Kitchen Renovation: Planning

Today I’m taking a break from progress pictures and taking a step back. I tend to get bogged down in tiny details of every project, so it’s good to remind myself where we’re headed and what the end goal is. And also, how far we’ve come already. Making all the decisions regarding finishes and materials for our kitchen was such a headache and took months! Now all the decisions are made and finishes are purchased (unless new issues arise, of course), and it’s such a relief!

So without further ado, here is our kitchen mood board! Ok, so not quite a mood board since all this is decided, but you get the idea.

1. White shaker cabinets

I’ve always known this is what I wanted for this kitchen, so there wasn’t much to decide here. Our house is not really an obvious style like traditional, craftsman, modern, etc. If anything, it’s become a bit of a mix between contemporary and mid-century, so I wanted a neutral, timeless cabinet. Hence, the classic shaker. I also like to keep our house feeling bright and airy, so white was an obvious choice. Andrew may be a messy cook, but I also wipe down our cabinets quite frequently.

2. Simply White by Benjamin Moore – cabinet color

I collected white swatches from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, and compared them to our countertop and flooring choices to narrow it down.


I didn’t realize until after how popular Simply White is for cabinets and trim, but that gave me some reassurance. It’s not too stark, but not too yellow, gray, or blue.


In fact, we like it so much that we’re actually going to repaint ALL of our trim this color. We’re replacing our baseboards with something a little taller (I know, I know, we should have decided this before we repainted all our trim!), so those will have to be repainted anyway. But I’m not looking forward to repainting all the doors…again.

3. Kraus Pax zero-radius undermount stainless steel sink

Here’s the link on Amazon. Seriously, this is a beautiful sink. I’m SO excited!! It comes with the grate for the bottom (to keep dishes from covering the drain or scratching the sink), but you do have to buy the square drain separately here.


I waffled a lot between a divided sink or a single basin, as well as a sink with rounded corners or square corners (also called zero-radius). Square corners can be harder to keep clean, but I just don’t like the look of a sink with rounded corners quite as well. Especially where it meets the countertop.



In the past, I’ve made some decisions based on functionality/practicality over aesthetics, and I’ve regretted it. So I followed my heart and went with the zero-radius, and I’m so excited! As for the single basin, we really never used the other side of our sink for anything but collecting dirty dishes. I stacked them there so they weren’t blocking the sink from draining, but with the grate, we won’t have that issue! Also, look how much I can fit in the single basin (these are the actual dimensions of our sink)! Even a large cookie sheet will lie flat in it! Hooray!


4. Abalone by Benjamin Moore – wall color

We already agonized over this paint choice for our living room, hallway, and kitchen a few years ago, and we still love it. So as long as it doesn’t look terrible with our backsplash or countertop, it will stay. (On my screen, the color of the swatch below looks totally wrong, but it has the number, so oh well.)


5. Delta Trinsic Touch2O faucet in Champagne Bronze

After more debate, mostly with myself (seeing a trend here? talk about decision fatigue!), I decided on gold hardware for our kitchen. Satin nickel and oil rubbed bronze are perfectly fine and we have those elsewhere in our house, but I just wanted something a little different. So I figured we needed a gold faucet, too. Andrew’s employer MASCO owns Delta, and he gets a discount, so we chose the Delta Trinsic Touch2O single handle pull-down faucet in Champagne Bronze.


We were open to forgoing the touch aspect since this faucet is almost $500, but we got it on sale from Amazon on Black Friday, plus Andrew’s discount, so it ended up being a really great deal! I’m so excited it’s Touch2O! We also got the matching soap dispenser since our current one is satin nickel.

6. Daltile 3 x 6 Bevel subway tile in glossy Desert Gray

We chose to go with this glossy beveled tile in Desert gray for our backsplash. Since we chose to lay our flooring in a herringbone pattern (here’s a sneak peek), we’ll have this laid in a normal subway pattern.


Originally, we were drawn to these flat matte subway tiles in the same collection by Daltile, and ordered a sample of the matte Architectural gray. Right off the bat it read a little green-ish with the other finishes we’d chosen.


After willing myself to love it for a few weeks, and realizing I just didn’t, we ordered a sample of the matte Desert gray and gloss bevel Desert gray. We had thought matte originally to keep our whole kitchen from feeling shiny and stark, but we saw a beveled subway tile installation (in white) and knew the bevel was the right choice.

7. Liberty Hardware – 5-1/16″ pull with square feet from the Northampton collection in soft brass

We specifically wanted to choose a pull from Liberty Hardware (because it’s also owned by MASCO, Andrew’s employer, which means –> discounts) but it’s kind of hard to search their website as they mostly sell to distributers, not directly to consumers. I had seen this pull in satin nickel originally, and once we realized it came in gold, I was sold! We could only find one website to order a sample from and get it reasonably quickly, so we paid $15! Haha. But we got it, decided on it, and then ordered the rest directly from Liberty.

5-1-16inch-128mm-pull-square-feet-p28670-sbs-c-28. 12 x 24 porcelain glazed ceramic floor tile

I actually don’t know anything else about our floor tiles! We bought them over 2 years ago at Surplus Warehouse (see this post I wrote about it for pricing details and more pictures), and I don’t know the manufacturer or the name of the tile. We opted to have them laid in a herringbone pattern. Because why not?


9. Boudreaux by Elk Lighting antique gold and matte black wall sconce

We decided we were going to tile all the way up the wall behind our sink/around our window. When we decided that, I got it into my head that we should do a wall sconce instead of a pendant light, because why not. Not only does this add the complication of installing a light fixture (read: electrical box) where there’s a header, but also, I needed to find a gold wall sconce that was in my budget of less than $100. Not as easy as it might sound. I love this one:


But it was back-ordered on every site until January 9th. That’s today…but still no word. I went ahead and ordered it since I knew we’d still be mid-project come January, so hopefully I’ll hear something about it soon!

10. LG Hausys Viatera Minuet quartz countertops

Last, but definitely not least, our countertops! We originally were thinking granite because it’s the most affordable solid surface if you choose a basic option (when compared to stuff like soapstone, marble, quartz, Corian, etc.) BUT then we saw the quartzes. To be fair, I’ve always loved quartz. It’s no maintenance, unlike granite which can darken over time (even just from water!) and needs to be sealed regularly. Also, lighter granites are less dense/more porous than darker colors and so they stain even more. And we were definitely wanting something light. So we got some quotes on quartz, and decided it was worth it to us to spend a little more. But which one??

Here are 4 that we considered with our floor tile. Left to right – Silestone Blanco Orion, LG Viatera Minuet, Santa Margherita Victoria and Santa Margherita Lyskamm.


We ruled out Victoria and Lyskamm fairly quickly, leaving us with Minuet on the left and Blanco Orion on the right. I went back and forth for weeks on this, and asked everyone and their dog for their opinion.


This picture shows it best. Minuet (on top) has a whiter background, while Blanco Orion (on the bottom) is a bit gray with more defined marbling.


Initially, I liked the marbling of Blanco Orion better, but in the end I was won over by the white background of Minuet and felt that it more closely resembled marble.

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We’re continuing to make progress on the to-do list I shared last time, but there’s still so much to do! At the very least, we’re hoping to have our ceiling primed and painted by Thursday when countertops are being installed! Woo!

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