Design at Home: Our Kitchen Mini Makeover

Do you remember when I shared our kitchen mini makeover design plans? The faucet really started the whole project. Its lack of functionality was driving me nuts. Then I learned that the sink was driving my beau nuts. Then we decided to do a mini remodel by replacing the faucet, sink, countertop, and backsplash but keeping the existing cabinetry and layout. We added an antique French armoire for an additional pantry, which has been functional and beautiful. Slowly but surely, this mini makeover is taking shape.

I know some people will think that a mini remodel is a waste of money, but I’m not one of these people. I’d rather spend a bit of money now and enjoy a space for the next few years (or longer!?) until we finalize plans and budget for a larger remodel.

As you may recall, I am working with BLANCO Canada on this project. They have provided me with a BLANCO UNIT – a faucet, sink, and accessories combination that coordinate seamlessly together. Now that everything has been delivered, I’m getting even more excited about the change.

Getting here took some time. While I thought I was the only one with strong opinions about design (and function), my beau proved me wrong. He has strong opinions about function (and design).

When creating our BLANCO UNIT, specifically selecting the faucet and sink, we discussed:

  1. What we liked and disliked about our current faucet and sink.
  2. What we needed and wanted in a future faucet and sink (e.g., a sink that would fit in our existing cabinet).
  3. What the pros were of the BLANCO Canada faucets and sinks (that matched our needs and wants).
  4. What potential accessories would add value to functionality with our faucet and sink combo.

My beau is mostly all about function. He disliked the existing shallow sink. On his wish list: a deep sink, two bowls, a high faucet, a high-pressure faucet.

I am about design and function. I disliked hated our faucet (too low and the spout barely returns to its position). I also disliked the shallow sink, the 3/4 size bowl, and the cut-out to house soap/sponge. On my wish list: an undermount deep sink, one bowl, and a high-pressure, stylish faucet that makes me feel like a chef. I also wanted to experiment with a white sink (BLANCO Canada is known for its SILGRANIT), which I envisioned working well with a white stone countertop.

Luckily a BLANCO UNIT offers both design and function. We were able to select a sink and faucet combo that met my design needs and my beau’s desire for increased functionality! Here’s the BLANCO Canada faucet and sink combination we settled on:

the PRECIS U2 sink in white
the BLANCOCULINA faucet in chrome

Sleek, right?

Both items as well as a few accessories (i.e., the sink grid) have now arrived at our house. The next step for us will be to finalize the countertop and get everything installed. Eek! These improvements are going to make such a difference to how we enjoy and use our kitchen!

Design at Home: Our Kitchen

Our home is absolutely lovely. It’s a special place with an interesting history. There are unique nooks and crannies. And there are so many windows.

With every house, no matter how lovely, there’s always work to be done to upkeep it and to make it one’s own. Since moving in June, we have tackled a few minor projects, and we’re really trying to prioritize tasks to align with our needs and budget. This has been hard for me because I want to do everything all at once!

One of the areas that will need the most work in the future is our kitchen. It is large and fully functional, but we have ideas about what how we may want to change it to maximize the space and increase efficiency. Our design dreams, however, are costly, and the changes we have in mind are in our long-term plans.

That said, there are a few things that we would like to change now to make the kitchen more functional and beautiful.

Here’s what the main part of the kitchen looked like just before we moved in.

kitchen: before

We like all the windows, the basic white cabinets, and the appliances, including the double fridges (what a luxury)!

The counter and backsplash isn’t our style. The faucet and sink don’t maximize functionality. The cabinetry doesn’t maximize our nearly 10-foot ceilings (future project).

The faucet is terrible. The pull down option is broken, and it looks and feels so inexpensive. It feels like it could break at any moment. When I suggested we get a new faucet, my beau told me that the sink was even more bothersome to him than the faucet. The sink is shallow and has two bowls (regular size bowl plus a 3/4 size bowl). The sink, to my surprise, was annoying him just as much as the faucet was annoying me! We discussed the possibility of replacing one or both items in the short-term or living with the existing set-up until we’re ready for a larger remodel.

In the end, we decided that we wanted to complete a mini makeover so that the kitchen would be enjoyable, functional, and pretty (more for me!). A mini remodel makes sense for us while we save money and plan a larger remodel for the future (similar to Tiffany’s approach). Essentially, this means installing a new sink, faucet, counter, and backsplash.

Step 1 of our mini makeover meant that on one rainy day, I ripped off the fake-tin, plastic backsplash panels. I then primed the walls as a temporary, cheap makeover. We removed the glass domes on the lights, too.

kitchen: progress

Step 2 will be to replace the faucet and sink. We’re getting some help with this thanks to my long-time partner, BLANCO Canada. (Remember my old laundry room? I was sad to say goodbye to that little space.) I was so happy to coordinate our current kitchen project with the BLANCO Canada team – they’ve always been a real pleasure to work with! And I love that their products are made in Canada (remember this BLANCO factory tour?).

On our wishlist:

  • a high functioning faucet with pull-down spout and minimal splash
  • a deep double sink that could withstand messy kitchen work and that would look modern

Here are the faucet and sink options we considered:

Step 3 will be to install a stone countertop (I’ve got my eye on carrara marble or a white quartz), backsplash, and door handles.

Our current mini-makeover design board looks like this:

white subway tile backsplash, carrara marble countertop, existing white cabinetry, cabinet handles, PRECIS U 2 sink in white, BLANCOCULINA faucet in chrome

We liked just about all of the faucets in BLANCO’s collection. Everything was sleek and powerful. We wanted a high arc with a pull-down feature, and the BLANCOCULINA suited our tastes well.

We have chosen BLANCO’s Silgranit PRECIS U 2 sink in white. Daring, right? We debated between single and double bowl options, but decided that a double bowl might suit our current needs best. We were open to both stainless and Silgranit options, too, but I was drawn to the PRECIS U 2 in Silgranit because it’s unique. I have seen the Silgranit in action, and I am confident that the white will withstand the wear and tear of daily kitchen use. Tim and Chris have a white Silgranit in their kitchen, and they let me know that it has been easy to clean.

And this brings me to the end of the first post about our kitchen mini-makeover. In a few weeks, I’ll be sharing some progress and after photos.

Marketplace: BLANCO Canada

I’m pretty excited about what’s developing in my laundry/bathroom combo room. It took a few weeks to get going, but things are moving along now. One of the brands that I am working with on this project is BLANCO.

Not only are BLANCO’s products very much to my liking design-wise, but I love the history of this company. It has been family-owned since 1925, and its products are known for their German engineering and high quality. The BLANCO Canada products are manufactured in Canada, which definitely pleases me.

The team at BLANCO set me up with a white-white-white sink and faucet combination that are going to be put to work in my new space.

BLANCO Liven Silgranit

The Liven sink is made from BLANCO’s well-known Silgranit material, which is extremely durable material that comes in seven colours. It can be undermount of overmount. I have a white one (naturally), but the Cinder and Metallic Gray also caught my attention. Since I’ve had a normal (small) vanity sink in this space for the last five years, I’m very eager to have a large workhorse moving forward.

As for the faucet? My plumber will be installing BLANCO’s Urbena faucet. It is so sleek and clean – just what a white laundry room needs!

BLANCO Urbena faucet

While there’s a good chance that you like the Liven and Urbena as much as I do, you may be curious about other items in the BLANCO collection. Not to worry – everything else is lovely, too.

 BLANCO Quatrus apron-front sink

BLANCO Profina sink

BLANCO Panera faucet

BLANCO Solenta faucet

Thanks to BLANCO Canada for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. Photos via BLANCO.

Uptown: Laundry Room Design Ideas

2018 is going to be the year I tackle my laundry-bathroom renovation. The space has been stuck in the 80s/90s what with its floral wallpaper and really old everything else. I am so eager to get it back to its studs and start fresh!

I haven’t bought everything, but one thing is completely set – my sink and faucet. I’m lucky to be working with Blanco on this reno, and it really wasn’t hard for me to settle on two essential pieces items – the Blanco Liven laundry sink and Blanco Urbena faucet – both in white, of course!

Beyond these two pieces, I’ve been collecting ideas about other items as well. Here’s one of my design boards.

laundry sink, faucet, wall tile, floor tile, art, cabinet door, countertop, towels, shower trim, bath mat

As you can see, I’m going for a simple, modern space with white as the main colour (of course!). I think I’ve settled on white subway tile (but I might go for a larger version) for the walls and a grey-ish floor tile. I think I’ll need to go custom for the cabinet and counter, but I haven’t finalized that yet. And I have to settle on a laundry/dryer combo (not pictured), too. Much to do!

All of these are the pretty things. In addition to them, I (or people) will replace the insulation, install a ceiling, redo the door framing, improve the plumbing, and who even knows what else. That’s how renos end up going, right?

Thanks to Blanco for sponsoring this project. All opinions are my own.