Part 2: The Kitchen Island

Creating a modern, open living space was a huge priority for us. As we were house-hunting, we knew that we wanted a large kitchen. So it was a no-brainer to knock down the fireplace and replace it with a beautiful 4 ft. x 10 ft. kitchen island.

Don’t get me wrong — fireplaces can be cozy and lovely. Ours was most definitely not. I’ve blogged about it here already, but I cannot stress enough how monstrous this fireplace was. The previous owners literally added extra stones to the brick to make it even more massive. It was a huge eyesore, and even had a weird panel (not pictured) that housed the water heater. So the first things you saw when you opened the front door were a stone wall and the water heater. NOT CUTE.

Here's the before and after of the fireplace situation. We were able to knock down everything except a support beam which will be next to the kitchen island.

When we started looking at countertops, we were instantly drawn to this island at the Pental showroom. We loved the raised bar countertop and modern, clean lines. Also, since the stove would be going underneath the current hood vent area, that meant it would have to be placed inside the island. This island was one of the first (and best) ways we saw it integrated into the island design.

After we solidified the blueprints with our cabinet maker last month, we were ready to pick out quartz countertops today. Our contractor Jeremy talked to his fabricator who gave us pricing and recommendations for how many slabs we’d need. Two jumbo slabs of the Statuario and one regular slab of Java Noir. FYI the fabricator is the person who cuts the slabs into the right sizes for your countertops — measuring where everything will go like the sinks and faucets, and notching things out accordingly.

Today, we went back to the Pental showroom to see the slabs in-person. We only had small square samples from our previous visit, and they don’t just let anyone back in the stockroom. So today we had to give them our contractor and fabricator’s name before they allowed us to look at the full slabs.

Once we were in, they showed us our selections and made sure we still liked them. I was prepared to look through each slab individually and pick one, but the salesperson informed us that all of the quartz slabs were identical because it’s a man-made slab. Only the marble slabs have unique “veining” because they’re natural materials. He also brought out the forklift to show us a few other similar items like the Misterio which had more gray tones and lighter, looser veins. But in the end, we still liked Statuario and Java Noir the most, and our salesperson agreed that the combination worked better together because they both have a brown tone in the veins.

In terms of next steps, we’ll be telling our contractor that we’ve made a final decision on the slabs. He’ll relay that info to the fabricator who will place the order with Pental, and then we’ll work with him to clarify the design and the direction we want the veins to go in. Another thing we’ve never, ever thought about before.

Afterwards, we went to My House Plumbing & Hardware to purchase our Kohler sinks for the kitchen. One will be the main sink, and the other is a utility sink. We considered using the sinks left by the previous owners, but they would need significant cleaning and reglazing which would have cost as much as a new sink. While we were there, we also looked at the Toto toilets and decided to purchase the Entrada Close Coupled Elongated 2-Piece Toilet (guest bathroom) and Drake II 2-Piece Elongated Toilet with a double flushing cyclone for the master bath. Yes, double cyclone flushing is what excites us now.

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We also moved over more things from our apartment into the garage, and plan to continue moving things tomorrow and paint another coat on the cabinet doors.

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