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Reader Question: LR's Kitchen

by - Monday, November 17, 2008

LR wrote in recently with her kitchen dilemma:

I just ordered white cabinets, a dark wood floor, and I haven't picked my countertops quite yet. I have always loved the butcher block look but have considered silestone as well. I would love to know you thoughts since everything I have read on your blog seems to be exactly what I'm thinking. I started ripping pages out of magazines months ago that I could use as kitchen inspiration and I have glued them all into a notebook where I try my best to keep my ideas organized. When I looked back through my kitchen inspiration notebook all of my kitchens had wood floors and white/light cabinets! I am not sure what tile to pick for a backsplash, I was thinking of going white but I am torn between white or bringing in a punch of color... any thoughts?

Great idea with keeping an inspiration binder, LR! It really helps to focus a look. By the sounds of it, you prefer a more warm, traditional look in the kitchen. I love the look of wood floors against white cabinets.

Butcher block is a great feature if you've got ample counter space. If you have a separate island, mixing butcher block on the island and stone or quartz counters around the perimeter is beautiful look. Check out how the butcher block island enhances the look of the wood floor in this space from Hampton Design.

For the backsplash, I find the pure "white on white" look of white cabinets and white ceramic subway tiles a little sterile. Instead, why not go for a little bit of pattern or colour in the veining. Tiles set in a unusual pattern, marble subway tiles, interesting contemporary tile shapes... all of these would add a bit of interest.

(Source: House Beautiful; Unknown; Sarah's House)
As for colour in the backsplash, this is a personal preference but I prefer to keep things neutral and bring in the colour through paint on the walls, fabrics, and accessories. The blue tiles in this picture from Cottage Living look lovely, but I fear down the road they'll look 'oh-so-2008' - like the tumbled backsplash look from the 1990's. With a more neutral backsplash, you can change accessories and still get the pop of colour you're craving.

One important thing in the kitchen - no matter what finishes you choose - is ample lighting. You can change the mood and look of a kitchen with a well chosen mix of potlights, pendants, and under-cabinet lights, so leave a little room in the budget for that :)

Thanks for the question LR and do send in some after pics! If you have a decorating dilemma, send in your question to

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  1. Anonymous11:37 AM

    I'm also a huge fan of brooklyn limestone's soapstone countertop.

  2. I love thay first photo with that super thick butcherblock , yummy.

  3. gb - I love soapstone too. For some reason, its not that popular here in Canada though.

    Chris - I know, so pretty, eh? If I had a big kitchen, I'd do that.


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