This timeless kitchen update project from one of our eDesign clients is impressive. With the right colour choices and some attention to detail, she created a custom-looking kitchen even while keeping her existing cabinets and travertine floors.
Before we get started on today’s post, I have some good news for my readers in New Zealand and Australia (or for anyone on the East coast who isn’t a morning person 😉)!
We have changed the times on the last workshop this Fall (October 28 & 29) so that you can participate! The course will start at 1:00 pm PST which means it’s morning for you but it’ll also be an evening class for those of you in the East who work during the day! Register here.
Woot! Today I am excited to share yet another beautiful eDesign project before and after with you!
My lovely client used our Create a Classic Kitchen eDesign package to refresh her tired, glazed kitchen. It had great bones and existing high-quality inset cabinets. But with a few tweaks and the right colours and finishes, it now looks completely timeless!
Please note, these are not professionally taken photographs, so editing makes the colour appear somewhat blown out.
Choosing a cabinet colour
Glazed cabinets really do make an otherwise pretty cream kitchen look dated and tired. If her existing cabinets (below) were solid cream instead of glazed, my hunch is that she wouldn’t have been in as much of a hurry to repaint them.
She has great taste and shared some lovely inspiration for her kitchen. She wondered if her cabinets should be a fresher, solid cream colour or something deep and dramatic like green or taupe.
Since trends are warming up, we have received this request often in my eDesign department. My clients are looking for taupe or warm grey (mushroom), or a bold colour for their cabinets. Do I think they are timeless? Absolutely! As long as you choose a colour you will be happy to decorate with until you repaint.
Read more: Do this before you choose a cabinet colour!
While the right cream would have been a perfectly good choice for this kitchen, I thought a high contrast dramatic colour would make her pink beige travertine floors and finishes look the freshest. Plus it would be a more novel change for her efforts and create a custom kitchen look full of character. I’m so happy she went with the bold option!
The timeless kitchen reveal!
Below is her completely refreshed kitchen! The cabinets are painted a muted deep green with a hint of teal, BM Narragansett Green HC-157.
I might have also painted the island, but the warm wood tone relates beautifully to her cognac leather sectional in the attached great room.
Choosing a countertop to coordinate with tile floors
See how crisp and pretty her creamy solid quartz countertops look (above) with coordinating cream subway tile? Pssst: the countertops are a pink beige quartz to match the travertine floors.
And matching your countertops to the floor, if you have tile is key.
We see clients trying to force white marble look quartz into earthier cream and travertine kitchens all the time. And I always advise them that they need a creamier countertop that relates to their floors. It’s interesting how throughout the grey trend, anything cream or beige and anything with a hint of yellow or warmth, was often assumed to be not as current as white.
I’m here to tell you that this is absolutely not true. Cream, complex creams and pale beiges have always been fresh and classic.
A white marble-look quartz would not only compete with the pattern in the travertine floor here, but it would also be much too cool and stark for this colour palette.
My client wanted to update her busy granite countertops and she had a strong preference for natural stone. To her credit, she was already looking for warmer tones to flatter her pink beige floors.
As I mentioned, it’s important if you have a stone or tile floor in your kitchen, as opposed to wood, your countertops MUST relate perfectly to the floor.
The right way to test countertop samples
Do you know how to test countertop and floor combinations effectively? You place the countertop sample on white paper on top of the tile as she did below.
She tested various natural quartzite options including one pale pink beige quartz (top left).
Why I don’t recommend natural stone countertops
I urged her to overlook her preference for natural stone in favour of what will look best and most consistent overall. And that happened to be the top left solid creamy and pale pink beige quartz. While the natural quartzite options have some pink beige splotches and veins, the overall read is too grey. The pattern on these countertops was also busier and wouldn’t pair well with the travertine floor, which already has its own pattern.
Honestly, I most often steer my eDesign clients away from natural stone (the only exception is marble when it is the right choice).
It’s impossible to predict how natural stone will look once you install a slab flat onto your cabinets – especially if you only viewed it when it was stacked vertically next to other slabs in the stone yard. More often than not, natural stone countertops look much different inside your home than what you expected.
Your countertop makes up such a large surface in your kitchen. And, since the goal is to have all your elements relate beautifully it is not something I am particularly keen to gamble on. Besides, in the end, natural stone countertops are often too busy and varied in colour to relate well together.
Here is part of the countertop advice she received in her presentation (below).
If you’ve read this and now want help choosing a countertop, please note I can’t help you with just one hard finish. And here’s why.
Is Travertine coming back?
By the way, did you know that travertine is trending again? Travertine tile and accent furniture in updated shapes is all the rage again (if you can even get it, it’s often on backorder).
And what’s the undertone of most travertine? Pink Beige. And that’s ok, as long as you know how to work with it because it is the most limiting neutral undertone.
The easiest way to know if something is trending is when you see it being used in accessories and coffee tables (below):
My client’s floors are a high-end real stone in a pretty, irregular cut. It gives her kitchen the old world charm that many people are looking for now in their kitchens. However, the dark grout looked busy and made the floor look slightly dated.
Often it’s the smallest tweaks that make all the difference. I recommended she simply paint her grout a pale cream. It’s a painstaking job, but the payoff is huge, it looks like a fresh new floor!
The magic is in the details
Can you spot the other refinement she made to her cabinets below?
Did you guess it? Originally, she had a gap between the upper cabinets and the ceiling. Boxing in the gap with millwork creates a high-end custom look that never needs to be dusted. Yay!
Here are more examples of my favourite designer secret for updating old cabinets.
So, before you simply decide to paint your existing cabinets, consider additional details (like that gap above the cabinets) for a truly custom look. Let’s admire this stunning before and after again shall we?
And the after!
Congratulations to my client on a job well done! The secret to renovation happiness is to get BOTH the colour and the details just right!
If you would like help refreshing or planning your kitchen, you can find my Create a Classic Kitchen package here. Please note stock on my eDesign packages is limited and they sell out often!
PS. I was recently published in a local car magazine where I’m talking about the black trend:
You can also read it in the digital version here.