Kitchen Conundrum

Happy Thursday!

Have you seen Wishful Drinking on HBO? It’s a filmed version of Carrie Fisher’s theatre production. It’s well worth seeing. She’s hilarious. She really was one of a kind.

So here’s what’s on my mind today… We’re trying to decide what to do with our kitchen.

Our house is open concept with a “great room” leading onto the kitchen. Who decided to call this type of room “great”? I like traditional home design with separate rooms and find this newfangled concept neither fish nor fowl.

To make matters worse, somebody, somewhere along the line, decided that even though it was one big flowing space, they should just arbitrarily put down tile in half of it.

Notice the line. Also, the lack of rug: this was the scene of the french bulldog/Roomba incident! 

I do not love the kitchen as I prefer a bright and airy space. And don’t even get me started on the Baltic Brown granite. Baltic Brown is designer-speak for Granite of a Lesser God. In some light, it’s practically purple. We lightened the look a bit when we removed some of the wood to add the hood required for our new gas range but it’s still darker than I’d like.

The real issue, however, is the dining room table. Because we made the dining room into a formal parlour/office, we have to entertain in the kitchen. On the tile. I hate having a fancy dress dinner on tile. It seems unseemly. Plus, I hate grout. Even the word is awful.

We have a new table on order in a gunmetal-stained oak that will make the space a bit more formal, but there is still the very big Problem of the Tile. Trust me, I realize that these are truly Stepford-type problems to have, but I’ve seen my peers weep when the stove knobs arrive in the wrong colour. They’d simply collapse into a heap with my tile issue.

So…. what to do.

For the kitchen, I was considering painting the cabinets grey, but it’s really nice wood and it seems a shame to cover it, especially since there are rumblings in the design world that wood is coming back.

I quite like RHoNY’s Sonja Morgan’s kitchen:


Hers seems to work and when I look at the elements, they are not that different. Dark wood cabinets, dark granite, stainless appliances and tile, plus a bunch of big windows looking onto greenery. So I think the problem is not so much the kitchen, but the fact we are not entertaining in her dining room:


Also, I’d like Sonja’s nose…

The easiest thing is just to re-floor the kitchen to make it all a little more formal. And I’d turn the island, so the lucite bar stools that match our chairs face out. I’d like to match the wood because if we change it, we have a lot of changing to do, including the massive Dynasty-like staircase.

It’s something to behold, no? Look at the catwalk at the top of the photo. We are still thinking of mounting the Stepford production of Starlight Express.

Alexis and Krystal would be pea-green with envy.


You can also see the giant, solid mahogany, repurposed church door that prevents people from coming into my office. When people ask me what the secret is to blending a family of 7 people, I can honestly say that the church played a very key role! Sometimes, I simply close the door and hide.

Matching the wood floors means clearing out and letting them sand and restain. It was suggested that we pack up a lot of our things, and I nearly had a heart attack. I’ve moved way too many times over the last few years and am reluctant to do that. Plus, sanding is always hell on wheels.

I’ll probably do nothing until it’s time again to move. And then I’ll bustle around and make it completely perfect for somebody else and be resentful as all get-out.

What is your approach to renovating? Go big or go home, small bites, or ignore it all until it falls in around your ears?



  1. First of all, nice stove! I would bite the bullet and get the floor changed asap. You should get the full benefit of taking on a job that's so much of a p.i.t.a. However….would you have to sand and restain the entire first floor, or just the great room/kitchen area? Perhaps if the renovation gods are kind, you might find wood flooring that matches well enough that no further refinishing work is needed? And, in looking at your photos again, I wonder if putting dark wood in the whole kitchen area would make the room too dark? Perhaps you only need to extend the wood floor from the great room to the area under the dining table. Keep tile in the kitchen to delineate the work space? In my perfect fantasy world of problem-free renovation, you could simply escape to your east-coast getaway and come home to a completed and cleaned-up project. Ha.


  2. I thing you are going to have to bite the bullet on the floor and just go for it. However, make sure you crack open a couple of bottles of wine to accompany you while packing and shifting everything from one room to the next. You'll be pleased you did. Good luck with it all!


  3. Thank you for your input, Susan! I like your ideas. I too worry about making the kitchen look dark, so I like the idea of changing the dining room area only. I'm hoping that if we proceed, the timing allows me to escape for at least part of it! xoxo


  4. Do the floor and the countertops…maybe even backsplash, hard to tell if it is worth trying to save. Then see if you still want to paint cabinets. Grey cabinets are iffy as far as trends. A white or French vanilla is timeless but I see them everywhere. It is so easy to spend your money, not mine. I love the wood cabinets.


  5. Thanks for your advice, Teresa. I know you've gone through this process. I too like the wood and it's great quality. I just don't like the monolithic look of WOOD. But you are right. The floor change and counters will make a big difference and I can lighten things up a lot with granite/Caesarstone. I love white kitchens but the jury seems so out on them and we are going to be selling this house in 6 years (or less) so I need to get it right for resale if I'm putting in a lot of $$$. Well, at least it's a nice problem to have!


  6. Well as you know we moved out of our house, gutted the entire thing and renovated top to bottom. It was such a mess. Even the items I left packed up in the basement storage room were ruined by the dust and rubble.Taking up tile floor is a big big mess, but sanding wood floors and re-staining them is such a nightmare. The dust will travel through the whole house. I wonder if there is a pre-finished wood floor that would match? That you could replace the tile with? But it's funny because I really like Sonja's kitchen too and it's so similar! I think the whole problem is designating the space for the table. I'm afraid to suggest this after the Serna-Roomba incident but maybe a rug in neutral gray tones to place under your new table?Those wood cabinets are beautiful, I agree I wouldn't change them. I wonder about a big chunky traditional metal-isa chandelier like Sonja's over the island? Adds weight and balance I think.Love these decorating dilemmas! xo


  7. Dani, you know if I pack up the entire house, I'll direct the movers to your neck of the woods!! I need to take a piece from a closet and go to a flooring store, I think. I agree that lighting is key. La Sonja's kitchen is stunning. The rug is an excellent idea. I've put one in and removed it because rug on tile looked even worse. But on wood, it would be lovely. I agree that these kind of dilemmas are much more fun than the usual! xoxo


  8. Love / hate renovating so part of me is saying to leave it as is and the other is saying to just go full on. It's a lovely kitchen but funny how little details annoy one more than a house as a whole. Seeing you have issue with tiled section so just refloor!


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