Spring Touches + Kitchen FAQs
April 3, 2012
Last week I was all about purging and cleaning and the kitchen was definitely on the list. I thought it time to spruce up this space with some spring touches and snap a few fresh pics of our kitchen since it’s been over a year since I did so. I get a lot of questions about our kitchen, especially about the appliances and the countertops and how they’ve held up over time. Now that we’ve lived in this space for almost six years, I’ll try to provide some answers to those FAQs.
As for the spring touches, greens and blues are my favorite colors, so when I spied these little striped pots at Lowes last week for $3 each I brought two of them home to sit in the garden window.
The bay window is wood and we ordered it from Jeld-Wen when we built the kitchen – it brings a ton of light into the space. That faucet is Price Pfister from Home Depot. Our kitchen is west facing and because of that we don’t get a lot of morning light, but in the afternoon on a sunny day it’s the place to be. Plants thrive in the window, and I’ve grown just about everything here from herbs to succulents.
The cabinets were semi-custom by Kemper, they’ve held up really great over the years and I only have to wipe them down about once a month or so. I’m still loving the off-white color which is officially called “Toasted Almond” by the company but the closest paint color matches are “Floral White" by Benjamin Moore and "Ivory Dust" by Valspar.
I’m a huge fan of Dash & Albert striped rugs. Huge. This one I ordered last month is their Aquinnah cotton 2 ½’ x 8’ runner and brings some great color into the space. That’s a GE beverage cooler/wine fridge to the right – worth every penny – we chill both wine and non alcoholic beverages in it and use it everyday – a great investment since it saves space in the main refrigerator.
On the right side of the window is the range wall, both the range and the convection microwave are GE Monogram. I love the gas cooktop, but I’m not so thrilled with the oven beneath only because the fan makes a loud sound when you turn it on which to me is so dumb. Instead, I use the oven in the island (opposite the range, seen here) because that one’s quiet! The convection microwave has always worked well – if it makes good popcorn I’m happy. :)
On the left side of the window is the refrigerator wall, another GE Monogram appliance. I like the panels, I’m not a fan of this particular fridge model but that’s because it’s broken down on us twice (of course just past the expiration of the warranty) but hey, as long as it’s working now, you’ll hear no complaints from me. The second sink faucet is by Rohl.
New dish towels are from Crate + Barrel, I thought they’d add another fun color splash, find them here and here. The kitchen island and walls are both painted “Camouflage” by Benjamin Moore. I painted the island myself with Zinsser primer, Penetrol, and oil based paint two years ago (it used to be mustard yellow) and I haven’t had any issues at all, it still looks just as good as the day it was finished. If I had to do it again, I’d use the new water based Advance formula, but the oil based finish is extremely durable too.
I get asked a lot about both of my countertops in my kitchen. Around the perimeter the countertops are crema pacific marble. They’ve only been sealed once when they were installed and with a generic sealer from Home Depot. We haven’t had any problems with stains since, even with all the red wine consumed around these parts. After six years, there are some faint water spots in places, small chips around the sink, and you have to be careful with citrus because it can oxidize the counters (the juice will leave white patches which eventually scrub off). But I still love them and I think they actually look better with age.
The wood top island still looks amazing (cherry with an ebony glaze) and a lot of people questioned this choice for a main kitchen surface with a busy family of five. It’s true, dark wood is more high maintenance than stone or laminate, but I absolutely love its warmth and have no regrets choosing it. Nothing hot on top of course, and always cutting boards, but we’re all used to it by now.
Here’s what I use to clean the countertops and appliances: I’m a big fan of Method products, have been for years, and nope, they don’t pay me to say it!
I use the wood cleaner on the island and breakfast peninsula, the stainless steel cleaner on the appliances and the all-purpose on the marble countertops (or sometimes just hot water and a clean sponge). Windex for the windows and plain ol’ white vinegar in a spray bottle for just about everything else, including wiping down the white cabinets.
I wrote an article about everything that went into the process of building this space last year in this post on ten lessons learned from building a kitchen – there are more pictures and a lot more information over there. Let me know if you have any more questions, be happy to answer them in the comments!