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Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Posted by Steph2000 (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 9, 12 at 14:03

Our remodel is (thankfully, I guess, given I haven't made any decisions) going really slow. At this point, we are leaning towards DYI. We DID manage to get the beam in last week and were able to put it in the ceiling instead of have it exposed. The final inspection on the heating system is going to happen tomorrow - my partner is in the trades and switched out the gas furnace for a boiler that also works as a water heater and can connect to solar panels down the road. Then, the electrical box will be moved so we can tear down the wall separating the kitchen from the "living room" (greeting area, I think it is more aptly sized).

It's MY job to make the design decisions. As many of you know, I've been waffling on layouts for over a year and keep jumping around from a U to a L + island to even considering a galley. I'm still not finalized on what I want and we have decided to hold off on making a final layout decision until the wall comes down and we can play with templates and really visualize what we are working with regarding space. That's a good thing for me, I think, as I am spatially challenged and my vision is always bigger than the actual space I have, if that makes any sense.

I'm also jumping around on appliances. Tall and skinny fridge so I can have a pantry pull-out vs French door counter depth fridge with no pantry. Gas range with no backsplash versus convection/electric flat-top for cleanability. Double sink like I have because I really use both bowls and won't have a second sink in the remodel versus single bowl sink. Stainless steel hood on a blank wall versus a lower profile cabinet looking vent surrounded by cabinet uppers. 18" DW versus 24" DW.

Then, of course, is the part I really care about. The look. The materials. The cabinets. I go into stores and I just do not see anything that really appeals to me. Home Depot and Lowe's displays primarily make me feel uninspired and depressed. Miles of countertop choices and I like, maybe, 3. Went to my first granite yard and didn't find anything that really grabbed me, but two or three that I could live with and work with, including a black leathered stone, a whitish stone that had grey and green swirls and a linear stone that I liked except it leaned purplish to me.

Meanwhile, I fall in love with various finished GW kitchens. I am exposed to various tile backsplashes that I swoon for. They are not the same look. Not. One. Of. Them! Well, except they have at least some white cabinets generally. (I already have white cabinets with chocolate brown counters - and 3 family members telling me white is totally out while my partner whispers in my ear about paint durability and cleanability).

I can't even seem to commit to style. I live in a 50's ranch. So, I'm narrowed down to leaning simple cottage look or leaning a tad modern without going too far off in that direction as I do have traditional mantels and paned windows/french doors I am not going to switch out.

My aunt is remodeling her kitchen in Chicago. She decided she didn't want to do all this so she hired a designer. Had to do it all anyway. Hired a second one. Still having to do it all - and involving experienced family members to come up with better ideas. So, she is forking out money for nothing. Not so interested in that...

I enjoy the options, the eye candy and even, mostly, the process so far. However, I really have to get out of daydream/research mode and get mobilized.

Can anyone else relate? Anyone out there have suggestions as to how I can get a focus and at least begin, in some kind of systematic way, to move towards an actual plan?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

I think when you're starting from scratch it's so much harder because anything is possible.

Here's what I've found helpful when tackling various home renovations. Go to Houzz (if you have an iPad it's super easy on their app) and start whipping through photos of kitchens. If you like it at all, save it to an ideabook (if there's something specific you like, make a note of that when you save it, but otherwise just hit "add to ideabook" ). After you've gone through so many kitchen pictures you think you'll puke, go back to your ideabook and start flipping through the pictures and see what pattern develops. It sort of amazed me what I found I liked by using that method, but I really feel like it helped me decide which direction to go on a lot of things.

and yes ... I can totally relate!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

I can relate as I have been doing the same for several months. If you go back and read my posts, you'd think I have a multiple-personality disorder. I don't (have it) but I have been driving myself so crazy that I am close to getting it, LOL.

It is a common disease among the newcomers, I think.

I finished most of my bathrooms remodel before finding the GW, thank goodness, or I'd have never finished it. Too much info might be a curse, IMO. For example, I love SS counters and I love copper counters, what do I do?

"She decided she didn't want to do all this so she hired a designer. Had to do it all anyway. Hired a second one. Still having to do it all - and involving experienced family members to come up with better ideas. So, she is forking out money for nothing. "

I know all about it!!!

A KD is not going to decide for you where you want to keep your forks or whether you like Shaker style.

My only advice is "do not rush it". It is not something that can be done in a hurry. Step back and take a deep breath, it will come to to you - eventually.

At least, this is my solution in order to keep my sanity, my marriage and my job. :-)

GL!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Sailor girl is right, starting from nothing is very hard.
You have endless possibilities- you need to look at them all for fear of picking one and then finding a better one around the next corner. I just read a great book(after hearing some of a TED talk on NPR). The author is Barry Schwartz, 'The Paradox of Choice- why less is more' It is on this exact topic, it was really interesting.
So have no fear you are not alone.

Here is a link that might be useful: TED talk video


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

From your description, what I would do is an L with island. [you've opened it up with wall removal,right?]. Focus on the island-looks/size/features,because you'll get inspired-or if it doesn't work in the space,you'll find out and then you'll have to pick a different scheme-you do have to commit. Next, do your perimeter L with main appliances/counter runs/etc.Then see how the island and L lay together-tweaks and fine tuning occurr.You'll get there.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Once you make any decision you foreclose all the other options that still existed before that fateful decision - this is why some of us spin. Not a help with layout but I am a big believer that your budget is your friend - if you generally stick to one it will make your decisions for you - if I go with x then I can't get y etc.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Oh, I can TOTALLY relate to this post and it relieved me to read that I'm not the only one. I especially liked hearing that it's a common disease for newcomers around here.

I think where I'm struggling may be where you're struggling.....what do I START with in terms of design? Do I find a cabinet (stained? particular color?) that I love first? Do I find an inspirational fabric? Do I find "the" backsplash? Counter color? I can't figure out which to focus on first, so I spin in pages and pages and pages of photos in Houzz, not really knowing what the correct direction is right for what works in my house.

So I'm no help, other than I'd invite you over to commensurate over a glass of wine. :)


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

The good thing about renovations taking so long is that you usually have the time to really figure out what it is you love. I would suggest to keep looking at finished kitchens and as many materials as you can until you find at least one thing you LOVE that will give you a starting point. Starting from scratch is wonderful but can be paralyzing--- especially for someone like me (I mean, most of us here on GW). It seems almost no decision comes easily without hours and hours (and months) of researching, reading, etc...

I marvel over people that can just say ok, i'll take that counter, and those cabinets, and that backsplash-- all within about a week!

Just take many deep breaths and look for things that just sing to you...

Good luck!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

I also started from scratch. We also spun our wheels for a while on absolutely everything until hubby and I came up with one idea. Once we decide on one thing we loved, the rest of the kitchen design fell in place around it.

I wish I could tell you how to come up with the one thing.

I have realized that I am not really a "normal" kitchen type of person, so going to Lowes and Home Depot did absolutely nothing for me. I did the same thing as you at first, I wandered, but was "grabbed" by nothing. Then I realized it was because none of it was really me, none of it would fit into the house we were creating. Once I came to grips with that I was much better off. We are going to be using a refinished bowling alley floor as the top to our island. That is way more me than granite - plus seeing as we are building the island ourselves it means we don't have to hire someone to lay our countertop.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

While we just updated our kitchen (new countertop, mostly new appliances, new window, new paint, and slightly changed island), making choices was still tough. I can only imagine how the free-floating must feel when there isn't something in place to tether you. Plus, you have the added advantage (disadvantage?) of opening a wall -- which, as you say, absolutely will change your perspective on the kitchen and its relationship to other rooms.

So, instead of focusing on the look of the kitchen, would it help to start with what you want to do in the kitchen? What kinds and types of spaces do you want/need: kneading, rolling out dough, prepping and for how many cooks? That may also help you decide about surfaces -- do you need a smooth one for cookies; a wooden one for bread? It can also help to think about levels: do you want a lower section for kneading dough, rolling out dough?

This approach clearly won't help make all the look and feel decsions, but it might give you an anchoring point. Of course, if you've already considered all these things, just ignore this post!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

As an architect, the most helpful thing for me and my colleagues when zeroing in on a design direction is a look book. Go through architectural and interiors design magazines, books and websites and copy any photos that you like. Soon a thread of continuity will emerge about the images. The big box stores depress me design wise too. Reach high for design concepts and then assess your budget and see how you can acheive that look on your budget with a mix of high and low options.
I think the cabinetry decision is the biggest one that influences the other decisions. So perhaps you create a palette board around two of your favorite cabinet options (i.e. cabinet door, countertop and backsplash). This is what most design firms would do to help firm up a direction.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Get off the Internet.

I picked up a design mag recently and was amazed. Even though shelter books do tend to follow the same trends, they show a much wider and broader range of possibilities than you can find here, on Houzz or BHG online. People tend to repetitively repost and repin the same kinds of kitchens over and over, and it all just turns into white noise after a while. Look at magazines and try to visit real to-the-trade showrooms.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

You're my best spinning buddy, so I have to comment.

Your description of 50's ranch with simple cottage and a tad modern reminded me of firsthouse_mp:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0614293210436.html

That's not necessarily a look you want, but you can see how something like that would work.

I think you're pretty close on design. You really want that pantry, so go for the adorable smaller fridge (provided it will give you enough storage). I'd save the final layout decisions until you pick a cabinet company and know your constraints from them. Go to kitchen showrooms and see what they offer. If you don't see anything that grabs you investigate mail order or local custom builders.

Focus on what is most important to you. For me, it was materials that would last. Black leathered granite will stand the test of time. Painted cabinets can be touched up and repainted. A wood floor can be refinished. To choose the particulars I decided I had to have a blue-green-gray wall color so I picked what would go best with that. For you it might be a tile that you swoon over. Choose your favorite one or three and see what you can actually find in your area. Then think about what cabinets you might put with them.

I've found my painted cabinets to be very cleanable. Maybe moreso than my old wood cabinets. If white is "out" or you want something different, look at two shades of gray. A lighter gray will pretend to be white without being white. I love these colors (although I know the style isn't what you'd want):

That wall cabinet is actually a light gray, but it sure looks white in the light. I'm pretty sure that's a honed dark gray granite, something like steel grey, which is inexpensive. Even a very inexpensive granite like uba tuba looks pretty special when it is honed or leathered.

Hope this helps!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Thanks for the morning feedback. It's nice to know I'm not alone and get some ideas going about how to get past the idea stage. The conversation and wine over at love-to-dream's is great, by the way, if anyone wants to join us. It's rather nice to have company along the way - especially if no one in your real life is at all interested in, well, obsessive kitchen discussion!

@wi-sailorgirl - I do spend a fair amount of time at Houzz and have some idea books. I also have extensive GW files of inspirational kitchens, features and possible layouts. I guess I'm not finding it pointing me in a direction yet, but I'll step back and take a longer look and see if that helps illuminate!

@ eleena - Glad to know I'm not alone! It sounds like you have not found your investment with a designer to be particularly helpful? I appreciate the advice to go slow. On the other hand, I actually think one of the things that might force me to move faster would be having a GC instead of this DYI nonsense. I guess I even go back and forth on that! On one hand, the money saved through DYI is pretty substantial and my partner has all the skills, though we'd hire out some parts. On the other hand, partner is busy, I am a dreamer and a GC would force us into mobilization and deadlines and structure which MIGHT be worth it.

@herbflavor - I appreciate the layout advice and have posted various options over the past year - more will no doubt be coming once that wall comes down and I can template out what I am working with, as I know my vision about how much space it is going to open up is just not real in this small house. An L + island would allow me to put a pantry on the end of the cabinets opposite a fullsize fridge on the other side instead of going with a tall, skinny fridge with a pullout next to it. However, the island doesn't seem to play as nice with the new backsplash window or sit in the best spot given the 2 traffic patterns required - and many people have commented that a U seems better for me given it blocks off the kitchen floor from the front door. Definitely holding off on that until the wall actually comes down and I do think that will help me commit at least to layout. (Please, please, let it help lol)

@ caryscott - You make a good point that budget does eliminate a lot of options. I also think you are right that making one decision forecloses on many other things I might love. The place where I see that the most in my situation is counter/tile choices. I find a great tile, then try to imagine what that means for counters and it almost invariably just doesn't work with the other top choices. Maybe I should ask for help with creating some idea boards...

@lovetodream - the wine and reassurance that I am not alone is more help than you can know. Promise! And it is so much easier to give you advice, strangely, than myself. (What's up with THAT?) I think if you (me) could just start with SOMETHING, the rest would maybe start to fall into place. Or, start a few idea boards with a few favorite choices and have a few options to mull over instead of a million? At the least, we'd end up narrowing the field and having SOME choices made, likely. Or, on the other hand, we can open up another bottle and talk about it some more...

@2LittleFishies - I agree, the good news is the bad news here. It's nice to have time to really research, ponder, take breaks, etc. However, I'm really not sure, objectively speaking, how much I've gained from the time and additional research. Minus some big moments, like seeing BrooklynGalley's Liebherr tall and skinny fridge and realizing I -could- have a pantry with a U if I went that way. What ends up happening is I look at various kitchens and say "Ooooohhhh, ahhhhh! I love that! I could totally just replicate those pendants, cabinets and tile and be perfectly happy!" Then tomorrow I see another kitchen and do the same thing... I dream of being one of those efficient, clear-headed decision-makers. lol

@Kali615 - Do you mind if I ask what one thing you started with that your DH loved? I really do think that's probably the thing - to get a general direction started with that first decision. I've also decided the box stores are probably not my friend in any of this... though I am going to go into the new Lowes and HD that were just built and see if they have anything that appeals before I totally give that up. Your island sounds like it is going to be great. How did you come across that bowling alley wood? Craig's List?

@kashmi - I appreciate the functionality questions. Once that wall comes down, I'm going to mock up a kitchen and play around with how I want to work in the "new space". GW is so great for considering those questions. The truth is, there are 2 of us and neither of us are huge cooks. However, I'm really hoping that changes SOMEWHAT with a new kitchen and this isn't all for superficial reasons. lol

@ ArchitectMamma - This idea board is definitely something I have been contemplating. I haven't learned how to use the on-line options people around GW have been using and I struggle to find all the pieces and parts of what I want. It's really getting to be about time to take it to that step, I think.

@ Marcolo - Good advice. I wonder how much I could get done in my life period if I was off the net. lol Both you and ArchitectMamma are recommending some of the same resources and it's a good suggestion. I do try to peek through magazines but generally end up not buying because nothing is really grabbing me. However, I absolutely agree that the same stuff recirculates on-line. That's one of the reasons I got bored at Houzz. I just am not finding a lot of trade showrooms in Anchorage. I need to look harder and actually get out there. I admit to a little terror that I am going to find "the perfect stone" in some obscure granite yard way before I am in a position to use it and be haunted by it forever...

What I need, ultimately, is a whip and a ruler to keep myself (get myself) on task. lol

And as a final note of irony, I found a thread yesterday through GW on Shiloh cabinets. There was a link to a kitchen I really liked. A little cottage - a little modern. And, I thought to myself, "Self, you could just do this. You like it. It would go with the house great. They are well made. They are well reviewed. It's a good look." Then I went to the website. They don't have dealers east of the Mississippi, basically. I'm in Alaska. And so it goes...


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Hi Steph2000, can you post the picture of the kitchen you like? I'm sure the GW kitchen community can chime in with suggestions on how to achieve the look without going with the actual brand.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

@ Mpagmom - Not surprising, we were posting at the same time. (What is it with us? lol) Thanks for chiming in, procrastination buddy...even though that title doesn't really seem to fit you any more. ;)

See, this is a perfect example of what I mean. I look at that kitchen and my first reaction is "Ooo. Great. Yes, I'll just do that." I'm curious about why you think it's not for me. Minus the light, I guess. I mean, if I walked into a house for sale that looked like that, I'd be all over it. Although it is true that gray makes me twitchy because I always hated it and I fear I have gotten sucked into the gray trend and will live to regret it. The three-tiered island on what appears to small room is interesting. I would NOT have thought I would like it, but actually, I really do. That is one great kitchen, firsthouse did a great job. Wish I had taller ceilings, and you just know I am going to end up on that thread, purusing all the pics.

It's a great example of what is happening. Look, for example, at how different it is from the 'modern cottage' I was drawn to yesterday with those Shiloh cabinets:

Photobucket

That is from theanimala's reveal in January 2010 and recent Shiloh thread. I wouldn't use all the same features, and was really leaning towards frameless cabinets to squeeze the most out of this small space, but I thought those cabinets were pretty neat with a modern touch and yet cottage doors (especially on the pantries).

This happens like 3 times a week...

Wish I had these tall ceilings. Or just normal sized would do! Oh, I already said that...

I've looked into Barkers and Cliq a bit lately for mail-order cabinet options. They both have some things to recommend them, and Barkers just started offering one white paint option. I really don't want to paint them myself or hire a painter. We did that with our current cabinets and, while it was great for a long time, it's chippy and worn and I want a factory finish this time, I think. I think it's worth the extra money to do that, assuming I don't end up custom (how weird a circle that would be). I'm less sold on Ikea but it isn't totally out of the question. I need to see a white Kitchenmade kitchen in real life, or at least on display. All of which proves how far away I am from budget commitments and cabinet choices, right? lol

I walked into one showroom and the woman, who snobbily looked up from behind the counter 3 miles away, said as I walked into the door, "Expect to spend 20,000 on our cabinets alone". I laughed. And left. After poking around and bugging her with my lurking, no doubt.

The materials thing is rough. I think both of us want a quality counter and are willing to suck it up for that. The flooring is tough given it is wet and snowy Alaska, we are on a cement slab and I want a wood look throughout the whole public space. We keep getting encouraged to go with a vinyl wood look. Engineered hardwood is not totally off the table, but solid hardwood apparently is. We went through an open house that had a great laminate but laminate is discouraged. I'm kinda stumped there, but I'm almost sure I want a medium brown floor. I COULD possibly be convinced to go very, very blond given how light it makes things - if we go a certain direction in the kitchen. I love the grayed out, old, worn wood looks that are coming out now for flooring, but worry it is trendy and I would get tired of it, so I'd probably keep that to the bathroom or something.

Not sure if you caught it, but when I went to the granite yard, they had a leathered black granite my partner was fascinated by. I was so suprised to find that in Alaska for some reason. I just don't know if I want white cabinets with a black top given I currently have white cabinets with a chocolate brown counter. However, it MIGHT make backsplash decisions easier?

I still like that green tile that has variations of color. I just don't know about what counter would go with it and how it would flow with the rest of the house for the next upteen years. For some reason, I see it easier with light wood cabinets and a white counter.

IF we do it ourselves, we COULD do it in pieces. Meaning, we could install all the cabinets but leave the stove wall blank. Once the rest is up, I can see if I want a single big hood on that wall tiled up to the ceiling or if I want a wall of uppers on the second wall. It drags it out longer, but I'm really not very good visually, even with the help of these 3D design programs.

In any case, this is sure an interesting exercise...

Thanks for chiming in!


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

@petra66 - You were reading my mind. :) Here's the picture. Not sure how Shiloh compares to the competition, but I hear the prices are competitive?

Of course, now I am liking mpagmom's picture. lol


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

First, post some pictures of your house. Exterior, interior. Focus on architecture more than decor.

Next: Post ten pictures of kitchens you like. Make them as different as you want. You don't have to justify.

Then we'll have the chance to look for common themes.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Okay, Marcolo. Exactly what I need - an assignment. It may take a day or two given my crazy work schedule for the next 24+ hours.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Steph, I don't mind sharing at all.

Hubby and I are renovating and fixing up a house that has been in his family for almost a hundred years. The house itself is about 300 years old. So we knew we didn't want a ton of new modern stuff in it. So we spend a lot of time in reclamation warehouses trying to find more doors and fixtures and such to put in the addition we added that will go with the old part of the house and keep continuity throughout. In our ventures we do a lot of poking around and seem to find a lot of really cool old shutters and small windows. Also, around here, every place has these stained glass panels that used to go over the doors in the city. People buy them now and hang them in windows as decoration.

So, our one big thing was a built in along one wall using these reclaimed shutters and windows. Some open shelves, some closed using the most unique shutters and small windows we can find. One really cool stained glass piece in the middle containing my wine glass lite up from behind and a built in wine rack below. This would take care of so many of our storage needs as our kitchen is only 10 x 15, has 2 exterior doors, 2 interior doors and a ceiling that is only 6' 9" to the sub floor, so upper cabinets are out of the question. We drew it up to be pretty for my overly (as hubby says) extensive cookbook collection, but to hide the too many cooking gadgets. Everything that needs to be hidden has a nook with doors and everything that is pretty can be shown and the nooks are offset and sort of random. (it helps that we like to build things)

As far as the bowling alley floor, I found pics of others online after doing some searching for using terms like "reclaimed kitchens" and "untraditional kitchen materials". To be honest I am not sure which. I have found many for sale and many people have done this, most recently my friends bar used one and it is gorgeous! You just have to be sure you get the right portion of the floor, part of it is made of pine the rest of maple. Some want the arrow markings on the floor, I am not going for that look, I just want the wood. We also have the benefit of not having to please anyone but ourselves. We are never going to sell this house. It will be passed down to our children, so I don't worry about resale value when I do anything. Not many people can say that.

Don't get me wrong, I am not completely against modern things. I have modern appliance and I love to cook on them. My house in the end will be a mish mash of old and new. I just can't bring myself to put the "standard" kitchen into this house. I DO wish there were more on the market that wasn't so "normal". To me everything seems to be by such a standard formula it is very hard to find anything that is even slightly outside of what is considered normal without spending an arm and a leg. I did a lot of searching for a unfit kitchen in the beginning and it was almost impossible just to find pics of actual unfit kitchens. Everything was cabinets they tried to call unfit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bowling alley countertop


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

Can't wait to see the results of your assignment.

I pointed out the kitchen as an example of a 2-tone color scheme you might like, but I didn't think it had enough modern to it. The lanterns, the faucet, the x-pattern glass cabinets, and leg posts weren't right to me. That said, I LOVE the kitchen including the lanterns, the faucet, and the x-pattern glass cabinets. And the backsplash is what I'm thinking of for my basement kitchen - it's actually a fish-scale-shape mosaic. But I digress...

I considered gray for a long time and I understand why it would make you twitchy. In the end, I felt either white or dark wood would look best with my wall color, and my husband pooh-poohed dark wood.

Since you're hating on your ceiling height, you might want to look at a book called "The Not So Big House" by Sarah Susanko. I checked it out of my local library and if you flip through it, it might give you some ideas. While you're at the library you can look through those design magazines Marcolo is talking about.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

I can totally relate. We were going to DIY our kitchen and gutted it completely (except for the kitchen sink, thank goodness!) almost 2 years ago. And we are no further along than we were a couple months later.
Somedays I want the wood cabinets, other days the white painted cabinets (which I had), and some days the two tone look! I also can't find a cabinet type that I like - keep changing my mind.
No one else is interested. My husband doesn't care, and doesn't seem to want to work on the items that we could be doing, so I am considering trying to find a contractor who will have time to help us out.
I also can't decide on a layout as we could make some changes, but not sure which way to go.

Anyway, all to say - I am right there with you. I just can't seem to find anything to start with either. I have been watching your threads. Love your backsplash window! Good luck and hope you find something to get you moving. I am off to try to put together some pictures of kitchens I like and see if there is any pattern to them.


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RE: Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - Can you help me get traction?

@Kali615 - I like that you are reclaiming and doing things "off the grid", so to speak. The bowling alley island is going to be great. I hope you are planning to take lots of pics for us here! How amazing to be in a 300 year old house - especially one that has been in the family. I was browsing around last night, organizing my "files", which are a mess because I use desktop icons/folders. The good news is it forces me to review what I have saved and sort through it all. Anyway, I ran into a website I had saved called SemiHandmade, which makes unique doors just for IKEA cabinets. They have an entire section that is dedicated to reclaimed items/salvage wood. It's pretty cool. Modern on the inside, rustic on the outside. All for a pretty great price, assuming you are good with frameless, IKEA cabinets (which I would be if I had the right exteriors).

@Mpagmom - Working hard on my homework assignment. It's going to require swallowing hard to show my modest little house in all it's wreckage, but oh well! I went and checked out that ranch remodel. Pretty incredible transformation! They have a lot more space, but I know a few places around here who have opened up the ceilings like that even in our tiny houses. I sometimes wonder if we should have started with something like that, but egads, there's no going back now! And, at the end of the day, this place is small... If I were going to pour buckets into it, I'd expand but then we lose the lot or have to deal with a second story. Where did you get the pic you posted here, do you remember? I do really like it and I guess it feels modern enough for me. lol I've read Susanko's book and we would use it for a template if we were to build. Maybe it's worth a second look at it, though.

@mtpam2 - Oh, you are definitely in my camp. I don't want to gut things and then stall...but I could totally see how that happens. I go back and forth on this contractor thing. I really do. I mean, yeah, it's a lot more money than if we DYI. However, I really love the idea of getting it DONE! If only I can get off the mark and really get STARTED with a plan! Have you posted ideas and some of your layouts here? People are really, really helpful around here, I find. There are some true layout gurus. (You made my heart pitter-patter with your compliment about the BS window. People are generally pretty harsh about them around these parts, but it's done and I hope we end up being content with having done it as we kinda jumped the gun on it when we did the outside last year.) Please, please post your pics and see if the group here can help you find a pattern and direction. I'd love to see other examples of this process as I throw myself into the ring here soon...

Finishing up my homework and will be posting a new thread soon...


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