December 28, 2010

A Plan Comes Together

Have you ever put a puzzle together only to find a piece missing? What about thinking you had it together and you had all the pieces, when in fact you didn't? Okay, probably 'no' to that last one. Me either. But that's how I felt about the kitchen until tonight. Other than finalizing the finish for the cabinet doors, we thought the kitchen planning stage was done. We had an idea of what colour the doors were going to be, but had yet to go to the special paint place to have them mix some samples for us to try on slabs of maple - we were likely to end up with a custom colour, but it would be some shade of white. Problem was, Norm and I were both (without telling each other) having trouble reconciling what we thought we wanted with the practical application this entailed. For his part, it would be trying to get a white finish to look the same on the side of the cabinets (birch) as it would on the doors (maple) and making the edge banding match too. For my part it was the thought of having yet more painted wood in the house. The place is replete with mahogany. Mahogany paneling in the living room, which is getting painted a yet to be determined colour. Mahogany doors and casing everywhere, which is bit by bit being replaced and painted on off-white (bleached linen or antique lace to be more specific). That's a lot of painted wood. There will be other white things too...the stark white of the frames of the new windows, the soon to be whiter ceilings, the white crown molding. Too many kinds of white. So even though we had agreed on white cabinetry, my brain was subtly trying to make known that in the context of the rest of the house, this wasn't the best plan. That was the missing piece for me. And I didn't want to say anything to Norm because I thought he was pretty set on a white kitchen and far be it from me to be second guessing and pulling the female card by changing my mind. He didn't want to say anything to me because he thought I was set on it and he would simply have to make it happen (yeah, he's nice that way).

When we started planning the look of the kitchen our approach was to share photos of things we liked, get samples of materials, and generally make a lot of visits to a lot of different places. Then narrow down our list of likes to the things we really like and then try to come up with a workable combination based on those things. Easier said than done. I like old fashioned white sinks with embellished aprons. I also like the super modern look of a Kohler Stages 45 sink. Norm likes cherry cabinets and white cabinets. I like dark stained cabinets and white cabinets. You get the idea. In any event, we had narrowed it all down and like I said we were pretty clear except for a final detail. We picked up a sample slab of our counter top material today so that we could take it tomorrow to the cabinet finishing place and figure out what kind of "white" we wanted for the doors. The drive home (don't you love having a captive audience) was my last ditch 'are we totally sure this is the way to go' pitch. And wouldn't you know it, we were both having doubts. By the time we arrived in our driveway, we had come up with what we thought was an even better way to go.

When we put all the pieces together on the counter to see if our theory would pan out, it did. The weird part about it is that neither one of us would normally have been drawn to maple cabinets with a clear finish. But in this context, it works perfectly for us. Photos won't do it justice, and obviously there is no accounting for personal taste, so you all might not like where we're going, but have found our groove on this one. We love it. No painted wood. Lots of natural stone to tie in with all the stone both outside and in the rest of the house (don't forget the big honkin' fireplace - floor to ceiling stone). Natural wood cabinets that don't clash with the tiger wood floor.

The small tiles in the upper left are copper. They'll be added as accents to the floor. You have to keep the copper in mind because the hood fan cover with be copper and stainless steel. The appliances are also stainless steel. The big block in the bottom left is the quartz counter top. Shades of copper, dark green, off-white, grey. The small 4x6 tile is the natural stone back splash. It looks grey but when it is sealed it is almost the same grey/green/taupe (okay, kinda hard to describe) colour in the quartz. Once it's sealed you can also see more variations in the stone itself. The tile on the right is the porcelain floor tile. It has a bit of a copper glow brushed on it. The slab of wood in the middle is clear varnished maple. The white square piece is about the colour of the crown molding. The dark piece of hardwood flooring is the tiger wood we used in the TV room and is also going in the living and dining rooms, so it will be visible with the kitchen. The pendant light is there just because we have three of them to go over the peninsula - the effect of light on the glass is definitely not caught in this photo, but maybe you'll get the idea. Wall colour...and there is hardly any wall left, is still to be determined.

The first photo just above is a close-up of the quartz. The second are the materials, but with the back splash stone wet so you can see what it looks like with the sealant.

Next post: the wall comes down and the wires go in.

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