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goldenseverywhere

Choosing finishes for cabinets, counters, and backsplash

goldenseverywhere
3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

Hi everyone,


After many years of renting and saving, we have our own home and are finally in a position to do a kitchen renovation. I would love to get some thoughts from the helpful folks on this forum.


We would like to paint our cabinets off-white with brass hardware, replace countertops to white quartz/quartzite, and install white subway tile backsplash. It's important to us that we don't choose anything too trendy. I was hoping to get thoughts on practical and timeless finishes, paint, and any other ideas or cautionary tales I may not have thought of.


We currently have 11 year old espresso builder grade cabinets and laminate countertops with some dings in them. My husband and I both like white but not sterile, warm, and traditional styles for the kitchen. The kitchen is open to the breakfast nook which gets a lot of light. I liked the look of a warm, subtly veined white countertop like Calacatta Arno quartz.


Our budget for the countertops and the cabinets is about 10k. For paint, I have seen oil based semi gloss and BM Satin impervio waterborne recommended previously.


We are also thinking of changing out our laminate flooring elsewhere in the ground level to LVP as we have two large dogs and the ability to steam clean would be very nice.


I have attached photos of our current kitchen and a couple inspirational photos below. Thank you all very much for your help!











Comments (61)

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Thank you so much. Our budget does have some flexibility, but unless there is good reason to I’d rather put extra money into investments at this point in our lives.

    We did see some photos of white uppers, espresso lower cabinets that we liked. Thank you for the suggestion.

    I did not even think about the double level counter as something that could date. I am not sure if we could get rid of that, might be something we could ask the countertop installers about. We do really like having the top level and the barstools though.

    We will check eBay for hardware. Great idea!

    Ha yes I don’t aim for our kitchen to end up at all like the inspo photo, but it’s just an idea of the style that we like. Props for installing your own cabinets!

  • HU-675849
    3 months ago

    Can always spray paint hardware and save money that way

    goldenseverywhere thanked HU-675849
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  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you

  • la_la Girl
    3 months ago

    Don’t get discouraged by the budget comments - I do agree that continuous flooring makes a big difference in how the space feels overall. is there anything about the layout you want to change or are you interested in cosmetic changes only?


    goldenseverywhere thanked la_la Girl
  • latifolia
    3 months ago

    Your cabinets look to be in decent shape. I would keep them as they are: factory finishes tend to be more durable. In my opinion, the all-white kitchen is as likely to date a kitchen as anything else. Change the hardware.


    Choose nice white countertops and a backsplash you like. It should be fairly easy to eliminate the raised area and have one level with barstools. You're better off with those elements being high quality than spreading your budget over everything.


    Then choose a tile floor for durability.

    goldenseverywhere thanked latifolia
  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you. The layout works for me, just looking to make cosmetic changes.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thanks. I’m curious about what changing the two level counters to a single level would cost. Would like to call around and ask. Tile floor one day would be great.

  • latifolia
    3 months ago

    We had our counters cut down and that was very easy. You will need to have the outlets moved. Talk to the countertop people about building in support, depending on how wide you want the overhang to be.

    goldenseverywhere thanked latifolia
  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I am very glad you and and Jmig suggested the one level counter. It was not on my radar before to change that and I can see the advantages.

  • cat_ky
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I would leave your cabinets, they look very nice and will hold up so much better than paint will. Put your money into the counters, and a backsplash. I notice the counters you have, have a 4 inch backsplash. Make sure your new counters do not have that. A regular backsplash would be so much better. Change out the hardware on the cabinets, but, do that after you get the counters, so you know if you really need to do that. Its a nice kitchen. I wouldnt change any of the flooring at this time. You just bought the house. Do not make changes, just because, you think you want something a bit different. Live in the house for 6 months or more and by that time, you will know exactly what you want changed. Its way too easy to make an expensive mistake, when you have just bought a house, and you are super excited. Also remember if you level that bar top, you have no where to put those outlets, and it appears that you dont have a lot of countertop in your kitchen, so may need to have those outlets, where they are convenient to use.

    goldenseverywhere thanked cat_ky
  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    Are you living in the house now and if so for how long have you been there?

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you. I need to clarify- we’ve been living in the house for two years now and have made a number of improvements to it. In the kitchen, we have replaced the dishwasher, microwave, sink, faucets, cooktop, and added reverse osmosis. We will likely be here for 5 more years but are unsure whether we will be here longer, which is why I hesitate to spend too much on renovations or anything trendy.

    Getting rid of the four inch backsplash is something I am realizing would be a good choice. Our previous gas range had a large hot pot on it which burned the laminate four inch backsplash behind it.

    The outlets are an excellent point.. there are also a number of outlets on the outer side of the bar countertop drywall that faces the living room, and some pretty molding from the previous owner on top of the drywall.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Here are some photos of the wall outside the peninsula bar. The molding extends into the foyer area and I am not sure how the transition would look. There are several outlets which would need to be moved if we did a conversion to one level. I believe we would save on marble slabs if we just did one level and it would open up the kitchen as previously mentioned. I reached out to a couple general contractors about this.

  • ginatay124
    2 months ago

    I feel like dark kitchens are coming back around and can have be more dramatic than white. Here are a couple I saved. Note the use of marble (or similar quartz); touches of brass, bronze, or copper; zellige tile; and finishing touches such as good lighting, runner rugs, and beautiful accessories:

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Keeping at least the lower cabinets in espresso would provide us with that warmth and I like the brass and warm accents very much.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Is it true that painted cabinets don’t hold up, or does it depend more on the prep, technique, and type of paint used?

  • la_la Girl
    2 months ago

    I think painted cabinets can hold up well if the prep and the technique is sound (and the right paint is used) - if you’re looking for cab painters, see if you can find who comes highly recommended in your area (def talk to people who used them and don’t rely just on online reviews) - FWIW friends had a good experience with a local firm who prepped and painted the boxes on site but took the doors back to their facility for something a bit closer to a ”factory finish”

    goldenseverywhere thanked la_la Girl
  • blfenton
    2 months ago

    White on white on white is a trend and can be difficult to do if you don't coordinate all the whites. I actually like the colour of the cabinets and changing the counter to white with brass hardware and a new backsplash would be a very sophisticated look. You have a very nice home with a lot of natural light and with the light counter and darker cabinets it would look great.

    The $2600 quote for painting the cabinets seems extremely low and I would worry about not just the quality of the paint but also of the work. I painted our kitchen cabinets twice and there are a lot of stages to painting cabinets and if even one of them is skimped on or missed the paint will not hold up. With your limited budget and your enthusiasm (which is great by the way) I think I would leave the cabinets.

    goldenseverywhere thanked blfenton
  • Kendrah
    2 months ago

    I’d rather put extra money into investments at this point in our lives.


    You are a smart cookie! I don't know anyone who looks back in life and says "I wish I had invested less." This is even more so true since you may only be here for five years.


    Two toned uppers and lowers may look odd, like Tetris, because there is only one wall in your kitchen with both uppers and lowers. It seems visually wonky and chunky to have espresso at the sink and white above the fridge. Where do you stop and start colors on the oven area?


    If you get a lowball paint job, it likely won't look good when you go to sell in 5 years and you could be stuck with a messy challenge when you go to list. Paint jobs that really last and look good usually involve removing all cabinetry off-site for spraying in a spray booth with cabinet paint and it can cost as much as getting new cabinets.


    I'd get brass hardware, new counters, and a backsplash on the stove wall if you'd like. Live with it for a few months. Then if you want to paint the uppers on the stove wall, go for it.





    goldenseverywhere thanked Kendrah
  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    la_la_girl - Thanks for the thoughts on cabinet paint. If I go that route may need to ask around more as I did select the current company from online reviews. One contractor who came by did mention he had a trusted cabinet painter/refinisher but who did not come cheap.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    blfenton - I like how you describe the dark cabinets with the light counters - a sophisticated look. We wanted to avoid a too sterile or modern feeling white kitchen, and keeping the cabinets would avoid that. One concern is that espresso seemed to make a small kitchen look smaller, but as people have mentioned, light counters and opening up to 1 level may help resolve that. We are looking at a matte 3x6" white tile backsplash. And thank you, we do get a lot of natural light opening up into the south facing breakfast nook, backyard, living room which is a big reason I love this house.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Kendrah- Your point about paint really hits home. The last thing I would want would be preparing the house to sell in 5 years and have to deal with cabinets that need to be redone.


    We are not the most artistic couple and having to be creative about making a two tone cabinet setup look nice does sound like a challenge. Focusing on counters, brass hardware, and backsplash sounds like a good plan.


    And absolutely. It's very important for us to invest for our older years. My one weakness is travel, but hey, those are memories that will last a lifetime!

  • J Mig
    2 months ago

    Reading everyone’s posts above, and also noting your posted pictures, your molding is relatively unsophisticated/uncomplicated, so redoing that would not be a big deal in my opinion. I have zero graphical skills, so I can’t draw the line where I would make a cut. However, The issue I think you’re going to have may be where that return air (or large) vent is attached to a stud, if you were trying to make a cut vertically down the wall there.

    Looking at the picture, you could extend the shiplap around the peninsula area. I think the issue would be color matching the paint. I don’t actually think I would do that, but it is an option. You would also be removing those corbels, so you would have to investigate whether you needed to support that countertop. Then you would get lower stools, or you would cut your current nice stools which are nice. (I have a very handy husband, which makes do itself projects much easier!)

    There are really cool, pop-up/invisible outlets that I have seen put into newer homes. Basically, the top of the outlet is a routed piece of your countertop. And then it is a push spring to get the outlet to come up. I don’t really know the details, but I think it might be Leviton brand. You will already have the electrical lines in place for the current outlets, they will just need to be moved around a bit with a new junction box.

    goldenseverywhere thanked J Mig
  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Jmig this is great and pretty close to what the stone shop I visited today said. See if it is possible to cut the wainscoting down a level and keep the vertical components. Pop up outlets an option or put one on the wall by the dishwasher and another by the Instant pot if feasible. I do need to check the codes as I’ve seen outlets per sq foot in the kitchen is a requirement? I like the idea to cut down the stools. We will have to see what they say about the vent- I have a contractor coming by tomorrow to take a look too.

    In regard to support, shop said that up to 14” overhang without metal support is ok. But our bar counter extends 18” and I’d like to preserve that amount of space, plus I think I might feel more comfortable with metal brackets anyway. May see if we can keep the corbels for looks. Thanks again for the thoughts

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I visited a couple more stone shops today and found one I liked as they could handle cutting down the bar counter and electric along with installing the counters. I now have two decisions to make and would be interested in thoughts if anyone had any:

    1. Quartz countertop material: we are between Pental Quartz Aura Gold and Madreperola. Both part of their new collection so I haven’t found much other than stock photos. We are keeping the espresso cabinets and adding brass hardware and accents. Aura would brighten things up, while Madre feels warmer and more textured. Madre is 1300 more expensive
    2. Backsplash: I’m between full quartz backsplash and white or neutral 3x5 subway tile. Price for full quartz is around 300 more (compared to tile) which is less than I expected. I like the look and lack of grout lines to clean for quartz, but am concerned about yellowing or cracking due to heat. There is only 2” between the edge of our induction cooktop and where the backsplash would be.

    Here are some pics:

    Aura gold below:








  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Madreperola

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Cooktop, madreperola slab, aura gold slab. Sorry for the multiple posts. Houzz is limiting me to four photos per post.




  • Kendrah
    2 months ago

    I love how fast you are taking action. Wish I had your motivation! These both certainly work with your cabinets. I would consider how the two counters look with your flooring, how they look against the white painted end panel next to your dishwasher, and with your wall color. Could the sample with more movement be too much with your floors? Or maybe it packs an extra punch and looks great with your floors.


    I know nothing about heat resistance as a backsplash, but if the pros here say it is ok I think would look great and for an extra $300 it seems like a no brainer. Your backsplash area is also rather small and I think it would be good to have the continuation up the wall. If you can't use the counters as a splash because of heat issues, I would also hold some subway tiles up to the counters to see if it clarifies your thoughts on colors decision.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks! I will have to check it with the floors, walls, and trim. Another thing I didn’t think to do. We’ll do a comparison w subway tile too. I do tend to get excited about my projects. And I find if I let them sit they don’t always get done or I forget details.

    The madreperola is much different than all the whites and marble like patterns we had gravitated to, but it ended up a top contender.

    I saw a gorgeous slab across the stone yard yesterday (on its underside only to boot) and had to go over and check it out. It turned out to be the Taj Mahal quartzite, which I’ve seen recommended on this forum before. Out of our budget, but you guys have great taste.

    A GC is coming tonight, will ask him about some of the concerns mentioned on this thread. Thank you everyone.

  • la_la Girl
    2 months ago

    so glad you found several counter choices you liked! You’ll have to post progress pics as you go :)

  • Missy Bee
    2 months ago

    Love that madreperola!

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I definitely will post update pics. Have to let everyone know how the final product comes out!

    And thanks for your opinion about the madreperola! I guess it means mother of pearl and is meant to mimic the quartzite of the same name.


    edit- pic showing up blurry on my phone but if you click on it it should become clear

  • HU-675849
    2 months ago

    Save money by spray painting the hardware and any light fixtures.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thank you for the suggestion

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Some backsplash I’m considering from Lowe’s. I think it’s a dupe to the bedrosian cloe tiles, but the price is similar so may go with Cloe. Any thoughts on grout?



    Our contractor is away on vacation all week, so things are on hold till he gets back. Ordered some champagne gold cabinet hardware and a faucet to try out from Amazon..




  • k8cd
    2 months ago

    Love the decisions that you have made so far! I hope that you will post your after photos.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thank you so much! Full disclosure, I have no idea what I am doing and this forum has been a huge help. I do plan to update with photos, although this project may take awhile to get under way.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    First and biggest step done today! Countertop demoed and leveled, new countertop installed. Also pictured, new gold hardware.

    Still to do- faucets and backsplash and retouching walls

  • Emily
    last month

    That that has totally changed the look of your kitchen already. If you still plan to paint cabinets I really like BM Advance. If you sand lightly and use a good primer then this paint will hold up really well. I’ve painted some heavily used commercial spaces with no chipping after 4 yrs. I’ve used in a couple of homes too and had no regrets.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you very much for the tip. We are planning to keep the cabinets the color they are to preserve some warmth to the kitchen. Will post a final photo when it’s all done.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    Is there anything we can do to tie the white countertops and dark cabinets together more harmoniously?

    The backsplash will be quite bright too- white bedrosian cloe. It’s set to be installed Monday but we could potentially do a pivot if there’s a diff tile in stock nearby.

  • k8cd
    last month

    Love the picture of your sweet dog - Goldens are the best!
    And the kitchen looks great too!

    What color is the front of the island? I can’t tell if it’s grey? Or if that’s a shadow. And what colors are in the countertop?

    Did you look at the creme cloe? If you are keeping the wall color, they might look similar. Their Makoto line is really nice too if you like matte tiles.

    Here’s a kitchen where they mixed the white and crème cloe tiles. Not sure how that would look with your countertops but it’s an idea. I would probably lay them horizontally in your kitchen though.

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6137446/cloe-tile-in-white-and-cream-i-need-help

    goldenseverywhere thanked k8cd
  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    They are the best! The front of the island is white. The countertop is white with brown veining- here’s a pic.

    I LOVE how they mixed those Cloe tiles! I’m going to see if I can get my hands on a box of creme before Monday.

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    Aura gold

  • k8cd
    last month

    I think the mix would work with your countertops!

  • la_la Girl
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Looks great! such a sweet golden face ❤️

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    last month

    Kitchen is all finished!

    Done:

    x Countertop cut down to one level

    x Aura gold Quartz tops

    x New faucet, dishsoap dispenser, and RO water dispenser

    x Bedrosian Cloe backsplash, white grout

    x New cabinet knobs and handles

    x Cleaned and filled in dings in cabinetry with cabinetry pen


    Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. Particular thanks to @J Mig for first mentioning the countertop cutdown and cabinet hardware changes, @latifolia and @cat_ky for recommending keeping our espresso cabinets - I now love the richness of them with the gold hardware and brown accents in the quartz, and @ginatay124 for the beautiful inspo photos.



  • J Mig
    last month

    Oh my goodness, it is beautiful! I had not seen any of your posts after the second one I posted. So as I was rereading today, I was really liking the Aura gold quartz samples with your colors, and I’m so excited to see that that’s what you went with. I agree with everyone that it is amazing how leveling the countertop made such a huge updated difference to your kitchen. I think this means that I need to get going on my own update. You are very sweet to say thank you. As I was in the Albuquerque airport this weekend, I was looking at the tile and grout in the bathrooms, and I was thinking they used Mapei warm gray grout (and it didn’t really go with the creamy tiles.) And then I thought who is crazy enough to look at grout colors in an airport bathroom? And then I thought… Well, the other people on Houzz would! You did a great job!

  • goldenseverywhere
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    @J Mig- thank you! The difference it has made to our home is incredible. It changes the look of not only the kitchen but the entire first floor, due to our open floor plan. I cooked a huge meal yesterday and there was so much more countertop space to work with. It was a pleasure to cook in the new kitchen.


    I know white quartz is a "trend", but I am amazed by how many splashes and stains are generated on a daily basis which I immediately wipe up. Our old countertop hid these dirty areas and they must never have gotten cleaned up.


    Hah- I definitely pay attention to grout now! And countertops, paint, etc. Somebody put some thought designing that airport space and at least you are noticing it!


  • ginatay124
    27 days ago

    Beautiful!!! Thanks for coming back and sharing what you did 😊