Spring Touches + Kitchen FAQs

By Kate Riley April 3, 2012

Last week I was all about purging and cleaning and the kitchen was definitely on the list.  I thought it time to spruce up this space with some spring touches and snap a few fresh pics of our kitchen since it’s been over a year since I did so.  I get a lot of questions about our kitchen, especially about the appliances and the countertops and how they’ve held up over time.  Now that we’ve lived in this space for five years, I’ll try to provide some answers to those FAQs.

As for the spring touches, greens and blues are my favorite colors, so when I spied these little striped pots at Lowes last week for $3 each I brought two of them home to sit in the garden window.

jeld wen bay window cg

The bay window is wood and we ordered it from Jeld-Wen when we built the kitchen – it brings a ton of light into the space.  That faucet is Price Pfister from Home Depot.  Our kitchen is west facing and because of that we don’t get a lot of morning light, but in the afternoon on a sunny day it’s the place to be.  Plants thrive in the window, and I’ve grown just about everything here from herbs to succulents.

The cabinets were semi-custom by Kemper, they’ve held up really great over the years and I only have to wipe them down about once a month or so.  I’m still loving the off-white color which is officially called “Toasted Almond” by the company but the closest paint color matches are “Floral White” by Benjamin Moore and “Ivory Dust” by Valspar.

white kemper kitchen cabinets cg


I’m a huge fan of Dash & Albert striped rugs.  Huge.  This one I ordered last month is their Aquinnah cotton 2 ½’ x 8’ runner and brings some great color into the space.  That’s a GE beverage cooler/wine fridge to the right – worth every penny – we chill both wine and non alcoholic beverages in it and use it everyday – a great investment since it saves space in the main refrigerator.

striped dash and albert rug cg

cg white kitchen range wall

On the right side of the window is the range wall, both the range and the convection microwave are GE Monogram.  I love the gas cooktop, but I’m not so thrilled with the oven beneath only because the fan makes a loud sound when you turn it on which to me is so dumb.  Instead, I use the oven in the island (opposite the range, seen here) because that one’s quiet!  The convection microwave has always worked well – if it makes good popcorn I’m happy.  :)

microwave and chalkboard wall cg


On the left side of the window is the refrigerator wall, another GE Monogram appliance.  I like the panels, I’m not a fan of this particular fridge model but that’s because it’s broken down on us twice (of course just past the expiration of the warranty) but hey, as long as it’s working now, you’ll hear no complaints from me.  The second sink faucet is by Rohl.

white paneled refrigerator


glass kitchen cabinet cg


New dish towels are from Crate + Barrel, I thought they’d add another fun color splash, find them here and here.  The kitchen island and walls are both painted “Camouflage” by Benjamin Moore.  I painted the island myself with Zinsser primer, Penetrol, and oil based paint last year (it used to be mustard yellow) and I haven’t had any issues at all, it still looks just as good as the day it was finished.  If I had to do it again, I’d use the new water based Advance formula.

kitchen island wood top cg


I get asked a lot about both of my countertops in my kitchen.  Around the perimeter the countertops are Crema Pacific Marfil marble with brown veining.  They’ve only been sealed once when they were installed and with a generic sealer from Home Depot.  We haven’t had any problems with stains since, even with all the red wine consumed around these parts. After five years, there are some faint water spots in places, small chips around the sink, and you have to be careful with citrus because it can oxidize the counters (the juice will leave white patches which eventually scrub off).  But I still love them and I think they actually look better with age.

crema pacific marble countertops cg


The wood top island still looks amazing (cherry with an ebony glaze) and a lot of people questioned this choice for a main kitchen surface with a busy family of five.  It’s true, dark wood is more high maintenance than stone or laminate, but I absolutely love its warmth and have no regrets choosing it.  Nothing hot on top of course, and always cutting boards, but we’re all used to it by now.

cherry wood kitchen countertop cg


Here’s what I use to clean the countertops and appliances: I’m a big fan of Method products, have been for years, and nope, they don’t pay me to say it!

method cleaning products

I use the wood cleaner on the island and breakfast peninsula, the stainless steel cleaner on the appliances and the all-purpose on the marble countertops (or sometimes just hot water and a clean sponge).  Windex for the windows and plain ol’ white vinegar in a spray bottle for just about everything else, including wiping down the white cabinets.

I wrote an article about everything that went into the process of building this space last year in this post on ten lessons learned from building a kitchen – there are more pictures and a lot more information over there.  Let me know if you have any more questions, be happy to answer them in the comments!



  1. Fabulous, yes I am jealous too. I have oak cabinets and yes they do go with this house but white is such a clean look.

  2. Your kitchen is dreamy and the touches of spring are lovely. I love the wood top island… to me nothing adds warmth and character like wood, especially in a light colored space. Now I’m inspired to go clean my kitchen. ;-)

  3. Such a beautiful and welcoming space! That window is huge, I love it! We have wood on our island and would do it over again and again. Thanks for sharing, I am inspired to organize and deep clean my kitchen now.

  4. Love that Dash & Albert rug… going to order one for my mudroom:) What happened to the window treatment???

  5. Beautiful kitchen! I’m not a big fan of GE appliances. I can’t say enough good stuff about Whrilpool/Kitchenaid and no, I’m not paid to say that. My first fridge was a Whrilpool and lasted over 30 years!!! Of course they don’t build things like they used to, lol.

    Keep your wonderful blog post coming…I love reading everything you do.

  6. Your choices are beautiful! I am loving everything about this kitchen :-)

  7. Your kitchen is amazing! Do you have a home tour post somewhere? I would love to “see” the rest of the house!

    • Hey Amanda, no home tour yet, but if you click on the “My Spaces” category, you can find most of the rooms in our house!

  8. I recently went through a kitchen renovation and I can’t tell you how many times I referred to your “Ten lessons learned from building a kitchen”. I printed it out and carried it around in my little kitchen folder. Although my kitchen footprint (and budget) were much smaller, I found it so helpful. It made me think about all of my choices and where I should splurge and where I could save $$$. I really have no regrets other than maybe a few more lights. You can never have enough lighting. Now I need that big clock over your vent hood. Although I have clocks on every appliance…I need a big clock on the wall where I would not have to get up from the table to see them. Do you remember where you purchased it? Thanks for writing such a great post. I still occasionally check out your kitchen for some fabulous eye candy. Love the new towels and that dash and albert rug.

    • Hey Lori, that clock was a discount purchase from Burlington Coat Factory as I recall… they have some great home decor there, I pop in from time to time.

  9. I love your kitchen and all the pops of color you used. From the pictures it looks like you get a lot of great daylight. Thanks for being honest about which appliances you like and don’t like. My husband and I are hoping to upgrade a few of hours soon.

  10. What a beautiful kitchen. I love how crisp and clean all of the white cabinets and light colored accessories make the space look. I would definitely want to cook all the time in there. Thank you for sharing!


  11. Amazing! I love all the light and bright and it’s not stark in any way. The window over the sink is absolutely wonderful. Now off to check out your “10 things…” ’cause my kitchen needs lots n lots of lovin.

  12. I didn’t see what you used on the main counter top…whatever it is, it is wonderful. And I am jealous, because it looks positively huge. Great job!

  13. I looooove your kitchen, though I’m more of a bright-colored kind of person (we just painted our kitchen red!). I’ve always wanted a big kitchen with lots of counter space and I’d die to have two ovens! I love to bake and I wish I could do it to sell (but I don’t think I’m that good!). (“always” being the short 2 years that I’ve lived in a house of our own with my husband).

    We’re moving in a few months with short notice for hubby’s new job so we’ll be house hunting soon and the kitchen is always important to me. Our budget might require some sacrifices though. :-P

    I use 409 right now to clean but after reading an email from America’s Test Kitchen about cleaning products I decided to switch to Method once my 409 runs out (Method was their #1 choice). Good to see that you like it since no one else I know uses it!

  14. oh hello gorgeous – that rug just makes it all so pulled together and fresh and clean and happy – awesome kitchen! It smells squeaky clean from here even!

  15. Hi, I have a Dash and Albert runner also, do you have a rug pad under yours? Mine slides around and I don’t like the imprint the rubber rug pads make. Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous, great job on painting the cabinets, I am very impressed. Vickie [email protected]

    • Hi Vickie, no rug pad, but I’m thinking of using that trick from Martha where you add some silicone caulk to the bottom to create and “instant” rug pad directly on the rug.

  16. Hi Katie,
    I just love your kitchen! I also have white cabinets and love the brightness it brings into that space. I have the same cooktop as you, so I ask, How the heck do you clean your stove grates? We cook a lot, and I have a hard time getting the olive oil stains off of them. I know you have the answer!

    • Hi Terri, those grates require a soak about every two weeks, and I sponge out the mess underneath. Hot water and some strong dishwashing soap helps to cut the grease.

  17. I’m having serious kitchen envy, gorgeous room. Love your pops of color!

  18. Hi Kate, What an on time post! Thanks for re-sharing this with us. I just have one more question for you: since I cannot find the creme pacific marble-have you seen Botticino marble before? Does it look like your Crema pacific? I really love the swirls vs. veins in yours. Thanks!

    • Hi Michelle, I haven’t seen the Botticino marble, but I think if you look at a slab and you love it then you should go for it! (That’s what happened to me, it was love in a slab yard, true!)

    • Hi Jill, the wall color is the same as the island, “Camouflage” by Ben Moore.

  19. Soooo glad you can’t see my kitchen in return!
    Everything looks so bright and fresh in your kitchen. I like the idea of the wine/beverage cooler.
    I’m also a fan of Method. xx

  20. Beautiful!! I’m gonna paint my kitchen cabinets!!! More inspiration! Thanks, Kate!

  21. Gorgeous!! Your kitchen is beautiful and calming. Do you recall where you got the towel bar on your kitchen island? SO pretty.

  22. WOW Kate..Love all of that bright light..Love bay windows..we will be doing white in our kitchen/dining room soon to brighten things up..I will be looking through some of your past posts for advise..

  23. Your kitchen is basically my dream kitchen! I love all the light and white cabinets…you have so much more to work with concerning accents with such a clean background! Love it! Happy Spring!

  24. Hi! LOVE your kitchen! What’s the paint color you used on the walls? I love it!

    • Hi Trac, the color on the walls in Ben Moore ‘Camouflage’ – on the island too!

  25. Your kitchen is so bright and airy, I love it! Looks like a fun place to cook.

  26. Your kitchen is enough to make me rethink my color scheme. I love the windowsill and those beautiful pots, and I so very much want a beverage cooler now!

  27. Oooohhh aaahhhhh! So many lovely touches. I think I love your window and the shelf above the oven the most. Window for obvious reason…light, light and more light. The shelf above the oven is such a warm cozy touch vs the traditional microwave. Oh and I love the very blonde wood floor. Thank you for sharing.

  28. LOVE Method all purpose cleanser too! The lavender just smells perfect and I read in cooks illustrated it kills more germs than lysol product, naturally. The Method glass cleaner however, leaves streaks.

  29. Gorgeous kitchen, Kate. So nice and light, fresh and crisp and your spring touches are pretty. Your son is a cutie!

  30. Your kitchen is fabulous! I too have GE Monogram appliances and have had LOTS of trouble and expense with them. The fridge is a nightmare. Stuff in the refrigerator freezes, and the meat drawer makes meat spoil fast because it gets hot in there. I would NEVER recommend anyone buying GE’s shoddy, but expensive appliances.

  31. LOVE your kitchen! Everything looks perfect. Now can you write an article aimed at husband’s who think they can do entire remodels themselves? I was planning as acting as our own general contractor for a kitchen addition, but now my husband wants to do the. entire. thing. Help! You guys acted as your own GC, correct? What did you do yourself and what did you hire out?

  32. Hello, Kate, it`s a pleasure for me to open your blog every morning before my working day and just admire your wonderful home, so stylish and beautiful. The kitchen is a dream. But it`s so larg that I suppose you walk many kilometers inside the room just to cook something, ha-ha! It`s good for your health! My kitchen is a little bigger than your laundry room and somethimes I feel tired to clean it.
    (Excuse me, if I made mistakes in English, but it`s not my mother language.)

  33. Your kitchen is just fantastic. Everything looks perfect. I am so jealous. Did you build your home or have you been re-doing it?

  34. Your kitchen is just beautiful. Everything is perfect. I love the brigthness and the way everything is setup. Just stunning.

  35. Kate,
    Your kitchen is great. So light-filled and fresh. I love hearing details like this from my favorite bloggers. I always walk away with some helpful information and I feel like I’ve visited a friend. Thank you!

  36. Great kitchen — filled with light and love! Thanks for the added bonus of a wonderful resource for rugs! (How did you know that I’d been searching for beach-y striped runners for hallways in my home? :-)

  37. Your kitchen is just stunning. I dream of the day when I own a kitchen like yours. Your styling and photography is amazing :)

  38. I LOVE your kitchen! Maybe because it’s similar to mine–I have some of the same finishes so I liked your cleaning recommendations. I have two questions though: what do you use to clean your floors, and do you dilute the vinegar for your cabinets? I’m sort of afraid of ruining the wood cabinets and floors. Thanks so much! Love your blog!!

    • Hi Laura, yes I dillute the white vinegar in the spray bottle, and love a Swiffer on my wood floors. Every month or so they get a deeper cleaning with the same vinegar solution.

  39. You kitchen is my dream kitchen, Kate! It’s really beautiful and you really could hire yourself out to people rennovating for design help.

  40. Kate, I LOVE your beautiful kitchen! Thanks for the tour. I remember when you changed the tile above the stove. It’s also so beautiful, sunny and bright. Gorgeous place to spend time with those you love, cooking up some good grub. :)

  41. Kate, LOVE your blog! I’m a long time follower, first time commenter. :-) Question about the cleaning products … I see that you dilute the vinegar for cleaning the cabinets. Is it 50/50 water / vinegar? Or does it depend on how much ‘cleaning’ is needed? Also, although I don’t think you have any formica countertops, do you have any recommendations for cleaning those? Thanks!

    • Hey Lisa, I have laminate countertops up in our guest house mini kitchen, simple all purpose Method works great for those too. As far as the vinegar/water dilution, it’s usually about 20% vinegar, 80% water. I think… :)

  42. Hi , I was wondering about the white shelf did you make that yourself or buy it that way? Thanks , Tammy

    • Hi Tammy, we bought the corbels and made the shelf with a thick piece of wood, trimmed along the edges with decorative molding. Forgot to mention!

  43. Hi Kate!
    I use to be a huge fan of Method products as well. I loved their smell and the fact that for a ‘green’ product, they worked really well. That was, until I came across this article http://thegreenbeautyguide.com/method-the-classics-of-greenwashing/ and have since taken Method product off my shopping list and out of my house. I won’t be using them again. Not only are they not really green, but I really dislike companies that promote green when they really aren’t. I just thought you may want to take a peek since you do have kids around the house and seem to be a ‘green’ concious.

  44. Hi Kate, I love love love your kitchen! it’s timeless and classic :) I couldn’t tell by the picture if you have a single or double sink though. What is your preference We changed our countertops a few years back from a yucky mauve tile to a a nice granite, but made a costly mistake. I had a large single sink with a small separate bowl for the garbage disposal. I replaced it with a double sink of equal size (both relatively small) and I have regretted it ever since. I have chosen to live with it because replacing the granite is not an option and a custom sink will cost us small fortune. Ugh!!!! Any thoughts of what I can do?

    • Hi Julie, I found it at a discount store, I want to say Walmart or Kmart? It was a few years ago!

  45. I am thinking about putting a towel bar on my island and love yours. Do you remember the brand and/or name of the one you have?


  46. Are your floors oak? If so what color would you call them? We are installing a white kitchen but my husband does not like dark floors so I am at a loss for what color to use for our hardwood floors?

  47. Did you paint the inside of you island? I have maple colored cabinets and the same for my island but am starting to dream about painting the island to mix it up a little. Do you think a painted island would still be okay with maple cabinets in the rest of the kitchen?

  48. Beautiful kitchen! What are your thoughts on the “yellowing” of white cabinets? We are moving into a newly built house soon and are trying to decide between white or more of a cream colored cabinet. I love the white!

  49. Hi, My husband and I are in the process of building our own home and I am wondering what your wood flooring is in your kitchen and whether you have that coming from your entry as well? I love the light color but am wondering what kind of wood it is. Thank you soo much!!!

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