21 March 2007

interactive renovation (a la Joke)

[or 'Help me, I lack inspiration and need to stop banging my head against the wall'].

We are about to renovate our hideous pale green cheap laminate kitchen.

Replacing it with another cheap laminate but hopefully not hideous kitchen. This is where you come in.

I need help with colours and finishes. I have a vague idea in my head that I want all natural finishes (ha, laminate being oh-so-natural ...) to go with this rustic au naturel house. The house is mudbrick so the walls are beige and muddy and uneven, the floors red brick, the cathedral ceiling exposed dark timber with stainless steel ceiling fan. The applicances will be stainless steel with the exception of the existing fridge and microwave which are white and refuse to die so must remain.

We know the layout - L-shaped with the sink in front of the window so I can gaze at the view while washing dishes, and a large island bench behind you (if you're standing at the sink which you do a lot with a family of five) with a big overhang on the far side at which children will eat breakfast while sitting on dark brown wicker stools.

I have a cobalt blue kettle, and several Le Creuset pots n pans in blue too.

We have been through a renovation before and Mr Soup (who thought we were moving to this house because it would never ever ever need anything doing to it hahahahahahahahhahaha oh hahahahahaha) is concentrating on exterior colours ("mud, beige or brown, dear?") and is giving me carte blanche to make the kitchen decisions.

Okay so far?

I've had a look at all the laminate samples and laminate has come a loooong way. (It's also all we can afford). I'm tending to a woodgrain finish for the cupboard doors which by the way must be flat with no profiles or grooves to catch icky kitchen grease and dust. I'm also leaning towards benchtops in a beautiful pale stone effect. Splashback tiles yet undecided, but again something in a neutral/natural finish. Or not. Maybe that's where colour will come in?

BUT, here is my particular challenge. I want the benchtop on the island bench to be a beautiful piece of timber. So that particular bench will differ from the remaining benches. Now, do I go for plain white doors/drawers beneath the island benchtop (because I don't want wood finish doors and a wooden top)? And if so, should all the doors and drawers around the rest of the kitchen be white too, or should I stick with the wood look for them? What kind of wood? Not too pale, as the stone effect bench tops will be pale, but not too dark as there will be overhead cupboards and the house is already quite brownish, as you can probably imagine. If you're still with me.

I am going to work for the next couple of days. And then to a wedding on a beach at dawn.

When I return on Sunday, I would like you to have [virtually] renovated my kitchen.

33 comments:

sooz said...

My sister out law, who lives in a muddie in Eltham recently did her kitchen par excellence in dark grey laminate. It looks freaking great. I love it and wish it were mine. And yours.

Also, we have wooden tops on our island benches, it is Jarrah in strips like is used for butchers blocks. Was not too expensive and super hardy - we've oiled it and have been using it as our chopping board for 6 years and it looks pretty much the same as it did when we first got it.

Lilli boo said...

I couldn't resist commenting as I love your enthusiam for the ideas for your kitchen. My suggestion is you need to look at the Laminex range(no I don't work for them) but I have specified them over the years and they have a great range and there would be a white with a suitable tone. Two types of timber can work they just have to be the 'right' timber. email me if you want as I am a qualified Interior Designer. it's such a visual medium you really will need to through some samples on to the benchtops and tape a sample to the door to get that feel/look right.

shula said...

stick with the stone theme. plain plain plain plain plain.

Sand is good, too. I did a kitchen once in sand, it was beautiful.

I'd be careful of too much wood finish, if it's not wood. Less is more, in a kitchen.

Okay, that's my 3 bob.

Joke said...

Ooh! Great!

But, um, what does the current hideous kitchen look like? (No need for shame, mine looks 10x worse.)

-J.

nutmeg said...

My only suggestion is that if you are going to have a different, beautiful piece of timber on the island, I suppose, if you didn't want wooden doors (too many different wood types would be distracting) you could use glass - frosted, coloured. Or you could use that look they had in the "good ole days" in the country with steel mesh or something similar on the doors. I've seen the latter done with amazing effect and it may fit into your houses "scheme". Just thoughts :-)

Melanie said...

I'm not particularly helpful here, but my suggestion is to make sure you pick everything first and make sure it all 'goes'. Our half-renovated kitchen remains that way (benchtops and tiles done) because we can't pick a finish for the cabinetry which goes the way I want it to. Aaargh... I hate DIY renovation.

BabelBabe said...

i spent a lot of time working with laminate when i painted newsroom sets in my previous exciting career : ) Look at some of the gorgeous stone/granite-look ones. you do not want fake wood anything - no matter how nice - if you have a gorgeous real wood counter top. the wood laminate will suffer in comparison. maybe a darker beige-y, sand-y stone look with veins of greyish/blue? and you do NOT want white. trust me. you will be forever scrubbing. If i can find appropriate samples rattling around my basement, i will scan them and email you the scans.

blackbird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blackbird said...

Okay -
let's begin again...

timber bench - wonderful
white cabinets beneath it, yes.

no wood laminate - will look bad near beautiful timber bench.
perhaps sagey green?

I too need photos...

Ash said...

I too would steer clear of too much wood finish. Otherwise, the timber island sounds fabulous. Plain is good. I have recessed handles on my plain cream laminate kitchen. I love them, nothing to catch my hips or clothes on as I walk past.

String Bean said...

I need photos. Maybe I can re-do your kitchen and you can re-do mine. Sound like a plan?

I want something in sunny yellow with warm wood. I like the idea of sage green with a light wood for yours. The timber for a benchtop sounds good, too.

Mrs J said...

We have a very pale blue doors underneath wooden tops, which is great with our cold northen light & slate floors but I think that a painted finish might set off your wooden top -maybe an earth tone or a warm sage green? If you want a change its easy to achieve & they do wipe. We use an almost matt effect eggshell paint. Good luck anyway ..its always a brain bender choosing new looks & colours!

Susan said...

We did the kitchen reno. about 6 years ago. We got recycled redgum studs and a builder turned them into benchtops and island benchtop. All the cupboard doors are dead flat MDF painted in a dark sage gloss. Tiles are a pale cream (called vanilla) with black grout. Walls a warm white. Best of all we got two full length pantry cupboards, so nothing gets lost at the back of a deep cupboard. The reno. cost about $5000. one third of which was the pantry cupboards. We did the tiling, sanded and sealed the benchtops, used existing appliances, got a S/S double bowl sink at a scrap yard for $20. You can do it on the cheap without it having to look cheap. I can email pics if you want a squiz (the black grout sounds strange, but it works). If you stick to lighter tones you won't run the risk of gloominess. Good luck - our kitchen was in the pipeline for four years, and I'm mighty glad I didn't run with the first ideas I had.

meggie said...

Nothing to add, but good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm a lurker coming out of the woodwork. We have just bought some bush acres with a horrible house that will also need a new kitchen. I have been looking at the houses for sale on realestate.com.au and saving pictures of kitchens I like. Lots of inspiration there! ....have fun with the reno!!

Stomper Girl said...

I've got no suggestions either (beyond saying I love real wood) but snaps* to all these commenters who are offering great suggestions. If I ever had to renovate I would be sub-contracting design stuff to people like this too!

(*from me and Kath Day-Knight)

Surfing Free said...

I have a kitchen with wooden cupboards and a wooden top and I HATE it ... it's so dark. All of that wood traps the light and will not let it out so that you can see what you are cutting/stirring/tasting/washing. So I say - what cupboards and a beautiful wooden top. Because I LOVE white, particularly in a kitchen.

Surfing Free said...

That should be white cupboards not 'what' cupboards. I am a moron.

martinasds said...

Hi there,
have been reading your blog for some time - am a crafter, maker in London, do not blog - but work part time in a kitchen showroom planning and installing German kitchens here in SW London.
Happy to help any way I can even putting your measurements on our design programme and giving you some 3 D pictures for input - time allowing.
Let me know if you need help.
Martina

Anonymous said...

I am a color consultant and firmly believe that the colors you choose should be in harmony with the tones of the wood and your flooring. You can go with any color as long as the tone and value you choose have a good relationship to the wood. I also agree with everone's comments about putting laminate wood up against the real thing....it will look cheap by comparison. Paint the cabinets and for fun you can paint the inside a different color!
We all spend enough time in our kitchens, they should be beautiful.
Christine

h&b said...

The whole wenge/white combo is still red-hot at the moment, so there will be plenty of displays for you to look at.

Get the Freedom Kitchens brochure sent to you: http://www.freedomkitchens.com.au
I'm pretty sure there's something you're envisioning in there.

I dunno though. With the kind of house I know you live in .. i'm not sure if i'd swap & change with the substrates/combos.

I'd tend to think you'd need to keep with the white - for light, and continuity.

That's me though.

If you want, I can email you my sister's light-island-bench-in-a-dark-70's-home ( I love it ! ).

I actually commissioned a beautiful slab of wood for a past bathroom vanity reno, that I coupled with wood doors that was so beautiful ... but yeah, in a big kitchen the 'too much wood' look gets the dark&dated tick of disapproval.

Good luck !
( house-n-baby@hotmail.com )

h&b said...

Oh, and whoever said about r/e.com.au. I live there.
I have folders and folders of saved stuff from houses I just loved. Totally recommend this ( and it's cheaper than clipping endless mags ).

Hopefully when I get around to my own kitchen reno, i'll know exactly what i'm doing.

Lovely.

Violet & Rose said...

Suse, you are not updating in my bloglines! Just in case you thought I may have deserted you in your obvious (kitchen) hour of need. We are also planning a new kitchen at the moment. And I am as stumped as you. Timeless, yet current. Light but not pale. Cheap, yet looks tres expensive. All I can say is goodluck. And I hope it doesn't rain for the wedding!

My float said...

The only suggestion I can make is that the splashback behind the stove might look good in silver. The glass ones can crack if the house continues to settle and the tiled ones get icky.

That, my dear Suse, is the extent of my interior design ability! I will, however, expect pics!!

My float said...

By silver, I mean metal. As opposed to silver colour. It also helps reflect light.

Anonymous said...

I love simple colour best. You will be never sick of simple and fresh, clean look of "white"! Imagine your beautiful blue kettle with white cupboard. YW

Karan said...

I say, avoid wood-look laminate...maybe go stone or have a commercial looking metal counter. Make each of the drawers different colors like those pretty stripey socks you knit.

Janet said...

I know I'm coming late to this one but I can't resist putting my two cents in. I say no to the fake wood and yes to the gorgeous piece of feature wood, for all the reasons that everyone else said. Not big on white myself, except for ceilings maybe. Hard to say without pics and experience of the light but I'd be thinking of some lighter (but not so light it shows every bit of dirt) colour laminate for the doors etc. I also love stainless steel for bench tops, you can clean bread dough off them easily and bang hot pans down willy nilly. But they're hard to keep looking schmick and polished, so I'd be in two minds..

Lazy cow said...

Have nothing new to say (but when has that ever stopped me?) Love the idea of a timber feature top. We have stone composite bench tops which are indestructible, I LOVE them. I like the idea of white cabinetry, but was too scared to go for it myself. No help whatsoever, sorry! But good luck, you've got lots of great suggestions here.

Jeanne said...

Personally, I love wood grain and blues in combination -- almost any shade of either works. Greens are good, too.

I have off-white cabinets and they are next-to-impossible to keep clean. Love the bright, fresh look of white, but only if there is a resident maid (which I have not got). I am at the moment searching for the right shades of cream (walls) and Scandinavian blue-grey-green (cupboards) to go with the clear glass reproduction handles and drawer knobs I've got my eye on....

Liz said...

Have no advice, but just stopped by and had to say I'm mad jealous. My kitchen needs everything -- including new walls, ceiling, floor. Unfortunately, for now, it is in line behind the leaking roof and the falling down shower. Someday. I'll be checking back to see the updates and drool.

elena jane said...

we redid our kitchen a few years ago, with wood panel cabinets that are similar in colour to the pale oak wood laminate flooring. we love it, but imo, the woods have to complement one another. dark makes a room small (we have light wood). i don't like white, but that's me thinking of it picking up dirt and all sorts.
good luck and have fun...

sueeeus said...

Have you considered concrete? It can be inexpensive and fabulous. Or horrible if it's botched. Or very expensive if you hire a pro. I want to do concrete countertops in my dream home one day. I saw a shoestring kitchen makeover recently in which epoxy grout was used to simulate the look of a concrete top. It was applied over the existing ugly laminate, then sanded to a smooth finish. It looked good from a distance, but I'd like to see it up close. It only cost about $40, and if you're ripping out the existing formica/laminates anyway, you might be able to experiment. Who knows, you might like it. If I experiment in the near future, I'll let you know how it turns out. How exciting! I love the thrill of a fresh new look. :)