My Brother’s Kitchen Remodel

By Kate Riley March 30, 2016

Hi friends! Today I’m so excited to share my brother’s kitchen remodel with you. You’ll recall back in October when Nate and Liz were in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel and it’s finally complete!

Nate and Liz moved out of San Francisco last fall into a small town just outside the city which allows them to commute but also live in a quiet neighborhood and raise their two small boys. I helped them with the cabinet layout and suggested design ideas but they made all the decisions on finishes and did a brilliant job!

marble herringbone backsplash

I love the finishes in this kitchen, Liz chose white cabinets, a gray plank porcelain tile floor, sage green quartz countertops, smudgeproof stainless steel appliances, and a classic marble herringbone backsplash.

Liz loved the idea of white cabinets to keep this smaller east facing kitchen light and bright. The cabinets photograph white but they’re truly a warm white, they are Kraftmaid in the Canvas color. For reference, this kitchen measures 15’6″ long by 7’10” wide.

On this side of the kitchen Nate and Liz moved the refrigerator out to create more counter space and moved the dishwasher over to break up the appliances so they weren’t side by side, and they also extended the wall in the opening to hide the cabinetry so it wasn’t exposed to the dining room, those were smart design changes.

Before & After, Sink Side:

 nate liz before

  canvas white cabinets

The cabinets are Kraftmaid and they’re great quality, they offer a lot of organizational amenities (seen below). Liz and Nate chose the Shaker style for doors and slab front for drawers, a very modern look, the ‘Canvas’ finish is a warm white and really beautiful in person.

Here you’ll notice on the opposite side of the kitchen that there was a blank back wall that was totally unused, so it was the perfect opportunity to add a pantry and also the perfect place to move the refrigerator. They minimized the size of the window to allow for upper and lower cabinetry to wrap around.

Before & After, Fridge Side:

 liz nate before


 kitchen remodel after


Another smart design decision was to open up the wall that looks into the dining room to include a peninsula that looks out into both the dining and living room where they entertain. There they created a place where they can pull up two counter stools for a quick snack for the boys.

opened up wall

I love the sage green quartz countertops, Liz fell in love with them at first sight and had to have them. The warm hue adds color and still feels organic and lovely especially since the kitchen looks out into their rear yard. The marble mosaic herringbone backsplash is a classic look.

 sage quartz countertop herringbone backsplash white kichen cabinets

 herringbone backsplash sage countertops

 marble herringbone kitchen backsplash

They really maximized the organization and utility of their kitchen with their new cabinets, including double drawer utensil organizers, lazy susan corner cabinets, pull out drawers in cabinets, a garbage and recycling pullout, and my brother’s favorite: a pull out spice cabinet (he is an amazing cook so this is a prized feature!)

 pan pot organizer

 drawer organizers


pull out spice cabinet


 garbage recycling cabinet


It made sense to keep the sink in the same place under the window, here’s a closer look at the old dated cabinets and countertops.


 old cabinets tile


I Instagramed that the faucet was Grohe but my brother was mistaken and corrected me, it’s actually this Kohler Touchless faucet (they used a Grohe faucet in their bathroom remodel which I’ll share soon). My brother demonstrated its fantastic feature: you can wave your hand under the arch and the water shuts off or comes back on, handy if you’ve got goo on your hands and don’t want to touch the handle.

 kohler sensate sink



With two little boys they knew there would be fingerprints so they opted for stainless appliances with a protective coating that makes them smudge proof (source below).

 smudge proof appliances


Two suggestions I made with the appliances were to 1) invest in a counter depth refrigerator not a standard 30” depth so it wouldn’t stick out or block the flow of traffic from the other doorway….

 counter depth fridge


… and 2) purchase a slide in range with a low profile so that the range controls are on the front and not on a raised back as they are on stand alone versions, that way the backsplash can take the spotlight.

 slide in range backsplash


 range hood


They also followed my advice to take the tile all the way to the ceiling and wrap it around the windows, so beautiful!

 tile around window


You’ll notice they replaced the windows, these now crank out so they can allow fresh air in or look out at the yard.

crank windows citrus view


Nate and Liz did a beautiful job on choosing their finishes and appliances and I was happy to offer my design advice too! Congratulations to both of them on a fabulous space to enjoy for years to come!

 white kitchen remodel

 white kitchen cabinets

 sage quartz countertop herringbone backsplash

 herringbone backsplash behind range


Cabinets: Kraftmaid in Canvas

Countertops: PentalQuartz in Sage

Backsplash: Herringbone marble mosaic, Allen + Roth

Faucet: Sensate Touchless in Stainless by Kohler

Appliances: Fridgidaire smudgeproof

Windows: Milgard, Tuscany series

Floors: coming soon


  1. Wow, what a stunning kitchen! I love that herringbone tile and agree that gonig with a counter depth is such a good idea. That’s what we have and it is so nice the fridge doesn’t stick out in the room.

  2. Love it! I bought the same backsplash for my remodel so it’s nice to see it in a finished kitchen.

    What brand cup pulls did the use?

  3. I need someone like you to help me with my kitchen design! I’ve drawn it several times and thought about it a ton but I can’t seem to fit it all in. We removed a wall and it has me all messed up! I have a quote that is basically the same layout and it just seems boring to me.

    • Hi Kyra, feel free to send me a few pics or the kitchen specs maybe I can help you with an idea or two :)

    • I love the Herringbone marble mosaic backsplash. I really want it!! Don’t I need a color name? And is it a 1×3 tile?
      Also since it is marble do you have to seal it every few years?

  4. We used KraftMaid (thru Lowes) in our kitchen and office. Very well made. The cool thing is they offer a semi-custom option. They can cut down standard cabinets to your chosen depth. So if you need a 15″ deep cabinet, you can order an 18″ and have them cut to depth at the factory.

  5. I think this is one, if not the best, kitchen makeovers I’ve seen. Or maybe it’s because it is so ME! I love the colors and the sage countertops are right up my alley and go so well with the tile. I never thought of my dream cabinets being anything but white but I now think the canvas color is not nearly so stark. Congratulations to all of you….

  6. I am intrigued by the under-the-upper-cabinets window near the stove. Was it a new addition or a replacement for a full size window? Could you tell us a bit about it? The whole kitchen is simply stunning yet so practical.

    • Hi Bonnie, there was a much larger window there before, you can see it in the picture of the old kitchen – they liked the idea of keeping the light there since it would illuminate the space and carry into the adjacent hallway so they chose a window that would fit in between the countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinetry, smart!

  7. This is, by far, the most impressive kitchen remodel I’ve seen. Not only does it totally maximize the space, it is beyond beautiful. So clean, so new, and so fresh. I am staring at my ’80s brown swirl laminate countertops and cream 4×4 tile backsplash, completely jealous of your brother! Thank you, once again, for sharing such inspirational ideas. While I love Architectural Digest and all it has to offer, I am more inspired by spaces that I could see myself honestly living in, right here in the burbs.

  8. So beautiful and classic! That is a kitchen they won’t ever get tired of. Love the tile all the way to the ceiling!!

  9. Would you please source the handles on the cabinets? Thanks! And I agree with a comment above. I love looking at kitchens I could see myself, the normal, every day person using.

    • I’ll find out the source Kristen! Bin pulls are readily available in a lot of home improvement and online hardware stores, but I’ll ask them for the exact brand they used.

  10. Really timeless, elegant and lovely. Every kitchen should have a counter depth fridge! (Even if it means an extra, overflow fridge in the garage, as if did for me!)

  11. Beautiful. I have the Frigidaire fridge and love it. How do they like the stove??

    • Hi Carole, so far they love it! I cooked with it myself over the weekend, it’s wonderful but I assume they will need a few months of daily use to fully appreciate its use. :)

  12. I like the white shiny tiles.
    Shiny tiles are a must this year, it is in fact one of the trend listed in my post “Kitchen trends 2016”.
    The previous floor was awful but it was really popular in Italy as well in the 80s and 90s, who knows why!

  13. My favorite feature is the range hood! Can you share what brand they went with?

  14. Love the finishing work! But I do have one question, the placement of the dishwasher seems to crowd the sink. How does your brother like the placement? It seems too close.

  15. This kitchen is beautiful! We just bought our first home sight unseen-crazy, I know! We are military so we have to move there anyway. Wish I had a sister with your vision. Hope they know how lucky they are. We are going to remodel the kitchen and are trying not to spend too much as it will be a rental later but at the same time we want a beautiful one to enjoy. Love your blog btw, I have been following for years.

  16. The kitchen is absolutely gorgeous, but as a mom of five, I’m wondering about a few things with kids. I love the stove, but is there a way to lock it so you don’t have busy toddlers turning on a flaming burner? I’m wondering about the spice cabinet, too. Does is have a childproof lock? I can see my 18 month old emptying that out in about 30 seconds…spices everywhere.

  17. The Gray and Silver color added in the kitchen completely changed the look of the area. It looks modern and stylish. Anybody would love to cook in a kitchen as gorgeous and organized as this one is. It would be great to have curtain rods and window shades in your windows. It will make your windows secure. Here is a nice article you might want to read on how window blinds keep your homes secure.

  18. I recently just did a remodel for the kitchen too and have just started to share some progress on my blog. It always looks easy when I read about people’s renovation but I know there must be a lot of challenges throughout. I love the sage green counter top. I’ve never seen that before, it matches the marble herringbone pattern since you can definitely pick up hints from it. Great work!

  19. OMG, you just saved me from having a heart attack! I just purchased these cabinets and have been rethinking my color choice of canvas but after seeing what you have done I have stopped hyperventilating. I was thinking the canvas color would look too crème after all and ruin the look I was going for, which is the timeless look of white with marble counters and white subway tile. I’m having a hard time finding a quartz marble surface that would look good with this warm off-white color. Do you have any suggestions? You did a fantastic job! Not an easy task pulling it all together. Thank you for keeping me from regretting my cabinet color choice. The dove white seemed so stark for my house but I really love white.

    • Hello Gisella, I think you’ll love the warmer white in the Canvas color. I would not choose a stark white countertop, I’d choose a complementary neutral in gray, black, or cream depending on your color and pattern preferences, perhaps pick something that mimics natural stone and take a sample cabinet door with you when you choose so you can look at the countertop next to the cabinet color to ensure they work together. :)

      • Kate its decision time and I’m leaning towards the Polarstone in Manhattan which looks similar to Danby Marble. still not sure, have you ever seen it? I also was wondering if you could tell me the name of paint color you used for the walls and ceiling? It really looks good with the cabinetry. Thank you!

  20. Wow, that is a beuatiful kitchen! I love the organization that the new cabinets offer. The backsplash looks amazing, I love the look with the countertops and the color combinations throughout the kitchen. They did an amazing job.

  21. The counters look gray/green in the photos –is the color accurate? Thanks.

  22. Do yoi happen to know the grout color for the backsplash. I purchased the same ones for my remodel and it’s decision time! Thanks!

  23. Hello,
    This kitchen is beautiful! I’m also putting in this backsplash with white walls and white cabinets. What color grout was used on the backsplash? I’m not sure if I should do a grey or white?
    Thank you!

  24. Gorgeous!

    I am planning to use herringbone in my shower redo. May I ask where you found yours?

  25. What a beautiful remodel! I’ve been trying to think of how to remodel my kitchen but it’s so overwhelming and I don’t even know where to start. Your brother is so lucky to have someone with such lovely taste to help him! Absolutely love the backsplash and counters!

  26. What did you/they seal the backsplash with? I like the fact that the marble shows up but not too busy-looking. In the store example pics, it looks more busy than in your pics and I wonder if it’s because of the sealer….maybe.

    • Looks beautiful! What color grouting did you choose? Also is there a sealer on top? Is it a shiny sealer or matte sealer? It’s for a kitchen with a warm white cabinet and black Formica countertop. What would you recommend? Thanks.

  27. Beautiful remodel! Please advice, if known, the brand name of the “gray plank porcelain tile floor”.

    Thank you

  28. So glad I found this blog post! We are considering this cabinet door style and hood. I was worried the hood (with its single panel front for widths 30″ and 36″) would be too plain but I think it looks great. The curved valance softens it.

    I wonder about if they have any issues with the counter depth refrigerator doors hitting the counter or pantry on either side? We plan to have a counter depth frig pushed all the way in 24″ so not part of the refrigerator box is showing (we have a little bit of a recess behind the frig to allow us to do this). We when test this in showrooms, the doors hit the counter and the pantry. Just wondering your experience. Or if you have any recommendation to avoid it. We will have a similar refrigerator placement with counter on one side and pantry on the other. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, bright, yet warm kitchen. Thanks!

  29. So beautiful! I love the backsplash we have chosen that for our kitchen update. Can you tell me what they used for the bull nose or edging? Thanks!

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