In our home, everything revolves around the kitchen. Literally, it sits right in the middle of our home, visible from almost every other room on the main level- the family room, the living room, the dining room, the entryway, the garage entry, and the stairs up to the bedroom- all roads lead to the kitchen. And because of our unique tri-level layout, the kitchen is raised up a bit, looking down over the other rooms as if to say “Attention everyone! I’M the heart of this home!” And it’s true- it is. We are endlessly cooking, baking, eating, and packing lunches. We sit at the kitchen table and do homework, play games, blog, design quilts, do crafts, do the taxes, do just about everything.
So to be able to finally strip away the 80s vibe and give it a farm-style makeover, was truly a dream come true. I’ve been pinning apron front sinks, subway tiles, charming vintage hardware, and light-colored stone counter tops for years. Finally, my pinning turned to doing- my husband and I rolled our sleeves up and dove in, diy style!
So here’s the old kitchen, well, before we even moved in actually. This is what it looked like the day we made an offer on the house. I was impressed at how they’d made the best of what they had- it wasn’t horrible. It was bright and clean, the light colored cabinets were nice, and the appliances were updated, thank goodness, but OH MY were those some purple soffits! Purple purple purple, accompanied by a 1980 faux wood laminate counter top and backsplash.
Well, we moved in, ripped out the cream floor tile, added dark hand-scraped hardwood floors, painted those soffits white, and changed the light fixture. And it was…better. Not amazing, but better. It remained in this state for about 6 months, and all the while I dreamed, I pinned, and set aside every spare penny toward the “Mom’s Farm Kitchen” fund.
Finally, though, we took the next step.
I call this a “mini makeover” because we didn’t change the cabinets. They are original to the house, so they don’t have any fancy modern features like self-closing drawers, or pull-out shelves, and they don’t go up to the ceiling, which is kinda sad, but then again, they’re fine. The plain door style is nice and neutral, and to be honest, we didn’t have $25k for major construction and all new cabinets! But rather than sit around and be sad about it, waiting years, we just decided to do an affordable makeover anyway. We wanted to enjoy a fresh, gorgeous kitchen now! So we rolled up our sleeves, did some serious bargain shopping online, and made it happen. A fresh coat of paint on the cabs, retro-inspired hardware, our dream marble countertops, a fabulous single basin sink and bridge faucet (thanks Amazon!), and a fresh white subway tile backsplash (so cheap at Home Depot!). The result is so much prettier than I’d anticipated it could be for how little we spent.
Picking hardware was a snap- as soon as I ran across these pretty deco pulls- and then saw the ridiculously affordable price- I was sold. They feel heavy and solid- so glad I found them (or did they find me?).
But the countertops were another story- they were the most difficult decision, by far. We spent months researching and visiting stone warehouses. I must have changed my mind 7 or 8 times. Dark or light? Granite? Quartz? Quartzite? From the very beginning, the look of marble captured me, but I was quickly freaked out by all of the scary online discussion threads and rehearsed speeches from sales people. Marble will etch, it will scratch, they told me…”you don’t want it in your kitchen” they said. So I put marble on the backburner for awhile…but the fire never completely went out.
We were visiting our local stone warehouse, yet again, to look at slabs of Super White Quartzite. I’d heard mention of it on quite a few websites as a good durable substitute for marble, but in person it was more like super gray than super white. Really really gray, the *marbling* was, um, busy, almost aggressive-looking to me! And then there was the price- a level 6 out of 7, with 7 being the priciest exotic stones available. Yikes! I looked at it, and looked at it, and looked at it. Why was this not as euphoric as I thought it would be? If it’s crazy durable, perhaps the not-so-marble-ish factor, and the astronomical price, were worth it? THANK HEAVENS the sales woman looked me in the eye and said, “You know, we’ve actually had reports of this Quartzite etching, so it most definitely is NOT indestructible. Can I show you what I’m getting for my kitchen?”….and she led us back to the marbles (I held my breath!), to a slab called Mountain White. I exhaled….Wow! Now THIS is the feeling I was hoping for when I picked out a slab. The embers of my hope were fanned when she explained that this marble was from a quarry in Danby, Vermont, and is said to be the hardest of all the marbles (definitely more so than Carrara)- it we take care of it, it will do just fine in a kitchen.
We went home that night, jumped online to try and settle the jitters after FINALLY having put a slab on hold, a marble slab no less, and found this blog post to be a scale-tipper. I loved reading about how this blogger and her husband bounced around town, visiting local bars and foodie spots to examine the wear on those marble bar and table tops. They looked in this light and that, cocked their heads this way and that to examine the etching and staining, and asked themselves, could they live with this kind of wear everyday? YES was their answer, and is mine as well. Marble is gorgeous- there is nothing that can compare to that timeless look and cool touch. It’s a natural stone with so much history and character. It’s been used on tables, bars, counters, floors, and even building exteriors in Europe for hundreds, even thousands of years- and it’s just as beautiful now as it was the day it was installed. Yes, it etches, and it scratches- it shows wear over time, “patina”, if you will, but isn’t that what I’m going for anyway? I’m the lady who sands the heck out of a freshly painted piece of furniture, hoping to make it look as old and worn as humanly possible.? To me, the patina is just part of the character, and I refuse to be uptight about it. Yes, we’ll follow recommended care instructions and treat it with respect, but we won’t be afraid of our marble- we’ll enjoy it!
Speaking of enjoyment, there’s nothing like an apron-front sink to add to the joy factor for this farmy-wannabe lady!
We found this one fit just perfectly into our standard 36″ cabinetry, and didn’t have to make any crazy modifications for it to fit, other than cut out the top front of the cabinet. It’s a self-trimming sink- so has a convenient edge on the front that covers the raw edges of your cutout opening.
The faucet we chose is this one by Danze after reading tons of great reviews on Amazon. Sure enough, when it arrived I couldn’t have been happier. It’s super heavy and feels really high quality- even the sprayer.
Yes, I’ve put pretty little doilies and napkins under the pieces that didn’t have rubber pads…just to be safe. I know, it will probably scratch eventually, but no need to invite it right off the bat! Plus, I think they add to the vintage farmy look. :)
Yup, EVERYONE is enjoying the new kitchen! Hehehe :)
Thanks for stopping by to check out what we’ve been up to! Hope your week is filled with some excitement and beauty as well!