Tag Archives: kitchen

kitchen color palette

forsyte saga interiorI was watching The Forsyte Saga on Netflix (the English and their smack talk!) when I was struck by this room. It’s very formal and fancy, but the combination of a steely blue and goldenrod yellow felt so modern. It’s also happily relevant, because one of the colors of linoleum I’m considering for the kitchen floor is yellow. And god, am I starting to feel pangs of longing toward damask again?

So then I got to scheming, and this whole business happened:kitchen color palettes

Really and truly I like them all.

Some colors are safer for resale though. With the Marmoleum floor colors, for instance, most people seem to have strong feelings about yellow. And while blue (I think?) is inoffensive, certainly most buyers would pout at a vivid blue. Yes, I could get color on the floor with a rug, but I don’t have my own washing machine–if I had a kitchen rug, it’d be a filthy kitchen rug. So maybe vintage blue or rosemary are safest, if I care about future buyers.

All of the paint colors are from Farrow & Ball. I’m partial to blue and green color palettes, but I’m telling you, the blue-gray and chartreuse-y gold combo is growing on me. Which now that I think about it is just another permutation of blue and green. I’m either in a rut or very, very consistent!

For countertops, all of the options are various styles of quartz. Calacatta Nuvo and London Gray are from Caesarstone, who offer both honed and polished quartz. Torquay comes from Cambria, and Silestone makes Helix. (Here’s Helix in action at last year’s Kips Bay Show House). I feel a slight qualm about using a material that’s pretending to be something else, but these patterns are pretty subtle and convincing. Plus quartz is just so dang durable.

Because it’s recommended Ikea cabinets sit on your finished floor, picking a Marmoleum color can’t really be a last-minute decision. I like the yellow the most because it’s unexpected and cheerful, but vintage blue would work perfectly well too. To further divide things, I think my husband is partial to petrol or rosemary. At this point I’d probably consult some fabrics for ideas, but I’m keeping the windows simple with the existing matchstick blinds, which is really the only spot to introduce fabric. And most of my dishes are white, with a smattering of blue spatterware, so that doesn’t eliminate anything either.

So what do you think? Keep the floor muted and limit color to accessories, for the sake of resale? Or just do what I want because everything else –the cabinets, backsplash, and counters– will be some shade of white?

kitchen renovation notebook: butcher block

Earlier this year we went into Manhattan and way, way downtown to Green Depot to look at the linoleum samples in person, and ended up looking at countertops as well. As the store’s name suggests, they focus on renewable and sustainable design, so their countertop selection consisted of composite materials like quartz, and butcher block. I’ll admit, I automatically gravitated to the marble-like quartz options, but my husband really loved the butcher block.

You might think that butcher block is substantially cheaper than stone counters, but it’s not, unless you go the pre-cut route at a store like Ikea. According this Remodelista post, custom butcher block counters run between $75 to $150 per square foot. But the warmth of the countertops is undeniable and definitely evokes a country kitchen.

My only concern with butcher block is having it near the sink. Some articles indicate that unsealed butcher block near a sink will get discolored. I’m okay with an even patina, but not straight-up rotting sections of counter. So do you have butcher block counters and if so, how is the maintenance? Any issues near the sink?

kitchen renovation notebook: linoleum

After much budget crunching, wine drinking, and Pinterest stalking, we’ve decided to go ahead with our kitchen remodel this year. We’re going to attempt to do as much as we can ourselves (with the help of my electrician dad), and then fill in with the pros where needed. We’ll be on a tight schedule with my dad, so the goal over the next few months is to make design decisions, start working on orders with long lead times, and basically try to have everything on site at the start of the project. (You can cackle at my naivete now).

I have a clear idea for the cabinets, counters, and the backsplash. Floors, however, leave me a bit stumped. Currently we have ceramic tile, which can be a hard thing to stand on for long periods. Not to mention the fact the tile is at least an inch higher than the rest of the apartment floors. New thing I learned: old homes typically have hardwood subfloors, except in the kitchens, where it’s probably plywood. So you need thin flooring if you want everything flush. Not tile.

That leaves us with vinyl or… linoleum.

Yes, linoleum. Period-appropriate, durable, eco-friendly, and affordable. I always associated linoleum with vinyl flooring, but I’ve learned they are two vastly different categories. Linoleum is made from renewable resources, is biodegradable, and it’s been in use in homes since the late 19th century. A sheet of plastic, it is not.

The cool thing about linoleum is it comes in planks, squares, and sheets. With that kind of flexibility, you can create graphic patterns or just do a mega-dose of solid color, like the orange linoleum in the above room of a working horse ranch, no doubt meant to remind you of Hermes orange.

For our utilitarian galley kitchen, linoleum makes a fairly compelling case. Any other linoleum lovers out there, or at least linoleum-curious?

the pendant light saga

light interruptedAt the beginning of the month, I ordered a single pendant light from West Elm for the kitchen. The current light is one of those flushmounts you can buy at Home Depot for $40–fine, whatever, but there are a little more interesting light choices to be had, even in the $100 range. So I ordered a globe pendant, expecting a simple swap.

Is it ever simple? Easy? Straight forward? No. No, ma’am.

My husband took down the old light and started to unscrew a piece that the light was anchored to. There was hissing. And the unmistakeable smell of gas.

Folks, we have a live gas line in our ceiling. For old-timey gas lights. Because of course that is a thing. Not only that, but someone thought it was a dynamite idea to anchor a light from it.

We called the gas company. They turned off the gas, and slapped us with a hazardous condition sticker. A pipe fitter came out to seal the line but wouldn’t touch it because of the electrical. Then the electricians couldn’t come for a week. This is the saga.

Yesterday the electricians finally came to move the junction box, and since we were already paying them gobs of money to do that, we had another light put in. I think we did that to feel like we had some semblance of control over this situation, and not spending a considerable amount of money on baseline very-important-but-boring safety stuff because I wanted to get rid of a $40 Home Depot light.

The sad thing is my dad’s an electrician. Not an electrician in the typical sense–he used to head a crew that maintained the electrical systems of a functioning steel plant and now controls and purchases the power used by said steel plant. He is a fancy electrician who we refer to as “Mr. Fun.” So christened because of his penchant to suck the life out of everything by insisting on every safety precaution possible, no doubt the effect of working in an extremely dangerous work environment his whole life. So I have the benefit of being instilled with a healthy fear of questionable electrical work without the benefit of my father’s proximity to do this work for free. It’s an expensive affliction.

The Saga Continues

Once the electrical work was done, we again called back the pipe fitter to get the gas line sealed. But he was being a little shifty about providing a quote, so we called another one. This one started asking us about the permit, mentioning the Department of Buildings. Uh, what permit?

We’re told that someone will call us back. The phone rings and my husband takes the call. In the span of a few minutes the color drains from his face. He puts the call on speaker.

“I can bring a crew of two out to do the pressure test for $700, but never in my career has anyone with 1920 pipes passed it. You should get an electric stove. They’re nice now.”

We live on the fourth floor. Our risers go through three other apartments. They cannot be brought up to code without accessing those pipes through our neighbor’s walls. In short, it is an expensive, impossible job. And our utility won’t certify the work and turn on our gas without this job.

And Gets Worse

Have I mentioned the shoddy electrical in our apartment? Everything in our kitchen shares a single breaker. An electric stove needs a dedicated line. So we can’t simply swap out a stove (as if that is an inexpensive fix), we have to redo the electrical. Which means doing a fair amount of demo to the kitchen.

We have essentially been backed into a kitchen renovation we aren’t ready to do yet. All because I wanted a slightly nicer light.

What’s your favorite initially-inexpensive home improvement project that hemorrhaged a lot of cash?

eat-in kitchen inspiration

eat in kitchen
We’re getting there with the house stuff. We’re tentatively on track to move at the very end of October or early November. We still need board approval though, and that is probably the biggest hurdle.

So why eat-in kitchens? The new place has a narrow galley kitchen (like 2 feet between counters narrow, if that) and a formal dining room. Perfect for families with a private cook. Not so amazing when you do your own cooking and feel completely cut off from everyone else.

This is wish list territory. We’re not going to do a major renovation immediately. The wall between the kitchen and dining room might be load-bearing, rendering this whole fantasy moot. But since I’m in a holding pattern with the house, I’m enjoying the process of thinking through every possibility!

Many photos after the jump!

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