Rice_Rocket's Kitchen

Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Posted by Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Mon, Aug 18, 03 at 17:54

Posted by BAMA12 (My Page) on Thu, Aug 7, 03 at 11:33

I saw your white kitchen sink pictured in the discussion about what sink to use. I am curious about your granite! Is it blue pearl? Do you have any other pics on this site? If that is the color, are you happy with it? I was wondering if it has too much of a "sparkle" like my small sample, or if it truly looks bluish-black. It's beautiful!!Any help you can give would be great!!!

Follow-Up Postings:

Posted by: Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Mon, Aug 11, 03 at 4:22

Sorry about the late reply--been out camping (no computer!).
Yes, it is Blue Pearl. I haven't posted photos to the gallery because my kitchen isn't completely done--no hardware for instance.

I am extremely happy with the color. The key is to select the slabs yourself, and be extra critical. I rejected a whole batch, and had to wait a couple of weeks for a new batch before I found the ones I liked. Blue Pearl can vary, I personally don't like the flatter, lighter, baby-blue looking ones. The one I picked is darker, and the "flecks" can even look brownish or silverish with the right light. The grain I picked also has more "layers" or "depth" than the lighter slabs as well. And yes, it can look "bluish-black."

I would suggest going out to a granite yard and looking at the slabs yourself. Just remember that the stone "sparkles" differently depending on the angle of the light hitting the surface. In bright direct, noon sunlight, it can almost be blinding, but few kitchens have that intensity of light.

Here are some photos just for you! :)


Posted by: Eileen3G (My Page) on Mon, Aug 11, 03 at 10:47

Wow -- glad I decided to peek in on your msg to Rice Rocket. Waaaay cool!


Posted by: BAMA12 (My Page) on Mon, Aug 11, 03 at 20:09

I received your message about your granite and I really appreciate your advice on picking out the slab! When i saw the pictures I was really amazed!! Your whole house must be gorgeous; you have great taste! I was glad to see that you are using white appliances with the blue pearl. That is what we currently have now; I really am not much of a fan of stainless ones. Can you please tell me what kind of sink that you are using? I wasn't sure if it was Kohler. I am undecided on mine yet. I have a white cast iron now, but I want one that can be undermounted. Your pictures are so awesome, right down to the perfect accessories!! Please post some others when you can!! THANKS so much! Carolyn in Bama


Posted by: Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Tue, Aug 12, 03 at 18:12

Thanx for the compliments.
I chose white appliances because I had SS in the old house, and fingerprints bothered me. I think white works well with everything, and I chose to use chrome/SS accessories instead.

The sink is a Moenstone Granite composite sink. You can find out more about it at the Moen web site.

I will post more photos soon, but should probably do so in the gallery?


Posted by: lionors (My Page) on Wed, Aug 13, 03 at 11:35

Rice Rocket,
Very cool kitchen! I see you already have a paper towel holder, but when I saw this one, I thought of your kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: cobalt paper towel holder


Posted by: Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Thu, Aug 14, 03 at 17:04

Thanx Lionors! The paper holder you pointed out looks fun and cool.


Posted by: postquake_angela (My Page) on Fri, Aug 15, 03 at 2:17

Rice Rocket, I love what you've done with your kitchen! Especially the space pod/aviation/navigation theme. I'm always inspired when I see homes infused with personality.


Posted by: Monicakm (My Page) on Fri, Aug 15, 03 at 5:47

Oh wow! I ALMOST missed your awesome pictures! I'm not in the least a contemporary design person but this is really cool. What a wonderful kitchen you've designed for yourself and your family.
Would you mind describing the picture in what appears to be a window frame that is at the end of the counter runs along the wall. It looks like it's lit from behind. Love the chandelier in the entry. And would LOVE to see a picture of it lit at night. Excellent photos too. What kind of camera do you have?


Posted by: postquake_angela (My Page) on Fri, Aug 15, 03 at 12:44

I'm intrigued too by the picture that Monica's describing. I'm gonna hazard a guess -- is it a moon jelly? If so, I love your home even more so. Jellyfish are so cool, they look like underwater parachutes.


Posted by: Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Fri, Aug 15, 03 at 19:06

Thanx everyone--I appreciate the positive comments.
Photography is a serious hobby for me, but the camera isn't anything special. It's a 4-year old, discontinued 2.1 megapixel Kodak DC-290. :(

Here is a couple of photos I took at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Jellyfish exhibit that I'm using in the house. I like to use lighting to my advantage--the photo isn't lit from behind, but it was purposefully placed to give that effect!

Here's one of the "chandelier" :)I put up all the lighting with a help of a friend. I didn't trust the electricians, who have zero experience with it. Besides, it would have been impossible to translate the "design" to them.

Tech Lighting Monorail over the counter/sink (I need to add a couple more decorative accent lights):

I specially designed/ordered this cabinet, and then did some woodworking to create this wine rack and stem holder. The bottom is a small pantry pullout:

Although I keep my knives out on the counter, I also made a knife drawer for steak knifes and other specialty knives. The drawer knife blocks were on sale at Macy's for less than $10 each last year (I bought two):

I got these interconnecting drawer organizers at Target. I like them because they are economical, transparent, and easily removable (for buffets):

Here, I bought a thinner Satin Nickel curtain rod on clearance and some stainless steel S-hooks from Home Depot, cut the rod and one side of the S-hook to size and voil�, a utensil rack. The hooks don't come off as they nearly wrap around the rod--this was a concern with buying the pre-made racks. The rod is held in place by friction, so I can add or remove hooks whenever I want. Also seen in this photo: Henckels Twin Select knives which are wonderful!

P.S. Can the administrator please move this message thread into the gallery?

Posted by: Ultraclassic (My Page) on Fri, Aug 15, 03 at 20:34

Rice Rocket, beautiful Kitchen and Home. I noticed that you have one of the disposal push buttons, do you like it and is it easily accidentally activated?. Last question, is your backsplash tiles or a slab of granite? We are in the first couple of days of our remodel and are going with Blue Pearl also, my wife painstakenly picked our slabs looking for contrast, depth and color variances other than the lighter blues, it looks almost greyish in some lights. I will post pictures upon completion. OK, one last question. Suggestions for taking pictures with the clarity that you achieved, backlight from our windows give me trouble while taking pictures (We have a 3.2 megapixel Olympus camera). Thanks in advance for your response.


Posted by: Jasmine_Rose (My Page) on Sat, Aug 16, 03 at 7:47

Rice Rocket - your place is beautiful!
May I trouble you with two questions? Are the fluorescent lights from Hera (or perhaps Tresco)? Are they hard-wired in? I wanted those lights but the kitchen designer says they can't be hard wired so he suggested just plugging them into the Plugmold (can't thank you enough for helping me out with that find!). The downside to that is that I wouldn't be able to put the lights on a switch because I'd want the Plugmold to be live all the time, of course, so I'd have to turn the lights on/off by the tiny rocker switches. Do you have any suggestions? BTW, I have framed cabinets so I can't do one single run of the lights.

Posted by: Monicakm (My Page) on Sat, Aug 16, 03 at 15:38

Rice Rocket, thanks so much for sharing your pictures. Beautiful home! And YES, chandelier. From Websters: a branched often ornate lighting fixture suspended from a ceiling :)
ultraclassic, to properly expose a backlit picture, use your fill flash option/meter on the bright background (window perhaps)/then compose and take your picture. If you didn't use your fill (forced) flash, the camera would think it didn't need the flash and that would cause your foreground to be dark. Metering on the bright background allows for a properly exposed background and the flash will *fill* in the foreground. I was going to include a link to an example but pbase has been down since last night and STILL is! I have an Olympus too. The C-2100 (or UZi as it's sometime referred to). One other thing, if you meter (focus) on a backlit object that TOO far behind the foreground, then the foreground won't be in focus.



Posted by: Rice_Rocket (My Page) on Sun, Aug 17, 03 at 16:03

Ultraclassic: I like the disposal button--it is convenient and no, it never gets activated accidentally. The button is similar (if not identical) to the air-activated buttons on whirlpool tubs, spa's and jacuzzi's. The only time I've had a "problem" was one particular friend tried to hold the button down to activate the disposal--the button is a simple press on/press off, not a down on/up off type.

Backsplash is slab--two pieces due to length. Make sure they match the grain on the seam. In other words, have them dry-fit so that you see it before they put it up. My fabricators swore they cut the two pieces from the same slab, but had to tear out the smaller section to replace it because the seam was really obvious due to color and reflective/grain differences. Contrary to most people's observations, Blue Pearl does have grain--in the sense that the "glittery" flecks reflect different colors depending on angle. I still have the torn out piece in the garage!

In any case, I was fortunate because the fabricator was excellent. He had me pick out an extra slab at the yard during my slab selection simply because stuff happens. I don't know whether that jinxed it, but they scrapped the whole "island" counter because the sink cutout was incorrect (they didn't follow the curve of the Moenstone like I had requested). In any case, they used the remnant from the miscut counter to replace the grain-mismatched backsplash.

I see Monica has already given some good photography tips. Another would be--use a tripod! That way, if you wanted to avoid the glare from the window, you can take the photo during the evening. Basically, you need to balance the amount of light in the window with the light in the rest of the kitchen. You can dim the light in the window by putting up some black sheer material temporarily over the window.

Another tip--to prevent camera-shake when using a tripod, use the self-timer on the camera. That way, your (shaky) hands will not be on the camera when the photo is taken, ensuring a sharper photo during long exposures. I also do some post-processing in Photoshop--color balance, sharpening, etc.

Jasmine_Rose: I purchased the Yorkville T4 Fluorescent, linkable fixtures at Pegasus Associates. I chose the 3500 Kelvin bulbs, as it most similar in color to the Halogen lamps over the counter. Also important to note--they have a 82+ CRI (Color Rendering Index) which means a nice natural color spectrum. They come on instantly, don't flicker, not much heat to speak off (heat generation is directly correlated to the wattage--higher wattage, more heat***) and no audible buzz/hum. Fluorescents have come a long way!

***Generally, a 40 watt Incandescent, Halogen, Xenon or Flourescent bulb generates the same amount of heat, but vary in the amount of illumination (commonly shown in lumens on packaging) produced. Also, a flourescent bulb spreads the heat over the entire length of the tube, hence less heat per inch. Given the aforementioned, one might say that flourescents are most efficient (more illumination, less energy used/heat generated), and incandescent is the least efficient.

Yes--they are hard-wired to their own three-way wall switches. I also have a regular outlet above the cabinets on the same circuit. Although it doesn't show up in the photo, when I turn on the undercabinet lights, some blue rope light plugged in above the cabinets give off a blue glow seen only in the evenings (too bright during the day).

It doesn't matter that you have framed cabinets--there are interconnecting wires (Pegasus has them in 6, 12, 24, and 36 inch lengths) that you can use between the lamps rather than plugging them in a series like I did.

The Plugmold strip on a separate circuit that remains on all the time. I also had an outlet put into the bottom cabinet right of the ovens, left of the cooktop/warming drawer. I have slide out shelves, and I house a Foodsaver that is always at the ready there! Alternatively, if you're into baking, you could house a mixer on an appliance lift there instead.

I suppose you could use the on/off switch on the lights to turn them on/off, but it strikes me as much less practical than having in on a wall switch with the rest of your kitchen lights. It will also be harder to reach, and your guests will have a hard time locating the switch.

Monicakm: Thanx. :)


Posted by: Jasmine_Rose (My Page) on Sun, Aug 17, 03 at 22:30

Rice Rocket, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to answer all my questions! You're making a big difference in my new kitchen!!! Thanks for your patience.


Posted by: klmg (My Page) on Mon, Aug 18, 03 at 9:57

Wow - your house is gorgeous, but those FL undercabinet lights are exactly what I have been looking for!!
I am sending my husband this link at work - he has been insisting that something like this must exist, he'll be glad to know that he was right :)


Posted by: mjsee (My Page) on Mon, Aug 18, 03 at 10:18

Rice rocket--THANK YOU! I have been "discussing" stainless vs white appliances with various family members for the past year. They insist that my dislike of stainless is silly--but the fingerprints would drive me NUTS. When the children are through with college (that's 7 years folks!) I will remodle my kitchen--and until then I will replace dying appliances with white.


Posted by: lindyk (My Page) on Mon, Aug 18, 03 at 11:43

Rice Rocket -- these are great photos of a beautiful kitchen! Please post them on the gallery and see if you can get the discussion started over there, where it will stay around longer. (And, btw, like Melanie, I also noticed that you used white appliances very effectively, and if I could do it all over again, that's what I would do. I am sick to death of cleaning my ss fridge door every night!)


Posted by: JudeNY (My Page) on Mon, Aug 18, 03 at 14:40

Great house Rice Rocket. Would love to see more pics.

Follow-Up Postings:

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Jasmine_Rose: You're more than welcome! Others may as well benefit from all my anal-retentive research. :)

klmg: Are you sure you want to admit that he was right? ;)

mjsee/lindyk: In my old house, a few of my friends would attempt to wipe their fingerprints off the appliances (especially the microwave). After awhile, even I gave up doing it all the time, and only wiped them down every week or two. I like the look of Stainless Steel appliances, but in the end, white is more practical. Also, in the design of my new kitchen/house, I needed to counter the "cold" and "stark" contemporary/modern look with some "traditional" and "warmth." I think the white appliances works well towards that end, and the bonus is the upkeep is much simpler!

As a note, I designed the fridge cutout larger than needed for the current fridge. This should facilitate an upgrade to a cabinet-depth fridge (with door panels) in a couple of years or so.

Also, I shouldn't leave this photo out:

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Can you tell me about your barstools? Are they comfortable, and where did you get them? I saw some similar ones at Koncept Interiors and wondered if that's where you got yours. I'm reluctant to buy them without a "test drive."

Here is a link that might be useful: bar stools

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

The stools are called Bombo, and they are manufactured in Italy by Magis. They are popular in Europe--I purchased them from Eurofurniture.com. Everyone sells them for about the same price, so here is another reputable web site to buy them from: Unicahome.com. I first spotted them in a British kitchen/bath magazine.

They are surprisingly comfortable--surprisingly because they don't look comfortable. It doesn't have a high back, and the seat is basically plastic. I did try them out myself at a Seattle store for this very reason, before committing to purchasing them. I don't know how many different molds they tried before settling on this one, but it works well. Also, the gas pneumatic "gives" a little (compress a little, like a spring) when you sit on the seat.

Everyone who's tried them has liked them--although I wouldn't suggest that they are as comfortable for extra long sitting sessions as ones that are cushioned. But at an hour at a time, they work very well indeed.

I looked at the ones in your link, and wow! That's the first time I've seen an "imitation" for this relatively newly designed (1997) stool, and what a great price. The main differences seem to be the extra glossy color they used on the seat and glossy chrome base (Bombo's use a matte textured finish paint and brushed chrome base), the gas pneumatic adjustment lever is painted also (rather than brushed chrome), and the color choices are different (more 70's than the Bombo). I also noticed the footrest is ever so slightly different. I wonder if the gas pneumatic mechanism they used is identical?

In summary, I will vouch for the originals, but can't really tell you anything about the ones you pointed out. In any case, you should try it for yourself--my idea (and my friends) may not be congruent with yours.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Posted by: deb7 (My Page) on Wed, Aug 20, 03 at 16:07

I really love the blue pearl granite also. I am thinking about putting it in my kitchen, but I want to pull more of the blues out of it. It almost looks black in your kitchen. BTW, I will be having light maple cabinets. Floor=undecided. That may be what brings out the blue?

 o RE: Blue Pearl

deb7: You can definitely find slabs that are more "sky blue" than "silver/brown." Certainly, as you suggested, the floor can help bring out the blue, but I think that slab selection is the more critical.

Are you planning on wood floors?

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

I love your design and colors. I just have one, not a kitchen, question. Are the red flowers near the fireplace real? I'm looking for something like this for the center of my island and am hoping its one of the arrangements with "fake" water. Your place is beautiful, thanks for sharing :>)

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Beautiful!!! I usually don't like modern desings but yours is really beautiful to me! I love those jellyfish photos, I just saw one like the bright blue one at a picture store yesterday, my 6 year old was amazed by it!



 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Spectacular! Jane Jetson would envy you (as do I)! You really have a great eye for design. It looks sensational (front hall, too). I'll bet you get lots of WOW!!!s from everyone who comes in. I wish I could see it in person.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

debbick: Thanx much for the compliments. The red orchids have looked the same since I bought them a decade ago! Orchids are easier to emulate, since the real ones can look very "fake" themselves. I think I bought them at Costco, but I don't remember exactly. Since the photo, I've moved it into the Master Bath, and replaced it with a smaller arrangement of live bamboo (more maintenance, but not much more).

cfrizz: Thanx Cathie! While I have definite leanings towards the modern/contemperory, I've tried to counter the usual stark feel associated with the style. I definitely did not want my home to feel cold.

gellchom: You and your party are welcome whenever you're ever in the neighborhood.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Yes, in answer to your question. We are thinking about wood laminate flooring in a color slightly darker than the light maple cabinets. The cabinet have a porcelain glaze on them, so I think it shouldn't be too difficult to find something a little darker. I want to stick to something almost "rosy" looking, if that makes sense. I don't want anything too dark or too brown.

I'm also thinking about the door panels for the appliances.

What color are your walls? That would help me bring out the blue also. I plan on doing a colorwash with some blue and maybe a redish-pink. I just don't want it to look purple!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

deb7: I like your idea of a darker wood on the floor. Depending on the wall color, a medium to darker wood floor would work well--I've seen a model home with Blue Pearl, Natural Maple cabinets, white walls and a nice darker brown wood floor that looked marvelous.

All my walls are white (for now). My house is an "open plan" house, which makes it difficult to find borders for paint, since all the rooms are open to others. The good news is that white is a good background color--almost anything thing with a strong color you put in front of it will "pop."

I think that if you stick to a less "fussy" look or lighter color on the walls, the "busy" granite countertops will stand out more.

 o More Photos

This is the buffet counter (Blue Pearl also). I also used some Blue Pearl strips from the slabs on the floor to transition from the Crema Marfil floor to the blue slate-look porcelain tile floor.

This is the view of the Great Room from the kitchen. The fireplace is also Blue Pearl, but the best thing is that my fabrocator did it all in one piece rather than the typical four pieces. Because of this, are no seams! A frined of mine and I built the flowating maple shelves. I used some leftover trim from the cabinets in the kitchen above the fireplace. I also used some of this trim for picture ledges elsewhere. I call this the "Art Wall."

Here is some Blue Pearl granite tile counters and trim with tight joint, and matching grout in the master bathroom. The grain was painstakingly aligned, and the edges were all custom half-bullnosed. The installers did a fabulous job--it looks like slab!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Your pics are very nice. You must have been on a first name basis with the granite people after all that work! LOL! Everything looks great.

I just noticed your lights in the entryway (I think it's your entry way). The hot air balloon caught my eye. Did you get that from Outwater.com? I saw it in their catalog and thought about getting them. Can you change the color of the light? I'd like to put it in a room that I'm doing with lots of colors and balloons.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Rice Rocket:
I just saw your additional pics of your granite. it is so great!! I can't say enough about the job you have done!!! Please keep additional photos coming; we are loving them all.
I noticed the buffet counter that you have and really like it. I have a counter that separates my kitchen and great room. Did you just tell the granite people to curve the bar top, or was there a specific way that they did it for you? That probably sounds like a silly question, but mine is currently straight across, and I like the curved look. I am still deciding on the blue pearl for my kitchen remodel, and I'm pretty convinced that it's the one. Both ends of my bar area have square columns, and I want to add trimwork to them to make them look a little better. I love the large corbels that you used under the bar. Did you special order those? The wall under my bar is also painted white, and I may add trim to go with the look of my cabinets. My greatroom is painted chinese red. Do you think that the white under the counter will still look ok? I really trust your opinion; your house is so nicely done!! THANKS so much!! Carolyn in Bama

 o RE: KitchenCraft Maple cabinets

Rice Rocket:

Congratulations! Your kitchen looks awesome!
I'm interested in similar cabinets for my kitchen. I'm looking for frameless maple cabinets in Shaker style with a light finish, maybe not as light as yours. My favorite so far is the KitchenCraft Salem in Ginger. Isn't that what you have in the bathroom shown above? I think you mentioned something about Ginger Mocha but I don't see any Mocha glaze on your pictures.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

I'm new here - wish I found this site sooner - almost finished w/ remodel. Question is, what type of wiremold did you get & where? I wwas thinking of the kit from Lowes or the Depot.Anything you would change about the process? I love the fact that my Silestone, colbalt blue, won't have any cuts from outlets. Nobody I'm working w/ has done it wiremold under the cab but they think all it is a cool idea. I can't believe I found this site and pics of something I wanted to do. Now I have proof it can be done. Any tips or suggestions would be great - it goes in Friday if all is well

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

deb7: Yeah--the "granite people" also did all the floor tile work in the house. The site foreman bought me tacos off the lunch truck (and I reciprocated from time to time).

I ordered the light fixtures through a local lighting company after calling Tech Lighting directly and speaking with them about installation, etc. I did a lot of searching, and found that although I could get more than the 20% discount that the local lighting company gave me, I wanted to make sure I had local support if I needed it (I didn't in the end).

The one in the Outwater catalog is identical. The fixtures use standard low-voltage 12/24V MR16, MR11, or Halogen Bi-Pins. Here's the instruction sheet for the Balloon.

Bama12: The curve was really easy--simply cut a piece of plywood (for support) in the shape you want, and the granite people simply template it. The corbels are actually supporting the plywood underneath the granite slab. I don't know where they got the corbels from--I originally didn't order them, but they put them in as a "gift." You'll find some of them in the Outwater Architectural Products Catalog. I'm glad they did, because the small maple corbels they were going to use would look pretty out of place there.

I'm not sure I can picture your other question about the white wall versus the red wall in the greatroom. Do you have a photo you can email me?

perrodin99: Yeah--I spaced when I typed in the description for the last set of photos. The bathroom cabinet style is Lexington Maple Ginger (without the mocha finish). And the granite in the bathroom is Blue Eyes, not Blue Pearl as I originally typed.

adarc: The electricians bought the Wiremold stuff from their distributor. The ones at Lowes or Depot are identical. Make sure you buy enough elbows, T's, et al. It's frustrating to have to stop the install and run to the store to get more parts. What you don't use, you can always return later.

Isn't this forum fantastic? I'm glad I found it before I ventured into building the house last year.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

I love it all. I love the entrance with the lighting
and the floor with the design.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Rice Rocket - Cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your pics. Also deeply appreciate your helpful advice over the many months this forum as helped me retain some semblance of sanity. LOL! Your kitchen and home have tremendous personality - LOVE IT! You almost make me want to trade in my crocks, canning jars, and cedar logs for contemporary style! LOL!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

I love your kitchen/house! It's just beautiful!
Could you tell me about the range hood? We're hoping to do something similar over a 30" gas range. It's installed into a cabinet, yes? 30"/36"? Who makes it? Are you happy with the noise (or lack of it) & performance? Thanks!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Fabulous house! I like all of it, but the art wall is my favorite. We are looking for ideas for a wall in our living room, I will have to show this to DH.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Yikes--it's been awhile since I checked this thread. Thanx for the compliments everyone. I am currently installing hardware for the kitchen cabinets. Will have more photos of the house soon...

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Hi Rice Rocket -

I'll jump on the bandwagon and say yours is one of the most beautiful kitchens I've seen. It's really different and creative and artistic. Congratulations. I have a question about your kitchen floor...is it actual slate or ceramic tile? If it's tile, could you pass on some info please? I'm looking for a similar type of floor. Thanks a bunch!


 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Thanx Leigh!

The floor tile is from American Olean, and is called Earthscapes. It is glazed porcelain, which is preferable to ceramic tile because the color goes through the tile (chips will not show readily). I used the 18" tiles in Ocean (color), but you can get them in 12" and there are borders in the series as well.

Info here: American Olean web site.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Another round of photos--enjoy!

Installed most of the hardware on the kitchen cabinets. Ended up saving quite a bit of money by ordering from an eBay vendor. Tried some samples, then ordered five different lengths, depending on what looked/worked best.

While I was at it, I also upgraded all the pull-outs in the lower cabinets to full extension + one inch drawer slides which I also found at a bargain (under $9 a pair!). I didn't like the original 3/4" slides. Interestingly, all the drawers already have the very nice Blum Tandem slides, but Kitchen Craft seemed to have cheaped out on the pull-outs slides (evidently, they now have full-extension upgrades to the pull-outs).

This is a closeup of the pendant called "Inner Fire" from Tech Lighting. Although not visible here, a blue halo shaped like a flame appears above the blue cone when it is dark. And another photo of the under-cabinet setup.

Photos of the adjacent breakfast nook. The floor design looks like a big "built-in" rug. I specified the same tile in a different color, and a smaller size (12" versus 18"), rotated 45 degrees, bordered and dotted with blue pearl.

I had them cut a remnant of the Blue Pearl slabs to fit the tray of my TV tray caddy. This made the tray a little less practical because it is now quite heavy! But it added a decorative element to the nook...


These are the lights over the breakfast nook table. They are also from Tech Lighting, but I twisted the stems together to "match" the larger, elaborate fixture in the formal dining room.

What do you think? :)

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

I like the rocket shaped garbage can. :)

We also are going with the monorail lighting, I was worried about my shades I picked out (4 primary colors of yellow, blue, green and red...much smaller lamps though) but after seeing how well done yours is, I think it will work)

Did you have a difficult time shaping the rail?

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

donna_ct: Didn't have too many problems--you need something like a large sturdy bucket or barrel that approximates the circumference of the shape. Otherwise, you won't get a smooth curve. Also, it really helps to have two people doing it.

Close up of Blue Pearl...

Closeup of the floor tile...

Inner Fire lit-up at night with blue flame/halo and interesting play of light and shadows on the ceiling.

The slide-out hood in action...

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Gorgeous kitchen! Love your attention to detail.

So, are you a Rice Rocket?? We are Rice alums and rarely hear about the Rice Rockets here on the East Coast.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

That's a beautiful home. I like your style. I'd love to design my home like that but my wife would never go for it.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Rice rocket: Your kitchen is still such an inspiration to everyone! Please continue to update us with your photos! I can't stop looking at all the details!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Kudos to you! Great job. Pls tell me about the design in the entry way. Is it Amtico?


 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

devyani1964: Sorry, I'm not a Rice alum.

DylanG: Thanx! I guess your wife prefers a more traditional style/treatment?

Patrice607: If you're referring to Amtico floor tile, then nope. The entry design comprises of Crema Marfil marble, Black Absolute granite, and Blue Pearl granite. My fabricator/tile installer sent the raw material and chosen pattern to a company (I don't know which company) that used an expensive computer-controlled water-jet tile/granite cutter to make the individual pieces. The pattern is then assembled on site--one piece at a time.

BAMA12: Thanx as usual. How's your project coming?

 o More Photos

These are all closeups of the Blue Eyes granite tiles I used in the Master Bath. This should give you a good view of what a fabricator can do to half-bullnose (round out) the edges of the tiles countertops for a nice edge. Also, notice the very small, tight grout lines with color-matched grout. If one doesn't look closely, the entire counter looks like slab.

If you cannot afford slab granite for your kitchen counters, you can achieve the same thing at about a third of the cost (or less) with granite tiles. In this case, the tiles in the Master Bathroom saved me a bundle because of the way the counters worked--there would have been a lot of cuts to the slabs to achieve the same thing. I'm so glad my fabricator talked me into doing it with tile rather than slabs here--I'm sure it saved a lot of headache inducing cuts/template making/et. al. for him as well:

There are many art-niches in the house. Here's the two in the entry area. The entire fixture casts very interesting shadows on the wall!:

Here's one in the hallway leading to the utility room/garage and the bedrooms. I experimented with the layout of all the frames on the computer before I came up with this arrangement. The photos are from my brother's portfolio--he takes a lot of landscapes:

This one is also taken by my brother. First, I custom printed and mounted the photo on foam board. Then I taped and sprayed half a mirror tile from Home Depot with a glass frosting spray from an art store. I cut out some art paper for the background, then mounted the whole thing onto a damaged cabinet door that I used as a frame. The damage (a crack) on the door is not noticable in this application:

Here are a couple of shots of the floor lamp in the Great Room. It is made by Luceplan, and it's called Titania. I can actually change the emited color by using a different set of enclosed filters. The wonderful thing is that the light shining downwards is not colored, so it works well as a reading lamp:

My walls are all white--I like it that way (for now). It acts as a neutral, blank canvas (so to speak) for everything else. I made a comment in another post about Hilda Santo-Tomas (Hildi) experimenting with other people's house on Trading Spaces. Well, this past episode, she used feathers to cover all the walls in a Master Bedroom! And when the host, Paige Davis, asked whether she would have done the same thing in her own house, Hildi said all the walls in her house were white! She cited the same reason I did as to why. That put a big smile on my face. I felt sorry for the "feathered room" homeowners though... :(

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Hahah I only watched Trading Spaces once and I think it was the same girl who stapled fake flowers to all the walls in someone's bathroom. My husband and I looked on in complete astonishment. I could not believe it. We would have freaked if it was our bathroom.

But also, I would like to say I love the design of your house. You can see the intentional detail in everything that you did, down to the little tea lights on the ledge. I also look to your kitchen for inspiration because we are getting similar cabinets but in nutmeg. Your kitchen really makes me want to pay attention to the little details that can make our kitchen remodel even better. Nice job. :)

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Rice Rocket: Your pictures are still all great! You need to be in a magazine; yours would outdo most that we see ... I'm slowly making progress on the updating of my kitchen. I am waiting on my cabinet guy to finish with some additional cabinets that I am adding, and he is also doing a lot of trimwork on columns, and an arch above my bar area. After that, I will hopefully get my BLUE PEARL! Can't wait! They will do the templating when he gets done.

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my cabinet work will finally be installed on Monday...!

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Any photos yet BAMA12?

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Rice Rocket: Thanks for asking! The holidays really put things to a stop for a while, but we are still working! My new trimwork is up, and the painters are working on it now. The templates were done for my granite, and it should be ready in about 2 weeks. Can't wait to get the countertops in! Right now, I am trying to decide on a backsplash. I will try and do some photos when I can get a little more done....Thanks!! Bama12

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Wow! Beautiful kitchen, beautiful home. I am just in the planning phase and am considering the Moenstone sink. Do you like yours? Louise

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Thanx Louise!

I do like my Moenstone Granite composite sink. The finish is matte, and it is very easy to clean and doesn't show water spots. It's also comparatively "quiet." I've dropped a pot or two on it (by accident), and it hasn't chipped or scratched. The big part of the sink is nice, and swallows up the largest pot that I use.

One consideration is the "reach" of the faucet in this sink (large/small) configuration, and the location of the faucet. I did a mock-up to determine where the faucet would go, and the Grohe faucet has a longer reach than the average kitchen faucet..

I would definitely buy one again.

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I'm so happy I checked in one this thread again. I must have been here over an hour. :)

Great kitchen, very stylish! You lighting link may just help me out tomorrow.


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Love your photos! Thanks for sharing so much info. I'm interested in Blue Eyes or Blue Pearl for my kitchen counters. I want alot of blue in my granite. Does Blue Eyes have a lot of blue sparkles? Does Blue Eyes have a grain to it?

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BunnySlippers: Thanx for the compliment. Although I'm not sure I want to take the credit for keeping you here for an hour--LOL!

linda_10: Firstly, you're welcome--glad the info is helpful. I learned so much from everyone here during my own planning, I'm happy to contribute to this community in any way possible.

Now, as to your Blue Eyes questions: The sparkles are really a deep cobalt blue (leaning towards purple) in color rather than just blue per se. It really depends on the lighting--more lighting brings out the sparkles. Density wise though, it has less sparkles than Blue Pearl or Emerald Pearl. Blue Pearl is mainly black with baby blue and silverish sparkles. A really blue granite would be Blue Bahia, Blue King or Blue Sodalite.

Otherwise, in average or dim lighting, the granite appears grayish-brown more than anything. I found another great representative photo of how Blue Eyes looks to me here: Stone-Network.com

There are a lot of bad photos of Blue Eyes around the web. For instance, it never looks like this: Way too blue/purple!

If you want lot's of sparkles, Blue Pearl wins. If you want stunning depth in the sparkle, Blue Eyes wins. I liked both, so I used them in different areas!

As for grain in Blue Eyes, I noticed it, but am not sure how many other people would. It is subtle (it's not a granite with "movement"), but it's there. On my install, they dry-fitted every tile and matched the flow of the grain because I was so anal-retentive about it. I'm glad though, because with the tight seams, it really looks like slab done this way. My photos really don't have enough resolution to show this grain.

You do want to get enough tiles for the space from the same batch--color and grain can vary greatly from batch to batch! Also, make sure you end up with at least a box of extra tiles just in case you need to do any repairs in the future.

Another difficult thing to do is to match tiles with slabs of the same granite. They inevitably end up very different, so the best thing is to go with one or the other and not a mixture.

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I'm a lurker on your thread. :) I have completely enjoyed your photos ~ thanks for sharing them.

What finally pulled me out into the open is your comment about not trying to use granite tiles and a slab of the same granite together. That is exactly what is scheduled for my kitchen in our new construction. We are planning on tiles on the upper island and back wall, and a slab on the lower level of the island in order to have a smooth surface for working with dough, etc.

We are not up to slabbing everything (I think I just created a new verb, there). Do you think it would really not work? We're strongly considering either blue pearl or emerald pearl granite.

What would we do as an alternative? Laminate on the lower portion in order to get a smooth surface? Hmmmm...

I know you're not the world's official expert :), but what you've done with your granite is beautiful and your statement caught my attention.


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Was there a reason you put your plugmold on the bottom surface of your cabinets vs. the back upper part of the lower cabs? (facing down vs. facing towards your face?)

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sarahmakes6: First--thanx for the compliments and you're welcome!

There can be great variation in the color between slabs and tile since you can't match the batch from whence they come. Granted, it would be less noticable or even non-visible with some granites (like Absolute Black). You can reduce the visual anomalies If you use the tile in the backsplash (vertical) and slab on the countertops (horizontal).

Having said that, I would not discourage you from what you are planning to do. just make sure you have a tile sample from the batch you are installing in hand when you go pick out the slab! If you can't find a slab that looks close enough, look elsewhere till you do. A little diligent hoofing to various granite yards should be fruitful. Remember, you're paying for the slab--if they don't have a slab you like/that matches, ask them when the next batch is due. I rejected an entire batch, and waited another three weeks to find the slabs I liked.

Alternatively, you can get a coordinating, simple solid colored granite for the slab/lower island. Something like Absolute Black slab would look gorgeous with either Blue Pearl or Emerald Pearl tiles. Personally, I think that this will might give your kitchen more visual interest! And you don't have to worry about grain/color matching between the tiles and slab.

Lastly--I would only do laminate if you had no other choice. Fortunately, you do have many other choices! :)

elvisallard: I didn't want the strip facing out from the wall for these reasons:

1. To hide the strip, I would have had to push the edge up against the bottom of the upper cabinet. This would then make it dificult, if not impossible to plug in anything that used an AC/DC transformer aka brick power supply.

2. Putting it up against the backsplash would entail mounting the strip onto the solid slab granite. Mounting it to the bottom of the upper cabinets is much easier.

3. Plugging and unplugging is much easier the way I mounted the strip.

4. The under-cabinet lights and the shiny surface makes it easier to look down at the reflection of the strip and plug anything in. It didn't work as well with the strip against the wall--I tried! :)

YMMV (your mileage may vary). At the end of the day, I think it's probably a personal preference. I encourage you to try it in your setup and see what you like.

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Hi Rice Rocket: I finally got my BLUE PEARL installed yesterday! Just as you said, I LOVE it! They are working today on the plugmold strips, and some cabinet work. We still have to do a backsplash, and a few other things. It really takes a long time to get things done, but hopefully we'll be done one of these days!!!

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Thanks, RiceRocket. I'm glad you mentioned possibly using something like Absolute Black on the lower island, because the night I posted that question to you I laid in bed trying to think up a solution (yes, obsessed) and had that exact idea. I think it would look gorgeous! I may pursue that as our primary idea.

Bama12, Can you post some photos somewhere of your Blue Pearl? I'd love to see it.

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sarahmakes6: I will try and post pictures of my blue pearl when the painter gets through painting a couple more of my cabinets......(and I can figure out how to do it..ha...) I'm not very good with computers; my kids will probably have to help me out....Bama 12

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RiceRocket: Did your plugmolds come in white?

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Wow--it's been awhile since I've checked this thread--it's been hectic at work.

BAMA12, I got them in "cream" because I thought they matched better with the bottom of the natural maple cabinets. Not sure if they come in white--I neglected to ask my eletrician.

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I still love this kitchen - I love the small things like the subtle tap, the gorgeous pendant lights and the stools at the side of the fireplace - the left one I've seen before, but the right one looks very interesting (I'm a furniture maker by training, tho' not alas by profession).

It's all lovely and I hope you're still enjoying it.

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BAMA12: How's your "project" coming along? Can't wait to see the photos!

KarenintheUK: Thanx for the compliments! Yes--I am still very satisfied with how everything turned out.

The stool to the left of the fireplace is the classic Sori Yanagi Butterfly Stool (in maple). The one on the right is the Capelli Stool by Carol Catalano. Here's a photo just for you:

This is another example of what one can do with a remnant piece of granite. I had them make a shelf for the low-divider in the guest/powder bath that is just of the main entry area.

In the master bath shower, I had them do a "bath mat" type design using Blue Eyes to border the tiles. Also, a closeup of Blue Eyes granite in the sun.

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Oh, a photo just for me :), yes it looks just as gorgeous in close-up. Interesting construction - I'm looking for inspiration to make some dining roomchairs at the moment and that's got me thinking....

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Rice Rocket, your home is simply beautiful and very artistic! Wow.

Would you happen to know the brand of your cabinet hardware? I'm looking for something exactly like that! I can't quite tell from the pictures, are they a brushed/matte finish? What sizes did they come in? Anything you could tell me about them would be great!

I hope I didn't miss this information somewhere on this page...I can't stop looking at your pictures! LOL! Thanks so much for sharing them.

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chronos: Thanx--glad you enjoy the photos! Yes--they are a brushed finish (rather than a smooth satin/matte finish). I shopped around a bit, and ordered samples from at least four or five places. I ended up getting the ones from an eBay vendor after buying some samples (he was willing to accept returns if I didn't like them!): Contempo_Living eBay listings.

While the quality isn't the best of the best, it was more than adequate, and definitely unbeatable/incomparable for the price. Also, I liked the flexibility of having five different sizes that were just right for my situation: 6.25", 7.75", 8.75", 10.25" and 12.75". I used a combination of all of them for just the right "look."

It would have cost from twice, up to four times as much for any of the name brands. The quality difference between this and the best of the lot I sampled (Omnia) was only in the finish--but the differences cannot be seen at normal viewing distances of more than six inches. And certainly not if it wasn't pointed out.

The ones in the bathrooms are a different type--the color is more "nickel" than "stainless steel." The color was more appropriate for the darker cabinets in the bathrooms. Also, the finish on these are satin/smooth rather than brushed. I also acquired these on eBay on account of someone buying too many. I ended paying like $0.87 a piece--a steal for something that sold for about $5 to $8 each everywhere else.

While I'm at it, here are some more photos...

This is the chandelier in the formal dining room. It's called Melody, and is another Tech Lighting fixture:

A photo of the powder room/guest bathroom from the entrance. Floor is Crema Marfil with Blue Pearl diamond inserts. Blue pearl tiles were used to create the shower seat and shampoo shelves in the shower. The shower doors are oversized height-wise for scale and to match the shower tile surrounds. Pedestal sink is the Kohler Portrait. Oh yeah--also another jellyfish photo (from my portfolio) for those of you who like them.

Here's an animated GIF to demonstrate the difference between full extension and 3/4 extension drawer slides on cabinet pullouts. When I ordered the Kitchen Craft cabinets, full-extension pullouts were not an option (they are today). I simply bought some full extension slides and easily replaced the 3/4 extension ones. The difference in utility and convenience is huge. If you get pullouts, I definitely recommend full-extension slides.

Another side benefit in my setup: Due to the width of the lower cabinets (42" wide), the pullouts on 3/4 extension slides had a lot of sideway slack. This meant that if not opened or closed with even side-to-side pressure, the pullout would bind. Because of the design of full-extension slides, this effect is greatly minimized. The pullout now works smoothly whether you pull in the middle of it, or not.

Here's a photo of a little art/craft framing project I did. Because of the tall ceilings throughout the house, there are some areas that feel very alley-like. I did a couple of these to balance the height of the walls and the "narrow-ness" (is that a word?) of the rooms/hall.

Bought a closet mirror with a black mitered frame from Target for $5.99. Masked the mirror and frame with Contact paper, then used some Krylon frosting spray to create the horizontal band that serve as a matte for the photos. The photos used are all originals--these were taken by my brother. I printed them in the size I needed, and mounted them onto matte board, and then double-sided tape mounted them to the mirror. Very Trading Spaces eh? :)

This one is in the master bedroom hall that leads to the master bathroom, and the other you see in the photo above of the powder room.

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Rice Rocket, about those Crema Marfil tiles. Are they actual marble tiles, or a porcelain with the name Crema Marfil? If they are actual marble, how are they holding up? If they are porcelain, who is the manufacturer?

Love your house!

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I just wanted to write that I think your home is beautiful! I love your choice of granite!

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I also love your kitchen and have saved it to my favorites. Please give me your opinion on whether to use a drop-in sink or undermount with my new granite countertop. I have purchased a cast acrylic sink and I am having my countertop fabricated from a slab of Giallo Veneziano. Your comments are appreciated.

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Thanx everyone!

Julies_Kitchen: Yes--it is actually Crema Marfil 18" tiles on the floor. The shower surround is a 10" x 16" porcelain tile look-alike that I also used on the utility room and the second bathroom counters. There are trim pieces available that make it a lot easier than using the actual crema marfil tiles. It is also more durable and definately easier to care for. The color match is amazingly good. It wasn't American Olean (color and pattern did not match the natural Crema Marfil as well), but an Italian company called Imola Ceramica. I found it at a local tile distributor...

As to durability--Crema Marfil is a relatively soft stone. It's held up very well, but I've seen the same floor in a two year old model home, and it needed a polish. I actually didn't mind the way it look too much--the patina was actually pleasing, although I know they had to replace a couple of cracked tiles. They must have had thousands of visitors to this model home over the two years. It seems like in my case, it will be 10 years (probably more) before my floors will look like that based on the fourteen months I've lived here. There is no discernable wear at the moment, eventhough I've had a lot of company in the last year.

spiritus: Giallo Veneziano--very nice! I think an undermount sink in the kitchen has many benefits. The ability to simply "sweep" stuff from the counters into the sink is a huge plus. Although your granite choice will probably hide a lot of it. :) A drop-in sink in the kitchen basically means an extra area around the rim to clean often. If utility were primary, aesthetics second, I generally prefer an undermount or tile-in versus a drop-in kitchen sink.

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Rice Rocket, thanks for the information on the cabinet pulls! Do you happen to know if the various sizes you mentioned are standard? Ie, how hard would it be to find a different pull the same size if I ever wanted to change them?

I'm only now starting to look at pulls and that's one of the things I'm curious about.

Also, did you come across any knobs that you thought might work well with those pulls? We need some knobs for a couple of spice drawers we'll have.

Sorry for bombarding you with these questions! :-) That Melody fixture is so cool! Now I know where to look for lighting ideas when I hit that point! Thanks SO much!

 o Just wanted to add my...

thumbs up. Great job. Stunning.

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Rice Rocket, thank you for your advice regarding choice of undermount or drop in sink. I also prefer the undermount sink. I purchased a Cast Acrylic Sink that had 4 holes already drilled for the faucet and the sink had some outer ridges in the design. When I brought the sink to the granite fabricator he mildly suggested that I rethink the sink because of the ridges and how it might look and also he said a true undermount sink would not have the holes pre drilled. I went back to Home Depot where I purchased the sink and saw another cast acrylic sink with the holes pre drilled but no ridges around the edges. We were about to purchase it but decided to ask a salesperson his opinion and ended up buying a stainless steel Elkay sink which was a true undermount without the holes predrilled. I would like your opinion because I am still so undecided whether to keep the stainless steel sink or return it for the cast acrylic (without ridges). The fabricator said if I really wanted the cast acrylic, he could undermount it. Also the info tag on the cast acrylic states it could be undermount or drop in. If the salesman at Home Depot hadn't told us he didn't really think we could undermount the cast acrylic, I would have bought it. Your suggestions please? I have to bring the sink to the fabricator by Friday. Thank you so much.

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TnTW: Thanx for the thumbs up Trish!

chronos: I don't think there are "standards" per se for pulls--at least not that I can tell. Different manufacturers seem to employ different measurements, some imperial, most metric. I guess that's one huge advantage of using knobs--they're easily changed!

As for matching knobs--I think simple knobs like the following could work well:

Alternatively, if you only have two or so, you could "make a statement" and add some contrast and pizzaz with these:

spitirus: I wouldn't "trust" the salesperson at a big box store--the manufacturer of the sink is the definitive source. Also, there are brackets that your installer will probably use to bear the weight of the sink. Contrary to what it looks like, the countertop does not bear any weight of a properly undermounted sink. Sounds like you have a good installer, so I'd go with what your preference is--the cast acrylic sink (without the ridges).

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Your home is magnificent. I love your stone choice for kitchen floor and your foyer is fantastic. Well done!

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Bump. This is one of the most informative and inspirational threads in the gallery!

 o Blumotion

Thanx for the compliment Jadon, and lindyk for the bump!

This past month, I added Blumotion to the cabinet doors and built a new pullout pantry. Photos and comments follow:

Adding Blumotion
Blumotion note: As I suspected after inspecting my existing Blum Tandem slides, the new Blumotion self-close device is not retrofittable to any Tandem slide manufactured prior to about May of 2003. Rats--that means to get Blumotion for the rest of my kitchen cabinets would involve a very costly proposition: replace the old slides with new ones! The Blum site is misleading and makes it sound like Blumotion will fit any vintage Blum Tandem slide. Fortunately, no such limitation exists with Blumotion for cabinet doors.

The Blumotion soft-close devices for cabinet doors are a very easy add-on. They are also relatively affordable--about $2.60 each, not including the mounting adapters from Woodworker's Hardware. Although I ordered an equivalent number of mounting hardware, I found I really didn't need to. I simply drilled or used scrap pieces from the cabinet installs to block/fabricate what I needed to hold the mechanism. Here is a series of photos on the ways I mounted them: Double door upper cabinets, double door lower cabinets, and single upper/lower cabinet door.

The pantry pullout slide below the wine racks from the Kitchen Craft factory was pathetic, to put it mildly. It was a cheaper 3/4 pullout side-mounted slide that left a good 5" of empty space at the back of the cabinet. To add insult to injury, the factory only provided 6" wide baskets for this 12" wide (10.75" inside width) cabinet as you can see from the construction photo (pardon the dust). I'm embarrased to say that this customed designed cabinet was a very hefty $1,000 extra--the most expensive in linear feet costs. But I didn't know any better two years ago, and I wanted it designed my way!

A valuable lesson learned here--if you must order a custom piece from a mass manufacturer like Kitchen Craft, order the cheapest basic shell and do the customization yourself. It took me a over a year of putting off, but I finally built something solid to replace it. It was also the excuse I needed to try the new Blumotion device for the undermounted drawer slide.

The slides and the Blumotion additions came from Woodworker's Hardware as they had the best price I could find. After a couple of trips to Home Depot and Lowes for the wood (Birch, which is mostly indistinguishable from Maple), and a heck of a lot of sawdust, here is the result.

Blumotion Impressions
Overall, I like Blumotion. But it isn't as earth-shattering as going from regular side-mounted slides to the Blum Tandem under-mounted ones. The Tandem slides felt perfect before adding Blumotion. Blumotion on the drawer slides adds more resistence when first opening the drawer, and this takes a little getting used to. The regular self-close is already very nice, but Blumotion adds a little pizzaz and a little practicality when closing the drawer. At $8 additionally per drawer, it can be an expensive option to an already perfect slide. I haven't decided whether it's worth the $35 per drawer cost ($27 per new pair of Blumotion compatible slides plus $8 for the Blumotion device) to upgrade my entire kitchen. I definitely don't need it in the bathroom cabinets though.

Blumotion soft-close for the doors work fine as well--they add a lot of "oohs" and "ahhs" from guests. The larger doors bounce less when closed very hard, but they do make closing the doors close very quietly.

Granite Seams
I've read about granite seam problems on the forum quite a bit, so I thought I'd take a couple of photos to show what a good seam should look like. The invisibility of the seams are a careful orchestration of selecting the granite type and the slabs themselves, careful grain mapping during slab fabrication/cutting, and expert installation. I have to typically point out the seams for guests when asked, and even then, nobody really notices the laminated edges!

First is an extreme closeup of the seam at the front of the sink where there are two seams--the horizontal seam of the laminated, full-bullnose edge and the vertical seam where two slabs come together:

Here's one on the other side of the sink--the seam is there if you look closely:

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Usable Interior Drawer Space Nitpick
While the upgraded Kitchen Craft drawers use Blum Tandem full-extension slides, they are not mounted like I would have to maximize interior drawer space. You can see from the photos below, they could have mounted the slides another 0.25" to 0.50" lower, and that would have added to the 3.5" height of the current usable interior space of the drawer. Also, looking underneath towards the rear of the drawer, you'll see another 4" of dead space.

Custom Sized Blum Drawer Slides?
I got a little curious that Kitchen Craft would leave 4" of dead space at the back of the drawers, so I measured some more and did some investigating. Firstly, Kitchen Craft used a 19.25" Blum Tandem Plus drawer--something that isn't available in the U.S.!? Kitchen Craft is a Canadian company, so I check the Blum Canada web site, and voil�! The slides are available in many more sizes there.

But why 19.25" and not the 21" or longer? Answer: Purely efficiency and cost. Cabinets in U.S. bathrooms are 21" deep versus the 24" deep kitchen cabinets. So the 19.25" leaves enough wiggle room when buiding bathroom cabinets. So instead of stocking multiple slide lengths and manufacturing different drawer box lengths, they compromise with the single 19.25" length. I did check my bathroom cabinets to confirm my suspicions.

Bad news is that this makes it even more difficult to upgrade my drawers to Blumotion--I'd have to source everything from Canada! Unless I rebuild the drawer boxes myself, or order new ones. Grrr.

Admittedly, all this doesn't make much of a difference in my relatively medium-sized kitchen. The upper drawers interior space is actually a 17.75" square, which is plenty considering the substantial 0.75" sides. But if your kitchen is smaller, and/or you want the absolute efficient use of all available space, I suggest a local custom cabinet maker instead of a mass manufacturer. I wonder how the other mass manufacturers like Kraftmaid or Ikea handle this. But it isn't a wonder that with smaller kitchens in Europe, a lot of the European cabinet makers prefer the more efficient metal boxes--like the Blum Tandembox or Metabox.

Tapmaster--It's Magic!
I mounted the Tapmaster (Model 1750) kick switch to the right of center. I felt this was a more natural place (I'm right-footed) rather than in the middle. Many of my friend's kids still think you have to use "Magic" to get the water to come on! :)

I initially thought I'd want the separate hot and cold kick pedals. However, after speaking with Integra Dynamics, I opted for the single pedal version based on their advice. I'm glad--the single pedal is easier to use, and I can still use the Grohe faucet to modulate the water temperature. Also, I like the the locking continuos flow feature--it is handy when filling a large pot.

The Tapmaster installation was a cinch--about 45 minutes. It does not require electricity and operates on water-pressure alone. A very easy DIY project. The regular guests have learned to use it (and love it!), and it is fun to show new guests. A lot of them think it's Infra-Red activated at first. It is one of the most useful accessories in the kitchen--and it saves on water usage too. I have another one that I'm planing to install in the utility room sink soon.

Also, I like the little "towel jam" for the hand towel to the left of the sink tilt-outs. I like hiding the sponges and brushes in the tilt-out. Also, I lined the interior of the cabinets where the tilt-outs are with the clear shelf-liner. Just in case...

Finally (at least for now), a couple of glamour photos. This one is of the glass on the front door, which is a little bit of Frank Lloyd Wright. The front entry door is by Simpson Door Company.

This is one of the large window sills in the great room. I took the photo of Conner (my best friend's third kid--they have four!) while he was on a swing upside down a couple of years ago. I like the the reminder to "indulge" whenever possible. :)

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Rice Rocket -

This afternoon I will be marching your photo of undercab lighting with plugmold over to my electrician. He made a funny face when I mentioned it this morning. Why is Plugmold such a bad word? I want to show him how beautiful it can be. I am having a GLASS tile backsplash, so I would think that wall outlets would be more of a challenge than plugmold.
I love everything about what you have done by the way. I hope you are enjoying every minute of being home. Thank you so much for sharing your good taste and talent with us! TWIZ

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Hi Rice Rocket -

Great kitchen (and house!).

I just placed an order for Kitchen Craft cabinetry last Thursday. I've got a couple days to make changes, and based on what you said above about the drawers, I'm tempted to nix the drawers in my pantry unit (33" wide) and do the Blum Metabox or Tandembox system instead. Based on your experience swapping out slides, how difficult do you think it would be?

On their Tandembox and Metabox systems, do you know if you make your own bottom and back for the drawers? I'm trying to determine if you can make these drawers any width you need. It looks like you need a 5/8" thick material for the bottom and back, but I don't see any material on the site for that purpose. So would you just use ply or particleboard and make the drawer the width you need?

I did have a quick look at the cabinetry in the showroom. It was hard to tell if the drawers still have the void in the back, but I'm going to ask for measurements to find out for sure. The pullout drawers in cabinets and pantry units leave about 2"-3" at the front unused. I was told this is so the doors can be adjusted. Not sure if that is really the case or not, seems to me you could just take the drawer out if it is in the way of the hinge. Those looked like they went most of the way back in the cabinet, but I didn't measure.

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You're welcome twiz! I like glass splashes--tile or solid. I actually considered glass tile, but at the time, I couldn't get a response from Oceanside Glass Tile. I could have gone to Walker Zanger I guess, but it ended up being fairly expensive, and my fabricator/tile contractor didn't have much experience with glass tiles. I settled on the Blue Pearl slab instead.

JRaz: Thanx for the compliments!

The Blum slides have industry standard spacing (in Metric), so it shouldn't be a problems switching them out. Based on the pantry unit I got from Kitchen Craft, I wouldn't pay a lot to order it from the factory. I'd order the basic cabinet and retrofit something later myself.

With the Blum box systems, all you need to do is cut the bottom and back panels. Yes, drawer width is entirely customizable. Only have to determine drawer height and depth/length when ordering the components, You can use 1/2", 5/8" or 3/4" for Metabox, and 5/8" for Tamdembox. Veneered particleboard, plywood (overkill) or veneered MDF works fine. You will also have to drill with a Forstner bit if you are going to add Blumotion to the Tandembox.

I think there are several explanations to the 2"-3" unused in the front as you've described. One is that the door hinge can go anywhere. But I suspect a lot of it has to with standardization and allowance for any door racks that you may install.

One of the things that I discovered when I built my pantry pullout is that since the back is almost the size of the opening, I needed to drill some holes in the back panel to allow for air displacement when closing the unit. Otherwise, the "piston" action of closing the pullout quickly (works fine when closed slowly for obvious reasons) creates enough air resistance so that the pullout would not close completely with one fluid motion.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

Thank you thank you for that info. I think I will plan to ditch the drawers in my pantry unit. I was looking at prices of the Tandembox stuff online, and they seem quite reasonable. I know this is something that if I don't get it the way I want it, it will drive me NUTS! And I'll have the shelves to store stuff until I figure out exactly how I'll be using it.

I like what you did for wine storage. I am thinking about ordering several extra shelves for a shallow cupboard we have so I can do something similar. How did you attach those little dividers?

Do you have the ginger or natural maple? I was planning to go with the ginger and then I fell in love with a floor that it clashed with, so we're going natural. I haven't seen any pictures of the natural - I've just got a couple of door samples.

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Get it the way you want it for sure! I could'ave saved some money by ordering it without the cheesy thing they put in. Hindsight is always 100%. :(

Wine storage dividers were simple--I ripped an "extra" shelf into small strips and simply used wood glue to attach them. I used some spacers (scrap wood) so that the strips would be consistently spaced. The shelf is 24" deep; enough to store two bottles per slot. The stem holders were 1x3's--dado cut at an angle.

Kitchen cabinets are Natural Maple, Master Bathroom (and other bathrooms) are Ginger Maple.

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Thanks for that info!

Well then - I guess I HAVE seen pictures of the natural maple! =) I am so excited to see what they'll look like! Did you experiment with their appearance under different kinds of light?

They told me today that the interior front to back measurement of my regular drawers will be 17.75" - exactly what you've got. Guess they haven't changed that since you bought. I'm sort of annoyed (actually, really annoyed) given my whole reason for remodel is to get more space (cabinet and countertop)! My current crapola cabinets have 20"! Oh, this hurts! =( I imagine it would be custom to have the drawers left out (given it is custom to have the shelves left out), so I probably wouldn't save anything. Guess we'll see how it works once they are installed and go from there.

BTW - I cancelled my pantry drawers today! Now I've got $325 to spend on my custom ones! =)

I'm so impressed that you cut those stem holders yourself! When I saw them I figured you bought them. Very cool!

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Great details=Great Kitchen! You should be so proud of yourself, YOU DUN GOOD! Thanks for the Blum cab door lesson, will definately get them. Pearly

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Hi Rice Rocket, your gallery page has been extremely helpful to me ever since I stumbled upon it when I was looking for real life implementation of "Blue Pearl" granite. Thanks for your patient answers. And my compliments on your excellent design. I love a lot of elements in your home and do feel a twinge of guilt whenever I "lift" some of your great ideas and research.
BTW/ did you know that your kitchen is a "model" kitchen? Pegasus has the picture of your kitchen on it's website?
Pegasus lighting - just scroll down to the bottom of this page to see your undercab lighting pic!

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Just found this awesome thread! What beautiful pictures RR! Your feathers must be well pufed up (and rightly so!) with all these compliments.
We are moving into our new home in a week or so - it is a new build, but we didn't get to choose any options. How difficult is it to set on and do all this stuff? I have so many ideas - but I am concerned about costs mainly...how much of this can be done yourself? For example, the behind cabinet lighting...can that be installed for a reasonable cost??

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More proof that hanging around here, elevates your taste and style. Great job Rice!

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Rice Rocket-
Thank you for all the valuable info you've provided. Love your kitchen, etc. Question about your warming drawer: Is is flush against your other drawers as it looks in the pictures? If so, what brand is it? We're having problems with this. Thanks!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos

This was the first home I saw on the forum that reflected my true 'style'. I love contemporary, but for the moment I can only introduce certain 'contemporary' elements. When the kids leave home, I'll build myself a home like yours,lol.

Who helps you clean this house???lol Do you have radiant heating? Are the tiles hard on your legs? I've read a lot of discussions about that, and was wondering how you feel about them. Also, did you get your tiles sealed in the bathroom? I hadn't thought about using granite tiles for the vanity top.

Follow-Up Postings:

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos (Large Repost)

Rice - one of the most fabulous kitchens I have seen. Your entire home is a showpiece! I am a contemporary 'moderate' - but you really know how to execute the look. I really appreciate all your attention to detail. My house renovations are underway at the moment and I am also using natural maple cabinetry and Blue Pearl granite, so your pictures are inspiring and exhilarating for me!

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Wow, what a kitchen! Love the "rocket" garbage can. Excellent job Rice Rocket.

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Thanx again for the compliments. I added a RO (Reverse Osmosis) unit to the sink and replaced the air-gap with a nice, beefy drinking water faucet. Will post more photos when I get a chance in the coming weeks.

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rice rocket, i LOVE your kitchen. We are also attempting a contemporary style. I noticed someone asked about your hood but didn't see a reply as to what it is and how you like it. I can't wait to see more of your project!

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Rice Rocket, What a beautiful home!! I greatly appreciate the photos of the uc lighting and plug mold. Have you been really happy with going with the plug mold? My DH is worried that we won't like it because of the location. Thanks.

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your kitchen and home are definitely an inspiration! Thanks for posting this thread again!

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RiceRocket - I also love your rocket garbage can. Is that cobalt blue? Who makes it and where did you get it?

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This is the longest thread I've ever had patience for, it took me so long that now my style seems to be migrating toward contemporary - I also think age has something to do with it. I absolutely love it! You really have a knack for design.

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Wow. I'm not into contemporary design myself but your style is absolutely amazing. Amazing and organic. Organic and inspired. All that and more.

So here's what I want to know RiceRocket -- what do you do for a living and why do I have the feeling you're an architect or furniture designer or something similar? Hmmm? :-)

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Sorry, maybe I missed it, but who made the cabinets?

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Thanx for the kind words evgirl, boo_salb, lowspark, and sadiebelle!

cleblanc: The garbage can is a Wesco Space Boy XL in Blue (www.wesco.de)--I originally found it on a European web site, and eventually hunted it down here in the U.S. (distributed by Polder). Ironically, about a year after I hunted the then rare thing down, my local Costco sold a batch of Stainless Steel colored ones for about $100 less than I'd paid! These things are over-built (typical German product!), and perhaps expensive for a trash can, but are designed to handle the rigors of commercial use. A quick search on Google for "Polder Space Boy" should return many results.

RheaT: Would you believe that I'm just a computer geek? :)

newshound: Cabinet are by KitchenCraft. Their web site really needs updating!

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos (Large Repost)

RR, I'm sure you're an excellent computer geek but you might have chosen the wrong career. Those chandeliers you created are works of art.

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I love this kitchen.

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People must love coming to your house. Beautiful pieces of lighting everywhere. I love your house and your kitchen. Thanks for the photos.

 o RE: Rice Rocket Kitchen/Home Photos (Large Repost)

This thread is invaluable. Thank you for reposting!

and it sounds like you did a great job finding godd deals on creative storage ideas!!!

I was searching for the tech lighting - it was an option for our house - but i still think it is a bit to contemporary for our house -
but it fits your perfect!!!!

I might even rethink using white appliances now too!

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