Thursday, March 1, 2012

Decisions, decisions....

I love design, I love every aspect of it. My issues are that I have a hard time sticking to one thing. With the Internet anything is possible. You can search for hours on designs, colors, features on any room of the house. For now though I am focusing on two rooms, our Master Bath and Kitchen.

So for the kitchen I am having to decided some things:

Cabinets- What color? What material? What design on the front? What handle or pull on the doors?
Countertops- What material? What color? What finish on the edge?
Sink- What material? What design? How big?
Cook Top- What company? What color? What features?
Range Hood- We know we need an island hood since it is viewable from all side. What company? What color? What features?
Lighting? How many lights? What type? Recessed, drop lighting or good old florescent?

We are reusing the fridge, double oven and microwave for now, they are practically brand new and "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

As you can see we have many decisions to make. So let's start from the top.

Cabinets- We have already decided we both love white. It is classic and will go with us throughout the years as design changes. I love how it can go from traditional to farmhouse to classic with just changing the drawer and cabinet pulls. The face of the cabinets will have a raised design, again something that will stay with us for awhile.

This is from the Timberlake Cabinets Andover Series Thermofoil White

We are leaning toward thermofoil but may change. This is an article on the pros and cons of thermofoil.

Countertops- Now I have RESEARCHED and RESEARCHED my heart out on these. Think about it, you put your food on these surfaces and you need to know what you are buying. Not only that but on some materials the maintenance is ridiculous. If I have to reseal it every few years or worry about radon emissions I don't want it. I grew up with laminate and have no issues with it. My parents house had this 70's style mustard yellow mixed with other colors countertop. It was all the rage back then, it lasted 28 years. They got there kitchen redone and my Mom's only request to my Dad was make sure you get laminate. I personally would not mind it but I want a certain sink and we will discuss this later. So I looked over everything recycled materials, natural stones, engineered stones, concrete, wood, metal, tile (since I work for a tile company) and glass. After buying Consumer Reports Kitchen and Bath and reading articles on the Internet I found Engineered Quartz to be the best. You can also get Natural Quartz but it requires more maintenance.  Best article for research online it this
There are quite a few companies to choose from

Cambria® I think I may go with this company they are made in the USA!!

So if we go with the Cambria here are my favorites so far.

Cambria Bellingham

Cambria Burton Brown

Cambria Brecon Brown

Cambria Aragon

Sink- I have loved Farmhouse sinks for a long time now. Now they are popping up everywhere and I can't get enough of all the different designs, materials and colors. You can get them in stainless steel, stone, stone fire clay and copper. Then you can get them with a single or double bowl, there are pros and cons to both. I decided to go with the classic white apron sink 36" single bowl. This one is from signature hardware:

To complete the look I love bridge faucets, this is from signature hardware as well. I would get it in the Oil Rubbed Bronze though.

Cook top- We currently have an older smaller cook top and were trying to decide if we wanted to just reuse that. The dilemma is that they will cut it into the countertop. If we pay someone to cut the countertop we only want to do this one. The current one we have in a 30" model. We were looking at the 36" models, more cooking space. At first we though we would just go with the downdraft models but we can not find one with a charcoal filter feature. They all have to be vented to the outside. They make over range hoods with charcoal filters but we will not need one since we already have the roof capped to vent outside, this was where the old one was. The issue was that we did not want to put cabinets back over top so it would open the kitchen more. So we decided to go with a hood and since you will be able to see it from all the way around it would have to be an island hood. Back to the cook top, I already have the double convection oven from GE Profile and not that all my appliances have to say one company name but I like their cook top. If I had the money I would go all Electrolux (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) or Viking but the budget rules. I was going to go with the induction cook tops but after reading about them you almost have to learn to cook all over again. They heat up very fast and sometimes too fast you have to be ready to go. They are very popular in Europe and have hit the mainstream here lately. They use to be very pricey but they have come down a lot. The other issue is whether or not your current cookware will work with induction. The best way to tell is with a magnet, since induction cooking works with magnets. Cast Iron and Stainless Steel work the best, the rule is if the magnet sticks it fits. If you want to know more there is a great article on How Stuff Works.
If I did go with the induction cook top I would choose the GE Profile 36" Induction Cook top:

However, the budget is king and I am going with the GE Profile 36" Cook top

Island Hood- As I said above the Island Hood is they way we are going. I wanted something with clean lines and nothing obtrusive. So I found this range hood from, can you guess, signature hardware. It is the Compass Series 36" Island Hood. I love the glass part so more light can get through. It contains four dimmable 35-watt halogen light bulbs to illuminate both sides of the stove top. It also has two reusable, dishwasher safe aluminum filters. I love easy peasy care for filters, they can get nasty and greasy fast.

So that is where I am at right now. I have already selected the tile for the floors and tile that looks like wood for the Living and Dining Room. I have also selected the Master Bath wall tile, listello and shower floor. I will show you those later. :)