Sara Peterson's Kitchen Redo: Appliances and Countertops are Here!

Sara Peterson, HGTV Magazine's Editor in chief, opens up about receiving the appliances and countertops for her complete kitchen overhaul.

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Photo by: Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards

I’ve never had a kitchen in which all the appliances matched — the technical term for this is “from one suite." In various kitchens of mine, the stove has been from one manufacturer, the fridge from another, the dishwasher stainless steel, the fridge white. There was nothing wrong with those kitchens, but this time around — when starting from scratch on a brand new kitchen — I was pretty darn excited to have appliances bought all at the same time, all from the same “suite” as they say. What would that be like?! I trusted KitchenAid as a brand (like a lot of people I know, my standing mixer is one of my prized possessions). But if I’m being totally truthful, what really drew me to the appliances I chose was the color. KitchenAid has a full suite of black stainless steel appliances on the market. A full suite! In the same color! Black stainless steel was just becoming “a thing” when I started my kitchen reno, and I was intrigued. Naming this new finish black is a little misleading, however. It’s not black-black, it’s actually a deep gunmetal gray, which also happens to be a great color for grout with white subway tile (more on that later!). Click here to see the appliances I chose.

Photo by: Courtesy of KitchenAid

Courtesy of KitchenAid

I also like that they have an industrial, chef-worthy appearance. They look professional, like they mean business. I ended up going with the induction cooktop in my peninsula because I don’t have gas lines where I live (and I don’t love the idea of a large propane tank sitting in my yard). I also love the idea of a cooktop that heats up really quickly and cools down almost immediately in a kitchen island, or peninsula like mine. 

I ordered my appliances early in this process and they sat in a corner in my living room for about four weeks while I worked on other selections and designs for my kitchen. Timelines for renos are always tricky, but basically I like having materials ordered and delivered on site as soon as possibly. This way, you know you have them and you know they’re the ones you really want. There's nothing worse than having your contractor ready to go and not having the materials (or having the wrong materials) on site for him/her to work with. So, my advice? If you have the storage space, order what you need right when you know what you want. 

For my countertops, I went with quartz. That was a no-brainer. Fortunately I get to attend kitchen and bath tradeshows every year for work (and I see a lot of kitchens in real homes across the country), and I know first-hand that quartz is hard to beat because it’s so durable. Plus, you get the fantasy look of marble without the constant worry that you’re going to stain it if you splash water on it (which of course you will) or spill spaghetti sauce on it (which of course you will). I love, love, love white counters with a honed (not polished/glossy) finish in a kitchen with a little bit of gray veining, so I went with Silestone’s Statuario in suede finish, 3 centimeters thick, on all perimeter counters and on my kitchen peninsula.

Photo by: Courtesy of Silestone

Courtesy of Silestone

It took about four to five weeks for countertops to arrive. First, someone comes to your home and takes very precise measurements so your countertops can be custom-cut to fit exactly in place on install day. Side note: always be sure to know where the seams will fall on your countertops (your contractor should know to ask this as well, but you should be just as in-the-know). My seam was strategically set for a corner and will be barely noticeable — even by me and I know it’s there. Install day seemed to take about 10 minutes. That's because laser measurements and cutting are so exact ,and precise fittings are easier these days, so my counters fit perfectly on the first try. Also good to know: The adhesive they use to keep the countertops in place has to cure for 24 hours before you can set anything on the counters. 

Cabinets, countertops and appliances. Check, check and check! Now I really feel like we’re getting somewhere! Next up: Sink, faucet, backsplash, and lighting... 

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