Kitchen Refresh – Part I

by Liz Dowling

My brown kitchen has bothered me for a while.  As in 12 years!

When we moved into our house, the prior owner had literally JUST finished their kitchen remodel.  Everything was new and pristine.  I had a hard time justifying doing anything to a brand new kitchen.  But, I was never crazy about all of the brown, especially the high-gloss brown granite countertops.  The tumbled marble backsplash was about the only thing I could get excited about.

So, I focused on the rest of the house.  Until recently…..

We have an interior kitchen, so it tends be dark.  The family room with was added before we moved in and throws a lot of light into the room. But the brown on brown on brown doesn’t help.  Instead of ripping the whole kitchen out and starting over, I decided to work with the good bones it had and update everything so it was lighter and more modern.

Phase I of the kitchen refresh is going to be:  1) hone the granite countertops so the shine is gone and they are a natural, matte look.  2) re-grout the entire marble backsplash so it looks fresh and clean.  3) replace the (dated) kitchen sink and bar faucets with something new and modern.  Ideally, I wanted to replace the brown granite with quartz or marble.  I priced out many options and ultimately decided that the cost was more than I wanted to spend for this project and moved forward with honing.  Always with the thought that if I didn’t like it, I could revisit installing something new down the road!

Here are the old kitchen faucets.  Country time!

Four holes were originally cut out of the granite for the faucet handle, the faucet, the sprayer and a weird hot/cold water thing (far right) that has leaked constantly and cost us a lot of plumber bills since we moved in.  We finally replaced it, so it now WORKS.

The reason I bring up the four holes is because nobody does this anymore.  Most kitchen faucets use one hole and have a built in sprayer.  Therefore, to find a modern model that could FILL three holes around the sink was close to impossible.  Not only that, whatever I chose had to have a matching bar faucet that I could use in our island.  Nightmare.

Rohl is an Italian manufacturer that makes beautiful kitchen and bath fixtures.  They were the only company I found that could help me out with this problem!

Here is the old bar faucet.  Not too terrible, but never cared for the little porcelain handles.  They matched the kitchen faucet.


New bar faucet going in.  Our plumber, Joe Costelloe, overcame many obstacles with this install.  Limited space for the new hardware, leaking pipes – the list goes on.  He did a great job and no complaints.  I was the one complaining.

Finished product!  Love my new bar faucet and you can see the honed granite here pretty well too.

New grout in (you can see above) and honed granite ready for new faucets.

To fill the three holes, I had to buy a separate soap dispenser and a separate sprayer – in addition to the main faucet.

You can see sprayer here.  These holes are at awkward angles which was a challenge for Joe to figure out how and where to place all of the pieces so it worked.

It worked out though!


The new ivory grout on the backsplash made a huge difference. You can see the dirty spots above.

The honed granite does not photograph well, but you can see the shine is gone and the granite looks much lighter, which was the goal.  What I love about granite it how indestructible it is.  You can spill red wine, throw a hot pan on it and nothing happens!

Phase II – which we are in the middle of – is painting all of the cabinets.  They will be the same color as our bar cabinets (above) with the same pulls.  We had to remove everything out of all kitchen cabinets, so our stuff is ALL over the house.  To be continued…

the wry home

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Robin Langsdorf March 21, 2018 - 7:41 am

Your kitchen refresh inspires me Liz. I am looking at doing something smililar. Will be interested in seeing the repainted cabinets. Best of luck with the remainder of your project. Looks great so far!

Elizabeth Dowling March 21, 2018 - 7:52 am

The cabinets are almost done and it makes a HUGE difference, I love it!

Allyson Martin March 21, 2018 - 5:05 pm

Looking good. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Kitchen Refresh – Part II | The Wry Home April 4, 2018 - 4:36 am

[…] off the granite countertops, re-grouting the marble backsplash and installing new, modern faucets (see here).  Phase II is painting all of the kitchen cabinets Farrow & Ball “Joa’s […]

Glass Display Cabinets March 21, 2020 - 2:22 am

The end result is absolutely amazing. Nicely done! The cabinets are fantastic.

Elizabeth Dowling March 21, 2020 - 2:15 pm

Thank you!

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