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Trying to narrow materials and tones for possible 2 toned kitchen

8 years ago
last modified: 8 years ago

So, I've been vacillating back and forth for a long time about material choices, whether to go with two-toned cabinets and how to blend modern and cottage in a way that will fit my house, budget and me.

Background: For those who are new to my episodic posting, I live in a small, darkish ranch in Alaska. Small, as in just under 1,000 SF. The kitchen will be open to the front door/living area - and to the small dining room. We have 6 months of relative darkness, though it never hits 24 hours without light in Anchorage. At the peak of Winter, we have low sun from about 9:30-3:30'ish. Folks who have been around know that I was originally thinking very dark (black, walnut, dark stained wood) on the lower cabinets in my now open floor plan. They also know we put a 10" backsplash window in a few years ago when we did the exterior. That window leads out to the backyard, greenbelt, gardens - and fencing and a large shop door that is light in wood tones (cedar, pine). I have also wanted brown floors in a mid-tone wood look. My last kitchen was white with existing chocolate brown counters and I loved it but don't necessarily want to repeat the same thing this time around. My partner prefers stained cabinets and I found the white easier to keep clean/new on the uppers than the lowers the last time around. And, I LIKE the look of two-toned kitchens, though I worry a bit about if it is too much with the backsplash window? Budget is a huge consideration - given remodels are NOT recouped in my very humble neighborhood and at the end, we are still dealing with a very small house. Frameless cabinets are also a must - and I go back and forth between Belmont 1900, IKEA or Barkers. (Nearest IKEA is in Seattle. Semihandmade will not ship their doors here - but my partner can arrange for shipping through his work.)

The theme is modern cottage, or "Zen Cottage" as Marcolo described it once upon a time and I am still trying to envision what that means... (my dream would be white shaker on top, wood on the bottom, the "perfect" tile counter to ceiling on the small cooking nook that will be in the bottom of the "U" of my U-shaped kitchen, wood-looking floors - all pulled off without somehow seeming like too much wood and coordinating beautifully with whatever I want to do for colors/furnishings for the rest of the home and wearing really well over time. Without breaking the budget and absolutely fitting the house)

Current Question:

I'm having a bit of a dilemma. As much as I love true brown tones, and do not enjoy yellow, bleached white, gold, orange or red tones in woods, I'm really not sure that I can pull off what I "love" in this home and if it "works" with my reality. I'm concerned that the darker tones (let's just say walnut, as that is my current fav) are going to not only be dark but they are going to feel heavy. Given I'm not really a maple/oak fan, I am now wondering if I should consider going with bamboo lowers and white uppers.

Like so, though this has dark counters:

or something like this, with white counters - though they seem to have chosen yet another wood for the tops?

This is what semimade's bamboo linear sequenced sample kitchen looks like, without white uppers. It seems pretty, um, yellow gold....

And, for fun, here's one pic I found with a two-toned kitchen with a backsplash window, though ours is one continuous piece of glass across the entire 10 feet:

And here's the lovely flatsewn teak

and wonderful walnut

The other way to go would to just suck it down and really NOT get what I really love, but instead bow to resell, simplicity (ordering IKEA to Alaska is dicey enough - then add ordering doors from somewhere else who doesn't deliver to Alaska for doors and it gets kinda of spendy and risky) and the need to just get a functional kitchen in. Going more modern than I want, really, but keeping it simple with the IKEA white acrylic doors with long pulls and MAYBE putting something interesting on the back of the peninsula to warm it up a bit. No risk of overdoing wood or having clashing wood floors this way. Options almost unlimited for the range wall tile this way. But, probably have to go more matte with tile and counters, and maybe darker than I have been envisioning with the two-toned kitchens. Sort of like Beverly's kitchen:

So, do you like the bamboo? Do you think I have gone off the deep end again? Don't hold back...

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