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Kitchen: Choosing Product


Remodeling our kitchen took work, took time, and took lots and lots of decision making.  In my article on the step by step process for a kitchen remodel, I talk about how the process from beginning to end.  Today, I am sharing with you all the details that are decided on before and during all the nitty gritty construction!

It’s in the details, is what I always say!

It’s in the details, it what I always say!  All the big items are pretty easy but paying attention to the details is what makes a good kitchen, a GREAT kitchen!

Details are not easy.  Paying attention to all the little decisions takes thought, effort, research and (if you have a spouse or partner that cares…) compromising.

Here is the breakdown on how we chose the details that make our kitchen remodel unique to us.



You can go CRAZY with light fixtures!  And there are so SOOOO many cool products out there to choose from.  To narrow down your decision, there are a few things to think about:

  1. Style
  2. Budget

There are lots of styles of lighting: pendant, flush, semi-flush, chandelier, wall mounted, etc.  For a new kitchen remodel, you usually have recessed lighting (also referred to as canned lighting) and then to add character, you often see a chandelier or a few pendant lights over the island or peninsula, and maybe a flush mounted decorative light over the sink.

In our original kitchen, (before and after photos) we originally had 3 simple pendant lights over the island.  Since we were simplifying the island to just one slab of granite, I wanted to go big with the pendants, to fill up that space. 

I pinned a TON of inspiration photos but I nothing was really making me swoon, until I went on a home tour in downtown Portland where I fell in LOOOOVE with the first photo above!  My girlfriend who’s a designer, found it on a “trade” website for the lovely price of $2700.  Talk about letting the air out of my sails.  That was the same price as our refrigerator!!!  I cried a little…and moved on, trying to find something “similar”.  Deep down, I knew that nothing was going to compare to my first love!  

It’s a process.  Remodeling is a process.  I think that’s why it is so overwhelming for many people.

Through this process though, I was able to narrow down what I was really looking for, and that was to have something “sculptural” over the island. Something that wasn’t too heavy, but had some interest.

“Balls on Sticks”, as my husband would say, is a big trend right now.  It’s a little too modern for us.  However, the “framed lantern” style (header photo of this section) is everywhere too!  I like it because it has traditional lines but with a modern twist (no glass panels, just the frame of a lantern). 

Traditional with a twist: that’s definitely me!

Let’s look at my criteria for our pendant lighing:

  1. The Look: I love the sculptural feel to them. 
  2. The Size: I love that I could go BIG yet visually you would still see thru the sculpture, not disrupting the line of sight.   
  3. The color: They come in the beautiful antique brass color that we were aiming for
  4. The Price: Best of all, there were lots of suppliers with reasonable pricing. 

This was IT!  This was the decision.  Excellent!  I shared the idea with my husband and…  Du Du DUUUUUUUUU.  He did not agree. He didn’t like it!  Oh my stars.  Hands to the throat!  What do you MEAN you don’t like them?!!!! WHHHAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!


He asked, “Where did we get the breakfast nook chandelier?”  Well, Ballard Designs (10 years ago!!!).  We headed to their website.  Paroozing all the brass chandeliers and pendants, we came upon the Stella Chandelier. 


My husband said, “I like that.”  I was shocked…mainly because…I DID TOO!!!  And, Ballard was having a lighting sale: 30% off.  Style and price were prefect. “Hallelujah!  You are going in our shopping cart right NOW!” 

Decision made. (Whew!  I can take my hands off your throat now. 😉 )



Hardware is the “jewelry” of your kitchen.  Some people like “chunky”, some like “delicate”, some like “trendy”, and some like “classic”.  I really did like the hardware we had in our original kitchen.  It was a simple, stainless round knob paired with an arched bin pull style handle.  They were classic but they also “blended in”.  Because we were going so WHITE and BASIC with the rest of the kitchen, I decided I wanted a little “bling” in my kitchen “jewelry” and decided on an antique brass finish with a medium oval knob (above) and a mission style handle(first photo below) from Rejuvination.  To our luck (again!), they were on sale for 30% off retail. Whoot hoot!

Decision made!



I didn’t hate the faucet we had.  It was a gooseneck with a pulldown spout and we had a hot water dispenser to match.  But, seeing that my parents had purchased the same one and it broke 1 year into it, I didn’t know how long ours would last.  So, instead of waiting till dooms day and building my whole kitchen counter set-up around the old fixture that might break, we decided to upgrade and headed to Chown Hardware to research.

This was easy.  We fell in love with the supplier: California Faucets.  Chose our stainless steal gooseneck, pull down sprayer with the hot/cold faucet to match and an air-switch (which is a button in your countertop that turns the garbage disposal on and off, vs. having a switch on the wall 3 feet away where you have to lean over to turn it on and off.  Best invention ever! We did an airswitch in our Sunriver place too!)

Another decision done!

TILE: Backsplash and Hearth


For the backsplash, I was pretty set on subway tiles.  However, I am really drawn to the honeycomb shape.  The black honeycomb flooring (photo below) was in an older home I saw from the downtown home tour.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  We also saw a lot of the enlongated honeycomb tiles in the Street of Dreams Showcase homes this last summer.  I love them both but they are much more contemporary than my personal style.  My conservative side said stay simple and you will be much happier with this big decision in the longrun.

We kept with the subway tile format.  They are classic.  They are simple.  They are still very popular in today’s designs.  The only question is: did I want just a basic subway, or did I want something with a little “character”?

Large Format

Character won!  I fell in love with Inspired By Charm’s subway backsplash which is a handmade subway tile.  After some research, I found one similar at Contract Furnishings Mart.  Once I placed the order, they shipped within a week!  So fast. 

Main tile: decision made!

Small Format

We also collected ideas for an “accent” tile, leaning toward Calacutta natural stone for it’s warmth and softness.  I was not sure if I wanted to add a little detail behind the stovetop or not.  We decided to keep the subway tile flowing all the way thru the space with no break at the stovetop and did not need the smaller format tile–in the kitchen that is.  We kept it clean, simple, classic. 

However, we did end up using a small format tile for our hearth.  Post to come on that later! 😉 



Oh countertops, oh countertops!  How lovely are your veins?!  Solid countertops: what a luxury!  If you can afford them, it is so worth the expense.  For our countertops, I knew I wanted a man-made stone that LOOKED like marble.  I LOOOVE marble, the beautiful gray veining is natures perfectly imperfection.  BUT, to have marble countertops, you have to be very cautious, or just be ok with natural wear and tear of an etchable, stainable product.  I know my family, and that was just not going to work.  

I have good news!  There are lots of beautiful man-made, more durable products that have the look of marble but can take the wear and tear of a busy family’s treturous day to day beating.  I headed to EleMar and found lots of options, from EleMar’s own line of man-made Quartz to what we settled on which is a Caesarstone Quartz. I brought home 4 samples for my family to review and of course everyone chose a different one as their favorite!  We were able to narrow it down to 1 that we all agreed would be a good compromise: some vaining (for me!) but not too much veining and not too dark (for my husband). (Kids really didnt have a say…but we wanted them to feel like they did 😉 Teehee!)

Decision made! 



Can you insert a little “Tim the Toolman Taylor” grunt here?!  Big. Solid. Stainless. Ready to take on a LOT of use and abuse.  I love to cook and bake so the oven and stovetop was a big decision and not cheep!  I did a facebook poll for advise from friends and I got so many good tips!  Thank you, friends!!!  After visiting Standard Appliance in Beaverton and Basco, in the Pearl, we eventually decided we liked the Thermador for it’s function and coordinating asthetics to the Bosch refrigerator.  With some advise from my inlaws that have a gas only oven, and taking into consideration Jeremy’s suggestion (our sales guy at Basco), we went with a duel fuel option for consistancy in oven temperature and baking abilities.  So far, we love it!

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