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This weekend saw a lot of kitchen progress, having started our kitchen island, completing the hutch (we’ll share this week!) and finally hunkering down and choosing a stone for our counters! Overall, the base palette for the room is every bit black, gray and white as we’d been craving, but we’ll be bringing in shine and color with unlacquered brass and artwork – and we can’t forget about that pocket door!


We are over the moon and so honored be teaming with Rejuvenation for the gorgeous hardware you see above (with a big, awesome bonus to come for you, too!), and we’ll be mixing oil rubbed bronze pulls on our white cabinets with vibrant brass on a black island. The island’s paint job is in the works, and not surprisingly, we landed on our favorite black, Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine! by Clark+Kensington (inset). We’re sort of torn between pairing these bin or drawer pulls for those former-dresser-drawers, but we also sort of feel like we can’t go wrong with either. Decisions! Really, really fun ones.

But on to all the other finishes – you all spoke up loud and clear when it came to counters, and we totally heard you. While we thought we were leaning towards black, you made some great points that we hadn’t otherwise thought of: hidden grime, the never-ending cleaning battle and the reflection of under cabinet lights. We still really love the look of black counters with white cabinets, but from the very beginning, we were hoping to find something with a white base, and we honestly surprised even ourselves when we found ourselves switching gears to black granite. Cost was definitely a factor as well, with the black granite being slightly more affordable than quartz. But! After a good gut check and thinking: hey, what would make us die with happiness every time we walked into the kitchen?, we switched gears again, and we officially called dibs on a ridiculously gorgeous slab of White Macauba Quartzite. You can see our sample chunk in that photo!

For everything else, here’s what we’ve got: the largest panel of color is what we painted the walls, the medium white panel is our cabinets, and layered on top are a few of these subway tiles in a matte finish. To pick up on the darker veining in the quartzite counters and the black island, we’re leaning towards a charcoal grout which’ll really tie the room together.

But right now, right this minute, we wait. We wait for our cabinets to install (this week!), we wait for the fabricator to measure and cut our stone, and we wait for our transom window to arrive so we can complete the whole back door thing. The dishwasher, microwave, sink and faucet will get installed. And then, you guys, it’ll be a free for all. Tile! Baseboards! Rug! Art!

  • Laura @ Rather Square - February 3, 2015 - 8:56 AM

    I love the idea of an all-neutral kitchen color palette. I think that’s where we’ll end up going with ours down the road. It’s so much easier to add color with accessories that you can change up whenever you feel like it. I love your countertop choice too – it’s going to look great with the rest of the finishes (and timeless too)!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 3, 2015 - 9:44 AM

      Thank you! Yes, for something like the kitchen, we felt that timeless was the way to go. We obviously ignored that route with our big blue couch though, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - February 3, 2015 - 9:06 AM

    You made a great choice with the countertops. It still provides the contrast you wanted but with easier maintenance that the black would (based on other’s accounts – I’ve never had black). And the all neutral pallette is so versatile – I’ve enjoyed watching your journey so far!

    And I’m so jealous you have a reason to paint something black. I’ve searched my home high and low and found nothing lol.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 3, 2015 - 9:44 AM

      Thanks, Amanda! Isn’t it funny… I feel like just a couple years ago, we were all painting things white. Now it’s black. You just can’t beat those classic colors!ReplyCancel

  • krystal - February 3, 2015 - 10:20 AM

    We just moved into an apartment with black granite countertops and even though I love how easy they are to clean they are a pain to get “streak-free.” I made an all natural spray to clean them after I read about citrus and vinegar etching away at the granite over time. It works well but they still need a good buffing to get the streaks out.

    I love the brass accents also. We just added a bunch of brass kitchen and bath accessories to our Etsy store and they are our most popular item right now.


    • Kim - February 3, 2015 - 12:07 PM

      I think people are craving more warmth in their homes lately. We’ve definitely noticed a huge resurgence in all things brass, gold and dare I say beige? Even we find ourselves re-painting rooms with the warmest grays.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Leigh - February 3, 2015 - 11:11 AM

    I am so excited to see how the final version of the kitchen turns out! I have a feeling it will be lovely! Black and white kitchens are my absolute favorite. We did the same thing, but added natural wood elements too for a bit of a rustic look. You’re smart to keep the ‘color’ limited to accessories that you can change out when you want – you’ll be glad you did that!ReplyCancel

  • katecooks - February 3, 2015 - 11:32 AM

    I’m looking to add closet pulls to an Ikea Pax wardrobe — are these the Mission Drawer Pulls? Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 3, 2015 - 11:41 AM

      They are! They have such a nice weight to them.ReplyCancel

  • kelsey - February 3, 2015 - 11:52 AM

    LOVE how this kitchen is coming together. you are so thoughtful with your choices and i love hearing that you go back and forth and then land on something else. your decision making process is so authentic, thank you for sharing!!

    and i love the chocolate chunk photobombs along the way :-)ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews - February 3, 2015 - 12:46 PM

    I love the Quartzite!ReplyCancel

  • kate - February 3, 2015 - 4:55 PM

    As soon as I read “tie the room together,” I was hoping that link went to a Big Lebowski clip…and it did! Jackpot!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - February 3, 2015 - 6:03 PM

    So exciting! That hardware!ReplyCancel

  • Maria - February 4, 2015 - 10:15 AM

    We have white cabs with that exact Quartzite and white subway tiles with charcoal grout. We always get a million compliments… It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Layne - February 8, 2015 - 10:53 AM

    Good call on the countertops!ReplyCancel

  • Rae Mosher - February 9, 2015 - 7:54 AM

    I have always enjoyed following along with your house reno journey, but today, I am simply commenting to thank you for that little taste of the Big Lebowski this morning. Turns out it was just what I needed. :)ReplyCancel



We have painted kitchen walls! Yea, paint!

As soon as the contractors wrapped up wave one of renovation last week, we were right behind them with our drywall tape, mud and sandpaper. Scott did the majority of this work while I continued the hutch refresh, and he powered through for an entire weekend and several nights this week (a champion, I tell you) – taping, mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding and sanding some more. Drywall dust is our biggest enemy when it comes to renovation (remember this happy day?), and although we did our best to close off the kitchen, cover the appliances and mop every night, that dust continued to find it’s way into the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.

drywall-repair-paint-02 drywall-repair-paint-04

But let’s fast forward to the magical night where we moved past that and dived into painting! Choosing a paint color was particularly agonizing (ha!) since our plan is to continue the color into our living room. That said, we wanted something that felt bright and clean with a hint of warmth, finally landing on Intense White by Ben Moore. We’re thrilled to continue working with Ace Hardware this year, and they graciously provided the paint, color matched to Valspar Optimus in an eggshell finish. (This is the same brand we used in the guest room, and we are on board. It’s thick and smooth with an almost matte appearance once dry.) The color itself is actually a pale warm gray, providing soft contrast against our (eventual) white trim and appliances.  The color is a chameleon, looking straight up blindingly white out of the can, going on slightly beige (causing us to panic – just for a minute), and drying down to a gorgeous, subtle gray that never feels too cool or overly warm. Love, love.

Let’s go back to the beginning, before electrical was juggled around and all the walls were in tact:


To last week:


And now, today! We haven’t even begun our back-wall-of-windows, but man. What a difference paint makes! Now, imagine: white trim and cabinetry, a dark island and that runner.

drywall-repair-paint-07 drywall-repair-paint-08 drywall-repair-paint-09

We hope to get new doors for the furnace this weekend, a completed hutch and although there were rumblings of finished cabinets, it looks like those have been slightly delayed. But! Once those are in, it’ll be on to counter installing, tiling, dresser-reconfiguring, hardware choosing and, fingers crossed, back-door-transom-ing!

Our longtime partner Ace Hardware provided the paint for this project, and we used BM Intense White color matched to Valspar Optimus in an eggshell finish. Thank you for supporting those that support us! xx.

  • Amanda - January 29, 2015 - 9:12 AM

    I’m curious about how paint companies name their colors. I would expect something called “Intense White” to be a VERY bright white, not a subtle gray lol. This looks great! I’m glad you find something you like. When do you think you’ll paint the living room?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 9:18 AM

      I know, right? And the funny thing is that we landed on “Distant Gray” for our cabinets (also Ben Moore), which is a super clean bright white! So we have Intense White walls (gray) and Distant Gray cabinets (white). Hmm…

      I was hoping to paint it last weekend, but the drywall mess was a bit too much to bear. Maybe this weekend?ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - January 29, 2015 - 9:41 AM

    I used Intense White in our kitchen and mudroom and I love it! Though the name did scare me a little and I almost didn’t pick it, but it really is a warm pale gray. We have white cabinets (BM Simply White) and white subway tile with black countertops and the wall color looks lovely against all of it. It also works really well next to our living/dining room wall color (Rope by Valspar).

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your kitchen transformation!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project - January 29, 2015 - 10:22 AM

    It’s really coming together so well! I can’t wait to see the finished product. I especially love the pocket door you chose, and the color is perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - January 29, 2015 - 10:40 AM

    That color completely brightens the space! It looks so much bigger!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 10:43 AM

      It FEELS so much bigger! And we don’t even have all the new windows yet to let in even more light!ReplyCancel

  • Staci - January 29, 2015 - 11:07 AM

    What a transformation a clean coat of paint can make. The color looks great with your pocket door. Picturing it against bright white trim and I have no doubt it’s going to be awesome!

    Off topic (didn’t have time to comment on your kitchen island post) but I like the idea of a leeeetle overhang on the back side of it. My parents’ island (which is huge) has an overhang with barstools and I love sitting at that while doing food prep (or eating breakfast while watching the TV they have in their kitchen).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 11:12 AM

      You’re totally right. Since we’ve put the dresser in the kitchen, I find myself pulling up a stool to sit during food prep. It definitely needs an overhang, but it will be a delicate balance of how much we can have.ReplyCancel

  • Nate - January 29, 2015 - 2:29 PM

    Just a question, as I am a little ignorant about paints and such. What do you mean exactly by Ben Moore’s Intense White matched to Valspars Optimus in eggshell finish? Is the Valspars Optimus simply the primer over which the BM is applied? If I’m on the right track here, would using a different primer produce different effects? Or am I missing something… Thanks a lot for bearing with me!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 2:36 PM

      Hi Nate, no problem! It just means that we liked a Benjamin Moore color, but instead of buying it with BM paint, we had the guys at the paint counter mix it into Valspar Optimus. Essentially, we fell in love with a color that wasn’t Valspar, but we wanted to use Valspar paint. This is especially helpful for pricier brands that have gorgeous color, but getting it mixed into a more affordable gallon.ReplyCancel

      • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 2:37 PM

        I should also say, we didn’t use primer :)ReplyCancel

      • Nate - January 29, 2015 - 7:55 PM

        Oh, wonderful! I didn’t realize you could do that. Thanks so much!! One more question. Is there a standard ratio to do this? Sorry to ask a lot, I’m just quite curious about this process.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 29, 2015 - 8:02 PM

          Hmm, not sure what you mean by ratio? Most places will color match, but if you’re unsure, just ask the guy at the paint counter! They’ve heard it all before!

          For example, say you love a color by Clark+Kensington, but you really want Valspar paint, just say, “can you color match this C+K color to Valspar paint?” They’ll be able to tell you if it’s doable :) We also did this with a Farrow & Ball color, but had it color matched to Sherwin Williams, since you can’t buy Farrow & Ball locally!ReplyCancel

        • lsaspacey - January 30, 2015 - 1:49 PM

          Nate, every paint company uses specific color formulas (ex. 3 parts red + 2 parts cyan (blue) + 1 part yellow) for their paints. These combos of pigments are then added to a white neutral base. That base can be from BM, Valspar, or any company you want but it allows you to get the same color recipe at different price points, if possible. They basically just duplicate the same recipe/ratio of colors from one company in either a more or less expensive white base.ReplyCancel

          • Kim - January 30, 2015 - 3:03 PM

            THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

          • Nate - January 31, 2015 - 7:42 AM

            Ah!! Thanks so much. I misunderstood at first with what the mixing meant and was unaware you could reduplicate colors!! Perfect, thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - January 29, 2015 - 4:08 PM

    yay for paint and I can totally picture the dark island and runner.ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - January 29, 2015 - 6:57 PM

    I’ve been searching for the perfect grey for my kitchen too. I have about 6 swatches up on the wall right now.. I may have to try this one. I love seeing your progress :)ReplyCancel

  • Mara - January 30, 2015 - 11:39 AM

    Kim, is it just me or is this reno whizzing by??!!! I’m so excited to see everything come together. Plus that hutch refresh is going to be AWESOME-can’t wait!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 30, 2015 - 11:46 AM

      You literally had me LOLing – I think it’s just you, but we ARE working on getting through this as efficiently as possible, because we can’t wait to see the end results ourselves!ReplyCancel

      • Mara - January 30, 2015 - 2:59 PM

        Oh man!! I’m sorry that it doesn’t seem that way to you. You guys are so good at making it look easy, quick and painless :) Maybe other bloggers are just slower ;)

        ANYWAY- keep up the good work! I’ll stick around for more humor.ReplyCancel

  • Jasmine McGee - January 30, 2015 - 1:03 PM

    I absolutely LOVE the color! Looks amazing, and can’t wait to see more!ReplyCancel



As the kitchen evolves and choices have become more definitive, it because very clear that the majority of our budget was going to 3 main places: ONE) the back door wall (of windows!), TWO) cabinets and THREE) the countertops. In a nutshell, our money is going to the areas that are more permanent, and we’ve chosen to stretch those dollars in the areas that aren’t as permanent – such as a our vintage hutch, antique rug and now, our kitchen island! You can see it, too, right?:


We have been searching for weeks (months, maybe!) for a piece of furniture that could pull double duty as a kitchen island. The kitchen is spacious – definitely large enough for an island – but not so large that we could get away with a standard depth and/or width. Our hunt included anything that could potentially be considered an island, but we had a long wish list for this piece of furniture:

  • Needs to be counter height, of course (36″)
  • Needs to be thin enough to accommodate a small overhang or be wide enough without an overhang to provide good prep space. Let’s call this, oh, 26″ or so total
  • Needs to have storage somehow, somewhere
  • Needs to have an easily removable top surface so we can install our own butcher block
  • Needs to have smooth gliding drawers and/or doors that don’t stick
  • Preferably something we could paint
  • Preferably something with legs that could also accommodate casters (for movability and looks)

We searched high and low for credenzas, desks, dressers and china cabinet bases – from the typical online sources to in-person hunting to alley creeping – and over the weekend, we finally came home with this dresser from our favorite worth-the-drive secondhand shop, Jubilee! To be fair, we’d seen other contenders along the way, but they were either in too much disrepair, too large, too small or too precious to paint.

This guy, though? It’s a Mid Century Kent Coffey dresser with replacement pulls, and it checks off everything in the wish list! The drawers are deep and smoooth. The dovetail joints are all in perfect condition, and the bones of the piece are solid wood – only the top and sides are an oak veneer.

kitchen-island-dresser-03 kitchen-island-dresser-05

The knob placement currently screams dresser!, but we’ll swap those out for middle pulls that will help streamline the overall look. We’ll also need to add trim to the back, mimicking the front (see below), and we’ll reinforce the plywood back with a sheet of MDF (or something similar). It’s hard to tell in photos, but the finish is very shiny and very yellow, and so, we’ll remedy that with black paint and a butcher block top to provide contrast against the white cabinetry. Right now, it’s 19″ deep x 54″ wide, and once the cabinets are in place and the walls are painted, I feel like we’ll have a better visual for the final depth of the butcher block.


The goal is that you won’t even recognize it as a dresser once it’s been refinished. And all that storage? Yes, yes.

  • Adrienne J - January 27, 2015 - 8:20 AM

    I see the vision and it looks spectacular!! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias - January 27, 2015 - 9:25 AM

    Oooh, yes, that has great potential! Will you do an overhang on the back side (for stools)? Or is it wide enough as-is?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 27, 2015 - 9:30 AM

      We’re toying with that idea! We don’t want it to overwhelm the space, but it COULD handle a small overhang… I think we’ll have a better idea once the walls are painted and the cabinets are in. Right now the kitchen looks so crazy that we’re having a hard time “feeling” it out!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - January 27, 2015 - 10:13 AM

    Kent Coffey pieces are great and really stand the test of time. I have a hutch and dresser. Both have survived two cross-country moves and look almost new. I can’t wait to see how the piece turns out. You may sway me into making my dresser into our kitchen island!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - January 27, 2015 - 10:16 AM

    Creative re-use of furniture! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • susan - January 27, 2015 - 10:33 AM

    oooh, nice!
    i’m very anxious to follow this transformation as i am in the kitchen island hunt and want to do a makeover just like
    this. really curious to see how the top removal will go…

    great find, kudos for your patience and persistence!ReplyCancel

  • Trilby - January 27, 2015 - 11:43 AM

    I cannot tell you how handy drawers are in a kitchen (especially a kitchen island)! I didn’t understand for myself until we moved into our current house just over a year ago. I had to get over my initial habit of putting everything in a cabinet (what? plates can go in a drawer alongside utensils?!?) – but once I did, our lives drastically changed for the better. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But it sure is nice. That dresser, ahem, I mean island, has fabulous bones. I’m excited to see the finished product!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 27, 2015 - 12:46 PM

      After everyone chimed in with their thoughts on our initial kitchen plans, we definitely incorporated a few more drawers OR slide outs for all of the door cabinets. We can’t wait to have it drastically change our lives for the better :)ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews - January 27, 2015 - 12:27 PM

    I’ve never thought of having a dresser as an island!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - January 27, 2015 - 12:38 PM

    This is a great piece and it looks perfect for your plans! I really like that it has simple lines, which should help the “I’m kitchen furniture” transformation. Can’t wait to see it all done!ReplyCancel

  • Alena - January 27, 2015 - 12:44 PM

    I think you should try one of these really long pulls to stretch from one side to the other, Emily Henderson used them in her kitchen, so they must be good, right? :-)

    • Kim - January 27, 2015 - 12:49 PM

      Love Emily’s kitchen! Those pulls ARE awesome, and we’ve considered something really long too – our only concern is that it might feel TOO modern with the other pulls we’re considering for the cabinets… We’ve been going over hardware for the last few weeks, and I THINK we know which direction we’re going. It’s such a hard choice though!ReplyCancel

  • Silk Flower Arrangements - January 30, 2015 - 1:10 PM

    Can’t wait to see it finished! Great idea. I use old furniture throughout with new job descriptions. But this??? Never occurred to me! THANK YOU for the great, fun idea.The rest of the kitchen is looking GREAT! Good job!ReplyCancel

  • Elysa A. - February 3, 2015 - 11:44 AM

    I will be looking forward to seeing this, as we have been looking to do the same thing. We have a very small kitchen with limited counter space, so an island is something I want VERY badly. It will have to take the place of our kitchen table, so we really need to be able to use stools with it. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Design News / All the Finishes - February 13, 2015 - 6:11 PM

    […] weekend saw a lot of kitchen progress, having started our kitchen island, completing the hutch (we’ll share this week!) and finally hunkering down and choosing a […]ReplyCancel