Cabinets and Countertops

Phew! I finally transferred the house-building posts I managed to finish from my old Wild Archer site to this one and figured I may as well continue. Finishing the series might be a nice way to celebrate our first year in the new house which is coming up at the end of March. It's hard to believe it's been a whole year. I couldn't be happier with our new home.

For cabinets I wanted a simple shaker style for the fronts throughout the house with feet added to the bathroom cabinets. Depending on the room I chose to have them either painted white (SW Snowbound) or stained black ("shadow" provided by our cabinet-makers). In the kitchen I wanted some of each. Since I love contrast but also light openness I went with white cabinets on the perimeter and black for the island. Through the rest of the house they're either one or the other. Also, in the kitchen I wanted a lot of natural light which means windows which means fewer upper cabinets. I was okay with that but Dan was worried about not having a place for things like glasses so I arranged for an upper on either side of the hood for glasses and mugs and the inside wall that backs our mudroom provided plenty of space for appliances and larger cabinets for serving platters, baking dishes, cake stands, and the like. It's so fantastic to have space for all those things without having to entirely unload a cupboard to get what I need.

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We also used our cabinet maker for the lockers in our mudroom. Living in a place with all 4 seasons including a robust winter means each person has a lot of gear. Everywhere we've lived it drove me crazy to have it out all the time and no closet was big enough to handle it all without losing at least 3 pairs of gloves and one pair of boots each winter so I was very excited for a mudroom. Dan was excited to have access to all his gear all year long. I might get a little antsy for spring and pack up all the winter stuff a tad early for his taste. Haha! Now he can get to it all anytime he wants. Each kid has a locker, a cubby, and a basket beneath for all their stuff, including school bags and shoes. Now, I'm not saying they're great at remembering to actually put them away there when they get home but when they do put them away everything now has a place to live. An enormous improvement from, well, every single other place we've lived over the last 15 years. Seriously, finding a home for everything was half the battle at most of the other places we've lived.

Countertops were probably my favorite thing the choose for the house. I went to a few stone yards and they were amazing. If you want to see some gorgeous stone, go look around! Some of the slabs have glittery bits, others look like they're growing galaxies, and others are the most amazing veining! They are truly incredible!

Most of our counters were found from the remnants stack which was awesome because we could get a lot of gorgeous stone for considerably less leaving some money to splurge on a more special slab for the island. 

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The kids baths' are from one quartz remnant that was large enough to do both counters.

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The 4 kids share two bathrooms and they're almost exactly the same. One's a tad smaller than the other but has an extra shelf space behind the door while the other has a longer counter.

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The powder bath is a carrera marble remnant. It's so gorgeous and one of the things that makes it feel extra special.

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The guest bath is a quartz remnant. 

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The master bath is a quartz (there wasn't a remnant the right size and color for what I was looking for).

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The kitchen perimeter counters are a Belgian Blue quartz.

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And my absolute favorite is the island countertop. I love the look of carerra marble but know it's so porous it stains easily and can be difficult to care for so I was looking at a few other things when I stumbled across the most gorgeous superwhite quartzite with swirling gray and white crystals. I fell in love and was ecstatic to learn it was a screaming deal because it was a single slab. The rest of the slab "family" had been used in another project and this wasn't needed for the job but wouldn't be enough for an entire kitchen. What!? I ordered it on the spot and dreamed about it a lot. Then a few weeks later I got the bad news. The slab had cracked in half when it was lifted for shipping. I was so disappointed and sad and felt a little lost on what to do next. Then our stone guy told us he got a call from a supplier about another single superwhite quartzite supreme (a bit stronger than the regular superwhite, apparently)!! It wasn't quite as much of a screaming deal as the first slab but it was certainly within the budget considering how much we'd saved on all our remnant pieces, so we jumped on it. Oh, my heavens, it's beautiful. I seriously squealed out loud every time I thought about it and my excitement on the day the counters were installed was second only to the day we got clearance to move in. I absolutely love them!!

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I did choose some laminate counters for two places. One is the laundry room and the other is the pantry. I wanted something a bit more funky and since they are low-impact areas I thought laminate would be a good fit. I debated between a few and settled on a faux white wood stripe look. I didn't realize just how stripe-y it would look but I really love it!

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I had a bunch of cabinets installed in our laundry room as well as the countertop so there was space not only for the laundry stuff but also room for extra blankets, sheets, and other linens. 

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I designed my pantry as a storage room of sorts. I only have spices and food in the refrigerator in the kitchen. The rest of our food is in the pantry including food storage (no including the freeze dried food storage). I worked with our finishers to design good sized shelves that fit a lot with room on the floor for 5 gallon buckets and jugs of vinegar and stuff. I also had them leave space for our big freezer so it's in the house and I'm more likely to use the food in it. In my experience when I have it in the garage it gets semi-forgotten and the food inside languishes which defeats the whole purpose of having a deep freezer. I had them leave space under the counter for a couple of IKEA wire mesh baskets for fruit, potatoes, and onions. In past kitchens I've had no room for stuff like this so everything ends up living on the counter taking up my precious counter space (usually very limited) or getting kicked around the floor. I love having a place for those things. Finally, I hate the way countertop appliances look in the kitchen and really hate the valuable (and often sparse!) counter space they eat up so I wanted a large counter installed for the toaster, microwave, and blender. Beneath I have shelving for other large appliances I don't use every day, like the crock pot, the mixer, the taffy puller, the waffle iron, etc. Then when I do need them I can get to them easily, and things like the crock pot can be plugged in for cooking in the pantry, again, keeping the kitchen counter space clear for other cooking and baking. It's something I thought about for a really long time and I couldn't love it more.

Annie Preece