Earlier this week, we promised to hook you up with insider details of our guesthouse kitchen remodel. If you missed out on the reveal, be sure to catch up here.
Let’s begin with the star of the room, shall we? I absolutely love our tiled hood, and consider this our star. Though not the red lipstick type, more of a soft pink shade on your face type; subtle while doing something good for your eye color…know what I mean? Haha. That’s the way I feel about kitchen hoods overall. They should be beautiful in their simplicity.
As I mentioned in our reveal, the hood is a basic modern stainless steel that we bought online and built an MDF box around before tiling the whole thing. We used this 3 x 6 tile from Home Depot, but I recommend you spend a little more for the sake of uniform dimensions. Our tile varied batch to bath – not terribly, since our projects were small, but would have added up to a real problem on a larger space. When we caught on to this, we exchanged boxes to stick to a single batch (there’s serial numbers on the back of tile to guide you).
We ended up tiling a basket weave pattern and it’s so delicious in this kitchen – don’t you agree? The chevron craze never caught on with me, and the good ol’ brick pattern just wasn’t exciting enough, so this seemed like a perfect fit. We tiled the space behind the stove for easier clean up, and brought the remaining backsplash up to the lower shelves.
I have been drooling over Scandinavian kitchens for a while and was STOKED to test the utensil rail idea – there’s something homey about exposed kitchen utensils, no? Makes me feel like I’m a gourmet chef:D Well, guys, I have officially lived with hanging kitchen utensils for almost a year, and I give this arrangement a glowing review. It frees up drawer space, and keeps the kitchen cleaner (ever opened a drawer with greasy hands to grab a spatula?) plus I love the look of exposed utensils. Try it! There aren’t a lot of rail and hook systems on the market, but you can find fancy ones in brass and other finishes if you are interested and want to glam things up. We bought three IKEA Grundtal rails and connected them together; it’s a bit long to go without center support like we did, so to prevent sagging I keep our utensils to the sides, with only an extra kitchen towel in the middle.
My second favorite feature in our kitchen is the wall of shelves. And mirror. It’s so nice to have a view at the sink, even if simply reflected – we had huge windows in our last house and I missed that here. The other advantage to a mirror? Your toddler doesn’t stand a chance messing around behind your back, hehehe…
I gushed enough about plywood earlier, and yes, that’s what we used on our shelves. There’s a local place in Portland called Mr. Plywood where you can really go to town picking between different thickness and veneer types. Can’t remember what we chose but it’s one-inch thick. We made the shelves 11 inches wide and used these L brackets to hang two per shelf, and just made sure we hit studs. I followed by strategically placing my bowls and decorative items so if you don’t look too closely, our shelves appear to float. Then, we added cup hooks under the lower shelves for mugs and measuring cups. The wineglasses that survived our move hang via this under cabinet rack. We also hung our paper towel holder, similar to this one.
Last but not least, let’s talk about lighting. Most of my favorite Scandanavian kitchens utilize task lamps somewhere, somehow. Now, that’s not exactly the type of light source we associate with a kitchen, but I felt I had nothing to lose when I spotted the inexpensive IKEA Forsa lamp so I went for it…and I love it! It adds such a stylish design element, and is useful, too. Our LED recessed lights all operate on one switch, so it’s nice to have a single bulb if I’m catching up on dishes late at night.
Speaking of dishes, I prefer a single basin sink, but since this white one was in decent shape when we tore out the main house kitchen, we reused it here. You can get a similar sink at Home Depot, as well as our Moen faucet. The sensor operated soap dispenser is one we’ve had for years – something my sister recommended adding to our wedding registry, so THANKS SIS! Simple Human has since come out with newer slicker models, and if ours retires I plan to get this one. It’s so handy.
I really like how seamlessly the white sink blends into our white countertop. Oh the countertop…sigh… I have a love/hate relationship with our countertop. It’s 1-¼ inch thick quartz called White Zen, which was one of the cheaper white slabs I was able to find at a local branch of Cosmos Granite & Marble. I have not dealt with quartz prior to this kitchen; it’s always been laminate in rentals, and then we had granite in our last home. Well, friends, I am here to tell you that quartz is like the bratty kid of your house guests – you tolerate him because you’re the adult, but deep inside you want to send him packing! Allow me to explain. Quartz is pretty, sure, but it’s not real stone; rather a crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. I understand not all quartz is created equal, so this is simply my experience – it needs a lot of babying. And it’s an artificial slab, what in the world! When I use my small appliances, the black rubber pads leave marks that require Bar Keepers Friend to come out. When cooking with carrots or beets, I need to clean up spills quickly otherwise they’ll leave a stain. Here’s a weird one – you know that big top button on your jeans? Well, my favorite work stations get dark marks on the edge. I couldn’t figure it out for a while, but that’s the button marks. Like, what kind of countertop is this?? But then I’m reminded, “Self, consider this early training for honed marble tops you’ll have in the main house.” Oh boy. And yes, we’re willingly doing that to ourselves soon!
Despite the high maintenance countertop, I love everything about our kitchen, especially the blue cabinets. The color I customized at first ended up almost black, but once lightened up we got this beautiful blue from Sherwin Williams:
Did you know you need to view colors vertically instead of looking down at samples in your hand? When I viewed my first custom sample lying on a table, it looked great, but if I tilted the sheet vertically my color looked almost black and that should have been my cue.
We kept costs to a minimum with this kitchen, so I didn’t go too crazy with hardware, but I think ours is decent. Drawer pulls and door knobs are a classic power couple, and although I prefer a brighter brass finish, I love the shape of these pulls. Spice drawer organizers and lazy susans in our corner cabinets are the only bells and whistles of this kitchen, but it’s functional and pretty:)
Next week we will reveal the guesthouse bedroom, so drop in again!
AND NOW I’M CURIOUS ABOUT YOU…
Where do you usually splurge, and where do you save, when working on a remodel or a redesign of a room? Let me know in the comments below – I love to read them! In the main house, we plan to splurge on hardware since I’ve come to view it as the “jewelry” of a home…can’t wait!