I am finally sharing some photos of the kitchen update we’ve been working on in our home. You can see the background post I wrote HERE about what we were doing and why we were doing it. To be honest, I still can’t believe we’ve lived here 3 years (though pretty sure I am not the only one that feels like 2020 was a bad dream and didn’t really happen) and that it took us three years to make these updates. Originally I thought we’d tackle the kitchen as soon as we moved in, but here we are.
I’ll start with a before picture so you can get a better idea what we changed, since that’s always the fun way to do it. To recap, when we built this house I was disappointed in the kitchen choices our builder offered, I felt like they were overpriced and very predictable. We decided to select all “basic” options so as not to increase the home price. I figured I could make the updates on my own and add more value this way, and I think I have succeeded.
Obviously this photo above is pre-move in, but it gives you a good idea of what we started with. The two main issues for me were the range and the busy granite countertop.
Here is the same angle now. We simply had new quartz counters installed (slightly enlarging the island), added lantern pendants where the recessed lighting was and swapped out the range for a commercial range and vent hood. I have a countertop microwave now in the pantry which is directly behind the range wall. Our pantry is large and had plenty of room for this, it works much better to have it in there.
This “plan” I created above gives you a good idea of what we did. Previously everything happened in the kitchen in the 5 foot area behind the sink, cooking, dishes, microwaving and the dishwasher. It was a terrible way to design a kitchen, moving the microwave helped reduce the number of things going on in one area at once. Without fail, with five of us here we were inevitably stepping on each other especially at mealtime.
I also have shared that our builder range, while brand new, really never worked well. The temperature was erratic and the house would fill with smoke at high temperatures (a lesson learned while trying to cook an expensive tenderloin on Christmas Eve–a complete disaster). So far I am really happy with the range I selected. I spent a lot of time looking at different ranges, sizes and options (I may do an entire post about it soon, I found there wasn’t much good info out there when I was researching) for ranges. What sold me on the one I eventually selected was that it got great reviews, didn’t cost a fortune (we won’t live here forever) and it’s made in the USA. I have already talked about how great The Home Depot was to work with on the range, and we are really blown away by how well the top burners cook. My son and I both love to cook so it’s been great to finally have a reliable and powerful cooktop.
I admit that I do wish I had the fifth burner (I shared why I returned the 36″ five burner range I’d initially chosen in this post) but we can totally make do. I feel like the scale of the 30″ range is better in our kitchen and I also really like how it looks. I will admit that we are having some trouble with the oven temperature, I am working with the manufacturer to get that figured out. I think we didn’t calibrate it correctly when it came in so I don’t want to blame them yet for any mechanical issues. A $7 oven thermometer is always worth the investment, almost every range I have had is off on the temperature FYI.
We also added the white tile backsplash in this pattern. I selected white grout (though in hindsight wish I’d picked one with a bit of contrast, live and learn) to go with it and the kitchen does feels fresh and clean. I love that it is classic tile but still has some movement in it, it sparkles all day long. I will say that the tile nightmare we went through with Wayfair soured me a bit on loving it too much. Note that you can buy that tile from The Home Depot HERE and you’ll get much better customer service.
I ordered the quartz from a local company in Northern Virginia (Brightstar Contracting/Garcia Granite) I had worked with when I helped my parent’s redo their bathroom (post is here). They were fabulous to work with, and have all the slabs to select from on site (not sponsored). They fabricated everything quickly which was nice since so many things are delayed right now. I changed the quartz at the last minute, originally I was getting “Misty Waves” (per my old post) but decided at the kitchen designer’s urging to go with a whiter one. Misty Waves looked a little grayer and almost dirtier, this is Calcutta-‘something’, I need to confirm the full name (message me if you want the details). They also extended the island top by several inches on each side which made a huge difference in how much work space we have. I may still get some supports for the outer edge just for cosmetic purposes, they said they can go up to 10″ off the counter without reinforcing it. FYI, I found it much less costly to not work with The Home Depot for counters, their per foot cost was the same but they charged you for a ton of expensive extras (installation, removing old counters etc.) so it’s worth shopping around.
The contractor also installed the range hood and our new much larger sink, which is dream. I am not a fan of dual sinks with no room to wash a large pot, it is just my preference; I find it much easier to do dishes now. I ordered the same faucet we had in our last kitchen in champagne since I liked it so much. To be honest, I had reached the point of decision fatigue by that point so I went with what I already knew to keep it easy.
Sidenote: aren’t the flowers pretty? I found a local flower vendor who sells them fresh from her garden. I am already addicted to the bright spot of color! (Follow her here).
We are still waiting the cabinets that will go on the back wall of our breakfast room (where the hutch is below), they should arrive in another month though maybe longer with the state of the world currently. I decided to go with black granite for more contrast for the countertops in that area, it will be exciting to have it all complete. I’ll show off that part once it’s done.
A few weeks ago I decided I really should have painted that hutch black for more contrast, I was tempted to do it anyway even with just a few months left of using it. I haven’t had time, so it will probably never get done, but wouldn’t that have looked good?
I feel like we’ve been so busy with back to school and just life that we haven’t had time to really cook and enjoy the kitchen, but hopefully things will settle down a bit soon. I think that covers all the details, but be sure to let me know if you have questions. I’ll link the sources as well below for your convenience.