Reader Question: Creating a timeless kitchen

Dear Nicole,

I have heard about this blog a million times and never had the time to look at it. Its amazing… wow!

How would you feel about giving me some advice?

I have asked a few people for opinions on this and I am surrounded by semi- professionals , But, Im still very undecided and feel like no one gets what im going for!

Anyway now we are fixing a house that we wont be moving into for a few years, we are going to rent it out. So I don’t need to worry about decorating yet in terms of couches and light fixtures. But, I am picking out  a powder room and kitchen that needs to be to my taste + room for my taste to grow. Everything that I have been seeing seems too sleek for the look I’m going for. How do I balance a vintage look with a modern one in a kitchen…

I know  I want white cabinets, and I am leaning towards a grey ceramic 12×14 grey floor tile. I love marble too, but ceramic is more durable for a tenant. If I do a 12×14 floor tile do I need to match with rectangular tile in backsplash? I found one in stainless steel- but it seems too contemporary. Would u balance that with less sleek hardware and countertop? or would you avoid stainless steel all together? I was thinking ceasarstone in carbone for countertop but I     dont know- do u know anything about that?



Here are my thoughts….

Kitchen trends change A LOT… and the fastest way to date your kitchen is to go hog wild on the trends of the moment. A while ago, people went nuts with the carved wood farmhouse trend and now they are all stuck with expensive rustic kitchens that do not go with their modern houses… And that stuff(cabinetry and countertops) are NOT cheap to change.

My advice: Choose the simplest things that you know you wont get sick of. Dont do lacquer cabinetry, choose simple white or wood with inset doors. Dont worry about hardware because that is easy to change. You can always switch hardware from modern to vintage later on, inexpensively. Same with light fixtures, barstools etc… Those things will add whatever “feel” you want the kitchen to have.

Also, when you build your house THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE!!!! If you build a spanish hacienda in the middle of NYC because it is trendy, you will probably get sick of it! Go with the nature of the house and the surrounding houses to keep your house from being an eye sore in ten years.

Countertops and backsplash…

I love marble in a kitchen, but I wouldnt trust a renter with it. I dont LOVE ceasarstone, but perhaps that is because I never really looked too hard to find something I do like from that collection. If I were going to choose ceasarstone, I would choose one that looked the most solid– not a lot of flecks… or if possible, one that looked like natural stone.

I would do marble as a backsplash because I think marble is elegant, pretty, natural and timeless … That is a cheaper and more durable approach to marble in the kitchen. I have been loving herringbone marble lately, and I think that would make for a gorgeous backsplash.

I particularly like when people inset a little nook for their cooking supplies above the stove, I think those details make a house look really well done and well thought out.

I also love white subway tiles, I feel that is a classic look for a kitchen (especially when it goes up to the cieling) but it is trendy right now, so if you dont LOVE it beware.

Another countertop I love is soapstone. I like the color, the feel and the patina it develops over time.

I am kind of torn on the appliances issue. Stainless vs cabinetted to match… I went with cabinet faces on mine because Sub Zero has a new type of refrigerator/freezer that is totally frameless and my fridge is essentially in my dining room. I wanted it to look more pulled together.

One thing I do recommend is to have an oven(double if you cook a lot!) that is set into the wall as opposed to on the floor. It makes it SO much easier to cook when a wave of steam doesn’t hit you in the face from below every time you check on your food!

I am including a gallery of different kitchens that I like so that you can browse through. My number one advice is NOT TO LISTEN TO ANYONE ELSE! Do what you really truly love and you will be thrilled with the results! Compromise and you will always be longing for your original choices!

Any readers have any advice? What do you think will be out in ten years in terms of kitchens? I think stainless will be on its way, along with lacquer…

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  1. what you said.

  2. I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful

  3. Maureen says:

    Thank you for all your great info! Your response to Nicole on May 10th about timeless kitchens has reconfirmed many of my thoughts.
    Love your site……!!!!!


  1. […] Ceilings are awesome. By Nicole Cohen, on May 18th, 2010 Remember my reader who wanted my advice on building a modern/vintage kitchen she wouldnt get sick […]