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As requested on another thread, here's my kitchen re-do

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

My house had a flat, "popcorn" ceiling, vinyl floor with cuts galore, scratched white Formica countertops, orange cabinets, one florescent lighting strip, and ancient appliances. My DH allowed me to design everything from scratch since we gutted the room, and this is the result. I tried to do what I call "elemental modern."

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Here's another wall by the dining table (only dining we have in the house) that is the "wine bar" area.

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

And this is to the right of the desk you see in the first pic (where I sit and chat with y'all!) "laundry closet." I didn't want to use my square footage in a place that I rarely use! I've never had a huge laundry--even when the kids were little--and have never missed it!

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Kitchen from living area -- very open plan

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

Beautiful job Connie! Spectacular :)

How do you like your Wolf stove please?


Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Mine is a Viking, and I like it thus far.

The big-daddy stove was my DH's idea, and I'll have to say if I had requested it, he probably would have been wanting me to cook more often! ha It has 2 ovens, which is one of the best features...the little one is perfect for a cookie tin with 6 of those pre-made, frozen cookies or to warm a loaf of bread. The griddle was also his thing (he laid out the sections of the stove as he wanted them) and he has made eggs and bacon on it one time in a year! Now the grill...I grill steaks there quite frequently...that's a good thing.

Now the bad.... the huge fan carries LOTS of grease up to the top, which is filled with little in's and out's...a bugger to clean...and cleaning is not my thing!

To me, it's a focal point of the kitchen, and as such, I consider it as almost a piece of "art" more than an appliance. Now my microwave...that's another story!! ha

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Wonderful kitchen, Connie. Love everything about it. Thanks for sharing your pics.

Alexandria, MN(Zone 4a)

WOW! Nice kitchen, Connie! The brick pillar, the island, the lights, and the glass doors on the cabinets really give your kitchen true creativity... Nice work!

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Connie- it's beautiful. Very natural and yet stylish.

What is your countertop? If granite, what type? Did you buy your cabinets in that color, or redo existing ones, or make your own? They look hand done, but in the best possible way, very classy.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, all!

Ivy, the countertops are 1 and 1/4 inch granite. I don't remember the "color" name....sorry. It's a black/brown/reddish brown/cream combo.

The cabinets were made in a shop and brought here. They were made by the same guy who did Sandra Bullock's "fiasco" house (now being town down!) here in Austin!! He's very good but lots of mine had to be redone because they didn't listen to what I wanted! The bottoms are just plain wood, painted black, then distressed. The top cabinets are of antique wood (over 100 years old...from an old Mercantile Bld. from Chicago that was town down and the beams were rescued and cut into planks!). My DH likes things that have a provenance, so our bed, coffee table, kitchen island...etc. are also of reclaimed wood.

Thanks for asking...this house took over 3 years to "rebirth" so it's like my baby!!! :)

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I love the look of reclaimed wood. Just can't afford it!

Fiasco House? Do tell. It sounds like the next PBS reality show....

Austin, TX(Zone 8b) you probably know...Sandra Bullock loves Austin and now has a house here (as do several other movie stars). She bought a lot on Lake Austin and built. The house had lots of problems before she even moved in (mold from roof leaks, for one!) so she sued. As People mag. said, she won the suit for 7.4 million! The house is now town down and people are waiting to see if she r e-builds on that lot or does something else.

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Ahhh, thanks. I do so like to keep up on current events.

I especially like your stone or brick work, I am assuming it was there before the kitchen redo. Also I simply love your tall cabinet to the right of the stove, and the plate rack over the dishwasher. I really like the way your upper cabinets are all different sizes, heights and depths. I can't get anyone here to understand that concept.

You are giving me lots of ideas for my own remodel.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Ivy....absolutely NOTHING is from the old house....only the foundation and roof! (and the roof will be replaced with a metal one in about 2-3 years when it's worn out!) And about the cabs....just print a pic and show them! Does your kitchen have a tall ceiling or a reg. sized one? If you have height you will have more to work with in terms of different heights for the cabs.

Here is a view of another wall in the kitchen that I didn't post...

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

We took our ceiling out this winter. It really made the room! Now I can visualize what it will look like when it is done (if it IS ever done).

Oh, golly, that picture is making me drool! I love the roll out baskets too.

We have been to about 10 designers, and they all say the same things. "Oh, you can't have cabinets that extend from the counter up next to the stove. You have to have a space on either side in case you have to set down a pot fast." I keep saying there would be plenty of space in front of the cabs if they were shallower than the rest. They look dumbly at me and can't figure it out.

When you have a clear idea of what you want, it is very hard to get someone around here to try it. They are very conservative here, or maybe they don't want to do extra work? I'm stumped. If they want our business, wouldn't you think they would at least try to make a design? Or they say they understand but then make a design like every other kitchen, with cabs in neat rows all the way across the room.

I am showing my DH your kitchen pics tonight! I think he will flip.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Ivy....I know just what you mean about "designers." I didn't use one because I'm a designer myself!!
And personally, I have NEVER had to set a pot down next to the stove...why not just leave it where it is until you want to drain it, in which case you move it to the sink!!! Duh!!! :)

The baskets are real easy...they are not roll-outs....just baskets from the discount store here called T.J. Maxx. I had the guys who built the cabs leave the cab. doors off that one section and then measured and looked for the right size for about 2 months until I found them! I use the top one for a tiny "fast trash" container (there's a little liner inside) and I empty it nightly. The other trash is inside the butler's pantry area to the left--through the glass door.

My DH also wanted something unique...thank we both were adamant that they do whatever we asked for. Just keep at them!! And thanks for the compliment!

This pic is the kitchen garden that is just outside a pair of doors. I see it from my perch as I'm on the puter playing at DG!! I have basil (both purple and green), rosemary, oregano, and mint this year to start. I might plant more next year.

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Oh wow. Something else to dream about. Love the colors!

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Ivy. I decided just to do greens, chartreuse, orange (some orangy-red) and purple. I did relent and add a bit of hot pink, but don't plan to use any pastels or white. Maybe some day?

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I am more and more drawn to hot color- you know, pink and orange, or yellow and pink together. I used to be all pastel, but I got bored. My favorite is and always has been purple and yellow, though.

If you don't mind going back into the kitchen, I can't believe you designed it yourself! It's so well done. I am afraid I will have to do mine myself, since no one is seeing what I want.

How did you pick your builder?

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

The builder was recommended by 2 neighbors, but they had each just done small re-do's...not like building an entire house. It was NOT a good experience. If I were you I would PAY MORE up front and get someone good, recommended by people who have done similar scope work, and it will be worth it. We probably wasted LOTS of money because of trusting where we should NOT have. My DH decided to do "cost plus" and that is a HUGE mistake, because when they mess up, it's "Sure we will re-do it" because YOU will have to pay for it, PLUS their profit!!

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the tips. I don't know if we are ever going to get up and running with our renovation. Right now we have no walls (just studs) because DH ripped them out, a linoleum floor from 1962, no upper cabs (also ripped out), and our ceiling is the underside of the roof!

I bought some beautiful 16"x16" ceramic floor tiles online. It was a great experience, actually. Now it seems DH wants to look into wood again, and use the tiles elsewhere. I just want to get the kitchen done! Ah, well.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Wood is wonderful and feels so good on the feet! We used old wood and sanded, then just had them put clear polyurethane on top. I think you can see a bit of it in one of the pics. It really "warms" up a house with atmosphere. Plus, we have some weird kind of plumbing where the hot water pipes run under most of the wood, (our house is on a rock hill, so it's on pier and beam) so I'm looking forward to the floor feeling good in the winter!

What color/design are your tiles? I love the large 16 x 16 ones....they give such a luxurious scale!

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Your floor is beautiful! We noticed it in the pic of the kitchen from the living room angle.

My tiles are from Casa Dolce Casa in the Terra Giallo color. I love them. They look natural and handmade. I love the light undertone in them that makes them look more like French or Italian terra cotta.

Most of the tiles we looked at over the last 2 years have a dark undertone and in our small kitchen they just looked drab. A lot looked too modern for our 1840 cottage. Also, I wanted a lot of color variation so it wouldn't show dirt. The one good thing about my old 1962 lino is that it never shows dirt- it looks dirty all the time! I actually let my daughter paint on it!

Here is a picture of the tile:,0,122757/Casa-Dolce-Casa-Ceramic-Tile/_/Le-Argille-18-x-18-Terra-Gialla/product.htm#NAV

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Love your tiles!! I like the color you got then the darker one below it in the picture. Wish i could get those for my kitchen! But my dad says no way. He's too picky sometimes. lol

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Very nice tile, Ivy! I used to have the kitchen motto: Give me white floors; I want to SEE the dirt!" Now, in my "older age" it's "Give me a floor that doesn't show the dirt; what I don't see doesn't make me feel bad!"

In your online searches for your tiles, did you see any real slate, either gauged or un-gauged? I need a HUGE amount for my deck, steps, and pool surround so I need it verrrrry reasonable.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Is $1.47 a square foot reasonable? Found that price on

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I think that's very good! The kind we want is from India, I think, and here's a pic of it in my bath...sorry, I should have said what color the first time. I THINK it's called "autumn." There are blacks, golds, beiges, rusts, and greens...oh, and gray.

Thumbnail by Connie_G
KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I don't know if they have it but they might be willing to work with you. I would check them out and see what they have to say. Most companies are willing to order the right tile for you. I wish I had slate in my house. But I can't compalin really because I get to clean slate floors where i work. Yours is prettier thou.

Mantua, UT(Zone 4b)

This thread has made me drool. I need a bib! It might have been a good thing if I had not looked at this. Connie, your house is fabulous!

I wish you could help me design my kitchen, but I'm sure I couldn't afford it. All my taste is in my mouth! As I said on the countertop thread: at least I gave birth to children who have better taste than I do. I am relying on them to keep me from the BIG mistake I made when we built this house in the 70's. Get ready to throw up: I used shiny Walltex with huge black, brown, orange and gold flowers on it. The Formica was bright orange and the carpet was brown. The floor was white, black and orange linoleum. You could have dropped a whole chicken on it and not been able to see it. Oh well, at least I learned a little from my mistake.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)


I think that color scheme you mention was very "IN" at that time, because my mom did a house in the 70's and her kitchen wallpaper was THICK, shiny vinyl that was brown background with orange and white flowers!! Huge ones!! And the Fornica in this kitchen of mine was white, and the cabinets were orange!! The floor was off-white vinyl that was cracked and stained with blood that ran from the freezer at one time, I guess. It was a nightmare!!

Thanks for the compliments. I just looked at HUNDREDS of magazines. I would go to Barnes and N and just sit with a stack of mags and read thru...buying any I just HAD to have for an idea, since I have not been in the decorating biz for about 15 years.

Mantua, UT(Zone 4b)

Apparently you don't have to be "in the biz" because you are "in the know"!

Having somewhat limited funds I have to be careful, but having limited "taste" is causing me more trouble than that. My daughters are a lot of help, though. BUT, I think they are getting sick of this project.

Your living room floor looked very interesting next to the wood in the kitchen. What is it?

My cabinets will be knotty hickory--unless I change my mind. The countertop will be Tropical Brown granite (a nice combination of brown and black). I have found some tile that looks good with both of them. I am afraid of wood floors because people and dogs come in from the garage and backyard directly onto the floor and I don't want it ruined. My DH keeps getting rocks stuck in the bottom of his shoes. Eeek! I can't decide on a color for the appliances. I am afraid of stainless steel because of the fingerprints. Black seems a little overpowering in a refrigerator. Shiny black scratches, too. I could get a Satina or "clean steel" refrigerator but I would have to get a stainless stove because Satina can't stand the heat. I can get a clean steel dishwasher in GE, but I haven't heard good reports about its cleaning ability. White would look awful with the granite and the cabinets.

I don't make decisions well.

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

It sounds to me like you want the stainless look. Have you tried going to the appliance stores and rubbing greasy hands on each model to see if they leave smudges? Maybe you will find a stove that smudges sounds silly but I would try it!

I wanted a dish drawer dishwasher, but I didn't make up my mind until I brought all my large dishes and utensils to the store and loaded it up! My DH woudn't even come in with me, he was too embarassed. The men were all laughing, but the women all nodded and told me they would do the same thing. How else can you find out unless you give these appliances a trial run?

It sounds to me like you are making good decisions. Function first, then go for looks with a healthy dose of practicality.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

If you decide on not having stainless maybe you can have the appliances, with the exception of the stove, fronted with wood. The it could blend in and be easy to clean. I also happen to agree with you about the black appliances. Considering the colors that are gonna be in there I think the black would be overpowering.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I have had stainless appliances for several houses and have never had a problem with fingerprints!! ANd...I just have a cleaning lady about once a it's not that I just don't see them! Get stainless!!! It will "date" your house less than some color...stainless is probably here to stay...or for about another 20-30 years from what I see. By then...I don't know a bout you but I'll be close to gone...!! haha

My floor in the living room was already here...Mexican I just had the guys strip it and stain it blackish brown...I like the clean look of the reflection...and the contrast to the natural pine floors. I am NOT a floor/clean freak...I mop about once a month...but then I don't have children or dogs..but I do track in a lot of dirt myself from my flower gardens....and pine is a soft floor. BUT...we like the look of the "dents and scratches" since our wood is over 100 years old...with nail holes, etc.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

I have to agree with Connie, my refrigerator and stove are stainless. With 4 pumpkins, who are constantly in the kitchen with their crafts or eating a snack. Fingerprints are easily cleaned with a microfiber cloth, but are not a problem that would freak you out. So if you want stainless, get stainless. Much more inviting than the bathtub white appliances, just my little red cent. ;0)

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I agree with these guys. I am not a big fan of white or black. Believe me- my white shows every little print, and I would think that shiny black would show a lot too. As soon as I can I am switching to stainless.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

I used to work for a stainless steel fabricator, mostly custom commercial and institutional kitchens all over the place. We used this stuff called Sheila Shine to clean the stainless. After installing plumbing and electrical connections, gas fittings and the rest, it was impossible not to get fingerprints on their nice new stuff, and the clients were invariably freaked out. But it would clean off in seconds with the Sheila Shine. I'm a member here, no financial interest in this stuff, but it works great. I can't tell you where to find it, but the manufacturer has a website.
One tip about good quality stainless steel is it is not magnetic; for some reason the chromium in stainless steel prevents magnetism. So you can bring a little refrigerator magnet in your pocket when you're shopping for appliances and see if it's good quality ss. Less expensive grades will stick to a magnet. Not that you shouldn't buy it, just know what you're getting.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Wow..never knew that!~ Thanks!

Mantua, UT(Zone 4b)

Just noticed all the good suggestions since I posted about trying to choose an appliance color. I agree, black is a bit much. I do like stainless, but being "not a neat freak" I am worried. One of the doctors I work with IS a complete "neat freak" who put stainless in his new kitchen a year ago. He said he would never do it again and he lives alone!

I am leaning toward getting a Satina refrigerator and a stainless steel stove. Actually, the only stainless on the stove is on the door. The top is black. Sears is coming out with a whole new line of appliances in a few days. I'm hoping they have a clean steel option in the dishwashers. Their dishwashers are rated very highly.

I think I'm spending all my kitchen money on house repairs. My refrigerator has a leak somewhere. The furnace in the new part of the house doesn't work and no one can come to look at it until Monday AND, the main water line from the meter to our house is leaking at a rate of 4 gallons a minute so part of our basement is flooded!!!!!!!
We had to shut of the water and run a hose from our neighbor's house to supply us with water until someone can come on MONDAY with a backhoe and dig down to the bottom of the foundation to see where the leak is. I'm so excited I can hardly wait!!!! That means they will be digging out some of the pavers we paid a fortune for and they will be messing up all the wonderful dirt we put in the flower beds. Maybe I'll have to keep the old white appliances. LOL!

For a cheap, yet fun night out, DH and I are going to an appliance store with a magnet to see what's good and what ain't so good.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I've heard of some people stripping their refrigerators and coming up with a steel, industrial look! You might want to Google it...I read it in a mag somewhere....perhaps this past summer.

About dishwashers...if your kitchen is the center of your house, as mine is, you might want to consider a Bosch. It's absolutely noise at all!!! I do think it's expensive, but well worth it, if you don't want to hear sloshing noises while you linger over coffee and dessert or while the kids get homework on the kitchen table! :)

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