Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three Days Until Christmas? Let's Rip Out All the Countertops and Start a Kitchen Remodel!

It all started so innocently.  I had ordered wallpaper for the boys' Jack-and-Jill bathroom, but before the paper was installed I wanted to remove the cultured marble vanities and replace them with granite remnants.  My granite fabricator sells leftover pieces from other jobs at a fraction of the regular price, and since the vanities are small I wasn't going to need much, anyway.  Once I was at the granite place, though, looking at all the gorgeous slabs of stone, I started thinking about my kitchen countertops again.  How can I have nicer granite in the boys' bathrooms than I have in my kitchen, after all?

My kitchen has granite countertops that I lovingly refer to as Baltic Barf -- you may be more familiar with the term Baltic Brown.  I have seen some Baltic Brown granite that actually does have brown in it, but alas, mine is decidedly mauve, and not in a good way.  As if the black-and-pink splotched counters weren't bad enough, the builder chose the nastiest, cheapest commercial bathroom type tile on the planet for a backsplash and used huge grout lines.  Yuck, yuck, yuck! 

Our Kitchen Before it was Ours: Home Inspection Day

We've done a lot in the kitchen since we bought the house already: Replaced all the light fixtures, painted, painted again, installed crown molding, custom draperies and shades (naturally), upgraded all of the appliances, recently replaced all the light fixtures again (one of the dangers of the design biz), and upgraded the gas fireplace logs in the sitting room area off the kitchen. 

Breakfast Room soon after we moved in, Lars at the table

Breakfast Room with Custom Draperies, Temporary Chandelier
Don't draperies make a HUGE difference?!  This Home Depot chandelier was recently replaced with a nicer, larger one with fabric shades from Nulco that has more of a French flair to it:

French Country Chandelier from Nulco Lighting
And yes, I know the pattern on my dining chair fabric fights with the drapery fabric, but these chairs were a bargain buy at a clearance outlet.  They will eventually be slipcovered, reupholstered, or replaced, once my kids learn to wipe their hands on their napkins instead of on my chairs.  The drapery fabric is from Vervain and I absolutely love it:

Monado from Vervain, Havana Colorway
But still, what continues to bug me most about the kitchen is the pink and black countertop and the wretched backsplash tile.

Previous Owners' Mauve Sofa Complements the Baltic Barf
I had fleeting hopes that I would find some perfect replacement backsplash tile that would make the existing Baltic Barf counter look more terra cotta than pink, but that turned out to be a lost cause.  Although I'm sure Baltic Brown looks great in the right kitchen, mine ain't the right one -- I never in a million years would have selected that stone for my home.  It's just not me. 

So, what kind of stone does say Rebecca, you might ask?  Allow me to introduce you to CD Volcano, three slabs of which are scheduled to be installed in my kitchen next month:
Isn't that breathtaking?  The drawer box that the man is holding in the foreground gives you an idea of the scale.  This stuff is even more dramatic in person. 

Can you believe that's natural stone that just came out of the earth that way?  The owner of the granite import company flew to Brazil to selected CD Volcano himself and bought up the whole lot of it on sight.  If granite could be custom ordered, and I could select all the colors I wanted, I still couldn't come up with a slice of earth more perfect for my kitchen than this one.  Gush, gush, gush!

Since there's a lot going on in the granite, the backsplash is going to be a simple 3" x 5" polished creamy marble in a brick pattern, with a herringbone section inlaid above the stove.  The new faucet is from the Brizo Tresa collection:
 So this year, when all the gifts are unwrapped and the debris has all been carted out to the curb and the kids head back to school, I'll have countertop demolition to look forward to!  There will be no post-Christmas blues in my house this year!


Susan Kostelecky said...

Great post, Rebecca! The window treatments really warmed up the room and took great advantage of the wonderful height in the breakfast area.
The granite is STUNNING! Post photos during and after; I love reading about your projects!
Susan K

Ivory Spring said...

Wow - the drapery makes the room look entirely different!

Fred and/or Marlies said...

Rebecca should show the whole house in before and after mode. It's dangerous to be in the interior design business. Everything is always in flux.

Janice the Manice said...

Okay, I am now oooohhhing and aaahhhing. I love the granite. I love the granite. I love, love, love the granite. Yes, yes, this is something to be excited about. I just SCREAMS Rebecca Rabbit to me!
Oh, and as a side note, you're current granite looks a lot like my granite (minus the mauve)in my kitchen.

Steve Patterson said...

Well granite was great choice to give you vanities a sparkingling makeover.

Would love to see the complete looks of the kitchen Keep posting the pictures.

I am a kitchen worktops Kent supplier. Visit me at my online store by following the link

Rebecca Grace said...

Janice, I just looked at my pictures of your kitchen -- you're right, you might have the Baltic Brown or something similar, but it doesn't look at all pink in your kitchen, much more neutral. The stuff in my kitchen is just plain weird! And I don't hate it everywhere -- I'm going to have them recut one of the kitchen countertop pieces so we can reuse it for the vanity in the bathroom of Bernie's office upstairs. It will look great up there -- just not in my kitchen!