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suze425

White and gray cabinets - which for perimeter, which for island?

Susan W
last month
last modified: last month

Another day, another change, another decision…

I’m now toying with the idea of having white and gray cabinets in our kitchen. My husband is very stoked about it. Can’t decide if I should go -

1) White perimeter/Arlington Grey quartz countertop - Dove Grey island/butcherblock countertop

2) Dove Grey perimeter/Arlington Grey quartz countertop - white island/butcherblock countertop

Cabinet colors: My actual samples - IRL the white is a little whiter and brighter, and the gray is a little lighter...


From their brochure:




Quartz: Photographed outside in the sunlight



Photographed in the workshop



Butcherblock: What I'm envisioning -



Floor:


Latest layout: But who the heck knows!!! This is not official, but something I threw together as I await the latest version from the cabinet people after a meeting this morning. I include it here simply as a point of reference.


NOTE: General consensus is to have the island in Dove Grey (which I like - it makes it stand out in a good way) but then a part of me feels that the white cabinetry with the butcherblock on top is a better combination.

Thoughts? Thanks -

Comments (26)

  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you for the feedback. More to ponder…

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  • kandrewspa
    last month

    The flooring sample shown looks reddish. Have you looked at it next to the Dove Gray cabinet color in daylight - do they look good together? Gray is moving out of fashion or for some people it is already out (depends on what part of the country you live in). Not to make your decision process even more difficult, but did you consider having an island in a natural wood color?


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    Susan W thanked kandrewspa
  • decorpatti
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I agree that for a cohesive, well-planned look, matching cabinets with different countertops OR matching counters with different cabinets, is as far away from same cabs, same counters, as you should go. Your kitchen looks rather small, so I think it makes even more sense to keep it simple, with fewer disparate elements. Do you have inspiration pictures of what kitchens you admire? I don't see any Ideabooks, but maybe I missed them, as I have never looked at other people's Ideabooks before.

    Susan W thanked decorpatti
  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you to all who have responded - the one point (made by @kandrewspa) that is most pertinent to me is the matching of the floor with the gray cabinet (although I should probably say greige, because I feel that is more accurate.) I don’t have an actual floor sample yet, so I’m definitely going to investigate further on that.


    As far as mixing the 2 cabinets with 2 countertops, I get that some people might not like that. But a photo search shows me that tons of people do it, and while I don’t care for many of the color combinations, I like the look in general. So obviously that’s a matter of taste/opinion. I have about a dozen pix I just found, but this one appeals to me because it has a butcher block on the island.



    I have absolutely no care about what’s in style or going out of style. This is our final and forever home, so it needs to make me (and my hubby) happy when we look at it. And as long as the greige matches my floor, that will be the case.


    The fact that the island is butcher block is what seals the deal for me. We both love the idea of the island being totally different from the cabinets, in both color and countertop.

    My only concern was which cabinet color to put in which spot, and I don’t think anyone has an opinion on that. Which is fine. I think I’m leaning toward white perimeter, greige island. Which is what my husband liked and the cabinet people suggested.


    One question though: Is a 12 x 23 kitchen really small? Who’d have thought…

  • kandrewspa
    last month

    Small is a relative term. :-)

  • decorpatti
    last month

    I don't think 12 x 23 is particularly small. I was just going by your image of the current layout, with much of the size taken up by the breakfast room and a whole wall with nothing on it, so the actual cabinet-area and food prep area didn't seem expansive, maybe only a third of the 12 x 23 complete size.

    I do think white perimeters and painted/stained island looks better. The darker island helps to 'ground' the freestanding piece, rather than floating. At least that is how I decided the same issue for our kitchen remodel years ago. Good luck with your remodel.

    Susan W thanked decorpatti
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    "Is a 12 x 23 kitchen really small?" No, but the cooking/food handling area of your kitchen isn't 12 x23, that is the kitchen and dining area, so your kitchen is probably on the smaller side.


    However, that is irrelevant. My mother had a 10 x 15 galley kitchen and cooked for and fed 14+ people every night. As long as the kitchen is the right size for you and your family that is all that matters.


  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks @decorpatti - I was just teasing about the size.


    I know that I'm not putting a whole lot of cabinetry in the room, and you're correct that a good deal of the space is taken up by the eating area. There are a few different reasons for that, probably the most compelling of which is my desire for a big table in what will truly be an eat-in kitchen, emphasis on "eat-in!"


    I do appreciate your comments.


  • artemis78
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FWIW, we have white flush inset cabinetry with beech butcher block on one wall and gray frameless cabinets with soapstone on the other, and I love it--but we were also intentionally going for that look. I will say that I would not want the butcher block on the gray cabinets in our case--our gray is BM Sea Haze (green-leaning gray) and our white is BM Acadia White (creamy off-white). They play together in the same room and the soapstone would have worked fine on the white, but the butcher block is too red (IMO) to work on the gray cabinets. There are, of course, plenty of other wood options for butcher block that might do better with gray. In our case we chose more based on use of the space--the soapstone is on an L that includes sink and range, and we didn't want butcher block there.

  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    @artemis78 - That's really helpful information. Thank you.


    I looked (online) at what the Sea Haze looks like, and it appears similar to my Dove Gray. And I think my white is a fair amount brighter and whiter than your Acadia. Of course, we all know how inaccurate a computer monitor can be, so who knows.


    The thing is, I actually saw the exact butcher block countertop on a Dove Gray base at the cabinet warehouse, and they'll be doing the butcher block for me so it's exactly what I'll be getting. I definitely liked how it looked - the countertop was light in color, with no hint of red. To me it looked like many of the free-standing or movable type islands that are very often found in kitchens. Like these:



    I'm glad I asked the question here and I'm very appreciative to anyone taking the time to respond. Although I can see that some folks don't care for the idea itself, I've still gotten some great advice on factors to take into consideration.

  • artemis78
    last month

    Here is a photo of our Sea Haze cabinets with soapstone on one side and a beech over-the-soapstone cutting board on the other--that gives a sense of what that particular combo would look like with wood. (Our actual beech counters are finished in Waterlox, so have a deeper orange/red tone; the cutting board is just oiled, and not very often!) We have maple on a work table and that reads a lot less red, so the wood species makes a big difference. Some of it is just personal preference, too.

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  • felizlady
    last month

    I would do the perimeter cabinets gray and the island white because I don’t care for a butcherblock top on a gray island/cabinet. Simple.

  • RedRyder
    last month

    I like the idea of white perimeter cabinets and gray island - as long as the butcher block is very, very light. And your floors work with the greige you like.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    I think kitchen cabinets and countertops can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. There isn't any rule that says you can only have 2 colors (white/gray). This kitchen is beautiful and unique and has 3 different cabinet colors and at least 2 counter top colors and 2 backsplash colors in addition to the color on the back of the shelves.



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    They are not my colors, but I am planning on renovating my kitchen in the next year or two and have been debating if I want to use red or purple for the cabinets. My home color palette is based on the red/purple/green slate in my entry.





    With my bold color choices I won't do 2 tone cabinets or 2 different countertops because I really want the countertop to be the star of the show. (fell in love with Cambria Bentley)


    If you love gray and white then you should use gray and white. I like the idea of warming the space up with the butcher block.


    I found the marketing photo for your flooring and noted the white and cool grays/blue gray colors they selected to market your flooring.




    I think the trickiest part will be finding a gray that works with both the flooring and the butcher block, but bluer grays should work with both nicely. Some of the greiges may work with either the more yellow butcher block or the redder flooring, but will be less likely to work well with both.

  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for that really thoughtful response @Jennifer Hogan.


    While the pictures you posted are not exactly my style (says the person who likes white and gray cabinets) I can absolutely see how they might make someone else's heart sing. The older I get the more I appreciate the fact that in the end, the opinions that matter in my kitchen are mine and my husband's. And the same goes for other people's choices.


    The problem is, I'm not sure that my eye is discerning enough to figure out if the gray cabinet/dark flooring/butcher block counter top will work well together. I don't know that looking at samples of everything can give me the big picture. I know what I like but without actually seeing the 3 pieces full size together, Im not sure my tired brain can make the judgement.


    The floor and the white cabinets are non-negotiable - those are our choices. I'm happy with them and I'm sticking with them. Then it's either that particular Dove Grey cabinet in conjunction with the white cabinet, or back to all white cabinets. I guess I've got some wiggle room on exactly what I get for my butcher block.


    I'll admit to being a bit frightened that I'll make the wrong decision and then have to live with it. But again, there's always the safe choice of all white cabinets with the 2 different counter tops. It's funny because my husband, who definitely takes a back seat and leaves these decisions mostly to me, will definitely be disappointed if we go back to all white. Thankfully I don't have too much time to waste with the decision...





  • artemis78
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If you like the gray and white, I'd go with that and choose a butcher block you think will work; if it really doesn't, that is a relatively inexpensive component to change out, so you can absolutely fix it later.

  • Kay P
    last month

    I agree with everything Patricia Colwell said!

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Susan W - I know exactly what you are saying and I think I can help you decide.


    I am 60 and I just helped my oldest sister (72) pick colors for her new kitchen as they are downsizing to an apartment. (My colors are based on the fact that this is my forever home - resale isn't a concern.)


    Betty's eyesight isn't as good as it once was. When we looked at samples inside she couldn't see the differences in colors very well, but taking the samples outside really helped her see that one paint looked really green and the next one looked really pink.


    She didn't have samples of the countertop or cabinets or flooring, but my 2nd sister called the apt manager and the cabinet shop and they had some samples and let her borrow them for a day.


    Do you have samples of the door, flooring, countertop and butcher block (Or for the butcher block a cutting board or something wood that is the same tone) or do the places where you purchased the materials have samples that you could buy or borrow?


    When you take samples outside and look at them in full natural daylight the undertones pop and you can immediately see if two colors work together or clash.


    Think about the older women who put on their makeup inside and then go outside and their makeup is way to bright, or the women who died their hair and ash blond and it looks great inside, but when they go outside you see the olive green tones - not attractive. When I was young my hair was almost black, but when I went outside in the sun the sun brought out the red highlights.


    What you don't see inside until you have a whole room completed you can see outside in natural daylight.


    I don't ever finalize a color decision without looking at my choices in natural daylight first.

    My dog picked the flooring she liked best below. The two neutrals behind my dog looked pretty close to identical inside my home, but in the sunlight you could see that one had a lot more pink than the other.




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    This sample below the two tiles were in the house and next to each other and looked like they matched, but when trying beige paint colors the same colors didn't look good in both rooms. Taking the tiles outside you can see that the one on the right is pinker than the one on the left and doesn't work as well with the cabinets as the tile on the left.


    Hope this helps.





  • Verbo
    last month

    Gray is flatlined dead, out of commission. And, it clashes. So, there’s that.

  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Again @Jennifer Hogan - that’s great information and I really appreciate it. Knowledge I can use now and take forward with me.


    If I’m going to be honest, I'm very close to totally ditching the island all together.

    There's a very long back-story to this renovation. It involves a change in circumstance after we bought the house, Chinese drywall, my desire to sell it very quickly after I realized our original plans weren’t going to work out, and my husband’s insistence that we go forward with making it our main residence - pulling me kicking and screaming the entire way. This first phase was supposed to encompass doing the bare minimum simply so we could sell the house we’re currently living in (right next door), then move in to the new place, and then use the equity money from the sale to continue to renovate.


    There are other mitigating factors. We’re now living in a part of the country with which we are pretty unfamiliar and have no real construction contacts, we own another big expensive house with lots of equity where we lived our entire lives (that will also be sold down the road), and we’re a bit cash poor because we paid cash for this hot mess of a house currently being renovated. We’ve owned it for just about a year and it’s been a struggle every step of the way to get anything done. Things work differently in the deep south than they do in the northeast. (No offense to anyone - I said “differently” with no implication of better or worse.)


    I know that construction projects (especially a total gut!) are always stressful, but this one is really taking the cake. We’ve gotten so far away from “making the house livable” in terms of scope of the job and budget it’s making absolutely insane.


    And to top it off, we are scheduled to be away for the entire months of June, July and August. It’s a non-negotiable trip. Never in a million years did I think I’d be one week out from leaving for 3 months and still have so many issues unresolved. And the bottom line is that the delays are not pandemic related - it’s just how things roll around here. I know that some will disagree with me on that, but I know it to be true. It has something to do with the particular contractor that we’ve chosen to work with, who came very highly recommended and is definitely one of the best available. I don’t think he’d last a day where we are from, but I still don't feel that there was anyone better we could have gone with. So again, I’m exceedingly frustrated.


    Sorry for the rant - I think I needed to get that out!


    As far as the island: with my ambiguous feelings, I think I’d rather not have it and regret that decision, rather than have it and regret that decision!

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Verbo, I have studied color for 40+ years, as an artist, a cosmetologist and over the past 25 years assisting people with interior color selections.


    Did it ever occur to you that people may actually have a personal preference for gray vs beige or the colors that they love and the things they own may look better with gray or may look better with beige or taupe or greige or white?


    Walls are the backdrop for your art, furnishings and décor. The neutral should complement those things.


    In my mind, mother nature didn't make a mistake, there are 3 different color bunnies and although you may want to euthanize all the gray bunnies, there will still be people who will choose to adopt a gray bunny because they honestly like gray. Others will honestly prefer the beige bunny and others will prefer the white bunny. The only thing that matters is that each finds a home with someone who loves it.





  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri
    last month

    If you must have gray, do the island in gray. It’s a lot less trouble + cost to repaint an island than a kitchen-full of perimeter cabinets.

  • rebunky
    last month

    Hi Susan! I think I remember your previous layout thread. I tried to find kitchens with white perimeter/dark countertop and light grey island/butcherblock and with wood floors to help give you some inspiration. Were you thinking something like these?



  • Susan W
    Original Author
    last month

    Yes @rebunky - you've been kind and helpful to me in the past. The pictures you posted are lovely.


    If you read my post a couple back in this thread you'll see that I'm currently going through a bit of a funk on this entire project...


    Again, so many things working against me here, but for various reasons I've got no choice but to go forward. I'm hoping I feel a little better about it all on Monday morning.

  • ram123
    last month

    We apparently broke some rules, didn’t know. We have white perimeter with matte jet black counters, grey island with a marble top. One piece that ties together is we did marble subway tile for our small backsplash, wood flooring. I agree with anyone about the island being the color, in this case gray, an easy change if you don’t want it later. Sorry things are so hard, lots of good ideas and please keep us posted.

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