The Kitchen: Our Pride and Joy
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
The Finished Product
The kitchen was for sure the largest part of the whole renovation. It required the most research, decisions, money, and caused the most stress but we couldn't be happier. I wanted to wait to write this blog post until we had utilized the kitchen enough to write honest reviews about everything. Read on to learn where we got everything from, why we made the decisions we did and how we like the functionality of it all. In no particular order...
I actually think appliances deserve their own dedicated blog post. So, for that reason please click here to get the in depth version of appliance selection.
For the purpose of this post I will tell you we went with Whirlpool and Maytag appliances. Whirlpool is the manufacturer to the brands Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, and Amana. Meaning they are all serviced by whirlpool and share the same or similar parts. We heard over and over that Whirlpool was the most reliable brand so for that reason we stuck with the above listed brands when doing our shopping. Ultimately we landed on a Whirpool fridge and Maytag dishwasher, oven, and microwave. Because they are all the same manufacturer, the stainless steel matches.
Pro tip: stainless steel appliances are not all created equal. Stainless steel on Samsung is not necessarily going to match stainless steel on Whirlpool. I recommend going to see them in person if you are considering mismatching brands. Check out the other blog post for the nitty gritty on each appliance.
We knew we wanted an apron front farmhouse sink. Actually, correction, I knew I wanted a farmhouse sink and didn't consider anything else. I have realized that as a person of small stature (on a good day, I'm 5 ft 2 inches) having a farmhouse sink makes it easier for me to do dishes because it allows me to get right up close to the sink. With an apron front sink, there is no counter space between me and Brenton's dirty dishes. Even though I am talking the elimination of maybe 2 inches, when your arms are this short every inch counts. I initially thought I wanted a white fireclay sink and there were two factors that changed my mind. One was the budget and second was the durability. While fireclay sinks are very very durable, they still have the ability to chip or crack and since this is a space we will eventually rent out we went with stainless steel. Stainless was also much more budget friendly compared to a good fireclay sink.
Once again, there are so many stainless steel options. I wanted something long and given the spacing we had available our contractor said nothing longer than 30 inches. So 30 inches it was. I discovered that some sinks have built in accessories and if you know me you know I can't resist a good kitchen gadget. I mentally prepared myself for the accessories to be a gimmick but I'm happy to report that we use them ALL the time. So without further ado, meet the Vigo Oxford Stainless Steel 30 inch single Bowl flat Farmhouse Apron-Front Workstation Kitchen Sink with Accessories. My only complaint, which was a common complaint on single basin sinks in general, is that I wish the water flowed to the drain a little better, sometimes food gets stuck and it's annoying to clean. Other than that we are very satisfied with this sink. It's attractive, feels high quality, and the cutting board and rollup drying rack is a must. We don't take the drying rack down ever and it's great for washing fruits and veggies and letting them air out. The cutting board is great for cutting juicy things that sometimes run off onto the counter like a nice steak or tomatoes. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this sink. Go Vigo, that's my Vigo.
I wanted an industrial and/or modern looking faucet and I wanted one that was black since we knew we were going with black hardware on the cabinets. A warning for those who want a black faucet - MANY of them contained reviews that the black color chipped off. Even the expensive ones. I was really nervous about this because I think that a chipping faucet would really look terrible in a brand new kitchen.
Then I found the VIGO Edison Stainless Steel/Matte Black 1-handle Deck Mount Pull-down Kitchen Faucet. The mixed finish of stainless steel and black was everything I didn't know I wanted! It turned out to be the perfect look for the stainless steel sink and the black hardware. I felt more confident knowing there was less black finish that could potentially chip than an all black version- so fingers crossed we don't have any issues. I also liked the mixed look because if I ever decide to change out the hardware on the cabinets to be brushed nickel, this faucet would still match. Overall it's great. Some reviews say they wish it had better water pressure but I don't find this to be an issue. I actually prefer that when I switch it from the single stream to the spray function it isn't so intense that water splashes back up at me (I hate that!) I also like the size of this faucet because it makes a statement without being overwhelming. I had actually purchased the larger version of this (Vigo Livingston Faucet) and found it to be too tall and it didn't have a retractable hose like this one. Overall, we are happy! Oh, and it was just a coincidence that this was the same brand of the sink, we didn't do that on purpose but I imagine because of this they are extra compatible.
Brenton and I fell in love with a kitchen on Pinterest as discussed in my earlier blog post. That photo is where we learned about "picket" style backsplash. We went on a mission searching for this backsplash. I ordered samples from random tile shops I'd never heard of, looked online, searched Instagram via #picketbacksplash, the whole nine yards. Through all of that I started to feel defeated that we would never find the white picket backsplash we were yearning for until I realized it was right under my nose hanging out at the Home Depot. The LuxeCraft 11 in. x 12 in. x 6.35mm White Ceramic Picket Mosaic Wall was EXACTLY what we were going for, yay! Whoever works for Home Depot SEO, you have some work to do.
Deciding on the grout color was way more difficult than I expected. For whatever reason, we did not put enough thought into it until it was time to decide. I think we were up until midnight that night talking about grout colors. Grout dictates how your tile will look in many ways. Brenton wanted white and I wanted something dark so that it popped. If I am being honest, I wanted black but I am so glad he talked me out of that. So we did what we often do and found a third alternative. Grey. It was just enough color to make the backsplash pop but not so much that it looked too harsh. Overall, we are thrilled with how this backsplash looks and below is a close up of our tile.
The actual name of the grout we used is MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA 10-lb Timberwolf All-in-One Grout which came from Lowes and we used the matching caulk to connect the tile to the counter tops. Timberwolf is the name of the color we selected and it is basically grey, as you can see. There were many shades of grey to chose from and this one was what seemed to work the best for our kitchen. I thought it pulled out the hints of grey in the countertops and wasn't too harsh of a contras against the white tile. I'd like to point out that the tile looks off white in the photos online at the Home Depot but I would say it's definitely a true white which I was happy about. I also appreciate a shiny/glossy tile over a matte tile in the kitchen because it's really easy to clean especially after cooking on a stovetop when sometimes there is splatter.
The Counter Tops
I can't stress it enough - get quartz!!!! While granite countertops are beautiful, they require some maintenance that we did not want to deal with. Did you know you should reseal your granite every single year? The granite in our old house became very dull and stained. Partially because it was old and partially because it wasn't properly cared for. Since this will eventually become a rental, we did not want to rely on renters to seal our counters every year which was a big reason we landed on quartz. Quartz also won't stain. Other types of stone are more porous and can easily stain such as granite and marble. With how many times I've found a spill of coffee or oil on the counter and not realized it I knew we needed quartz. Despite everything I just said, I do love that you can get a really pretty design with granite and don't get me going on leathered granite - I love that too. I also can get on board with some butchers block counters although we were not going for that look this time. We decided on a white quartz which was called Frosty Carina.
Unfortunately I can't get you a link because this was through a local countertop company that was subcontracted by our contractor and I can't find it online however stores like Home Depot and Lowes have very similar options. When it comes to white quartz, there are many beautiful selections. We wanted something that was mostly white with a little accent of grey and that had a design but not one that was too veiny. After caring for these countertops for a few months I can honestly say they are a dream. Easy to maintain and pretty to look at. Quartz for the win!
The Garbage Disposal
I really don't have much to say about our garbage disposal except that it's from my favorite store, you guessed it, COSTCO! We did not do a ton of research on garbage disposals but did find out the recommended horsepower which is based on your household size. The higher the horsepower, the better it will operate. We went with American Standard 1.25 HP Food Waste Disposer which we are aware is much more than we need for two people but it was the best deal and had awesome reviews! So far, so good.
Ah, the best for last. I am so obsessed with our Seaboard Oak Cali Vinyl Longboards - Vinyl Plank Flooring. I was a bit skeptical and a little nervous since we only saw a small sample in person but they really look just like this photo which came off their website. I did A LOT of research on LVP flooring and really wanted an authentic wood look. I wanted to go a little lighter but Brenton liked something with more brown tones so we settled on this color and I am so glad we did. We also went with the long and wide planks which I love. These boards have quite a few different patterned boards and the variety makes it much more realistic. I recommend that anyone installing pay attention and try not to lay two of the same board next to one another. This really makes a difference compared to some LVPs that are so patterned the floors come out looking almost striped. We are both still a little (or a lot) bitter towards the HOA that we couldn't get these throughout the entire place. I already see myself buying these again for our future forever home as long as their durability and easy to maintain-ness holds true. Thank you Cali Bamboo!
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