White & Brass Kitchen Finishes

Picking out our kitchen remodel finishes was no easy feat. I wanted to be bold and make a statement, but also wanted to be classic and modern — it was finding a balance between the two that felt right for our home and our style. I realize that all-white kitchens may be a thing of the past? But, honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong – and love how everything came together. Without further ado, here are all of our kitchen finishes and even a rough breakdown of costs.

Hardware & Light Fixtures

We knew we wanted brass accents, because of our appliances (yes, we will get to those beauties, too!). So our hardware and accent lights were for sure going to be brass, in fact, the sconces were some of the first pieces I picked out and bought — I didn’t make a decision on our hardware until about a week before we were told our cabinets were going to be installed. One thing I didn’t count on was how much we would use our accent lights instead of our ‘canned lights’ – they provide plenty of warm lighting and truly create a mood.

Matching the brass finishes was a bit tricky, since I was doing most of my shopping online – if anything I was prepared to return, or I would order two different things and compare! It was a little extra effort, but worth it, IMO.

Shop our lighting: Scones (discontinued) & Breakfast Nook Chandelier

I also wanted to make a statement with our hardware, so we went for larger pulls on our upper cabinets which I just love – we even added in some glass knobs under the sink and on the pantry for a little extra something. We had a mix of 5″, 12″ and 18″ pulls with our knobs.

Shop our hardware: Hickory Hardware Skylight Collection; 5″ Pull, 12″ Pull, 18″ Pull, Glass Knob

Backsplash, Counters & Flooring

The backsplash was something I was really looking forward to finding something unique and different, and not being afraid to spend some money on it. Well, that totally didn’t really happen. I went to boutique tile shops and searched the interwebs, only to land on herringbone tile from Lowe’s. I was so disappointed about what the boutique tile shops offered (at least around here) and found this tile at Lowe’s that was pretty comparable to this super expensive tile I fell in love with online but for a fraction of the cost. We were especially cautious because we did counter to the ceiling on two sides above our sink and stove – and luckily we over-ordered our tile and were able to return to Lowe’s!

Our backsplash netted out around $900, with the cost per sheet was just under around $9 when we purchased (more expensive now) but compared to the $30 a sheet that I initially fell in love with, I’d say we replicated the same look for a third of the cost!

Shop our Marble Herringbone tile from Lowe’s compared to the expensive Talon Calacatta & Thassos Marble Polished Mosaic Tile.

Can we just swoon over these quartz counters? Our counters are even better than we ever imagined, we lucked out with our counter company Granite Works Stone Design. Everything was amazing, plus they helped us find the perfect quartz to compliment our finishes. Our sales rep, selected two great options – but finding the Calacatta Miraggio Gold Quartz and securing the slab was meant to be.

The flooring was another sticking point that we ended up pivoting on multiple times. From initially thinking I wanted heated tile floors, to planning to refinish the floors we uncovered during demo, to trying to match our first-floor oak floors with hardwood, to then go in a completely different direction with a wide plank almost farm-like direction it was a doozy getting there, but we did. I’m also so glad we went this direction because it really warms up the space, cleans easily, is waterproof, and was only $615 vs. $3,000 to try and refinish our floors. Honestly, I’m just bummed I didn’t push harder to heated floors – I just couldn’t find anything that confidently said we could do it under this type of flooring.

Another bonus of our flooring is that Moz matches it, so when it comes to showing dog hair – we don’t see much, even though Moz isn’t that big of a shedder.

Shop our Pergo Laminate Flooring – Color Rustic Amber Chestnut from Lowes

Appliances & Plumbing

Confession: We may have designed our kitchen finishes around our Cafe Appliances. I found these appliances while we were awaiting our permits, aka early on in the kitchen reno process – and – to my surprise, didn’t need to spend too much time convincing B on splurging on these appliances! The white matte with brass hardware was just so beyond, the price was also a bit beyond, but something that B and I both loved, agreed on, and wanted without compromise. It ironically matched up with our fourth wedding anniversary gift. From the dishwasher to the fridge and stove we had to have the complete set. We loved the matte finish, the built-in WiFi options on the stove, and brass hardware — not to mention, everything was in stock so we ordered it ASAP to get ahead of any potential back orders and delays. Our appliances were definitely our biggest splurge, but we don’t regret that for a second, especially now that we’ve been living with them! And yes… you’re doing the math right our appliances were over $10k combined. 😇

Shop our appliances: Stove | Dishwasher | Refrigerator

We lucked out ordering our appliances in June 2021 and receiving them in the Fall, we did have some issues with our stove, coming a bit banged up but luckily was able to get money taken off with some fierce negotiations. 😏 I think the stove is my favorite, next to the dishwasher and I’m adjusting to life with a two-door fridge. 😅

I really wanted a bridge faucet, but most I found were itching close to $2k. With time, I lucked out and found this more modern and affordable one by Allen & Roth at Lowe’s. We have a very good friend who is a plumber, and he was very adamant on getting an InSinkErator for the garbage disposal. Luckily, we were able to get a brass flange for our garbage disposal too, yes we covered all the bases!

Getting Ruggables for the kitchen was also non-negotiable, with the number of dogs that can be at our house at times and with the back door being our main in and out, we needed something we could keep clean easily! The runner miraculously fit in front of the stove, with a smaller 2×3′ in front of the sink area.

Woah, that was a lot! What did I miss? Any other finishes you’re curious about that I may have missed? My tip if you’re starting any sort of remodel or big project, is to order stuff you like as soon as you see it, and depending on what it is more than enough (like tile), just in case by the time you get to install it could be discontinued or have a longer lead time.

Want more updates on our Kitchen Remodel?
Kitchen Remodel Reveal
📜 Kitchen Reno – The Plan
🛠️ Demo & Mood Board
🎨 Kitchen Progress Update

Kitchen Renovation – The Plan

Pretty much since we bought our house, the kitchen was always the worst offender. In fact, B was sold on this house and had to convince me — the kitchen being one of my sticking points for the price of the house (which was over our budget). Also, the kitchen was green when we bought it, so that was another strike against it. So it’s very exciting to finally be in the process of planning out our kitchen renovation. Unfortunately our kitchen doesn’t have an ideal footprint where we would just be updating cabinets, countertops or flooring. In fact, we’re moving walls to extend the footprint to create an actual kitchen!

The Plan

As you can see above, we have a tiny little alcove with all of our cabinets, sink and stove… and then a larger room for our fridge and a bunch of other random pieces of furniture… our fridge used to be in a different spot when we got the house, but moved it to be less in the way… yeah it’s an odd configuration with a lot of wasted space in our “larger part” of the kitchen. Oh and did I mention, zero counter space?

The layout and our initial plan of what we thought we could do versus what is more practical have changed as we’ve worked through the logistics with my Uncle whose a contractor. He gave us some really good things that added space to our design, but also made us think through some practical and more functional design layouts which we took to heart and have incorporated into the final plans. One of my must-haves was quickly smashed with reality based on the space limitations we still have, so my kitchen sink will not be facing a window looking out into our backyard… 😢 Mainly because, we weren’t accounting on having a door still in our kitchen space, instead we would be putting a slider door out of our dinning room onto our patio. Unfortunately we quickly vetoed that because it would be about $5k, need HVAC reworking, and eat up about 2-feet or more of our patio for nice walk out steps. My uncle also felt from a functionality perspective, having a door in the kitchen to go in and out to grab stuff made more sense and the more we thought about it the more we agreed.

Another big part in this planning, is tempering expectations – we have a tiny footprint currently, so the updates and expansions we’re planning feel like we are going to be getting this massive and more open space… which we are, but not as much as we think. I’ve also been dreaming of a cozy little breakfast nook, but have even been doubting my initial vision for that, because I’m afraid we won’t have as much space as I’m thinking/hoping.

Also, don’t worry – we have actual cad plans of the space besides my poor measuring and rough sketch!

The inspiration

I must admit, I am usually one that has a vision and everything planned out – especially for our house projects, but this one is making me super indecisive and unconfident about what to choose. On one hand, I want to make some bold choices with flooring, or a cool backsplash… and on the other hand, I feel like I know I’ll end up keeping it pretty classic and timeless with simple and safer choices. But I want to push myself to picking at least one bold thing. The vibe I’m going for is glam, yet classic and cozy. We also will not be skimping on the finishes, from appliances (already half ordered🤞) to the hardware, lighting and faucets… oh! and heated floors.

I’m fairly confident we will end up going all white cabinets, although I do love a light blue/grey color – but I’m also in a green obsession (Thanks, Ashley Brooke!) so we shall see. Definitely going with gold finishes and maybe leaning towards a rich butcher block counter top and tile floors. But if we do end up picking a stone countertop, it sounds like Quartz is the resounding and durable choice.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Soooo many things to decide! B and I are planning to go do some window shopping at a few different spots to scope out flooring, backsplash and maybe even a direction on cabinets. For now, we are still working on finalizing the actual floor plans with our amazing friend and then we’ll be getting our contractor in here to talk numbers and timing. We’re hoping we won’t have to do anything structurally, but there is that chance still. We are also really hoping we can get this done in 2021 — but are also realistic that we may need to push to 2022. Here’s to hoping we have a brand new kitchen in time for Christmas!

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far – what do you love/hate with your kitchen remodel? What do you wish you would’ve done differently or can’t live without? Comment below, or shoot me a private message!


Latest Obsessions 08.20 – Bubbly Edition

Since National Prosecco Day 🥂 was August 13th and this year of quarantine and new normal has been anything but normal — I’ve pretty much been treating every one of the last 165 days like National Prosecco Day! So to keep on a good theme of 2020, I wanted to share my favorite accessories for bubbly drinking.

Freezable Travel Tote: I was gifted a PackIt freezable wine bag, that also happens to perfectly fit a cold bottle of bubbly! The tote, closes up nicely and is easy to carry – you can even through it over your shoulder. In between use you can just throw it in the freeze and it’s ready to go for your next trip. Best part of all is they come in a variety of colors and fun patterns to fit anyone’s personality.

Champagne Seal Stoppers: This is a must have, and you must have at least two! This is also a go-to travel piece that I throw in my purse, is that bad 😬 ? But seriously, it helps save a bottle for multiple nights – which helps give your bottle of bubbles some extra life. I’ve used two different types and they both seem to hold a good seal and deliver bubbles and a significant pop when reopening (watch out, sometimes it’s packs a punch!) Shop the stainless steal stopper and the silicone expander — you can’t go wrong with either!

Bubbly Glassware Options: I recently splurged some worn glassware that I purchased from Marshall’s — don’t get me wrong, they were great bubbly flutes, but after time the gold decals wore off. So, I thought it was time to invest in some nicer champagne flutes and decided to get a few different styles — because sometimes I love the stemless route and sometimes I like something a little fancier 🤷🏼‍♀️. I went for these timeless stemless champagne flutes with a gold rim from Pottery Barn. And for something a little fancier, I couldn’t resist these Monique Lhuillier Gaberielle coupes and flutes etched glasses, they’re stunning and also scream special occasion. They’ll be perfect for the holidays.

Even if you’re not a bubbly connoisseur, but maybe know one — these make great gifts and can easily be paired with a nice bottle of bubbles! So whether you’re celebrating National Prosecco Day (every day) or just celebrating a birthday or love bubbles, like me, these are a few essentials that you’ll want to add to your bubble drinking arsenal.

xox,

Easy Small Pantry Makeover

Being cooped up with the cold weather, I’ve been slowly working through the house and either deep cleaning or organizing and cleaning stuff out.  And one space that is neglected but highly needed and functional is our kitchen pantry! We already have a tiny kitchen with not a lot of storage so making sure this space is utilized and fully functional has been on the to-do list.
diy - small pantry makeover
I was inspired to organize the space, but as I was thinking about that I thought – what if I paint it? Which then spiraled into, oh! I have some left over wallpaper – so this turned into a mini-makeover that I did in a few hours. Our pantry was a place where we just threw stuff – probably because it helped cover the old and ugly, hence not being the most functional.

Tips for Organizing Your Pantry:

  1. Expiration Dates.  I know I’m not the only one that had a few pantry items that were expired – these are easy items to toss, especially if you’ve just been holding onto them – but not actually using them.  Even if things aren’t expired – clean up those straggler bags with the crumbs in them!
  2. Consolidated. This is crucial when you have a smaller space – I had multiple bags of confectionary sugar – so combining those into a container quickly gained space.
  3. Get Creative. Even though this is your pantry, have a little fun with the space! It would’ve been easy to paint it white and use generic shelving liners – but if you have some wallpaper consider using it for the shelf liners or the wall backs!
  4. Get Storage Containers/Shelves.  Luckily I had shelves that were white and useful in our odd space – so I just made a list as I was cleaning out my pantry of things I needed baskets or containers for.  In between coats of paint I made a Marshall’s run and was able to stock up on some containers to dried goods and clear trays for spices and such! I would’ve preferred all white lids, but since this was a bit impromptu – I bought what was in stock! I’m sure I’ll upgrade eventually.
  5. Organize By Food Group. I tried to think through the layout and organization by food group/pairings – for example – all of my baking ingredients on one shelf, spices and other cooking supplies consolidated together, etc.

8For our pantry makeover – I ended up painting the entire inside, this is one of the few spaces that lingering green from the previous owners – and although I’m a fan of some color, I love what white paint does to a space, especially a small one!  Since this space is not the greatest constructed – I didn’t want to mess around too much so I stuck with aesthetics and just updated the existing layout & pieces.  Here is the evolution off the de-greening. 9
I ended up taking the shelves out and gave them a good scrapping to get off the old wooden shelf liners.  They were so gross, not to mention hiding a few layers of other stickers underneath! So it was good to give it a good clean and fresh couple coats of paint. I had leftover wallpaper from my Skinny Dresser Upcycle – which I initially wanted to use this on the backs, but luckily decided to go the easier route with using it to line the shelves, which worked out because I wouldn’t have had enough! Plus I love the subtle pop of color and pattern that it adds to the shelves with the white backdrop.

67The other benefit of cleaning up the pantry was I ended up organizing and consolidating some things like our tin-foil, plastic wrap and sandwich bags into a hanger on the pantry door which basically freed up an entire drawer in our kitchen! So the organizing, consolidating and purging spread out beyond the pantry which actually gave us room for things. With using up leftover paint we had, and buying some organizers and the leftover wallpaper I spent about $60 for a small thing of paint and 10-different organizers.  I’m unsure about adding labels, so I may still add a few more fun and functional finishing touches.

Beyond this space looking pretty awesome and making such a difference – it feels good to have this space cleaned up, organized and efficient.  Plus it was an easy weekend DIY with a HUGE impact, although I’m sure I’ll rearrange it like 20-more times. Yay, for easy makeovers!

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Breakfast Nooks for Days

So now that we have our Front Landscape project wrapped up, I’m ready for the next and still dreaming of our someday kitchen makeover… One piece that I particularly want when we makeover our kitchen is an adorable, cozy and functional breakfast nook!
Breakfast Nook - the bee life
As I started looking for different breakfast nooks – I didn’t realize how many different options there would be! Traditionally you think of a galley style booth or a half circle of benches – but news flash! There are SO MANY other options! Let me walk you through the many considerations and options of a breakfast nook.

Permanent & Functional. This is a great idea if you’re truly committed to having a breakfast nook. With a permanent bench you can also be sure to build in extra storage so it’s functional in more than one way.

Movable Furniture Pieces. Mind blown? Yup, mine was. And I think this might be one of the ways we end up going.  Whether using a Settee or this awesome customizable piece from the Home Depot.

Square vs. Round Table.  This is another piece that can make a huge difference depending on the base you’re working with.  A square/rectangular table could work for a larger space or a foldable one could work for a smaller space.  A round table is just another perfect option that can work in an L-shape bench layout or your half-circle nook.

Accents Chairs. Depending on the route you go, the accent chairs opposite of the bench are just as much of a statement as the rest of the set-up.  These can be industrial, warm and cozy or traditional.

Bold Colors vs. Classic Neutrals.  Either way you decide to do it, you can either start with a bold footprint with your main bench, or add in pops of color with wall art and pillows. Neutrals can play on each other bringing in deep wood grains from your floor or table can really pull a neutral look together with your other pieces.

Working with a Window? Don’t be afraid to build your bench in front of your window.  No window? That’s okay – breakfast nooks work either way, whether it’s behind a half-wall or in a corner of a room don’t let one or the other hold you up from creating your space. We only have windows on one side, so we’ll be able to have a little bit of light and fun with our space.

Pillows & Cushions, Cushions & Pillows.  One of the parts I love about breakfast nooks is they’re so warm and inviting, and one of the reasons is because of all the pillows and possibilities of bench cushions!  It is no secret I have a slight pillow addiction.

All Shapes & Sizes. Whether you’re working with a tight space, or have a 12-foot wall to fill with your breakfast nook, this is once piece that can work in any kind of space, especially if you decide the non-permanent route! So don’t feel like you can’t fit in your breakfast nook if you have limited space!  On the contrary, if you have extra dead space this might be a great way to fill it or make up for a lack of a dining room.

Lighting.  Depending on your overall style of your breakfast nook, you can either play it down or create a bold statement with a chandelier.  Not ready to commit to a chandelier?  Consider wall sconces to book end your space or light the way.

I was always dreaming over our breakfast nook as super traditional with a built in bench with storage, circular table and calling it a day with some pillows.  But now that I see all these different options and all the fun color options I am wide-eyed and drooling over the possibilities.   I mean that pink sectional and shell chandelier directly above is Oh. Em. Gee. Swoon worthy.  And I think we’ll probably end up going with the less permanent, yet cozy route with a great Settee or baller sectional.

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Image Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Settee Neutral | Corner with Red Chandelier | Black & Gold | Mustard Bench | Classic U-Shape | Pink Rectangular Swoon 

House Hunters – Kitchen

Our kitchen is terrible.  It has a horrible layout, no counter or cabinet space not to mention it’s dated. We’ve been able to improve it some since we first saw the house, but it’s still nothing that it could be. Although when we remodel, it’s going to be a complete gut, moving walls and extending out the house. It’s not going to be cheap or quick.

We helped the layout drastically by moving the fridge to it’s current spot, it was where the green bar was, making it a tight squeeze. But as you can see it’s not very functional or pretty.  Our dream is to blow out where the exterior door is to square out the current galley part – from there the possibilities are endless – maybe even blowing out the wall between the kitchen and dining room (where the current green bar is)… I can just hear the dollar signs right now!

Here is some inspiration for the future, all white is a dream with lots of light and some accents of blues or teals.

I am sure our kitchen won’t be remodeled for a few more years, but it’s definitely on the wish list as far as big ticket items. My parents just remodeled their kitchen after living in their house for 30+ years! It’s funny because the first time we looked at this house B wasn’t phased by the kitchen, he just loved this house and the first thing I pointed out was the terrible kitchen! Since then it’s become quite the opposite conversation…. maybe we will get lucky and get on a DIY kitchen makeover show.

TGIF!