Our Kitchen: Q&A

As promised, I wanted to address questions that many of you have been hitting my inbox with in one place as an easy reference!


In case you missed it, I shared our full kitchen makeover here, along with sources to everything! You can also see the “before” of the space here to see where everything started!


So without further ado, let’s dive right in…

“What are your countertops? Quartz or marble? Why one over the other?”

This is the most popular question I’ve gotten, hands down. Our countertops are an Arabescus Carrara marble in a honed finish.

As far as “performance” and durability, I know many prefer quartz (a man-made material) as it is a harder and less porous material and therefore less susceptible to chipping, cracking, and staining. Marble is a natural material, and a porous one at that, meaning it is sensitive to acids (like lemon, limes, and other citrus) eroding its surface, can show etchings and scratches more easily, and will stain if you let things like tomato sauces and red wine sit on it for hours.

That said, I still preferred marble. Quartzes are manmade, so any “marbling” I found tended to be too uniformly patterned for my personal taste. I love variations found in natural veining. The irregularities in pattern and coloring offer a more nuanced surface, which I think gives the material more depth. I also love how marble patinas over time: stains, chips, etchings, etc. don’t bother me…in fact I LOVE old marble and think these signs of use and age add character to a surface and lend for a more classic, enduring aesthetic.

However, if a pristine finish and ease of care are a priority for you, then granite or quartz might be a better option. But my husband and I both love the irregularities of natural stone (and the sustainability that it’s a naturally occurring material) and knew for certain this is the route we preferred.


“What is your backsplash?”

Our backsplash is a vertical orientation of shiplap! I selected the 4.5″ width, but there are wider widths available as well.


“What paint color are your cabinets?”

Our cabinets are Simply White by Benjamin Moore. We had our backsplash painted the same color. This is one of my favorite whites! I think we’ll repaint our bedroom and office space this color eventually: it’s a perfect “warm” white.



“Is that a recirculating hood or did you exhaust it out?”

Our hood actually exhausts out of our attic. My husband and I are both big cooks, and the under cabinet microwave/vent combo was severely underperforming in the ventilation department. This has been a massive improvement!

That said, I did still opt for an under-cabinet vented hood in order to save money and work with the existing cabinets we had in place.


“What stove is that? Would love details!”

We LOVE this range. It is this slide-in range by Jenn-Air. It has an elongated 5th burner that makes griddle-cooking super easy, and is actually a dual-oven. We narrowed it down to either the Jenn-Air or this Fisher-Paykel, but after going through consumer reviews opted to stick with the Jenn-Air and we have no regrets.


“What items did you splurge on vs. save, and why?”

The marble countertops were a splurge, as were the appliances.

To allow for those splurges, we did a few things that saved us a lot of money:

  • We worked within the existing template of our original kitchen and kept all the original cabinetry
  • We splurged on the appliances that mattered most to us and kept the ones that were less important but functioning fine (i.e. our original dishwasher and refrigerator)
  • The shiplap backsplash saved a lot on material cost vs a ceramic or stone tile


“What happened to your microwave? Are you living without one now?”

We still have a microwave! We considered trying to live without one, but honestly, we rely on the convenience of reheating leftovers. I ended up getting this cutie microwave after searching long and hard for one with a small footprint and very minimal design. You’re welcome!

(Fun-fact: A pet peeve of mine is visible branding. I hate when products have the brand or label prominently displayed, and basically every microwave out there had loud branding on it so I was thrilled when I finally found this one at such an awesome price. This reason is also why I eliminated Kitchen-Aid appliances for us…basically, I am a psycho but I am what I am.)


“Is there anything you wish you had done differently?”

Honestly, no! I think the smartest thing we did was live with the original kitchen for two years. It gave us the advantage of saving up to pay for the project mostly out-of-pocket (a huge money-saver in the end in bypassing interest!), but more importantly, gave us time to know in fine detail what we most wanted to change, what was already working well, and what would make the largest impact overall.

I also really appreciate that we did things in stages. Painting the cabinets and swapping out hardware first made a huge difference in letting us see the impact of small changes and eliminated too many big decisions needing to be made all at once.


“Is the kitchen finished now?”

For the most part, yes. I’d like to add in some final layers over time, like some artwork and a small lamp though. Eventually I also think it would be great to replace our dishwasher with a panel-front option so that it better blends in with our cabinets. Our dishwasher sits right next to our fridge, and we have our new microwave above it on the counter: all three of these right next to one another make it a very “appliance-heavy” spot visually, so eventually I think it would be great to create a better visual solution there.

That said, our dishwasher works well and we aren’t really prioritizing this upgrade anytime soon — we are fine living with it as is!

I hope these answers were helpful for those of you tackling similar projects. If I missed something, feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to share my experience!
And since I’m often asked where I got this and that, here are sources to things pictured:

Join the conversation and share your thoughts!