Our Kitchen Remodel + Sources!

This kitchen remodel post has been a long time coming. As you may know, I LOVE to cook, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So naturally, the kitchen is the first thing we tackled when we saved enough money for a remodel.

J and I moved into our forever home back in 2015. We waited a few years to settle into the home before making any big changes. We wanted to get a feel for how we use the home, and given this remodel is $$$, I wanted to make sure that this kitchen remodel will stand the test of time.

So without further ado, here’s the post for the favorite space in our home, the kitchen. I’ve also listed our sources and gave some tips for how we decided on these items. Comment below if you have any questions, I’m happy to help out a fellow kitchen design lover!

My Charcoal & White Kitchen

white kitchen with black light and serena and lily chairs

Cabinet & Paint Color: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore,ย Door Color:ย Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore

One of the first decisions that I made early on during the kitchen remodel was that I wanted a white kitchen. There’s just a classic appeal to a crisp white kitchen that I know I will love for years to come. Chantilly Lace is a ‘pure’ white that doesn’t have any other color undertones. It reflects its surrounding colors beautifully. To make future paint decisions VERY easy, the rest of the house is also all Chantilly Lace – the trim, the baseboards, the walls, everything!

A lot of my inspiration for this kitchen actually came from Timber Trails development, a home builder for luxury homes in Western Springs near Chicago. I fell in love with this kitchen that they built in their model home, and the rest is history.

Kitchen Lighting

Pendent Lighting: Visual Comfort,ย Kitchen Sconces: Restoration Hardware

One of the very first purchases that I made for the renovation was my pendent lights. I love the geometric shape that adds so much visual interest to the space. Because I was spending so much money on this kitchen remodel, I did work with a kitchen designer, Yvonne King, who I consulted for a lot of big decisions. I’m SOO thankful for her input on a lot of these key decisions, I could not have done this without her.

I would have never considered hanging these pendent lights on our slanted ceiling, but it was the perfect idea since the ceiling above our kitchen island is so low. It’s one of the first things I see when I walk into the house and it makes me so happy.

We didn’t realize how huge these lights were going to be, so we originally planned on putting 4 lights here. Once the light arrived, it was clear that we only needed 3. It’s important to make final decisions about your lighting before your electrician comes because you need to know exactly where to position your lightboxes.

Kitchen Stools

The tones of the kitchen feels a little bit cold, so I warmed it up with the wooden stools. I love the natural texture of this woven chair. Psssst — I have a secret to share with you.

I picked up these chairs at the Serena and Lily Outlet store in Berkeley. The original price for these stools are a bit pricey, but I scored these for less than $100 each. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ


Imola Kuni, Italian Porcelain Tile in Chocolate

Stove, Hood/Vent, Fridge, Dishwasher:ย Thermador, Microwave: KitchenAid Microwave Drawer

Ahh, the big debate! What brand of appliance should I go for? Appliances can be a HUGE chunk of the kitchen remodel budget. After consulting with some friends, I ended up going with Thermador because it’s slightly cheaper than other brands we looked at.

My cabinet installer also mentioned Thermador was better for custom panels on the fridge because it sat a bit more flush than Sub-Zero, so we took his word for it! Best of all, if you buy all these appliances in a bundle, Thermador regular runs promotions on package deals.

One splurge that we did was to upgrade to panels on both our fridge and dishwasher. Because our kitchen is in such an open space, having our appliances hidden behind these sleek panels makes the space feel less industrial, so I think it was worth the upgrade!

Wood Tile Floors

Tile Floors: Imola Kuni, Italian Porcelain Tile in Chocolate

So, why tile floors? This is not something I would recommend for everyone because wood floors is such a coveted feature in a home.

Here’s the thing, our home comes with radiant flooring and red square tile floors. So, we definitely had to replace the tile floor, but the question was do we add new tile or install wooden floors?

Ultimately we decided on tile (clearly) for two reasons:

  1. Our general contractor mentioned that wood floors that would work with radiant heating but comes with the risk of pipes bursting and damaging the floors.
  2. J prefers tile, for the durability.

We ended up going with these beautiful wood plank tiles that looks super realistic. Most people who look at the picture don’t even know it’s tile, so that’s a good sign! Here’s some additional considerations for choosing to install wood tile floors like this:

  • The installation cost per foot is going to be more expensive because the tiler needs to lay a HUGE piece of tile, and keep it even.
  • Your floors need to be leveled. Smaller tile is more forgiving as you can lay the tile and have it go with the flow. For huge pieces of tile like this, you might need to even out your floors so that it can all run smoothly.

Countertops & Backsplash

Island Countertop: Super White Polished Quartz, Perimeter Countertop: Cosentino by Silestone in Et Serena Quartzite,ย Backsplash: Hampton Carrara Polished Chevron by The Tile Shop

Went through a lot of back and forth on this. I went to All Natural Stone in Dublin at LEAST 3 times to pick out this final slab. I’ll write up another blog post about this since it was such an ordeal so you can see what I was choosing between.

I finally landed on this piece of Super White Quartz and I’m so happy I did! Since we have such a big island in the kitchen, I wanted the island to feel like a piece of art, and this stone delivers. I always get these two mixed up, but quartz is the natural material, and quartzite is the man-made, and therefore cheaper.

Since we still needed more stone on the perimeter, we bought 2 additional slabs of quartz to save on the cost. Originally I was looking at Ceasarstone Quartz, since I’ve seen many beautiful kitchens with this (including all the builds from Timber Trail Development!), but none of their slabs matched the Super White. We finally decided on this grey tone by Silestone, and I think it matches perfectly!

2 pieces of Quartzite was almost the same price as the Quartz, so that’s an idea for you if you want the beauty of a natural stone, but want to figure out a way to save some $$!

The backsplash comes directly from my inspo pic! I ordered a bunch of other tile to test, but all of them were not in the same proportion. I went to local tile stores and couldn’t find any that was in a true chevron pattern. So the backsplash was definitely a splurge for me, but I have no regrets on this one!

Kitchen Faucets

Kohler Artifacts Kitchen Faucet

Kitchen Faucet: Kohler Artifacts in Polished Nickel, Pot Filler:ย Kohler Artifacts, Hot/Cold Water Dispenser: Newport Brass

I really love the classic look of the Artifacts line by Kohler, so I got the matching sink faucet and the pot filler. It’s like the jewelry of the kitchen that gives it some extra personality. I looked at a few other brands of similar style faucets and landed on Kohler because the weight of the faucet still had a nice weight to it, making it feel luxurious without the way higher price tag of the other ultra lux finishes.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have a matching hot/cold water dispenser, so I found a similar style one by Newport Brass.

Both the pot filler and the hot/cold water dispenser is considered a “splurge” type of purchase. So here’s how I feel about it 2 years later:

  • Pot filler: I use it 1-2x a month. It’s pretty more than it is practical, but I really do love how it gives additional visual interest to my stove area.
  • Hot/cold water dispenser:ย I use this daily. I got the water dispenser because I thought I could make hot pourover coffee right from the tap. This does not work, unfortunately. The water doesn’t get that hot! You need water to be at 205ยฐF and the water comes out at 180ยฐF. It makes good tea though! So, I don’t regret these purchase, but wanted to give you a heads up in case you’re wondering!

Kitchen Sink

Did you know there’s different gauges to sinks? A 16-gauge is considered a slightly more premium quality, and is less susceptible to dents from pots and pans.


Spent a LOT of time looking at this, and landed on these beautiful pulls from Top Knob in Satin Nickel. Satin Nickel looks a lot like Chrome, but with slightly warmer tones that isn’t as cold as Chrome. It is slightly more expensive though.

Pull sizes is definitely one thing I consulted with my kitchen designer, Yvonne. Here’s the tips she gave me: use as many of the same sizes you can for consistency, and use the longer ones on the upper cabinets to make it appear taller. So, that’s what we did. We used a mix of the 5.25-in and 6.5-in pulls. I used appliance pulls for the fridge and freezer and the 6.5-in pull on the dishwasher.

Before Shots ๐Ÿ™ˆ

What’s a kitchen remodel reveal without “Before” shots? These are VERY candid pictures, so please excuse the mess.

One of the biggest changes that we made was knock out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. We weren’t sure if we were able to make it an open concept because it could have been a supporting wall. Now we know, if you do end up knocking down a supporting wall, you need to install a large supporting beam that runs across the ceiling. That is why our kitchen/dining room isn’t COMPLETELY open and has a little bit of wall between them.

It makes a HUGE difference in how we use this space, and the amount of light that comes in. OH, and do you see the flashback to the red tile that we replaced? Def doesn’t fit in my white/black/beige modern aesthetics.

Another change that we made is moving the entrance of the pantry/laundry room. This made it so we can make an “L” shaped kitchen. This is a game changer and makes the space much more efficient. We also changed the kitchen island — the original design is more like a peninsula. The peninsula makes it difficult to access the kitchen from the front door. The island is much more practical for our lifestyle.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the space with the lights turned on so you can see how the space shines.

This might sound silly, but even as I’m writing this blog post, two years after the remodel, I’m STILL amazed that this kitchen is mine. It feels unreal to me and I have to pinch myself because I feel so lucky to have this space to call my home.

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