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Reposting with photos--finished kitchen

July 12, 2009

OK, hope this works.

Like many others, we were benefited by many great ideas and inspiration on this forum. Thank you all so much!

What we did:

Painted the existing cabinets with Swiss Coffee eggshell

New crystal knobs and cup pulls

Demo-ed old tile countertop and put Caeserstone quartz countertop in Nougat

New sinks (Kohler) and faucets (Hansgrohe--spelling?)

All new appliances

Refrigerator--Jenn-Air floating glass side by side

Ovens--GE Monnogram Advantium, GE Monnogram wall-mount oven

Cooktop--Jenn-Air electric downdraft stainless


New backsplash--Hakatai glass and marble mosaic

New lighting

Existing Junker solid maple floor

"The Befores"

Comments (63)

  • writersblock

    Love the colors, very cool and serene.

  • rhodora

    Wow! Amazing! The cabinets look fantastic -wonderful recycling! :)

  • megsy

    What a transformation!!! I love it!

  • beekeeperswife

    Your kitchen looks great! It gives me hope.... we are in the middle of our reno. Hopefully closer to the finish line, actually! We are painting our cabinets ivory too, and adding some new very dark stained cherry ones as well. I am so glad you posted the close up of that knob--I just ordered 1 on eBay and am still waiting for it...need to see it before ordering all of them. I think it will look great with my future crystal mini chandelier I am planning on for over the island.

    Beautiful job.

  • rdsso

    Love it. Your floors are beautiful. Where they there or are they new and what are they? Thanks

  • gracesantacruz

    Thank you all for your kind words!

    Beekeeperswife, your description sounds so wonderful and classic! I am sure your new kitchen will be so fantastic!

    Just to respond to some comments:

    Yes, we took a risk by choosing Jenn-Air floating glass RF instead of stainless. I was very scared if it would work.

    But I just liked the look of it so much, so I decided on this one. (Ours is full depth, and it was discontiued since.) It turned out that it hardly show fingerprints. I only have to wipe it a couple of times a months and it looks sparkling clean. Love that!

    Paiting the existing cabinet was another big decision. It is solid oak but after 25yrs, it was looking dingy no matter what I did.
    Our super painter Mike recommended to go with eggshell rather than semi-gloss swiss coffee, which turned out to be crucial.

    Eggshell finish gave us much softer, classier tone. (ie. looks more expensive) I was worried about stains and dirt on white cabinets, but because the dirt and stains show clearly, I can just wipe it with soapy sponge and in 2 seconds, they are gone.
    In the previous natural wood finish, stains and dirt was hard to spot, but it was just so dingy. Any cleaning method was futile, and I was so not motivated to clean the cabinet.

    And of course, Caeserstone countertop. Yes, after dealing with dingy grout line, this is a dream. Highly recommend it!

    All in all, our new kitchen is for a person like me--hate to clean, but love sparkling clean kitchen, and you can have the best of both world.

  • gracesantacruz

    Hi rdsso! Thanks for your comment on the floor.

    The floor is about 5 years old.
    It is a solid maple 5inch wide plank by the company called Junker. They may have discontinued the maple though...

    The finish of the floor is simple polyurethane (prefinished) instead of aluminum something. We are willing to have occasional refinishing, given it is in the kitchen, and did not want the harzardous material in the finish.

    I hope this helps.

  • eastcoastmom

    What a superb job you did! It's beautiful - sleek and yet restful, reminds me of a day at the beach! A wonderful use of space plus I just can't stop looking at that gorgeous backsplash! I really like your pendant lights and your funky bar stools, too - very cool. Congrats and enjoy. P.S. You mean we are supposed to actually cook after all this is over? Hope I remember how!

  • gracesantacruz

    Hahaha! After weeks of takeouts and make-shift kitchen, how could we remember how to cook normal, right? Thank you, eastcoastmom!

    I am glad that you picked the beachy feel of our kitchen. We have ocean view from kitchen/dining windows, and it was important for us to incorporate it.

  • ebse

    Very cool! Makes me want to go on vacation:)

    Great job!

  • rhome410

    Not big into blue, usually, myself, but this is so pretty and refreshing, so light and bright! I really like the tile and countertop, and the fridge choice fits in perfectly. Beautiful transformation.

  • kateskouros

    wow! so pretty! i'm yet another who is not fond of blue walls but i think you get enough sun in there so it doesn't look so saturated. very, very lovely! enjoy it, you did a great job.

  • karena_2009

    It's so nice that you were able to keep your existing cabinets and re-purpose them. They look stunning now with the new paint and crystal knobs! I also love the stain glass in the cabinets. The blue goes so nicely near the beach and what a gorgeous backsplash! Congratulations!!! From one northern Californian to another :-).

  • auntiebubba

    Wow, what a fabulous paint job! Love the quartz too, its a refreshing break from granite.

    I have a question regarding your penninusla, did you install the drawers on the overhang yourself? Are they functional? How do you like them? It seems like such a wise use of available space. (I have an island that I've been thinking of adding drawers to the apron.)

  • mamalynn

    Love your kitchen! I think that glass front fridge is great! I really don't "get" why so many people think stainless appliances are wonderful just because they're stainless. Your glass tiles really make the kitchen. Fantastic job!

  • gracesantacruz

    Yeah, we waited 3 months on the iridescent tile mosaic since they were backordered - we thought it was worth the wait. See photo below - it's like they are alive as the sun illuminates different windows throughout the day. It matches up well with the sky and ocean views out the windows. I think they'd work well anywhere you have a view of water to invite it into your home.

    On the 3 "under" countertop drawers, yes they are small, but very functional. They hold magazine/papers (regular size must go in sideways). It was a worthwhile addition with our cabinet maker who had to modify a few items during our makeover. We got the idea from a magazine front cover photo a few months back.

    I struggled with the undercounter lighting above the long peninsula. I went with Juno min-track light system. There are 3 stainless mini-fixtures hanging very discretely below the long cabinets. They made a huge difference in the evening to have these lights, and we did not have to run ugly wires around inside our outside the cabinets. I may retrofit the bar area track lights with lower profile one day (these are full size tracks with transformers at the base)

    -DH of gracesantacruz

  • debbie_123

    First, I love your glass and stone mosaic tile backsplash. ItÂs so pretty! I love those combinations. It just brings in the sparkle and bling! That tile is now on my list! Second, I love the fact that you painted your cabinets and they look lovely! I have the same old oak cabinets with the arch and I have been going round and round trying to decide whether to paint them, get new doors and paint them, and junk them altogether. I love your combination of old and new. I will seriously have to consider the beautiful alternative that youÂve presented! I have questions regarding your backsplash. Was it difficult to remove the old one and install the new one? Were your old cabinets removed from the walls when they were painted or were they painted in place? I also love how you tiled the triangle ledge between the windows. Please share a few of the details of the process involved in your great makeover!

  • gracesantacruz

    To auntiebubba, as for the drawers hanging from the penninsula, as my DH mentioned, we hired the cabinet maker.
    The drawers are only 4.5inch deep to secure the clearance for the comfortable sitting, but they are great to hide all the clutter (letters, papers, sticky notes, pens, etc) from the countertop. Those papers had been the pain in the neck, and new drawers really helped to hide them.

    To debbie 123, the old backsplash was removed by the countertop people along with the tiled countertop. They just jused manual hammer and plybar, and it came down pretty smoothly. Then we patched dents and halls with wall compound. I think it can be easily a DIY project to remove it.
    Installing the new backsplash was not difficult, either. This is my second tiling project ever.
    Just like any tiling job, you just have to dilligent, not to cut corners, and use the right materials like right type of thinset, grout, etc. The tile manufacturer has detail info in their website.
    I used my $100 wet tile saw with regular blade to cut the tiles, and it worked just fine. (for other type of glass, you may need a special blade for glass, but first, you can just try cutting with the regular blade to see it it works.)
    The triangle ledge between the windows--we were not sure whether we shoud tile it or put the painted wood. It is close to the cooktop and gets a lot of sunlight, so I settled with tiling to enjoy the sparkle and for easy maintenance from heat and spattering from the countertop.
    I just slathered thinset directly on the plywood substrate and cut the tiles to match the patterns of backsplash. I used a paper template of the triangle ledge to mark the cut.

    As for the paint job, the painter just removed all the doors and drawers--all all 45 of them (!), then he used our garage to spray each one of them front and back very patiently. He painted cabinets in place with brush, but you can't see any brush stroke because oak shows natural grain a little to obscure the brush stroke.

    You also have oak cabinets--we happened to like a little oak grain showing through the paint. It looks organic and natural because we are not going for ultra-modern sleek look.

    If you like your existing layout, painting the existing cabinet could be a good idea. It cut down wastes and costs (a lot of it!), and still results look like brand new cabinets.

    If you want to add or modify cabinets, cabinet makers can easily match the door style so you can still use existing ones.
    Painting cabinets is the task we are so glad to have hired professionals. To achieve good results, you need 3-4 coats of primer and paint, inside out, front and back--it is a mind-numbing task. We got estimates from $2200-6400 (!!), and $2200 job turned out beyond our expectation.

    t was crucial to achieve uniform, beautiful paint job in our plan, and once it's done, our 25-year old, dingy oak cabinets nowlook brand new!

    I hope this helps.


  • tiskers

    OHMYWORD! Gorgeous, gorgeous reno!!! I love everything!

    And the painted cabinets look SMASHING!!! I am soooooo impressed!

    Congratulations and ENJOY!!!

  • beekeeperswife

    Gracesantacruz- Any chance you can share who was the online vendor of those knobs? I received my sample yesterday, and although it is beautiful, I really like that yours have a backplate. I can't seem to find a crystal knob with that. With the creamy cabinets, I think the little backplate would be a good idea. Thanks

  • gracesantacruz

    Hi, beekeeperswife!

    The Ebay vendor's name was collectible_4u_2, but I do not see the same knob on ebay now...
    Thier email is mtcsigns@msn.com you may be able to ask them via email.
    The knob was mere $4.25 per piece, and it is real glass. We looked at Restoration Hardware's expensive ones, but we liked ours better for our design.

    Good luck!

  • beekeeperswife

    Thanks! That is where I ordered my sample from! Small World. I'll contact them about the backplate!

  • shagen

    What a beautiful kitchen. Could you share where you got your bar stools. Thanks

  • pharaoh


  • gracesantacruz

    Thank you all for your compliments!!

    shagen, the seller of the bar stools is emmanuel.georges, again on eBay. It is wide and very sturdy at 20-inch wide.

    They have many modern bar stools, so you can look various designs.

    We looked for bar stools extensively and found this one which was the lowest price $139 including shipping. I put the link in the below.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Clear chrome bar stool

  • theanimala

    Gracesantacruz, I have to tell you, you are killing me on your Caesarstone. Our cabinets are going in next week, and we are going with Raven for the outer cabinets, Misty Carerra for the island, and now I see your extended Mitered edge and I REALLY like it. It makes it look very bold. I had my KD over today and he said it would add $1500 extra for us to put that in (he is very competitive with other people). Now I have to wonder how much I really like the larger edge, as that's quite a bit of extra $$'s to do.

    I wonder if the height will be a problem with my new cabinets coming in...

  • donka

    Oh wow, I love your kitchen! It's so beachy and light and airy. I'm enjoying all the elements, from the painted cabs to the appliances to the blue you chose for the walls. Lovely! Enjoy!

  • marthavila

    Although I'm late to the party, I'm piping up just to tell you that I'm totally in sync with all the cheers and applause you've already been given. It's a wonderful kitchen. You go!

  • gracesantacruz

    If you notice even in the "Before" images, we had lots of clearance to the top of the drawer faces. So we could have even gone "thicker". However, we were fine just matching the old countertop tile profile/thickness and also were able to add those 3 drawers near the stools. Note this is something not easily achieved on marble or many granites since the grain/veining is hard to match up to the extended edge - if you don't match it up well, it can easily look like a cheep veneer, and not a solid slab. This actually was a one big factor for us to move to engineered stone - we didn't need to worry about micromanaging the fabricator (DH is quite obsessive to this type of detail).

    Good luck with your decision - it's almost purely aesthetic. The mitered edge is almost impossible to see unless you get real close (inches) and know what to look for, even then it's hard to see. One thing is that it really shows off the material well. I can't believe I would ever say this on an engineered stone!

    -DH of gracesantacruz

    The "before" where you can see the ample clearance even to go thicker if we wanted.

    The "after" closeup - this Nougat has plenty of "depth" as the embedded crystals transmit some light and doesn't look like it was "painted" on the material. When you get near an corner edge with sunlight, these crystals glow.

    One more "after photo" - the sink internal edge is 3/4", the front edge is 2 1/4". It gives some comparison for you.

  • susanlynn2012

    Gracesantacruz, I love Maple floors and I really love the 5" plank width on your floors so much. Thank you for letting me know.

  • shelayne

    Just gorgeous! I love love LOVE your backsplash tiles. I considered similar, changed my mind, but now seeing yours.... Arrrrgh! ;^)

    You did an amazing job! Congrats on a truly beautiful space!

  • debbie_123

    Grace, thanks for the info. I'm back. I can't stop admiring your kitchen. The information is is very helpful and I can truly visualize a fantastic alternative for my kitchen. This time, can you share information about your sink? How do you like using it? I have an enamel large double equal sink and I want to replace it with a stainless steel undermounted sink. What has your experience been? Great work! I love your kitchen!

  • gracesantacruz

    We used to have white enamel double overmount sink and replaced it with Kohler 18 gauge stainless. We are much happier with new sink for these reasons:

    1) Right bowl is deeper (10"), and with screens at bottom, it holds dishes for drying out of view. No more drying rack sitting on the countertop to the right, so it effectively expanded our kitchen counter space.

    2) With undermount sink, it's much easier to clean and wipe. We used a flush overhang on the countertop.

    3) No dropped and broken glasses yet on the steel - it's not as 'hard' a surface and forgiving

    4) Shines up easily with Barkeeper's Friend

    5) There is more "surface" space in this stainless steel sink than previous enamel even though cutout size is the same. The steel is much tighter (square) on the corners and the centerline partition is thinner than most sinks, even other stainless steel sinks. This allows larger pots and pans to fit inside.

    You can research stainless steel sinks - there are many options. This particular one from Kohler had more "square" bends maximizing space, and we got on Ebay new for less than half retail. Model # K-3351-L.

    -DH of gracesantacruz

  • jenangelcat

    Garden web seems to be eating my posts.

    What is the wall colour? I've been looking for the perfect beachy blue and that is it!

    Love the kitchen. Some day I'll get to do mine.

  • arleneb

    Wow! You really did a super job . . . it turned out just beautiful! I agree with you on the quartz -- I used Zodiaq on my perimeter countertops and really love it.

    I'd love to know which Hakatai tile you used . . . is it TR640 Celestial Blend? I sure love how yours looks, and I'm particularly impressed that you found it fun to do. We've considered doing our own -- I'd chosen a Oceanside glasstile but several posters have reported quality control issues with it so am ready to reconsider.

    Again: GREAT job!


  • anny-2009

    Hi Gracesantacruz
    I like your Caeserstone Nougat, mitered edge. Can you tell me how much do you pay for this? Who installed it for you? I live in Saratoga, CA


  • gracesantacruz

    hostagrams: yes, you got it. TR640 Celestial. We looked at Oceanside extensively since the Hakatai's were backordered for months. The glass on Hakatai's mosaic is unique and very rustic/rough - it adds so much depth, reflection, and character. We were able to display both Hakatai samples alongside with Oceanside in our kitchen for months, and everyone confirmed our thought: TR640 was just stunning - no comparison. So, we just waited until they got them in stock and finished the backsplash. Also, when the Hakatai's arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to see the backside of the glass painted white - this is important as glass can show defects/bubbles in the thinset otherwise. They had good strong mesh backing with a removable clear cover on the front to make install easy. High quality stuff. The marble veining is light/subtle in the one's we got.

    anny-2009: United Marble in San Jose (just east of 101). I think we paid around $5000 to $5500 total with no sinks. About $600 for added mitered edge feature. No complaints at all - they got it installed in about 3 hours and took great care in demolition. Very professional, highly recommended.

    jenanglecat: blue is "Hatteras Haze" from Kelly Moore. The other wall (goes into dining room area) is "Abalone White" from Behr - this goes particularly well with the Nougat and the backsplash - it's a "warm" white, almost like an exotic white sand tone.

    Some other "blues" you might consider is "Seville" from Kelly Moore - you'll need them to look it up in some older catalogs since they do not display it any longer (but can make it) and "Spa Retreat" from Behr - it's in one of their special indoor color brochures. We used both elsewhere in the house (master bath/bedroom)in a similar manner - maple floors, carrara marble (subtle veins), glass iridescent tiles, nickel or stainless steel fixture/lights - and were very pleased as well.

    -DH of greacesantacruz

  • rubyfig

    I cannot believe those are painted oak cabinets. They (and your whole kitchen) look amazing. Congrats!

  • kmo1

    Another Zodiaq question if I may...how many square feet do you have? I was quoted for ours by the KD and it seems like a lot.It would be good to hear what someone else paid per sf.


  • nursetammi

    Without a doubt it belongs in a before and after magazine shoot. Looks beautiful.I'm so glad I saw that you painted the oak cabinets. I've been trying to figure if I have to re-place my oak cabinet in the bathroom off my new kitchen and you made me see I can replace the top and just paint it. Thank you. How are you liking your Monogram oven and Advantium? We bought all Monogram, the double oven and the Advantium, as well as the frig and dishwasher but not installed yet. I think we did a little overkill with ovens (since the Advantium is a real oven too) but we loved our old Advantium so we had to get another. Congrats, you did a fantastic job. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

  • gracesantacruz

    nursetammi, yes, we were not sure how painting the oak would turn out, but we are very glad we did so. We were also lucky to have very professional, thorough painter.
    As for Monogram oven and Advantium, we enjoy using them very much, and of course, we love its aesthetic. Advantium's automatic menu tends to overcook everything, but once I am used to it, I can adjust. As a microwave, Advantium is wonderful--powerful and easy to use.
    Having two ovens comes in handy--cook in one, warm in the other, proof in one, bake in the other, etc. etc.

  • gin2402

    Absolutely beautiful. Completely transformed. You and your DH should be very proud!

  • gracesantacruz

    thanks for all the nice comments...

    Our kitchen layout was still optimal after 25 years, so it made it much cheaper and easier to update.

    About the appliances, the GE Monograms are beautiful and would have like to match them all together. However, their Monogram dishwasher handle stuck out too far and would block a drawer in our configuration, and we didn't like the exposed hinges on the Monogram refrigerator. We thought about all Jenn-air, but disliked the wall ovens and still had the dishwasher towel bar interference problem with the drawer.

    Instead, we were able to find other appliances that went well together with the ovens and had the functions we liked best. They all have some stainless steel, but either have glossy black or glossy white. Also, we tossed out the compactor and replaced it with a pullout dual waste&recycle bins with outer door matching existing cabinets along with an extra undercabinet drawer - thank you cabinet maker! We used the same cabinet maker to adjust the height above the refrigerator (new fridge was taller) and to make minor adjustments to the oven cavity to fit the GE Monogram ovens. He added those 3 drawers in front of the bar stools - we allowed a little "scope creep" here.

    So, we wanted to share this with others who encounter similar dilemmas when retrofitting a kitchen - we were able to mix and match appliances (or eliminate in case of compactor) and get the best of all by sticking with a few design rules and employing a cabinet maker to make a few critical adjustments.

    -DH of gracesantacruz

  • auntiebubba

    GraceSantaCruz, thanks for the info on your drawers. It's good to know they are working well for you. We're thinking of using drawers for similar items so this helps.

    Congrats on a fabulous kitchen!

  • swickbb

    Give yourself a big pat on the back for such a beautiful creative job. And, thanks for sharing so much about the entire remodel. This is truly an inspiration for all of us going trying to create our own dream kitchens. I know you've just given me a few ideas. I'm so happy to see the Nougat Ceasarstone since that is also on my list of choices. It really works in your space. I know I'll be returning to take another look at this just for the pure eye candy value! Woo Hoo!

  • kimmieb

    Very beautiful. unique choices. It turned beautiful. enjoy.

  • remodelfla

    Abolutely love the way you managed the countertop treatment. The thick mitered edge looks so clean and contemporary. I may have to copy that trick! I am a blue person and love the backsplash with your Ceasarstone. Super job!

  • gracesantacruz

    Thanks. The tiles put off more of a sage cast (glassy green) with highlights of iridescent blues. It does compliment the pale blue walls well and the Caesarstone.

    I've seen a few clear glass and marble backsplashes with this countertop work also well. Here is one from Sarah Richardson. I'll post link to a write-up also. Note how glass and marble work well with this countertop. We found this article during our remodel (and later on TV); it just gave us confirmation in the Caesarstone and the approach we chose.

    -DH of gracesantacruz


    Here is a link that might be useful: Sarah's kitchen

  • elizpiz

    VERY late to this thread but just wanted to add my compliments to the completion of a fantastic kitchen makeover! All of the elements you've chosen work so well together. I love the cool blues, the wonderful use of glass, that very cool fridge, the stools... As others have said, it's quite an amazing transformation. You must be thrilled!

    Enjoy it :-)

  • theanimala

    Follow up on this older thread, I want to thank gracesantacruz for posting these pics. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I loved the mitred edge for the Ceasarstone, and after much internal debate, ended up doing it for our island (perimeter is standard 1.25"). Just installed 2 days ago, and everyone comments how "bold" the island is now, and how much they like the edge. I would have loved to do it across the entire kitchen but I am already far over my budget. Thanks again!

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