“These things take time.” A popular quote I am all too familiar with, especially when it comes to anything home renovation. In the case of our recent simple kitchen update, I prefer, “Good things come to those who wait.” A few years ago, we took the plunge and painted our existing oak cabinets white. You can read about the process and products we used here. I haven’t regretted that decision one second. Paint is magic, and that single change made a huge impact in how our kitchen looked. Without further ado, I am excited to share how we tackled the next step and changed out our cabinet pulls and counter tops, added a farmhouse sink, and installed a new back splash. I feel like we got a brand new kitchen without the cost and maneuvering of a full kitchen remodel. The quality of the products used and the expert installation of these added elements are a big W O W factor!
Be sure to stick around for the throwbacks at the end. Taking pictures without any subjects didn’t used to be the norm 😉 I didn’t realize I’d want “before” photos so many years later.
I never dreamed I would have quartz counter tops or a farmhouse sink. It’s seriously a dream come true. Big, HUGE, thank you to HanStone Quartz,DLawless Hardware, and Sinkology for partnering with me on our simple kitchen update.
We built our home 20 years ago, and put on an addition 14 years later; so I am aware that things don’t always go as planned. True to life, we ran into a few obstacles with this simple kitchen update, but nothing proved impossible or derailed my enthusiasm for a refresh. I am beyond thrilled with how it all turned out and excited to share what we learned.
Fancy a Farmhouse Sink Too?
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
Without a doubt, I knew I wanted a farmhouse (also known as an apron front) sink from Sinkology. Having been in the blogging world for several years, and being exposed to many different brands, I observed that Sinkology seemed to always take the cake where sinks were concerned. Our new Fireclay sink is everything I imagined and more. We chose the Brooks II All-In-One Fireclay Sink and Stainless Faucet Kit. The kit comes with the double bowl fireclay sink, Pfister Pfirst faucet, strainer drain, InSinkErator- compatible disposal drain, bottom grid, Fireclay CareIQ kit, and scrubber. Click here to view the warranty and other characteristics.
Top Three Things to Ponder if Considering Apron Front:
- Size: Most farmhouse sinks are ten inches in depth. That is considerably deeper than a standard sink, so be ready to make a few modifications with your existing cabinets. We hired Ed Stock of Cissna Park, IL to custom modify our existing cabinet doors. I was amazed at his craftsmanship.
- Single vs. Double Bowl: When you think farmhouse sink, most likely you picture a single basin. I was given several opinions in favor of one bowl, but I ultimately chose a double bowl. What can I say, I was used to the double bowl, and I LOVE it with the farmhouse option too. There is plenty of room on either side for your larger pans, and it was just easier for me to have the garbage disposal separate.
- Undermount vs. Drop-In: I knew I wanted undermount for the easy clean-up alone. It was instant gratification the first time I was able to just wipe the crumbs right off the ledge. It truly is the little things sometimes 😉
It’s Often a Team Effort, So Be Patient
The downside to an undermount sink is the added time to your counter top installation. We chose Classic Granite and Marble to fabricate and install our new HanStone Quartz counter tops, and in order to make precise measurements, the sink needed to be installed first. We hired JN Design and Construction to remove the old sink and install our new Fireclay sink from Sinkology. Once that was completed, Classic Granite and Marble came back in and shot the exact template for our new counter tops.
Three Things to Consider When Installing HanStone Quartz
- Variety: What surprised me the most when choosing which counter top to go with from HanStone Quartz was how much variety was available.
- Color Range
Be Sure To Order Samples
I must have stared at HanStone’s website for weeks before deciding what samples to have sent. White with grey veining was the look I wanted, but little did I know how many varieties of that style there are!! The grain and color may look just slightly different, but in a grander scale could make a big difference depending on what look you are going for. Ultimately the four samples we had sent were: Chantilly, Yorkville, Tranquility, and Mercer. Read more about HanStone Quartz here.
- Backsplash vs. NO backsplash: We chose to have our counter tops reach the wall with NO added backsplash. The small amount of space gained from that decision seems HUGE! I have always, no exaggeration here, wanted to display plants around my sink. With the added backsplash of our old counter tops, the space left behind the sink made it impossible to display anything more than a soap dispenser. Further more, I like the cleaner edge of the counter tops meeting up with the new backsplash as well.
- Leveling over Existing Cabinets: Like I already mentioned, our kitchen is over twenty years old, so things have definitely had time to settle. Leveling the new counter tops over older cabinetry posed a little challenge, so hiring a company with a five-star rating is highly encouraged for install. Classic Granite and Marble delivered outstanding service in all areas.
Shortly after we painted the kitchen cabinets white, Glenn installed a back splash of wains coating. Click here to see the difference that made. I instantly loved the neutral background and never grew tired of it. Unfortunately, since our old counter tops had a back splash built in, the gap left after removing them resulted in ripping the wains coating out. After choosing Chantilly for our new HanStone Quartz counter tops, I decided on a back splash with a little more character this time around.
Alaskan Gray Split Face 12 in. x 12 in. x 10 mm Marble Mesh is what we chose and it mirrors the same color scheme with added texture for interest. Once again, I hired JN Design and Construction, to install the new back splash and couldn’t be more pleased with his quality of service. Jason was always quick to respond during this small kitchen update and delivered precise installation.
A detail that was changed out early on in this simple kitchen update were the cabinet knobs and pulls. D Lawless Hardware is definitely a company to keep in mind when searching for finishing hardware. I chose black matte for a bit of contrast, and was impressed with the quick delivery and quality. I was happy to incorporate these early on and am delighted with how everything looks together in the end.
Gradual Changes Are OK!
All in all, our simple kitchen update was just that. This was far from a gut job and goes to show that taking time to make small changes a little at a time is both cost effective and makes the process that more rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, I understand a complete tear out and start over is needed at times. I do think that too often people put off making small changes for fear that the end result won’t make much of a difference. I disagree, sometimes just changing one thing can make all the difference in the world.
A Few Fun Before and After’s
Wonder what’s next? Me too 😉
Thanks so very much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed these before and after photos as much as I did. Please don’t hesitate in reaching out with any questions. If I can’t answer them, I’ll put you in touch with someone who can.
Author and Photos – Martha Knake
Chief Editor – Emily Schunke