Kitchen Q & As
February 24, 2010
Grazie, merci, mahalo, danke, gracias, thank you thank you thank you for all your kind comments yesterday. Kitchens are one of those spaces where there is so much you can do with so many different materials ! For us, we wanted something light and bright and inviting with plenty of space for cooking and entertaining. This guided much of our choices. Some queries came up via email or in the comments, so here’s a few answers.
What are your countertops made of? (Charlotte ) What type of marble do you have ? (Samantha) Tell me about your countertops (Sue).
The countertops are a combination of marble and cherry wood. Yes, it’s true, I chose the two most high maintenance countertops. Everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I held my ground and I have no regrets. I ripped this image out of a magazine many years ago and stapled it to my forehead.
I didn’t care if wood countertops were as impractical as high heels in a marathon. I had to have them.
What are the pros of wood countertops ? Wood adds warmth. Wood is beautiful. Wood balances out all the white. Cons ? Wood is high maintenance. You cannot leave water on it for long periods of time. You can never place anything hot on it. To some, that’s insane. A countertop in a kitchen that you can’t put anything hot on? It is a little crazy. Wood must also be treated with care and conditioned regularly. But we’ve gotten used to its higher maintenance without any screaming, yelling, or “real wives” drama. Hot stuff just goes on the range or the marble, it’s simple.
Obviously wood is soft and in a high traffic area, dents naturally occur. You can get upset, or chalk it up to adding to the rustic quality of your countertops. Life happens. Dinks happen. I bite my lip, and try not to sweat it.
Just kidding. The culprit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
No I’m kidding again. It’s just a surface and life happens.
The wood tops on the island and peninsula are cherry. Because cherry runs red, I had them treated with an ebony glaze to make them look more like walnut. In the first year, I conditioned them with beeswax and orange oil wood preserver every two months. Now I only do it whenever I remember.
I scrub the wood counters with a soft sponge, wipe them down, then spray them with this pleasantly scented non-toxic almond cleaner by Method, available at Tar-jay.
If you want countertops you can totally beat to death without any damage, I do not recommend that you choose marble or wood.
The marble is not like carrera marble with gray veining. This is crema pacific marble with brown veining, a little closer to granite with its tighter swirls, but still marble. At the slab yard, it was cheaper than most granites so in that fact alone I was sold. Plus I just loved the warmth of the taupe and cream colors.
Marble is softer than granite, and prone to chipping. You’ve simply got to accept that. Despite the wear and tear, I still love it because of its European feel.
I’ve spilled everything on these honed marble countertops, from red wine to tomato sauce. We sealed them really well once they were installed several years ago and haven’t had to seal them since. Everything wipes right off.
There are so many choices in modern countertops, which makes it very difficult to choose, so I encourage everyone contemplating new countertops to really do your research. Ask a lot of questions. It’s a huge commitment, so go with the best product you can possibly afford. But these days, even laminate products look really good. We used a modern laminate in our guest kitchenette and I love the look and ease of maintenance with modern laminate products.
Q: Is that a mistreatment above the window ? (Amanda)
A: Why yes it is my friend. It’s put together with staples, brackets, and fabric glue, kind of like the Spanx and double sided tape on a red carpet celebrity’s deep plunging gown. Don’t look underneath – it’s what shows that counts. Sssh, don’t tell. I’ll try to post a tutorial soon if I can tear myself away from the Olympics.
Q: Where are your cabinets and hardware from ? (Lily)
They are semi-custom cabinets made by Kemper, ordered through a local dealer. The color is ‘Toasted Almond’ but they are truly off-white. Custom cabinets were too expensive, so I went with semi-custom, then special ordered the details, like the wood legs around the range, the acanthus details above the fridge, and the corbels supporting the mantle.
Brushed nickel hardware from Tarjay – for real.
Please excuse the cheese pizza. It was lunchtime. Irrelevant fact: I’ve never met anything cheesy I didn’t like.
Q: What’s the story with the appliances, and how did you panel your fridge ? (Ken)
Everything is from GE – the range, the second oven, the convection microwave, the icemaker, the dishwasher and the mini wine fridge hidden in the island.
Thanks Pop – love you. And not just for the screamin’ deal on the appliances. Okay, maybe just a little more for that. :-)
I ordered the panels on the fridge from my cabinet dealer. The pulls on the fridge are from Top Knobs.
Faucets are Rohl and Price Pfister. Sinks are Kohler. Dishes are never ending.
The backsplash tile is standard 6 x 8 Daltile off the Home Depot shelf. Accent tiles and backsplash by Pratt & Larson.
Q: I must know wherever did you find that huge bay window ? (Cindy)
A. Jeld Wen. Love it. Or as my friend Sarah would say, luuuurrve it. :-) Worth every penny.
Q: I’m wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets. Can you share what steps you took to refinish that island ? (Allison)
A: Well, it was several steps including sanding, priming and painting and waiting for it to dry in between. I did manage to take some video footage that I hope to show you next, however this requires me to have a clue how to get the video off the camera onto my computer, edit it and upload it. And I’m totally clueless.
I’m so completely lame at those kinds of technical things with video. I’ll try my hardest to figure it out – pinky swear !!!
I’m also a little nervous cause I’ve realized I’m a complete and utter dork on video. I might chicken out. So until then, wish me a lot of luck and a little gumption with the video.
And go team USA !