Designer Erin Paige Pitts joined staff writer Jura Koncius last week on The Washington Post's Home Front online chat. Pitts specializes in luxury coastal residences at her interior design firm Erin Paige Pitts Interiors in Gibson Island, Maryland, and Delray Beach, Florida. Here is an edited excerpt.
We are just embarking on a kitchen remodel, and our designer feels more strongly than we do that the appliances should match in finish and/or manufacturer. Does it matter?
The appliances need to match in finish if they are stainless steel. But if you are doing any overlay panels, they can be combined with stainless steel. There should not, however, be stainless-steel appliances mixed with black or white.
My wife and I are remodelling our kitchen. We have two small children, so cleaning up and dropping things are part of our daily life. We'd be happy with vinyl flooring and resin countertops, materials that are more economical. We don't plan on living in our home for more than a few more years, so we're sensitive to resale prospects. Thoughts?
You can never go wrong investing in a good kitchen remodel. That is what sells homes. There are durable products available that will withstand a busy young family but that are also good-looking. I would suggest you do a nice remodel with porcelain flooring and composite stone countertops (Cambria, Silestone or Caesarstone). The investment will pay for itself when you sell.
I like the look of the lighter taupe kitchen cabinets. Can you recommend a paint colour?
I also like light taupe cabinets, and getting the colour right is important. Not too grey, not too taupe. I find Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter to be the perfect middle ground. If you want it lighter, just have your paint store cut the recipe by 25 percent with Super White. Whether full strength or cut 25 percent, Revere Pewter is a great colour!
Like in many kitchens, there is a gap between the top of my wall cabinets and the ceiling. Mine is a little over a foot tall, and I am at a loss over what to do. If it were a smaller gap, I would probably just do some chunky molding. I don't need the storage, but that's the only thing I can think to do to make it look OK. What do other people do with that space?
I did a kitchen for a client with the same issue. We added a small cabinet between with a glass door front in a contrasting colour and then used that same colour on the island, and it turned out great.
My husband and I are starting to think about updating our kitchen, and I want to start with a new floor. The previous owners installed terra-cotta tile, and I can't stand it. We have oak floors stained a medium to dark walnut colour throughout the rest of the first floor. I'd like to extend the wood through the kitchen. My husband thinks tile would be better. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
The first rule of thumb to make a small space larger is to keep the flooring consistent. So, without knowing more, I would vote for wood. I never pick one thing for a project. I pick everything at once, together, so I can understand relationships and how they will "play together." Picking one thing at a time and expecting it to all work out great is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make.
I always thought marble was a softer stone, prone to nicks and stains. Why would you put in marble kitchen counters if you are a serious cook?
Marble is more porous, but there are now products available that make it less prone to staining, such as BulletProof by DuPont. Only you can know what you can live with in terms of maintenance. There is no substitute for the beauty of natural stone, but if that isn't important to you, then quartz or composite stones such as Cambria or Silestone have some nice options available.
We are in a bind figuring out how to update the lighting in our 25-year-old kitchen. Sadly, we still have the builder's fluorescent light over the island. We would love to replace it with pendants, but we aren't sure how much wattage is needed to cook under. Any ideas?
Depending on the size of your kitchen island, I would suggest two to three pendants. Pick a pendant that holds a few 60-watt bulbs, and you should have enough, if not too much, light. Make sure your electrician puts them on a dimmer so you can adjust the light level depending on the time of day.
What's the most important appliance to upgrade in your kitchen?
I'd say the refrigerator or stove.
What's the best kind of sink?
It depends on your lifestyle and the kitchen itself. Stainless steel is the most durable, and there are some great-looking and more modern stainless-steel sinks out there. For a white kitchen with white countertops, I prefer a porcelain sink, either undermount or farmhouse.
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