Questions About Kitchens



QUESTION:

I am building a new home in Paradise (Texas, that is), and the kitchen has me worried. Should I choose soapstone counters and natural-stain Shaker cabinets? What about flooring? I have a stainless sink and appliances. Or should I go with option 2: white Silestone (I wanted Carrara honed marble but understand the unsuitability), painted mossy-green cabinets and white tile with a black and gray border? The house is to look like bungalow ('20s or '30s). Can you tell me what you would use, and then maybe I can get some sleep at night! All can be changed except for the stainless appliances. I am definitely challenged when it comes to decorating but will always trust a pro.

-Marilyn P.


ANSWER:

Dear Marilyn,

I, too, have lost many nights of sleep over the unending kitchen decorating options and choices I've had to mull over.

Both of the kitchen design options you've presented to me sound great. Natural-stained Shaker cabinets, soapstone countertops and a stainless sink and appliances are beautiful and classic. However, since you're hoping to create the look of a '20s- or '30s-era bungalow, I'd opt for the second choice: mossy-green painted cabinets, white Silestone countertops, white tile backsplash with a black border and stainless sink and appliances. It is much more reminiscent of the style of that era.

For lots of insight and decorating tips and ideas in this style, I highly recommend Bungalow Kitchens, by Jane Powell and Linda Svendsen (Gibbs Smith, $33.96.) There's a great section in the book devoted to flooring. The authors found that the most common flooring used in bungalow kitchens was soft wood -- like pine or fir -- because hardwood was too expensive. They also mention other contenders like linoleum or tile -- mostly mosaics or hexagonal tiles. For the tongue-and-groove flooring that was most commonly used in bungalows of the '20s and '30s, check out Goodwin Heart Pine Co. at www.heartpine.com.

There are many good cabinetry companies to choose from that offer a '20s-style door and custom-painted finishes -- from semicustom like KraftMaid (www.kraftmaid.com) to high-end custom-made cabinets like Crown Point (www.crown-point.com) or SieMatic (www.siematic.com) -- I love their the Hudson Valley line.

I really like Silestone. It is a close second to white Carrara countertops and, unlike Carrara marble, Silestone is completely maintenance-free. Plus, it feels like natural stone, and it has great depth, like marble, due to the natural quartz inherent in the product. You won't be disappointed.

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