Our Refreshing Coastal Kitchen Renovation Reveal

Aug 3, 2023 | DESIGN

We weren’t jazzed about throwing five figures into our coastal kitchen renovation. But, I told my partner renovating the kitchen might very well improve my cooking. So, we rolled up our sleeves, shook hands, and dug in. 

This kitchen renovation included replacing the island, countertops, backsplash, sink, hardware and cooktop. The goal was to transform our kitchen from dark and traditional into light and coastal. Our kitchen renovation proves miracles can happen when you blend the right materials.

The previous owners already replaced the costly kitchen cabinets. I wanted to jive new materials with the cabinets and travertine flooring. As a side note, I don’t love travertine. But, I don’t dislike it enough to demo and replace the entire main level flooring of our home.

The travertine had a polished sheen. This enhanced 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.


We planned to 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 melamine. Wrapping the island with horizontal planks created the rustic vibe we love. It looks great juxtaposed against the more sophisticated countertop. And it coordinates with the existing Navajo White cabinets.

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.

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 oil rubbed bronze handles. Schaub offers handles from five-inches to twelve-inches and several sizes between.

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.


I chose Taj Mahal quartzite countertops. Quartzite adds the perfect movement without competing with the travertine flooring. The fabricator told us many people are replacing their quartzite because it’s no longer on trend. I don’t care. It’s rich and creamy with a hint of gray — and we love it. 

Coastal Kitchen Renovation, Countertops - Julie Pedraza
We added backsplash tile and two floating shelves to the accent wall above. I placed treat canisters on the lower shelf. And I displayed cookbooks on the higher one — high enough that I can reach the treats, but not the cookbooks. Smart cookie, huh?

The idea of charging dirty phones on the countertop grosses me out. 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 our dog’s food/hydration station. No more knocking over water bowls.

Coastal Kitchen Renovation, Island - 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 Newport Brass faucets have me swooning, too. The single handle faucet and hot water dispenser 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 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 the state of California requires it. *sigh*

Coastal Kitchen Renovation, Faucets - Julie Pedraza


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 matte white 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. I’d like to replace the stainless hood. But, it wasn’t a priority during this phase.

Coastal Kitchen Renovation, Backsplash - Julie Pedraza

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

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

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

Selecting a general contractor is the most important step in any renovation. The one we chose understood our creative vision, but that’s where our love story ended. No renovation project is seamless and ours was not. Our project manager was difficult to work with and there were many mistakes made.

The point being, vet, vet, vet. Don’t run with the least expensive quote. Go with the contractor with the most positive client testimonials. Do your due diligence, fasten your seatbelt, and trust the results will be beautiful.

As always, thank you for being here and sharing the articles you appreciate most. Be sure to subscribe to occasional future posts below. If you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment or drop a note. My mind and inbox are always open.


  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. Hi Paula- The backsplash tile is called Concerto. It’s offered in matte and glossy in seven colors. We went with matte white. You can find it at Arizona Tile.

  4. Hi Kathy- I so appreciate your kind words. We chose quartzite Taj Mahal 3cm with a pencil edge. I hope this helps!

  5. Hi,

    This is beautiful. Can you share what the upper cabinet color is?

    Thank you!

  6. Hi Amy- Thank you! The cabinet color is Navajo White. Hope this helps!

  7. I really like your look! I have Taj Mahal countertops and I’m trying to figure out the backsplash and really like how yours came together. Are your counters polished or are they honed/satin? I have the unpolished ones and was wondering fi the matte tiles would work with it?

  8. Hi Kimberly- Thank you! Our quartzite is honed. I’m still loving the look of the honed countertops with the matte tile backsplash. Let me know how yours turn out. I love seeing finished projects.

  9. Obsessed with your quartz countertops! What color/style is the name of this particular one? Thank you!

  10. Hi Angelica- Thank you! The countertops are Taj Mahal quartzite. Arizona Tile offers beautiful slabs. Hope this helps!

  11. Love the ‘tone’ of your kitchen – it feels very calming, if that makes sense. Do you mind sharing what grout color you chose for the backsplash.

  12. Hi Alli- Thank you! The grout color is Snow White. Hope this helps!

  13. Is your Blanco sink white or off white?

  14. So glad I ran into your kitchen remodel post. We too have travertine floors and while I don’t care for them too much, it too don’t want to replace the entire main level floor ( kitchen, living room and one bedroom). We too are looking at Taj Mahal for its neutrality and non conflict with the travertine. I hadn’t seen a kitchen yet with that quartzite and travertine floors. So this was an absolute delight to find yours! I like the idea of sanding the floors down, however I would like to ask. How are they holding up for you, now that you’ve done yours? I’m also enamored with having a hot water dispenser! Thanks for sharing your remodel.

  15. Hi Jenny- Great minds think alike! The sanded travertine floors have held up great. We have boys and dogs, so we definitely need durability. I don’t regret sanding them at all. —And Splurge for the hot water dispenser. I use it multiple times daily!

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