Mia Marlowe
Mia Marlowe


Mia Marlowe

, ,

The DH and I are getting ready to move back to the Midwest this spring. Before we do, we plan to remodel our home there. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I watch HGTV faithfully, but I still didn’t realize the sheer number of decisions to be made. Or my inability to feel confident making them.

Shaker Style cabinets.

But I have a few I’d like to share with you. First, we’ve settled on Shaker-style cabinets in white. It’s a clean, classic look that I don’t think we’ll tire of any time soon. (No, this is not my house. My current cabinets are pretty sad-looking.) Haven’t settled on a countertop yet, but we’re leaning toward quartz in some sort of grayish tones with subway tile backsplash.  The DH insists I find some way to work some color into the mix so I’m thinking of maybe a stripe of glass tile worked in with the subway tile. Any color suggestions?

Brown sugar mapleWe have picked our flooring. It’s an engineered product called Brown Sugar Maple. It’ s a little distressed, which hopefully will work since our two little dogs are bound to distress it further.

We’ll do ceramic tile in the baths & laundry room, but the jury is still out on which one. For the longest time, I was hesitant about whether to put the wood in the kitchen. What if there’s a leak? Do any of  you have wood in your kitchen? How’s that working for you?


The next bone of contention is what to do with our golden oak woodwork. I really like the art deco vibe with the extra joints in the corners. I’m in favor of painting it all “Snowbound White.” The DH would like to leave it as is.

When I posed this question on my Facebook page, one guy threatened to come to my house with a gallon of stripper if I painted it. (The DH said he didn’t know strippers came in gallons! ;-)) What do you think? Painted or as is? Will the two woods mix and match ok?

50 shades of BeigeAnd we’re also working on a basic color for most of the walls. I know these choices sort of look like 50 Shades of Beige, but we’ll do a few feature walls and accent colors in the tray ceilings. I like to add the bright colors through my art prints, so a neutral is important to me and I’d sort of like to keep the same basic wall color throughout.  From left to right, the colors are Gateway Gray, Accessible Beige, Barcelona Beige, Wool Skein & Pewter. Do you have a favorite? And if so, should the woodwork be white or wood tone next to it?

Thanks for letting me pick your brains. I so appreciate the input. This is going to be our “forever” home, so we want to get it right. There are tons of things I’m probably not thinking of now, so if any of you have advice about working with a contractor or just anything about a renovation project, I’d so appreciate hearing about your experience. 

25 thoughts on “Out with the Old

  1. ki pha says:

    Wow, so many suggestions!! I love the cabinet choice. Maybe because I’m looking at that picture up there but it would look fantastic in your kitchen. For the tiles I’m not sure which strip color would look nice. But maybe a hint of periwinkle blue? But for the wood floors in the kitchen, it’s been good. Haven’t had any leaks so not sure how that’ll be like but I like it. The caring for it is the tricky part. It has to be furnished nicely every so often. The wood work I think looks nice the way it is. Though “snowbound” would also look nice on it, I like the wood. But since you’re working on the walls and from the colors you have chosen….. the woodwork being white would look much better with those colors. And I absolutely love the Pewter and the Accessible Beige color! So these are just my opinions to your questions. Good luck, and welcome back to the now very cold Midwest!!!

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      I do like blue. It could work for a dash of color in the kitchen. So far, I’m not getting much support for painting the woodwork. My mom and sister are adamant about leaving it as is (which I’ll confess makes me want to paint it all the more! Isn’t that perverse?).

      I spent most of December in MO visiting my family & we got that really unusual ice storm followed by 10 inches of snow. Part of why we’re moving there is to enjoy more temperate winters. Hmm… Maybe I’m bringing a bit of New England with me. 😉

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I am hopeless at this sort of stuff. We had some renovations made to our house before we moved in. I found if mu husband narrowed choices to 3 or 4 I could confidently choose. There were a few missteps. We chose some tile for a guest bath, and after it was put in, I was like, no. We had to have it ripped out and put another tile in. Cost us money, but sometimes you just don’t know until you see it.

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      I can visualize how things will look, but making choices is difficult. There’s so much out there. It’s like tidal wave of decisions. That’s why I’m trending toward “safe” choices–neutral colors and things that are more transitional than cutting edge. Feeling sort of zen about it all. I’m trying to find the “Middle Path.”

  3. Kristan Higgins says:

    I’m terrible at home decorating and remodeling. I’d much rather have someone else do it, because I have no faith in my ideas. Good luck, Mia! Your house looks lovely!

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      We could have been separated at birth. I have zero confidence in my choices because I have some disastrous decorating snafus in my past. I so want to get this right.

  4. Cynthia D'Alba says:

    We redid a second home in another state a couple of years ago. We went with ceramic tile that looks like wood. We have two dogs who are a terror on hardwood flooring. However, I did have a house with hardwood flooring the kitchen (per your question above) and I loved it. I had a rug between my sink and stove and a rug in front of my refrigerator but I loved the look. So warm. I find ceramic tile to be cold and unforgiving when anything is dropped on it. Plus I seem to always be plugging some missing grout in places.

    I love the cabinets you’ve chose. Only suggestion is to take them all the way to the ceiling. As pictured, not enough room above them to do anything but collect dust and dirt. Love the white color. Go with a dark countertop to really set them off. Be prepared to wash them on a regular basis!

    We went round and round about the countertops. I ended up with granite because I got a great deal and it ended up being about the same price as Formica! Do your homework about upkeep on quartz. Seems like there’s not much but still…It was too expensive for us.

    As far as walls painted gray…I had an interior decorator tell me that gray walls are “cold” and uninviting. Of course that was her opinion, still….There is a wonderful shade of “taupe green” that sounds awful but makes a wonderful backdrop color. In my second home, we went with BRIGHT colors…orange, yellow, shades of blue. I love it. At home, we have very tame walls!

    If you put down any carpet, you get what you pay for. We went “cheap” since it was a second home but my dogs pull snags all the time. hate it. Also, remember that dog hair will fly around in a house with ceramic and/or hardwood flooring so you’ll be sweeping or vacuuming often.

    Good luck!

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      I have a white dog. I have a black dog. No matter what, I’m screwed when it comes to dog hair, but that’s the price of four-legged companionship. Thanks for your insight about wood flooring and taking the cabinets to the ceiling. I’ll definitely do that. Who needs another place to dust?

  5. Sue Gorman says:

    Nine years ago, we remodeled our home.
    We went from a cape style home to a colonial. Lots of decisions and I felt over whelmed at times. I approached each room separately– especially the bathrooms….lots of choices.
    I have southern yellow pine floors in my kitchen and family room and I have several corgis. The wood floors have survived six corgis, several litters of corgi puppies, and children. I love the look of wood and find them easy to clean and maintain.
    We live near the ocean and I wanted to incorporate a nautical theme…but I did not want to over do it. I choose a grey tile for my downstairs bath, glass door for the shower and granite counter. Upstairs bath has tiles with a beige with blue pattern, corian counter top. I purchased shell sinks for both baths and have beach themed hand towels.
    I had all of my woodwork stained to match the pine doors ( which we saved) and had hardwood installed in most of the upstairs rooms.
    I am not a fan of painted wood work.
    The only room left to redo is my kitchen. I like the shaker style cabinets, too. Simple and elegant. We installed slate in our front entry and hallway and I love it. I would like to incorporate those colors when we renovate our kitchen.
    My husband found Benjamin Moores Manchester Tan paint and most of our upstairs is painted in that color. I joke about it, but it’s neutral and works.Everyone makes color choices that they regret. We spent hours deciding on the color for our kitchen family room. It was a neutral grey- Ben Moore’s Nantucket Fog. Now it’s a horrible color and I wish it was grey.

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      Your home sounds lovely, Sue. How great to be able to capitalize on a nautical theme since you live near the ocean. Our house is near cows. Hmm… Think I’ll pass on that theme. Don’t want to be accused of using a variation of antlers in all of my decorating. 😉

      Seriously, isn’t it sad when you get the color on the walls and it looks so different in a large swath from what it did in the small patch?

  6. I have zero talent for this, though I can safely say I love the elements you’ve
    chosen so far! I always choose my paint colors by finding the coolest name in the general vicinity of the color I’m after, so by that yardstick I’d have to say “Wool Skein.” I suggest you ignore me, though. His Highness usually does. 😉

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      So far, my DH has been supportive, willing to voice his opinions, but not insistent that I fall in with them. I appreciate that about him very much. I just need to remember that our family is more important than the place we call home and whatever decisions we make are not the be all and end all.

  7. Nynke says:

    Phew, this is difficult! I still think painting the woodwork would be a shame, and I think leaving it as is wouldn’t work either (as it’s close but not close enough to the floor colour). If you can find a stain to match the floor, that would probably be lovely.

    As for painting the walls, choosing between similar colours is really tricky, especially based only on tiny pictures, but I’d really like to see you try something non-white! I think one of the grey tones might work really well with the wood. Subtle grey with wood can look really classy in a warm way. I’m not sure which grey would work best here, though. Maybe the warmer one, Gateway Gray?

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      It is hard. I probably could have found a floor that matched the woodwork, but honestly, I don’t like that golden oak. It has an undertone of orange–my least favorite color–that is like the visual version of fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

  8. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

    Don’t paint that gorgeous woodwork, Mia! Just get it polished and let the natural beauty shine through. We also have hardwood floors in our kitchen, and it’s been just fine. It’s a bit more work in that you want to mop up drips and stuff, but it looks beautiful. I love the hardwood you’ve picked out. I’m also a fan of white kitchens, and I like the Barcelona Beige in your pallet. It has a warmer undertone.

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      I do like Barcelona Beige and it’s a strong contender, but I’m wondering if it’s too dark…

  9. PJ Ausdenmore says:

    Love those cabinets! I think they would look stunning set against dark counters. I had granite in my former home (in a condo now) and loved it but one of my neighbors had quartz and was equally enamored of that.

    I had my carpet and vinyl floors ripped out and replaced with hardwood about two years before I sold the house. I loved having hardwood in the kitchen and had no problems with it. It adds a wonderful warmth of color to the room.

    I would not paint the woodwork. Never, never, never.

    Good luck with the remodel. Such fun! 🙂

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      We have black granite in the condo now and I’m forever swiping it down. Even a single grain of salt stands out. I also need to whip out the sealer more often. I’m hoping a gray quartz will need less tending.

  10. Deb Hinshaw says:

    Please don’t paint the wood! Just give it a good coating of tung oil. That will bring out the natural grains. I think the white Shaker cabinets are a good idea because then any new owner can add stencils or add their own touch in some way. I need to redo my countertops because they are the icky linoleum from the 1960s—yes, that old–and they are a gaudy pink and gray–in a kitchen! Blech. The beige color is good because it goes with any color. We painted our bathroom last summer and we added a touch of peach to the beige and it goes beautifully with French blue or chocolate brown or any color. We finally decided on chocolate brown.

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      We’re planning never to sell this house. It’ll be our “forever” home, so we don’t have to think about resell. That’ll fall to the kids someday. Which means we only need to please ourselves…if we can just figure out what we want!

  11. girlygirlhoosier52 says:

    If you paint the trim… you’ll be forever touching it up… and then you have the added paint buildup that will blur the details. If you can get bigger samples of the paint, paint kind a large piece of wallboard [and prime it first] then you can move it around the room to see if it is what you want in the different lights… Keep a notebook with measurements, swatches, clippings of what you like If you are short, like me, figure in some kitchen cabinet to hold a stepstool… like in the bottom kick plate area…
    ..My standby moving tip is get end rolls of newsprint at your local newspaper to wrap and stuff into boxes. Seven years ago, the rolls were 3-5 dollars, depending on amount of paper left.. Color code your boxes to sort easier at the end. Donate as you sort. and have the ‘as we arrive’ box.. things like paper plates, napkins, plastic ware, tp, coffee, cereal, etc. the basics that you need first.

    Ps.. love your girls… but if you can park them with a sitter on the truck loading/unloading days – they will be safe and out from underfoot .. because you know they will be so excited!

    1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

      My girls are old enough to help, but my four-footed boys will be off visiting the grandpeople while we load/unload. It would be far too stressful for them to be in the house as we move in. Here in Boston, they’ll be in their cages. I know that sounds bad, but they regard their cages as their dens with comfy beds in them. They feel safe there. Last night, the fire alarms went off 3 times in our building and even after they stopped poor Mack was a quivering bundle of nerves until we put him in his cage and locked him in. He settled immediately. He didn’t have to be on alert any more. He was in his happy place.

  12. Michelle The DIYer says:

    I am debating the same colors and decided to go with accessible beige for the living room with gateway gray as an accent. I was originally going to go with wool skein as the main color and gateway gray as the accent, per Liveable Luxe, but I love the sparkle/shine in accessible beige. It catches the light in a way that wool skein does not. I liked the pewter but it was a bit to heavy for my room, but is definitely a beautiful color. Barcelona Beige was nice but it was too golden for my taste, I think my furnishings have more of a silver undertone (plus my fixtures are brushed nickel). But, just looking at the 5-pair line up, you can’t go wrong. I always believe that walls should be neutral-ish and you can bring color to a room with accent pieces like pillows, art, etc. Plus, that way you can freshen up your room or change the color with a small investment in pillows or vases (I chose art that has lots of colors so I can just pull out different colors from time to time). No matter what other people say, changing wall colors is not cheap (especially if the color is Sherwin Williams) and even if you do the painting yourself, brushes and supplies add up. Good luck Mia. Feel confident in your choices, your project looks great!!!!!

  13. Kathy says:

    Have you started your renovation yet? I just oak everywhere in my home and just painted much of it Barcelona Beige. It looks great and really tones down the orange. Also we painted our master bedroom in SW Tree Branch and it also goes really nicely with oak trim. I can send you some pics if you’d like as I know how hard it is to find pictures of paint colors with oak trim.

  14. Well, you can try StrippersIreland.ie ), they provide top Female and Male Stripper service in Dublin and Nationwide for all your partying needs, bringing you the best in the business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Subscribe