• Amy Hart

The Exciting/Dreaded Kitchen Remodel Part 2: Choosing Cabinets and Countertops

Updated: May 28, 2019

Leading up to a remodel, any self-respecting homeowner would have at least one houzz idea book (probably several- one for every aspect of the remodel), one or twenty pinterest boards, several HGTV shows on DVR and a notebook full of magazine clippings. At the very least.


We design nerds are no different. Add to that saved projects on every site from houzz to Wayfair to Restoration Hardware and we're almost there.


So, what to do with all of these ideas?


It's time to edit. Any good designer (and we think we're good designers) will tell you to look around your home first and remove everything from your idea books that will not fit/coordinate. Remove anything that just doesn't make sense with the life you live and the home in which you live it. Oh, and that pesky thing called a budget.


That is NOT easy. We've been there. We are there right now. I really WANT that built-in Thermador refrigerator, but I live in a very modest 100-y/o farm house in the middle of nowhere. It's too fancy and too high-end for my house.


Here is how we did it.


Lindsay has a modern/glam style and is balancing that with a budget (that word again), kids and a dog. The shiny glam things have to be up high, and the mod things have to be durable.


Lindsay chose a super hot modern slab thermofoil frameless cabinet by Tedd Wood that is SO durable and 100% scrub-able mixed with glossy thermofoil wall cabinets. She chose Cambria quartz countertops that are almost indestructible and will not absorb the wine that gets spilled on them and sits overnight.


We -the Harts- live in the country, we lean toward farm-transitional [is that really a style?] and we have done small projects over the years. We had a fairly easy choice to make when it came to cabinetry style; we needed to coordinate with what was already there adjacent to the kitchen. But we struggled with color. We threw caution to the wind and chose frameless cabinets by David Bradley in a custom Sherwin Williams color called Cityscape mixed with gorgeous stained Hickory Shale accent pieces by Wellborn. We also chose Cambria quartz countertops in New Quay for their extreme durability and beauty.


Shout out to Mary Beth at Marva The Galleria of Stone in Richmond VA for her guidance and assistance! We were able to see full slabs of our Cambria countertops. I changed my mind on the spot after seeing the slab of my original choice, and Lindsay confirmed her earlier decision by seeing the slab in person.


Storage is a key concern in both of our homes so we chose frameless cabinetry. This type of cabinetry offers more drawer space than traditional framed cabinets. More on cabinet construction later.


Let's talk about where products are sourced from. Both Lindsay and Amy are pro- Made-in-USA so their cabinets and countertops are manufactured in America. This is also going to be a budget concern with the tariffs being imposed on imported goods. Products that used to be less expensive (such as small vanities, hardware, lighting, some quartz countertops and cabinet lines) are now going up in price from 25% to 300%.


Here is a quick checklist to get you started.

___ If you haven't already done so, start a houzz.com account, browse photos and add things to your Idea Book. Do this with abandon and do not edit at this point. When you review your selections, you'll start to see patterns. This is very helpful. This process may take months or years depending on your timeline.

___ Look around your home and let it speak to you. You will know what styles, colors and products will not work. That is a good place to start. Unless you plan to redo everything in your home (paint, floors, furnishings) it's best to have an anchor and stick with it.

___ Do you want "WOW" or do you want neutral to let your other possessions shine?

___ Have an honest talk about your budget. Some places (like Dovetail) offer financing which will open up more doors for you. There are helpful tools that will tell you how much you should spend on your home based on it's worth and location. You want to get the best resale value out of your remodel and make smart choices. Dovetail can help!

___ Now go back to your Idea Books and boards. Start to edit. Remove anything that is unrealistic in terms of budget and fit. [We feel your pain here.]

___ Is sourcing important to you? Do you prefer products that are made in America? This will lead you to a few choice dealers (such as Dovetail!).

___ Now it's time to speak with a professional before you get too far down a rabbit hole. Most remodels require a Contractor. We recommend meeting with a Designer first (like one of us at Dovetail) to be your constant through the process. We can recommend Contractors, provide you with drawings and pricing to further narrow down your options. We also speak "Contractor" and will translate for you.


In our next post, we will talk about How to choose Appliances, Fixtures and Lighting.


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