Our kitchen project began with a litany of searches for ‘kitchen islands with travertine flooring’. I don’t particularly like our travertine floors, however, I don’t dislike them enough to rip them out and replace them. Considering this isn’t our forever home, it seems unnecessary to go through the hassle and expense. Plus, travertine is up to the challenge of rough-and-tumble families like ours. So, I focussed on finding greigy-toned materials that would jive with travertine. Spoiler alert: there aren’t many.
I convinced my husband to renovate the kitchen by telling him it would improve my cooking.
KITCHEN ISLAND RENOVATION
The first material we chose for our coastal kitchen project was the countertop. Despite being told local homeowners are ripping-out their quartzite because “it’s no longer on trend,” I fell in love with the color Taj Mahal. It’s rich and creamy with a touch of gray. And it has the perfect amount of movement without competing with the travertine flooring.
We initially thought we’d use wood for the kitchen island base. However, we disliked how the old island showed every droplet of splashed water. The more we researched, we realized we wanted a water-resistant material. We landed on Salt International’s melamine in Canyon Oak. We wrapped the outer perimeter of the island with horizontal planks. It’s rustic, which I love juxtaposed against the more sophisticated Taj Mahal. And it coordinates beautifully with the existing Navajo White cabinets.
We chose hardware by Schaub in Ancient Bronze. Besides loving the style, we chose Schaub because they offer hardware suites with handles in multiple sizes that perfectly coordinate with their knobs.
The existing Navajo White cabinets had five-inch handles, obviously 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 scores major points for offering handles from five-inches to twelve-inches and several sizes in between.
I designed the island with mostly 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, a dog food/supply drawer and a shaker cup drawer for my fitness-obsessed partner and offspring. 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, swim trunks, sunscreens, goggles, and blankets, etc. This makes it super easy for the kids to grab what they need to swim or hang by the fire pit.
This side of the island is where I got crafty. I don’t like dirty phones on the countertop, so I had just 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 latte and cookies on the lower shelf and my cookbooks on the higher one—just high enough that I can’t reach them. Smart cookie, huh?
We sanded the top layer of our polished travertine floors to remove the yellow tone. Now, our once Tuscan travertine resembles the color of sand. It’s perfect for our coastal kitchen vibe.
Who knew you could fall in love with a kitchen sink? Gone are the days of scratched-up and rusted stainless steel sinks. The next time you upgrade your countertops, go with a Blanco sink. They’re hands-down the best sinks around.
My friend, Debbie, recommended this 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 pull down single handle faucet and hot water dispenser by Newport Brass are the best faucets I’ve ever owned. And the oil-rubbed bronze provides dramatic oomph atop the Taj Mahal countertops and Canyon Oak base. Newport Brass designs excellent yet expensive faucets. But, if there’s anything I’ve learned from years of kitchen renovations, it’s splurge on your faucets. Cheaply made faucets are a real drip.
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 California requires it. *sigh*
I wanted to keep the backsplash clean and simple. I’ve found when you add accents to the backsplash, you tire of them and wish you’d gone with a more uniform design. Besides, backsplash accents are trendy. Trends come and go while clean and simple is timeless.
It’s important to dive into renovation projects understanding there will be snafus and planned deadlines will most likely be exceeded. You’ll sleep easier by choosing a general contractor with a creative mind, hyper-attention to detail, and straightforward communication.
We interviewed three Orange County general contractors for our coastal kitchen and guest bathroom renovations (new post coming soon). We chose Eskan Developers because they fully understood our vision. Not to mention, their photography skills are much better than mine. Thanks to Alena for the photos.
The before and after images look like two completely different homes. It’s surprising how tired the old kitchen feels and how refreshed the new kitchen feels. It’s crazy how a new backsplash, countertops and hardware can drastically transform a space.
It feels fantastic to finally have the fresh coastal kitchen we envisioned. Almost fantastic enough to actually cook in it. —xo