Main St. Flip: Kitchen Design Inspiration
We’re coming down to the wire over at Main Street, both in a time sense and in a budget sense. I’ve saved the kitchen and bathroom plans for last because I want to know how much I have left to spend before I pick out finishes that could potentially send us over-budget. So far, it’s looking pretty tight, so budget-friendly is the name of the game. I’ve got a long post of inspiration (read: indecision) for you today. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all the options in the comments!
First, the cabinets. They were inherited with the house and we couldn’t justify spending thousands on new ones. They were brand new, still in the box, and intended to be installed in the old kitchen by the previous owner before he decided to sell the house. When we decided to move the kitchen, we got nervous that we’d have to buy new cabinets after all, but luckily for us, they still work really well. We had to play kitchen Tetris to see which cabinets would fit where, but after about 30 minutes we got it figured out and ended up with a larger kitchen than I thought! The question with these cabinets has always been whether to keep them the color they are, or paint them. They’re a caramel brown (shaker style, thankfully). Something I’m keeping in mind is that while this is a flip, it could also be an investment purchase for someone who may use it as an Airbnb. I want to make the house neutral enough, but also trust that we’ll get buyers in the door who will appreciate good design.
We haven’t decided on the floor 100% yet (because…budget), but it’ll either be sanded and left a light color, or painted (if painted, most likely black.) Whichever way we go with the floor, the look of rest of the kitchen will of course be affected, but I have to go ahead and make some choices now, that I know will work, no matter what we do with the floor. With just a few weeks left in our timeline, I have to give myself enough time to special order materials if necessary.
Here’s what I imagine the cabinets could look like if we left the cabinets their original color, and if we kept the floors a wood tone.
I love how the tiny knobs give the cabinets in the first picture a minimalist look. The pulls in the second picture are so pretty, too! I found a similar, affordable version of both that I love.
If we decide to paint the cabinets, I’ll go with a dark green color on the lowers, similar to what I have in my kitchen. I get compliments on the color all the time. It feels neutral and classic but still bold and unexpected. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser and would also go well with the pulls above.
Then there’s the backsplash. I’ve been tossing around a few options because I need back-up ideas in case tile isn’t in the budget. My first choice, of course, is white subway tile (again, crowd pleaser), but laid in a basketweave pattern (because it’s just a little different/more modern). I’d go with a mid-gray grout. Taking the tile only up as far as a low, floating shelf would save on cost but still be functional against messes and give visual interest.
But what if we can’t swing tile? Here are two more options.
The first alternative I’ve come up with is chalkboard paint. We’ve used it in our own kitchen before and it was fun feature. Check out this pin I found to see how it CAN look modern, and not too farmhouse-y or DIY. Again, I’d only take it up as far as a low, floating shelf.
Or there’s this idea: plywood with a built-in shelf, which is stunningly minimal. My only question here is… would this go with the slightly more traditional cabinetry? In my head, if the cabinets are painted, the backsplash can be a little more funky.
That brings us to countertops. There are really three options at this point: Faux marble laminate… it’s off the shelf at Menards — it’s super inexpensive but actually turns out really pretty. We’ve used it in a rental kitchen before.
Or there’s the option to DIY concrete countertops using Ardex Feather Finish in either white or black, depending on the overall design.
Or, we could go with butcher block (also off the shelf from Menards), which is what we have in our kitchen and would ONLY work if we did paint the cabinets.
Finally, there are the lighting and faucet to consider.
We’re having can lights installed in the kitchen, but I’ve asked for one decorative light to be placed above the sink, so I can add a pendant for utility, ambient lighting, and aesthetics. It’s gotta be cheap, though. OK, cheap is a bad word. Let’s say budget friendly. Very budget friendly. Here’s what i’ve found.
This one, from Shades of Light, is only $40 and has that minimalist industrial-meets-Scandinavian vibe we’re going for. It also comes in black. The only question is whether it’ll be too big.
Or we could go with something simple like a socket light. I managed to find this one with a few color options for $30 on Etsy:
A new sink isn’t in the budget, so we’re going to work with a cast iron one we found in the back yard (haha!) and make it look intentional. Lord help us with a faucet, though. Those things are expensive. Here’s a lesson I’ve learned about sink faucets.. First, you can’t get a cheap faucet brand. They’ll only last a year, if that, and cause so much frustration when they start leaking or stop spraying, or both. So it’s better to go with a good brand, in a less trendy style if that’s what works best with your budget. Here are our most likely choices:
I don’t love the shape of the black faucet, but I do appreciate the color and that it has a pull-down sprayer.
The chrome faucet definitely has a more traditional shape - a little fancier than the rest of the modern kitchen elements I’ve shown you in this post. But with everything else, all pulled together, it reminds me a little of a perfectly imperfect Parisian apartment.
Here’s what I know about truly comfortable kitchens. You can’t pick every single item in a new space based on what’s the most design-y and expect the final look to truly feel like home. You can find great examples of this truth in European design. Simple is best, and I’ve found that sometimes what I really love about a kitchen is the older looking stove, or the unexpectedly vintage tile countertop, or the wooden slab front cabinets — it’s not typically the Pinterest-worthy image with a Viking stove plus Carrara marble and white shaker cabinets and all the perfect bells and whistles to match. So that’s what we’re going to shoot for here. The theme of the North Main Kitchen, if you can call it a theme is this: A sweet and collected-looking end result that combines modern design elements with home-y, inexpensive touches.
I want to hear your thoughts below! What do you think of painting the cabinets versus leaving them wood? Which backsplash would you choose? Do you agree or disagree with my European take on design inside this house? Let me know in the comments!