18 Jul 2012

A Kitchen Journey

Countertops, KBIS, Kitchen, Vision 12 Comments

Fun in a Kohler VibrAccoustic tub at KBIS2012

Attending trade shows is invaluable for designers.  Not only do we see all the great new products, meet with our reps, network with our colleagues, and hear from celebrity designers, but we also get a chance to win prizes.  Such was the case a few years ago when I went to Vision and won a Rowenta iron, in my opinion the best iron on the market.  That was the same year I won an award in the Vision Design Competition.

Just this past April I won a prize that took my breath away, it was so perfect!  I was walking through KBIS with designer friend Cyndi DeLapp and since I want to change out the kitchen countertops in my 1 year old home, I was drawn to this display like a bee to honey.

Cambria caught my eye

But why would I want to replace counters that are only one year young?  To answer that question, let me take you on a little kitchen journey.

When we got married, my husband and I had discussed what kind of house we wanted.  The decision soon came down to choosing between remodeling an older home or building a new home.  My dear husband likes everything new and doesn’t like major remodeling, so it was a short debate.  And since we were both working full time and I am practical (form follows function!), we decided to build new.   So build new we did and we’ve built every home we’ve ever lived in.

I'd love to live in a home like this!

Even though we both are in love with the wonderful millwork and unique architectural details of older homes, the thought of spending every weekend working on the house was not appealing and we were in no position to afford remodeling an older home or purchase one that had already been restored.

As I love many different styles, I was not complaining about the opportunity to pick new styles and finishes!  Especially in the kitchen.

The kitchen in our last house was the reason we built that home.  We cook together so we had learned, the hard way, never to position a sink that couldn’t easily be reached from both sides. In fact I’d insisted on a small prep sink close to the rangetop, thinking that he’d use that.  Maybe it was a Pavlovian thing, but he still came to my big one bowl sink anyway!  At least it wasn’t in the corner.

This Wolf rangetop grill inspired my DH to cook almost every night!

The best part of that kitchen was the Wolf gas rangetop/grill and the Thermador jet engine powered range hood.  The range hood was so powerful, we had to be careful not to get sucked up out onto the roof.  One time Charles tried grilling an entire package of chicken thighs indoors and a neighbor rang our doorbell to see if all that smoke pouring out of our home was something we should know about.  I credit the Wolf with getting my husband into cooking dinner every night.

my former big kitchen

This kitchen was large, with two islands, two sinks, and two built in pantries, one of which we set up as a coffee station to hide our big bulky automatic coffee maker.  There were so many cabinets, some of them were half empty.  And we had enough countertop for a small plane to land.  We opted for Ubatuba granite and selected a full bullnose edge.  I loved the shiny granite, but then we noticed some chipping along the sink edge (the sink that was supposed to be just mine).  And then we noticed the granite was losing its shine.  So we put a lot of time and elbow grease into polishing it, but really the granite was ready to be re-sealed.  So we decided to move.

Not really.

It was a beautiful home but it was situated on a corner, it had a screened in pool, lots of trees which translated into lots of falling leaves and pine needles to clog up the gutters and get stuck in the screen enclosure, and basically just lots of outdoor maintenance.  Probably not any more or less than any other home, but we decided it was time to downsize into a home where we didn’t have to worry about lawn maintenance.

My former home

After much searching we chose a GL Homes community a half hour south of Tampa and built our smaller home.  Unlike our previous semi-custom home, our new home is a cookie-cutter but it has features we love.  Our number one love is the lake.  Just looking at the water is so relaxing, and since the clubhouse is right across the lake, we feel like we live in a resort.

Living on this lake made us feel we'd found a pot of gold

After two homes with the typical Florida split floorplan, we were drawn to a completely different floorplan.  While my entrance hall is nowhere this long, this photo is an inspiration.

I love everything about this hallway

I love this hallway with the trimmed doorways, wood floor, and beautiful lighting fixtures

But what really sold us on the floorplan was the kitchen.  It’s a wide U shape, very efficient even for two cooks.  There’s enough cabinet, counter and floor space for two cooks to work around each other without colliding.  We upgraded the cabinets through the builder, but took the standard white Corian counters with the intention of replacing the counters, sink, faucet and range when the money gods smile upon us.

It's dark and rainy today so I had to turn on the lights

“Why,” some guests ask, “would you want to replace counters that are almost new?”   Well, just about anything looks good when it’s new.  And we do love how the white Corian is a bold contrast against our dark cabinets.  But the Corian is already showing scratches.  And my design aesthetic is crying out for some pattern — not as busy and bossy a pattern as granite, something more  subtle but definitely more than plain vanilla.   For about 2 minutes I considered Carrara marble because I love the look, but you already know how I feel about maintenance, don’t you?

Next post:  What I won at KBIS that blew me away


12 Responses to “A Kitchen Journey”

  1. Raj says:

    I love your old kitchen and somehow your kitchen incorporates all the elements that I wanted to incorporate. I wanted to do the tile decoration work under the hood, rangetop, and the undercabinet range hood. I’m thankful to your pictures as I’m able to share with my wife and the remodeller. What brand of appliances did you have in your old house in addition to the Wolf range?

    Thanks again and good luck with your new home!

    • Anne says:

      Raj, I’m glad you like my former kitchen. We loved it when we lived there. The other appliances we used were by KitchenAid. We still miss our Wolf rangetop and wall ovens. Good luck with your project and I’d love to see pics of the finished remodel.

  2. David Jacobson says:

    You probably heard this from others but I love what you have done in your kitchen. I love the colors as well as the over-all design of the thing. If I had spare money, I’ll probably draw from your kitchen as an inspiration.

  3. Andreea says:

    Your posts are great and your home looks lovely. The only thing remaining now is to take a “cruises to towhere” and enjoy your life as much as you can. (not to say you are not doing this already) .. 🙂

  4. Jeremy Shattuck says:

    You have a lovely house. I like your taste in designing your house, especially your kitchen. I enjoyed reading your story and looking at your pictures.

  5. Rissi Cherie says:

    Hi Anne,

    The black cabinetry is terrific and I understand that need for some pattern. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve decided to do to create the look you want.
    Really like the hardwood floors and pendant lamps, too. You’ve got “good bones” to work with to get your kitchen looking just smashing!


    • Anne says:

      Hi Rissi,
      I’m glad you like my dark cabinetry, hardwood floors and pendant lamps. I had to have sparkle! I think you’ll like what I picked. Thanks for liking the “good bones” I’ve put together so far!

  6. Maria Killam says:

    Great post, I loved the story! Maria

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