Renovation Update: Big Progress!

There was MASSIVE kitchen progress last week- we have about a week to go before it’s pretty much done! I CANNOT wait- constructions dust, eating crappy, living in my bedroom- it’s all gotten very very old, even though my crew from Wellbuilt is moving REALLY fast!  But it is quickly becoming so worth it as I see everything come together! I think halfway through the process it’s easy to think “Ugh, why did I even start this?” but now that I see the finish line I am thrilled.

But of course, I had a mini-meltdown on Friday about the decisions I’d made- the cabinet color was bugging me and then my counters went in and they looked darker than when I saw the slabs in the warehouse AND they came will huge water stains in them.  Seeing as I paid a FORTUNE for these special Brazilian quartzite slabs that I was told would NOT stain like marble because they were “harder than granite”, I was furious.  I still kind of am, but we have someone coming to look at them tomorrow.  And when I woke up yesterday morning and came downstairs to see my backsplash in it brought everything together and I fell in love.  I didn’t do so bad.

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The grout has not been applied yet but it is the same grey color as the cabinets.  I love how crisp and clean it looks. And the brass hardware, which I was doubting as well, now pops.  They are the 306 pull from Colonial Bronze in matte sating brass (they have SO MANY brass finishes!!!)

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I SUPER LOVE my Blanco sink from Waterspot. Huge, sleek and a fab mix of traditional and modern- in fact it’s double sided- one side has a more rounded country look the other (which I installed facing out) is a bit more squared off. GENIUS!!!

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While there is drama with the counters they are pretty awesome looking with their linear veins (it’s Luna de Luce/ Bianco Macaubas quartzite).

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I’m glad we did a glass door into the mudroom (paper not removed from panes yet) to let more light in. And the lower cabinet color now works for me (it’s Benjamin Moore’s Cape May Cobblestone).

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And my cabinets. OH my cabinets. They are the most well made, amazing things I have come across in the biz.  The soft close drawers actually CLOSE (I’ve had many before that just stick open) and all the woodwork is exceptional.  Never mind all the special interior dividers and such that will make organizing a breeze.  I highly recommend Vermont Custom Cabinetry who made them and helped design the layout.  I got the name from my Dad who has used them many times before and I’m very glad for that.  Cabinets are the most important part of the kitchen design process( and the most expensive) and I feel like I got every penny worth of value.

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And these babies will go up Tuesday… I ordered the other ones too (which are from England BTW) just in case.  Whichever pair I decide not to use I’ll be selling, I’m sure! :)

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It’s still a mess, but you can see how much it opened up the dining room ( I guess it’s more like dining AREA) too.  That opening will be cased this week and crown molding will go up!

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We’re SO CLOSE!!! :)

92 comments

  1. Kitchen looks great, what were the factors that made you choose this custom cabinetry company over say…IKEA? Was it because of your layout? (Our kitchen is 9′ w x 11′ long). We have not made a final decision on cabinets. IKEA would cost much less and we could splurge on a new fridge, stove and finally a dishwasher.

  2. Ray- custom cabinets and IKEA are night and day- if your space is a simple layout and you don’t need much customization IKEA cab work. But in more complicated kitchens you need a custom fit. Our layout and installation was very complicated. Quality is different too. These are handmade solid wood with custom painted finish. Again- on a budget and basic colors are ikea specialties and can be great for that purpose.

  3. wow! everything looks so great! Thanks so much for including your paint colors for the cabs and all your sources. It really frustrates me when people post great renos and then don’t give us all the details. So thank YOU!

    quick question – we will be building in the summer and I’m in the process of getting my lights lined up and checked out your UK company. Are the light bulbs the same over there or will I need special bulbs if I order their light fixtures? Anything else I need to know if I order from an overseas company? Thanks for any advice :)

  4. The next week is the best part — appliances, grout, lighting, trim work. We did a similar project last summer and I remember the first night when most everything was installed, I turned on the cabinet/undercabinet lighting and the whole kitchen/dining area glowed. It was worth it!! What a beautiful difference since you bought your home last summer. I’m still trying to figure out how you stained the floors after moving your things into the house:-) I love the Hicks pendants (LOVE) but now that I see your kitchen I have a feeling the English pendants may be lighter and cleaner. I love Hicks with high ceiling rooms. Did you consider the brass version? Enjoy your new space!

  5. !5% cashmere? Don’t do it. Stupid label purchase. There are probably knockoffs with more cashmere. Won’t your dogs just pee on it?

  6. God, I love it. The counters are just what I want. Thanks, now I’m starting to hate my dark counters ;) Seriously, all the white light airiness I adore. Nice work.

  7. Erin,
    I was not suggesting you do not pay for their services or that they are not doing good work, but what I was wondering about was whether part of the reason you got a “good deal” from your resources was because of the promise of positive blog mentions. You pretty much confirmed that you are paying less when you noted “I don’t like the insinuation that I’m JUST plugging these people because they pay me to” (I highlighted the “just”). Clearly you are plugging them because they do good work AND because they are paying you to.

    I appreciate that another reader, Rebecca, noted that I was just looking for honesty here – not hostility. Since you have so many loyal readers – it seems important to disclosure such sponsorship.

    Anyway, your kitchen looks like it will be lovely. Right on trend too! :)

  8. Beverly and Rebecca- I’m not trying to be testy, but I make a very concerted effort to always disclose when something is sponsored (and just so you know, Target is NOT a sponsor at all, I just love their stuff). Which proves the point that I only take sponsors for ads from companies I truly would blog about anyways as I want the blog to always remain an honest reflection of me. Sticking to that rule is very important to me as a blogger. And when I post about them- those posts are labeled “sponsor”. As for my construction vendors, yes they want to prove to me that they do good work so I use them for my clients. A lot of vendors do that for designers, and we also get good deals because we are in the trade and get better pricing. Of course it’s attractive to them to be considered for a blog post, but I never promise anything. I would never “dupe” my readers this way- my name is on the line and I would not recommend anyone/ anything that I didn’t truly believe in and know was a good product or service. Never.

  9. I LOVE all of your material choices! You have truly inspired me. It will be so lovely when it is finished. Did you choose gray grout with your subway tile for contrast? I was always thinking I would choose white grout with white subway tile, but now I am second guessing my plan.
    p.s. I really love it when a designer endorses a company (and chooses those things in their own homes) Far more convincing than a print/web ad!

  10. I vote for the English pendants—I think the glass is going to keep the feeling of openness between the kitchen and the dining room, while the Hicks (though absolutely gorge) will end up “dividing” the spaces too much.

  11. Erin,
    I think the problem here is with the word “sponsored” because it is a word that implies being paid directly for an ad. And, clearly, these vendors are not paying you directly for an ad. However, there does seem to be an understanding between you in terms of trade. They do you a favor of a price break and in response – you do them a favor of bringing them business whether through using them directly with clients or of “recommending” them to your readers. The reason this is problematic and different from you, say, “liking” Target or a bracelet is that you are being financial encouraged to post positive feed back about them. In that way – you should be labeling these posts as “sponsor” as well so that you are clear to your readers.
    In addition, you note that this kind of relationship is one that is common between vendors and professional designers. Wonderful – that’s great. I have no issue with that. However, you are not only a professional designer who might use these vendors for your own clients. You are also a blogger who people trust for her opinion. And as a blogger you don’t have “clients,” but readers and readers who aren’t professional designers and might not be aware of the fact that opinions can be encourages by deals on sinks. I am not saying you don’t love these vendors and they aren’t doing an amazing job – just that you should be upfront about the fact that you have an additional incentive to rave about their amazingness (with hyperlinks!) on your blog. And that raving is without consequence because if a vender does a poor job for a client – you do suffer those consequences directly, but if they do a poor job for an anonymous reader – you don’t. I just think you need to be transparent about this relationship. Maybe just label such posts accordingly, but don’t turn this conversation into a personal attack because no one is questioning your name or whether you believe in these companies – I just think your readers may want to know why your posts sometimes slip into ad speak.

    P.S. By the way, in the comments of your first post on Wellbuilt – you do admit that what you are doing for them in your posts is the equivalent to advertising. Why has this confession not been reflected in the transparency of your posts about Wellbuilt or, at the very least, how you label such posts?
    http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2012/08/meet-the-wellbuilt-company.html

    Finally, I hope you are responding to your other readers questions as quickly as you responded to mine!

  12. Erin, I was wondering why you didn’t match the grey cabinet color to the grey veining in your countertops? The lower cabinets seem like they want to be darker, which would be a better match to your counters (highlight the dark grey veining) and also make the white POP.

    Go with the brass pendant lights, NOT the Hicks ball-and-chain pendant…pleease!!

  13. Hi Beverly,

    I think you are a little confused about the relationship and perhaps I may offer some clarity. The relationship Erin has is with her readers on here. Her readers know she is an interior designer. When she posts on our home being renovated and offers up her sources, that is an added bonus for the readers. Her “discounts” are trade discounts. Do the contractors and vendors get added value from being mentioned in her blog? Absolutely – that is what she meant by the comparison to an ad. Does that mean they may go above and beyond at times? Probably. Is there a contract that stipulates either the added service or the mention on the blog – no. And that is the difference between this and a sponsorship.

    Excuse Erin for taking offense, this is very personal to her and she goes above and beyond to have the blog be unbiased and ads only from vendors she would use and love.

    Hope this helps and for what it is worth, I think it is great that her readers care deeply enough to take this much time and effort.

  14. Beverly maybe you should quit it. The truth is that Erin is a well respected designer because she earned it and those of us who read her posts and see a subcontractor that she names and used we certainly check them out because Erin is a great trustworthy designer. Designers typically do get discounts because they bring the subs so much business because they believe on their work. Just give the girl a break and end this convo
    .

  15. Your home looks amazing. I have read your blog for years and do so because you are so open with your readers – sometimes heartbreakingly so. The comments to this post are a reflection of those who wrote them, not of you. So go smile in your new kitchen!

  16. I have not commented before, but have enjoyed your blog/design sensibilities for some time. Your kitchen looks so lovely and I’m sure the end result will be gorgeous, but it is disconcerting to me that both you and your husband (??) feel the need to bicker with a reader. I was also shocked to see other readers jumping on her.
    As I said, I am not big on commenting on blogs, so maybe back and forth is more common than I realized. In any case, I came to say I loved the look of the two different colors for your upper and lower cabinets. I am seeing that more and more and it really makes for a striking space.

  17. I am a daily reader and huge fan of this blog (and this kitchen!). In fact, the posts about your house renovations are my favorites. But, I do think the point about endorsements is a valid question when made respectfully (as Beverly did here), and I dislike seeing other readers’ comments being so dismissive of the people asking questions when some blog posts read like quasi-advertisements. It’s not hateful or disrespectful to ask the questions, and I appreciate that Erin and Andrew took the time to respond and politely explain. Erin has undoubtedly worked hard for the success she has achieved, but that doesn’t mean we all have to be 100% fangirls that are not allowed to ask for clarification.

    That’s my opinion. But my main thought is: I CANNOT WAIT to see how this kitchen (and the rest of the house) comes together. It’s totally inspirational.

  18. I apologize for what I wrote and tried to delete it right away. I am never negative in comments I just felt bad for Erin because even though I don’t know her personally I know her from following her blog for a long time and felt bad that someone wasn’t understanding her true intentions. I am very sorry for my comment I wrote it in haste on my phone and it came out much harsher than what was intended.

  19. OK… I am loving this new kitchen- the counters, floors, hicks, cab colors, everything. You have fantastic taste.

  20. First and foremost, your kitchen looks INCREDIBLE already. I can only imagine the stress/anxiety that you’re feeling about the project but know that we all love and admire your work and I, for one, feel very confident that I’m going to wish I could come drool all over your new kitchen in person. Your blog is the first thing I read every morning and I am inspired by at LEAST one aspect of your post every day. Second, ditto to Stacy. We all know you are a professional designer and therefore receive discounts available to the trade. I trust that whatever you are posting about, whether sponsored, discounted, or over-priced, you live and die for it. Why else would you post about it? Better yet, why would you put it in your brand new home? Last but not least, I would venture to say that you are one of the most honest/transparent bloggers out there. Not to mention, I’m not quite sure how you could divulge any more without giving away ALL of the goods! Please keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Thanks :)

  21. Erin—-The Kitchen! Ohmagah—-It’s amazing!

    The counters turned out beautifully! I will be so interested to hear your review of their stain resistance/durability, etc. as time goes on.

    Love the color scheme, the addition of the brass, and about the Hicks pendants—I say GO FOR IT. Sure, they’ve been “done”, but I think they’re classic and very fitting for this beauty of a kitchen!

    Congratulations—-I’m sure this kitchen will give morning coffee a whole new feel!

  22. Beverly, I think you need to get a life. I read this blog everyday and Erin has been completely transparent about everything. Get a life and move on!

    Erin, You are amazing! Your blog is the first thing I read everyday!

    Lynn

  23. I read about a dozen design/fashion blogs a night and rarely comment. This running commentary made me uncomfortable partly because it is discouraging to anyone who would ever consider blogging as a path to express their love for their craft (design/fashion etc). I routinely go to my favorite bloggers for inspiration on items for my home, paint colors, design sources. When I remodeled my home I found so many unique sources this way! I love seeing Erin’s kitchen transformation. The bottom line is that she is consistent in that she never posts anything that is not within the scope of the aesthetic I have been following for the past few years. Ever. If she makes a living blogging – then kudos for the hours spent sourcing material daily for this great blog. Rebecca and Beverly – your passive aggressive commentary is really disappointing. If you don’t like how she runs her blog – then go elsewhere. If you are really that concerned with subtle advertising – then I suggest you switch off your TV, stop reading magazines, and inactivate your Facebook account. Erin was very clear as to who her sponsors were and they are all fantastic! I looked them all up. If they were a disappointment she would say they were a disappointment. Have you not read enough to know that she is about as honest with her feelings as they come? Cut her some slack already.

  24. Erin – The kitchen looks amazing! I, too, read your blog first thing every morning, and LOVE IT. I truly enjoy the posts on your home renovations.

    Beverly – Goodbye now. If this blog is so unjust to you, it’s simply time for you to part ways. Bonsoir!

  25. Andrew is so wonderful and he hit the nail on the head with his response. Your readers understand your profession and everything that goes with it. You’re always 100 percent honest with your posts and that’s more than a lot of bloggers can say.

    Anyway, your kitchen is amazing, as is everything you do. My husband and I are in the process of buying our first house, so your blog is/has been a great resource!

    You rock, Erin!

  26. Your kitchen looks beautiful and will be even more so when complete. Thanks for sharing the progress!

  27. I always read your blog, Erin, and never comment (sorry!) but had to say I LOVE the choices you have made in the house and look forward to other progress posts! In response to the folks asking about advertising and then the others who criticize Erin and Andrew for responding—it’s important that they respond and clarify. My understanding is that there are guidelines regarding blogs and sponsorships and paid posts. What Beverly is implying is tantamount to accusing Erin of violating those guidelines. She has every right to explain and defend herself when these “questions” imply wrongdoing. Erin, the kitchen looks awesome, and it’s so nice to see a “normal” sized kitchen being updated.

  28. I have to agree with the other Kelie commenter. I think the lower cabinets really should be a bit darker..the hardware would pop a lot more and even down the road should you change the hardware…to a silver tone or marble, or even glass…I think the darker shade will be better.
    Go with your gut!

  29. Hi Erin,
    I was wondering if your lower cabinets are finished in Cape May Cobblestone like you decided on in a previous post? Thanks! Kitchen looks FAB!

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