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Fresh Update - Please Help! - Home refresh

M Techr
5 months ago
last modified: 23 days ago

So, 15+ years after building, we have decided to update multiple areas in our home:

1) Kitchen refresh including countertops, backsplash, hardware, lighting and new appliances

2) Install hardwoods and removing carpets in all rooms

3) Update bathroom tile flooring, countertops, mirrors and lighting

4) New paint scheme, furniture and lighting in all areas

We want a bright and classic look throughout. In our kitchen, we have medium brown cabinets In the kitchen. as shown below (please pardon the mess).





I would love some thoughts and suggestions about how to maximize the transformation. We are planning to go darker with flooring and are deciding whether to refinish or replace existing - we have this in about about 70% downstairs areas. We are looking at white quartz countertops in a few styles [Lusso (too busy?), Eternal Glow] and a coordinating backsplash. We had considered replacing the island with a new, larger island perpendicular to the oven, but are now thinking either to replace the countertop as is or extending with support posts. We will be removing the desk area and incorporating a wine cooler and a beverage fridge. I would like a counter depth fridge and new wall ovens. We will be repainting, as well. Lot's of options - we could use different perspectives.

UPDATE 1: We have started the process with flooring which kicked off this whole chain of events. We specialists to help with what we needed done and I decided to keep my cabinets despite popular feedback.

The kitchen already looks better with the knee wall removed!



These are the floor choices that I have. I am leaning towards Jacobean on the right center. I ruled out heritage brown (top left) as too blue. Ebony (top right) too dark. Dark Walnut (center left) as too contrasty? I can really see a difference in the Jacobean/Ebony mix on the bottom. I'd love some thoughts.



Latest Update here- @beth thanks for the flooring advice - I now understand more after choosing Jacobean making my cabinets appear even more orange.


Orange cabinets finally gone. More trim work to come and issues to address.




Comments (29)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    IMO the whole kitchen is dated so maybe some clue as to what is planned for the cabinets for instance . Do you love how the kitchen functions ? IMO throwing money at a dated kitchen is a waste so I need to get more info. The staggered cabinets dated, no base cabinet drawers hardly anywhere, dated . Raised bar dated. I think with the large of a change I would seriously look at new cabinets , having these painted will cost as much as new usually .

  • tangerinedoor
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    To me, the space is begging for LIGHT: airiness, sunshine, uplift (the chandeliers are dragging the ceiling down), eliminate one layer of molding (there are 2???) so the eye can easily drift upwards, etc. etc.

    IMO a re-imagining is needed here, with a new family paradigm, and not just up-freshening. This is not a cosmetic job, not about colors, tile choices, etc. It's not about granite tops or not granite tops or what kind of wood floor. What's missing is how your family is currently, and how that is reflected in where you live. I'm fairly confident these spaces don't reflect your current family! What do you want from your space now and going forward for 15 years?

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  • M Techr
    Original Author
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Thank you @Patricia Colwell Consulting! - I would like definitely get rid of the raised bar and cut it down to the same level with countertop replacement. We also will remove the knee wall between the kitchen and family room (not pictured). I am OK with the cabinets and reluctant to replace them entirely, as there is so much more to do in the house. That said my partner wants to consider painting them. I am thinking that if the countertop and backsplash changes are not dramatic enough, then we can take that step. I definitely hear your perspective on a full cabinet remodel versus the update planned.

  • M Miller
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    We are planning to go darker with flooring

    Please know that when you have dark flooring, they are higher maintenance. Every crumb and speck will show more glaringly. You will clean it, and just one toast crumb will make it seem like you have not cleaned it. Furthermore, since flooring is a dominant feature, its darkness will absorb light. That goes against your objective of "bright". I recommend against the expenditure of going darker with the flooring, and leave the flooring as is.

    You are doing quite a lot in the kitchen - countertops, backsplash, hardware, lighting and new appliances. That is a lot of money, yet retaining the dated desk area (no one puts those in anymore - it looks like you don't use it either given that under the desk appears to be clutter storage). The cabinets have the old arched doors, and today the uppers would be installed to meet the ceiling. Painting them isn't going to change that, and painted is yet another added expenditure to your list of superficial changes to an old kitchen.

    The drawers in your photos look a little wonky - do they work well? In a kitchen today you might install frameless cabinets, or at least framed overlay cabinets. Of course, it's not my money, but if it were, I would not pay a cent just to cosmetically dress up this old kitchen. I'd do the other changes in the home that you mentioned, and wait until I had the budget to re-do the kitchen entirely.

    Here are photos of frameless cabinets. Do you see how they are constructed differently from yours?









  • M Techr
    Original Author
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    @M Miller @tangerinedoor

    Thank you for your perspectives and for the context on frameless cabinets. We are definitely removing the desk area. I really dislike the flooring which is throughout 70% of my first floor and why I started with this whole refresh concept. We could certainly change the cabinets now if we desire, but they don't offend or bother me and compounded with the wait times and disruption, so I am not sure that I want to pursue. It is interesting to hear the strong reaction to the cabinets and good input.

  • Lyn Nielson
    5 months ago

    if it were mine, and I was just looking for a refresh, I'd sand the existing floors and add a clear coat, or just a hint lighter stain to blend where needed.

    White counter top, fo sure.

    a white geometric shape backsplash (a small 2" triangle would add texture without adding color)

    I'd paint the whole house a crisp clean white.

    ... and replace all the light fixtures with a brushed brass for a little shine.

    Once you replace the appliances that you mentioned, you'd have the refresh without a major overhaul.

  • M Miller
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    It is really starting to bother me that we have become such a throwaway society.

    @jck910 - my advice above to redo the kitchen entirely when the funds are available was in response to the large number of changes that the OP wants to do to the kitchen. The OP will be spending a great deal of money on a long list of changes to a kitchen that looks quite old. I agree with the few changes you mentioned as a better way not to be so throwaway. But that does not appear to be what the OP intends - which is countertops, backsplash, hardware, lighting, new appliances, painting the cabinetry, removing the raised bar, and removing the desk area. Given that long list and its cost, I stand by my rec to re-do the kitchen instead.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    5 months ago

    I agree throw away is not my ideal either but honestly to spend all that money and not bring the kitchen up to par makes no sense .

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Thanks all who have commented so far! To be clear, budget is not governing what I can do with the kitchen. It is that I do not find the cabinets limiting, but am fascinated by the thoughts presented thus far.


    @jck910 I agree with you on sustainability and reuse. I truly dislike the flooring and have for the past decade (can't believe it has been that long) and that is where this started. I am meeting with flooring folks to determine if I can get the feel that I want with what is there first. Otherwise, we may replace.

  • Miranda33
    5 months ago

    Just regarding the removals of the raised bar on the right of the pics, and the desk on the left. Keep in mind that when you remove the raised bar, you remove the electric outlets there, which it appears that you use. If you are planning a counter overhang there, it would be against Code to put receptacles on the other side under the counter overhang. People will instead put a receptacle box at the end of that run, but with the dishwasher there, make sure you have the room for the receptacle box. Just something to keep in mind.

    Regarding the desk removal, what will you put in that space? Will you remove the uppers above the desk as well? If you are putting something else there, how will you coordinate its color or finish with the rest of the kitchen?

    I think my two points above demonstrate that removing things in a kitchen can have a domino effect. You do one thing, and it requires changes in something else, which then requires changes in something else. That is what sometimes leaves the homeowner saying why am I trying so hard to work around the old stuff I have, with its domino effects, why not start over clean.

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    @Miranda33 Thank you. We will be removing the desk area and replacing with a wine cooler and a beverage fridge. We currently have receptacles on the underside of the counter overhang right now, but I am not sure if I want an overhang on the the other side at all. We don't use the current bar seating at all and it eats into the morning room.

  • lharpie
    5 months ago

    Agree the cabinets aren’t modern but they do look nice, and replacing would cost a lot of money. light countertops and backsplash would really help brighten it up, and arent too big of an investment. i would just replace appliances as they die. i would definitely be concerned about dark floors being too much dark wood. but i also always prefer lighter floors and love my old red oak. Would you keep the dark table too?

  • jck910
    5 months ago

    @M Miller I wasn't criticizing anyone's suggestions or opinions. Just thinking that "looking dated" happens so quickly

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    @lharpie Thanks for your input. I do love the table, but it is not a strong consideration in planning, because it can be easily swapped out.

    From what I am hearing here - most think that we should evaluate the investment and either do less or do it all. That is helpful. Budget is not the primary limiting factor. I am not sure that I have the patience for do it all right now, but will maybe check-in with a designer on what the impact of new cabinets would be on my desired timeline.

  • tangerinedoor
    5 months ago

    I would get rid of the green walls. Choose a color that works better with the wood on the cabinets. This would be a "face lift".

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    @tangerinedoor What color would you suggest?

  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    Your floor is beautiful and really just needs to be stripped and refinished to a color you like.

    As for the rest, if you're happy with the cabinets which to me look just fine, then I think your other ideas are good ones.

  • la_la Girl
    4 months ago

    I agree that it is either a light update or an overhaul with a KD - @Miranda33 sums up the domino effect well. If it were me i would leave the floors for sure, update the paint to warm white, change the backsplash, explore a nice rug or two (if the spacing works its a little hard to tell from the pics) and absolutely change the lighting to something super simple and fresh. Getting clutter off the counter and floor will help a lot also -

  • NaturalLight
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    From the pics, the floor looks beautiful to me and still in beautiful condition. I personally would keep it. If it’s the color you dislike, you can re-stain them but I wouldn't go dark, as the kitchen looks to be already on the dark side.


    IMO painting the walls, new appliances, new lighting and cabinet hardware would be a nice improvement and update, without having to do a total gut job. Especially so, when there are other things to do beyond the kitchen.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    you seem to have perfectly fine red oak floors. what's bothering you is the yellowing, the honey color and the shine.

    If they are able to sand down the finish to raw wood and get them to look something like this, could you like them?




    This is a dark walnut stain.


    Unless you plan on painting your cabs white w/light countertops, and getting some new lighting, all white trim, etc, I wouldn't go this dark. You home doesn't appear to be overly bright as is.

    If you do want the darker wood (see if yours can be refinished w/a walnut) This is how it would look w/all of the lighter elements. See the diff?


    Replacing flooring w/diff wood planks in an 800 sq ft area is going to cost in the neighborhood of 15K, including demo of what you have) Refinishing everything may be less than half that. I'd call in some flooring specialists and have them sample a few spots for you.

    Cabinets. Off the bat the 'stepped' upper cabinets and the arch design are what date the look. The wood itself isn't bad. A few things you could do.

    Paint,

    Re-face and paint (which is what I did with mine), leave as is and work with them.

    I would redo the crown molding to something a bit less ornate looking. But basically you'd get this look if all you did was paint the cabs (these are all one level though)


    What if you rasied a few of those uppers to be level, got a new built in microwave (GE Profile 1.5 is a good one) and did a proper vent hood insert w/matching surround?

    this is how it would open up the stove area if you made them one level to the ceiling:


    diff ways you can do it. build boxes on top, raise what you have,


    you could reface w/taller doors, build a little box on top to the ceiling,


    and cover the whole thing w/taller doors


    Or you could remove that ornate crown molding and trim and do something more up to date to fill the gap








    for you desk area, try removing a few of those uppers (and since they're taller and w/glass, move them over to the stove area where you need taller uppers)

    put a bev fridge in the lower opening, do some tile and open shelving above that. Something like shown here




    if you painted cabs white, did some wood shelves around the sink area, lighter countertops, new pendants,,


    navy blue island (Ocean Floor) w/painted white cabs(Cloud White) and the gap between ceiling/uppers closed.


    This is BM Soft Chamois on the cabinets. this was a very cheap makeover. Nothing but paint and an inexpensive granite countertop was done.


    If you would rather keep your cabinets as they are, stepped on the top, at least remove the micro and do a vent hood to match the style. This is SW Dover White. Floors are similar to yours but in a warmer stain color. The granite is River White. Island is a darker wood.


    Similar to yours. new lighter countertop, white perimeter w/a greenish gray island and wall color. cabinets are leveled but the ceiling gap is still there. (I like the idea of closing the gap)




    I mentioned refacing. I had it done w/mine. The cabinet painter gave me a good deal. all new drawers/door fronts (solid maple w/mdf center panels) for an extra 2K. (I have a lot of cabinets)

    Here's what they looked like. I had all my top drawers as slabs and wanted all shaker.


    I had all of the ornate rope trim on the crown, the fluted pieces around the upper and the island removed, the mirco removed and a vent hood made, and the lower drawers modified (and two new ones made in my island) so that I could have a built in micro below my wall oven.


    My hood vent is so much nicer than that bulky OTR micro, and I love the cleaner look of the crown/trim molding. My ceilings are lower than yours, so I was stuck w/what I have here.

    I kept my desk area because we actually use it. off to the left of this pic I have a coffee bar and a large pantry area to the left of the fridge.


    I had similar lighting to yours too. that's gone. It's so much brighter and lighter in the kitchen now.


    you can see the two large drawers in the island where open shelving used to be. if you can modify and make more drawers, do it.

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    @Beth H. : Thank you for your amazing response with all of the ideas and pictures. I do really like the natural look of the natural red oak floors. It is that orange color of my current floors and some gaps that which I am not happy with. I am actually doing 3600 sqft of flooring (~2500 if I refinish what I have instead) as part of this project. I am still deciding on refinish versus new solid wood planks. The ideas on how to manage the cabinets are extremely helpful, as well as, consideration on installing a new range hood. So many things to consider.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    3600 sq is a lot of flooring to replace.

    If the current wood floor is in good shape, why not see if it can be refinished?

    Have the flooring specialist come out and do a patch for you (they can fill in some gaps too)

    This way you can see what it looks like raw, and try out some diff stains and finishes






    This is refinished Red Oak done w/ Duraseal Jacobean w/a finish coat of Bona intense seal and 2 Coats of Bona Traffic


    custom mix, Bona stains. 1/2 neutral, 1/4 gray, 1/4 jacobean. 3 coats satin clear


    if you want warmer, but not yellow or too dark, Try duraseal Rustic Beige



    decide on your flooring first. Then pick your countertop, then your cabinet color and wall color. after all of that is installed, pick your backsplash

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Thanks @Beth H. : VERY helpful. After more looking at my estimates and options, I think I am now leaning to the refinish option, if they can schedule quickly. I will have them come out to show stains in the kitchen to give a better idea.

  • tangerinedoor
    4 months ago

    @M Techr You asked about what color I'd paint the walls? If it were me, I'd do some kind of white or cream but not a blue white. If you like the sage, try doing a light sage.

    What struck me first is how gloomy the kitchen is. Just lightening up the walls will give the whole room a face lift, IMO.

    And yes, perk up the floors! Get new chandeliers: make the eye go up, not down.

  • RedRyder
    4 months ago

    Refinishing your existing floors and adding in a bit more as needed is the easier way to go. Since your cabinets are a medium colored wood, I’d keep the floors lighter. Beth’s suggestions are spot on.

    Doing the floors, countertop and backsplash will give you a whole new room. And I agree your wall paint needs to be much lighter, leaning towards a warm white.

    Post photos of the countertop you’re considering so we can help with the backsplash, unless you will use one material for both.

  • PRO
    Design Interior South
    4 months ago

    Hi there. I may have missed where you answered this but here are my questions.


    1. Photos of the immediate spaces beyong the kitchen in both directions.

    2. Is the wall the desk is on an outside wall to the home?

    3. Why darker floors if you want to go lighter and brighter?

    4. Are appliances being replaced?


    Immediate obsrevations.


    You have natural cherry cabinets which are lovely but as all natural cherry does it is getting the "striped" appearance on some of the face areas. This and only this is what makes them undesirable. There is no real way to get rid of that in natural cherry because those individual planks have naturally mellowed and there is no way around it but it isnt a great look.


    Depending on whats to the right of your sink peninsula I would pull that whole peninsula and take the half wall back flush thus eliminating the dated corner cabinet scenario. place one large scaled island in the center of the kitchen.


    If you did that you could open up the back wall there to do a lovely feature hood above the cooktop.


    Again depending on if the wall where the desk is is an outside wall I would pull upper cabinets and take the counter to counter height entirely on bottom cabinets and relocate the sink and DW under the bank of windows. Of course if you can't because it isnt an outside wall then I would move sink and DW to island but still take the desk lowers to counter height. The uppers there are "heavy" so i would either replace the fronts with glass and iside lighting or pull the center ones and consider shelves there.


    This looks like a very typical NC home from 2003-2008. Look at my projects. We just did one. Beacon Falls Project. There are no before shots but trust me when I say they are night and day.

  • M Techr
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    @Design Interior South Thank you for your insight.

    The room next to the kitchen near the sink/high bar is the morning room (ignore the additional chairs). The other side of the desk is the garage.



    I like the look of darker flooring and am hoping to lighten up other surfaces.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    If you're keeping that stain color as is, then I'd aim for a floor stain that is a bit warmer and not too dark.

    top right, middle left have some warmer tones to it


    These are the similar tones you're playing with. there are no red undertones w/these, but yet your cabinet color has that cinnamon hue to it.


    these are oak cabs, but similar warm tones like yours. see the dark floor next to it?


    This is Bona stain colors in 1/2 neutral, 1/4 gray and 1/4 jacobean.

    what do you think about this one? Equal parts of Duraseal Jacobean/Classic gray (you could prob play w/that a bit) Bona Traffic HD is on top


    this is Dark Walnut. you can see in the sunnier spots it still shows warm


    50/50 Special Walnut and Dark Walnut.


    What about this one?


    It's Duraseal Rustic Beige

    Maybe play around w/this color and add some jacobean to it if you want it a bit darker

    Looks like this in the pic I photoshopped


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