kitchen finishes

Since we have finally made a decision on kitchen cabinets, I'm excited to show you what I am planning design-wise. If you want to read more about the cabinet shopping process, you can find that here. But if you want to skip to the good stuff, read on.

Now I'm aware opinions vary widely on finishes. If it isn't your thing, that's okay. But I do hope to land on a modern but fairly classic, timeless design.

All white kitchens are all the rage of course, and I love their light, bright spaces. I also love the warmth and texture of wood. So I am going to mix them. White on top for lots of brightness, and dark on the bottom for warmth and texture. Here are a few favorite kitchen photos I've collected:

I do so love this kitchen. It doesn't have dark lower cabinets, but so many elements I love. 

from Living Etc. via Desire to Inspire

Jessica Helgerson


The common theme is lots of contrast. As for my own kitchen:

1. Tile floors. Don't try to talk me out of this one. They are already ordered! :) I have lived with and loved tile floors and aside from the occasional broken dish, have never had a complaint. I plan to use a grout color that is either slightly lighter or slightly darker than the tile that will hide dirt well. This flooring will go in my entry, hallways, laundry room, and dining room as well as the kitchen.

2. This is the slate fireplace that everything must blend (and not compete) with.

3. The lower cabinets will be quarter-sawn oak in a dark walnut color. The style is a simple shaker.

4-7. The countertops are up for debate. All four choices shown are granite, though I haven't completely ruled out the alternatives. I have found granite incredibly easy to live with—durable, heat resistant, and easy to maintain. The options shown above are:


  • 4) Lennon granite: I like some parts of it better than others so I would want to hand-pick my slabs. It is busy enough that I don't want my entire kitchen done in this. Maybe just the island?
  • 5) Absolute Black Honed granite: I like the honed finish better than shiny, but it would still show smears and fingerprints. It is a classic choice, but I wonder if it provides too little contrast with the lower cabinets.
  • 6) Black Cambria leathered granite: Slightly bumpy but I do LOVE the overall natural look of leathered granite. I also like that it reads more as gray. 
  • 7) Pearl Green leathered granite: I'm not sure if I can get this option because I spotted it online, not in a shop. It might be pricey. The green undertones could look fabulous with our fireplace, and this color resembles soapstone, another material I love but have ruled out because of it's expense and tendency to scratch. 


Needless to say, we have lots of shopping around to do before settling on a countertop.

8. The few upper cabinets are the same style as the lower but painted a soft white. This keeps the upper part of the kitchen light and bright.

9. My backsplash choice will likely be white subway tile—that is if I can find one that is a soft enough white to go with my cabinets. I was thinking white grout, but seeing the example here I think I might enjoy a little contrast from a light gray grout.

10. I would like my light fixtures to bring contrast with a black finish. I do like the industrial look of these pendants, but I am still shopping around. I am undecided on cabinet hardware color. Stainless would coordinate with my appliances and contrast with the lower cabinets, while black would look smashing on the white cabinets and coordinate with my fixtures. What do you think? I'm leaning toward black. (I don't want to mix hardware finishes.)

11. Last but not least, my appliances, sinks, and faucets will all be stainless.

I would love to hear what you think! I will keep you updated as I shop around and make more decisions, but don't plan on seeing much until after the new year. I think I am going to step away from the computer for awhile and put off my kitchen-obsessing and decision-making until after the holidays. Except for maybe an occasional holiday-related post, you probably won't see me around the blog much for the next couple of weeks. So I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!