Our Refreshing Coastal Kitchen Renovation

Jul 19, 2022DESIGN

Coastal Kitchen Island

Our coastal kitchen renovation is complete and I couldn’t be happier. Our tired traditional kitchen has morphed into coastal cool and we love the results.

The project began with Pinterest searches for kitchen inspiration. Trying to jive new materials with our existing cabinets and flooring was more challenging than anticipated. The flooring is travertine. I don’t love travertine, but I don’t dislike it enough to rip it out and replace it. Too much hassle and expense considering this isn’t our forever home.

Besides, travertine is up to the challenge of rough-and-tumble families like ours. So, my objective was to find greige toned materials that jive with travertine. Spoiler alert: there aren’t many.

I convinced my husband to renovate the kitchen by saying it would improve my cooking.


The first material we chose for our coastal kitchen project was the countertop. Despite our fabricator mentioning many people are replacing their quartzite because it’s no longer on trend, I love it. It’s rich and creamy with a hint of gray. And it has the perfect movement without competing with the flooring.

We thought we’d use wood for the kitchen island base. But, we disliked how the old island showed every droplet of water. The more we researched, we realized we wanted water-resistant material. We landed on Salt International’s melamine in Canyon Oak. Wrapping the perimeter of the island with horizontal planks has the rustic vibe we love. It looks great juxtaposed against the more sophisticated countertop. And it coordinates with the existing Navajo White cabinets. Win-win.

We chose Schaub hardware because they offer hardware suites. The existing Navajo White cabinets had five-inch handles with holes already drilled. We knew handles that small would be too puny for the island. I was gaming for eight-inch and ten-inch handles. Schaub offers handles from five-inches to twelve-inches and several sizes in between. Score.

Kitchen Island Renovation - Julie Pedraza

I designed the island with drawers and pull-outs. I find drawers much more functional than cabinets, especially when they’re lower. So, I opted for a trash/recycling pull-out with a sub-drawer for trash liners. There is also a nifty dog food drawer. The only cabinet is under-the-sink.

On the patio/pool side of the island, I opted for four equally-sized drawers for pool towels and swim trunks. This makes it super easy for the kids to grab what they need to swim or hang by the fire pit. One of the drawers contains board games for quick-grab family fun.

Coastal Kitchen Renovation

This side of the island is where I got crafty. I don’t like dirty phones on the countertop, so I had enough depth to add a charging station shelf. It’s equipped with a USB outlet, phone sanitizer/charger and Google Home. Below the charging shelf is Georgi’s and Bodhi’s food/hydration station. No more knocking over water bowls.

We added backsplash tile and two floating shelves to the accent wall above. I keep canisters of chai and matcha lattes on the lower shelf and my cookbooks on the higher one — high enough that I can’t reach them. Smart cookie, huh?

The travertine flooring was previously polished. This enhances the yellow in the stone. I loathe yellow. So, we sanded the top layer to remove the yellow tone. Now, our once Tuscan travertine resembles the color of sand. It’s perfect for our coastal kitchen vibe.

Kitchen Island Sink - Julie Pedraza
My friend recommended a Blanco sink and it does not disappoint. It’s scratch, stain, heat and rust resistant. In other words, sign me up. I’m forever ruined and will never have a scratched-up stainless steel sink again.

The faucets have me swooning, too. The single handle faucet and hot water dispenser by Newport Brass are the best faucets I’ve ever owned. And the oil-rubbed bronze is the drama I wanted atop the Taj Mahal countertops. Newport Brass designs excellent yet expensive faucets. But, if there’s anything I’ve learned from years of kitchen renovations, it’s that cheap faucets are a drip. Always budget for better faucets.

Let’s pretend the little nubby piece next to the faucet isn’t there. It’s an air gap. I don’t like it, but the state of California requires it. *sigh*

Coastal Kitchen Cabinet Color

I wanted to keep the backsplash clean and simple. I’ve found when you add accents to the backsplash you tire of them. Besides, backsplash accents are trendy. Trends come and go while clean and simple is timeless.

We needed tile that would coordinate with the existing cabinets. So, we chose rectangular matte Concerto tile. Each tile has tonal differentiation with a smidge of texture. To complete the facelift of this side of the kitchen, we added a new cooktop. Ideally, I’d like to replace the stainless hood. But, it wasn’t a priority during this phase.

I’m thrilled with our kitchen renovation. But, there’s one detail I’ll change in our next kitchen. When I design our future kitchen from scratch, I’ll eliminate the upper cabinets. I love the industrial vibe of open shelving. I’m a minimalist with little to no clutter. So, an upper shelf of quick-grab Fable dinnerware and cups is all I need.

It’s important to remember renovation projects will have snafus. Most deadlines will come and go. It’s helpful to choose a GC with a creative mind and attention to detail. We chose Eskan Developers because they understood our vision. They took our coastal kitchen inspiration and brought it to life. And their photography skills are much better than mine. Thanks to the talented Alena for taking amazing photos.

The before and after images look like two different homes. What a difference a new backsplash, countertops and hardware can make. It feels good to have a refreshed kitchen. —Almost good enough to cook in it.

Kitchen Renovation Before Photo - Julie Pedraza
Kitchen Renovation After Photo - Julie Pedraza

As always, thank you for being here and sharing the articles you appreciate most. Be sure to subscribe to occasional future posts below. For bonus inspiration, my curated Pinterest Boards and Instagram Stories are yours for the taking. And if you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment or reach out via email. My mind and inbox are always open. —xo


  1. Beautiful kitchen renovation!!!! Thanks for sharing with inspiration with all of us. I am looking at the same Taj Mahal for our renovation. I must decide this week. Yikes!!!! Did you go with 2cm or 3cm and what edge did you choose?

  2. Hello. Can you please send a link to your kitchen backsplash? It is exactly what I’m looking for. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for your patience, Kathy. I so appreciate your compliment. We chose quartzite Taj Mahal 3cm with a pencil edge. I hope this helps!

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