In this Decorating Dilemma, we’re going to take a look at Savannah’s soon-to-be kitchen. We’ll talk about working with dark granite that you might not love, but you don’t want to replace, unifying a disjointed space, adding shelving for style and storage, and more.
Here’s what Savannah says about the space…
“I need help! Lord willing, my husband and I will be moving into my parent’s old home when they finish building their new house. But I have a serious decorating dilemma. The kitchen has me stumped!”
The kitchen was renovated about 10 years ago and Savannah was able to help with that process, so she’s not picking on her parent’s choices! She’s just ready to take this look in a different direction when it becomes her home.
These are the things Savannah wants to address…
- She doesn’t like the dark granite but, understandably, doesn’t want to spend the money to rip out quality counters over color. So, she’d like to make them work.
- She would like to give the existing cabinets a fresh look.
- Possibly install floating shelves over the counters.
- Repaint the walls & perhaps install a tile backsplash.
Here are some of the pros I see…
The space is big! Savannah’s got a lot of room to work with. There are also beautiful wood floors and some unique design elements, like the plastered walls and french doors to the pantry. While the layout is unconventional, I can see it being a bonus to have a separate counter that’s outside of the working triangle of the kitchen to use for serving snacks, setting up a buffet, doing homework, etc. Everyone gathers in the kitchen and it’s nice to have a few different places for people to gather that’s not going to be in the way of the cook!
Before I share some of my ideas, here is a look at Savannah’s kitchen Pinterest board, so you can see the direction she wants to head. What I’m seeing are traditional/cottage/farmhouse styles pretty consistently represented.
Here are some of my ideas for this kitchen…
I think painting the walls all one color will make a big difference in unifying the space. Right now, the plastered walls are painted one color and the main kitchen area is painted another with only a line down the wall separating the two. And for the color, I would suggest a warm white, like Simply White by Benjamin Moore. Right now, the plastered walls are very noticeable, because of the decorative finish that highlights the uneven surface. The wall texture would be more subtle if it was painted all one color.
I would suggest painting the cabinets in a very dark color, almost black. I think the dark lower cabinets will make the counters blend right in and will give them a traditional, yet modern farmhouse feel.
Here are a couple of examples of dark cabinets with dark counters. If Savannah sways towards blue instead of black, a very dark navy blue would look great.
This one is more modern, but the color palette is a good representation of my thoughts for the kitchen… Dark cabinets, dark counters, white walls, warm accents in brass, wood, copper, and woven elements.
I would swap out the hardware for brass. I think that’ll pop against the dark paint and make the off-the-shelf cabinets look more custom. You could also use a gold wax or high-quality metallic paint on existing knobs to save some money.
Add open shelving on either side of the window, cut to size. I love the idea of using chunky boards and iron or black supports to tie in with the dark cabinets and counters. Or, perhaps even brass brackets. The wood would add warmth and texture. If you do install a tile backsplash, I would consider a white subway tile to keep it nice and clean-looking. The shelves can then be installed over the tile. Or, backing that entire wall with beadboard and putting the shelves in front (similar to the picture below) would be easier to install and have a similar effect.
I also like the idea of adding a more rustic wood shelf or perhaps even finding some old hutch-tops or glass-front cabinets that can be repurposed.
I think any of those options would work in this space.
Switch to a counter-depth fridge. I know it’s tough to replace a perfectly good refrigerator, but the fridge is the most awkward thing about this kitchen to me and it sticks out into the room so far. I would comb craigslist and local hardware stores for scratch & dent models to see if I can find a counter-depth fridge that will sit back a few more inches. I would then suggest building a cabinet around the fridge, so it’s not so lonely. A simple enclosure with an open cabinet above for baskets and perhaps shallow shelving or a plate rack on one side would be nice.
Here’s a great tutorial on making a fridge enclosure by Ana White…
Another option for the fridge is seeing if there is anywhere else it can go. I don’t know what’s beyond this room, but maybe space can be borrowed, so the fridge can be set into the wall.
Paint the pillar white. I’m making the assumption that it’s a load-bearing pillar, but if it’s not, you can just remove it if you don’t care for it. If it is load-bearing, then painting it white will make it look a bit more traditional/farmhouse and not as Tuscan.
The last thing I would address in this space is the lighting. I would save that for last, because those pendant lights could take on a totally different feel once things are painted, etc. or you might decide to switch them out for a different style.
For the other side of the kitchen/eating area, Savannah has already refinished a table and chair set and I think they work perfectly into this plan…
She did a great job!
I might be a little concerned that with white walls and a white table, it’ll look very white over in that corner, so I would add a rug with either great texture, like a braided jute rug or something with a lot of color and pattern, like a Turkish-style rug (or some other antique/traditional-feeling rug pattern) that can pick up the dark tones of the cabinets and add in some accent colors.
Also, I’m not sure if it would fit, but it looks like you might be able to put a corner cabinet in the corner between the two windows. Painting one a pretty accent color or finding one that’s a great warm antique wood would be a chance to break up the white.
Speaking of accent colors, I would paint the pantry doors and the side door in a great pop of color. Savannah didn’t share her desired color palette, but it looks like she likes blue based on her fabric choice. That could be a good place to add a pretty blue/gray or continue the dark paint from the cabinets or even add a bold pop like a red (which could be really pretty if she does use a Turkish rug, which tend to have a lot of red in them.)
As a bonus project, I’ll add in one more thing. Textured ceilings can date a space. They drive some people crazy and other people don’t mind them. If Savannah doesn’t like them, I would suggest adding a tongue and groove ceiling and paint it white. It would be a big project but would lend a totally new look to the overall space.
There we go! I hope that gets the wheels turning for Savannah, but also others who might be dealing with some similar decorating dilemmas in their own home.
You can find more Decorating Dilemma posts HERE.