How Much Does It Cost To Do A Smart Kitchen Renovation?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

Hey Guys,

Before I get into the topic of a smart kitchen renovation, I’m in gorgeous Litchfield County, CT on a little workation. Right now, it’s Friday the 17th of June. Tomorrow, (my son Cale’s 26th birthday!) is the third annual Day of Design at the Mayflower Grace in Washington, CT.

Since I’m a good hour and a half away, I came up this evening and I’m so glad I did. It’s gorgeous here and so good to get away– especially after the week I had. Never mind. It’s all technical website crapola that I had to get through. Oh, I was going to tell you my tale of woe, but figured:

A. you won’t understand, because no one in their right mind understands this stuff.

B. you don’t care because no one in their right mind cares.

 

***

It is now Saturday evening and The Day of Design was a fun respite and I met a lot of cool people and reconnected with some that I’ve met before.

Now, that I’m relaxed, I will finish up today’s post which was inspired by last Sunday’s post about the apartment that had its soul decimated.

I am overwhelmed by all of the wonderful responses! I think that was a record number of comments in that period of time. I never know how y’all will react to something, but your responses warmed my heart.

The natural follow-up would be to discuss what they should have done so that this place would not only sell quickly, but for TOP DOLLAR.

It made me think about what I would have done differently.

Just about everything.

And it’s not just this apartment, but any time one is planning on a home renovation.

 

There are many factors to consider before embarking on a smart kitchen renovation.

 

  • The amount you spent on the purchase. Did you buy at the height, middle or bottom of the market?
  • How old is the apartment
  • What are the other homes in the area like?
  • Who might be purchasing your place?
  • How long are you planning on staying?
  • How much are the comps going for?

The last one is really important and it’s also a bit of a crap-shoot. Ask anyone who decided to sell their home in the summer of 2006. Gosh, that was TEN years ago!

 

beautiful apartment bronxville
The market has been pretty flat since I purchased my home at the end of 2012, but I do think it’s been slowly rising in this area. Above is a gorgeous newly listed one-bedroom apartment of about the same size as last week’s remuddle and also built in the 1920’s. It hasn’t been renovated and granted the kitchen needs a lot of attention, it is only on the market for 170k which is 100k less than our abomination. (that’s going to sit on the market 4ever!)

This one-bedroom actually has a small dining room. Albeit, the kitchen is small and awkward but looks to be original, for the most part except for the appliances.

 

smart kitchen renovation original cabinets

Not sure what that thing is on the right? Garbage shoot? That’s kind of gross. The Fridge overlapping the door-way is a big no-no. I don’t know what’s behind it that it can’t go back as far as the cabinet, but clearly, there needs to be a lot of reconfiguring here.

smart kitchen renovation

I see a lot of potential here, but basically, to make it all work, this is a gut job.

Let’s say that you’re thinking of purchasing this place.

 

I would put in an offer of 140k.

You know that they aren’t going to take that.

They counter with 160k

You counter with 155k

Sold, for 155k!

This is a great deal on this place and will give the owner some wiggle room for renovations, but how much wiggle room?

Supposing you plan to spend a minimum of five years here, but probably not more than 10. I would not spend more than 10% above what the market can now bear and even is a bit of a gamble.

However, with a beautiful kitchen renovation (and later the bathroom), I think that this apartment could sell for between 200k-225k.

I would stick with the lower number. Therefore, the amount to spend in renovations should not exceed

$45k-50k.

 

A good number to work with for a small apartment kitchen renovation in this price range is about 25k-30k.

 

While this one is a do-over, with some kitchens the cabinets are fine and the layout is fine. You can save a lot of money if you only need to paint the existing cabinetry.

But if you need new cabinets for a small apartment kitchen and budget is a big factor, what I’m going to say may surprise you.

I did not put my kitchen in, but it is from Ikea. And the quality is not bad.

The finish is super-duper durable and they are easy to keep clean even though they are off-white.

Oh, stop looking at me like I just farted in your face!

I think that some of you may be pleasantly surprised.

The next three images are Ikea kitchens.

Lindsay Stephenson Ikea white kitchenLindsay Stephenson

I think that this is absolutely perfect and what I wish my neighbors had done. There are several more images in the link.

The next two are either from an ad or the source is unknown.

Print krki11a Web gkki20b Martin von Brömssen 070-5178833

Ikea Kitchen 11

What do you think now? I think these are all very lovely. And again, there are lots of customizing options. You may recall the stunning Ikea kitchen in this post.

But Laurel… I don’t want a white kitchen! Why are you always showing white kitchens? White shows all of the dirt… And I’m bloody sick of white subway tile.

Gosh, we’re awfully whiny today. Fine. You don’t have to put in a white kitchen with white subway tile. But, this isn’t your forever home; it’s an 800 sq. foot apartment built in the 1920’s. The kitchen would’ve been white back then.

I would do white.

Have to say folks, that I’m in agreement with my colleague Maria Killam.

 

[tweet_box design=”default”]To get the biggest bang for your buck for most homes, you cannot go wrong with a white kitchen and white bathrooms.[/tweet_box]

 

Of course, there are exceptions, such as a log cabin. ;]

OR, if it makes sense with the rest of the scheme such as this wonderful kitchen by Jenny Wolf

SmallKitchens_JennyWolf_photo Emily Gilbert

photo: Emily Gilbert

This kitchen has taken on a more Craftsman style which would be appropriate if your home were that style. Duh. There is a lot of logic in this business. But please note that the cabinets are painted a sage-gray and there is white subway tile. I could live with that.

However, since the remuddled apartment from last week was built in the 1920’s and the one above was built in the 1920’s, let’s stick with white for a stylishly appropriate kitchen that most prospective buyers (hopefully) will appreciate.

Please remember one thing above all else.

 

Buyers want move-in-ready. So, your beautifully finished turn-key home or apartment is going to be especially attractive.

 

Let’s Look At Some Examples Of Some Small White Kitchens For Inspiration

 

small white kitchen with white subway tile and open shelves by Sarah Sherman Samue

Sarah Sherman Samuel

Not sure if this is an Ikea kitchen or not, but it could be.

White kitchen with open shelves by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Sarah Sherman Samuel

Rob Kelly beautiful white vintage style kitchen (1)

Rob Kelly

Love the Vintage feel of this new kitchen!

rob kelly kitchen before

They say that the above photo is the before! Holy Crap is right!

 

Kara Rosenlund via Susanna Salk

photo: Kara Rosenlund

Today at the Day of Design was the lovely Susanna Salk . She recently wrote a beautiful book called “It’s the Little Things” published by Rizzoli. There was a screen flashing images while she spoke. After the talk, she kindly sent me the image (above) to put on this post.

This is a wonderful example of an old kitchen which has been given a (tasteful) facelift and a tummy tuck. (love the oil painting)

 

Let’s Talk Cabinets, Counters, Tile, Hardware, Finishes, Lighting and How Much Are They Going To Cost

 

I found a wonderful website called Homewyse which you can put in what you are looking to do in terms of both materials and labor costs. Add your zip code and it will spit back at you both lower-end, higher-end and sometimes a range of pricing for your area. How cool is that? I don’t know how accurate it is, but it should give at least an idea.

I used it to come up with how much it would cost in my area which is pretty expensive. Therefore, I went with the mid to upper end pricing just because things always cost more than we think they will.

Let’s assume we are talking about a galley kitchen of about 7′ x 10′ (not including an eating area)


Cabinets

Our cabinets from Ikea installed will run around $8,000.00. This is a ball park price and this is only the cabinets–installed. (hardware too) It might be less or more–depending.  Ikea also sells some basic handles and knobs or you could look on myknobs.com

 

Counters

The cheapest counters are laminate and that is certainly a cost-saving option. The next least expensive are wood counters. There is a huge price range for wood and it might not be the best for re-sale.

I think I’ve made my feelings known about most granite.

I love white marble like Calacatta Gold and Carrera Bianca, but it’s expensive and not-that-great for resale because the etching and staining that happens easily, drives some folks nuts.

I also love oiled-soapstone if you’d like to do a dark counter.

But you really cannot go wrong with a quartz composite like Cambria. It’s also not cheap, but for a small kitchen with about 15 feet of counter won’t be too bad.

I would stick with something simple. They have lots of great stuff but some of it is not anything I would put in my kitchen.

 

torquay from cambria quartz

You could do a plain white, but the Torquay pattern is very nice too and is a good mimic of marble. The beauty of quartz is that it is exceedingly durable, very strong and very unlikely to etch and stain.

cute and company Cambria Torquay Quartz white kitchen

Cute and Company

This is far larger than our kitchen, but they used the Torquay patter from Cambria.

Price to install 33 sq. feet of Cambria Quartz = $3,300.00

 

Backsplash

Price to install 33 sq. feet of good quality white subway tile = $1,400.00

While a hand-made white tile is gorgeous, you can do a lovely white ceramic tile. I am not fond of machine-made tile that’s trying to mimic a hand-made tile. It always looks fake to me.


Sink and Faucet

Price to install one good quality undermount kitchen sink and faucet = $2,000.00

Stainless steel is fine and less expensive than ceramic. I would do a polished chrome faucet.  Yes, you can do nickel, but it’s about 30% more costly than chrome and then you will need to do nickel hardware too.

Can you do the “new” brass?

Brass, of course, is not new. It’s been around for 100s of years. Brass is actually quite a classic material. Unfortunately, the hideous stuff of the 80’s with umpteen layers of gross lacquer on it, plus a rosey-pink sink, scares the living crap out of most of us. The “new” brass is not at all like that.

You can do it, but it doesn’t look great with stainless steel so it may up the prices of some of your appliances.

Here’s a post with lots of brass fixtures so that you can see if this look appeals to you. Oh, it will definitely add to the price; just because it’s not as common–yet.

It will be all over HGTV in 15 years. ;]


Appliances– Fridge, Range, Dishwasher, Microwave

I would probably do stainless steel but I don’t see any thing wrong with white. I would also splurge on a counter-depth fridge.

Prices can vary widely. Bargains can be found with some research. Look for close-outs, perhaps.

Let’s say about $7,000.00, but it could be more or less.

Now we are up to about $21,700.00

Of course, it could be less if you can do some of this work yourself. I wouldn’t. But you can. :]


What about the floor, Laurel?

Thank you. I was just getting to that. I’m going to start by telling you what not to do. Don’t do stone. I have stone and every time a glass falls, it shatters instantly. And it’s always 2:00 in the morning when I was just about to flop into bed and the last thing I want to do is clean up a shattered glass.

The safest floor you can do and probably the best for resale over-all, is a wood floor. But please… Match it the best you can to the existing wood floor.

That’s it?

Well, sure, there are other floors you can do, but for resale, I would just stick with wood.


Cost to install a hardwood floor 100 sq feet = $1,500.00


Kitchen Lighting

For a small kitchen, you really do not need to do any recessed lighting. You can, but you don’t have to. You can get away with two or three hanging fixtures and one or two small table lamps. I love small table lamps on a kitchen counter!

Of course, you will undoubtedly have some demolition, plus wall repair, painting and possibly some mouldings. But all-in-all, you can do a lovely, classic small white kitchen for 25k-30k.

I think these kitchens look terrific in most homes.

Happy Father’s Day! I’m spending it with Cale and his lovely girlfriend Maureen. I’m going up to Tanglewood, MA to hear Brian Wilson.

xo,

Laurel

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  • Cate - July 24, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    Thank you for such a lovely, informative post. These kitchens you suggest will look just beautiful in this 1920s apartment. (I love this apartment. Where is the listing?) In the case of this particular apartment, though, I wonder if you couldn’t make some minor adjustments and it would be wonderful and authentic, and you’d have a killer kitchen with relatively less cost. The kitchen is almost identical to this beautiful 1920s kitchen in the Towers apartments in Jackson Heights two guys redid. They restored the original cupboards, bought a new farmhouse sink (looks like the 42-inch one from Strom/Sign of the Crab to me), a new dishwasher, and a gorgeous Aga apartment stove. I think the results are smashing. http://www.remodelista.com/posts/living-with-vintage-jesse-james-and-costas-anagnopoulos-of-aesthetic-movement-antiques-filled-apartment-in-queens/ In this other apartment, I wonder if you couldn’t buy a high-end counter-depth fridge and maybe sink it in partly under the top cupboard, if there is room behind the wall. And then replace the sink unit with something better and get a nice dishwasher and a fabulous stove. You could even maybe make a big plaster hood with a vent over the stove, which it might have had originally. I am a big fan of early 20th century cabinetry and apartments — and your blog! Thanks again for your many great posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:29 AM

      Thanks so much Cate for this wonderful comment. That is a gorgeous place and THAT is an unkitchen if there ever was one!
      Gosh, I looked for that listing, but it’s not there any more. I imagine this beauty was snatched right up. It’s in the Brooklands apartments in Bronxville, NY.

      One thing I have to say and it’s that I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have an empty apartment for sale. I actually prefer it because then I can see the SPACE.ReplyCancel

    • Cate Corcoran - July 24, 2016 - 10:33 AM

      Oh, I just found the apartment listing through a reverse image search. Sorry to waste your time with that question. Now I’m scheming to move to Bronxville, lol.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:34 AM

        I found it that way too, but it says that it’s no longer listed. But take heart, there are cool places coming on the market around here all the time. There are a lot of fuglies too, however– places that were once cool like this one that have been insultingly “remuddled.”ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:30 AM

        Oh wow! you found it! Hmmm… Let me try that. And yes, that is something I do all the time!ReplyCancel

  • JD - June 23, 2016 - 1:52 PM

    Hi Laurel- I know you’ve been having blog difficulties that no one in their right mind wants to talk about. I noticed that your photos aren’t showing up for most of your posts- if you hadn’t noticed yet I thought I’d drop you a comment and let you know.

    If you’re already aware and/ or have already gotten a million such messages from folks, then I apologize. I hope you’re enjoying your time with your son! (Happy Birthday, Cale!)

    Cheers-
    JulieReplyCancel

    • JD - June 23, 2016 - 1:57 PM

      Oh my- I am magic! Or my internet connection is! All of your photos just popped up after I hit post to that comment. This is amazing. I should hire myself out to internet companies.

      My apologies for the unnecessary comment, Laurel. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - June 23, 2016 - 12:47 PM

    Two things.

    A search for a beautiful toaster led me to SMEG retro style appliances. I immediately thought of your blog post about renovating a small kitchen. Do you know about SMEG? I think a SMEG-applianced kitchen would be perfect in an apartment like this. Here is one picture: http://www.smeguk.com/smeg_com/images/670/375/Smeg50style_mobile_Smeg.jpg. I’m getting a toaster in pale blue but can hardly resist tearing up my whole kitchen to replace all the big appliances with SMEG. Love that retro kitchen look in a modern house (and sure beats granite and stainless steel).

    Thank you for posting all that white. I am trying to work up the courage to paint my whole (awful, open concept home where the rooms are not delineated from each other with wood trim, so the entire first floor, with windows facing in 3 directions in all, needs to be one color) in BM Cotton Balls (woodwork and trim same color but in different levels of glossiness) and your beautiful photos above are just the reassurance I need to try it. At worst it will make a wonderful base coat for some other tint, right?

    Love your blog. Thank you so much. Thanks to you I love paying attention to decorating and have more confidence to try.ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - June 19, 2016 - 4:43 PM

    My friend and I both live in pre-war apartments. Hers is a galley kitchen which required no change to services while mine is an eat-in which needed code-driven upgrades. She isn’t a big cook while my kitchen is used constantly. So here are our compare and contrasts:

    Ikea cabinets: it is well known that designers and architects use them in their own homes while specifying costlier cabinets for their clients. However buying Ikea can be tricky, as every single element has to be purchased separately. That said, she used a kitchen contractor who specializes in Ikea installations and there were no mishaps. My designer specified Brookhaven, the second line of Wood-Mode, and used Wood-mode for one quirky custom drawer. They work beautifully and are wearing well.

    Flooring: my designer agreed with me that stone is hard on the feet and wanted cork which IMO is too busy. I went for wood and there was no trouble matching it to the rest of my apt. It isn’t wearing so well but I don’t care about the nicks as overall it was the best choice. Friend has ceramic tile which is a good choice because her kitchen is small anyway and it doesn’t bother her feet.

    Sink: yes, Ikea isn’t good quality and my friend stayed away. I don’t like the boxy profile at any price point and went with undercount. My sink was expensive but insulated and quiet, which I appreciate. She got a less costly good quality stainless.

    We both got subway tile backsplash. Hers is white ceramic and mine is calacatta marble because the slightly red veining picked up other elements in my room.

    We both got quartz counters.

    I spent lots more money than she did but her kitchen looks great and is respectful of her apartment’s architecture. On the other hand, my job was way more complex structurally. I did allow myself higher-end purchases because of my level of use.

    Summary: making good decisions as to how to spend money on a renovation is subjective and takes a lot of thought, even without re-sale considerations. Good luck to everyone undertaking this: the results are worth the effort and sometimes the process is a lot of fun!ReplyCancel

    • Naomi - June 21, 2016 - 4:48 PM

      Two things I forgot: my friend has filler panels while my wall space is used down to the 1/4″. It was amazing watching my designer and the Wood-Mode person measuring. But I will never know why I have a $900. faucet. It was a teeny amount overall but still ridiculous and I remain puzzled by where my brain was that day.
      Thank you, Laurel, for your very interesting blog.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:50 PM

      Hi Naomi,

      Thanks for such a thorough thoughtful comment! It’s very helpful for everyone to share their experiences. And you brought up a great point which I didn’t which is how the kitchen will be used. Obviously, someone who cooks a lot has different needs from someone who doesn’t.

      It does require a lot of thought and research and then weighing what one needs with their budget and all of the rest. Ultimately, it’s very difficult to get things 100% perfect, but that’s really how it goes with everything!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - June 19, 2016 - 2:22 PM

    Dear Laurel,

    Thank you for all the WONDERFUL advice! Your taste is impeccable. My 1920’s Sears bungalow has a small white kitchen that looks pretty good, but I’m looking to replace a hideous vinyl floor from the previous owner. My husband won’t let me put in a wood floor because he thinks that it will get damaged with water drips and spills. I am concerned as well. I was thinking about putting in a basic black and white, one foot square, linoleum or vinyl floor. Is this a good option? Are there any other flooring options that would work in your opinion

    Thank you for your time.

    LauraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:29 PM

      Hi Laura,

      It’s funny, but I came very close to talking about a black and white checkerboard vinyl floor. I had one for 17 years and loved it.

      Here’s the deal. It is a cheap option and certainly classic and appropriate for a 1920’s kitchen. It’s soft underfoot and if a glass falls, it’s chances of survival aren’t great, but it will most like not shatter in a million pieces.

      It is easy to clean, but NOT easy to KEEP clean. By that I mean that every scuff shows on the white and and the black shows shading too, but the white tiles are a bitch to keep clean. But even with that, I still loved my floor.

      As for water spills with a wood floor. If you put down a durable poly — three coats, unless you let something sit there for a long time, it will be totally fine. ReplyCancel

      • Laura - June 20, 2016 - 11:54 AM

        Thanks so much Laurel. I appreciate your input.

        LauraReplyCancel

    • Laura - June 19, 2016 - 2:36 PM

      I meant to say “black and white checkerboard linoleum or vinyl floor”.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - June 19, 2016 - 10:59 AM

    Why is it that most designated kitchen designers, who carry their own line of kitchen cabinets, look like they will vomit at the mere mention of an Ikea kitchen? I’m not a “designated” kitchen designer but I’ve designed many kitchens and I would certainly bring on the challenge of designing an Ikea kitchen. They are at least half the price and probably the same quality if not better than some of the other sh*t I’ve seen around (including mine)… not to mention that the options are endless and they can be customized.

    Btw, great post…as usual!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:23 PM

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you so much!

      I guess the designers look like that because they can’t make any $$$ from an Ikea kitchen. OR, they just don’t know. I wouldn’t either except that I’ve lived with one for 3.5 years and while I would’ve done a few things differently, it’s really one of the nicest apartment kitchens I’ve seen around here.ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - June 19, 2016 - 10:46 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Another fabulous post! I wanted to offer up some first hand “road tested” knowledge regarding IKEA kitchens for anybody contemplating about using them. My current home has an IKEA kitchen with the same cabinets, butcher block counters, range hood and sink as shown in your 2nd photo. The kitchen was renovated by the previous owners. The cabinets are great, even though they are white, they are very easy to keep clean as they have a very smooth finish. IKEA also has never ending assortment of goodies to add to the cabinets to keep everything organized and tidy….for a fraction of the price of those offered by other manufacturers. While the cabinets shown are to the floor, mine are raised with no kick plate for a “cool industrial vibe”……. DON’T EVER DO THIS! Every bit of mess loves to find a hiding place and it’s all there tucked away for you to discover ….. Gross!! Trust me, it’s way worse than those dust bunnies you find lurking under your bed. While the cabinets and appliances are great. The farmhouse sink finish is of very poor quality, it scratches and stains. It also has a huge crack which I inherited from the previous owner. I believe the sink can be reglazed. The IKEA faucets and light fixtures were also crap; I have replaced them with something better. Also for those wishing to get a farmhouse sink of any type, make sure you get a faucet with a spray feature, otherwise it is impossible to clean. In short, I would highly recommend their cabinets, countertops and appliances. Source your lighting, faucets and possibly your sink from elsewhere and you’ll be very happy with the end result. For the money, they are by far the best option.

    Happy Renovating to All!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:20 PM

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for all of that very helpful info!

      I know exactly what you mean about the raised cabinet because that is how my vanity is in the bathroom and yes, it is gross and I really need to get down there and give it a good cleaning. ReplyCancel

  • Christine - June 19, 2016 - 10:46 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I hope you enjoy your time with you son and his girlfriend! Nice post with lots of good info. I think people need to do updates that are something they like and will enjoy, but be mindful of the style of home, the market, and how long they plan to stay in that home.

    I feel you on your website/technical challenges – somehow I ended up with managerial oversight of our web developer at work, we had a crisis this week = brain cells & hours of time lost. Love/hate technology in equal measure at times!

    I do have what I hope is a general enough question and then since you mentioned counter depth refrigerators, my 2¢. My 76 year old mom is updating her kitchen (yay – go her) she asked for my opinion since I have many! Her home is probably 40 years old and she is not “opening up” the kitchen, so room with arched doorway , good light, French door to yard. She’s doing white cabinets and a pretty white Quartz counter, backsplash – more white with a bit of blue grey. The cabinet person, with some kitchen design certification said to paint the walls a cream color so the room isn’t all white. I was surprised. Feels like it will look like we couldn’t match our whites. Most of the photos I see for white kitchens have white walls and maybe a few with “color.” What is the common paint thought with white kitchens, especially when they are a separate room, not open concept?

    Counter depth fridges look great. Nice lines that sit where they belong in relation to the counters, pantries, and other appliances. The difference in cost at our price point wasn’t the issue since we bought a new house, we had a year to save. We have three adults in our house, we like to cook, we use a lot of produce, make smoothies for breakfast every morning, keep iced tea and lemonade in the fridge at all times, along with almond milk, and organic 2% in a glass bottle. Our crisper drawer fits exactly 1 head of lettuce. I like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Oh, and I like to have my 26 yr old son and my mom over for brunch or early dinner on Sundays. We cannot shop for the week AND Sunday dinner. It won’t fit in the darn fridge. I went from a 32 cubic foot fridge to a 22. We were downsizing and our home is new and open. I wanted it to look nice. It’s function hurts my soul. Seriously, if I knew then what I know now, I would have kept the fridge that stuck out a foot but could hold all my weekly food shopping and then some, and found a contractor to push out the wall. I would have been so much happier in the long run. Now I need to buy a second fridge to go in the garage; that’s not energy efficient in Arizona, it’s going to be 118° today. And obviously, I loath going to the store multiple times a week when it’s hot too. I contemplated selling it, but I don’t want some moron who would probably pay far less than it cost 3 months ago scratching my new wood floors getting it out! I got this great kitchen, and finally a gas cooktop, and my food storage toolbox won’t fit all my tools 🙁ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:42 PM

      PS: I had a great time with Cale and Maureen. Alas, it was way too short but it’s nearly a 2.5 hour drive home.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:41 PM

      Hi Christine,

      That is a general question because you are not asking WHAT color to paint something. But, like a lot of paint questions, there are still so many variables such as what else is going on in the home. If there’s an eating area, what are the materials?

      You can mix different whites but I would keep it subtle. In addition, there are other ways to add color in a white kitchen if that is what the hang-up is. It could be a set of cobalt blue canisters or some cool art with gold frames. Or a bowl of lemons.

      I love the work of Studio McGee. They have white down perfectly. http://www.studio-mcgee.com/work/ I was looking at their white kitchens and none of them have cream-colored walls.

      I can see how having a counter depth fridge isn’t going to work for some people. I guess it depends on a number of factors. It definitely wouldn’t have worked for me when my kids were at home and teen-agers. They ate mass quantities and despite a normal depth fridge AND one in the garage, was constantly running to the store for more sustenance.ReplyCancel

  • Sylvia - June 19, 2016 - 10:39 AM

    Morning Laurel,
    As with every Sunday morning I make a cup of coffee and sit quietly in my living room reading your blog. I look so forward to reading every single word you write, and those of everyone that responds to your thoughts.
    Today’s posting is soooooo great ……. so much information and visually perfect. Your wisdom of past and present design, what we should pay close attention to, and product examples is amazing! Thank you so much for
    ALL your hard work putting your blog together every week. I love your humor and sharing your knowledge and sharing crapola is very cool, and always feels human and normal. Thank you very much and please know Laurel that I have used your advice in many of my home projects the past 2 years, I think I could write a blog about your blog and how amazing it is!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:17 PM

      Hi Sylvia,

      That is incredibly kind of you to express all of that.

      When I really made the commitment to turn this blog into something exactly 2.5 years ago, I decided that in order to do that, I had to provide the best content I could manage. And go further than most people were willing to.

      In so doing, I too have learned and grown as a designer and shared in the laughter. Us humans are such funny creatures!

      Endless thanks for your sharing for that is what helps spur me on!

      ReplyCancel

    • Christine - June 19, 2016 - 12:28 PM

      Sylvia, well said!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Mac - June 19, 2016 - 10:37 AM

    We are in the closing stages of a large addition/kitchen remodel. I could write a book.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 11:08 PM

      Hi Anna,

      Haha. I’m sure I would enjoy (in a perverse sort of way) your book. But, despite the pain, I hope it turned out beautifully!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - June 19, 2016 - 9:19 AM

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the stone floor! We recently moved into a home with multi-colored slate floors in the entry and kitchen. It not only looks outdated and darkens the room, but is just awful to clean and walk on. And as you said, anything that hits the floor shatters. My friends think I’m crazy for hating it, but they have never had to live with it. When we’re ready to renovate the kitchen, we’re putting in hardwood.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 9:30 AM

      Hi Jennifer,

      I was just writing about our 50’s ranch kitchen and the entry had the multi-colored slate floor in a random pattern. I was never fond of it, but it lead into the champagne wall-to-wall carpeting. We moved there when I was three and there was this really ugly linoleum in the kitchen which my mother changed in the late sixties to a linoleum that looked like pebbles. Too funny.ReplyCancel

      • Jennifer - June 19, 2016 - 9:56 AM

        Champagne carpet is another thing we are preparing to part with. Thankfully it’s only in one room, but it’s new! So new that it still leaves lint on anything that touches it. Some trends stick around far too long…

        Thank you for creating such a wonderful blog. I have really been enjoying your balance of helpfulness and humor.ReplyCancel

  • Vici - June 19, 2016 - 8:43 AM

    Thanks for another thought provoking post on kitchen remodels that correspond with the age, value and style of the home. I recently purchased a 1950’s limestone ranch that will need a kitchen remodel. Before reading your post I had planned on incorporating a style that I like rather than focusing the period of the home. I don’t care for mid-century modern, I lean more towards cottage style. Will I be making a big mistake if I follow my design taste rather than the time period of the home? The outside of the home looks like a modern stone cottage and the inside is very plain with lots of large windows.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 9:25 AM

      Hi Vici,

      Architecturally, I feel a mid-century limestone ranch style doesn’t have the historical significance of something built 3 years earlier. I wouldn’t put in something ornate either, but a sophisticated cottage style with shaker doors would work, IMO. It also depends on the rest of the furnishings.

      But virtually no one would actually put in a mid-century modern kitchen with boomerang pattern formica counters. I grew up in a 50’s ranch and that’s what we had. I’ll never forget when my mom remodeled parts of it in the late 60’s. As a child, I loved it, but looking back it makes me laugh. She did leave the formica counter-tops, however. :]ReplyCancel

  • Valerie Lynn - June 19, 2016 - 2:19 AM

    Wow Laurel I had no idea the depth of your research and advice. Fantastic and although my kitchen is fine, my new sister-in-law is in the market for a new kitchen for her Fire Island home. I’ll pass on your blog info it is beyond helpful.
    Great meeting you today!! The Day of Design gave us an ideal opportunity to enjoy our professions and get to know each other. Let’s stay in touch. I look forward to your blogs past , present and future! Xox ValerieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2016 - 9:18 AM

      Hi Valerie,

      It was such a pleasure meeting you too! I did another post about what a bunch of “backstabbing shrews” us designers are. NOT! My experience has been quite the opposite. But it took social media and events like TDOF to discover that.ReplyCancel