How do I avoid "Country" or "cottage" style with white kitchen cabinet
mystuff6838
November 17, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi, we are installing white shaker style cabinets (kraftmaid Deveron in Dove White or Canvas) & the only countertop we can afford is going to be ikea butcher block.

This combination of white cabinets with butcher block countertops seems to be very prevalent in Country Style, Farmhouse style, and cottage Style kitchens. However I want to achieve a modern, somewhat minimalist, even "zen" style kitchen. (And I detest country style in general)

Nearest walls will be taupe, and our main accent colors in surrounding rooms are teal and orange/terra cotta. I love lime green too. Sink will be stainless and fixtures will be satin nickel. Everything else- backsplash, lighting, tile for floors, cabinet pulls, etc is up for grabs.

Any suggestions for minimizing the "country" feel inherent to this cabinet/countertop combo, & upping the "contemporary"????

Have attached an overview of our basic layout (though we've made changes since this version)
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Darzy
If you have butcher block counters and want to avoid "country" look, I'd go with modern pulls and NO backsplash. A very modern backsplash with butcher block counters may seem out of place. So, paint a fresh color backsplash in high gloss paint for easy cleaning.

November 17, 2013 at 10:29pm     
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mystuff6838
Typical country look. Trying to avoid this, have it look more modern and sleek.
November 17, 2013 at 10:50pm   
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nwduck
Seems to me you need a vision name....like "organic contemporary." Simple pulls. A large format tile floor in white, perhaps with a subtle hint of a honey color like the wood. The one "mini-visual" that popped in my head after reading your description was of a high gloss white ceramic trough, planted with wheat grass. Smooth, non-fussy, but still with a bit of nature growing in symmetry. And although Darzy said gloss on the backsplash, which is great advice, it also made me think glass. Large pieces, of colored or frosted glass, attached with silver studs at the corners for accent.
November 17, 2013 at 10:50pm     
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rawketgrl
I agree with Darzy on the modern pulls.

Be sure to plan ahead for lighting, sleek modern light fixtures, under cabinet mounted lights etc...

Back Splash- What you want to avoid at all costs is that farmhouse staple of subway tile. Good grief that stuff is everywhere. I would avoid any tile back splash and either go with high gloss paint in fun colors you can change every once in a while (this is a pretty neat cost effective option, you can upgrade later if desired) or a sleek sheet of thin stainless or back painted glass panels. The stainless or glass would be cool, and the butcher block and white cabs would warm the kitchen up, I think it would be a nice juxtaposition.

Other furniture and art will set the tone for the modern home and the white and butcher block will just flow right along with it. Avoid baskets, kitchen roosters and cow cookie jars and you will be ok. LOL.

Good for you for going with the IKEA butcher block, it is formaldehyde free.
I think it is going to be a neat looking kitchen. Post updates when you can!
November 17, 2013 at 11:07pm     
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PRO
Garden Oaks Fine Accommodation
A higher end, very modern faucet and modern pulls--spend a bit more for ones you will not see in every contract house. Consider the lines of your appliances (e.g. the shape, curves and details of handles) and let these guide your faucet and pull selection so that the room hangs together well.

No backsplash is something most people will steer you away from (except me and Darzy ;-) But, instead of high gloss, I'd go with a top quality eggshell. Make sure your counter is caulked well against the wall with a clear, paint-able caulk. If your cabinets can come in high gloss white--go for it.
November 17, 2013 at 11:16pm     
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mystuff6838
Oh wow, please keep the great advice and pics coming!

For example I had my heart set on glossy white subway tiles but now you have me thinking differently. I'm wary of foregoing tile unless my contractor decides to replace the existing sheetrock with the waterproof kind, as we have the plastic-in-the-walls construction that can allow mold to breed behind the walls if we aren't careful.

So assuming i still do tiles, maybe a grey or silvery or "sea glass" color to add some "coolness"? (The cabinets are matte or semi-gloss, definitely not high gloss).

I like the idea of glossy white floor tiles, but wouldn't that be awfully slippery and show dirt (gotta keep it functional-kids, dogs, and cats here, both adults work full time, and no $$ for a housekeeper)? Are there glossy white floor tiles that aren't slippery out there?

Definitely modern pulls, and echoing the line of the pulls with the faucet & lighting is a subtle touch that I would never have thought of without your help!

Oh and I love the "organic contemporary" term, that's perfect. I've been calling it "yoga retreat" style. Darn though, no ceramic roosters???
November 18, 2013 at 12:15am   
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Effective Home Staging
I agree with what has been said regarding lights and handles. Use lights under your wall cabinets. Use modern ornamentals on counter. Consider glass mosaics with taupe. See pictures.
November 18, 2013 at 12:15am   
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mystuff6838
Is there any way to download rawketgrl's pics to my iPad or to my Houzz Ideabook?
November 18, 2013 at 12:21am   
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henleygirl
Take photos of the photos on the iPad and edit and crop the unwanted outsides- I do it all the time!!
November 18, 2013 at 12:37am     
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chookchook2
Go accessory shopping. Latest colours and patterns are coming out.
November 18, 2013 at 12:54am     
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rinqreation
Avoid shaker doors. Smooth white doors will keep it modern.
As soon as shaker and wood join hands, it will look country..
November 18, 2013 at 2:05am     
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Luciana
We installed an Ikea kitchen with butcher block in a rental property - I know the style of your doors is different, but have a look anyway just to get an idea. You can see the red tiles and large handles add to the modern look.
I'm amazed so many people prefer small tiles with lots of grout in the kitchen; to me is just a headache to keep them clean. I'll always opt for a large tile, easier to clean and maintain. On the floor, I remember the advise of this witty kitchen seller - always go for a slightly patterned grey or beige tile, that way it's harder to tell if what you see are stains or just a shade in the tile :))
Good luck!
November 18, 2013 at 3:20am     
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midmodfan
How about a matte / brushed stainless-style panel backsplash and the sleekest stainless steel handles you can find?
November 18, 2013 at 5:14am     
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Dytecture
Staining the butcher countertop a darker color could help.


November 18, 2013 at 5:30am     
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0825sam
Are you able to stain the counter? You may want to go with more of a walnut or darker stain - I think that will look more modern - you tend to see those tones mixed into a modern white kitchen to warm it up.
I agree on contemporary pulls and shaker cabinets but I would use a pull that's small enough that you can change it out - I just learned a very expensive lesson after putting slab doors and long pulls in my new kitchen - while I love the look now I am nervous that I will tire of it at some point and it will not be as easy to change the look.
If you like white subway consider doing it in a larger format like 4x12 or 6x12 that will look more contemporary.
November 18, 2013 at 5:33am     
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maggielemay
Do you have to have butcher block counter - why not go for the other ones that IKEA have, black with an aluminium edge, maybe?
November 18, 2013 at 5:47am   
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Garden Oaks Fine Accommodation
Trying again-right pic I hope.
November 18, 2013 at 7:27am     
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kgrad
A very clean modern look that could be updated relatively easily, would be to go with a painted backsplash. No grout, easy to clean and the right color would keep it modern. Sorry, can't figure out how to attach a picture! Search painted backsplash for some ideas.
November 18, 2013 at 7:54am   
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mcbriec
kgradovan, To attach a pic, go to the photos on Houzz and click on the paper clip symbol on the right-hand side. You can then highlight the link displayed above the pic and hit control c to copy it. Return to comments section and start writing text and hit control V to paste the pic into the comments section. (Don't try to insert the new pic in the "attach images" box below comments because that's just for pics ypou're transferring off your computer, not pics already on the Houzz web site.)
November 18, 2013 at 8:17am     
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mcbriec
I think getting the butcher block stained to a dark color would really de-countrify the look.

I would avoid a white floor or a really dark floor. I had a white floor in an apartment and I had to mop it at least twice a day and I lived alone with no pets. Dark floors are also problematic since they too show every footprint and bit of dust.
November 18, 2013 at 8:21am     
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happyasaclam
Stay out of craft stores, keep only magazines and catalogues designed for modern looks and don't listen to family and friends suggestions on accessories. Don't let yourself be led astray!
November 18, 2013 at 8:46am     
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indianpatti
Have you priced concrete countertops? They are less expensive than granite ... you mentioned going with the butcher block as it was the only counter you could afford.

BTW, do you happen to live near Chicago?? Just saw an AWESOME lime green tile at the Tile Outlet ... $2 square foot!
November 18, 2013 at 8:58am     
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PRO
APM architecture
Push open cabinets with no pulls, or like others suggested, satin nickel modern pulls will make a difference. The layout itself seems more modern. Use a horizontal tile or stone for backsplash. Good luck, here are some examples.
November 18, 2013 at 9:00am     
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bears72
Mcbriec I also have had trouble putting a picture in. The paper clip is not on my iPad. Can one only do this using a computer?
November 18, 2013 at 9:30am   
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decoenthusiaste
Save $$ with a metallic backsplash using metal flashing. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/make-backsplash-out-flashing-43066.html
November 18, 2013 at 9:40am   
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fos5
Careful staining the burcher block. You will be preparing food on this, so have to be careful to keep the butcher block food friendly. Sounds like a nice contemporary kitchen and you have had many good suggestions, keep it sleek, and uncluttered, and use accent color wisely and minimal. Thanks mcbriec for attaching pic info, I too have a problem with that.
November 18, 2013 at 9:51am   
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reggiesmall
Please stay away from white tiles on the floor; they're a nightmare to maintain! (Experience speaking, unfortunately). :(
November 18, 2013 at 9:57am     
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novicenoodler
Are you sure you want Shaker-style cabinet fronts? Shakers, the minimalist, religious farming culture upon which the style is based, are highly associated with farm country. Perhaps flat-front cabinet doors would be a better choice?
November 18, 2013 at 10:09am     
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decoenthusiaste
A friend just told me about this product. http://www.liquidstainlesssteel.com/
November 18, 2013 at 10:33am     
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nwduck
mystuff: If you want an easy care floor that is eco-friendly, check out marmoleum. It has lots of great qualities. Forbo Flooring's website shows colors and designs that can be done with this natural product. You could really create something eye catching. I've always had a light kitchen floor with kids, a challenging outdoor environment, worked full time and am rather picky about cleaning...it's never been an issue for me. Hello, Swiffer. I'd rather KNOW there's something there than walk through it in bare feet. LOL.
November 18, 2013 at 12:46pm     
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mystuff6838
Oh my, so many great ideas and pictures...thank you ALL!

Now seeing the slab doors with butcheb lock counters, it really does have a smart modern feel. Unfortunately Kraftmaid's wood slab doors would add a couple thousand more to the job and we just can't afford it. However their white Thermofoil slab WOULD be affordable...would it be crazy to put thermofoil doors on all plywood cabinets? It seems like topping a gourmet chocolate mousse with cool whip... What do you all think?

Looked at marmoleum when we first started planning. And also cork. Love the idea of softer, warmer, and more "green" flooring but we just couldn't swing it in the budget.

We plan to downsize in about 5-7 years so we have to strike a balance between making it something we'll love and enjoy now, but isn't too weird to be off putting to future buyers.
November 18, 2013 at 7:49pm   
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nwduck
In that case, the Shaker style doors are a good choice. Pretty timeless, can go with a variety of styles, probably not an issue on resale. Too bad about the marmoleum. If I were you, then, I'd use a high end inlaid vinyl sheet good. I chose a simple pattern Armstrong product with inlaid color 17 years ago for my kitchen, and it still looks brand new. And I still like it :).
November 18, 2013 at 8:02pm     
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mystuff6838
I'm excited because now that I've made my first real purchase (sink), it is starting to feel "real".

After so many years of dreaming, scheming (to scrounge up the $$), and planning, its exciting but also scary to see so much money being committed.

Here is the sink. Vigo 16 gauge 340 stainless steel undermount sink, faucet, & soap dispenser. $390 at overstock.com vs $990 at Lowes, believe it or not!

Also here is a photo of the tile I've pretty much decided on. It's ceramic/porcelain. Of course the photo doesn't do it justice. Looks very natural and stone like. Has a mix of brown, beige, taupe, and grey. (You can see the bamboo floor on the left & our current beige sheet vinyl at the top).

I'm loving the idea of staining the butcher block dark with food safe stain & sealant, or maybe doing a DIY Arco Feather Crete countertop. I'm not very crafty though and always short on time, so butcher block would be the easiest.

The third pic is our kitchen now. you sont even want to see the vinyl floor (cringe)! If any of you can explain how to set up a before and after journal like I've seen some others have, please do.
November 18, 2013 at 8:21pm     
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mystuff6838
Nwduck, are folks in the new ok with vinyl flooring? Realtors here have been adamant that we should install tile. But honestly I prefer the look and comfort of good quality sheet vinyl, just like you!
November 18, 2013 at 8:23pm   
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mystuff6838
Is there a way to copy the photos some of you have linked here into my Ideabook? Can't seem to find a way. (Using iPad app).
November 18, 2013 at 8:30pm   
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nwduck
Well, you have to consider where I live! There is perhaps more of a value here to interesting and eco-friendly products. That's why I suggested the marmoleum. Very green, resists dust, easy care, long lasting and as I understand, it is anti-microbial, non-toxic. On a resale, in my view anyway, sheet goods would be perceived as much easier to replace than jacking out tile a buyer found objectionable. For a 7 year span, I'd choose something I want to walk on/take care of. Plunk down whatever tile is popular when you put it on the market if need be.
November 18, 2013 at 8:37pm     
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Paris Flea
Avoid shaker style cabinets
November 18, 2013 at 10:17pm   
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PoshHaus
I second @Paris Flea.
November 20, 2013 at 9:00am   
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dannetteh
How about staining darker??? Will help to not look so country...
November 20, 2013 at 5:22pm   
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