Kitchen – nearly done!

While there are still some trim and backsplash details to finish up, the overall kitchen is done. Since we got everthing cleaned up for our Christmas party, we figured we’d better grab a shot while we could!

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It will never look this clean again
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So much nicer without the dropped ceiling

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30 thoughts on “Kitchen – nearly done!

  1. Hi! Thank you so much! It’s getting there! We still need to tile the backsplashes and install the chair rail, but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – yay!

    Believe it or not, our cabinets came from Lowe’s. I desperately wanted flush-mounted inset doors and was completely in love with Crown Point cabinetry. (Who isn’t, right?) But when I emailed them my specs for our kitchen remodel, their price quote was nearly equal to the amount we’d set aside for remodeling our ENTIRE house, so that was out.

    The next company we strongly considered was Fashionable Enclosures. They have lovely cabinets and their prices are really reasonable, even for inset doors. (http://fashionableenclosures.com/index.html
    But again, we also needed a new bathroom, refinished floors, an entirely new second story, exterior work, etc. etc. etc. and I just couldn’t make the budget bend to my will. So I had to give up on the inset door idea. Sigh!

    Ultimately, we ended up going with Schuler cabinets from Lowe’s.

    http://www.schulercabinetry.com/

    Schuler is a company based here in Oregon. They account for only about 5% of Lowe’s cabinet sales because they are their higher-end, semi-custom brand and they are a lot more expensive than their other brands, but they seem much sturdier too. And since they are semi-custom, they have a lot of odd sizes the larger brands don’t have, which is helpful in an old bungalow kitchen where you’re trying to squeeze a lot into a teeny space.

    (I believe Home Depot carries them too. In some markets, they also go by another name -it might be Medallion.)

    Anyway, the doors felt solid and the hinges and drawer hardware are really smooth – the drawers glide like a dream. We had them leave a couple of doors without panels so I could insert art glass which matches our light fixtures. (The cabinet company charged $90 per panel for their glass, which wasn’t even that nice. I went to a local stained glass supply store and they cut both panels for me for $23.)

    We passed on the Schuler hardware and chose our own (from Emtek) to customize the cabinets a bit and make them look more at home here. 🙂

    They make a Prairie style door in quartersawn oak that we we really liked, but ultimately, we decided to go with that door style in cherry with a mahogany stain instead because the woodwoork in our house is so dark, the oak looked washed out next to it.

    I didn’t get my inset doors, but I’m overall I’m still very happy. I think we still managed to respect the style of the house while not completely blowing our budget, which allowed us to also tackle the scary pink bathroom!!!

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  2. You two did a great job on the kitchen, especially considering the budget constraints. We are still in the planning stage of building a new bungalow and have already discovered how expensive a kitchen can become if you are not careful.

    By the way, I noticed that the photos of your kitchen have corrected perspective. Are one or both of you photographers?

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  3. I’m not a professional photographer but would probably qualify as a serious amateur. I actually did not correct the perspective in these photos, but I took care to make sure that the camera was perfectly level. With a wide angle lens, things will start looking really crazy with even a slight amount of camera tilt. I also used a lens distortion correction to get rid of the slight barrel distortion that my lens adds. I also shot in RAW format to make it easier to color correct the shot after the fact. Our lighting is tricky (CFL bulbs through mica glass), so it takes effort to get accurate color in the photos. Thanks!

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  4. Hi Rachel,

    I think it’s just an optical illusion. The glass in the light fixtures is a caramel swirled art glass that takes on kind of a golden glow at night. At the top of the room, the light is filtered through that glass and it casts sort of shadow, but the light fixtures are open at the bottom, so I think the lower part of the room gets more “normal” light, if that makes sense at all. We used a satin-finish interior paint by Miller Paint. The color is Fog Buoy. It’s actually a very grayish blue – kind of dull almost, but the golden glow of the light fixtures gives it more depth. We’ve been very happy with it. Now if we could just make a decision on the tile for our backsplashes! 🙂

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  5. Awwe! I was so hoping it was a brand of wallpaper perhaps. While the powerfully masculine striped wallpaper in the Bungalow is very period, we will be looking to slowly but surely re-wallpaper each room. I really love the color gradient look that is so popular now in furnishings but haven’t been able to find that sort of subtle shift in wallpaper colorings. The hunt will continue!! Great work on you kitchen!

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  6. Oooh – if you ever win the lottery and are interested in period wallpaper for your bunaglow, check out http://www.bradbury.com. Ooh-la-la!

    As for painting techniques, I bet you could acheive the type of effect your are talking about by doing a translucent color wash over a solid-colored base. If you painted your walls a solid color and then applied a translucent wall glaze at the top of your wall and used a cloth to to pull the glaze straight down the wall until it pretty much disappeared, you’d achieve a gradient effect. You’d just want to drag it straight down the wall -no swirling or anything like that. You’d probably want to mix in some extender to increase the drying time (and give you a chance to fix any mistakes) and you’d definitely want to experiment on some posterboard to perfect your technique before trying it on your walls, but I think it would be an easy enough faux-finishing effect to achieve. McCloskey makes a pretty well-known and widely available translucent color glaze. Blue Pearl makes really beautiful metallic glazes. (I’ve been very pleased with the quality of their products.) And there are even a few “natural” low-VOC glazes made by companies like Aglaia and earthBorn.

    (Sorry for being such a paint geek – I’m an interior designer/architectural color consultant and I have a bad habit of blathering on and on about paint!)

    Good luck with your bunaglow, Rachel! 🙂

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  7. WONDERFUL JOB! Your kitchen is beautiful. Whowouldathunk? Lowes? *jody makes a note in her remodeling tip handbook* If you ever go to sell that place, I’m sure you will definitely get your money back!

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  8. Your kitchen looks great. My wife and I are trying to decide between Schuler and custom cabinets, which are way more expensive. However, I found one blog where a writer complained about Schuler, saying the cabinets were poorly packaged for shipment and arrived damaged. He also complained some of the wood had split and overally the quality was not as expected, given the price. Did you have any similar problems? We really like the Schuler cabinets and would like to go with them but if we’re going to run into problems perhaps it would better to go with the more expensive custom built line.

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  9. Jack,

    Thanks! We did not have any problems at all with our cabinets, and they still look/work great after 2 years of daily use. Compared to the other options we had at the “big box” stores, we’ve never regretted our choice.
    However, we live in the same state (Oregon) they are made, so they were delivered by the manufacturer’s truck. Perhaps the other blogger lived further away, requiring the use of an independent shipper, which can be a crap shoot. I wouldn’t shy away from them because of one person’s bad experience. Hope this helps…

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  10. We seem to have similar tastes. We chose the same cabinets, but the Medallion version, as well as the same crown moulding on the cabinets and the walls. We are going with a little more “retro” feeling by choosing hex tile countertops and old-style appliances.

    Your kitchen will serve as inspiration for me to keep going and reach the end of this project!

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  11. Beautiful work, guys. I’m wondering, are those concrete counters? I couldn’t seem to find where you talk about how you picked your countertop materials. (A decision we’re embroiled in right now!)

    I’m also in Portland. Our bungalow was in decent shape when we bought it, but we’re finally doing the kitchen and bathroom now. It’s quite an undertaking!

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  12. Hi Scholle,

    The counters are Slatescape: http://www.americanfibercement.com/slatescape.html

    Slatescape is a cement-based product but mixed with some kind of resin rather than water – it’s resistant to the cracks that cement countertops are prone to, and also much less heavy. Cement countertops are so heavy they often require that you reinforce your floor joists to help carry the extra weight.

    Slatescape is produced in large sheets that can be cut to fit any shape. The sheets are eight feet long, so unless you have a really long stretch of countertop, you don’t really have to worry about seams.

    We leaned heavily towards soapstone initially, but ultimately went with Slatescape in part because it seemed a little more environmentally friendly and in part because because it can be cut to fit any shape and our kitchen walls weren’t completely square/straight/plumb. It seemed like a good compromise – it gave us a look similar to soapstone, but with benefits we couldn’t get from soapstone.

    Locally, Slatescape is available through Environmental Building Supply in Southeast Portland. If you want to see some in person, the counter tops in the World Cup Coffee and Tea shop on the ground floor of the Ecotrust building in the Pearl District are slatescape (in the pale gray color) and the countertops in the wine bar on the ground floor of the Gregory building (also in the Pearl) are also Slatescape, but in the dark charcoal color we used in our kitchen.

    I’ve found that maintenance on the countertops is a bit more of a pain than I’d anticipated, but overall, we’ve been fairly happy with them. Once nice thing about them is that if they end up getting really trashed over the years, they can be sanded down, re-oiled and given a second life, much like wood floors.

    If I can answer any other questions about them, I’m happy to. I’m also happy to discuss the other options we considered and why, ultimately, we decided against them. 🙂

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    1. Hi Stephanie – We’ve owned our 1910 bungalow since 1993 (also in Portland). Our kitchen was remodeled in 2005 and we also went with Slatescape for our counters. Overall – even after more than a decade – we’ve been quite happy with them, but I’d love to get them refinished this year. I tried to contact the contractor who installed them originally but wasn’t successful. Any suggestions?

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  13. Hi,

    Congratulations on your renovations. From the pictures, everything looks fantastic.

    One question, the crown molding that is in your kitchen is exactly what I am looking for. Unfortunately, places like lowe’s or home depot do not carry this type of trim. Would you be able to direct me to a place? Many thanks!

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  14. Hi Stephanie,

    Your kitchen is gorgeous! I’m wondering how you’re liking your counters a few years in now—Slatescape is a strong contender for our bungalow kitchen since we’re trying to do a relatively “green” remodel that still feels like it fits in the house, and soapstone is a bit out of reach….but have had trouble finding too many folks who have these. Would you recommend them? We’d be using them for a counter near both a sink and a stove, so they’d get both water and heat….wondering how they hold up to this. Thanks—we really enjoy your blog!

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  15. Diana,

    This is a subject that Stephanie and I do not really agree on. While there are a few downsides, overall I love the Slatescape. Steph has mixed feelings about it.

    While it does really well with heat, water does take some care. It’s not that you have to baby it, but it’s best not to let water sit in any one spot for too long (i.e. days). The surface requires periodic treatment (2x/yr) with tung oil, and if you let it get too dried out (as we have a habit of doing), it’s more susceptible to showing water marks. So the area around our faucets has become a lighter shade of gray. We also have one area where some water had gotten underneath something and ended up sitting unnoticed for weeks. That left a fairly permanent light gray outline. Also, the material can be gouged if you jabbed a knife or other sharp object into it. Since it’s colored all the way through, these slight imperfections don’t look too bad.

    Basically, when I look at the counter, I see a beautiful patina. When Stephanie looks at them, she sees the maintenance hassles and the water marks. I will try to get a picture sometime soon and post it up on the site.

    I didn’t even mention the best part. If they ever get to the point of looking too rough, they can be sanded down and re-oiled to look brand new.

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  16. Hi Diana,

    We chose Slatescape for exactly the same reason – the look of soapstone (well, minus the chalky veining) with less environmental impact.

    As Julio said, he’s been happier than I have been because I haven’t felt it is as durable as we were led to believe. Water marks, calcium deposits and scratches all show up much more than I expected them to. Oiling helps camouflage them a bit, but doesn’t hide them completely.

    I don’t have a problem with “patina” (as Julio put it) but it patinas unevenly – there’s all sorts of “patina” around our sink, whereas other areas look flawless. I guess I’m just a little too OCD not to notice the difference between the two areas. It doesn’t look horrible, but I wish it looked better.

    Otherwise, I’ve been happy – it stands up to heat fabulously, it’s easy to clean and it does bear a strong resemblance to soapstone. Maybe in a few years when the girls are a little older and I have more time to dedicate to it, will have it ground down and start over. I suspect if we hadn’t had a new baby and loads of baby bottles drying in the dish-rack, the water spots would never have gotten so noticeable. And that is one nice thing about Slatescape vs. other countertop choices – how many countertops can be sanded down and given a new life? That said, if I could do it again (and if it had been available at the time) I might choose Caesarstone instead. Similar properties, lower maintenance.

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  17. Thanks! It’s great to have both views. 🙂 I’ve seen a couple of reports on Fireslate (which is maybe the same? Maybe not? A little fuzzy on that…) that reported the same sorts of issues, which is making me nervous—we’re more likely to be in the category of “not enough maintenance time” than not. The sanding down aspect is definitely a plus, though. We’re looking into Caesarstone and wood as well….and I still have dreams of soapstone that are tempered by the impact issues there. Seems like everything has a downside….augh! Good to hear an actual “in-use” report, though.

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  18. I love soapstone – you can even spot sand it which is a HUGE plus. But the environmental impact… that’s what made me choose against it, although I still sometimes wish I’d just gone for it! (Bad girl, I know!)

    Caesarstone doesn’t have the pretty matte finish of Slatescape, but some of the colors are really lovely – it definitely seems to be lower maintenance than Slatescape too.

    Wood countertops are gorgeous, but they can scorch if you rest a hot enough pan on them, and they can get pretty funky in areas around sinks if water sits on them for too long.

    I wish there was the PERFECT solution out there but I think every product has its drawbacks.

    One company I’ve been pretty taken with lately though is Fuez (and they will even do a custom mix for you if you don’t like any of their stock varieties.)

    http://www.fuez.com/

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  19. Wow, the Fuez actually comes in some great colors—we’d looked at Vetrazzo (http://www.vetrazzo.com/) which is a Bay Area iteration of this, since we really liked the idea of buying a product that created local jobs—but really hated the color options, most of which are very modern (“Skyy blue” made of vodka bottle shards, etc.) I think they just use glass, though, as opposed to adding ash and concrete, which might make the difference. I wonder if they do custom mixes too….?

    And I love wood—we’re actually using it for the other counter in the kitchen, but have one cabinet run that includes both the sink and the stove, so it seemed like a poor choice there. We’ll see! We have a salvage yard near us that gets counter slabs, and once in a blue moon they get soapstone, though it’s usually out the door as fast as it came in—maybe we’ll REALLY luck out, since I think I could justify a salvaged soapstone counter. 😉

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  20. They really do have some gorgeous colors. It’s totally too modern for our house, but I am completely taken with the one that has little bits of iridescent seashell mixed in – oooooh – pretty!

    (The charcoal FuezCrete definitely has sort of a soapstone look.)

    I just love wood countertops – they are gorgeous! And how pretty would they be with real actual soapstone? I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you come upon a salvaged slab – then I can live vicariously (albeit jealously!) through you. Stranger things have happened – our next door neighbors called a local fabricator to find out how much it would cost to have a Caesarstone countertop installed in their bathroom. The fabricator had just wrapped up a fairly large project and had a piece left over (in the exact color they were looking for!) that was big enough to cover their vanity. He didn’t charge them a penny for the Caesarstone since it was a leftover slab – they only had to pay for installation! Score!

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  21. Interesting to read your discussion of slatescape. We have it in our townhouse in the Pearl in Portland. We installed it in 2002 (after a major fire) and it has worn well but it does wear. The caution on water is correct but it as long as you are aware of the proble and think about how things sit on the surface, you can wipe it up in a reasonable amount of time and not have a problem. Our biggest problem is that despite periodic Tung Oil treatments, the actual surface does scratch/wear through in heavy use areas and the oil treatments only cover that for a few days. We have the dark gray color and the wear areas are ever so slightly lighter in color. The overall appearance is not bad but it is not like it looks new (which is very nice and very comparable to soapstone). I am not sure I would describe it as a “patina” which I would think of as more uniform over the entire surface rather than just in wear areas. Our townhouse is quite open so the kitchen is very visible from our living and dining area and my wife is a major cook so there is a conflict between the desire to have the kitchen look pristine yet recognize that it truly is a working kitchen. Overall, I think the slatescape works to accomplish both objectives and as you say, you truly can have it refinished several times before it would need to be replaced. Remember though, you will have to remove the faucets at a minimum.

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  22. I would love to have your input on your Slate Scape kitchen counters. We just bought a house with these counters and they have an abundance of marks and water spots and rings from glasses, etc. Have you had to refinish yours yet and how do you do that? Is there some maintenance to do regularly that protects this type of counter top from spotting? Thanks for any info you can provide.

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  23. I have Slatescape and I have had to refinish it several times over the past 10 years. It involves sanding the counters and then applying several coats of Tung Oil (which I put on too thick the first time). Another time, I used a product called OSMO Top Oil and they turned out great (2 coats). I am now doing it again and after a little research: I am sealing them first with a tile sealer and then doing the OSMO Top Oil. I was torn betweeen using tung oil or the top coat because I found out the tung oil I had been using was not 100% tung oil (from Home Depot) and it has another solvent in it, which bad.

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