I wanted to come back to some of the details of our recent kitchen updates and share a little more now that we’ve lived with it all for a few months. It isn’t easy to pick out pricey items that have to withstand trends so I thought that by providing more detail about our selections it would be helpful for those of you looking to make updates to your own kitchens at some point.
If you missed the background, there are more details in this post here including why we decided to make these changes. In that previous post I talked about how we decided to wait and add the finishes we wanted rather then make selections that we didn’t love (and would have to pay extra for) from the builder. It took us a bit longer than we initially thought (thank you global pandemic!) but we are finally almost at the finish line.
Above is the before. The kitchen functioned but the range barely worked, the microwave location drove us crazy (the sink, range, microwave and dishwasher were all on top of each other in the one corridor you had to pass through, so basically only one person could be in this space at a time). The granite was too busy for my taste and the sink was divided and small. These were all things we could live with but we also knew that these improvements would increase the value of our home and make it more enjoyable while we lived here. One of my favorite things to do is cook and entertain, so having a functional kitchen that felt good to be in was important to me.
I didn’t hire a contractor to do all the projects as I knew I could put most of this together through resources I had, though in the end the company I bought the counters from did a lot of extra jobs to help me finish it all up. They not only installed the counters but they also did the backsplash, installed the sink and faucet and the cabinets along the back of the breakfast room (which I will show you at the end of this post). That was a big help!
SELECTING NEW COUNTERTOPS
Going into this project I knew I wanted quartz counters but had always heard that they were very pricey. I won’t say that they were cheap, but they weren’t really that much more than granite. As a ballpark, *currently* they run about $60-$80 a square foot. I recommend you shop around because I found that while the price was similar per foot at Home Depot they charged a lot of miscellaneous fees; the local fabricator I used only charged for the counters and maybe a small additional amount to take away the old granite.
The quartz looks quite a bit like marble, but in my opinion is SO much better! I had marble in our home we built 10 years ago. I loved how they looked but mercy, they add stress to your life! The first few weeks we had these new quartz installed I was worried about every stain, just out of habit I think, but outside of one small rust mark from our metal paper towel holder (which came off with some barkeepers friend) I haven’t had a single stain or scratch. That is amazing because we live and cook here all day long. If you want to know more about what it’s like to have marble counters, I wrote a post about them way, way back when HERE.
The only downside that I know of to the quartz is that I have heard it isn’t heat resistant like say, granite is. I don’t have a problem with that, I have long been in the habit of putting something down under a hot pan but that is the one thing I wanted to be sure to mention. Quartz comes in tons of colors (most of them resemble marble) and can be fabricated the same way, with the optional edge details or extra thickness (which would have been great but was out of our price range). I have zero complaints about using quartz, just that I wish we’d had it done sooner! I love the fresh, bright and clean look in the kitchen now.
I also want to touch on the commercial style range we upgraded to. This has been a bit of an issue though I think that it is an “all’s well that ends well” situation now. After looking at just about every range on the market in both a 30″ and a 36″ version, I finally settled on this one. It is a 30″ gas range from Z line we ordered through Home Depot. I selected it for a number of reasons. 1–I liked the way it looked (just being honest!) and 2) the online reviews were good 3) it was made here in the USA. The fact that it cost less than many other commercial style ranges also was a factor, as we don’t plan to live in this house long enough to justify a super expensive range.
My husband and I agree that the top burners work amazing, they heat up quickly and evenly and really have power. I can boil water super fast! However, I realized as soon as I used it that something was off with the oven. After quite a bit of back and forth and troubleshooting, Zline finally sent someone to our home to replace the oven thermostat last week and now it is working much better. I admit I was pretty frustrated with my initial response from their customer service (which is mostly done online) but I am sure that with all the hiring issues going on they are doing the best they can. After a very polite and knowledgable company representative called me and assured me that they would make it right, I felt much better. So I wanted to just share that despite initial reservations, this has worked out to be a great purchase especially for the price. A side note: I originally had planned to get Cafe Appliances, which are really pretty! However, our dishwasher and the initial builder range were both made by GE and truly have been a disappointment even brand new. Since GE owns Cafe Appliances I decided to look at other brands.
I don’t believe I showed this part of the kitchen here on the blog yet, just on Instagram. This is still a work in progress, I am adding cabinets to the top (an “IKEA HACK” that I think is going to work, I just need to find the time to finish working on them) I also still have to install the molding underneath that got lost in delivery and reached us late (after the installers were long gone). So these details are all still in the works, along with the drawer pulls and swapping out that one raised frame drawer that was sent by accident. I special ordered the lower cabinets from Home Depot (they are the same as our other kitchen cabinets) and had the same counter fabricator install honed black granite across the top. I wanted something that wasn’t white on this side, and like the dark pop of black. So, more to come on this side of the kitchen. Having this much storage space now is so nice, and we love having the beverage fridge for extra sodas and of course, wine!
One more totally unstaged phone snap so you can see how these fit in the kitchen. I hope these details are helpful if you are making updates to your kitchen, feel free to message me or leave a comment if you have questions. Here are the sources for the kitchen.