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Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Posted by KevinMP (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 28, 12 at 20:52

I've posted here before, mostly on the bathroom forum regarding my recent bathroom remodel, and I'm hoping for your continued help with this latest endeavor. My house was built in 1826, so I'm trying to keep everything traditional but obviously things need to be up to date, too.

My kitchen was remodeled by the previous owners prior to my purchase, and while they installed new cabinets that are nice in terms of features, they are not what I would have chosen. The granite is fine (polished black absolute 3 cm with half bullnose backsplash). I put in the backsplash, which is marble. The cabinets are Aristokraft in a white thermofoil with upgraded plywood construction, dovetail construction, and soft-close. Because I don't want to replace the cabinets (and can always change out the doors and drawer fronts for wood to match the boxes down the road), I'm going to stick with them for what I'm now considering. As you can see from the pictures below, there's an "open" wall across from the stove/refrigerator wall that is 93" long and 99" high. the space between the door jambs and the corner of that wall is 24", just enough to fit cabinets and give me the storage (and extra counter space) I and the kitchen need.

The quote I've received to put in two 18" x 96" pantry cabinets with 4 pull out drawers in each bottom half, two 27" three-drawer base cabinets, and two 27" two-door upper wall cabinets (with filler where necessary) and a 59" black absolute countertop to house a coffee maker, etc.

The quote I received for the cabinets and granite with taxes and everything is $3,900 and install will be about $1K (I'm estimating from having used this contractor before). So for about $5K, I can have the following (I apologize for the rendering, as I took it from Lowe's online 3D tool and the laptop screen creates a haze). Let me know what you think and whether it's worth it. I think it is, but the only thing that gives me pause is whether to make the two 27" base cabinets a space for two stools or 6 drawers. I'm leaning toward the six drawers. Thank you all.

(Feel free to comment on the wall color, as it is likely to change. It's currently BM Webster Green, which I like. And given that the kitchen will be mostly white with a lot of natural and electric lighting, it's not too dark. I'm just not sure I like it with the dining room next door, which is Pratt and Lambert Wythe House Gray (a medium slate blue, historic Williamsburg color).)

Room as it exists now:

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Renderings of what it could look like:

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

RE: cabinets - I think that it is worth it and I'd go with six drawers. One thing to think about, if the cabinets you would have wanted are painted white with wood doors, get them now instead of the thermofoil. They don't have to match. Actually, they don't even really have to be white, although with the size of the room, it might look best.

RE: paint color - if you want green, consider one with more grey in it, and a less saturated hue. I use Ralph Lauren paints, and greens that might work for you include
Ardsley

Hazel woods

I have never recommended purple before, but with the gray, it could be gorgeous.
Beekman

I would choose a light blue with gray overtones.
Vermeer

Shoreline Blue

All will go beautifully with your cabinets, granite and bs.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Take them to the ceiling and don't feel like you have to be a prisoner to using thermofoil. I'd deliberately contrast it with something in a wood tone, like maybe quartersawn oak or a natural maple. Use the black counters to unify it with the white, and use a white 6x6 (more traditional) backsplash with a black liner for a backsplash.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I ... seee.... KITTIES!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!
Every house needs a kitty or two. :)

Anyway. I haven't a darned thing worthwhile to offer.
I just want to see a picture of your house, outside. 1826?
May I ask where you are?

Your space looks beautiful. I agree with a grayer tone to your beautiful green. It is a bit more relaxing.

Kitties!!!!!


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I'm in downtown Philadelphia. I'll have to find a picture.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

KevinMP, you're current kitchen was really nicely remodeled. The poster above had some great color suggestions as your walls do look like they need a softer tone. I would add the wall of cabinets in a heartbeat and would make them white to keep the small space from closing in on you visually. It looks like you definately need the pantry and more storage. Only you can decide the storage vs. bar issue. Do you have anywhere nearby for additional storage if you go with the bar? How much do you dislike always having to take things into the dining area to eat?
Please post when your remodel is complete and take some daytime photos. I'm wondering what your view is like outside of that lovely bay window.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I would go with the drawers instead of stools. I love the look and the idea of all that storage in a small city kitchen. As long as you have a seating/dining area nearby, go with the drawers. I also agree with the others who say you don't have to stay with themofoil. A medium to light maple would be a great alternative. On a side note, I love Philly! I moved out of Center City 10 yrs ago, and I still miss it.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Storage as I wouldn't want to sit at a stool facing a wall/away from the action.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

As you can see above (and below), the dining room is right off of the kitchen. The issue is that some people would use the dining room as their living room and use the second story front room (which I use as my living room) as a bedroom, along with the two bedrooms on the third floor. I think my set up makes the most sense and gives you two good size bedrooms on the third floor, a good sized, private living room away from the street and right off of the only bathroom, and a good sized dining room with a kitchen with lots of storage. To smash a table into the kitchen would be difficult, and who would really want to have two stools against the wall (but no dining room). So I still think the drawers are the best option.

As for the thermofoil, it's not my preference, but it's really easy to clean and doesn't chip like white painted cabinets. That's the only plus really. I would have gone with a charcoal or taupe-grayish stained knotty alder or rustic cherry if I had done it myself, and would not have chosen the black absolute. But there's something to be said for white and black kitchens. They don't offend anyone or get trapped in fads with wood and stain types or too-personal preferences such as glazed cabinets. And having just shelled out $26K for my bathroom, I'm not inclined to open up the bottomless pit of a kitchen cabinet remodel, and I doubt that I'd ever get around to replacing the main cabinets if I went with something else for the wall unit. Everyone (including someone I may try to sell the house to down the road) would see it as a half-baked project. I'd rather just have custom painted doors made down the road (the all-wood construction of the boxes and drawers provides that option).

So, here are a couple of additional pictures to give you an idea of the style of the house, and the layout issues re: the dining room/living room, and some early morning daylight for the back patio (if you're thinking that's a small patio, it's one of the biggest I've ever seen in this city, especially for the house's age). As I mentioned, the kitchen paint color may change, and one option (although I'm not a fan of sticking with the same colors everywhere) would be to use the same color as I used in the bathroom (below) BM Mt. Saint Anne, which contrasts well with the living room (BM Phillipsburg Blue) and upstairs (Pratt and Lambert Whetherbern's Tavern Bisque).

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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Adding the cabinets and counter are totally worth it. Also agree that the cabinets should go up to the ceiling. The cost of doing this shouldn't be too much more. Your storage will improve tremendously!


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I spot a cavalier! We have one also :) I don't have anything to add except your home is so charming. What a great job you did on the bathroom, where did you get the vanity?


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Thanks. Believe it or not, I bought the vanity on ebay. It's made by Silkroad Exclusive, which you can buy on other web sites, but I got it for a steal at less than $1K delivered. It came with a cream-colored, vein-cut travertine and ivory sinks, which I scrapped because I wanted something else and oil rubbed bronze hardware, which I replaced with Restoration Hardware hardware in polished nickel to more match the chrome. Even with those changes it was worth the cost for the storage it provides, all-wood construction, and the look I was going for.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I almost hate to bring it up, because it's a more complicated option, but you can have a seating space AND have your storage. Here's what I'm thinking. There aren't any numbers anywhere so I'm guestimating that this will work. I could be wrong, or you may not want to go to the trouble, but I probably would.

In image 5 of your first post, you have an L with sink, two cabs (1 narrow 3-drawer, and 1 standard), and a dw "delineating" the entry to the kitchen (from the dr, I think).

You can pull out the two cabs to the right of the sink, and place the dw there. Then, place the 3-drawer cab next to the wall on the outside L-corner facing the kitchen entry (and your new cabinets). You can leave the shorter dw end panel in place for support, or re-use it for the end of the dw in its new spot and install turned legs to support the peninsula end. Then trim back or remove the peninsula panel that lines the entry side of the peninsula, and you have a deep dining peninsula where you can place a few stools facing into the kitchen toward the window. When seated, people will be in the entryway of the kitchen, but the empty space under the counter lets you push seating out of the way when not in use.

You can then re-purpose the small standard cabinet as part of your new cabinet run. You could also install the standard cabinet next to its 3-drawer buddy, and have a single stool under the peninsula, but that would be a little lonely. One last option - you could install a 24" wide, 12" deep cabinet where the dw is, leaving a 12" overhang for seating, giving you even more storage.

Anyway, just a thought. It'd be a clever use of space.

You're going to have new cabs installed anyway. If you're interested, ask your installer to give you an estimate for moving these pieces as well. You loose no storage, and add a breakfast bar.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Hi,
I think your plan with the 2 drawer bases is good and will work well.

One other idea that might work is moving the fridge to that wall so you get more space beside the stove and guests can get things from the fridge without going right into your cooking space. You would need a counter depth or built in fridge (which you could "hide" behind cab doors to keep it even more "period"). This idea is project scope creep (gallop?) and budget impacting but it might be worth it?

I have a stove and fridge in the same configuration as you and I feel it is less than optimal.

Your house is great and your bathroom stunning!
tc


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Definitely worth it !!!!!

Love EAM44's idea to have your stools and your storage too, including adding the 12" deep cabinet leaving a 12" overhang for 2 stools at the peninsula. Although it would end up being wider than 24" with some of the space hidden behind the side of the dishwasher and only the visible doors 24". Use the narrow 3-drawer stack, but repurpose the small standard cabinet elsewhere (closet?), or on Craigslist.

Love the new storage ! Make your new upper wall cabinets 14-15" deep instead of standard 12" deep. Many things dont quite fit in a 12" deep upper. And, if you think you might store your pots & pans vertical "on edge", make sure the clear open height of at least one of your drawers is tall enough for the width of your widest pan. Our tallest drawer is 10.5" clear, so I cannot store my 12" skillets, lids, splatter screen, griddle, etc on edge. They have to be stacked on top of each other in the next drawer. : (

Another vote for staying with all white.

Google pan drawer divider images
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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Even better news today. Aristokraft has finally come out with painted white cabinets that will match the existing wood boxes housing my thermofoil cabinet doors/drawer fronts. And the cost to upgrade from thermofoil to painted maple is only $200 for the wall unit. Better news: I can buy the same size overlay painted maple doors and drawer fronts as my thermofoil ones and replace them all at the same time without the labor of ripping out the existing cabinets.

To save money and better match the other woodwork in the house, I'm inclined to go with Aristokraft's Landen door style, which is an inset panel with slight ovolo moulding. Here are some sample photos I've found on the internet in the Landen painted white.

What do you all think? Seems like the right decision to me. I've also decided to go with 42" uppers on the wall unit, to carry everything to the ceiling. I'll think about moving the dishwasher but that doesn't seem feasible given the existing cabinet structure, which has one of those corner, dead-end cabinets (not to mention they had to drill a hole in my wood floor to accommodate the drain for the dishwasher, which would then be exposed).

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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Forgot the most important one so you can see the drawer fronts. This will make a big difference, I think.

LandenMWiD2


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Wow wow wow.
Your bathroom is gorgeous! I see where you've gone with a more subtle, grayed color there. I think the other colors are a bit too "primary" although they're far from that.

And that is excellent news about the cabinets! Can you go a softer white than stark? It feel it would compliment your home and colors better. Your home looks like something out of Alexandria or Leesburg, VA. Gorgeous.

I have home envy.
(Love your kitty & puppy!)


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Already getting out of control. I just bought a floor model Thermador warming drawer for $300 (a steal) so go into the wall unit, which should work well since I'm using it as sort of a buffet area. Still waiting on final quote on the doors and drawer fronts in the white painted maple, but I've received a maximum quote of $1K, so I'm expecting my other place to come in at about $750, which seems extremely reasonable to me for 9 cabinet doors and 5 drawer fronts. The Amerock Rochdale cup pulls I have on the existing drawer fronts (http://www.amerock.com/decorative/cup-pull/bp53715g10-cup-pull.html) aren't too expensive and are listed online for less than $3 per pull, and I'll either stick with the brushed nickel/glass knobs currently on the existing doors or switch to all Rochdale knobs, which I haven't been able to see in-person locally.

CEFreeman, I don't think I want to go as cream as the moulding in my dining room (adjacent to the kitchen), but I'll think about it. It would require painting the existing maple boxes. It's worth a thought though and would likely tie together well with the dining room trim. If anyone has a good example of what cream/off white looks like with stainless steel in a more traditional application, I'm all eyes. Here's what the cabinets would look like in the maple painted in what Aristokraft calls "antique":

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Finally, does anyone think I should put an 18-inch, single-door wall cabinet on the wall where the magnetic knife racks are? I think it might make that are too congested, and it seems that it would be a little awkward to reach a cabinet in that area.


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RE: Come back and help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the

Actually, according to the website, this picture is what the antique painted looks like, with the kitchen picture representing the white painted. So it appears more subtle.

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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

My $0.25-worth is get the cabinets! The price is fair, and it will add immeasurable value--functional and aesthetic. In a year, you'll wonder why you didn't do it earlier. My only suggestion is to consider changing wall colors in the small space. Dark, saturated colors offer sometimes striking aesthetics, but they almost always make a room seem smaller and darker. If it were me, I'd change the paint color as part of the work. Good luck!


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Kevin, we added a smaller counter when we redid our kitchen and really love it, even though it is not even a full 24 inch depth.

My one suggestion for you is to be sure to get a couple of electrical outlets put in. I know you have the microwave over the stove, but if you think you MIGHT ever move it over there, I'd get a dedicated circuit added now as well while the electrician is there and in the walls anyway.

My microwave is in the wall essentially in the bank of cabinets to the right of your niche, btw. See 4 pictures down of the remodeled pix.

Here is a link that might be useful: Colorfast's nearly done kitchen


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Thanks for the advice on the microwave and wall color. As I mentioned in the OP, the wall color will change, likely to a lighter blue/gray like the bathroom and in the same family as the dining room walls and ceiling (both of which are blues).

Nobody has any good pictures of cream cabinets and stainless steel appliances? Please don't make me have to scour the forum to find them!


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Now help me with the backsplash

The latest issue, the backsplash. Can it stay?

I received a sample of the door and drawer fronts in the style and color I ended up ordering, and I had the paint color and sheen matched so that I can start painting the old maple boxes to accommodate the replacement door and drawer fronts. (As you know, the new wall unit will be ordered prepainted from the factory.)

Anyhow, the new issue is whether the backsplash can stay. I have to fix a few grout areas that cracked and replace two tiles, but I'm inclined to keep it. It's the carrara-like subway 2"x4" tiles from Lowes, which are not expensive ($10 per square foot), but the labor will be more than I want to spend. Let me know if you think it has to go.

I've included below pictures of the peninsula boxes, which I've painted already and the new door as well as pictures of the door with the backsplash and counter so that you can see the contrast. Keep in mind that my wall color will be Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Ann in Aura's kitchen/bath paint (a special scrubbable, moisture and mildew resistant matte paint)--the same paint I used in my bathroom above:

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Also keep in mind that I'm replacing the range with a Dacor Dr30DNG, which I just bought, and likely replacing the over the range microwave/vent with a standard pro style hood like this:

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Here are the new paint/cabinet photos:

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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

You have a very beautiful house.
I like the new off white color and if it were my home I would keep the backsplash.
By the way, I also have mont set anne in my bathroom with wainscott on the bottom. I love it.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Thanks. Really, no other input on this backsplash? Don't make me start a new thread...


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Ok ,I'll play the backsplash game.

It looks off on my monitor. The new color seems warmer than the gray of your beautiful backsplash. I love the new doors, new color, everything!
But, I would wait to change the backsplash right now. See how it looks in your house in the real light of day with your new doors.
I love your backsplash, in fact it's what I wanted but my granite didn't play well with marble.... I wouldnt want to tear out your backsplash unless I was sure I had something affordable that was much better.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Forgot to add how much I like everything in your beautiful historic house.


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I've been following this exciting thread. Very lovely home and SO happy Aristocraft recently changed their line to include white and antique. What wood are they using, birch, paint grade maple?

I'm confused though which one you ordered and photo posted-the white or antique white. Maybe it's my computer screen, but it looks more creamy than white. I see it picked up the cabinet color the marble back splash grout, but not so much in the white and gray hues of the marble. Could you post the lighter white cabinet door (or is that it)?

From a distance however, and with lighting colors change. That's the problem of looking close up and on a computer.

Great taste. I can see you're having fun at this. Makes for a nice kitchen and lasting Feng Shui, having fun while you work on it.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

I am going with the Aristokraft Landen door style in maple painted in the "antique" finish. I decided against the white because it's a little too stark and doesn't really match the other paint on the trim in the house. And they only charged me $1K to get all new doors/drawer fronts for the existing cabinetry. So with $60 of paint, I can paint the old maple boxes and ditch the thermofoil doors/drawer fronts. And everything will then match the new wall unit I've ordered.

You're all kind of right about the marble backsplash. It's a bit gray. The folks at the tile store said that by the time I have the blue-gray-green walls and the stainless steel with the black granite, the off white cabinets will likely look fine with the existing backsplash.

I just cannot seem to justify spending over a thousand dollars on a backsplash. I put the existing one in myself for $225. But I fear that taking it out will be a disaster.


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RE: Help me decide: Wall Unit in Kitchen Worth the Cost?

Also, you asked about possibly putting in an 18" cabinet on the wall where the knives currently are. I definitely would do that to balance the look of the two uppers on the opposite side of the pass through. Then if you could add some nice trim, moulding around the pass through that matches your existing trim, it would carry the look through and give that wall (and pass through, which I used to have too) a very finished look. Nice.

Also, that 30" Dacor Distinctive Pro dual fuel range is very nice! 18k, two 15k, one 9K Btu gas sealed burners;continuous grates, digital illumination display, 3.9 cu ft oven with large window, halogen lights, convection bake, reverse cooling to keep door cool, and self clean (follow those instructions). Three year warranty. I've looked through the Dacor line and specs. I have a 2000 Dacor cooktop, lower btu's that has worked great.I hope you'll let us know in the appliance forum how it cooks, if the fan is reasonable level (common complaint to ranges). Good choice changing to a vent hood rather than OTC MW.


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