Brushed Brass or Matte Black? (aka Which Way Should My Cabinets Swing)

I’ve been debating about cabinet hardware for sooo looong, but didn’t feel like I could make a decision until I saw the cabinets and counters in our space.  Now that the marble is in, I think I’ve got our cabinet hardware narrowed down:  brushed brass or matte black drawer pulls.


Let’s be clear:  I want them all.  But it’s time for me to overcome my fear of commitment and pick one.  While our blue and green tape handles are super classy, it’s time for something a little sturdier.  I’ve checked out lots of hardware in person, searched online, and browsed my favorite kitchen photos to see what I like, but I still haven’t made up my mind.  The only thing I’m totally sure about is skipping something in the nickel/chrome/silver range.  I had that in my last house and just want something different.  Plus I have plenty of those colors with our appliances.  So I ordered samples of matte black and brushed brass.  First up, the brass.  Oh you brushed, beautiful, brass.

brass hardware

The drawer pulls from Schoolhouse Electric are dreamy.  They also feel amazing – such a nice weight and shape.  These pics just don’t do them justice (side note:  now that summer is over, there will be a real dearth of all natural light photos – prepare your eyeballs).


brushed brass drawer pull

I ordered a 6″ drawer pull because they were in stock and I wanted to see a sample, but I would consider going bigger.  M and I both love them, but no one else we’ve polled in real life does.  I know internet people feel otherwise.  In the past week I’ve seen them around in this kitchen and this bathroom, and they look amaze.  But I am a little worried they are just too fancy for our entire kitchen.  In short, brushed brass drawer pull pros:  beautiful, fancy, fun with metal mixing, and they might class the place up a bit.  Cons:  too fancy?  Too much going on with all our stainless appliances, white, wood, slight industrial vibe, and chalkboard fridge?  And pricey!  I’d probably mix the handles with these ridiculously awesome knobs to curb the costs a bit.

Next up is matte black.  I’ve narrowed it down to two options for these and each option comes in various lengths.  In favor of a longer drawer pull is that it can just look so great in a kitchen (such as here).  Dra-Ma.  But is it too much drama?

matte black appliance pull on cabinet

long matte black appliance pull

Maybe not if I mixed in a neat little black knob.  But then I really like the other (smaller) handle too – it is a little wider but still sleek.

matte black drawer pull on upper cabinet

wide black drawer pull

Decision overload.

Funny how some things are so easy to decide and others just take forever to come together in my head.  So if you have a vote –  clearly my mind’s not made up yet…

signature Brit pale heart

Kitchen Progress Report

When the counters showed up on Friday they finally (finally!) tipped the scales in favor of our kitchen looking more like an actual, habitable kitchen rather than a cracked out construction zone.

marble waterfall edge

marble kitchen island

kitchen progress marble

Please ignore the holes in the walls, shims sticking out under the cabinets, no backsplash, no vent hood, tape-instead-of-handles, the unfinished back of the island, and a whole lot of crazy construction going on.  All that is relatively minor compared to the fact that we’ve moved on from living on paper plates and bathtub-dish-washing to having a semi-functional kitchen.

honed carrara marble close-up

kitchen cabinets installed

Yeah, that’s right, you saw a little sink sneak peek in there.  I’ll update more on what we did to get to this point, but for now we are enjoying having counters, a sink, and even taking the cardboard and protective plastic off of our oven.  Progress.

carrara marble close-up

kitchen progress marble counters

marble counter edge

Eeek!  It is just so fun to see your my vision coming to life!  I must say, I enjoyed my first happy hour in our new kitchen, and it was amaze.  Now I feel like we’re getting to the super fun part – picking hardware, installing the pendants, and adding some edginess to the kitchen.  I really hope I’m not over-promising on the edginess here – I probably am.  What I’m going for on top of the white-on-white-on-white background is just something that feels like us – a little quirky and a lot awesome.  I am so leaving out the dork part of the equation.

Anyone else in the middle of a never-ending project?  It’s gotta be done by Christmas…

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Oh My Marble

I tried not to like it.  I really did.  And Matt did too.  But we failed.  Mis-er-a-bly.  Seriously.  I would add more -ly words if I could think of them.  And hyphens.  Moving on.  I had a vague thought that we’d go for marble counters  when we re-did our kitchen, but I tried to keep an open mind.   Ahhhhh, so hard to resist this!

carrara marble polished

We checked out all sorts of counters, from butcher block, to granite, to quartzite, to soapstone.  And I loved so much about each of those counters (and others).  Character?  Check.  Easy maintenance?  Check.  Awesomeness?  Check, check, triple check.  So after doing lots of internet research, we went to several warehouses to check out all the counters in person.  The minute before walking into our first stone yard I really thought we’d end up going for the Super White Quartzite.

super white quartzite

After all, it is durable, beautiful, and durable and beautiful.  We saw several slabs and there were two big downsides for us (and I emphasize that these our are thoughts only, maybe it would work for you!) –  first, these slabs were very, very expensive, and second, there were very few slabs available in warehouses for us to see in real life (after looking at a bunch of warehouses) and the slabs we saw were way more gray than we really wanted.  So disappointing.  But all was not lost.  Next we looked at various types of granite:

white granite

We liked them.  And really considered them.  But then we came across this aisle.  And it’s like the clouds parted and the sun shined down.  And it was glor-i-ous (couldn’t resist more hyphens).

seattle marble warehouse

calacatta carrara white marble collage

M-A-R-B-L-E.  Sorry – I kind of do a lot of word-spelling with two young kiddos in the house and just can’t break the habit.  Instead of saying “sucks” I now say “S-U-C-K-S”.  But I digress. We spent some time in the marble aisles and picked our fave.  Calacatta Caldia.

marble calacatta

Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy – and I’m not just talking about those cuties in the pic.  We went so far as to pick out slabs that would be pretty much amaze in our kitchen.  Or any kitchen.  I mean hello, Matt and our girlie even posed with them!  We put the slabs on hold and got some bids.  Waaaay expensive!  This stone ended up being three times the price of our second favorite choice, Carrara marble.

carrara marble polished

Three times!  Let’s just say, three times the price was not worth it in our minds – so that sucker was out.  (But now that I’m looking at these pics, did we make the right choice?!  Was the calacatta marble worth selling our first-born?!  Kidding.  Maybe.)  We ended up picking our second favorite choice:  honed carrara marble.  We found carrara marble really varied from slab to slab. Some were gray, very gray.  But the one we picked had a whiter background and had interesting veining.

polished carrara marble

S-O-L-D.  I mean, sold.  And SURPRISE - we are planning to have it installed on Friday!  That means we’ve been secretly finishing installing our lower cabinets.  Can’t wait to share…

Anyone else deal with a counter hunt?  Or lose your marbles over the price of marble?  #imadork

Side note:  marble isn’t for everyone, but we’ve got it in our family bathroom and it is working for us.  So we’re willing to gamble on it for our kitchen and I’m willing to share whether that gamble succeeded or failed down the road.  Get ready for the truth.

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Kitchen Vision: Cabinet Design and One Big A$$ Floating Shelf

Aaaaaand, I’m back.  Back to regular life and blogging thanks to the judge randomly kicking my trial to March.  So that means instead of working it in a courtroom right now I’m working it on my kitchen (and even sneaking in a little reading on the deck).  I’m finally doing my first blog writing outside after work whilst listening to Summer Hits of the 90s on Pandora (should I be embarrassed to admit this?) and checking out the view.  It’s the end of August.  Where did summer go?!

Okay, enough about me.  Onto more of me.  And my kitchen.  While our whole house is in remodel hell, getting our kitchen done is priority numero uno – life sans sink is getting old.  Real old.  Last you saw we had just one cabinet installed.  So let’s go all big picture on this kitchen and talk cabinet design.

rendering 2

Yeah, that looks kind of crazy, but that’s our kitchen design.  Luckily it looks much better in person.  We got this rendering from our cabinet store, so I really can’t blame them for knowing we don’t like random crap on our counters.  When you go to order your cabinets you will probably get a rendering of the cabinet layout.  I ordered my cabinets through The RTA Store (no affiliation, just liked their cabs).  As part of the process, I designed my own cabinet layout and then had a designer from the website whip us up a rendering.  The rendering was great to visualize our kitchen cabinet design, but not so great to visualize anything else about our kitchen.  So ignoring the random stuff on counters, floor and wall colors, appliances, and basically everything except the cabinets, you can see what our kitchen cabinets will look like some day.  Here are a couple of overhead shots showing the layout and specific cabinets:

  cabient overhead

cabinet dimensions

One of the biggest design questions in our kitchen has been whether to go for the world’s longest floating shelf.  You think I kid.  Fine, I do.  But at 14 feet it is huuuge.  The floating shelf is that huge brown line in the rendering (first pic, top of post).  I have really been digging the lone, long floating shelf look in kitchens and have devoted way too many brain cells to thinking about this (mostly with my like-minded-DIY-gal-pal at work).  Anyone check out this photo on the Domino Instagram site the other day?   In all my pins, this photo has been one of the primary inspirations for the single shelf design.  But I’ve got lots more on my Pinterest Remodel Ideas board  - clearly, I’m obsessed.  A shelf over the stove isn’t for everyone, but I think it will work for us.  Or I’ll chicken out.  Or I’ll do it and then hate it so have to move.  One of the two.

Back to the design.  Despite how off everything else is in the cabinet rendering, the cabinet layout itself is pretty awesome.  You can see how the kitchen is fairly symmetrical and how it will all take shape.  Lots of drawers, lots of storage, a big pantry cabinet, plenty of walking/working space, etc.  We’ve been spending lots of spare time building and installing the cabinets and I think we’ll be done soon (fingers crossed).  Whenever it is, I’m sure we’ll like it.  Maybe you will, too?

I’m so excited to be back on the train of more frequent updates!  Get ready to get totally sick of seeing our kitchen take shape.

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We Hung One Cabinet and I’m Calling it Kitchen Progress

We’ve just hit the magical moment that happens in every remodel where you go from “I will never do this again” to “IT IS SO AMAZING I CAN’T BELIEVE WE DIDN’T DO THIS YEARS AGO!”  And it’s all because we hung one, single, solitary, lonely, yet simultaneously awesome cabinet.

close up white shaker cabinet

That photo was ridiculous.  Moving on.  To hang that cabinet, we first had to have a floor.  Did it.  So let’s talk about the two big things (floors and one cabinet) that we are calling kitchen progress.  Plus one bonus item to cheer about:  gas – and I mean that in the best way possible.


Let’s break it down now.  First, we finally finished installing the floors in the kitchen and the breakfast nook.

engineered hardwood floors

Hellooo gorgeous.  We had gotten pretty close to finishing the kitchen floors last week but  shortly before midnight on a weeknight, we just couldn’t torture our neighbors with the table saw to get it done.  Then after finishing the kitchen floors, we started on the cabinets.  Cue the angels singing.  I mean, cue me wielding my power drill.  I super duper love these suckers.

white shaker cainet

They are simple, classic, bright, happy, and cheerful.  Did I say bright and happy yet?  Installing that first cabinet was no quick feat.  Especially not while I tried to adjust the cabinet doors.

leveling cabinet doors

That pink tank with black bra strap action has been my summer uniform.  It is so high fashion, feel free to be jealous.

Now that I can see the cabinets in the space, I feel like they were always meant to be there.  I love all sorts of different kitchen cabinet styles (northwest, super dark, rustic, tuxedo, or bright and crazy) but I just feel like these white shaker cabs are the right ones for this kitchen.  The cabinets have been pretty easy to build but I still have a few more to go until they are done and we can get them all in.  For now, we’ve hung our first upper cabinet and have set out a few others to work on leveling/securing so we can get in our sink and dishwasher soon.  In the meantime, M is all over doing dishes in the bathtub (he so knows how to romance me).

We also spent a chunk of the weekend hooking up our stove.  M did that and you can check out his legs here.

stove install

Be jealous ladies.  He does dishes in the tub and also poses behind our stove.  End result:  we have gas.  In a good way.

hooked up gas stove

I’d like to say we are totally going to have all the cabinets in by next week, but that just isn’t happening with end of summer craziness, M traveling for work, and me going to trial in less than two weeks (day jobs seriously interfere with our fun house progress).  But we are excited to get a glimpse of where this kitchen is headed.  And we like it.

kitchen progress

Anyone else turn the corner on a big project?  Or throw up one cabinet and feel like your accomplishment is totally on par with climbing Mount Everest?

signature Brit pale heart

Random side note :  I can’t decide which is more lame:  me watching Bachelor in Paradise or the creator of Bachelor in Paradise.  Probably for sure me.