lizzie_borden44

Help Designing Kitchen and Baths in Our New Home

Lizzie Borden
16 days ago

Hello Dear Houzz Friends,

We are moving into a new home by the end of this year.

We must choose kitchen cabinets, countertop, and backsplash; bathroom vanity's, tile, and floors.

When I updated my current home I found so much help on Houzz, and I am still enjoying the change.

I have added photos to my Idea Books, and will post some photos of the model home rooms. I am also adding the floorpan. I will be keeping some of my furniture, especially my dining room, but I am not too sure about keeping my sofa from Pottery Barn which I like, but it is not comfortable.

We are purchasing a Toll Brothers Home and they have a design center which we will be visiting to meet with a designer, but right now with all that is going on, we are postponing our appointments.

I had such great help here on Houzz and look forward to your input/advice/comments/etc. Where I really need your help is in choosing the countertop, backsplash, and cabinets in the kitchen. This is where I will probably need to upgrade from the builders choices. There are a lot of photos below and I may have to add more. I hope you'll hang in there with me. I have shown my previous home photos to give you an idea of my taste.

Thank you so much!

Our new home will be ready by the end of the year. Siding will be Sterling Pewter.


This is the model home kitchen.


This is the model home family room.


This is the model home master bedroom.


This is the model home master bath.


Here is the floorpan.

This is my current dining room, which I will be keeping.

This is my current living room. I am considering a sectional for the new family room.


Current wall unit in our living room. We will definitely be mounting the TV on the wall in the new family room but are considering keeping the ends of the wall unit above to put on either side with an electric fireplace below the TV.



Here are the choices of floor colors. We are leaning toward the bottom choice.


We really like the Quartz shown here for our kitchen counter. Unsure of the backsplash.



Some of the above cabinets are included, others are an upgrade. I can be more specific.


Comments (75)

  • Lizzie Borden


    White cabinet.....of course :))

  • PRO
    Home Interiors with Ease

    Lizzie with that upgraded subway will they do the design you want? Do white but in a herringbone or chevron pattern...so pretty.....will they allow you to mix cabinet colors? i Like the darker flooring for you..it still gives that traditional style With the white cabinets and without young kids in the house.... it Won’t be a cleaning issue...the contrast will be gorgeous with the open concept and your blue!

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    Welcome to sunny FL. Been here 3 years myself. Design consultants will provide you great advice but their goal is to up sell you on upgrades as this is profit margin for builder. But that being said, some of their options will be amazing. Highly suggest that you will want to consider wood look ceramic tile for durability and easily cleaned. Carpet is a poor choice in FL because of sand and general humidity (use area rugs that can be laid down instead). If doing the ceramic tile floor choose a beachy traditional look using sandy neutral color for flooring. You can trend this either sand or driftwood gray as both are popular). White cabinetry and white trim. Choose color like sea salt or silvermist by Sherwin Williams since the color really balances between gray, green or blue depending on the light throughout the day (divine). FL does great with the beachy traditional look of sea, sand and surf and that will work great for your tastes. If you visit SW store in advance they have a kiosk with HGTV color combinations that you could look through and find a palate that you love. Take it with you to the appointment to show them your preference. Do a solid surface for your countertop with built in sink. Your hardware could be either bronze or brushed chrome throughout. Pic below shows Silvermist against white bookcase with brushed stainless. Our floors are Brazilian cherry because it was already in place. Do suggest you splurge on buying a roomba. It's amazing for getting sand, fine dirt and dust bunnies. With a growing family, it will save you a lot of energy! Enjoy!
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  • Lizzie Borden

    Tina S. Thank you for your advice. The bathroom shown is in the model. I will be choosing the tile in the shower, on the floor, along with the vanity and counter.

    Hi Kathy, Thank you for being here. The ceilings are 10' high. They are giving a cooktop, and wall oven with a microwave above it. Although they give a pantry, it was small so we upgraded to have what we are accustomed to. I like the idea about the drawers and will definitely keep that in mind. They are offering hardwood floors throughout the home except for the two bedrooms which will be carpeted unless I upgrade to the hardwood. I feel that would be something we could do ourselves next year. We also plan to paint a year after we move in to let the house settle.

    I wasn't thrilled about the transom windows in the kitchen or bedroom, but they will add light and I love light!

    I would have liked the fireplace but it was going to extend out onto the patio and I want as much space on the patio as possible being that I am giving up a back and side yard now. I was planning on using the interior wall to place a TV above a standing electric fireplace.

    I will consider getting rid of the wall unit I have, maybe place it in the den :))

  • HU-161159613

    Are the floors in your model pictures one of your choices? They look really nice and don't appear busy in the pictures. It's a lovely home.

    Lizzie Borden thanked HU-161159613
  • Lizzie Borden

    Julie, if you look at my Kitchen IdeaBook the third picture is an inspiration photo of what I would like my kitchen to come close to looking like. I can ask them to stagger the tile, so I should be able to request the herringbone or chevron pattern. So that would be the white cabinets, the quartz countertop, and the white herringbone/chevron pattern. What do you think would be the best floor. This is open concept so it would have to be compatible with hallway, kitchen, family room and dining room.

  • Lizzie Borden

    HU-161159613 - It is hard to know for sure if the floors shown in the photos of the model home are one of my choices. They might be. We are offered 3" wide flooring in the colors above.

  • PRO
    Home Interiors with Ease

    I will work hard on talking you out of a freestanding electric fireplace!!

    I suggest a beautiful console for TV...I actually just love the layout in the model home...why not order another blue sofa from a PB and create the L shape like in the model home image..with all the white it would be gorgeous...I will take a look at the kitchen you like in your Ideabook now....

  • PRO
    Home Interiors with Ease

    Lizzie looked at the third image it has dark countertops? Or do you mean the kitchen shown in fourth image that has the off white cabinets?

    Lizzie Borden thanked Home Interiors with Ease
  • Lizzie Borden

    Julie, yes it does have dark countertops. I love the back splash and design above the range. When we saw the quartz at the design studio we decided that was what we would want. Which darker flooring are you referring to? In the photo above showing the 3 builders choices....the top or bottom?

    I can choose a different color cabinet for the island.

    I like the idea of keeping the sofa I have from PB and ordering another one from them but in a different style. Maybe it would be more comfortable. We've only had the sofa a couple of years as you know.

  • PRO
    Home Interiors with Ease

    Keep the sofas matching! Order exact design and fabric....is it not comfortable?

    on wood flooring it is hard to tell in the image but whatever stain is the darkest with least amount of golden tone...Old Bronze?

  • Lizzie Borden

    Julie, no the sofa is not comfortable :(

  • PRO
    Home Interiors with Ease

    I would do the white herringbone for entire backsplash no accent over range....it gives a much cleaner open looking kitchen...to give it a more traditional style you could do a dark wood island..than add white stools it would look beautiful...white quartz!

    Lizzie Borden thanked Home Interiors with Ease
  • Lizzie Borden

    Ok,sounds very good!

  • Lizzie Borden

    Tina S, I agree with you re the molding around the linen storage in the master bath. The last picture you posted showing different options is much better and easily doable. Thanks!

  • Lizzie Borden

    It would seem that my kitchen choices have been very close to being decided. We will choose white cabinets, white herringbone design backsplash, quartz Moorland Fog countertop, Old Bronze flooring. As for the island; deciding whether to change the cabinet color and/or counter choice. I will want pendant lighting above the island. The island measures 78" x 39" so I think two lights will be enough. There are 5 high hats total in the kitchen. Once the decision on the island is decided, I would like to move on to the master bathroom.

    Kathy, you had asked our lot direction. Our house will face east. We will have the afternoon sun in our family room and kitchen (west).

  • katinparadise

    Lizzie, the house is going to have beautiful light. I think you're going to enjoy the light you get through the transom windows, especially in the winter! I think you might enjoy the warmth a wood island would bring to the kitchen. It would keep it from feeling too sterile.

    I think you're going to enjoy the floor color as well. It's a classic and will stand the test of time. As far as doing them next year in the bedroom though, just be aware that engineered flooring colors come and go and you don't want to decide to do the other bedroom floors at a later date only to find they may no longer be available. Just something to keep in mind as you make your final decisions.

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    Commenting on your first photo: your furniture: The table you have now only seats 4. Should you want a bigger table in the future, buy a square rug which will accommodate it.



    So, you have a designated dining “room”. For the breakfast area, I would like a counter top high bar with stools that can be tucked under. It’s a flexible option which can work for quick family meals, entertaining (bar set up) and extra serving spot.






  • Lizzie Borden

    Hi Judy. Thank you for your comments. The dining room table opens to accommodate at least ten guests comfortably. It’s good to know what shape rug would be the best fit for it. Thank you. The kitchen has an eat in area 10x10. We will most likely put a table in there also. The kitchen has an island 79”x39” so we will add at least two comfy stools there.

    Kathy, you are probably right in thinking that we should do the bedroom floors now. I want to first see what the upgrades will cost in the kitchen and Master Bathroom. The second bath I will use the builders options, and the same for the laundry room. I’m not sure if we can add the fireplace. It may be too late, but I’ll check that out tomorrow.

  • Tina S

    Im not a designer and have no knack for design at all, but I'm personally not sure about doing white cabinets with white back splash. Are you saying the 6x6 white, almond or gray are your only choices and to upgrade is the (prettier) gray above the London fog counter top? I tried to search some white on white and not having a ton of luck, but I feel there should some some bit of color between the cabinet and counter top. Maybe others disagree. Doesn't need to be I guess. What about grout color? Maybe adding non white grout, but not too dark. Maybe others can chime in, but if you've already made a decision, then all is good. Here are some photos to show what I'm talking about.


    This one below is white back splash w/a little bit of color.

    Modern Farmhouse · More Info


    Clyde Hill Modern Farm House · More Info


    All white or off white backsplash.

    Rosemary Woods Classic Kitchen · More Info


    I guess white doesnt look too bad. This looks nice, but I think because the black counter top helps the over all look.

    Newport Beach, River · More Info


    Lizzie Borden thanked Tina S
  • Lizzie Borden

    Tina S Thank you Tina for taking the time to research white on white kitchen counters and backsplash. I really do appreciate it and I like what you've found. There are other upgrades offered by Toll Brothers. An enormous amount. It takes so much time to look at everything they have to offer and mix and match with cabinets, floors, etc. I thought it would be a good idea to get a start before going there to make final decisions. I really like the look of a white kitchen. Nothing sterile, but just bright. I guess as I get older I want things to look brighter :)). I am going to try to get in touch with them tomorrow to see how I can look at the options online. That would be so helpful.

    I appreciate your time and help as well as all the people here on Houzz. I hope you're all well. This decision making/decorating is a great (and necessary) distraction right now.


  • Lizzie Borden

    Tina S, I have added one of the (Clyde Hill Modern Farm House) kitchen photos you posted to my idea book. This one along with the photo/suggestions from Home Interiors With Ease are helping me a great deal.

    As Kathy suggested, I will add more drawers to the kitchen perimeter in lieu of cabinets. A good idea.

    I am sure of the quartz countertop and white cabinets. I do like how the darker island cabinets look in some of the photos, so I am still considering this.

    Although 4 floor samples may show if you click the photo above, only three are included from the builder. The grey is not included. I am still questioning the choices. I like the darker (bottom choice), but want to know your thoughts.

    We spoke with our Toll Brothers Designer today and set up a virtual meeting for Friday. In the meantime even she suggested using the talented people here on Houzz for ideas.

    Thank you all; be well.

  • Lizzie Borden

    I like the idea of the subway tile placed in a herringbone pattern. But what do you think of this option? Here is a photo we took of an upgraded backsplash Toll Brothers is offering.


    The photo makes it look darker than it is. Would this clash with the Quartz? When we have the virtual appointment I will ask to have this placed near the quartz.

  • RedRyder

    Wow. That’s a really pretty backsplash option. The big question is does it look good with the white cabinets and countertop choice. Very classic.
    I’m sure all the “upgrade” options can really increase the cost of your house. I’ll add my two cents: letting them put in the hardwood floors in the bedrooms is a good use of your money. If you want hardwood, do it all now.
    I was wondering if you could paint the island later because if it’s an upgrade, it’s probably not worth it.

    Lizzie Borden thanked RedRyder
  • keith Dcil

    I like your quartz choice for the counter. It will go really well with the white cabinets and white subway backsplash - herringbone, chevron, stacked or running bond (standard) will work. I agree that no accent is needed on backsplash. If it is an option and not too pricey I would Think about different cabinet color for island - the walnut color in one of your pictures caught my eye. I also like the darkest option in the wood floor.

    Lizzie Borden thanked keith Dcil
  • keith Dcil

    I also really like the hexagon tiles... could you use it in the guest bath since it is also your powder room and every guest to your house will see that room.

    Lizzie Borden thanked keith Dcil
  • Lizzie Borden

    Hi Keith. Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad you get a positive feeling for the white cabinets and white backsplash with the quartz we chose. I am considering the possibility of a different cabinet color for the island. As for the guest bathroom, I wasn't thinking how all my guests will see that bath, and for that reason I should consider spending on some upgrades there. Let's see what the kitchen and Master Bathroom add up to and then I will definitely consider your idea in the Guest bath :)) Thanks again!

  • Lizzie Borden

    RedRyder, glad you like the backsplash I just posted. I will have the designer at Toll Brothers match it up against the white cabinet and quartz countertop and see how it looks. I'm sure she will offer her opinion too. As for the island, I can choose a different color than the perimeter cabinets without paying an upgrade (as long as I choose a cabinet that is included). Also, I have been reconsidering the additional cost of having them add the wood floors in the two bedrooms. It would be nice to not have to rip up the rugs in a year, and just have it all done now.

  • Gerry

    We picked out this same model in NJ. I love it. Unfortunately health issues led us to move closer to family so we had to cancel our contract. Good luck in your new place.

    Lizzie Borden thanked Gerry
  • Lizzie Borden

    Gerry, so sorry to hear of your health issues. There is nothing better than living near family, and that right now is so important. Thank you for the good luck wishes. What community in NJ?

  • Lizzie Borden

    Beautiful day in NY today. The sun is out, the birds are busy, lots of my perennials are popping up. Got out for a walk with hubby, of course respecting social distance. On such a beautiful day it lifts my spirit and gives me hope that soon all will be better. Wishing you all a wonderful, safe, healthful day! :))

  • dsimber

    Lizzie, beautiful days are so uplifting!


    I just read your thread, and I want to add a few things based on my experience with a similar home company. 1) We were allowed to find our own countertops and tiles throughout; it just had to be through a company with which they worked; however, there were hundreds of options that were not shown in the salesroom. 2) For some changes, you have to weigh the convenience against the cost they charge...some changes are easy to add later, such as light fixtures, backsplash, and a custom deck. 3) We had the bi-level between kitchen and family room. I don’t know if that is trending now, but it was a much less cluttered look, and was a great hangout place for parties as well as our family’s needs. With larger groups, people were gathered around the kitchen without actually being in the kitchen. That made it easier for me and a couple of guests to deal with last-minute prep or re-filling during parties. No regrets on that choice.


    We found this process gave us almost all the choices we wanted without having to make every choice. A totally custom build would have overwhelmed me. My sister took four years to plan theirs!


    I don’t recall reading about the makeup of your family. I like the idea of two matching (comfortable) sofas, but I will say that I have also enjoyed the togetherness of a sectional when watching games and movies.


    This is an exciting time. I wish you the best, and I will be following to see how it all comes together. btw--I have loved white kitchens for thirty years. I haven’t listened to those who warned that they are trendy.



    Lizzie Borden thanked dsimber
  • Lizzie Borden

    Hi disimber I just had my first appointment with the designer. Today was all about the electrical; recessed lighting, junction boxes, etc. I did ask if we would be allowed a credit if we wanted to find our own countertops, backsplash, etc. we were told no, the builder does not give credits. To add the included wood floors in the two bedrooms is an additional $5,000. This would be more convenient than adding the wood floor later, especially if we wanted to match it, but $5,000. seems a bit much to me. We are considering getting the fireplace added. So, we will see as we continue with additions and upgrades. Next week we have an appointment to discuss cabinets, counter, backsplash. If I want to choose two different cabinet colors there is an extra charge but they’ll do it. Wish me luck.

  • Lizzie Borden

    PS Dsimber, This home is for me and hubby ❤️

  • katinparadise

    Glad to hear you made some progress today Lizzie. What's the estimated completion time of your build?

  • Lizzie Borden

    Hi Kathy. November, December

  • Kate E

    Oh this is so exciting! The house you chose will be beautiful, and I think your furniture and decor will look lovely in it!

    I’d agree with considering the fireplace! Also, I’m curious with your eat in kitchen, are you doing the option to make that area bigger (as shown in the model)?

    One thing to keep in mind when considering what finishes to upgrade- think about what’s easy to upgrade on your own later. Things like flooring are much easier to just let the builder do. But things like light fixtures, backsplash, those are very easy to change later on your own. So if you don’t LOVE their backsplash options, don’t pick one, but have the counter top installed with the intent to add the backsplash later. Then right after or before you move in, you can have that added. Price check first, but sometimes it’s actually cheaper just to buy the tile you like and hire a local pro to install, as opposed to selecting an upgrade from the builder.

    For the cabinets in the kitchen, I have to say that the top row, second from the left caught my eye!! I like that there is color, while muted and neutral, but also not pure GRAY, you know?

    Keep posting pics and selections as you go - it’s going to be beautiful and I can’t wait to see it come together!

    Lizzie Borden thanked Kate E
  • Kate E

    Also, I personally like the lightest of the flooring options, but of course it matters more what you like, and what cabinets and other finishes you choose. I forgot to mention I think that top row second from left cabinet goes really well with your countertop pick!

    Lizzie Borden thanked Kate E
  • Kate E

    Okay another “one more thing” - the transom windows in the kitchen- keep them! Yes, they’ll get dirty and you will clean them twice a year at best. BUT, They aren’t at eye level so it’s not like anyone will be able to tell, and they will infuse added light into the kitchen which is awesome. Plus, it sounds like removing them is not necessarily an option- so skip that battle and keep them, is my vote.

    For island - do you have an option on counter height or bar height bump? If you do; you can make a case for either, each has their pros and cons. Mine is all counter height and I do love the big open work space it offers. But you do you :) Keep in mind the bar stools - good bar stools can be kind of expensive!! I had no idea. My expensive might be your bargain, so you never know. But I know when I started shopping for bar stools (needed 3 counter height simple backloads for kitchen & 4 bar height swivel for basement bar) I was surprised that it’s hard to find quality and pretty stools for less than $300 per stool, especially at that bar height if you want swivel with a back. Just something to consider! (But counter height little rectangle stools for kitchen at $70/each from target worked for the kitchen, so $$ saved there, ha!)

    Lizzie Borden thanked Kate E
  • Lizzie Borden

    Hello Kate. Thanks for adding your comments, they are appreciated. My island is counter height and one level, unlike the photo above. I do not have the extended kitchen, but the size of my kitchen is the same as the phot above. I have the eating area. As for the transom windows; I think it’s odd to have windows in such a hard to reach area, but because of the light they will bring into the kitchen, I’m fine with them. As you said, no one will notice a little dirt which can be cleaned twice a year :)). I could have had them removed only from the master bedroom, but decided to keep them, again because of the light they will add to the room. Good to know the bar stools will be more affordable for a counter height island. As for the floors, right now I have the light hardwood throughout my house and I do like it, but I am looking for a change to the darker choice. The second cabinet you like is very nice. I have wanted white cabinets for quite some time and every time I see photos of such, I still prefer them. Your suggestion to maybe have the backsplash done after is a good one, but I think hubby would prefer everything be completed at move in, but we’ll see. They have so many choices for backsplashes, I am sure I will find something, at I'm sure a higher cost than going outside Toll Brothers. We are looking into getting the fireplace. That is a structural change and should have been decided already, so we'll see what happens there. Thank you Kate and I hope you'll keep giving your input. After the kitchen, we go on to the baths! :))

  • RedRyder

    If you want a white kitchen, get a white kitchen. I am in my 4th kitchen and insisted it be white. We have a lot of wood trim in our house so everything is ivory or a creamy white, but I love it. I understand your husband’s wish for the house to “be finished” once you move in. The one good thing about backsplashes is the wall can be painted and you can wait a year. I did that in my previous house because I felt like I “was out of decisions” and yes, backsplashes have TONS of options. It overwhelmed me to go through tiles and colors and how to install... getting a headache remembering that time. The remodel we did to that house resembles your new house purchase. THIS is the one thing you CAN delay (sinks, faucets, etc cannot) so if you need a break from decision making this is where to do it.

    Lizzie Borden thanked RedRyder
  • Lizzie Borden

    RedRyder, Thank you. What you said makes good sense. There are so many decisions to make for every room in the house and to do it all on a timeline is difficult. By the way, I'd love to see your white kitchen :))

  • felizlady

    Storage is the key in bathrooms and kitchens.
    I like a bank of four drawers for each of you in the master bathroom, in addition to a sink cabinet each and a medicine cabinet for each.
    In the kitchen, include one lower 24-30” wide cabinet with vertical slots for baking trays and cookie sheets. Most of the rest should be drawers on full-extension heavy duty tracks.

    Lizzie Borden thanked felizlady
  • Lizzie Borden

    Thank you Felizlady. I appreciate your input and I will keep that in mind. In the Master Bathroom it looks like we will have three drawers on each side of the sink with more drawers in the center and a cabinet under each sink. There are also medicine cabinets so it looks like we will have plenty of storage there, and I'm always happy to have that!

    As for the kitchen I want to make the most of the cabinets/drawers as possible. I have to get a better layout from the designer before Wednesday's virtual appointment.

    Thanks again for the tips and I do hope you'll stop by again.


  • RedRyder

    Here is my white kitchen. I didn’t want to completely rip out everything so we refaced from quarter sawn oak to an ivory (Sherwin Williams Creamy is on the cabinets, Raisin Ivory is the color of the doors and drawer fronts from Home Depot). ORB hardware and faucet.

  • Lizzie Borden

    RedRyder. What a beautiful kitchen! You have a great amount of counter space, so many drawers, and two islands. I love it. What is your countertop? Is that granite? How fortunate you are to have such a large kitchen. Our kitchen will be smaller with less counter and cabinetry so we have to use the space wisely. It has been mentioned that I should have more drawers at the lower level than cabinets, which sounds smart and I see you’ve done that here. Thank you for posting your lovely white kitchen. I also like your light kitchen floor. I was leaning toward the darker wood. Now I’m reading how the darker floor shows every bit of dust. Something to consider.

  • ljptwt7

    Congratulations, beautiful home!
    Add the hardwood now if you want it. I can't imagine you would save that much by doing it later and you will eliminate the hassle.
    Do you have a picture with white cabinets and backsplash with the quartz? I just don't think it looks "good", but maybe a picture with all those choices together will show I'm wrong. I think the grey splash looked great with the quartz ( but I like grey). It sounds like you want a white kitchen, so I hope it looks nice when put next to each other.

    Lizzie Borden thanked ljptwt7
  • Lizzie Borden

    ljbtw7 Thank you!

    Yes, we are considering adding the floor now.

    No, I don't have a picture. I will try to put that together and post it. I like grey also, but I think I would grow tired of it. That's just me.

    I hope you'll be back to add your input.

  • RedRyder

    Lizzie, yes, my countertop is granite. It’s a soft, green/grey. The kitchen came with all those cabinets and I changed all the lower ones to drawers. Consider doing that! Best decision I made.
    I also have heard that dark floors are a nightmare to keep clean. We have a large horse farm and trek in all kinds of dirt, even with removing shoes in a mud room. The floor in my house is “butterscotch oak” and it’s engineered. We matched the kitchen floor to the existing open concept great room (and entire house). I don’t like tile in a kitchen - it gives me a backache (removed what the previous owner had). The laundry room and mud room have porcelain tile.
    I have already raised my hand around your wood floors in the bedrooms. Another good decision IMO.

  • Lizzie Borden

    RedRyder, Sounds like you have a lovely house, and a horse farm, how lucky you are.
    I agree with you about tile floors in the kitchen. We have that now and it is draining on the back when you stand for too long.
    We decided to do the hardwood floor throughout the house. Just not sure which color to choose and Wednesday is getting too close.

    Today hubby and I picked out what we may choose for the second bathroom. We will work on the kitchen tomorrow. It is very time consuming, especially doing it only through online photos. Hoping the virtual meeting goes well.

    We asked if we could add the fireplace and we were told it is too late, the plans have been drawn up. We will have a built-in made for us in the great room to include the electric fireplace 😕, shelves and cabinetry, and have the tv above the fireplace.

  • Lizzie Borden

    My island will be 79” wide. I have requested two junction boxes over the island for two pendant lights. Any opinions? Are two pendants enough and how wide should they be? Suggestions please.

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