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Old 12-13-2014, 05:00 PM
 
Location: East Coast
673 posts, read 597,553 times
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Hi Folks!


OK, so DH and I will be moving to the Chicago suburbs next month, and plan on purchasing a home within the next 2-4 months. Most likely, it will be an older house, even a period home. We've viewed Victorian, Prairie, Craftsman, and American four-square, as well as old, tired houses from the '50s through the '90s.

Some kitchens have been in various stages of reno, but most still can be totally gutted and renovated to today's standards and buyers. (note- we will be in the area for around 5 years, so keeping resale in mind is very important.)

In reading various threads in this Design forum, I realized that I haven't kept up with either newer products, such as those kitchens utilizing newer materials or appliances, structures, or layout with improved function. Nor do I really understand what's considered a "classic" and timeless kitchen versus too trendy at this point.

It would help to understand this as I'm viewing houses...gotta keep in mind which houses will need kitchen reno's, and how much that could cost!

Specifically, I'd like to know what is the classic or timeless style/color of cabinets, counter tops, floors, islands (or not) flooring, etc. Back-splash as well.

Then, if different, discuss what's trending now.

I'd like to hear about your own kitchen, and if you've done any renovation...either contracted out, or on your own. Any insight? What projects were the easiest? Most difficult? Cost? Post some photos, too!

If you will kindly respond, and post answers to my questions, I'd appreciate it! Also, if not too much trouble, could you post your own kitchen's attributes? Anything you had installed that you've found to be helpful? Unusual?

If possible, post photos! Of your own kitchen, and/or your "ideal" kitchen! Also, please recommend any good websites or books!

Finally, we will most likely have to paint the existing cabinets, or install new ones. For painting the cabinets, is creamy white the usual? Most desirable? I've seen some grey...is that too modern or trendy for period houses?

In thinking about purchasing very good quality wood kitchen cabinets, does anyone have any links and good resources you wouldn't mind sharing? I like good-quality solid wood cabinets with a medium-dark stain. But, that might be out of style now. (Someone spoke about RTA cabinets in another thread...what the heck is that?)

thank you so much!

Dandiday
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:27 PM
 
4,675 posts, read 8,113,193 times
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First, it depends what you ultimately buy.

I have no idea what is popular in the Chicago area. I only know what's popular in New England and coastal North Carolina.

What do YOU like?

One thing which has made me crazy since the granite craze took hold......is busy backsplashes with granite. I hate it.. especially when one has picked a very expensive slab. That slab should be the star of the kitchen, not competing with the backsplash. I prefer easy clean backsplash tile 4x4. If white cabinets, I use white. If wood colored cabinets, I'll go with an off-white.....so it just recedes into the background.

If it were a perfect world.....I'd have white cabinets..........with marble. LOVE the look of marble. BUT....it's a PITA. So marble look Caesarstone would have to do.

That being said...soapstone is my preferred counter top material. I love the way it feels, looks and it's easy to take care of.

It depends too at what point you are in your life. This is not going to be your forever house. My next home will be my forever home.....my retirement home. So it's going to be a lot different than anything I've had before. Frankly, it's going to take some getting used to.

Good luck on the house hunt. Just remember - nothing is perfect.

You asked about painting cabinets. Depends what cabinets are there. I repainted mine as they were all solid oak stained a very ugly dark walnut. After I stripped them, I discovered they were white and red oak...so good thing I had planned on painting. Even the boxes and shelves are oak. No way was I going to remove those handbuilt cabinets from the late 19th century. It's very laborious to do right.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:54 PM
 
Location: East Coast
673 posts, read 597,553 times
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ocngypz, thanks for your post, and some comments.
I've never really heard of soapstone - what are the attributes you like about it? I did love my granite - because of the pattern! I paired it with the cream-white cabinets in my old house. Plain neutral tumbled marble back splash in a diamond pattern, so the granite was the star!

It was creme de bordeaux, with cream, dark tans, greys, some black flecks, and curves of bordeaux-colored lines and specks swirling through the mix. It was sublime!

I despised the white cabinets...too hard on the eyes, and showed every fingerprint (kids!).

Most of the houses I viewed had either the old 80's medium-golden oak cabinets, or white ones, which as I said, I don't like.

I'm actually trying to gather up as much info as possible now, in order to be prepared to reno the kitchen in any house we purchase. So, I'd really appreciate it if people could help me out and answer a lot of my questions.

Many of the houses had that oak...so, I'd either paint them (which color?), or remove them and purchase anew (links to good manufacturers/sources).

Also, most of the houses had hardwoods in the kitchen. I saw this mentioned in another thread...I would NEVER have hardwood by choice in a kitchen. Even splashes from washing hands could leave permanent watermarks!

These floors were already sealed with a poly very well - but, with the splashes, a major leak from the dishwasher and then the fridge ruined them. Ditto for a leak in the toilet in a powder room. In my experience, wood doesn't belong in a functional kitchen. So, I'm open to options here as well.

Can you recommend any good on-line links for kitchens?

thanks!

Dandiday
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:15 PM
 
11,011 posts, read 8,554,101 times
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Do you use Houzz?
Go to Houzz.com - you'll need to create an account.
Select Photos, then Kitchens.
Look at the options on the left side, under Style select Craftsman and/or Traditional.
Then under Location, select Chicago.

You'll be able to browse many photos of great kitchens that will give you inspiration. You can "save" the photos you like best, and even make a note saying what you like or don't like about them.

If you think you want a certain style or finish cabinet or countertop or backsplash, you can also select that in the options on the left side, but that will drastically reduce the number of photos, since many pics don't state a style and will be left out. I don't like white cabinets and I've had good luck using "dark wood" as an option.

I'm not familiar with Chicago houses, but in many places in the U.S., painted kitchen cabinets wouldn't fit well with a Craftsman, Prairie, or 4-Square house. And white/cream would be a definite no. Either would likely negatively impact the resale value. Buyers of those homes want real wood grain. Doesn't have to be oak - although gorgeous classic oak is the most common, walnut is also popular.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:46 PM
 
4,675 posts, read 8,113,193 times
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We own a house built in 1908.

Everything thing in the kitchen except the counter has been white since the day it was built. Floor is white tile. Little hex tiles. The only thing not original in the kitchen is the range, refrigerator and new lino was placed on the counter c. 1947

It's an expanded, dormered cape.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: East Coast
673 posts, read 597,553 times
Reputation: 648
Thumbs up great help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitmom View Post
Do you use Houzz?
Go to Houzz.com - you'll need to create an account.
Select Photos, then Kitchens.
Look at the options on the left side, under Style select Craftsman and/or Traditional.
Then under Location, select Chicago.

You'll be able to browse many photos of great kitchens that will give you inspiration. You can "save" the photos you like best, and even make a note saying what you like or don't like about them.

If you think you want a certain style or finish cabinet or countertop or backsplash, you can also select that in the options on the left side, but that will drastically reduce the number of photos, since many pics don't state a style and will be left out. I don't like white cabinets and I've had good luck using "dark wood" as an option.

I'm not familiar with Chicago houses, but in many places in the U.S., painted kitchen cabinets wouldn't fit well with a Craftsman, Prairie, or 4-Square house. And white/cream would be a definite no. Either would likely negatively impact the resale value. Buyers of those homes want real wood grain. Doesn't have to be oak - although gorgeous classic oak is the most common, walnut is also popular.
Hi Biscuitmom!

Great response! I only recently discovered houzz, mentioned by another post in this forum somewhere. Sounds like it has many different uses - especially keeping track of favorites! Thank you for the explanation and link. Also, it helps to have the area of the country, as the styles and appeal do conform, in general, to what people tend to consistently use.

I'll have to research the different styles/ages of houses mentioned in this thread, as we viewed many homes that were of those time periods.

To my surprise, any reno's done to most of these houses didn't keep the character of the homes in mind as they renovated! One would think that would be important. For instance, just one or two of the 20 or so houses we viewed had painted over all of the beautiful natural wood trim! (yes, white!) Molding, oak built-ins, banisters, door trim, etc. included.
The kitchens were either left untouched, or hadn't been reno'd since the '50's through '80's. Several houses had old, cheap cabinets with those thin doors painted white. Then, others simply left the golden oak cabinets left as they were.

One house that I really liked, had renovated the kitchen in the '90's, but it had light maple cabinets with modern hardware, and black granite. This was an American 4-square...the modern kitchen seemed very out of place and character to the rest of the house! Not to mention the white-painted shelves and woodwork everywhere else.

I was told by several realtors to "just paint those cabinets white" which stunned me! If I did anything, I'd sand and re-stain the cabinets a darker neutral stain. Again, I thought it was out of character from the home. They also told me that most of their clients wanted white trim, along with white trim, molding, and any other woodwork.

So, that confused me, which is another reason that prompted me to start this thread. Knowing that their Chicago clients preferred this seemed odd to me. I would think it's nice to retain the original woodwork and stain. It's definitely my preference!

Houzz sounds like it could really be a great adjunct to my research as I view more houses.
Thanks a bunch! This was a great help!

Cheers, Dandiday
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:42 AM
 
4,675 posts, read 8,113,193 times
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Natural versus white trim.

Ah............well...it depends.

If the house when built was of the let's call it "upscale" variety.....the millwork, etc was of fine quality wood and workmanship... yes, it should be left alone.

However, many houses were built with inferior grades of wood that just isn't worth the time and trouble to bring it back to "as new".

Also with many older homes, there is insufficient natural daylight. Combine this with all the stained woodwork.. and it becomes dark and depressing.

I've only had one house where all the millwork, doors, etc was natural wood. We built the house and I selected natural cherry. It was in the desert southwest and really helped bring a warmth to an otherwise stark looking southwest home. However, there was plenty of natural daylight in the house so it didn't feel claustrophic.

Here in NE... if you take two identical houses.. say built in 1900. Once with natural wood millwork and the other with white painted millwork.........the white painted millwork house will sell first.

Go father back to colonial days............millwork was by and large painted.. even in the more upscale houses. In some, one room.... a library or some gathering room.....fine wood paneling would be used... stained and finished. And a devil to take care of.

The one thing I really really like about white millwork painted with high gloss enamel......is it wears like iron. With kids and pets.........it's a natural!
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:25 AM
 
Location: East Coast
673 posts, read 597,553 times
Reputation: 648
Default Brings me back...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocngypz View Post
We own a house built in 1908.

Everything thing in the kitchen except the counter has been white since the day it was built. Floor is white tile. Little hex tiles. The only thing not original in the kitchen is the range, refrigerator and new lino was placed on the counter c. 1947

It's an expanded, dormered cape.
OK- what color is the countertop? Do you have to repaint the cabinets often?
I'm going to have to get a book on period houses to read about original fixtures and colors...

However, I thought putting a "classic" or timeless kitchen in would be acceptable, too. So, that brings me back to my original questions; what is a good kitchen to put in for a more classic/timeless look? Style? colors?

Thanks!
Dandiday
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
50,550 posts, read 40,036,432 times
Reputation: 71570
We just gutted and remodeled our kitchen a few months ago (it was actually completed just about a month ago). I had a thread going about it, step by step. Here it is:

//www.city-data.com/forum/house...es-coming.html

It was an amazing transformation and we are very, very happy with it! We had a contractor do the work - it cost us more but after seeing their professionalism vs what we'd be bumbling about doing, I am glad we made that choice.

I definitely wanted a classic look - not a trendy look. Long story short, we ended up with painted cabinets (which I LOVE), soapstone counter tops, stainless steel appliances, farmhouse sink, translucent subway tile backsplash, and travertine flooring.

The thread details every step of the project. Enjoy! And feel free to ask any questions. I will be happy to help in any way I can.
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:30 AM
 
Location: East Coast
673 posts, read 597,553 times
Reputation: 648
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocngypz View Post
Natural versus white trim.

Ah............well...it depends.

If the house when built was of the let's call it "upscale" variety.....the millwork, etc was of fine quality wood and workmanship... yes, it should be left alone.

However, many houses were built with inferior grades of wood that just isn't worth the time and trouble to bring it back to "as new".

Also with many older homes, there is insufficient natural daylight. Combine this with all the stained woodwork.. and it becomes dark and depressing.

I've only had one house where all the millwork, doors, etc was natural wood. We built the house and I selected natural cherry. It was in the desert southwest and really helped bring a warmth to an otherwise stark looking southwest home. However, there was plenty of natural daylight in the house so it didn't feel claustrophic.

Here in NE... if you take two identical houses.. say built in 1900. Once with natural wood millwork and the other with white painted millwork.........the white painted millwork house will sell first.

Go father back to colonial days............millwork was by and large painted.. even in the more upscale houses. In some, one room.... a library or some gathering room.....fine wood paneling would be used... stained and finished. And a devil to take care of.

The one thing I really really like about white millwork painted with high gloss enamel......is it wears like iron. With kids and pets.........it's a natural!
This definitely helps to know...yes, it was quite dark and cloudy during my house-hunting venture. I thought the white looked too bright, cold and modern, and still liked the warmth of the wood trim. However, the house I viewed with all of the millwork had more windows than walls! So, I see that the windows could compensate for the dark feeling and surroundings rendered by the wood.

Great perspective and information - thanks for commenting on this!
Thanks,

Dandiday
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