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Countertop quandary....second thoughts

Posted by pzbbbbd (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 3:37

I am renovating our kitchen. Kitchen and family room are basically one big continuous space. I have a very dramatic wall unit in family room section that shares a wall with kitchen. Will post pic. After selecting three slabs of white macaubas and paying for them I now think I should use solid color on perimeter. I was also intrigued by zinc or pewter for island with a fancy edge but that maybe too pricy and not sure if done where I live, and do quartzite on perimeter.
Help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

Separated from kitchen by a few feet. Color of cabinets works with stained glass and I just couldn't match wood tones.


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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

I think it will look great! Given that the wall unit is dark, I think the counters will help lighten things up. Plus, I love contrast.


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I really do love the white macaubas just afraid lines going all over the place will be too much.


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Colors and lines don't work together. At all. It's the unit that would have to go. Entertainent units are a obsolete relic of the past, and that one is extremely dominant for a room. Not in a good way. It's the elephant in the room. Shoot the elephant.


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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

hollysprings bite your tongue, that looks old and beautiful! if the granite doesn't work, change the granite not the vintage wood!


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ardcp:

They'll be no tongue biting, thank you very much. hollysprings calls 'em as she sees 'em with a refreshing bluntness without being rude or mean. Every board needs one and I'm grateful she's here.


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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

Without seeing the rest of the house for perspective, I'm in agreement with Holly. Shoot the elephant.

Are those speaker grills in the bottom of the columns??


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My only thought is that something that is such an antique, formal look needs a material like marble. Metal is also a vintage look but a different context, more utilitarian.


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I admit I'm in Holly's corner on this one. The wall unit needs to go bye-bye


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It's not my style, but I'm intrigued by it. I'd love to know it's story.


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I think its a beautiful piece and I wouldn't get rid of it just to conform to some modern aesthetics.
If you love it, by all means keep it.

Remember, you aren't designing your home to appear in a magazine or to sell (presumably) so please do what makes you happy.

That said, I agree with your assessment. If they are one continuous space, you only want one star, not competing elements.


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The wall unit is gorgeous. If it is passe' in the years to come... transform it into a library wall. The wood is beautiful.

And... from someone who used a cross cut variety of your quartzite with a differing perimeter... that worked well for me. I've posted this before, but here is the quartzite island... holding up well, to all my messy contractors can throw at it or on it.


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On a cleaner day-


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Insanely rude. Post up your own homes and taste, please.

I think marble would work with an old style piece like that, although the lines of macaubus tend to look more modern to me.


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i have to say it is interesting to see that as a group we are split about 50/50 on the vintage wood piece. this is definitely a matter of personal taste!
i for one love antique looking furniture probably because i live in a new build with no heart :(
musicgal love your island and the rest of your kitchen! it looks old world.


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I did not see anyone being rude, snookums, and hope that pzbbbbd doesn't feel the same as you. I also believe most of us have posted up pictures of our homes and asked for advice.

Pzbbbbd, if you could post another picture from further back to show the cabinet and kitchen together, we should be able to offer more help :)


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ardcp- thank you for the compliment:) I love rich wood. One day, when all the contactors are gone for good, I will take a better picture. I thought the OP would like to see something similar to her white macaubus against dark wood- and the way the Virginia Mist (kind of) solid color plays with the rest of the tonalities.
The crews should know better, but they all call it marble. Thank God it's not or it would have been etched already like an ancient French comptoir de cuisine:-)


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Treb, if you like Holly, you would have loved Marcolo, who disappeared from the forum over a year ago. I enjoy Holly's blunt humor most of the time. Some things just need to be said. BTW, the other day I saw someone refer to Holly as Doug. I wonder if that changes people's perceptions of her/his comments.

As for the "elephant", it wouldn't work in my home but it might work in the OP's. Carry on.


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I agree that the lines of the macaubas don't work with your dramatic wall unit. IMHO those lines look like they belong in a contemporary space and your wall unit calls for a softer, more old world look. I'd get my money back and keep looking. You'll find something that works and be glad you moved on from the macaubas.

Could you post a picture of the kitchen space and/or the other materials you're using? That would certainly help. I'd also love to hear the story behind the wall unit. It looks like it has some history behind it.

Have to say I'm fairly horrified by those who jumped in just to comment that they don't care for the wall unit because it isn't their taste. How on earth is that considered constructive or helpful? If you don't have anything else to say, then don't say anything. I find it refreshing to see someone share something that shows real personality and drama. So often the choices made are just . . . . . . IMHO, bland.


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How high is that unit? Just trying to figure out how big it is.

Could you show us a picture of the kitchen cabinets? I think that the colors of your slabs work very well with the wood and the stained glass of your wall unit, but am not so sure about the stripes.

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 17:08


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Depends on the rooms, the scale, and what else is around. And what the OP loves. In my small tv computer room I have the very large antique walnut armor that was in my parents' home. It is a bedroom piece, I had to store the decorative top trim, and it is really too large for the room, but I love it and it is in. I'll add a pic here later.
That big piece wouldn't work in my 8' tall ceilinged rooms, nor would it under the 12' cathedral ceiling in our oak paneled family room. But it probably works for the OP.
Personally, I like the idea of the linear tracings of pattern on the white countertop. A delicate counterpoint to the massive media center.
What color will the cabinets be? The floor? the walls?
I have gone back several times to look at the slab and the media center and I think they might be pretty good together. But it all depends on what else is around.


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Meow and ouch! Makes me afraid to post my own photos - I don't take rejection well at all...

That being said, I agree with the other posters that you'd have competing elements with all thats in eyeshot. Maybe something quieter or even solid around the perimeter (black soapstone would look GORGEOUS with the black on that unit), save the busy piece for the island?

I want to see the whole room!


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"I did not see anyone being rude, snookums, and hope that pzbbbbd doesn't feel the same as you. "

Well, let's "hope". ? And yeah, let's throw that $4000, $14,000, $40,000 prized piece out. Afterall, ole what's his face doesn't like it.

Thank you, poohpup. How those posters' taste compares to the OP's taste and furnishings is completely irrelevant. Everyone does not care to follow trends and the main stream masses. Believe it or not! Nor should they have to or feel pressured to change just to follow the crowd. It slips my mind, what grade is this?

Perhaps a round of sensitivity training for some is in order. Especially since they don't even "get" it. But I'm sure they've heard that before. They just don't care. It's all about them.


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Why don't you just email the person who you think is being rude instead of lecturing them in the middle of a thread? The thread will only be shut down.


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I'm intrigued by this entertainment unit. It's very striking. Everyone seems to assume it's vintage, but is it? And what do the doors open to? Shelves? Narnia? Because if it's Narnia you totally have to keep it no question.


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I agree wholeheartedly Snookums2.

We shouldn't be afraid to post photos of our spaces. This is supposed to be a helpful, constructive forum for people to get advise, support and sometimes hand holding. We all have different taste. Some people can appreciate a modern space even though their taste is very traditional. Some want clean, straight lines while others love the graceful turn of a cabriole leg with some ornate carving. While some see a white kitchen as bright and cheery, others see it as stark and cold. While some see dark wood kitchens as depressing and cave like, others see them as warm and inviting. Some can appreciate others styles, some can't. If someone posts a picture of their space and you can't offer constructive help because you don't share and can't appreciate their taste/style, then move on. Posting replies to every OP isn't mandatory.

musicgal, your kitchen is going to be stunning! Love the gorgeous cabinets and that hood.

pzbbbbd, I'm really hoping you'll share some pictures of your kitchen. When I saw your wall unit, I couldn't help but be reminded of this blog (link below). The woman who writes it is hysterical as well as a collector of some gorgeous antique mirrors.

Here is a link that might be useful: I’m like Liberace… but with more flair.


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i would like to see the whole room....
first thought is countertop does not go with wall unit. but again would be best to see whole room...
r u saying the kitchen cabs are almost same color as wall unit??
i feel as though i need more info to make an informed opinion


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Poohpup- thank you for your kind words. And I do agree with both you and Snookums. Verbal bullies like to "dish it", as they say- but they don't like it when someone stands up to them. As for the compassionate email suggestion... why wasn't that option offered up to the OP instead of ridiculing their taste publicly? I've seen sincere posters get shot down for fun's sake and never return. Some may say they should get with the program and grow a thick skin, but then again- mean people have justified being mean in many different ways for a long time. Just really sad if the OP never comes back.


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Apart from how one phrases something, I also think that one should answer the question someone asks. Misses on both parts.


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There is a difference between "telling it like it is," and being tactful. “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” (Benjamin Franklin)

OP wasn't even asking about the wall unit.


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TVs aren't old enough for that piece to be antique. Technology has made entertainment centers white elephants. It might as well be a gramophone.

Would anyone build an entire room around this? Maybe in 1915.

It has nothing to do with it's appearance, per se, other than it's scale being too outsized. It's functionally obsolete. And, as I said, the lines in the counter clash with the lines of the unit. Since it's intended to house the gramophone of the 21st century, eliminate it.


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Hollysprings, how can it be functionally obsolete? It's housing what looks like a modern flatscreen TV, as well as what seems storage of the media components behind the doors.

It's just not your taste or style. We get it... move on.

Now, about the OP's actual question? The counter?


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Wow!! Not insulted but a bit surprised on the strong feelings regarding the wall unit and my husband loves that piece-- it's not going anywhere. It is really huge, and my cabinets are going to be very tall too balance it out.

I am not posting pics of the study--same wood but it encompasses the entire room with a stained glass window that matches the wall unit !!!!!

I tried to match wall unit color for cabinets but it just doesn't work so going with color called butternut. Sample with stone pic. Doing a black island. Right now current kitchen is painted black cabinets with brown countertops.

Hey hollysprings we have some major current technology stored inside that piece. I think my husband can send messages to the space shuttle. Actually it does store some of the many electronic components that my husband uses daily and I am told are very necessary.

Musical gal thank u for posting those pics. I love your kitchen.

Originally I was going to use either mother of pearl or taj Mahal quartzite but it looked bit blah. Even though the macaubas has lines it has a warmth and older feeling that didn't feel so modern. If I was starting from scratch I would choose a different style but I have to work with what I have. I will take more pics later. Not in town


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Oh I forgot to answer the wall unit questions. It is hand carved from Columbia and it was brought over in pieces and assembled in my home about ten years ago. My study is mahogany. I know it isn't everyone's taste but I do like it. In person it's not quite as overwhelming and the carved details really show up. And it is functional.


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I wouldn't be offended pzbbbbd... I once posted pics of my knotty pine cabinets, and someone responded "what are all those ugly spots on your cabinets?"
Not everyone has the same tastes, and if they did, it would be a pretty boring world...


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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

Pzbbbd- I originally created an account here because every time I had a question about something in my kitchen and googled it, this was one of the top results. I figured I might as well "come straight to the experts" as it were.
Since joining I have seen TONS of white kitchens with marble counters, hardwood floors, etc. In other words, what's currently on trend.
This website is very trend forward and that's not a bad thing! I've learned some great things here and seen some ideas I wish I would have thought to incorporate into my kitchen. That being said, if your house or personal style isn't trendy, modern, etc, you just have to be prepared for comments from those who view it as outdated.

On second thought, that piece HAS to go. Tell you what, I'll take it off your hands for you so it doesn't interfere with your kitchen. ;)


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I can definitely relate to the need to work with pieces to which the other half is very attached! As I'm sure he needs to do with me ;)

I think the colors in that granite will compliment the wall unit nicely. My concern (without being able to see pictures of adjoining spaces) is that the lines in the granite will look too busy with the lines of the stained glass.


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Thanks everyone for the comments both positive and negative. The positive are easier to read but I do want opinions so I know their will be some negative. I have my concerns and my contractor said we can change the countertops until we take procession. Since demo starts in two weeks I don't have to decide right away. I can switch out to another surface when new cabs are in.


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I participate in a writer's website where writer's post their latest work for constructive criticism. It can be difficult to take, but often the thing that will make you the best writer is not the thing you want to hear. We need a bit of that spirit here.

I reread hollysprings original comment. It is blunt with a dark humor, but is in no way rude or condescending. As usual, her comments were spot-on.

No one's going to gain by a bunch of threads with comments like "That's lovely." and "How nice."

If those pants make your a$$ look fat, isn't it the job of your best girlfriend to tell you so before you go out in them? You've got a girlfriend here. Be grateful.


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That wall unit is the attention grabber of the room, no doubt about it. But it sounds like she plans on keeping it. So, probably some suggestions along the lines of how to incorporate it into the design would be helpful. I am no expert, far from it, which is why I look here for ideas. I guess I would keep my kitchen a conservative style, neutral tones, nothing too busy or loud. I think that piece is hard to work around though.


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Call, me crazy, I think it could work. The slab has some of the yellowish color from the stained glass, and while the stripes in it may call modern, they are also strong. The furniture piece is strong, so somehow the slab helps keep the furniture from taking over? Ok. Now even I think I sound crazy. But I still think it could work! (No designer here, just a cooker)


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Nope. To stay within that example.
If being asked whether a certain blouse goes with a pair of pants, answering that the pants make your a$$ fat and that you don't need to worry about blouses as long as you're a fat pig, is rude, uncaring, and uncalled for.
I'd ditch a girl friend like that.


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Ok. Back to countertop. If i do double ogee edge won't it look more traditional?? I was going to go with marble but I live with very messy people and not ready to stand over my kitchen counters with a cloth constantly wiping. and I do like the texture of the slabs I picked. They weren't the most linear white macaubas out there.


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Holly is a man. Right? Which could explain why he's lacking some of the finesse and sensitivity of a girlfriend.


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Haha peony I like the quote. I'm keeping that.

FWIW I'd totally design and entire room around that gramophone if I had one. And a really cool old mansion with a conservatory or something. Also I'd have to figure out what a conservatory is...

While I can appreciate Holly's bluntness, and I'd prefer my GFs to tell me if I look fat, if it were obvious I paid three million dollars for my jeans I'd hope they'd be kind enough to suggest ways to work with my obviously very expensive custom jeans. Tactful is classy even if it takes a bit of creative writing and forethought.


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It looks like musicagal has solid dark countertops on the perimeter. It would make it considerably darker but is certainly a great option.

I really like your slabs but have to agree that the strong lines make it look more modern, especially if you use the slabs everywhere.
Could you find white macaubas that is less linear?


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It just strikes me as funny that a material like the white macaubus that is what? millions of years old? has a look considered too contemporary for a piece of furniture made not all that long ago. When did we decide that lines are a contemporary look? Just wondering.

When I picked my carrara slab I was a little dismayed that my choices were so contrasty with all the dark lines. Once in a horizontal position, the lines were less assertive and I love the look.

There are also lines in the stained glass doors (to Narnia?).


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I agree with nosoccoermom, a less linear slab may work. I think there is too much visual tension between the curvilinear details of the wall piece and the linear elements of the slab.

It is a very interesting wall piece, and your home should be what YOU love. My MIL's house is completely different from mine, but she has a great eye for decor, just a different style.

Let's see more slab options!


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Regardless of whether one is a man or a woman, rude and condescending is still rude and condescending. I excuse neither.


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RE: Countertop quandary....second thoughts

linelle has a point. I wonder if someone could photoshop the counters on the OPs cabinets --- if she could show us.

However, just because the material is old doesn't mean that the product looks "old", too. Apparently, this stone can be cross cut (more wavy) or vein cut (more linear).

Similarly, there are 50,000 year old Kauri swamp trees that are being used for decidedly modern furniture.


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The straight lines of the stone don't work with the curvy lines of the wood. You need something softer and much more of a ''fade into the background'' type look when you have something with such a strong pattern as a focal point. The eye sees too much visual complexity and competing focal points as ''noise''. It's not restful. Nor is it energizing. It's enervating. When you have a piece like that, you've got to be very careful to not let the room descend into overload.


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It struck me as funny too that the ancient piece of rock was considered too contemporary for the wall unit even as I was typing it. The unit certainly has a lot of straight lines in it, but your eye is drawn to the curves and the ornate details. I think the colors in the slab work great, just needs softer details rather than the strong, straight lines that are so prominent.

Tact is a great thing. If you're invited to a dinner party and are served a dish that you absolutely can't stand, what do you do? You can say nothing and pick around the offensive food and compliment the other offerings. You can explain to your hostess that, while it looks delicious, you've never cared for the flavor of xyz. Or you can take a bite, spit it across the room while announcing it is total crap.

I could totally design a whole room around that gorgeous gramophone. Maybe Swentastic and I can design a conservatory together and share it. :)


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I'm a failure at design, but just have to say, that is one beautiful wall piece. Looks massive, substantial. Definitely grabs all the attention in a room.


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I couldn't find the white macaubas cut in the other non linear way. I don't have as much perimeter as I thought because I have added more drawers where I use to have counter so one side of kitchen wall with very small amount of counter. It is probably more analogous to two large islands.rather than a u shape with island. Will try to post plans later


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I love your wall unit. It is really a fabulous piece that you've made functional.

I also like your original slabs of marble. They don't look contemporary to me. I would stay away from metal or zinc since I think that can look too contemporary.


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I tried an experiment which changed my mind about the suitability of the first granite. I said earlier I thought the linear pattern was OK with the media center. BUT I now realize I was looking only at the wood and NOT considering the dominance of the two patterned glass doors. This image reveals why I am now certain that this would be a less than satisfactory countertop.
 photo tvcentetr_zpse656dcac.jpg

Yes, I know it will be adjacent, not part of the media center. But I now think it really is not compatible--as some others have said all along.

I think the countertop needs to be chosen with that patterned glass in mind.


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interesting photo! thanks


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Like this taj mahal better?


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Or this?


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I have to say that I like the colors and especially the darker veins in the Macaubas better. On my monitor, I see a fair amount of pink in the last two stones.
Can you call around and ask for a "cross cut" if that's indeed the technical term?
Also, when you look at your counters, are you facing the wall unit? maybe you could use the Macaubas for the perimeter and the island a different stone or even wood?


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i am starting to reconsider marble....


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Marble would be a natural with that style. There are some specific sealers mentioned on the forum that people have no food damage issues with. There are also granites substituted for their resemblance to marble if you want something less worrisome with potential for patina.

I wonder if the warmer calacatta gold would look good with the armoire.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 15:15


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The pattern of the Taj Majal I do like better. I am not seeing the pink undertone on my monitor but if it is there IRL that is a problem.


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What's the stain resistance of the Taj Mahal or the Macaubas? Have you tested them?


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i am having such a hard time picturing the slabs horizontal vs seeing them straight on.... the reason i picked those white macaubus was the colors and i thought it hard some of the "marbleness" qualities. this was the carrara slabs, the calcuta gold was very busy too


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i tested the white macaubus and it was great - basically nothing stains or etches it. no piece of the taj mahal to test.

i love the calcuta gold but so not into the chipping even if the staining and etching not an issue.

i am not a fan of the quartzs...

i am afraid of the wood in my house, we have ruined some beautiful cutting boards.


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Are the cabinets that yellow color?

I dont know but I might be inclined to do a strong countertop (I do like the Taj mahal though) to help draw attention and balance between the kitchen and the wall unit. I think the key is to avoid it being the kitchen cabinets and countertops that happen to be in the same room as that amazing entertainment center.


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I think you need to look at striking a good balance of interest with the counter too. Not simply downplay the counter by making it plain. Of course maybe the cabinets or other features already counterbalance the armoire.


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cabinets are called butterscotch it looks a bit more yellow in some pics and a little more carmel/brown in real life. island is distressed black


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Some stones, when looked at by themselves or being focused on, you might think are "busy" because there is a lot of variation and veining -- but if the veining is not big ol' streaks but more a finer network (like the last picture above) I believe that when they are installed they don't come off as busy at all -- the eye tends to blend it all in.


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I did not know the butterscotch square was your cabinet color. Very pretty! I don't think the grays or TM look good with it though. Now that calacatta gold might! I have not heard it chips more than other marbles. There have actually been some chipping threads on a variety of stones, including the manmade ones.


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I love the media center piece, I don't think marble has anything to do with it, though. Marble is Italian, fine, delicate. I associate it most with Italy, and cold British kitchens as well as old 100+ years stairs in New York brownstones where the treads are worn in the center. It is popular with this gardenweb crowd where it is paired mostly with white.

That piece is Bold and Columbian. I would go with a dark bold granite, or a honed black pearl. It would help to see the materials you are using.

My home is quite modern in style, and I have a huge vintage tiered chandelier heavy with Austrian crystals that stands out quite beautifully. You can very successfully blend old and modern.


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I'm not a purist and think the calacatta gold would look smashing, complementing the cabinetry and armoire, but I like the idea of a bold dark granite! I think it's worth checking out.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 22:33


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I'm not a designer, but I wanted to tell you what my experience with this stone has been.

I have white macaubus quartzite, and I can tell you for sure that it looks really good on top of black cabinets. I don't know if the buttercup colored cabinets would look good with the macaubus. I think white, off white, light or dark grey, dark blue and black/off black look good with this stone. But I did see one pic on Houzz that had stained brown cabinets with it which looked good.

You are right that it's easy to clean and care for. We treat it just like granite and it has not stained, chipped or etched.

It fits well with the style of my kitchen and house. My kitchen is transitional. I don't have anything as bold as your entertainment center.

All that being said, I think you should design everything around your entertainment center since you said you really like it and that it is definately staying.

I already told you I'm not a designer, but just envisioning the macaubus counter, black cabinets below, buttercup colored uppers, and the large brown entertainment center - they just don't seem to go together.

I think if I were you I'd decide which element you love the most and design around that.

If you decide the central designing element is the quartzite, and you want the black cabinets under it, then maybe you could paint the entertainment center the same distressed black. But if you decide that the stained entertainment center is your favorite element, then maybe you do stained brown cabinets on the island under the quartzite to tie in the stained look.

My semi-designer friend told me to always have elements int he room "talk" to each other. We didn't use a designer. This little bit of advice helped me out. Each finish or color has something else in the space that it talks to. If you give the entertainment center something to talk to in the kitchen (by painting it the same distressed black as the island, or having a stained element in the kitchen), then it will no longer be the elephant in the room; it will look like you always planned it to be there with your kitchen.

Sorry to go on and on. Something about this post got to me!


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