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Renovating my Housewhite kitchens

Vancouver Kitchen Cabinets – More on Maria’s White Kitchen

By 05/04/2012August 8th, 201763 Comments

So I’m about to buy the appliances because my kitchen can’t go into production without knowing the final sizes of everything. It’s like buying a car, you can spend a fortune! Anyway, I’ll let you know what I chose in the end, in the meantime I met with Mike at Quality Cabinets and Jan Romanuk again this week to finalize some details.

Jan says renovations are all about compromise, compromise, compromise. You create your wish list and then start making compromises to get what you want with the existing limitations of your space.

We reviewed my plan again and decided that even though many of you felt strongly that there should be a counter beside the wall oven, we like the feel of the pantry wall that will be created without another counter. Otherwise it’s a lower with a counter and then an upper again. I want a kitchen without the look of uppers.

Also, some of you expressed concern over the oven being right beside the fridge. This is not perfect either but it’s the only way it’ll work in this kitchen (and it’s not a concern with today’s appliances). We have TONS of space, so we don’t need full 24″ cabinets on either side of the fridge and wall oven. They are 14″ instead. Compromise.


Instead, on the left side of the fridge/wall oven, we will install a pull-out shelf for the toaster & espresso machine. This leaves the counters free for chopping and prepping.


I showed you the cabinet style I wanted last week but the reason it’s so pretty is because it’s face frame cabinetry. That’s how cabinets were built until they discovered hinges from Europe (Mike said). It makes them a lot more expensive. So I chose a 3″ shaker instead. It’s not as common as the 2″ shaker style cabinet.

See the cooktop (above)? Right beside it we will install a pull-out for oils and vinegars.


That leaves nothing on the counters and the decoration will be on the shelves!


I considered painting the island yellow but that idea was nixed. Apparently there’s enough yellow in our house with my sunflower yellow sofa!

Have a great weekend my lovelies!

ps. I’m doing a poll, we are about to nix the wine fridge that is currently designed to go into the island (first elevation above) because we need all new appliances including a washer and dryer and that is already almost $10,000. Should I bite the bullet and keep it in? Or take it out?

Related posts:

Maria’s New Kitchen

Which Pulls and Knobs should you Choose for your White Cabinets

Will Installing Granite sell Your House Faster

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If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

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28 pins


  • What countertop? White quartz? What wall colour?

    Did you ever consider an induction cooktop? I absolutely LOVE mine. Nothing burns onto the top, easy peasy to clean just wipe it, no scrubbing. No worry about burns either, and it’s 90% energy efficient unlike electric (about 70%) or gas (?40-50%) but it has the fast response time like gas. Water boils super fast! They are widely used in Europe. Only downside is you must use cookware that is magnetic (stick a magnet on the bottom to see if yours works).

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out, and see you in Toronto!

    • mmbrown says:

      Love my induction cooktop! So easy to clean unlike gas and all of the parts that have to be removed. Amazing! The best part of my extensive kitchen redo.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Jennifer, Yes I will be posting about the countertop soon, but it’ll be a whole conversation.
      Look forward to meeting you!

    • Donna Frasca says:

      This is a hard choice! The convenience to keep clean or to cook with gas?

    • Martha says:

      Hi Maria, I also had to put my double stack next to the refrigerator and have no countertop adjacent to wall ovens. After 5 years, I know that it was one of the best decisions that I made.Good luck on the remainder of your compromises!

  • Laura says:

    I don’t have a counter beside my wall oven. It does not bother me at all.

  • Cindy says:

    I can’t wait to see what color appliances you choose!

    I want white cabinets, but I also want white appliances (ala Big Chill), and I’m concerned that they won’t quite match. Is that an issue? Is there such a thing as the “blue jean” of appliances, that goes with everything?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes Stainless which is what I will be ordering. It bugs me that the whites never match if you go with white ones.

      • Donna Frasca says:

        Stainless is a great choice!

      • Sharon Starkey says:

        Not the reply I was hoping for. I am planning a white or off white kitchen and I was hoping that the new whiter than white appliances would work. I will probably go with cabinet covers on the frig and DW instead. I am anxiously watching to see what countertops you pick. I know I am going to use a quartz but unsure what color. Quartz can not be beat. Also looking to see if you do a diff color on the island. This is fun. You are a few months ahead of me.

    • A-L says:

      I’m no Maria. That being said, however, I found that OC118 (Snowfall White) worked really well with my white appliances. It was cool enough to blend with the appliances (I’m not a fan of ivory cabinets with white appliances), but warm enough not to look too cold, if that makes sense.

    • Cori says:

      You could see if you get the appliances first, then getting the color matched professionally to match it… I know some places can do it right from a picture 🙂

  • Marlo says:

    It sounds fabulous and well planned. I like the look of the 3″ shaker style too. It’s going to be gorgeous!

  • Carla says:

    Beware of Electrolux appliances! I upgraded my cheap builder grade appliances (that I had never had any problems with) to Electrolux and it has been a nightmare of problems after problems. They look good, but something is always broken!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Whew, not one of mine are Electrolux! Thanks for the heads-up!

    • Catherine says:

      I also bought Electrolux appliances and have had two floods requiring cabinets and floors to be replaced and two near misses with the dishwasher. This is a very good warning. If you do buy these be sure to invest in the extended warrenties!

  • patricia mackey says:

    When I was buying new appliances I asked the Appliance Repair Guy, “What appliances do you repair the least”. KitchenAid, Bosch, Maytag, Whirlpool.
    Just thought he was a good guy to ask

  • It is all about compromises, isn’t it? Right down to what colour your island will be. I like the yellow but tend think it might be limiting in the future – afterall you can paint a wall quite easily, but refinishing cabinetry is a much bigger project. What about a slate gray – very dark to contrast with the white cabinets and pull in any gray from the counters.

  • jennifer says:

    We are renovating our Florida new condo, new cabinets are ivory not bright white, tile 24″ tile floors are light sand.
    I plan on purhasing most all my furniture from Pier I, specifically I wish to buy the Adelaide chairs for the drop leaf table, wood, with ivory legs, for the dining area and buy the Cadman chair(turquoise) with natureal white sofas in the adjacent sitting area
    mixes of light blues, aquas, ivory and wood tones. We have northern and eastern light sources, 600 ft from the ocean, but no view of it.(a little dreary) I want to paint all the walls, including the bathrooms an aqua blue.
    GREY BLUE, doesn’t marry blue with turquoise. Which beautiful bluey aqua will serve to get a beachy, girly condo?

  • Hi Maria
    This will be so pretty! Regarding your dilema with stove next to fridge…from a feng shui stand point some get freaked because this is mixing two elements of fire and water.
    Solution: a small CONVEX mirror to push energy away; placed on fridge side adjacent to stove.
    Or: as my chinese grandmaster taught me “if its good feng shui to you,its good feng shui!” You already have that set in your mind but in case it was pointed out repeatedly, thats the cure!

  • MaryAnne says:

    I am also in the process of designing a kitchen in a small ranch that is currently under construction. Yes, whether it’s space or finances, you have to learn the word “compromise” that’s for sure. I am going with bisque cabinets and a lovely warm wood laminate floor. I’ll be using raspberry, soft green and a little medium blue as color ‘punches’….colors that come from a beautiful print fabric with which i will make large back pillows for a built-in banquette which will be faced with beadboard. I read your newsletter every morning and am always thrilled when I see that we have some of the same tastes. I thouroughly agree that the era of the dark cherry cabinets and black granite countertops is coming to an end. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I come into a kitchen in the a.m., I want to see light and cheery and happy colors —or ‘colours’ 🙂

  • MaryAnne says:

    By the way, I am in a quandry about which appliances to buy. Would love to hear from your readers as to some suggestions.

    • Karen says:

      I just did a kitchen and researched appliances galore – Could not have gas and was worried about the solid glass tops being difficult to get used to – but I love it. Also was not into the sub-zero, Miele -or AEG -category – some Bosch is inexpensive but cheaply made.

      Range – Samsung – full convection – heating drawer ( will likely never use it) – it has huge industrial knobs – which I love ( did not want all touch controls)

      Dishwasher – go Kitchenaid – NOT Samsung or LG big problems with those in another house. The European like Bosch and Miele and some Sears are smaller than NA versions.

      Fridge – I am soooo fussy – wanted a side by side NO watercooler in stainless less than 36″ wide and I had a choice of Kitchenaid or Sears ( made by Kitchenaide – went with KA. I know French doors are popular but we have one at the cottage and I hate digging through the bottom freezer to find something small. And a top mount is just not ” elegant” enough!

      I know GE profile get good reviews for all appliances so if you are obsessed about having handles match consider that.

      Hope this helps

  • debbiecz says:

    The cabinets look wonderful…I can just imagine this kitchen becoming the hub of your home. Enjoy!

  • Julia says:

    I really love the yellow island. It’s a beautiful shade of yellow!

  • elle says:

    I’m delighted that you are showing your plans for your new home. I’m getting ready for a kitchen renew as well. I just got your e-book and I’m so thrilled with it. Thanks for sharing so much of what you do and how you do it. Bless you!

  • Christine says:

    You may want to look at Fulgor cooking appliances. The cooktop and oven I got last year have wonderful style and features like much more expensive units. And the oven does not get hot at all. Not even warm-seriously, the surface is the same temperature to the touch when it’s off as 450! I have a 36-inch cooktop with a double ringed burner that is wonderful. I wish all 5 burners were like this!

  • Claire says:

    Love your choice of shaker cabinets and the toaster/espresso pull-out. We live on a farm, have many dogs and cats in the house, and no matter how often I clean, the countertop appliances look worn and a bit grimy. An appliance pull-out would be such a treat! Also, I’m loving the idea of the lower height baker’s station wheeled pull-out in the yellow island photo… I’ve filed that one away for my own kitchen someday! Thanks for sharing, Maria.

  • Diann says:

    Hi Maria – We recently downsized to a condo and finished a complete kitchen redo just last week. You are very wise to hire a designer to take care of design and installation details. Yes, compromise is the challenge – compromise not only of space but also of husband’s personal taste. I wanted a surface on which to put things taken out of the fridge and oven and insisted on counters next to the appliances. In fact, the island works very well, if not better, in that capacity. We installed a GE induction range and LG french door fridge – love them. Since I don’t want to spend any more of my life cleaning than I must, we opted for flat front doors, quartz countertops, and closed cabinets – hate dusting shelves. It was an agonizing and long process, but so worth it in the end. Good luck – I’m anxious to see your soon to be beautiful new kitchen.

  • SandyCGC says:

    I wouldn’t worry about the lack of counter space between the fridge and over because you have the island behind you. Was just “bitchin” to myself this morning before reading your post – that part of my condo/apartment kitchen (fridge on right, oven on left – with a small bit of counterspace) is the same setup I had in my house, but what I don’t have is that huge 4’x8′ island right behind me that I could turn to and set things on. I think your island and your ideas for pull-outs will give you the wall look you want (which is way cool) without regret. Love the simplicity of the Shaker cabinets. And don’t completely nix that gorgeous yellow island. You don’t have to compromise there, just “reserve the right”. After all, it’s YOUR kitchen, and your perfect yellow sofa ain’t sitting in the room.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Genius, Jan. The pull-out coffee station is perfect.
    Not even a compromise at all. It’s going to be a pleasure! I am sending you a pix of my pull-out board under oven—looks from the drawing that you still have plenty of room. Like the idea of 3″ shaker!
    There’s a proverb that says: “With many counselors there will be success.” You are smart enough to get good advice and thereby gain wisdom! Hooray for you, Maria!

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Let me correct that—looks like there’s room under the microwave……

  • mairi says:

    Maria I hope you go with the crystal knobs- so unique.The yellow island with a pull-out is genious and I can use this for my cottage- these are the kitchen colours anyway!
    There is a clever way to have ‘counter’ space where none exists otherwise which we incorporated – and that is we installed pull-out cutting boards on either side of the range, 2 inch thick butcher block 12 inches wide on heavy slides. It looks like a narrow drawer when not needed as ‘counter’ space to hold a pot etc.

    • mairi says:

      I meant to add that the wood is faced with a regular drawer front to blend into the facade in case that was not clear…

  • carol ann says:

    I say if you want a yellow island you go for it
    design around it properly and you can have it… just my opinion…

  • Hi Maria. Personally, I would nix the wine fridge, but consider SubZero 700 series chiller drawers. I use them on jobs and I have them in my own kitchen. I use the top for storing cheese and yogurt on one side and wine and beer on the other. I use the lower drawer for fruit and it makes it easy for everyone to grab something healthy. A lot more bang for the buck! Your kitchen design looks spectacular!

    • Caroline Jones says:

      I agree with Andrea! Wine fridges are not necessary. We don’t have one here at home and we’re in the restaurant business. Thanks for sharing the design process with all of us!

  • Chris Warltier says:

    One: Go for the yellow island. It is sooo you.
    After all, it is Your kitchen!!

    Two: What’s a few extra bucks at this point.
    Go for the wine fridge!!

  • Alexis says:

    My sister in Toronto purchased an induction cooktop and built-in oven. She loves the induction cooktop. When I was visiting recently I had to watch a huge kettle of water boil. It took only one minute. Whoa . .. my JennAir cooktop with solid elements takes at least 25 minutes. What a piece of junk. My sister had gas in her last home and the induction she says is the best thing yet!

  • Marianne says:

    I would do without the wine frig – it takes up so much precious storage space. LOVE the pullout for espresso and toast! For the oil/vinegar pullouts, consider using the ones that have nothing across the top; I think that makes it so much easier to reach down and grab a bottle while I’m cooking. I’m loving my Thermador 36″ mirror finish induction cooktop – the mirror finish is great with light countertops. I’m not as keen on my french door style frig – have to use two hands to open both doors so much of the time, which stinks if you have something in your hand to put away. Good luck with your decision-making!

  • Hi Maria, I would nix the wine fridge unless you are a true connoisseur. You can never have too much drawer storage or I would consider chiller drawers like Andrea suggested-(not a money saver, though). I am living vicariously, as I would love to redo my 20 year old white kitchen with yellow walls–with a brand new white one!
    I have started a countdown til Toronto! 🙂

  • Stacy says:

    Hi Maria,
    Excited to see the finished product! When we redo our kitchen, we were also thinking about a wine fridge. But then I realized we never have more than 20 bottles of wine at once. It’s a nice idea, but I think a big splurge and not that practical. I think it’s best to invest in everday appliances rather than a “luxury” one. Save the money and put it toward something else. To me, storage is more important than another energy using appliance. Have fun with this project!

  • Maria, I just posted on your previous post. I had no idea you were doing your kitchen. Well now I know……Please see what I replied. As far as wine storage. It is a great idea. They don’t take up much room. They are all energy saving now….They come as small as 15″ wide and can fit 32 bottles. They are really not that expensive. YOu can pay it off. Plus they are a conversation piece. Knowing you, you will have lots of family and friends over and taking a bottle of wine out of the wine ref will make you look like a wine expert. Its fun. Check out what I wrote about subway tiles in your previous post.

  • Diane says:

    Hi Maria — Our kitchen layout is very similar to yours, except the gas cooktop is on the island. I cook and bake a lot and have never missed having a counter next to our double wall oven — I just turn and use the island countertop behind me when removing something from the oven. For large, heavy things like roasts that need to be removed for basting, I really like that the bottom shelf of my top oven is a pullout shelf and supports the weight of whatever is on it. I would recommend looking for that feature in an oven. We also have a couple of stools at the island (oven side) and have never had a problem with that either, even though people do sit there sometimes. We got all our appliances for our kitchen renovation almost 2 years ago from Sears and have been pleased — Kitchen Aid double wall ovens, dishwasher and garbage disposal and Samsung french door refrigerator. The 5 burner gas cooktop is Jenn-air from Ferguson (don’t know if they have those in Canada). I don’t have any experience with the wine cooler — we just use the refrigerator — but I do like our built-in wine rack, which is part of our butler pantry. If you’re interested, there are some pictures on my blog.

  • For appliance advice subscribe to consumer reports online (you can do a single month subscription just to help figure out what appliances to buy) and also look at, a huge online appliance store. Between those two places I got a ton of reviews and advice and could narrow things down.

    One thing to consider when getting the vent hood above the cooktop is how much LIGHT it gives off, not just how much air it sucks in to vent. It has been a real lifesaver for me to have a good hood with super bright (adjustable) lights.

  • Karen says:

    Maria – The yellow island is fun – but quite permanent – easier to introduce yellow with painted walls or just some accessories like a great big bright painting with yellow and reds and oranges- yellow towels or a huge yellow fruit bowl. Remember you are doing white because it is timeless and bright – but also a “neutral ” background. Keep it easy to change.

  • Diane says:

    p.s. — I forget to mention about the interesting (good) experience of buying our kitchen faucet (Grohe) and silgranit sink (Blanco) at — I don’t know if they still have this, but at the time we were doing our renovation there was an option to enter the price you thought was fair for a product, then they would get back to you within 3 days with a counter offer. Both times, for us at least, they came back a couple of days after the counter offer saying that after second thought our initial offer was good — we saved a lot of money doing that!

  • Andrea Farrow says:

    maria you will not miss a counter next to the wall oven. I have one and never use it (except for more clutter). Anything coming out of my oven goes right on the island behind it, just as yours is. Good luck – i am anxious to see the finished kitchen.

  • Diane says:

    Maria, Love your kitchen ideas. I’m taking a 20-20 class right now so your kitchen drawings are interesting and reminiscent of what I’m doing in my class but of course, not the same. As for the wine refrigerator–if you love wine and drink a lot of it, then go for it.

  • Lynda says:

    I vote to “nix the wine fridge”. Put it in the basement (if you have one or another area of the house) and enjoy the exercise it will require to retrieve a bottle of wine. You will be glad for the extra space it will free up in the long run. You may think you have tons of space right now but over time your family circumstances may change (ie. welcome additions) or you may even sell your home so it is better to make it a family friendly home and leave the alcohol option for the basement lifestyle.

  • Sara Smith says:

    It all looks like a great plan, with solid comprise-based decision making!

    My 2 cents: skip the wine fridge. There are SO may things you need/want to spend money on in this new house. You’re already in the kitchen…just use the regular fridge and if you have a ton of wine to store, use the basement and transfer a few bottles of white at a time upstairs. Save the wine fridge expenditure for a later date…maybe in a bar area?

  • Debbi in Texas says:

    Nix the wine refrig? I would vote yes

  • Your kitchen plan is coming along beautifully Maria.

    Glad to see that you have some counter top flanking your burner elements and with the Island being in close proximity to your wall oven I personally feel you don’t require anything else. You will not regret your pantries either and on the subject of a Wine Cooler; some times one must make sacrfices for another. Also as you will love your pull out shelf, is there any other place that you can install a similar concept? (I have very little counterspace and have pull-outs installed in the base cabinets above the top drawers which blend in beautifully and are more than functional.)

  • P.S: Forgot to mention; I strongly suggest that you check and double check the area between your Island and ANY opening doors/drawers to ensure there is ‘sufficient’ space to eliminate awkward function as far too often ‘standard’ can be a tight squeeze even for slim people like you or myself. -Brenda-

  • Hi Maria. Nancy and I nixed the wine cooler in our new kitchen – mostly because of budget. For the same money we could have a warming drawer and will aim for that. Also, the wine cooler would not do us much good, the wine is usually gone before it gets cool. Ciao Darling.

  • nicole says:

    I have a tiny Parisian kitchen, a closet compared to what most North Americans are used to, and I think the wine fridge was a great addition to our kitchen. I use it to store all kinds of bottled drinks which leaves lots of space in the fridge (therefore it operates most efficiently) and when we have a party it is amazingly useful- I can slide trays of prepared food right onto the shelves instead of trying to find a large flat surface free in the regular fridge.

  • Katherine says:

    Hi Maria.

    We recently moved in to a new build and had to supply our own appliances. We chose the handless Samsung counter depth fridge with bottom freezer and love the clean look it gives.

    My husband’s family are cabinet makers and they made us custom 3″ shaker cabinets nearly identical to your photo. I have pullouts on either side of the side the stove and I found they are great for odd size pans, casserole dishes, rolling pins, saran/parchement paper, etc. I decided I would store my oils and spices at eye level in the pantry 2 steps away instead of having to bend down and search through spice jars. If you do put spices in there, maybe you could take out the top of the pull out and label the tops of the spices so that you can find them quickly…

    We went with a Samsung induction range- FABULOUS! I highly recommend it. So easy and fast and carefree. The one thing missing in our kitchen is the wine fridge. I still want to change that, but it’s hard to disguise it when everything else is done and it’s an afterthought. If we were to get one now, it would be relegated to a weird corner or if we went with the logical location, it would end up on top of a heat register.

    Bottom line: if you know you will want it/use it later on, put it in now unless you have an unobtrusive spot where it can be added later.

    Best of luck, can’t wait to see what you decide. Those of us in the peanut gallery will love it, I’m sure.

  • Kay Perret says:

    Check Home Depot for your wine fridge. We got one for a song there when we did our kitchen reno three years ago. (It was a floor model, discounted.) It’s stainless and the brand is Magic Chef. Fits right under the counter and holds 48 bottles. It was the ONLY thing my husband asked for (he sells wine) so I figured it had to be in the budget. We love having it handy in the kitchen. And it gives us more space in the ‘real’ fridge for food!
    good luck! Love the way the kitchen is shaping up.

  • DeeAnna Gillespie says:

    Hello, I was curious about a water based polyurethane that will not yellow when put over white paint.

  • Natalie says:

    My vote, skip the wine fridge. I have a LG French door refrigerator with water and ice maker. It leaked all over our hardwood, needed to have our entire main floor hardwood repaired. We replaced our natural oak with 5″ handscraped solid hardwood in Dec. my fridge just leaked again on my new floors. Luckily no damage, but STAY AWAY from LG if you are putting hardwood in your new kitchen.

  • kellie says:

    I think a wine fridge is a statement piece, much like a huge Wolf range. If you are a chef, it is great, if you really don’t cook much, it seems like you are just following a trend. So, if you drink a lot of wine, and it adds convenience to your life, go for it. If it is just a feature you think you might want, then I say go for more cabinet space and perhaps put the wine fridge in another part of your house. (Future wet-bar in another room?) I did a kitchen in my 30’s and I was all about “features.” Now that I’m in my 40’s I’m all about asking myself how I really use the space in my home.

    • Maria Killam says:

      You are so right and we nixed it as soon as I was told the price! thanks for your comment! Maria

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