kitchen refresh

When we first bought this house, we loved how light it was in the living room and kitchen. I mean, windows all along the south and west walls? You are shaking your head, right? Yep. Once I started taking photos in my house with a real (or at least somewhat real) camera, I realized just how dark my house is. I have been taking just a few more photographs than usual in my kitchen over the last few months and one thing that I know for sure is that my kitchen might be the darkest place on earth.

Enter the white paint can. I’ve been collecting kitchen ideas forever. I have two binders worth of photos torn from magazines that I can’t quite part with (read: hoarder). Most of the images are of kitchens or floors. When I found Pinterest, I began transferring my savings over to the web. Take a quick look at my collection. See any themes? That’s right, white paint with accents of very bright color. My absolute favorite kitchen? This one. White cabinets, backsplash, and counters. Bright wall, and counter accents. I could live here.

And so I shall. After years of subtle hints, passive-aggressive requests, and the not-so-subtle “when are we painting the kitchen?”, we are finally going to paint our kitchen cabinets. We have weeded through white paint samples and white counter samples. Do you know how many whites there are? Due to an open floor plan, we are stuck with a cream on one entire wall of the kitchen (and our trim color in the entire house) – Benjamin Moore’s Linen White – so we needed to find a cabinet paint that could blend well with that color and add light to the room. We chose another Benjamin Moore color, Snowfall White, for the cabinets. I thought I would end up with a whiter white, but in the light of my kitchen, this was just enough contrast.

While we are at it, we are going to replace the ugliest Formica countertop ever.

Are you dizzy yet? I have loved this countertop for its ability to disguise the dirt of seven kids, but am nevertheless completely over trying to cover it while taking photos. Those same kids have led us down the quartz path. Not cheap, by any means, but as durable as it comes. Fortunately, we have less than 32 square feet of countertop to cover. Let’s hope we don’t have to rob a bank to do it. We are also going to add a simple subway tile backsplash behind the stove and around the sink. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone who has ever cooked in a kitchen would want paint – in an eggshell finish, I might add – behind their stove. That tile is going in if I have to do it myself.

To add a little warmth back to the kitchen, we are going to cover the island with butcher block. We are also going to extend the island by adding a bookshelf on one end. This is a small house, people. There is 11” of prime real estate on the end of that island and we are going to use it. Adding a bookshelf will also allow us to add a third counter stool to the island. I picked up two of these apple green stools at Crate and Barrel last summer.

image via

image via

Love at first sight. I went back a few weeks ago to buy a third, only to find them gone. Sold out. Except for one stool in Virginia. Bless you, Crate and Barrel Virginia store, for sending me one more stool. I will always love you.

What about the wall color? Well, I’m still not sure. I think I will wait to see what the cabinets and counter tops look like before deciding. I do like the idea of some color on the walls. Thoughts? Suggestions? While you are suggesting, could you weigh in on one more thing? I’m still trying to decide between white grout (like this) or grey grout (like this) on the subway tile. A vote in the comment section would be great, but do it fast....we are starting work next week!