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Formica River Gold: Artsy and Cool. or too weird to use? :)

Rebecca Cohoe
2 months ago

Hi there. I'm doing a light renovation of my kitchen in November (keeping footprint and cabinets, but painting/glazing them, replacing cathedral-front doors and khaki quartz countertops, and removing the uppers on the wall by my sink and awful mosaic tile. New appliances, flooring, and lighting will follow next year.) I'm had also been planning to install a wood feature on the back of my peninsula, with thin, vertical wood paneling.

Here is the current state of things. Plenty to fix, but I think my plan will help a lot. This is a family home (I've got two small children) that needs to fit our personality but also needs to work. It's not a forever home (necessarily) so we aren't focusing on high end finishes right now.

I thought I had a plan: MCM-lite (it's a 1960's backsplit with some vaguely MCM elements still there, but mostly renovated out in the 90s...for example, the cabinets that I'm keeping are basically a shaker look: they aren't going to work with a truly MCM look and I"m not replacing them. I'm not looking to make it an MCM museum, but thought it could be a gentle design guide.)

My walls are all cream, and I'm planning to paint my uppers cream too. The lowers will be stained with a darker glaze that will cut the yellow, but remain warm. I've already got these cabinet pulls ordered to go with it all. Amerock Riva 3" Centre Bar Pull & Reviews - Wayfair Canada

Anyhow, I went to look at my Formica options yesterday and found myself really drawn to River Gold:

3546 River Gold 180fx® by Formica Group · More Info

It's got a lot of movement and drama, but in kind of an artsy way that I appreciate. Our house is full of original art, plants, books, etc, and I think this kind of fits that vibe. It also fits really nicely with the golden oak original hardwood flooring in the rest of the house.

It was the only one that I was really excited about. I also noticed that it is one of very few options that doesn't lean heavily into grey, which I like: this kitchen is a Southern exposure with tons of light, and I adore how warm it gets (I live in Newfoundland, so warmth and sun are sometimes in short supply!)

That said, I'm a bit concerned that it could be too much (its quite a bold pattern,) and also that maybe it looks a bit dated (or am I making that up?) My kitchen is a U-shape, so there will be quite a bit of counter there.

I'm quite OK with an eclectic look, but I still have a bit of fear just because I haven't seen a lot of other people using this countertop. I did find this, which I quite like, but which leans a bit further into "country kitchen" or "farmhouse" than I would prefer. My lower cabinets won't be quite as dark, but I am planning creamy uppers and natural wood lowers, so the concept from this photo would be there in terms of the cabinets.

I also think it doesn't work quite as well with the MCM-lite concept I was playing with. This, plus the paneling would be pretty overwhelming in my small-ish kitchen, and I'm not sure what lighting choices I would make.

The other option is probably to go with a very, very simple countertop in a creamy white. It will look good with the creamy uppers and natural, medium-dark wood lowers, but maybe isn't as much fun (although decor can go a long way.)

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on River Gold, other Formica 180x options that you'd also suggest, and ideas for how to work the River Gold into my MCM-lite, artsy/eclectic design aesthetic. I think that good lighting options would be particularly helpful in giving me what I need to make the decision. I'd be looking for one flush mount, and one with a bit more potential for some hanging to go over the dining area.

Thanks in advance!

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