that there are a lot of us lurking out here with modest homes. If we all posted pictures you'd find yours is a lot closer to average than you think. It's a cute house with beautiful details.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Thanks, Sherriode. It's easy to start feeling self-conscious around these OTK's. Maybe if I take the plunge, others will dive in after me. Or at least offer me a ton of helping hands! LOL

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Haven't been on the forum for a while, so sorry if I should know from previous posts. Have you done the Sweeby test? I've had a diverse collection of images I loved, but the Sweeby test helped me focus a bit. The other thing that helped me focus a lot was flipping through the
finished kitchens blog slideshow and noticing patterns in what made me happy there as they whizzed by.

I think your BS window is cool.

I agree that many of us live in modest homes. Thanks for sharing yours.

If you want the BS window and the square glass cabinet doors, in a small space, the glass might be a central focus, and maybe you would want to keep other things simple, with a quieter granite, etc. But that's just a thought to throw out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:22PM
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That's a nice house, Steph, and I really like what you guys have done with it so far, including the outside and that great window in the kitchen, and the pretty garden viewed from it. Have you posted a diagram on another thread?

I can't really imagine the possibilities, of course, but if it were mine I'd try for a layout that would allow me a good work counter without uppers and as few elsewhere as I could get away with--replaced with floor-to-ceiling storage somewhere else. If you measure the actual counter space you use now, you may find you could lose some quantity in favor of quality. Or not. :) I've said it before, but I'd start my layout with a really great work counter the length and depth and position I wanted, then design around that starting point.

For color and cabinets, because of the smallish spaces I'd go light, with all the big stuff, including walls, in variations of one hue so they all blended together and the mass of the cabinets sort of settled back instead of pushing out. Contrast with a rather delicate hand so it didn't jump forward, and with it the contrasted background. Accents just as colorful or organic as suited the mood. Dramatic contrast perhaps in a table in the middle of its room, rather than a counter drawing attention to the positions of the walls.

Good luck choosing between those two favorite looks. I like them both too and certainly see your problem. The organic modern would fit beautifully in in your house, and the cottage. If you kept the built-ins architecturally neutral, perhaps you could change your looks out over time if you wished--not commit to one.

Instead of blond as an alternative to your brown for the floors, how about considering a light honey-colored maple, which was used in a lot of fine midcentury homes? It's absolutely gorgeous, sunshine warm AND light, so it's just amazing that you see it so seldom on these forums.

Anyway, that'd be my direction if it were me having all that fun over there.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Your house is adorable! And I love the gardens and the private backyard, too.
I was spinning all over the place too, so I can empathize with you right now. I can't offer anything in the design arena, but what did help me was to let go of the surfaces and focus on getting my layout in order. It seems that sometimes I have to STOP thinking about it and do something completely different. What do they call it? Analysis paralysis?

Anyway, since I've been focused on my layout it seems that the overall design seems to be manifesting itself with much less effort.

You'll get there!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:32PM
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I love your BS window and the fireplace is lovely. Do you have a layout to post? I think the layout comes first. Once that's done, it's easier to come up with products. Once we had a good idea for the layout, we started with cabinets and then the counters. We had the floor already and we only had room for basic appliances. It will happen and it will be wonderful.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:10PM
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Another modest homeowner here. She may be less than a year-old, but she is a modest ranch. I have to say the transformation is beautiful! I love the exterior and am green with yard envy. Your plantings are magnifico!

That BS window absolutely rocks! What a brave person you are to install that beauty. I would be flipping out that my counters could not be cluttered!!! You have done an excellent job. As far as looking for traction, look at each of the kitchen pictures to identify what draws you. There is a common denominator that is in each photo. Is it a funky light fixture? A certain style or shape of tile? Hardware? Best of luck!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:25PM
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OMG, do I have layout pictures... like a million or something! I'll try to pare it down, to give folks a sense of what we are considering. All feedback is welcome, BUT I am not sure I want this to de-evolve into another layout thread just yet! Once we tear down that wall and I can actually see it, we can create templates and finalize the options.

These were all taken over time and none of them are perfect. They all show an exterior beam, but that's no longer going to in the picture, so to speak, as we got the beam into the attic.

The top contender has been a U, because it plays nice with the BS window:

Without uppers on the stove wall:

(Created a little bump out here to frame in the tile/stove area - which we MIGHT need if we want to tuck the W/D in deeper on the other side. My partner hates it. I hate the W/D pushing into the hall walkway into the bathroom and am not sure we can fix it without doing this)

With uppers on the stove wall:

Galley Kitchen:


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I was spinning for a long time too. I kept ping ponging between the look and the functionality. The kitchens we see here on GW or in Houzz are all beautiful *but*in the context of the house it is in, the neighborhood and the family who live there. I suggest you really step away from planning and like others posters suggested before me.. Just take a week's vacation away from GW to work on your Sweeby test.. It is kind of like a vision statement(read the FAQ) that will provide you with a ''true north'' for your kitchen. Really step away from all the internet kitchen searches, GW, and even books. Just take the time to mull over the meaning of the kitchen.. The break will truly give you perspective.. The nice but not really for you things will fall off your radar. Think hard about what you want to do in your kitchen- do you like to bake or hope to, do you do big cooking session for canning etc.. How much you entertain- is your kitchen a one butt kitchen or many butts.. What appliances do you need to house.. First do a usage inventory like this and then use this information to focus on the layout.. The look will come later. Write out your Sweeby statements on paper.. You automatically will toss what is not right..

I like your u shaped layout and your window backsplash is so cool. But until you figure out your kitchen's main reason for being, none of this feedback is relevant.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:23AM
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I just want to point out that with the galley style, you are going to have to clean oil and sauce off the window multiple times per day. I think the U and the L are more functional.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:02AM
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In a heartbeat, I had a favorite of the layouts you posted. No I am not telling.
So I have some general questions for you to think about: How does your family cook? Do two people prep together? Do you solo prep and cook and clean up? Does the cook clean up as they go, or make a mountain of dishes that get cleaned up later?
Who and how many are your family now and for the foreseeable future in this kitchen?
Do you have special cooking needs; do you bake, knead bread/dough, own a cake decorating business, do larg amounts of canning, dehydrating, etc...
Visualize yourself preparing a meal, or pay really close attention when you cook dinner tonight. Note every motion you make. Note how much prep space you have/want/use? Where is it located, where should it be located?
When do you want to face the living area? Again imagine you are cooking dinner; what is going on in the family room at what time, when should you face that space; prep, cleanup, etc.
You can do this!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 6:53AM
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I think localeater should tell.

You've done a great job of "cuting up" the exterior of your home. I love it! I also love that you are living in a home that is appropriately-sized for 2 people. I firmly believe that smaller is better. One of the big reasons we just moved is that we wanted a smaller home and we love it.

The design gurus will help you much more than I can, but here is what I can glean:

1. You want painted cabinets.

2. You like a lot of contrast in the kitchen - the cabinets are mostly light or white but there is always a major dark element in there.

3. You like chunky natural wood. Have you considered a thick walnut countertop?

Hopefully a layout guru (buehl?) can chime in on the layout. I like the U-shape best and I just had a thought. Have you considered putting the sink on the peninsula? I think it is worth a look.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:24AM
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I don't have any advice, but I did want to say that your house is so charming and you're backyard (flower bed) is beautiful!

Good luck with your remodel!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:55AM
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First, let me just thank you folks for the compliments on this small house and the BS window. The house is getting more and more worn as we move into renovation mode and it just snowed, so I can't go outside and stare at the exterior to ease my stress, so it is well-timed.

I posted last week asking for suggestions about how to move past the idea stage into a plan - and the fact that layout decisions can't be finalized until the wall comes down. I didn't provide a link to that thread in my original, but I'll include it here for context. It was recommended that I get off the internet and do 2 things:
1 - get off the internet and look at books/magazines
2 - post 10 pictures of the house, exterior and interior, and pictures of inspiration kitchens, so people could help me start nailing down a style direction.

If nothing else, #2 has helped me organize and review all of my computer files!

I am ALWAYS taking feedback on layout, though, and gladly include that issue as a component of this point. One point I would make, I guess, is that I've been in another home with what I believe to be an exact layout to mine. Those folks took the wall down. They went with an L with no island. It looks almost too open to me. When you sit in the LR, you just see this entire expanse of kitchen floor. But when I am in there and try to imagine an island, I have trouble seeing it. It seems it would have to be very small and yet you would constantly be around it? I COULD see a peninsula in there, though. Not that I trust my ability to visualize...

@Waterdamage - I did do the Sweeney test, over a year ago. It would likely not be a useless exercise to repeat it, though. I've thought about "quiet" materials, too, given the glass BS. The thing I really struggle with is what to do for a wall treatment on the interior wall. Leaving out uppers and tiling the whole wall seems slightly less risky, given it won't have the same shape mirrored on the other wall? I don't know. I also get a lot of mixed reviews on whether I should have any glass cabinets - even the little ones I love - because of the BS window. I just struggle to totally give them up (as you can see from the various layouts)!

@Rosie - The good news, if there is any, is that MAYBE I am down to two looks, ultimately. I either lean slightly modern or I lean slightly cottage. Because with my humble home, I've been told I need to keep it simple. Thanks for the recommendation on the floor, too. I just kind of struggle with yellow tones on the floor, but I know it would look good in here.

@deedles - Thanks for the advice. I can surely put layout first again, though I've really decided that given how spatially challenged I seem to be, I best hold off on finalizing that until the wall comes down. (I see myself as a cynical idealist, but I must be optimistic because I add 3 feet in my head to every room when visualizing how things will look!) It seemed worthwhile to try to get momentum going with material/design decisions while I wait for the wall to come tumbling down. Maybe not... lol

@sixtyohno - The layouts got posted, but I was too worn out to post more than that. This exercise wore me out - especially with photobucket acting up and 9 am trips to the granite yard Sunday morning with digital camera in hand! I started with layout and have spent basically a year contemplating every layout known to man, I think. Given the wall isn't down, I thought I'd try to focus on the rest so I am more prepared when it's time to finalize the layout.

@motherof3sons - We do like our lot. A lot. ;) The house is in the middle of town, and we are close to everything but can enjoy the firepit, gardening, privacy and moose visits. We really live from the back yard. We do a lot of house hunting but really don't find a backyard we like better. That's ultimately why we decided to stay and fix it up. I'd love to see your newer ranch - do you have pics around here? Yeah, my partner and I swear every day that we are going to keep the new counters clutterfree. It's like our pledge of allegiance to our kitchen. (I'm not optimistic on his follow-through, between you and me - lol)

@ lalitha - You sound very grounded, which I can use right about now. I do take breaks, and was trying to dive in again and get momentum with these recent posts. This was recommended as an exercise. We'll see how that goes! As I said earlier, though, I think it would be another interesting exercise to re-take the Sweeney. And find my old one...where is it...! (PS - Thanks for the layout vote. I am always tallying layout votes!)

@ lilymila - It's a good point about the glass/range. However, people who have windows over ranges seem to swear that they really doesn't grease up for some reason. My aunt has commented on that - and so have posters here who have them. I also am not totally crazy about a sink on the peninsula, to be honest. I do like the symmetry that the galley allows - and avoiding those darn corner cabinets!

@localeater - Please, please tell me your layout vote? I promise, I won't let it unduly sway me. There are 2 people living here and that number will not multiply. Right now, my partner's son is temporarily staying with us while job-hunting post-graduation. It's time-limited. We are not big cooks, though I am hoping to do more when the kitchen is done. The only times we are both in there cooking at the same time is the holidays, i.e., Thanksgiving. Otherwise, we tend to trade off. The living room is going to become more of a greeting room. I threw the TV into the den and will have a pair of chairs with a side table by the windows - and bar stools at the peninsula/island. I don't see anyone hanging out there while I cook - outside of when we have company over, which is nonexistent while renovating and will be uncommon after. NOW will you tell me your favorite??? Pretty please?

@mpagmom - I think localeater should tell, too! *hops around flapping her arms* I appreciate your comment about smaller being better. This was supposed to be a starter home, but you know? We'd only want a small increase in square footage, really. And with the improvements we have done with energy efficiency, I really do feel good that we live simple and put out less than average of a carbon footprint. Yep, painted cabinets and white cabinets come up over and over for me. I try to MAKE myself look for stained cabinets and I see some I could be content with if I bought a home and it was like that, but not many that I want to purchase myself. I could put a sink on the peninsula but a) what would go on the back wall and interior wall then? and b) I like the idea of having a wide expanse of counter without anything on it, to use as a second 'table' to sit at but also as a buffet table. In the galley, though, the sink is there and I could see myself working at the sink looking out into the room rather than out the back. I have considered walnut counters, which are LOVELY. However, that backsplash window is going to create some funky shaping for the counter and I -might- have 2 corners to deal with, so I don't really see it. I also think in a kitchen so small, it is probably a very bad idea to have 2 different counters. (Is it bad to admit I'd like to pick a counter based on my clorox wipes?)

@ cbusmomof3 - Thank you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Spinning Part I

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:43PM
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Maybe I missed it but it would help to understand what is adjacent to the kitchen. I think the way you have laid out the island which is quite small threw me off.. If you have the space, I would consider a larger island with room for prep and trash and possibly even a prep sink. That may work better than the U. Can you mock that up and see. I would suggest laying it out so that it is a just a pivot between the prep area with the sink and the cooking zone. You could have one side as an overhand with seating.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:46PM
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The DR is to the left of the kitchen - the entry/greeting area (as I am calling it, as it is small for a LR) is to the other side. I really don't have the space for a large island, though the pics can't show the overhang where the chairs are because of the limitations of the software program I am using. So, you have to picture the counter extending to the left and the back for chairs in this version. The space from wall to wall is about 160 inches - then minus out the space for 2 walkways and another 27" or so for the cabinets on the L. Not a ton is left. When this was discussed earlier, the consensus was that I had room for about 1 36" cabinet plus overhang. If I gave up seating on 2 sides, I could add a foot or so of cabinet.

When I played with this before, the only way to get a larger, chunky island was to get rid of the L and go with a galley. The consensus was I just lose way too much cabinet/function by doing that.

Due to the need for that second walkway, the island pushes to the left, towards the DR, fridge and sliding doors. It doesn't provide as nice of views into the backyard nor play as nice with the backsplash window in general, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I like the U-shape. A peninsula is more appropriate to the vintage of the home, and I think that to make an island work, the island would be so small it wouldn't be the island you really want.

I know you think you are all over the map, but I see lots of commonalities. You like Shaker cabs. You want either white cabs or two-toned with white uppers. A lot of your pics have some kind of contemporary element--either the lighting or the backsplash. You're not after a super-mod mid-century modern, just clean lines and not overly-ornate.

I personally like the drum shade lighting that shows up in some of your inspiration pics, and something like Mazy's stools. They get you a contemporary look with clashing with the traditional elements in the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Cawaps - Good insights! It's good to hear I'm not as off in left field as I think I am. As I mentioned in the other thread, it really sames that whatever topic is brought up kitchen-wise, I'm undecided. From each and every appliance to the layout to the materials to the lighting. Down to the kitchen sink. Literally. All I know is I am not willing to be without a pantry, even if I have to settle for a small one.

I like those drum shades, too. And, I definitely know I want comfy stools with backs and arms. Because we do intend to use that space, and we won't if the seating is not comfortable. That's going to be a chunk of change. Ugh.

Would it be fair to say I am falling into a transitional category with your description?

I'm off to work, but hope to see others chime in here. I really do appreciate the input.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Hey Steph, I do a lot of saute and stir fry. I heat up the oil to smoking hot and then toss in the cold ingredients; its splatter galore. If you do mostly baking or braising, then I can see that the window won't get as dirty. It all depend on your cooking habits.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I didn't mean to be cruel, I just didn't want for this to be a shell game of desires.
Unlike your partner, I love the U with the bump. I like the structural weight and interest that it brings to your space. I also like the way it creates a 'sort of' cooking niche, without the feeling of claustrophobia that so many niches bring. Even if you decide not to use the bump, I feel a structural element in this place would be awesome; chunky wood shelves, a coffee bar, a plate rack, a wine rack w/wine glass storage...
I like this layout also because the island is a clear plane of work space and my eye needs that calming area. I do worry that, dependent upon your cooking style, a U may make you feel trapped. Your galley traps you also, only the L with island lets you have two escape routes, but I agree with so many others that the island is too small to be truly useful. What about if in your current L+island plan you turned the island 180 degrees and the end had one of those round attached pedestal tables with a chunky wood base(you love chunky wood).

Traditional Kitchen design by Minneapolis Kitchen And Bath The Woodshop of Avon It may be terrible but I feel like if you didn;t try it in a mockup it would be a disservice.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:15PM
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OK. I promise to come back to this but I'm super busy at the moment (hello, 9 a.m., supposed to be working).

1. Your house is cute, and looks great now that you've fixed it. It has both traditional and Modern elements--lots of Modern horizontal lines but interrupted with traditional materials and divided light windows. Your kitchen should fit into that.

2. You obviously like white or cream painted cabinets. So keep that in the mix regardless. But you should play with adding wood to the U shape and galley layouts just in case.

Your U shape layout doesn't give you a lot of room for using two-toned cabinets. However, you might as well look at possible options. Your next assignment is to color your 3D layout a few additional ways:
a. All white uppers, wood lowers
b. All white as is, wood countertops
c. All white as is, wood peninsula (I don't think I'll like this one but)

Then see which version you like best. You could try something similar with the galley. The L plus island feels wrong. The island is too miniscule and you lose the horizontal lines you need. And is that brick? No.

After you've completed that basic step--wood or white--you will now know what the major color blocks are and can move onto other things.

BTW, you know how all the design shows come up with stupid names for concepts? I think that can sometimes be useful. Your seems to be "Zen Cottage." If you keep that in mind, you will see that some of your inspiration pics have way too many traditional elements for you--they look like they're in East Coast Georgians rather than a closer-to-nature PNW ranch. Think slate.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:38AM
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I skimmed through this thread and the one thing I need before I can think design is a graphed floor plan.

Use a marker and graph paper. Include info about adjacent rooms. Measure doorway and window widths as well as room dimensions. Then photograph the graph in very bright light from as nearly straight on as you can. And post it.

I know this may be tricky with the wall coming down, but I think it is the next step. Maybe others don't agree, since no one else seems to have mentioned it?


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Steph, I also like the U with the bump. I like the L with island also, but it seems a little too modern for the house for my taste (but that is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth). I also think the U with bump layout shows off your BS window nicely while keeping your other walls upper free. While your ceilings don't look super short, they don't look overly tall. Please don't take offence at this, this comes from a girl with 6'9" ceiling in her kitchen and a 6'0" ceiling in a bedroom upstairs so I KNOW short ceilings. But I think no uppers help make the ceiling feel taller and the kitchen more open. Again, JMO.

Anyway, what I really want to say is I love your house and agree with most others who have said you will find that most of us on here have way more modest homes than the "regular" posters. Probably why they created a small house forum to begin with.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Steph, I think you should clarify whether this thread is about looks or layout. It can't really be both.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:35AM
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What I don't see so far is mock ups with differently configured islands. The sight line for sitting around[not necessarily the cook] is through the patio door-as nice as the horizontal window is-people will naturally embrace the bigger view and passage through patio door as a guest or visitor....especially with a wonderful back yard. Try T or L or kidney bean islands where the seating breaks from the lineup along the side of the U as shown thus far. Creativity can soar with this.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Good morning. I'm bleary and just getting the coffee going, but okay, okay, if I -have- to choose, I'll make a decision! ;) This thread is about looks/materials, how to get going in a style direction and how to start getting elements together for an actual PLAN.

After the wall comes down, I'll post pics of the opened-up space and templates if we build any and we'll finalize the layout at that time. (That being said, I so appreciate the layout help, votes, suggestions, ideas, etc and will reference this thread when I get to that stage. I also want everyone to chime in then, so if you think you won't be around GW, go ahead and break the rules and include your layout input now.)

@lilymila - Good point. However, people really do comment on how clean the windows seem to stay. I probably am not going to end up with the range on that wall, but for me, cleaning the glass seems easier than cleaning my painted wall currently is - though the need for it to be clean is greater with the window as there would be no hiding it and it would look gross, gross, gross with splatter.

@localeater - I'm so glad you voted! I know we are off of layout now, but I have been kind of drawn to that bump-out idea. Mpagmom thought I could put a ceiling to counter cabinet there, but it seems like accessing it across the peninsula would be tough. If I figured that out, though, the bottom might offer a little cubby for a small microwave and I could save a drawer and some money. *coughs and looks around innocently as if she isn't talking about layout* (I'll also look into the layout from the pic you posted, but I'm not really seeing it work in here) I've also considered chunky shelves over the peninsula, chunky shelves on the upper end cabinet if I do uppers - or even those chunky Pottery Barn wine glass holders I posted.

@ Marcolo - So glad you found this thread and I really appreciate your input. I do want to be "true" to the house or at least consistent with design. I want it to flow and work as a whole. I'm loving the idea of having a "zen cottage". I mean, who wouldn't love that? I'm totally on board with that vision, whatever it means. I confess, though, when I go back over my pics I am struck by how GOOD I've been at going minimal detail while you are pointing out that they look Georgian. Ugh. I need to go to school to do this - thanks for helping me get an education. I'm feeling hopeless at it...

I will take on my next assignment, which might be a tad tricky as the layout programs I've been using have not offered a wide range of materials for cabinet color, backsplash/walls or counters. Hm.

PS - I know we are not talking about layout, but stylistically, do you like the bump out on the U? Do you prefer the uppers on the interior wall? Do you see one working better than the other for that BS window or a zen cottage feel? I would really appreciate your input on that, as the BS on the interior wall is puzzling me given the BS window.

@Bellsmom/Sandra- I posted dimensions in an earlier thread, and given we are going to try to keep layout off of this thread, I'm going to dig it out and resurrect it for anyone who prefers to talk layout with me. Egads, the date is from November 11. The first pic is a layout of the house. It is not as detailed as you are requesting, but I can add more information when that wall comes down and I get to finalizing layout.

@Kali615 - Yes, my ceilings are SHORT. They are short enough that I stay in denial about the exact number of inches I have. I just asked my partner and he is in denial about it, too. lol I want to say 88". I really appreciate the layout input - and bump out endorsement. Hm, that W/D situation does seem to potentially be a happy accident. If I can get my partner on board...

And, thanks for the compliments about the house and reassurance that I am not the only one around here with humble square footage, ceiling height or budget.

Here is a link that might be useful: One of my many layout threads...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:43PM
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@ Herbflavor - We must have been posting at the same time, but I'm not sure I am following you. The traffic pattern to the sliders cuts right past the fridge in a diagonal. There will be a small dining table by the fireplace, but I'm not sure how we get island seating over to the sliders without cutting off the traffic pattern?

Maybe the layout thread is the place to continue that conversation, though? Elaboration would be much appreciated - and thanks for chiming in.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Steph, you might consider using Olioboard (http://olioboard.com/) for choosing surfaces. It's a free online program that basically lets you create a collage of images that you can collect from the Web (they have a button you can add to your toolbar that lets you copy and image to your Olioboard library). It isn't a great application for layouts, but it is pretty good for figuring out color combinations and an overall look.

I don't know if you've ever looked at the Design Around This threads, but those are what I am thinking of in terms of putting together an idea board.

Here is a link that might be useful: Olioboard

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:12PM
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so table and chair seating is by patio door...what is all the sq footage in the foreground-sweep of space with no designation?...[I'm looking for an overall layout of your space including adjacent areas] Are you actually pretty set with the U shape?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Steph - I read your first spinning thread too... I have been where you are. I was drawn to all kinds of different styles similatiously, and like many of the same kitchens you posted. I know you've been around GW a while so I'm sure you have heard of the Sweeby test, right? Have you done it?

In the beginning of the process I remember reading the advice to create a mission statement for your kitchen and then refer back to it when you need to make a decision b/c at every cross roads you will either be getting closer to your vision/kitchen mission statement or further away. Marcolo's Zen Cottage descriptor might be perfect for what you are after. If so, refer back to that as you try to decide on materials.

Don't get me wrong, I totally sympathize with you. There were a lot of different looks and elements I liked but after spinning a while I realized, I can't have it all and that is okay. I can like a lot of different things but not everything I like will all work together. Therefore I picked what I liked the most (loved, really) and built around that element. Adding one thing at a time, etc until eventually it all comes together. Granted, I had made all my decisions before we actually started so I knew approximately what the total sum affect would be but I made it one decision at a time. (Warning though, whatever you decide on last will be the hardest decision, which for most people is backsplash but that is pretty much where I started. Lights was my folly.)

On a side note, I really like the granite in the top picture, the taller slab with both the warm and cool tones.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I agree with newsouthernbelle, when we are faced with too much choice we can be paralyzed. I think you are doing a great job of trying to push through inertia.
I think you really like white/cream cabinets, you have them in very many of your inspiration photos. I know you love wood too, but while I can see white with wood shelves, I can't see you with wood lowers and white uppers. Based on your inspiration photos it doesnt seem to be something that calls to you.
So, pick one layout, don't worry if it is not the right one and change its look; all white, wood lowers w/white uppers, all white with some wood shelves, all wood. Then stare at them and make them talk.
Remember, have fun.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 6:51AM
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And if you're going to pick one layout to play with - I'd pick the U with the bump out. I'm getting kind of attached to that one.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 2:12PM
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First of all, I love your cute home and what a gorgeous back yard! I agree with Marcolo that some of your inspirations are veering away from "cottage zen" and towards Georgian. I think that your instincts are correct that "cottage zen" seems to fit your style and really the style of your home.

I also agree with cawaps that you should give Olioboard a try. Start gathering Olioboard "items" that you love that definitely fit the "cottage zen" style and start throwing together boards. You obviously love white cabinets and want at least some wood elements. I think mid-toned wood floors look great with white cabinets and I can't imagine they'll darken the space too much with all those lovely windows. From there maybe you can narrowing down the various important materials (countertops, backsplash) that you're uncertain about.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Okay, I'm back. Taking a break from these frustrating kitchen planners that offer so few options. The counter options at both stink - and so do the cabinet finishes. I've managed to do a few, but the wood counter and the tones of wood I would want to use in both counter and cabinets are nonexistent. Oh, and did I mention that the tile and paint color choices also are lousy? *vent over*

@cawaps - Thanks for the recommendation. I signed up for Oliboard and am trying to figure my way around there. Egads, I'm a novice, though. I'll have to figure out good places to add kitchen materials, because the choices there are very limited unless you are looking for accessories, it seems.

@herbflavor - the area in the foreground is the entry and what was the LR. It's tiny. I'm thinking I'm just going to have a pair of chairs and a round side table by the windows post-remodel, though I might do 4 chairs and a coffee table in the middle of the room by the french doors if I can swing it. I'm just afraid that is going to mess with traffic zones again... I COULD bring the kitchen/island out into the LR but I have a real problem visualizing it. Maybe I'll feel different after the wall comes down, but to me it makes sense to keep the kitchen in it's current footprint, basically, and to not block the access to the hall where the bathroom and bedrooms are (which is immediately to the right and shares the wall that is comoing down). The link I posted earlier shows the blueprint of the house. I haven't decided about the U, but I do lean that way because nothing else I've found seems to fit as well (except maybe the galley). I'm open to ideas - if not now in my other thread, I'll post a final layout thread when the wall comes down.

@ NewSouthernBelle -- Thanks for chiming in. I have done the Sweeney, but can do it again. I guess, though, I'm just still not clear on where I am going with this "zen cottage" and I am hoping this process can help me get there. Does it lean modern? Lean cottage? Lean zen and organic? How does it balance those elements out? How can I learn to recognize the Georgian elements so I don't get suckered in by them again? Seriously, this is the level I am at, as difficult as that is to admit. You make a great point that each decision gets more narrow in range. While that might make it difficult, it is a different kind of difficult than having the range as wide open as it is for me right now. I am aiming for that problem! ;)

@localeater - It's true, I love white/cream cabinets. I have them now, though. I actually like the 2-tone look and at least 3 of them were in my inspiration picks above. Thanks for the recognition that I am TRYING to push through this ertia. Gads, it is hard. (More on that later). I definitely could see some wooden chunky shelves - especially if I go all light paint on the cabinets.

@mpagmom - Playing, playing with the bump out. My partner is groaning...This morning he asserted as he was walking out the door: "I think bump outs are stupid." I retorted "I think buying a 3,000 W/D that will be hard to replace to fit the space is something many would see as stupid". He said "Good point. That might be stupid, too." Good thing he is good-natured and flexible... lol

@pricklypearcactus - Can you help me learn to recognize the Georgian versus simple cottage elements? Please feel free to elaborate on your definition of cottage zen, too.

I guess part of what might be confusing me is that the french doors and fireplace mantles are traditional, right? And I need to hone in on a look that marries the traditional with the modern in my home, yes? Do any of my inspiration pics do that? Which come closest? Which are the farther away? (I'm guessing that means the banquette I love and the gray kitchen with the lantern... I'm hoping it doesn't mean the small square paned cabinets...)

And, stay tuned for more spinning while I work on my assignment... I'm about to post again to this thread soon.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:42PM
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So...I'm minding my own business and working on my homework assignment, when it happens again. *looks very innocent* Okay, I -might- have clicked on a Facebook link from The Tile Shop that took me here, which would have been an example of being distracted from my homework, but still, I want it known that I am really trying to focus on cabinet materials and wood dilemmas.

And then, it happens. I see this kitchen... It has 2 features that are appealing to me. One, a post covered in staggered stone, which I think is actually appropriate to the age of my home (right?). And so I think...hm...would a bump out covered in that be in a zen cottage? Then I look closer and I see that the back of the peninsula cabinets are tiled in a slate! Marcolo told me to "think slate", right?

So, now I am posting it here to see if these elements take me closer to my destination or are just another example of spinning...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Regarding Olioboard, if you go to Me -> Upload Items -> Browser Add-On, you can add a link to your bookmarks that allows you to add almost any picture you find on the web to your items. Alternatively, you can save pictures to your computer and upload them. This allows you to completely customize the items you're using in your moodboards to the items you actually want to use. You can mix and match things you have with pictures you find on the web. Make several moodboards and just have fun! You'll get the hang of it in no time.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Thanks, @pricklypearcactus - I did manage to get the browser add-on. I've even added a few pictures. It just seems like I need things like many counters, many tiles, many cabinets, etc for it to get functional and I don't tend to look at pieces and parts but whole pics. Hopefully, I can figure out how to make it work for me.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Just have to say... LOVE the stone. My disclaimer *I know nothing about style of what should and should not "fit", I just know what I like*

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:57PM
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I like the stone covered post and the green tiles are lovely. The slate you mention: are you saying inside the open shelf area where the stools are? I thought those were books...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Deedles, underneath the counter where the stools are is tiled, with a slate mosaic, the tile place called it. I'm not even sure if something like this could be done without a ponywall (which I don't want due to space considerations) but I really like it.

Kalib, the stone is pretty special, though I wouldn't want it in the vacinity of grease! I have no clue if this could fit, though, and it is my house! lol

If we were to do something like this staggered stone on the bumpout, we'd have to figure out where to stop it. We might have to take it around the small hallway wall instead of stop it at the line of the bumpout? I'm getting ahead of myself, though. For now, I'm just wondering if the elements could work with a cottage zen look. It definitely seems more modern/50's and more PNW, but I'm not sure if would allow any room for some white cabinets - and my squared paned cabinets over the sink seem to recede into the realm of improbable. Many I am losing the cottage with this?

Curious what those with design knowledge think...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Yes, fieldstone is beautiful. No, you cannot have fieldstone on the bumpout wall.
Icky, greasy, icky. Ruination of calm cool aesthetic.
You can have fieldstone, just not here. Dining room fireplace, den fireplace, some other wall, not in the kitchen.
On the other hand you can totally tile the back of your peninsula with slate tile- so awesome, I love it! But you need to bring the tile into your design somewhere else to make it cohesive.
Remember, it is not spinning to admire something. It is normal to like things you cannot use. I love the circles in Sochi's dividing wall. I will have a dividing wall. I cannot use circles. But, I can learn from her dividing wall. I can learn about height, color, texture. And I take that knowledge to make it my own, something that works with my space.
Take this for what it is worth, but I think you are leaning modern. You are thinking you are torn between modern and tradtional. You said french doors and fireplaces lean toward traditional. You, my friend, are modern. Just admit it. French doors can go either way because the moulding is very basic. Fireplaces are defintiely traditional but in the den you could replace the corbels and in the DR you could remove the fluting and immediately you would be feeling more modern. Of course, your heart's desire would be to replace each mantel with a hunk of live edge. If I am right, plan it. Nobody says you have to do it now. My entry way is subflooring, I say "someday there will be one tile throughout this whole space" and don't worry about it. Right now I need to get the kitchen done. Then I will build my new, sochi inspired dividing wall, and I will fix my entry way floor.
Houses aren't supposed to be perfect. They are works in progress, just like families.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Yes, yes, I know...As I mentioned above, I'm not sure it is far enough from the range if I put it there. I'm still, though, not sure that it "fits" with 'zen cottage', anyway. And I'm not sure this is even the way I want to go, which is why I fear it might be spinning.

It's funny you see me as "modern", localeater, and it kind of makes my point... I came into this on the other side, too traditional to fit the house. White cabinets all the way, crown, cabinet feet, etc, etc, etc. I have not been looking at dark cabinets up and down at all - and have been leaning against black counters as I have them now. Then I see these images yesterday and whammo! I'm ready to sign on the dotted line and go pick out materials. Based on my last pic, I'd think I was modern, too! lol, I'm a mess.

I've been trying to simplify and tame down my design based on various threads and pieces of feedback since I joined GW and started in on this kitchen project. Even now, ultimately, no one in my world will really get it or care if is era-appropriate as long as it flows with the rest of the house decently.

That being said, this kitchen is a look I could live with. As long as it included the fieldstone post and the slate under the peninsula...

I suppose I should go back to wrestling with 2-toned kitchens and Oliboard, both of which are frustrating me.

Thanks so much for the dialogue and food for thought. It truly is much appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I've been looking at this for a couple days trying to decide what I think and what would be helpful to you.

1. I wouldn't worry too much about the "Georgian" comments. I think most of that is coming from that gray kitchen I posted with the lanterns, and I don't think the Georgian aspects are necessarily what attracts you to that kitchen.

2. I don't see the staggered stone and slate working for you. It's appropriate to the age of the house, but it doesn't seem cottage zen to me. Also, I think the designer did a great job of pulling together a great kitchen with those elements, but I feel like it would be difficult for a mere mortal to pull off. Does that make sense? I guess I'm picturing a cleaner look for your kitchen - like your u-shaped bumpout picture or the contemporary kitchen design by Random House that you pictured above (but with uppers on the range wall).

3. I love that you labeled a picture "first kitchen I loved." I have a picture in my inspiration pictures that I named "first kitchen I loved." Mine is cottage, but not zen:

4. I hope someone with design knowledge comments!!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Hi, mpagmom. Thanks so much for taking time to ponder this with me. I really appreciate it.

I know, that last inspiration pic feels kinda out of left field, doesn't it? And it DOES seem hard to pull off to me for some reason... given I am a mere mortal on a budget and all. I do like the texture and depth - i.e., character - that the combination of elements brings. And, balancing the stacked stone with the glass tiles makes it feel oh-so-much-less cold and stark.

I spent the last day or so looking for wall treatments/tiles that would give a texture for the bump out but be cleanable and I didn't really come up with much.

I'm not getting a lot of feedback about the Georgian thing. I'll add it to my things to research in my spare time! lol

Your "first kitchen I loved" made me smile. Sometimes, we are just on the same page. Though I make you look like a procrastination wannabe. lol

Still looking for my zen...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Steph, this picture is very different than things you have said you like but yet, somehow it made me think of you. Perhaps it is the chunky wood detail on the hood. Anyway, I am curious on your reaction. It belongs to Andi K and it is on the building a home forum.
From GW Photos

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:06PM
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Okay, so here's the best I could do with my layout programs. Which, as I mentioned earlier, isn't saying much - given the limitations of the material choices with both the IKEA (which at least offers dark wood/black cabinet options) and Lowe's (which seems to think the darkest people want to go with cabinets is burgandy or a glazed cherry). Neither had walnut-like wood counters. However, I am pretty reluctant to a) go with wood counters b) break up the counter material in such a small place.

I was also playing with a textured bump-out, too, so you'll see that in most if not all of the renditions. The only option was a brown staggered stone. I'm also not likely to use blue tiles, but the choices are so limited, I just left it.

Black lowers/white uppers

Wood on the island lower cabinets, white elsewhere:

The closest I could get to a dark wood counter (it's a laminate)

Light wood counters:

I'm trying to learn Oliboard and figure out places to take materials from to make sample boards. I'll keep playing with that as I have time.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Egads, @localeater, that is a HUGE kitchen (and island). I can see why you thought of me, even though this isn't my look (or size). Interesting she is using stacked stone right behind the range. I saw another example of that last night on the "ugh, help me pick a color for my range" Lacanche Citeaux thread, though the range was free-standing and against an entire wall of stone. Neither of them are 3-D like the 50's stone, though, or a solid cream color - which likely makes a difference in how much grease/dirt would show. Andy has a little bump out in the corner, which my eye was immediately drawn to. lol

Here's another kitchen that is nothing like the one I am going for - nor would it fit in my house. It just has the tiled island/peninsula thing, which is intriguing me this weekend. Yet another variety of stacked stone.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I think you should get a chunky wood hood like the one in localeater's picture just so you can say chunky wood hood.

I like the white cabinets with dark wood counters, but that isn't helpful if you don't want wood counters. Still not a fan of the stone, although I appreciate your desire for texture. I really like the glass cabinets above the sink.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:42PM
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Steph, for Olioboard I use Kraftmaid for most of my cabinet pics, because they are easy to clip using the "Add to Olioboard" button. They've got an okay selection of white and wood tones, and a variety of basic recessed panel, raised panel and slab doors. If you want inset, other colors, or glossy cabs, you need to look elsewhere.

I do a lot of Google image searches. For example "white oak floor" or "Brazillian cherry floor" or "walnut butcherblock" should turn up some usable images. Try to only click on URLs that look like legitimate vendors.

When I think of a "Zen" aesthetic, I tend to think of natural materials (stone, wood), clean lines (which could read very modern if it weren't for the natural materials), and strong horizontal elements. Think Zen sand gardens. To me fieldstone fits the aesthetic but have to agree that it isn't a material I want anywhere near grease or any other potential spatter (but you could use it on the living room side of the peninsula). I like the idea of slate, I like the idea of a linear stone mosaic. Looking at your pics, I think the bumpout would be really cool clad in a dark walnut.

The only one of the color combos you just presented I really didn't like was the light counter one. I prefer the ones with higher contrast.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Steph - While I do like the texture stacked stone on the bump out might add, it could potentially be a rough surface to bump your elbow on as you eat or surf the web while sitting at the peninsula (assuming you are right handed).

If you are really drawn to the stack stone, under the peninsula would be a perfect place for it. And I think (but am not totally sure about this) you have a sitting room out in front on the kitchen, right so when you are sitting there, it would be at eye-level and you could enjoy it from that point of view (yes? no?)

Another thought I just had looking through your photos again, do decorative chunky wood shelves where you are contemplating doing the bump out. Maybe just two (or three) spaced kind of wide. You still get your traditional upper cabinet storage on the back wall but then also get to add some open shelves and wood elements (like where the clock is in one of your first U-layouts.) Like someone else said, natural elements like stone and wood have a zen feel. Do painted white cabs to appeal to your cottage-y side and then pick a counter top you like, functions well for you, and is available in Alaska.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Thanks for the continued thoughts. I've been pausing to think about it and to BEGIN to get serious about getting out there in town to see what is there. We are also researching what options are actually out there for small W/D units so we can see if it makes more sense to pare down the W/D or do a bump out in the first place.

In the meantime, I'm having trouble forgetting the last inspiration pic I posted - and stacked stone.

Thanks for the advice on olioboard,cawaps, and your thoughts about 'zen cottage'. Interesting idea to clad it in wood. I'm just worried about how dark that could get, as we would have to extend whatever we used around the wall in the hall to the W/D. It's not a big wall, probably the size of many big fireplaces...

Thanks for chiming in, NewSouthernBelle. Yes, the peninsula will separate the kitchen from the entry/sitting room area. Interesting idea to consider stacked stone down there the peninsula - and slate above.

If I don't do the bumpout, I would definitely think about going with chunky shelves there on that part of the wall. I also saw a recent kitchen on GW where they used uppers on the peninsula and put a cabinet that came down to the counter right on the end. I liked it better than some other designs I have seen and would be a good possible spot for a small TV or microwave. It just reverses the whole "no uppers and tile to the ceiling" thing on that wall, but that's still on the table at this point.

I'm running into some dilemmas with finding white cabinets in my budget that I like. I also wasn't wanting a dark counter, as I have one now. But, everything is up in the air. If anything, I feel like I am spinning more, not less. Hopefully the spinning will get me somewhere.

I think what it might actually come down to is finding/picking ONE or TWO inspiration pictures and really making decisions based on that whole. I'm not the best visualizer...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:47PM
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I'm still here, playing around, as usual, while my other half focuses on moving the electrical box now that the holidays are over. (Then the wall can come down and hopefully, my eyes will see in terms of layout)

Since this post has so many of my inspiration pics on it, I am adding a few more things I've come across.

A range wall that could look like my range wall, though I likely wouldn't go with a patterned tile - even though it's great.

Eclectic Kitchen design by Philadelphia General Contractor Kenny Grono

I want frameless cabs, which limit me to a few options locally. One of them is Bellmont 1900, which I just found out about via this board. This one is Pasadena door in bisquit

If I do a counter to ceiling cabinet on the end of the peninsula, I'm considering having that be the location for the microwave. Adding an inspiration pic and the hinges I'd want to use for that, potentially (Hafele).

Traditional Kitchen design by Philadelphia Media And Blogs Colleen Steixner

I want a fridge with panels, now. And a DW with panels. I wish I didn't have a budget. lol

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:19PM
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I have seen you posting on some other threads and was wondering when you were going to update us. Thank you!
That bold tile range wall was in my inspiration folder too. I don't have any tile at all yet and may never. I am loving my clean, almost monastic look.
Just a thought about that hinge design, when open it blocks access to the above space. Depending on what you store there that may work for you. In my kitchen I almost ended up with a coffee cupboard with that hinge with my coffee cups stored in the blocked cupboard- that would have been a disaster!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Hello there, localeater. There really hasn't been much to report, so I've been pretty quiet, though lurking and occasionally chiming in to ask a question or vote.

I have been researching local options for cabinets, particularly frameless. I've been chagrined to find that most of these places keep strict business hours. The idea of taking time off work to get quotes is not particularly appealing or practical for me, so I'm sorting through that. In some cases, they won't even give me a quote on cabinets without paying their designer $100 an hour. It makes it so tricky. I'm not sure how people shop around with these conditions?

That bold tile is pretty neat, though what really draws me is the range wall without uppers with tile to the ceiling. Those sconces are pretty fantastic, too, though not sure they would work for me. Do your counters have a backsplash or did your fabricators just do such a good job you don't need a tile to cover gaps? I think I need to see your pics! It's kind of neat to be able to stop pre-backsplash and change it up later if you want.

Thanks for your thoughts about that hinged cabinet. You had a good save with that one! For me, that cabinet would face the peninsula so getting anything out of the uppers would be tricky. I'd probably put flower vases, the few holiday items I have, etc up there. On the other hand, I have been considering a TV on the pensinula. I'm just not seeing how that could get incorporated with the lower cabinet for the microwave.

What I like about the idea of putting the microwave there (if we go with a U) is that my bedroom is right off that hallway. I have chronic pain and am constantly heating up heat packs. The idea of being able to pop into the hall and use the microwave is pretty appealing, as opposed to going around the U. Of course, the house is so tiny, we aren't talking about a huge long walk. My partner also likes the idea of saving money on the microwave and being able to easily replace it.

We'll see. So much is undecided, including whether I will end up with a bump out there or what the ultimate layout is going to be. Heck, everything is undecided, who am I kidding? lol

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:42PM
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I would just focus on the layout for now. You can't get estimates on cabinets without the layout.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:02PM
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Thanks, debrak2008. I appreciate what you are saying and will be finalizing layout as soon as the wall comes down. In the meantime, though, I really feel like I need to focus on design directions and material choices. Both because I am terribly indecisive and for budget reasons. As this post illustrates, I can go in a lot of design directions and fall in love with "looks" routinely. I want to make sure that my choices fit the house and will maximize the new kitchen flowing well with it - and will be something I can like for a long, long time.

In keeping with that, I've been using this thread to collect inspiration ideas. At the least, it helps me to have it all in one place. At the best, people who know a lot more about design can give me feedback and point me toward and away from things.

Alaska's Best Kitchens just came out and there's another kitchen that mixes tiles in a way I keep being drawn to - a clean, modern glass tile combined iwth the texture of a stacked stone look. I'm going to include the only pics I have found so far.

I keep thinking something like this could really work if I do the bump out. With the right materials, it might even be true to my 1950's tract house. What I am not sure about it how it fits with the "zen cottage" theme, which is a label I am totally drawn to, even if I am not sure how it translating in terms of design.

Feedback welcome, as always!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:40PM
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OK, I haven't read every posting, but let's assume that you're going with IKEA or other non-custom order cabinets. Couldn't you just put in your cabinets and then try out different doors in real life?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Yes, if we go IKEA and DYI, it would be easy enough to try things, even trade out things. The problem is, we are 3500 miles away from IKEA and it is seeming less practical for us. If we had one in town, IKEA would be our leading contender.

Instead, I am looking into frameless options available locally. I haven't totally ruled IKEA out, but a lot of the benefits of going with them are mitigated by the distance.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:32PM
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WOW! I'm sorry I just bumped onto this one thread and recognized your house in its yellow for from GI. This is L who met you in Austin with Erin.

You have great taste and I'm confident that no matter what you choose you'll end up having it looking great.

I do recognize your layouts so I must have read those threads, but not made the connection. I don't mind the bump out you have. I like the way it is shielding the view some of the cooking area. Or at least mine is often fairly messy. I might want to extend the bump a bit further to not have the half cabinet there on the side as it bothers me for some reason, but the bump doesn't. Have you thought about covering the bump out with paneling or making it look like it is a cabinet even though it is not. This could balance your other side with cabinets.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:30PM
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Awww, L!!! I miss the good old days on GI! We had fun that night in Austin. I was so sad to hear of Erin's passing...

Thanks for the vote of confidence. So far, this is feeling a bit intimidating and out of my league. lol

The bump out is nice in the creation of a little niche, though perhaps a bit of a pain in terms of dictating things. Folks say it adds a bit of 'architecture interest', which perhaps isn't hard in this little ranch.

I haven't really thought of paneling it, leaning more towards tile or drywall. It's an interesting idea, though!

Is GI still up and running? If so, I should get a link and go run things by there - and at least say hello to everyone.

So good to hear from someone who knew me when! I hope all is well for you and yours.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Have you seen this video? It reminds me of your space in some ways.

Here is a link that might be useful: Makeover video

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Hello there, mpagmom! I have seen that video, it was floating around GW. Lots to love, really. I mean, can you say chunky island? I also like how they trimmed out that beam/bump out. There are some similarities with that space and mine, I guess, especially if I went with a banquette, mirrored the back and gained 1000 SF!

Thanks for linking it here, I enjoyed watching it again.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:44PM
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double post

This post was edited by Steph2000 on Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 13:09

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:45PM
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I should have known you've seen that. I thought it was hilarious that they thought the faux-ostrich banquette was family friendly. I've been home with a not-too-sick child and killing time. It wasn't my intention to torture you with another chunky island!

Skimming back through your posts, a lot of people dismiss the island layout because the island is tiny. I was thinking it looks that way because it lacks overhangs in the picture. Is that the case? How big would the island be? I still think the peninsula layout is superior, especially with a bump-out.

Anyway, I like your latest stone/glass kitchen better than the other stone pictures you've posted. I guess I really don't like stone on the peninsula, which some of them had. The latest looks more updated to me.

I saw another picture that I hesitate to share because it's yet another chunky island and the kitchen is enormous. But I thought the style of the kitchen was interesting. I like the rustic floor (looks chunky), the glass tile, the dark wood with white, and the way it looks modern and traditional and rustic at the same time. What's up with that faucet on the island, though? I hope there's a real one that we can't see somewhere in the kitchen. Maybe the design is a big-old-mess and it's so well photographed that I'm blind to that. I'm a sucker for professional photography!

I saw your other post about cabinets. I have seen positives about Innermost on here, but I'm always leary of Home Depot. It's good that you have a couple options that you can customize on size to optimize your space. In case you don't get any specific feedback about those brands, I'll post a link to Consumer Reports' cabinet guide. If you click on features it has good info about the cabinet construction so you can evaluate that yourself. When I first read this a couple years ago it meant very little to me, but now I seem to be an expert in cabinet construction. I will say that having 1/2 inch particle board (Ikea) cabinets in the basement made me nervous about putting granite on them, and I would never get thermofoil doors for every day use.

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports cabinet guide

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Hi Stephanie .GI is still upp and running. A few of us are there still. Im icelady
You can also find us thru Facebook. Just put in the name in and you will find us. I have been following your Saga here and cant wait to see your finished kitchen

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Hm.... I think the island had to be a 36" cabinet max, with overhang off the back? There might have been room to have a small overhang off the left, near the DR. I'd have to double check.

There are things I do like about the L + island, including the larger pantry in the kitchen. What I don't like is a) seeing the kitchen floor wide open from the front door b) the fact that it doesn't play so nice with the BS window and pushes kitchen seating towards the fridge/sliding doors. And, you are right, the plan doesn't work so hot with the bump out. If we went with the smaller 7" bump out, I could modify/customize a pantry cabinet on the end where the bump out is - make it less deep but long to accomodate a microwave and food storage. So, I guess it could still get figured out? As the bump out gets larger, it seems harder to make the L work. It also pushes the walkway space further to the left and squeezes it even tighter...leaving something more like an isle/atoll instead of an island. lol

I was able to meet with the woman who designed that last kitchen - and can hire her for a $500 fee that would be applied to the cabinets if I went through them. I really, really liked her. She showed me the stacked stone - and it explicitly talks about it being cleanable, kitchen ready, etc. She's going to contact the owner, who she is still friends with 2 years later (I think that's a good sign) and see how it is holding up in the kitchen.

I dunno, there's just something about mixing materials that I like here. The smooth glass tile, looking modern, combined with the stacked stone just seems fun and kinda true to the house? But, then the issue comes up about where to terminate the darn tile! Do you wrap it totally around the hallway to the W/D cubby or just end it on the wall somehow after the bump out? And how much does all this add to the budget? And what does it do the possibility of hanging shelves or what-not off of the bump out? (I have these great hammered measuring cups and spoons I could hang on the side of the bump out in the kitchen nook, if we bump out it)

I have another appt at 11 am tomorrow to look at other frameless options, that are probably out of my budget. They offered to do some pricing for free, but they are expensive to hire.

I FEEL like I am getting some momentum going and am not too far from appliance, layout and cabinet decisions I could live with and love. Getting some numbers should help with that. The flooring and counter and tile is still stumping me to a large extent - not to mention the darn budget. lol

We are emptying the LR and kitchen (slowly) in preparation for the tear down. My partner is focused on moving the electrical. I keep reminding myself how much this is saving me when I think about how long it is going to take. However, up until now, him going slow has been fine because I really have not known what I want and so it just gives me more time. As I figure out what I want and get things ordered, I imagine I will get less patient...

I love the materials in the enormous kitchen you just posted. The dark brown is about the perfect shade of brown, isn't it? It plays so nice with the white on top. That kitchen is not only huge, though, it is so open and has a ton of light and height. Look at the width of those floor planks, too! I like that floor color. Does it look brown enough and not too golden? I want to stay away from yellow, orange and gold tones on the floor without going too dark in my little house. Tricky. Something like that might be a compromise point?

Thanks for the link to the cabinet info. This, I admit, is the stuff that bores me. I know, I know, I need to know. I also appreciate your first hand experience with IKEA. Did you ever post pics? Sounds like you have reservations of both the boxes/frames and the doors. My aunt in Chicago decided to remodel her kitchen after me - and is about 90% done with an IKEA kitchen. She went creme on top (the shiny modern doors) with a new door on the bottom that is sort of driftwood looking to me. Must be veneer. So, she is getting a 2-toned IKEA kitchen, without any influence from me. Irony. I'm excited to see it. Did you ever post pics of your basement IKEA kitchenette? I'd love to see!

Icelady! It's good to hear from you. Saga is the right word! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction to get reconnected with GI. I've really lost track of the old crew.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:13PM
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That's great that you were able to meet with the designer of the best Alaska kitchen. Do you like other kitchens she's designed? Did she think she could design something within your budget? If I were you I'd go with her and forget what anyone here says. I would have gladly paid $500 for a designer if I thought he/she would design something I liked in my budget. Especially if the fee is applied to a purchase. Imagine - NO MORE SPINNING.

I haven't posted my basement kitchen because I don't have the backsplash in. I was rushing to get it done before my brother and his kids came for a month, but the tile didn't come in on time because it was coming from New Jersey around the time of Superstorm Sandy. Then there was Christmas and now I am waiting for my sister to have time to help me.

I know what you mean about the cabinet stuff boring you. I was always like "plywood particle board blah blah blah."

I also know what you mean about yellow, orange and gold. They are stricken from my house along with red. They don't even appear in my garden.

Ikea would be fine if not for my kids. They are scary!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Good to see you online - I miss the old GI too. The new is good, but not as busy and not as many around. Good people though and I find it nice and comfortable with a closed group.

You could also build a cabinet around that bumpout. Ie put some uppers facing the peninsula and side them all the way past the wall so they look deeper than they really are. Maybe put an appliance garage there to pull out onto the peninsula, and then upper storage and maybe an open shelf for something decorative.

I'm personally too lazy to want to clean the stone. I find it collects a lot of dust in our house on the Fireplace that in our house is unused. Hard to dust. Of course the material used there could be a man made that doesn't have those issues and wipes as easy as tile and dust doesn't stick to it like it does real stone.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:21PM
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I met with another designer today - they do the Bellmont and the Woodmode/Brookhaven. She was willing to take my tentative blueprints and do some estimates of their lines before requiring I cough up some money. I was impressed with the Bellmont finishes, actually. I did really like the other designer, though, so this could get tricky. I'm curious to see what the numbers look like...

One of the finishes looked so much like the dark wood in that last pic, I just really like it for the furniture look.

Lyfia, you make a good point about cleaning stackable stone. It seems like a nightmare... though I have to say this product seemed much less porous than what I've generally seen. I just like the mix of textures, though I'm not wedded to it (yet).

Interesting idea to face the bumpout like a cabinet, too. So many options.

Then I went into Home Depot, only to find that Alaska Home Depot does not carry InnerMost. So, I guess that rules that option out. Just another thing to be irritated about when it comes to Home Depot...

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:14PM
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