powered by
Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

how to update our kitchen

Michelle CurryNovember 14, 2012
this is our kitchen. I hate the green countertops and there is no backsplash. Also a very limited counter space and no drawer space at all. The cabinets are newer so we are not replacing them and we can't afford to reconfigure the space at the moment. it's actually faitly functional. I would like to replace the counter tops, add an island and replace the floor. I was thinking of doing a black and white checkered floor and white quartz counter tops with a white subway tile back splash. Any other ideas? I am not sure how to place the island because we have to have enough of a path to get to the back door and in the corner you cannot see there is a stand alone pantry that we can't really place anywhere else. I would really like there to be at least two seats at the island.

I like clean and modern with a touch of kitschy vintage. The decor you see here is actually the former home owners.
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I think black and white checkered floor might look to stark against your warm wood cabinets. If you want the checkerboard floor, I might paint the bottom cabinets black and the uppers white and keep with your all black and white theme. Then you can go kitcschy vintage with colorful accessories.

For islands, make sure you have 3' to 3'-6" of space between it and your counters for a cooking isle...5' for the side you want to have barstools.

If you want to keep the cabinets wood tone, white subway tile and white quartz counters would be good. A gray slate type porcelain tile for the floor with gray/black accents tiles in your backsplash. Paint the walls a light gray.

If you go with the checkerboard floor, go with large 18" tiles and have it laid on a 45 degree angle...it'll make your space look bigger.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
If the kitchen isn't working for you and you may, in the future, replace everything, just do some cosmetic things for now. Replace your sink/faucet with brushed stainless; paint the walls and live with it until you can do the whole kitchen. Counters are expensive; don't do it.
Crisp Architects · More Info
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
other then the lack of drawers the kitchen actually works.The counters are fairly deep so I actually have quite a bit of counter space (even if it doesn't look like it) I think adding an island would just add some extra functionality. I like the ideas about using a gray slate for the floor and leaving the cabinets the colour that they are. I will consider that for sure. I am trying to keep it modern and neutral because I want to up the value of our house. We got a very good deal because some of the things (like the counter tops) were outdated. The floor really needs to be changed out because it's the peel and stick tiles and they are just horrible. This is a 1920's row house in Baltimore and we don't want to pull out too much because we have already had issues with the "renovations" that have been made to the house.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi Michelle, I agree with judyg. Don't install beautiful quartz countertops as a temporary thing. That's more a lifetime thing. I don't know how much bigger the kitchen is or if it ends at the refrigerator. Right now you have the best kind of triangle with sink in the middle of refrigerator and stove; make sure putting a 3 x 4 or 3 x 5 island doesn't get in the way of accessing these, even if it does add surface area. As far as drawers please look into the roll-out trays that are sold for kitchen cabinets and come in various widths (18, 21, 24 inches). Good luck.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
on the other side of our fridge is the entrance to our basement. on the other side is beside the stove there is the door to the backyard and we are on the end so the wall is all windows on that side. could a trianlgle island work?
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
without turning into a galley style kitchen. no thank you, or blocking off windows on the side what else could you possibly do?
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Choose a fun color for the island and make sure it is all drawers. Maybe a darker green than your walls. I never design a kitchen with lower cabinet doors. I always use drawers whenever possible.

Please don't put in a checkered floor. Use a dark slate like mentioned above. You could always add a checkered rug if you want to go that wild.

Invest in a quartz countertop, fabulous in the kitchen. I would recommend a neutral off white or tan.
Zodiaq Antique Pearl · More Info

Consider a stainless steel sink and faucet. The are not too expensive and stand the test of time.

Consider adding some interest to above the cabinets, maybe a simple line of large pottery pieces in one color, like cream.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
oh yeah no matter what the sink is coming out. it's horrible. HATE IT. and thank you for the other advice. If we are able to make an island I would do a lot of drawers. I thought of getting a small moveable island to "test it out" because we marked on in tape on the floor but that did not really work to get a feel for exactly how it would flow
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
City Cabinet Center, San Diego
The ideal space in between your current cabinets and the island should be 36-40 inches. Make sure you will be able to comfortably walk in between your island and the existing cabinetry as well as around the island.

I also agree with what was said before about a new quartz material being a more permanent thing. I would save up for a full cabinet/countertop remodel and do that all when your budget allows. Putting a super nice quartz countertop on cabinets that will be remodeled in the future seems a bit wasteful.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kitchen Art of New England LLC
Looking at this kitchen... I first would ask you.... How long do you plan on living in this house? You really want to think before you put quartz/granite down and then in a few years you want to change the cabinets.. You are putting the cart before the horse.... On the other hand if you plan on staying "forever" and love the cabinets and they work well for you... then put in your new floor, not too keen on the b/w floor... I would do this - absolute black granite on counters, under cabinet lighting to show off the black counters, Wood floor - light oak, new hardware on your cabinet doors and for your island I would find something small but with a couple of small slingback stools to tuck under. Maybe a distressed cream paint with the stain you have now peeking out on the edges. What ever you do... you will love it....
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
I am not remodeling the cabinets. I want to add an island to add more functional space. I like the kitchen, it works except for a lack of drawers. I don't have any other way to configure the kitchen anyway, I am limited ot the layout that's there now, unless we do extensive renovations that we are simply not prepared to EVER undertake. I am in an area where there are a lot of heavily renovated houes so it would be of benefit for us to keep the cabinets and update some of the features.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
If you want to test out the feel of an island in the kitchen, just get one of those folding tables in approx. the same size and live with it for a week -- you can always return it. This will allow you to experience how easy it is to move around the island.
I agree with everyone else -- unless you are painting the cabinets black or white, avoid the checkered floor -- and if you are thinking of resale, avoid it altogether because it's one of those things that people either love or hate -- and if it doesn't "go" with the cabinets, it's going to fall on the side of "hate it". As for the countertops, you can paint them -- just ask someone at a paint store for a paint that works on arborite. My nephew did that to update his kitchen and it looked great. Cheap, easy solution for the short-term.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hayneedle has a good selection. This one is only 18 inches deep. You could paint it, too.


They have pages of carts and islands.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi Michelle, You said: "could a triangle island work? Your triangle already exists. It encompasses the line from the stove, tto he sink, and then your refrigerator. If you wanted to add a sink or cooktop to the island, this is often done and then the island of course becomes a segment of the triangle. Your main work area now is the counter top space between the refrigerator and the sink and from there to the range. If you were to add an island I see it with the short end (the 3' end) at least 36-42" from the range/sink, with the long (5') side along that same stretch of counter top and refrigerator. In a smaller kitchen like this an island could be very functional and you wouldn't constantly be walking around it to get to your work spaces. On the outer side of the island (facing the windows I think you siad) you could have a 12" or 15" wide breakfast bar which is usually, or could be, raised up a few inches from the height of the island, which is the same height as your countertops.

And let me mention again the pull-out trays that can be installed instead of the shelf in your lower cabinet. From your photo it looks like you could install one in the cab next to the range and one next to the refrigerator. These are inexpensive; I see them on eBay for $20-25 each. The more expensive ones have sides that are five or six inches high, which is practically a drawer! There also is a company that retrofits drawers for the area where the two L's of the cabinet runs meet in the corner. I will try to locate the name of this company. (There may be several for all I know). I hope I helped explain myself a little better. I have to agree with you and several other houzzers that the white sink iand faucet are not helping the esthetics of your kitchen space. Maybe that should be the first thing you do! Take care, madeline
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michelle Curry
Thank you everyone! this has been super helpful for me!
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Try to configure a big cardboard to the size of the island you want and then spend some time walking around it to see if it works. I could live with the green countertops. Just do a white backsplash and put lots of white accessories.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nancy Hehmann
I would go with a granite countertop b/c they can really take your kitchen to an all new level. We live in an older home and I just selected granite to go with a similar colored cabinet in a bathroom ( I did not choose the cabinet color -already existed) I went to a granite showroom and selected a granite that has a vein of color in it that is the same as the cabinet but it also has cream and grays. I wish I knew the name; but I really cannot remember it. They install it tomorrow! Yeah! But I would suggest you perhaps could do the same. You could take a drawer with you and go to more than one shop. In our area if you dont like what you see at a shop, sometimes you can get them to send you to a huge warehouse which have mega amts of different granites. A beautiful granite just makes everything else look sooo good. We had already installed granite in the kitchen some time ago and another bathroom. When they install granite, they can put an undermount sink in. You will need to have a new faucet selected because they have to know size and number of holes to make.

You can get granite at Lowes and Home Depot too. I have just not ordered that particular product from them.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Maple Top Work Table With Stainless Steel Base · More Info

I would consider this for your island because it is portable, looks good with your cabs and appliances, you can tuck things underneath (stool, trash containers, storage baskets) and it is up off the floor making it visually more appealing. Add a porcelain floor, there are so many fabulous styles, and you are good to go! Did I mention you can always use that island to set up your party bar….very important :>)
Porcelain Floor Tile -- Marble Series · More Info
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:52AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
How would you update our house with custom woodwork everywhere?
We recently bought a thirty-year-old house with a lot...
Michele Welsh
I would like very much to remodel and update our 1990's kitchen
We have owned the house for 1 year now and still are...
Sharon Grafe
We updated our 70's kitchen-very modern - table would be great 4 us
I have been looking for a new modern table and this...
Holly Daley
Our Kitchen Updated without breaking the Bank!
It is all done except the light above the sink and...
Need help updating our log/farm house!
We are about to embark on updating our entire house....
More Discussions
countertop material to compliment soapstone?
I'm planning a kitchen remodel. I want to use soapstone...
Anyone else nervous about gray paint?
I know gray is the IT color scheme right now - 5 minutes...
living room accessories/accents
I would like to have some feedbacks about my living...
Should we paint original woodwork in Victorian home?
We own and rent out my childhood home. It's a Victorian...
Newlyweds First Apartment. Need Color Scheme Advice & More.
This is our first place together, and my first time...
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.