Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Color Banter: Kitchens and Bathrooms

Our blog series on color continues with kitchens and bathrooms. There are so many decisions to be made when remodeling or building or house, and the choices can seem overwhelming. You not only have to consider materials, you have to consider the texture, quality, and color. When choosing color you need to look not only at the aesthetics, but also the practicality: how will it work with how you really live?

Counter tops make a big statement, and granite is of course a favorite, for home owners and house hunters. When choosing a granite color, consider how the color will fare in the most mundane situations. Black looks great when it is shiny and clean, but consider that it will show every crumb, water mark, piece of dust and toothpaste splatter. Lighter granite with pattern is better for the not so meticulous housekeeper.
Some granite patterns can be trendy and date a house, like golden jade from the late nineties. Choose what makes you happy, but beware if you have seen one particular pattern in every model home.

Black Galaxy Granite can show dust and crumbs. However, it is a very popular pattern and can be found for very low prices, especially if you are working with standard sizes. 

 I love this Quartzite Bianca  Granite Slab from Pental. I think it's neutral enough to stand the test of time in terms of trendiness, it will go with warm and cool colors and a variety of undertones in cabinets, and the pattern is forgiving for a few crumbs or splatters.

Porcelain and ceramic tile are durable and easy to clean, but take care in choosing the grout color. Keeping grout clean takes more effort than keeping the tile clean. If you are going for matching tile and grout, keep in mind that it will be more difficult to keep light grout looking fresh. In my opinion, light grout is easier to clean in the shower, where you can really suds up a solution of water and dish washing soap.

Stainless steel appliances go hand in hand with granite: it seems like everyone wants them. They do look great, when they are clean. Keep in mind that you will have not only wipe them down but also polish them with a polish to keep them looking new (I recommend a restaurant grade satin shine spray). Black appliances are much more budget-friendly and have a modern look. Cabinet faced dishwashers and refrigerators are also a low-maintenance alternative to standard white.

GE Profile Panel Ready refrigerators can blend in with your cabinets for a streamlined kitchen, though they do cost a few hundred more dollars than stainless steel, and will need to be customized with your chosen cabinet fronts.

A glossy finish paint is much easier to clean in these areas, especially if you use a light color. A bright color can add pizazz if you cannot afford to run a back splash all the way to the bottom of the cabinets. Using the same granite as the counter top for a full height back splash can be overkill. The back splash is a great opportunity to choose a fun, more bold or more expensive tile, metal, or bamboo.

The latest color or material trend may be enticing, but is it practical for you in what are the most heavily used and messiest areas in the house? Considering you level of commitment to keeping them looking like new before you buy can save a lot of headahces later. 

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