New Kitchen Update - Integrated Hood + Upper Cabinets

SEE OUR MOST RECENT KITCHEN UPDATE!

Um...  did you notice that we have yet to post a photo of our kitchen with the upper cabinets?  That was because it looked horrific with the builder's hood vent + the dinky cabinet they so considerately installed to cover the vent.  (By code, the builder has to provide a hood vent in order for the house to close.)  

Here goes...  cover your eyes...  This is what we're trying to forget - how the hood vent looked like for the past month.  It's certainly got the "wow" factor, in a bad way ;-)

Photo taken on the day we closed the house, before any appliances were delivered.

Photo taken on the day we closed the house, before any appliances were delivered.

I figured nobody would notice when we featured our new superwhite countertop...

New house kitchen New Superwhite Quartzite countertop | Classy Glam Living

But the time has come for a reveal of the upper cabinets... 

Here was how we had envisioned this new kitchen will be, using IKEA's kitchen building tool.

New house kitchen rendering | Classy Glam Living

And here it is, after we've gotten rid of the builder's hood vent and hideous cover-up.  

Kitchen in-progress update | Grey Cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

The installation of the hood revolved around the logistics of the hood cabinet.  Our integrated hood requires the bottom of the hood cabinet to be cut to size before installation.  However, we were forbidden by the builder to contact the kitchen supplier until we have closed on the house, and in effect, delayed the installation of our hood until now.

Earlier this week, the kitchen supplier finally came to install the hood cabinet.

Kitchen update | Integrated hood | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

To backtrack a bit, the grey cabinet colour was a mystery to us.  We couldn't tell how light the grey would be on the maple doors based on an oak sample door at the builder's decor centre, but we took a risk ordering this light grey "Platinum" anyway.  That was back in February of 2014, and the suspense for this 1+ year was unbearable!  I had since then browsed all over the internet trying to figure out what this platinum cabinet colour could look like.  

Although we originally wanted a darker grey similar to the IKEA grey, this light grey turned out to be just grey enough.  With limited natural light going into the kitchen, darker cabinet doors would make the kitchen look like a dark hole in the middle of the house.  So the risk we took actually worked out for us!

While we were at it, we also changed out the upper cabinet doors at the fridge wall to glass doors.  We finally got the upper cabinets to look how we planned for them - a muted clean look with them level all across.  

Kitchen in-progress update | Glass doors on upper cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

The glass doors help to break out the wall of solid doors on the adjacent wall and create a design element.  They give the illusion of a more open space, and act as a display cabinet for our drinkware and other decor items.  We'll eventually change those shelves to glass shelves to complete the look. 

Kitchen in-progress update | Glass doors on upper cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living
Kitchen in-progress update | Glass doors on upper cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

When the Mr. has some time, he can build us the pots and pans drawers for the lower cabinets, for which we had some custom drawer fronts made.  With all the drawer building experience that the Mr. has with the closet, he can now whip them up in no time, saving us hundreds from going with the builder's version.

Designing our kitchen has been a fun and enjoyable process, from picking out our cabinet colour to choosing our appliances, to shopping for our countertop slabs and cabinet pulls.  Although the level of customization is not to the extent of a full kitchen reno, we still put a lot of thought into making this kitchen function efficiently as the heart of the house.  A little research and some customizations with the builder later, we have a kitchen with good bones that we can take further ourselves.

Kitchen in-progress update | Grey Cabinets | Glass doors on upper cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

For now, I would consider the kitchen's bones pretty much in place.  Next up for the kitchen will be to:  

Not too bad, considering we've done all these: 

  • Do something about that dead corner storage - DONE
  • Install panels on appliances - DONE
  • Replace countertop/ sink/ faucet - DONE
  • Replace solid upper cabinet doors on fridge wall with glass doors - DONE
  • see Design Board
Kitchen in-progress update | Grey cabinets | Glass doors on upper cabinets | Minimalist kitchen with level upper cabinets | Classy Glam Living

While being esthetically pleasing on its own, the kitchen design should also complement the overall design scheme of the house.  Our kitchen is on its way to glam-ification, slowly. I'm glad the changes we made to the builder's kitchen have added counter space, helping Chef Honey to churn out meals efficiently.  So far, he hasn't complained about the lack of counter space.  *Phew!*

Check out our original posts of this kitchen design:

Trendspotting - Kitchen Design

Kitchen appliance choices to free up counter space  

Range hood and minimalist kitchen design  

Kitchen countertops - marble and look-alike alternatives  

Our marble alternative kitchen countertop revealed! 

 

Our Marble Alternative Kitchen Counterop Revealed!

Marble Alternative Kitchen Countertop New Superwhite Quartzite | Classy Glam Living

***UPDATE***:  SEE HOW OUR KITCHEN CURRENTLY LOOKS IN THIS POST!

OUR MOST RECENT KITCHEN UPDATE!

As of 3 months ago, we were still very optimistic about using marble as our kitchen countertop, and have decided we're going with statuario marble.  But... this wasn't the first time we again changed our minds...

I forgot how many times we've decided on marble, only to have doubts about it.  Time and time again, we would check out any evidence of etching during our meals at restaurants that use marble tabletops and we would be assured that marble isn't too bad afterall.  We would decide that we can live with some patina from usage.  Even our test of red wine on marble didn't deter us from going forward with the Statuario marble.  

However, while living at the rental, every spill and missed spot from cleaning would remind us of our roughness on countertops.  We wanted what we love, but we're not the best cleaners.  At the rate we go, the marble will be "patina'd" in no time.  

We were both probably waiting for the other to say no first!  

What we chose in the end

We wanted a polished countertop with a white background to match our light grey cabinets.  We looked into Caesarstone's Pure White (we didn't want specks like the Blizzard) but it was just a tad cheaper than Statuario Marble.  We're old fashioned, and don't feel like we're getting the bang for the buck if we're paying that much for manmade "stone".  We then narrowed down to natural stone, and we all know that there aren't a lot of choices of natural stone with a white background!

We could choose from Statuario marble, or a whiter piece of carrara marble that wouldn't be as expensive.  As luck would have it, the stone expert introduced us to the NEW Superwhite quartzite.  The slab we saw was absolutely gorgeous; a white background with grey veining, plus crystalization within the slab that we love.  It's different from Superwhite, which tends to be more grey.  Sadly, the whole block was already sold out.  Well, all's not lost, at least we found a marble alternative that we love.  Patience now...  

And then we got the call from the stone warehouse that a new block of New Superwhite arrived!  It's not as white as the slab we previously saw, but it has more crystallization in the slab.  

NEW SUPERWHITE QUARTZITE | Classy Glam Living
The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

We're sold!  We get the white background that we wanted, without the pain and fuss of maintenance as with marble.  Nothing beats the beautiful veining of Statuario marble, but the crystals formed in the slabs of New Superwhite quartzite are just as mesmerizing and beautiful.  Not to mention, it's a stronger material compared to the softness of marble.

From ordering the slabs to fabrication, I would say it was a pretty easy and smooth process.  We're so glad we didn't go with the builder's expensive stock upgrades with limited choices!

Here are some photos of the installed countertop:

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

The crystallization inside the slabs are difficult to pick up in photos, and the countertop is sparkly in person.  The veins in the stone are actually formed by dark crystals.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

I'm sure you're interested in the price points of these different marbles and alternatives.  Based on the size of our kitchen and quotes that we got:

Price Comparison of Marble & Alternatives | from highest to lowest price points | Classy Glam Living

We absolutely love our new countertop, as much as we would had it been made of statuario marble, if not more.  It's a great alternative to Statuario marble, at a cheaper price and less maintenance hassle.  Not that we would care any less with this New Superwhite quartzite, but It would save us from unnecessary heart attacks if we spill anything on it!

The kitchen is slowly taking shape, and we've finally had the appliances panels installed! We had been going back and forth on using silver or gold hardware, until we saw these pulls at Gingers. 

Panel-ready undercounter fridge and freezer | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

So now I guess it's decided we're going with gold. These are actually bronzy-gold, and they go nicely with our bronze Kohler Karbon faucet! Pure fluke on our part! 

New Superwhite Quartzite kitchen counter | Classy Glam Living

Bit by bit our kitchen will take shape and become our dream kitchen that's functional and outfitted in our style.  Here's our view from the living room, as mentioned in our kitchen and living room design boards.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

Our next to-do's for the kitchen are:

  • Change out cabinet knobs and pulls
  • Install mirror backsplash  
  • Build more drawers in lower cabinets
  • Replace solid doors with glass doors at uppers above the fridge (see kitchen trends post)
  • Install mirror backs + glass shelves for those upper cabinets
  • Install LED rope lighting for under the upper cabinet  
  • Install valence

I hope we've shown you a marble alternative that you can consider if you're having trouble deciding on a marble countertop like we did.  Here's how we use our kitchen:

  • As per the Mr., I have butter fingers, that means a higher chance of spillage  :-(
  • We're rough on the counters, being efficient cooks sometimes means that banging stuff on the counters may be inevitable
  • We may not clean up right after we cook
  • We're not the best cleaners, ie. best if stains on the countertops can be somewhat camouflaged

Do you have butter fingers like me?  Do you love marble enough to live with its patina?

New House - Range Hood and Minimalist Kitchen Design

*** CHECK OUT OUR NEW KITCHEN! ***

So far, we've talked about kitchen design trends that we're contemplating for our new kitchen, and also some appliance choices that will help free-up our counterspace.  In choosing our kitchen appliances, I also emphasized how we wanted to hide them from view to achieve a more streamlined look.  Maybe this idea of hiding appliances came from the daily HIDE and seek games with the little man at around the same time we were researching for appliances.  I'm almost certain about that.  But one thing that started our design of a streamlined kitchen was the want to hide the range hood.

Here's another look of our kitchen layout.  

Appliance Choices for Optimal Counterspace | Classy Glam Living

As you can see, the island faces the stove.  I pictured myself looking into the kitchen from the island.  Do I want the range hood and stove to be the focal point of the kitchen?  Not unless it's an immaculate setting.  So my first design attempt was to hide the range hood, using a hood liner with custom cabinetry, in similar designs as these:

image via  houzz.com

image via houzz.com

image via  houzz.com

image via houzz.com

image via  houzz.com

image via houzz.com

Notice the red lines along the bottom of one cabinet, to the higher line at the range hood, and then down again to the adjacent upper cabinet.  The more I browsed through photos of beautiful kitchens on Pinterest, the more annoyed I got by these up and down lines.  I mean, it's a normal look for most kitchens, and we've all grown used to it.  For our new kitchen, where the direct view of the stove is open to the rest of the floor, I would rather have a nice quiet background that is the stove area, without the distracting "up and down" lines.

I had an idea, but I wasn't sure if it was possible.  Can I just hide the hood in a cabinet?  Similar to a hood cover, but in place of that would be our existing cabinet doors.  I forgot what keywords I used to google my idea of "level range hood with cabinet" or "hidden range hood ".   I was beyond myself when I found these possiblities, and I immediately showed them to the Mr.!

image via  deroseesa.com

image via deroseesa.com

image via  domainehome.com

image via domainehome.com

It only makes sense that minimalist design is best suited for small kitchens.  Hiding the hood may be much ado about nothing, but this streamlined minimalist look will work well for our open concept floor plan.  The design of a muted open kitchen will bring the focus to the kitchen-facing living room and the adjacent dining room.  

If these designs exist, then there must be hoods manufactured to be hidden away.  For that, we turned to our appliance expert, who we had been bugging since the week after we bought the new house.  

She quickly found us the brands that make these INTEGRATED hoods and gave us some options.  Not surprisingly, they're mostly made by European companies.  Modern living quarters in Europe/ Asia are in abundance, and streamlined kitchen designs are most popular with their small kitchens.  A built-in hood would do away with the bulky look of a conventional hood range, streamlining cabinet design for a clean look.  We're not going the modern route, but a minimalist kitchen is exactly what we're after!

Here are several options she recommended with at least 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute, a measurement of the volume of air extracted by the range hood):

The design of our kitchen will have the upper cabinets installed a bit higher than normal, to accommodate for the minimum distance between the range hood and the stove.  Here is a rough rendering (using the IKEA Kitchen Planner Tool) of how our kitchen will look like, incorporating some of the trends and appliance choices we talked about in the previous posts.  Sorry for my attempt in creating the marble slab backsplash...  yikes!

New House Minimalist Design for Small Kitchen | IKEA Kitchen Planner | Classy Glam Living
New House Minimalist Design for Small Kitchen | IKEA Kitchen Planner | Classy Glam Living

The upper cabinets are level across the kitchen, to avoid that "up and down" look at the stove area. I love the open feeling brought about by the glass doors and the light that's reflected through them. The fridge and freezer drawers on the side wall frees up the counterspace that would have otherwise been taken up by a conventional fridge unit.  The microwave drawer and dishwasher are located on either side of the sink at the island.

The kitchen is the heart of our house.  Like most families, the kitchen is the last room we're at before we begin a busy day, and the first room we head to after coming home from work.  A well designed kitchen and one that functions well would make our lives that much easier!  We hope that our minimalist design will give our kitchen the efficiency that's crucial for a small kitchen, while feeling roomy.  We very much look forward to starting our daily mad dash in our new kitchen, and ending a busy day prepping some yummies on the mile-long counters.