Houzz Logo Print

Old period kitchen. What's not overdone re. counter/backsplash?!

13 years ago

Hello -

My main dilemma is that I want to find a countertop and backsplash for my relatively small, dark kitchen (faces North too - ugh!). However I'd like to choose something that is NOT overdone - e.g. everyone and their dog is doing it - yet is still somewhat practical/functional for a family of five...three of which are small boys! Add to that the fact that it's in a 1913 mostly original home in a historic neighborhood, and my choices are very limited. If I were creative and confident in the interior design sense, I wouldn't necessarily require a period kitchen, but to keep it simple and consistent, I might as well go old-fashioned. Plus I can't afford to hire a designer.

I will however be getting the typical Shaws white apron sink and probably a polished nickel Perrin & Rowe bridge style gooseneck (or not gooseneck maybe?) faucet. Just too perfect for an old house like mine. Also, FYI, we just have one long counter (about 11 feet) with the sink in the middle of that. We're having our first-ever dishwasher and disposal put in too. Yes, 3 boys and no dishwasher until now!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but regarding older houses: shiny, speckly granite was in (for old as well as new houses) - often paired with mahogany cupboards. After that came the black honed granite or similar look, almost always with white subway tile and cream-colored cupboards. That's what I wanted even a month ago but since researching (and we're a bit behind the times in the Northwest), I now see that that look is EVERYWHERE and quite overdone at this point. Now, it seems to be white marble, everywhere I look. Sigh... Well much as I love marble, that'd probably be too much white for my tastes since my ceiling-high cupboards and trim are painted white, so is the window trim just above the sink, the sink will be white, and the backsplash most likely will be too. I think I need a bit more color if I'm going to stay sane.

Some might think that I shouldn't care what others think and should just do what I like, but I have a hangup about doing something that everyone else is doing, ONLY because I have a history of not paying close enough attention and so putting money into doing that which is already well on its way out. ;) For a change, it would be fun to be more current and interesting than that...within reason.

The 3 countertop options I keep coming back to are:

- something charcoal (darker than untreated soapstone but lighter than treated soapstone or absolute black honed) that doesn't look too much like formica. Paperstone would be great if it didn't scratch so easily.

- stainless steel of a heavy/professional gauge so as not to be dented, and I'm not concerned about scratches as most people don't cut on it or else don't cut deeply if they do, cause the instinct is to protect the blade. Also I don't mind the patina, from past experience - kind of looks better w/ it in fact. With an apron farm sink it looks surprisingly classic as opposed to modern. This picture - posted by another member here - was a big inspiration:

- a very hard, durable wood, of medium color, and with a urethane finish since there will be a sink. The idea of having to blot dry the faucet area each and every time we wash our hands though? Really struggling with that one. We will inevitably leave standing water to mess up the wood.

With any of these options I've considered white subway tile backsplash, since it used to be in our house originally (other smaller sizes e.g. minibrick or 2x6 might be fine too), or a beige-peach type colored subway tile as seen recently in a magazine (which picks up the warmth of our wood fir floors), or white marble subway tile. I'd even considered slab white marble tile w/ stainless, as someone on here did which looked great, though that's probably getting too expensive.

Am I missing anything? Any feedback/suggestions? I have to decide quickly - before my contractor moves on to the next family!

I'm including pics of my kitchen once I figure out how, as well as one of our dining room/living room to give an example of the feel of the house. Almost everything is original, from the beautiful light fixtures down to the original plumbing and lighting and lack of dishwasher! :-o

Thank you so much for reading all this...

Comments (26)

    MAC Design + Build
    Average rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars17 Reviews
    Loudon County Full-Service Design/Build Firm & Kitchen Remodeler