Two Questions (A Request For Your Input)

So I’d like your input on two things…

Item #1

Last night, I was reading comments on yesterday’s post about floor stain colors (spoiler alert: I’m going with the 50/50 mix of Dark Walnut and Special Walnut, and at the urging of a few commenters, I think I’ve changed my mind about opting for water-based poly instead of Waterlox this time, but we’ll see), and I was also reviewing and revising my list of 2017 house goals. And I’d like your input on something.

A few people asked something like, “Kristi, why are you refinishing your floor NOW?”

Well, to me it just makes sense to do it now. Or at least I think it does. But I’ve never lived through a house remodel done by pros, so sometimes I’m just completely guessing at the order in which things need to be done. And then you add in my penchant for willingly and knowingly doing things out of order just because I feeeeel like working in this thing instead of that thing, and I have the potential to create a real mess of things. Heck, perhaps I already have and I’m just not self-aware enough to realize it! 😀

My thought was that all of the “remodeling” stuff is done in the entryway, living room, music room, and kitchen. In the hallway, breakfast room, and pantry, all of the really messy stuff is done (drywall, taping, mudding), and for the most part, all that’s left is installing some trim (baseboards, door/window casings, crown moulding). And isn’t it easier to refinish floors before installing any trim that will touch the floor, like door casings and baseboards?

Now the pantry and hallway obviously require some additional building. In the pantry, I’ll be building cabinets…


Lots and lots of cabinets. And then in the hallway, I’ll be building a hall tree. Isn’t it easier to refinish the floor before adding cabinets? If I don’t do the floor first, then that means that in the pantry, the cabinets will be sitting on raw wood. I can’t quite put my finger on why I think that’s a bad thing, but it just seems like the floor should be completely sealed before cabinets are placed on it. Is that not right?

And other than the pantry cabinets, hall tree, and trim in the breakfast room and pantry, the only other potentially messy thing is painting (cabinets and walls). Y’all know I don’t like using drop cloths, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of using drop cloths.

So looking back on my 2017 list of house projects to do, it looks like these are the projects I could possibly finish up before I refinish my floors…

  • Install new doors on the bedrooms
  • Finish up trim (baseboards, door/window casings, crown moulding) in the hallway, breakfast room, ,kitchen and pantry
  • Build the hall tree
  • Refinish the kitchen countertops
  • Build the vent hood in the kitchen
  • Finish the trim on the back of the peninsula (breakfast room side)
  • Build and install the pantry cabinets
  • Build the pantry countertop
  • Make and install the pantry doors
  • Install exterior door in the bedroom (I added this to the list, and it’s a must before I refinish the floors)

Another thing I’ve considered is going ahead and sanding down the floors now, before I install more baseboards, cabinets, hall tree, new doors, and anything other new thing that a floor sander could bump into and scratch, ding, or destroy, and then putting down that thick red paper over the sanded floor while I tackle all of the projects listed above. Then when those projects are finished, I can take up the paper and do the staining and sealing last.

So please, if you’ve been through an extensive remodel that included either new site-finished hardwood floors or refinishing existing hardwood floors, tell me at what point you (or your contractor) tackled the actual finishing of the floor. Before cabinets were installed? After? Before trim (casings and baseboards) were installed? After? I really need this to be the last time I deal with these floors, so I want it done right. But adding a bunch of additional obstacles to have to work around while sanding doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.

Item #2

Give me your honest opinion about the paint color on my upper cabinets…


When I chose that color, I wanted to try something other than white, but I knew I was taking a gamble that might not work out. And I honestly can’t figure out if it’ll work out. Sometime I like it. Other times I think it looks dingy. I can’t decide if it’s because my countertop still looks so dingy (it’ll eventually be whiter and brighter), or if I just chose the wrong color and would do better with something a big darker with more contrast with the white tile. Or perhaps two-color kitchen cabinets look great in magazines, but in reality, they’re just not quite “me,” and maybe no neutral color I use will work for me and I should just paint them blue.

Please give me your honest (but kindly worded) opinion on that upper cabinet color. I don’t want to do any more painting in here until I know exactly what needs to be done with those upper cabinets. Do I press on with this color and trust that it’ll look good once the countertops are white? Do I need more contrast with a slightly darker gray/greige color? Should I just paint them white?

Do I just need to paint them blue and forget the two-color cabinet plan?



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  1. Having done floors both before and after cabinets have gone in, I say do the floors first. Let them cure and cover with mdf or something else to protect for a long time period. This way the longest and most time consuming project is out of the way. I also find paint and drywall mud come off poly’d floors easier.

    As for your cabinets, I think you would like them more they were white or a more obvious gray. Maybe they look dingy because they are contrasting with your tile and are an in between color.

    1. I agree 100% with Susan Bell. Our floors were installed first and I like the way it looks. As for your cabinets Susan said what I thought, Gray or white. Although I do like all blue too. I think your instincts are right with your current color, they look a little to creamy. I have a question for you Kristi, I am in the process of picking out my cabinets right now. I am torn between full overlay cabinets or standard overlay. There is a substantial price difference so I am leaning towards the standard overlay for that reason. I noticed you have standard overlay (I think) and I think they look beautiful. Are you happy with your cabinets?

      1. I agree as well! I suggest you do the floors first. It is much easier to clean off and protect sealed floors then raw floors. I did my floors first in my remodel and I’m happy that I did. The sanding is rough on the base of the walls and the dust generated by sanding is shocking. I did my floors first because I wanted to make sure the wood absorbed the stain as evenly as possible over the entire surface, before I had a chance to drop paint or anything else on them. I also managed to get stain on the walls when doing the floors and it was much easier to cover the stain with a baseboard then multiple layers of paint. For the areas that I had to patch with new wood I let the stain sit a bit longer before wiping the excess off and it blended beautifully.

        Although I like the two cabinet colors together, with the white tile and soon to be white counters, the contrast between the upper cabinets and the white is so minimal it doesn’t look intentional. I think a darker grey, something in the same tone range as your fireplace could look great, or paint the whole thing blue. I suggest you wait till after your counters are refinished to decide how dark you want to go.

        Thank you for being willing to redo things! I do all of my own home remodel projects and I love how honest you are about trouble shooting and redoing things.

        1. I agree with Kira about getting your countertops done before deciding on upper cabinet color. Is it possible to lighten your lower color a bit to give the uppers a change? I definitely did not care for the pic of the blue lower with white walls and upper.

      2. I am happy with the standard overlay, but I’m also aware that they have the least “custom” look to them. They’re more builder grade. I’d rather save my money on the style and customize with color and trim.

        1. Honestly, I never did like the upper cabinets painted that color because of the white tile in the middle. The color itself is great, but the contrast with the white in between just didn’t look cohesive, it made the upper cabinets appear dingy.
          I think white on top would have a nice clean, crisp look to it with the bottom being blue. In the picture above with the white uppers, it is just so nice and bright and fresh looking. If you redo the floors a darker color and paint the uppers in the same blue, I would think it would be a little too dark in there.
          Kristy you amaze me all the time with the things you do and can do. The way you combine colors that I never thought would work, amazes me. I just love your blog.

    2. The contractor I hired to mentor me through the process of buying an 1860s American Gothic farmhouse) in need of a lot of refurbishing) strongly recommended doing the floors as the very last part of a project. That said, when I visited a big project he was doing, the floors were all covered in that tough red paper…all carefully taped together…his comment was that sometimes you have to do things in a less than ideal way! I am glad you’re rethinking the water base poly…in my experience it does not hold up wel…and that was on a piece of furniture!

      I agree with a previous comment that you may want to wait until the counters are done before deciding on the upper cabinet color.

      You are amazing a and I look forward to reading every single post!

      1. I like the color of your upper cabinets but agree that the white backslpash makes them look a bit dingy. If they were white you could use your pretty colorful plates, vases and bowls for your splash of color on that wall. In any case, I agree that you might want to wait until your get the countertops whitened before you do anything else to the cupboards.

        As for your floors, I’ve seen people do it either way. If you get it all done now, you can cover them with a protective tarp while other work is being done.

    3. Not sure about order of refinishing floors….but as far as paint colors for cabinets…I would paint them all the blue. It looks rich and makes the backsplash and counters stand out. With the counter, tile, and cabinets all light it looks kind of unfinished to me. I know the in thing lately is to do tops and bottoms different colors, and even though they look nice, I am always drawn to one united color with maybe the island different. Just my opinion. I love all your projects and enjoy checking in on you. BTW, I agree with your stain color for the floor.

  2. I have built 10 homes, remodeled 3. I have never ever installed cabinets, vanities, ect., until AFTER my floors were totally finished. It makes it so much easier and you’re right….who wants cabinets on raw wood. I always wanted the protection of the finish. But have remodels to where I could move a cabinet and the floor was great underneath.
    I also think your cabinets are fine. I do a lot of design for people and come home and think….whoa! I want that in my house as well. Only to find out later, I have spent so much time redoing something that was fine in the first place…..needless to say after a couple of times of doing that, I don’t do it anymore! I always tell clients I work with change is good. But there comes a time when one uses up a lot more time, energy and money….redoing what they just redid!
    I do love your kitchen cabinet repainted the way they are now. They are soothing and warm and complete. Do your floors and let that project be done, finished and move on to the next. We love following you, seeing all you do but complete it, love it and go on to the next. Your talents and wood working skills, heck your overall general knowledge of design and carpentry is AMAZING GIRL!!!!!!! Just complete, know it’s fabulous and go on. Pretty soon you’ll be amazing us all with a completed home. Thanking you so much for all you share and all you have knowledge of to help all of us enlighten our days, encourage us to go for it and to show us we can do it. We all love what you do Kristie……thank you for allowing us all to take the journey with you.

    1. I agree with Jann. I have vinyl flooring in my kitchen which was built as an addition. The contractors put in the floor and then installed cabinets over the floor. Also I like your cabinet colors. There is nothing wrong with your color scheme.

    2. I like the point Jann made. The upper color is soothing, neutral and fine right now. The counter is something you are SURE you want white. Maybe after all your other projects are done, then you can then look back at the upper cabinets and see how you feel about them, and how they relate to all of your other finished projects. Also, when accessories and decor are added, that will help draw the eye to all the other beautiful things.

      For the floor, it seems very appropriate to do them first. With all the dust that gets in the house when sanding, you won’t have to be dusting and redusting all of your built ins and cabinetry if they are done last. Please stain the entire floor, even under all cabinetry! Its just the right thing to do (smile, wink!).

      1. I have done it the wrong way and the right way. Right way is right for a reason.

        When I bought my 80-year old house I pulled up all the disgusting, filthy carpet to reveal hardwood floors that were in desperate need of sanding and coating. I didn’t have enough money to do anything but get the floors refinished and to paint the cheap, dark paneling covering the plaster walls and all the molding white. (I also made the mistake of leaving the oak natural and using, at the recommendation of the floor guy, oil-based polyurethane. Beautiful at first but within a few years they were ORANCE. But I digress.) Several years later I had enough money to do the updates necessary, which included tearing off the baseboards, paneling and plaster. My rooms now had a two inch or so border of unsanded, differently stained wood all around the rooms. It was higher and rougher than the rest of the floor. We then insulated and installed drywall and put on fairly thick baseboards to match the few original ones in the house but it still fell short. Even adding quarter round at the base of the baseboard doesn’t cover it completely plus you can see it under the quarter round. Also there were some place where the floor boards end a little short and those are now exposed. I also installed the new kitchen cabinets before installing the tile. It was the devil to install that tile then and also means it will have to come up if I ever change cabinets. I’ve lived with it for a long time so obviously I have more stomach for imperfection than do you.

        I learned, though. Years later I was managing the remodel of my sister’s kitchen. She was replacing and reconfiguring cabinets and replacing vinyl with hardwood to match the rest of the house. Hardwood first, everywhere. Moldings off in all the rooms, then everything was sanded to the same height and stained the same color. The cabinets, then moldings, then paint. It was an old(er) house, too, but looked gorgeous and professional.

        I would wait to paint the uppers until you have the countertops done. It may help you decide. I am not a big fan of different uppers/lowers but thought yours looked pretty nice. I liked the neutral upper and think the white/dark in so many pictures is just too stark a contrast.

      2. Kristi, FYI: Maria Killam just discussed two tone cabinets on her blog 1/15, that you may find interesting.

  3. Kristy, I think you’re definitely headed in the right direction with your floors! Can’t wait to see them!! As long as the major building is done, it seems to me that floor staining is the next step. All the remodel shows finish the floors, add trim then cover to protect while the painting and cabinets are installed. As for the cabinets I vote for white uppers. My whole house is painted with Revere Pewter and it definitely has a green undertone. Right now it looks good because they are relating to the counters, but once those counters are bright white the color will probably not look so great. My second choice would be all blue, but I love the two-toned look. I’m planning to copy your blue lowers in my own kitchen with white uppers!

  4. I love the style of your cabinets and I love the blue color, but I am not a fan of the top color. It does look dingy in the photos. I think it would look great all blue.

    1. I agree that the upper cabinet color looks dingy against the white tile. I love the pic you put up with the 2 tone bright white/blue. I love the color blue on the bottom. 😊

  5. Item #1: I’d at least sand the floors down and have that out of the way. Then I think I’d try to finish up the pantry, breakfast room and all of the trim before staining the floor.
    Item #2: I’m not really feeling the upper cabinet color. It could be that the white of the subway tile muddies the color a bit. I do think the upper cabinets would look better painted white or a grayer gray if you want to stick with the two-tone look.

  6. I seem to remember those HGTV remodeling shows do the floors first and put down that red paper to pretext them. To me, it makes perfect sense to do the floors first. Having sanded the floors of our old house with baseboards and cabinets in place, it was really hard to get a nice sanded down finish up close; it would have been much easier if they weren’t there.

  7. I think you should do the counter tops before you do anything more with the color of your cabinets. There is no point in changing them if after you get the counter tops you decide you liked the color you had. I’ve never had any experience in refinishing floors, so I can’t chime in on that but doing them first makes sense. You’ll just want to be more cautious about working on them in the middle of projects!

    1. I second this. I work a lot from idea boards but there are some things that just have to be seen in person before you can know if they work and how they impact the other decisions they interact with. Because of your lighting situation I think this is one of those times where the order of operations IS important.

    2. Molly wrote exactly what I was thinking. Right now the upper cabinets and countertop colors are too similar. At least that’s how they appear in photos. I’d like to see the counters with the new color and then decide if the cabinet color needs to change, and if so, whether you need to go with white or color.

    3. Completely agree with Molly. I agree the top looks a little off, though beautiful on its own, but trying to decide what to do with it before your countertops and even the floor colors are set seems like a waste of time–especially since you do have other things you can be doing in the meantime. I bet it’s one of those things you see every day so it just bugs you. Hang tough!!!

      Also, when I read the comment yesterday about waiting to do your floors, it made sense, but reading your thought process makes more sense. It seems like a much better idea to have everything stained and protected before putting anything over it. (One of the reasons I love your blog is what a great job you do with sharing your thought process with us. Thank you!!!)

  8. I’ve never been through a big remodel, but my neighbors refinished their floor right before listing their house, and he complained for weeks about how much dust it made, how they had to remove EVERYTHING from EVERY room, etc. I’d think, as long as you are very careful with projects following it, it makes more sense to refinish your floors now. Also, I agree that it’d be counterintuitive to set cabinets on bare wood. Wood expands and contracts so much, I’m sure that stains and sealers affect that, so it should all be uniform.

    As far as your kitchen cabinets, with all your bright white tile and dishes, and the lack of super bright direct sunlight, I think the upper cabinets look a little dull in comparison. And I want to say something, but I want to make it clear that it is the most sincere, NON-JUDGY, non-critical opinion. The different direction you’ve taken in the past couple months is very trendy right now. The dark bluish grays, gray fireplace, dark wood floors. It’s pretty much the entire interwebs right now. Is this DEFINITELY you? Or are you being swayed by pretty internet pictures, just like you were previously swayed by some of us?

    On a totally unrelated note, do you happen to have a start-to-finish tutorial for refinishing a piece of wood furniture? I have a bedroom set that is currently stained some hideous red color, I’d like to stain the top and paint the bottom but could use some direction! I tried searching with key words yesterday but to no avail..

    1. You know, I take back my comment about being trendy. I could be accused of following trends too- I recently repainted my bedroom a dark blue-gray color, my kitchen is white on white… I’ve always loved blue, but the current trends showed me a new blue that I had never considered before and now love. And I’ve always loved white kitchen cabinets, but had never considered white countertops until it was trendy, and I love it. So, I apologize for my comment! You’re not following trends, you’re inspired by them 🙂

  9. I recommend doing the floors first and then installing your cabinets. You’ll just need to cover/ protect them until your other big projects are Complete.

    As to your cabinets, your upper color doesn’t seem to be “Kristi”. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and every time you try a gray or a “neutral” you end up dissatisfied. I don’t think the problem is lack of contrast, it’s just not the right color direction for you.

  10. I have no clue about doing the floors, but I need to have mine redone. I have brazilian cherry and the dogs have been hard on them. I was just wondering yesterday if I should go ahead and redo my floors or wait until we redo the kitchen, which I have no idea when that will be. As far as the cabinets are concerned, I personally am not a fan of the two colors. I only like mixing colors if there is an island and having that a different color. I think the light color clashes with your white tile. I would go ahead and paint them all the same blue color. PS I loved the green, but understand that your design plan changed.

  11. Kristi, why don’t you spread a sheet of white paper or fabric on the counter tops and see how it might look then? I personally like the idea of two tone cabinets – the lighter colour at the top makes the cabinets less visible and not so dominating – but I’m not so sure about your colour choice – maybe it is my monitor, but I can see beige undertones clashing with that blue grey.

    And yes, I would finish the floor first before building the cabinets 🙂

  12. I’ve never refinished floors but I’m thinking before cabinets go in makes most sense! As for your cupboards I love them now! My vote is keep them like this! It’s warm and I think it’s enough contrast to the white! I love a light kitchen though so the all blue is too dark for me!

  13. Love what you are doing with your home! I would wait on the floors until the end to avoid the cost/hassle of redoing them if they get damaged. Plus you may change your mind on the color once everything else is complete. As for the upper cabinets, I was so in love with the green that it’s hard for me to be impartial. I think the color looks a little dull with the crisp white tiles. I like the look of the white on top, but it seems a little blah. However, it would give you a nice clean background against any accessories you may want to display. Whatever you decide, it will be fabulous!

  14. I’ve re-done 90% of my house and all the floors. I would paint the walls and door/ window trim if possible but do the floors first before cabinets , baseboard, etc. Use drop cloths and be prepared to touch up scratches. Upper cabinets , thumbs down. They aren’t going to look right no matter what the color of your counter top. IMO

  15. I love revere pewter, in fact I’m typing this in in a room painted that very color. However, I have to agree with you the upper cabinets do look dingy. The bothered me from your first post, but I assumed it was different different in person. Especially since revere pewter is one of those weird chameleon colors.
    I’d paint the cabinets all blue. That way they will feel more cohesive. Once your counters are white, I’m afraid all three whites would compete with each other. Then again I’ve never been a fan of two tone cabinets.

  16. #1 Floors first. Get them done and then protect them while you finish everything else. Touching up your baseboards, doors, cabinetry, etc doesn’t have to be your reality 🙂

    #2 I feel like the upper cabinets are currently matching the concrete counter tops…Since that isn’t the color you are sticking with then it probably should change. The question is, do you want your upper cabinets to recede into the background? (go white to match your tile) or Do you want them to be a focal point? (then go darker) I am personally prefer the look of upper cabinets blending away, especially in smaller spaces. Remember, not everything should be a focal point. Somethings need to play the ensemble roles ;p

  17. While I like the color combo, I can see why it might look dingy next to all the white. I’m a white kitchen girl and think white cabinets would look amazing in your house. Since you love color, you could bring in a lot of fun accents/ accessories that could easily be changed when you get sick of them or need a change. We did a navy vanity cabinet in our bathroom and I think it’s great in small doses but to do a whole kitchen floor to ceiling might be a little much. What if you did white cabinets and instead of a white countertop, you had them stained a glossy black? Classic, classy and would go great with the rest of your house.

    As for floors, I agree that now is the time to redo them before cabinets and trim. I do think you’ll have to be extra careful with your work and drop clothes will have to be in your future.

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  18. I remodeled my kitchen recently and also refinished the hardwood floors. My contractor did the floors first. Then he put down the red paper with 4′ x 8′ sheets of corrugated cardboard on top. They were perfectly protected from the rest of the remodel. My floors came out beautiful!!

  19. I agree, sanding everything and finishing floors before baseboards and cabinets. We used the red paper to cover up the floors while we did other work and it was very good.
    As for the color on cabinets…..i personally dont like so much tile but if the tile isnt going anywhere then the color of cabinets should be white. I love the all blue idea but you also like things bright so I dont think you would be happy with all blue. I would love them white with some accent blue dishes displayed in the glass cabinets to pull the color together.
    But I also know that whatever you end up doing it is going to look fabulous!!

  20. I have no thoughts on the flooring! That’s a bit above my level of knowledge

    BUT, I do think that the upper kitchen cabinets need a different color. When I look at the pictures (and obviously I know they probably look different in person) I just really really want them to be white! That khaki just feels — idk old? — I can’t quite explain what feels off about it.

    All of the above being said, you should know that I’m a fan of a white kitchen (or white and one other bold color). I think that gorgeous blue though, will really shine with a white counter top and white upper cabinets

  21. I am glad you asked. I am not a fan of the upper cabinet color but maybe it’s because if the vast co trash from before. I’m ok with two tone kitchen cabinets. Someone else suggested waiting til you redo the countertops before deciding. I totally agree with that. I love you blog, your style and following you.

    1. Floors first! I also think you should wait until you finish your counter tops before doing anything else to your upper cabinets. It’s the best way to figure out what color you really want. Love the blue bottoms.

  22. I worked for a builder and the floors were done before cabinets and trim. Now is a good time. Plus, once refinished and protected with resin paper or what not, its a lot easier to clean anything that doesn’t drop on the paper since it has polyurethane on it. Actually having raw wood unprotected in a home is a big risk. Sometimes oils and greases can leak from tools and then you could never get that out of raw wood you’d have to replace it.

    My vote is to get them done and cover them up for protection.

  23. Regarding the kitchen cabinets; I’ve never liked the lighter color that you painted the wall cabinets and especially the area above. I say paint it all the same color as the base cabinets.

  24. Thank you for asking! #1 Floors should be done first before wall trim and cabinets. #2 I love the bottom cabinet colors, but the top ones look old and yellowed – and against a white wall, they’ll look even more old and yellowed and – your words – dingy. Either go with a bright white, or try a subdued, lighter shade of the bottom cabinets. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try an analogous color scheme using the blue cabinet as the main color, or a monochromatic one. Personally, I love mixing different blue colors together!

  25. hi, Finish Floors definitely before all else but outside door. this makes your life easier and… if you want to change out anything you are building in on top, you have the option without needing to fix the floors too. I like the upper cabinets color, you may want to do the counters 1st and then revisit.

  26. Floors first covered with rosin paper. Leave the rosin paper until you’ve finished painting. That way no need for drop cloths.

    Change counter tops before deciding on upper cabinets. I love the 2 tone and feel that blue uppers will make the room feel heavy.

    And remember we are seeing things on monitors which may not transfer how it actually looks in person.

  27. These are my opinions, and as my daddy used to say “just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean ,its right”! lol.
    As far as the flooring goes, I love the mix you’re going with. I personally would do the floor as the last project. If you don’t want to ever have to redo it, why take the chance of denting or spilling or smudging a newly finished floor. Unless you’re determined to keep it covered, which is easier said than done, I’d do all the work, except for the floor baseboards then do the floor. It doesn’t matter that you build cabinets on the raw floor boards.. if in the
    future you take out a cabinet, you can stain it then. I just think you’re making more work by doing the floors first then trying to keep them clean. As far as the cabinets, I love the dark color but always felt the top color was too close to the subway tile color. It washes out the color of the cabinets and makes the subway tile look dingy. Subway tile should be crisp and shiny and stand on its own.. I’d paint the upper cabinets. Alot of others disagree with me, but that is what my eye sees.

  28. In pictures, the uppers look a little dull, and don’t seem very “you”. But I love the direction and the color on the lowers. Can you maybe cover the countertops with paper or fabric close to the color you think they will be or photo shop a picture to see how they will look together before you decide to repaint?

  29. 1. Redo the floors first. No brainer.
    2. I like the color of your top cabinets, but it’s because it matches your countertop now. If the counter top is white like the backsplash tile, I feel that it is going to look very dingy and out of place. I also love the two-tone, so my opinion is that you paint the top cabinets bright white. I don’t care for the idea of all of the cabinets being the same color.

  30. I can’t speak for the floors. For the cabinets, in my opinion, I think you should do the counter exactly how you want it done and then reassess the color. I personally have always thought the top cabinets looked old and dingy that color, especially against the white tile, but I would like to see what they look like with whatever countertop you are going with. While I liked the pic of the white upper and blue lower cabinets, I almost gasped when I saw the all upper and lower blue cabinets, how beautiful… but again, that would depend on countertop choice!

  31. #1: Stain the floors and then protect them.
    #2: Grey is not your color! Lol. I think painting the top blue is more appealing. This is a display cabinet. With lighting for your China. I think they will pop against the blue.

  32. Do the floors now. You will have to remove baseboards and trim that hits the floor to do them so doing them before the trim goes in makes sense (I tape the floor and use drop clothes when painting walls to protect the floor. I am painting my kitchen cabinets right now AFTER we installed new hardwood to replace the old tile.

    May I suggest Benjamin Moore Dove White for the cabinets–it’s a warm, creamy not stark white but not dingy or yellow looking. It would work great with the color of your bottom cabinets. I am using it on my kitchen now and love it.

  33. Don’t let your cabinet color turn into the next living room/dining room fiasco! Work on things you’re SURE about, and let the cabinet color run in the background for a while. You may change your mind once the living room is done, or maybe you don’t want them to catch your eye while you’re sitting in the breakfast room–WAIT before you change anything you aren’t sure about right now!

    1. I agree with Alyssa that you should work on other things, leave the upper cabinets alone for now until the answer develops right in front of your eyes! I love the idea of creamy white upper cabinets (not too bright) but if you are sure you want white countertops, I’d say go ahead and do them and then see if the Revere Pewter pops with that in a good way.

  34. Hi Kristi – 1st of all I friggin LOVE your blog, and YOU! And your attitude of “this is my house and the house I live in so I need to make it mine” is very refreshing to me. And your talent. Always blows me away ! 🙂

    Item # 1 – I cannot weigh on which should be finished first since I have no experience with renews or floors…. but common sense to me would say finish it completely first before moving on…. However, YAY on the mixed stain choice as that was my favorite !

    Item # 2 – honestly speaking… As much as I LOVE the Navy you went with for the lowers, I was never a fan of Revere Pewter for your uppers…. I agree with you and feel that it makes it all look so dull and dirty. I guess dingy being the word here. But I would wait to see your finished white counter tops before making a final decision. I do love the White uppers and Navy lowers option, but maybe White uppers with the White tiles and Whits counter top will be way too much… I do like the all Navy option as well since you have all the White in the middle.

    Don’t want to throw a wrench in there, but have you considered trying to find a light grey that has Blue undertones, kind of maybe a very light and pale grey/blue for the uppers ? That would still read as 2 color cabinets, contrasting with the White but being more in the gorgeous Navy family ? I don’t know, just a thought.

    Keep up the amazing work – cannot see what you come up with ! 🙂

  35. I am with doing the floors first after painting. You can paint the baseboards and trim separately and install them later. Please do use protective coverings on the floors even though you don’t like them. On the cabinets, I can’t get past those sconces. I think the color of the backplate is not complimentary. Your white walls will never match your white countertop no matter how hard you try. So, the color on the cabinets will just look too dingy. I vote for all blue cabinets.With the walls and countertop, it will be stunning. But, those sconces don’t add to the overall look,imho. I wish I had half your energy.

  36. Floors: stain them before doing any trim! (ask me how I know grrr) then cover with that heavy red paper to protect them while you do all the other stuff on your list.
    Cabinet Color: I don’t like it with the white wall tile. I think the paint color looks “dirty”. I would goal the same color as the bottom cabinets. Its a nice contrast to the walls.

    Have fun!

  37. Kristi,

    I love the blue in your kitchen, but I feel that ALL the cabinets in the blue would be overpowering.

    I think you need to consider the tile back splash and counter color before you choose the upper color. White would be the natural choice, in my opinion.

    A color that is off white or muddy will make the white stand out too much and will not blend nicely, making it look “dirty”. I think the goal is more for the furniture looking base cabinetry to stand out rather than the white tiles and counter…blend the upper cabinets with the existing hard elements and it will not be an issue…let the blue base cabinetry be the star of the show!

    Love to see what you’ll come up with!! I’m sure I’ll love it, no matter which direction you choose!!

  38. I say wait until your countertops are finished to see what the upper cabinets look like with that. No reason to change until you KNOW they won’t work for sure. Then if you don’t like them, paint them lighter, preferably a white. You can take a gallon of white paint and add a cup of your bottom cabinet color to tint your white slightly and coordinate with the bottoms so well. I do not recommend painting the upper cabinets the darker color – tooooo much dark with the floors – in my opinion!

    Floors first, then tape covering over them to protect them.

    Can’t wait to see it all come together.

  39. The upper kitchen cabinet doesn’t look your style. Your previous kitchen colors prove that you are not afraid of color so you should embrace it! I’ve not lived through a remodel but I have seen HGTV shows and Emily Henderson finish the floors first and then cover them with protective paper. (By the way, I have a beautiful Duncan Phyfe-style dining room table that I wanted to refinish as soon as I got it. My brother-in-law talked me out of it because it was going to be a lot of work. He touched it up instead in a very, very dark cherry. I’ve never liked it. When I saw your blue cabinets, I immediately went out and bought all of the refinishing and staining products that you recommended in previous posts. I stripped and sanded the wood top and gave it a clear coat. The bottom had so much intricate detail that it was very difficult to remove all of the old stain. So I sanded it and painted it a color very similar to your cabinets. I am so happy I did it. I guess I just needed the inspiration to get it done! Thanks!)

  40. I have no idea about floors and remodelling, but in our new house construction, the floors went in before the cabinets. I like a two toned kitchen, but find I actually prefer the island to be the contrast. I prefer my perimeter cabinets to be the same color. I do love that blue on the base cabinet.

  41. We remodeled a good part of our house. At the last minute my husband decided we just had to refinish all our floors. (We had previously agreed we weren’t going to.) Of course that meant that all the hours I had spent on my knees painting trim were completely wasted. It all had to be replaced. We also installed new kitchen cabinets over new tile. I really think you should finish the floor every where first and then do the building of cabinets etc. Just protect the floor with paper.

    About your cabinets: I know you have moved on, but I am still in love with your green cabinets. I think they would have played nicely with your soft blue walls and your beautiful new curtains. I don’t see the current upper cabinets as dingy. They just seem dull. On my monitors, your kitchen comes across as cold – the warmth is gone. The blue looks cold as well. (Your green kitchen looked warm and cozy.) Of course it’s different when you see it in person. Is it the warmth that you’re missing? As others have mentioned, maybe having the counter top in the color you love is what will really help you decide how you feel about the cabinet colors.

    Good look!

  42. I totally understand that spot you’re in, Kristi. This is your year to keep your wheels moving forward and not just spinning. 😉

    When we had our house built… we did all the painting, staining, finishing. Our floors were pine… I sanded and stained them before they went down. Everything was finished except the base trim and the cabinet installation. The builders installed the wood floors (which were stained only) and then the cabinets. I then used Watco Danish Oil to finish the floors and then the baseboards were installed. The Danish oil held up well for quite a few years, but before putting our house on the market we put a couple coats of Helmsman poly on them. They looked even better than with the oil… but the buyers had a Russell Terrier and they didn’t hold up to his constant running and ended up getting carpet.

    As for the cabinets. You have white tile and white trim. I think you should go either white or blue. My vote is white simply for the cohesive look and the brightness factor. I love color too… but I love walking into a room that feels open and spacious and the white on top photo gives that feeling while the all blue photo feels closed in. Both are beautiful but elicit different feelings. Which makes you FEEL better?

  43. Kristi,
    1.) Sand and finish floors first.
    2.) I personally love the colors you have chosen for your kitchen. Everyone is doing white, so I found your “not white” uppers refreshing and unique. Perhaps consider getting your counter tops done, then re-evaluate the upper color. Right now, at least on my screen, the counter top looks close in color to the upper cabinets, and coordinate nicely. The contrast with the white tiles is very nice.
    Love your work and love your blog! I’ve learned so much.

  44. Having floors redone creates tons of dust (from experience) all over the house! And, something else I learned, once the floors are stained, the lighting will change and the shades you want in your walls, drapes, furniture are influenced and often changed. I would finish the countertop, and then re-evaluate the cabinet color (I’m thinking white like trim.) Once you do your floors, you might find you like a darker or lighter shade for paints, and even pick up other prominent colors for pillows, drapes , etc. than you had thought.

  45. I have lived thru 3 remodels and both of our contractors finished the floors first, then installed any cabinets or wall units. All the trim/baseboards completed last. For the cabinets I would go with the blue.

  46. Hi Kristi,

    I’m afraid I have no advice on item 1 due to lack of experience with the matter. However for item 2, can you mock up what it would look like in photoshop with a white counter? I can see where you are coming from with the ‘dingy’ and I think it’s because of the white tile, everything that’s ‘not quite white’ is likely to look washed out against it and also more heavily play on the subtones of the upper cabinet colour (red/green etc.). So personally I think I’d either go bright white (maybe with a veiny countertop white and grey) or go all blue. Obviously this is just my two cents and this is your home and the main thing is that whatever choice makes you happy!

  47. I can’t speak to the floors as I’ve never gone through a remodel but as to the cabinets, I like the blue on the bottom but I am not so crazy about the Revere Pewter on the top because, to me it competes too much with the white subway tile (which I love). The top color is very complementary to the blue but I’m not feeling it. I prefer white myself, but that’s just me.

  48. You always finish your floors and then protect them just for the reasons you listed. Your uppers need to be white to to pull the room together. Now they actually standout from the walls and divide the flow of the room into walls, under cabinets and counter top (when brightened up). If you want calm in the kitchen white will keep it calm and unified.

  49. We just gutted a newly purchased home and did it in the following order: added a new wall for a closet, painted ceilings, painted walls, installed flooring (prefinished hardwood), installed kitchen, then installed baseboards and trim. We are not living in the house yet, though.

  50. I like the lower cabinet color. But I’m not fond of the uppers. Maybe it’s because of the color of the countertop or the bright white of the subway tile. I don’t know. I just think another color option might be better. I do like the different colors for top and bottom though. I am considering that for my cabinets. Can’t wait to see what you decide to do.

  51. I wasn’t a fan of the upper cabinet color from the beginning but I assumed it might appear differently in person. From here it looks dingy for sure. I think you’re on track with the two toned cabinets. I think half of the problem with your old green color cabinets was that there was just so much of it. The blue is gorgeous but I feel like it would be too much if you painted everything blue. I agree with some of the other comments, refinish the counter tops first and then decide on an upper color that works.

  52. I would absolutely refinish the floors first, especially before putting on any baseboards or trim.

    Well, to be honest, I was never super fond of your upper cabinet colour. It’s too oatmeal-y. Oatmeal tastes good, and it’s good for you, but I don’t particularly want to paint my house that colour. In pictures it looks really similar to your counter colour, so I was a little puzzled about why you went with that colour for your cupboards since you don’t like your counters. Overall, I don’t love the different cabinet colour trend. The blue you used on your lower cupboards is gorgeous, though, and I think it would’ve look dramatic and beautiful if all your cupboards were painted that colour.

  53. Absolutely finish floors first! Our floor guy said that it is best to do it that way, as the sanders can’t get exactly up against the baseboards, etc. and if you need much sanding, it will leave a little “rim” around the edges.

    I don’t care for your upper cabinet color. I agree that it looks dingy against your white tile, and I think will stand out even more once your countertops are white. I usually love that color (I believe it’s Revere Pewter), but just don’t love it here. I think I lean toward white uppers to lend a more open feel, but your base color is beautiful and would look great too. Love the direction you’re heading!!

  54. Having lived through two renovations…one of the VERY extensive … my advice is to do everything you plan to do in a room before refinishing the floors, EXCEPT installing cabinets and baseboard. Those two things should be done with the floor finished, and have one coat of paint on the baseboard before installing it, just to cut down on the odds of getting paint on the newly finished floor.

    Two pieces of advice: Never, ever finish the floor before the sheet rock is done, and never ever sand the floor until you are ready to finish it.

    I think the color you chose for your upper cabinets if fine, if you want a different color upper/lower. A whiter white is too much contrast.

    So there is what I think…!

  55. I am not a fan of the upper cabinet color, personally – looks off, next to the white subway tile. I don’t know if I’d prefer white, or blue, but it’s also not my house 🙂

    and on the flooring, I agree — do it all now before building things that will sit atop. (the base cabinets in the kitchen you built – are those on top of flooring, too? bc I’d think you want to make sure all were the same height…)

  56. 1) Yay on your floor stain choice — love it.
    2) no personal experience on big remodeling, but i agree that the floors should be completed underneath the cabinetry so doing in advance and then protecting the hell out of them with paper makes sense to me.
    3) no to all blue cabinets. To heavy and dark. I like what you have done. Actually, I love what you have done.
    4) you are such a bad-ass. I remain in awe of your work, drive, ability and tenacity. 🙂

  57. I’ve remodeled three homes…and built one. And, you’re exactly right. The floors are done first…and you can cover them with heavy duty contractor paper to protect them as you do other things. As for the cabinets, I agree they look kind of dingy and I do believe a crisp white would be such a pretty contrast with the blue. At least in the photo you’ve shared they come across as beige. Like you, I’m a lover of color and my motto has always been “life’s too short for beige.” Have you ever tried simply white by BM? It’s a pretty true white that doesn’t look chalky.

    Love your blog and your enthusiasm!

  58. In the photo, your upper cabinet color looks like it brings out and complements the tile grout color and counter. I like that..gives it depth. All white or blue (or whatever that lower color is) would be boring, lack interest. I say go with the contrast. Disclaimer: I really dislike the all white cabinet craze by people that I see on the internet. I think it shows lack of imagination.

  59. My honest opinion:

    #1 It makes sense you finish the floors first before installing the baseboards, cabinets, etc. But I recommend using brown rosin paper to protect those floors. Please do not use the red rosin paper. When I spray-painted my kitchen, I did research on rosin paper and there were lots of complaints about the red rosin paper staining the floors red when water fell on it. You can get brown rosin paper online from Home depot and it is not expensive. One roll goes a long way and it is not hard l to install. It is incredibly resistant. I think your husband will be able to use the wheel chair with no problems. Now, you may not want to live several months on floors being covered by paper and your projects will take that long, so I would prioritize some of the jobs to be done before the floors like crown molding and even painting.
    #I am not particularly fun of the three colors together (bright white, revered pewter & blue). I love the blue and white, so I would do white top cabinets. It makes the kitchen to be so much brighter and large (then, personal preference).
    Good Luck!

  60. I agree with many of the comments I would finish the floors 1st. Also I like the blue for both the upper and lower kitchen cabinets – but I would live with it for now and start on other areas of the house that need to be updated. You are awesome!

  61. I recently redid my kitchen and used Ben Moore Pale Oak on the upper cabinets, it is a grey white that is bright and clean looking, looks beautiful with blue. I absolutely love this color in my kitchen..
    Keep the 2 colors I think all blue would be to dark and heavy. By the way I love the blue color you chose.

  62. It’s simple! Think about how you want to feel everytime you walk into your kitchen. Do you want added height and brightness? Then paint them white. Do you want bold color and contrast? Paint them blue. It’s all about how you want to feel everytime you walk into the kitchen.😊

  63. I think the uppers might be too creamy in color. I find the subway tile color (which is where I imagine the counter to become closer in color towards the tile) to be too much of a contrast with the uppers. I couldn’t quite find the correct work, but now that you mention it, maybe they look dingy. Now blue uppers vs. white uppers….its up to you, and I know it will look amazing no matter which way you go.

  64. If it were my kitchen, I would want the upper cabinets to be a more neutral color. White or gray. I think the problem for me is that you’ve got a COLOR basically on the top and the bottom. The top seems to be a variation of brown/yellow coming through, with the beautiful blue below, and the crisp white tile and soon to be crisp white counter top. Maybe the problem is that they’re both trying to shine as their own thing and are competing, whereas if the tops were more of a light gray or white, it would allow the blue to shine on its own.

  65. I like your choice of the mixed walnuts for the floor. If you decide it’s still lighter than you want, you can always put another coat of dark walnut stain on them before sealing. I’ve lived through one kitchen remodel in an old house and the floors were done before the new cabinets were installed but a couple of layers of the heavy paper were put down to protect them once they were fully dried and cardboard was laid on top in areas where they were working to prevent accidental damage from dropped tools.
    I thought your cabinet color choice was interesting but I prefer the clean look of a white cabinet. I do like the use of colored lowers because it adds interest but in a smaller kitchen I find that darkly colored uppers make the kitchen look gloomy.

    1. I forgot to mention that there is something called Ram Board that comes in rolls and is supposed to be tougher than rosin paper and very waterproof. I don’t know how it compares in price. Since you’ve got ongoing projects, it’s probably worth it to get some masonite sheets to put down over the paper around the areas you’re using tools in.

  66. I have never liked your upper cabinet color. Why? Against the white tile, as many have already said, looks dirty. Not enough contrast. I prefer the all blue picture, but that’s just a matter of taste. The picture of the upper white with blue on bottom looks fine, but too much white in my opinion. All blue is gorgeous! Just my taste/opinion. But no matter how you cut it, the upper light gray looks…not so good. 🙂 (you said I had to be nice, which translates to me as tactful and that’s the best I could do, sorry)

  67. On your floors I go back and forth reading everyone’s comments, so I can’t give an answer on that. For your top kitchen cabinets, I would wait until your counter tops are completed. I feel if you select white and then have your counter tops done the whites might not look good together. There are a lot of different shades of white which could contrast once again. Good luck, love watching the transformations you have done.

  68. #1 Do the floors first. That’s what our builder (and flooring co.) said. They explain that if you have to replace an appliance or cabinet (or commode) the new may not be the same size/shape, and you would then have to redo entire space possibly. #2 While I am totally IN LOVE with the color on your uppers, I fear you will have too much going on once the counter is done. I agree with others, either white to match tile & counter ( maybe bring the blue to the inside backs?) or all blue cabinets. In our previous house, I did perimeter cabinets white (upper & lower) and a stained island with a beige-y 3D laminate ( we were broke!) And I always hated all the colors going on. We also had beige-y tile backsplash. White, tans, brown was just a hot mess. Now, we have all Creamy white cabinets with a subtle cream/gray quartz counter, and I am getting ready to do the backsplash tile in white with tan or gray grout. We have the new-ish slate color appliances.

  69. Been through a major remodel in two houses now and the floors were LAST in both places. No risk of damage, etc. We are just finishing up our current remodel. Last thing, floors tomorrow. Either blue in both places, but if you are getting a white counter top, then you could do white. I really like a very clean look and there’s too much neutral color going on there right now with white and what looks like beige on my computer.

  70. I love the floor color choice. It adds a lot of warmth. I have to say that I like your choice of mixing up the color on the cabinets. When I first saw that upper color, though, it appeared dingy to me. It might be that there isn’t enough contrast (for my taste) to the white. I personally would be more comfortable with white upper cabinets. However, having said that, I think that they may not have the same warmth factor if they are a stark white. AND… as always, you should do what YOU like and what makes you feel good. Something can be beautiful, but just not right for you. So, pick a color that you feel good about and let it be. Don’t decorate for us. Do it for you, and allow us to watch the transformation. 🙂

  71. I’ve seen a couple comments that say tape paper on the floor. Yes use paper, but DO NOT use tape on newly finished floors!! We did this last year when we had our floors refinished and the tape pulled up the finish and we had to have floors fixed at an additional cost to us. We even used the special tape. When we had to call the floor guys to tell them what happened, they said NEVER use tape, they can fix a scratch easier than they can fix the finish being pulled off. Wish we’d have asked before hand.

    For your upper cabinets, I agree with others that I wouldn’t make a decision until after countertops are done. They do look a little dingy, but that could be the picture or the countertop making it look that way. We painted our cabinets, I believe Oyster White from Sherman Williams. They are not a stark white, just have a subtle color to them. Not sure how that would be next to the white tile, but next to my white baseboards and trim, it looks fine.

      1. Well of course most of it is, but if you lay down a bunch of paper and only tape to each other how is it going to stay in place?? You’re going to have to tape the start of it to something fixed in place. We could have taped to baseboards. It’s not like we taped every single piece to the floor around all edges. We taped around the edges of walls and a few other awkward turns. It was a large area to cover and several rooms and we were having a lot of things remodeled and didn’t want to mess up floors. We also found out after of course that this has happened many times and the tape company 3m has actually been sued over it. Was just trying to offer a helpful tip so no one else would have the same problem.

  72. I also think you should see how you like the color of your counter tops with the present upper
    cabinet color before you move on to another color. Just let it sit with you for awhile as you work on other things. I also think your decision to finish the floors first before finishing the other work is
    the correct way to proceed.
    You do everything so well and I thank you for your wonderful blogs, ideas and the incredible inspiration that you are…..

  73. Kristi,

    I have no experience with the first, so I’m no help there. For your cabinets, on my monitor they look kind of dingy. This is just a suggestion and you may hate it. Once you get your white countertop, you could paint the outside of the cabinets white and paint the inside of your cabinets ( at least the glass fronted ones)the same blue shade as your lower cabinets. The dark blue would make your white dishware “pop” on the cabinets with glass fronts. Just a thought.

    1. I vote for painting the insides of the cabinets the same color as the bottoms or paint the upper cabinets a lighter shade of the color you used on the bottom. I especially love the color combo on this last link.




  74. Hi Kristi,

    Going against popular opinion, I’d recommend doing any messy projects before your floors. I would build cabinets first, paint, etc than go on to the floors. Than install cabinets & lastly trim. No judging here, but you like to get your hands dirty when you work & you don’t often protect your finishes. Having refinished our floors in the last 6 months, it takes a while for them to cure & even dragging a shop vac thru the house will scratch them. Love the color you chose but be forewarned, you are going to more easily see scratches & dust. My floors were a more golden oak but now closer to your color. I love them! But the dust & scratches not so much…. With that said, I’d still pick the same color.

    I’m not loving the upper cabinet color. Either go darker so there’s a true contrast with your tile or blue. (Love the blue!).

  75. Floors 1st makes more sense to me. The all blue cabinets pic u included with white contrast is a showstopper kitchen in my eyes. The white backsplash & current upper cabinet color are pretty but when u look at them the reaction some might have could be “hmmmm?” Instead of “wow!” You are for sure a wow decorator.

  76. Wow…lots of advice above. Do the floors…cover. Then u r done with the dust. Then do the countertops…see how they look with the cabinets. I love the look but that might change when the countertops are whiter. I would think doing all blue cabinets would be dark in a room with no windows. Love the light and dark look so with leave them or paint the uppers white. I think u r on the right track.

  77. I have always, always been told start at the ceilings and work your way down, floors last. That being said I’ve been doing some remodeling and had my floors done first. Which means the construction crew has had to carefully cover those floors as they work on finishing. If I could stand waiting, I’d hold off and do them at the end.

    Regarding the upper cabinets. You said to be nice and I thought it was nice that I hadn’t ever commented on them specifically but, I nicely do not like them at all. Do not like the two colors together, and for sure don’t like it with the white tile etc. As far as all blue or blue and white…well, personally I’d probably go all blue but I like the blue and white.

  78. We installed our cabinets and trim after our oak hardwood floors were refinished. Ours are stained minwax dark walnut and I love them! They didn’t turn out nearly as dark as I thought they were going to. We have a bona waterborne finish on our floors and I LOVE it. It holds up well and we could walk on it the same evening. We had it in our previous house as well and it held up wonderfully there as well!

  79. Re #1: Our kitchen floors were put down before the cabinets and finished after. Their reasoning was that yes, we would have to have them refinished at some point and so then we wouldn’t be left with so much of a big ridge of poly underneath after the sanding. They just feathered out the finish under where the baseboards/shoe molding would go.
    Re #2: Your upper cabinets have a greenish cast in my monitor and don’t look quite right to my eye. I tried photoshopping your pic to whiten them up to the color of your door trim and they look better, but the color of the countertop is then problematic. I do so love that color on the bottom cabinets, but think it would be too much to have them all that color. The blue reads like a grounding color and I really like that. I guess I would agree with others to see what happens with the countertops first before making a final decision on the uppers.

  80. I hadn’t been to your site in awhile and when I looked through it recently, I was a little surprised at the color you chose for your upper cabinets. Don’t like it at all but maybe it’s only because it’s right next to the white backsplash? Anywho, you’re very inspiring!!

  81. 1. I think refinishing your floors now makes perfect sense… but only IF you do what you really want this time and stay with it. You love Waterlox. You’ve said it again and again. And you know your own limits – will you really cover your floors every time and be gentle on your floor when moving furniture? Will you be bothered by scratches and dings in the floor? Also, pick a colour you like. You said before that dark floors seem too faddish and will show up too much dirt and dust. Both kitchen pictures that you linked have light floors. I think picking a greyer midtoned stain that will be warmed up by the Waterlox is your best bet.

    2. The top cabinets do look a bit dingy. Can you get the countertops finished before repainting them? Then you know how to compare it. I like Colette’s suggestion of a light silver/gray – that wouldn’t look grimy against the stark white and still wouldn’t be a white. But would it be too much of a neutral? Maybe you could come back to the cabinets later after you’ve worked on other rooms and see how it stands out to you then.

  82. I agree with most people that say say floors first because of the sanding dust that will get everywhere,most of what is on your list to do now is not heavy work with lots of tools so floors should be safe enough, especially if covered with paper first.

    I disagree with most that say white or blue top cabinets. As soon as I opened the picture after you did the two colour painting my first thought was “OMG that is stunning!” It is so elegant and warm. It softens the glare of all white tiles. I think it is a good idea to redo the counters and floors first before repainting. Painting is easy to do if you want to when other things are finished. Refinishing floors and counters are not so easy.

    I do love the two colour cabinets. I just redid my kitchen with Home Depot prefinished cabinets and if a lighter finish for the uppers we’re not twice the price of stock colours I would have done that but to save money I did a White Island and a white, glass front cabinet for dishes. If it wasn’t so time consuming to remove perfectly good finishes I would don’t hem exactly as you have done now. IT is stunning.

  83. Kristi: I have never redone floors, so have no opinion on #1. But I do think that you would REALLY need to protect the floors if you finish them before everything else is done. You don’t want to get so many scratches & dents that you end up needing to refinish them AGAIN.

    As for #2: A couple of months ago I painted my kitchen 2-tone – Pismo Dunes (a mid tone greige that I think is more brown that gray) on the bottom (so my cabinets are not nearly as dark as yours) and Pale Oak on the top. Just enough contrast between the 2 colors. I really like the look. I started out with stark white melamine cabinets that are 20 years old but still in good shape. They now look new & modern, and I’m happy and I only spent $50. Having a light color on top really brightens the kitchen. I first tried White Dove on the top, but honestly couldn’t tell I had painted them so I found Pale Oak and went with that. I know it is no funto keep repainting cabinets until you find the right color. My countertops are white Corian. It makes a nice middle between the Pismo Dunes and the Pale Oak and there is plenty of contrast between the Pale Oak and the white Corian. I have not done the backsplash yet but intend to do a darker color – maybe some kind of rusty red to go with my valance – no sure yet. I was going to make the following comment when you picked the Revere Pewter but thought maybe I should keep my opinions to myself, but since you are asking… If someone told me that Revere Pewter is the most popular color in the Benj. Moore universe, my first thought would be to run as far away from that color as I could get as it is probably going to be dated before the paint is dry. I was in the paint store not long after you made that selection & just for grins I got a paint chip. My personal opinion is that it is awfully dark and what my mother would call “dead”. Since the White Dove did not work at first, my husband told me I should just paint the uppers Pismo Dunes also, but I really didn’t want that much of that color, just as I’m sure you don’t want all that much dark blue in your kitchen. I think that much dark blue on both your cabinets would be too dark and just too much blue. I think I would look for a color between the Revere Pewter and white. Maybe even leave the grays and go with a color that is a little more blue. I originally wanted some or all of my uppers a pale green, but literally everybody told me I was crazy so I chickened out. So that’s my opinion, and since it was free, it was worth what you paid for it. Good luck!!

  84. I’ve been through various remodels both done personally and by contractors. The floors were always finished first especially if something permanent or semi-permanent were going on top of the floor. This also protects the floor from spills better than unfinished flooring. As far as the two colors cabinets I have that in my kitchen and I love it! My island is stained a darker color which provides warmth and the uppers are painted alabaster by SW which really brightens the room! I love you blue! It’s hard to tell from the pictures but maybe something a little more white might alleviate the perception of dinginess. Again I love the different color cabinets!!!

  85. Item 2 Comment:

    My personal opinion is that you should go with the blue. I think that you will not be satisfied with any white or off-white that clashes or makes the tile work look “dingy.” So I think its the clash between the bright white and the off-white that’s giving you the issue. I think any white that doesn’t perfectly match the color of the tiles are going to be problem. I understand your dilemma because I’ve painted rooms and then totally hated the color because it just “doesn’t go” or there is no fluidity between the colors.

    I hope that helps.

  86. I love the look of two toned cabinets but perhaps a brighter white would be better. Right now they look to be the same color as the counter tops.

  87. First, I have to admit I did not read all of the previous comments.
    I like your color choice for the floors.
    I have always thought the upper cabinets looked dingy next to your concrete countertops.
    Not sure if they will look that much different when the countertops are whiter.
    I vote for all blue uppers and lowers.
    Have a Blessed Day.

  88. Wow…..lots of great advice. During your time, earlier, about cabinet colors, I revisited my decision to use revere pewter on all my main floor walls. I LOVE IT! I was going to use it on my kitchen cabinets but decided to use the one color above revere pewter on the color chip, Edgewood gray. It feels less “murky” and stands out. I did follow you and painted a few upper cabinets a dark green/blue along with the island. Thanks for that two tone decision. 😍 Perhaps, your struggle is with the counters at present. Personally, I would fix those first and then decide on the upper cabinet. When I’m not sure or worried about making the right color decision, my husband is quick to remind me, it’s only a can of paint. I You always end up with the perfect finished projects!

  89. Well, I like the cabinet colors so much I’m planning to paint my own the exact same this spring. However, I have a creamier counter and don’t want any bright white in the kitchen, so our goals are very different. I think the all blue is the look that seems most like *your* style to me.

  90. Hi, Kristi,
    You may not even get to this comment, but here goes. I just went through a remodel that is similar to what you are planning to do. Things were going so slowly because of all the decisions about when to do what. It was really getting me down. I ended up hiring a designer to act as project director, guide me toward better color and design decisions, etc. Here’s the order he established:

    1. Floors (We had pre-finished hardwood installed through the entire downstairs–lots of dust! We taped all the seams and edges of the cabinets, covered shelves completely with plastic sheeting and taped edges, etc. Thank goodness we did.)

    2. Cabinets (Most of the cabinets in our kitchen were staying–we added a couple and changed out the island.)

    3. Counter tops (We had granite installed)

    4. Electrical work (We had to move some outlets and the hanging light over the island)

    5. Back splash

    6. Painting (While we had the entire downstairs painted directly after the floor was laid, the kitchen was painted after the back splash was installed.)

    7. Fixtures and hardware

    I can tell you that I changed my mind about wall and cabinet color after the floor was laid and the counter tops installed. The colors I thought I liked did weird things in combination with the new surfaces at different times of day. My designer “buddy” helped me choose similar colors with undertones that better matched the new (and old) surfaces.

    I like the creamy color of your upper cabinets with the blue of your lower cabinets. The difference between the creamy color and the white subway tile doesn’t bother me.

  91. I can’t comment on the floors, but for the cabinets, I would go with white. It looks like your ceiling is white and that may give the illusion that the ceilings are higher. The current color looks dingy, but white uppers are in right now, so maybe I am just used to seeing white. I think it may also be my screen. To me, the cabinets and the countertops look to be almost the same color.

    If you need more contrast in the room, have thought about staining the grout on the backsplash a darker color?

  92. Yes, floor first, no obstacles, and if you ever need to change anything you won’t have any issues with matching new stain to old color. And your sand/stain will go right to the edge of the room.

  93. Floors and protection first. Otherwise, you’ll ruin the trim.

    I have your color scheme in my kitchen. White shaker cabinets, light grey counters and light grey ceramic floor tile. Gentlemen’s grey on the (5) 1930s doors. I have bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) walls and trim. The adjacent living and dining room have a medium wood color similar to your choice and the same wall and door colors as the kitchen.

    It’s an open floorplan that is beautiful and light, but it is a bit different than I had envisioned in that the grey of the countertops, floor, and stainless appliances reflected and changed the look of the backsplash tile to a grey. In the store, the tile was white. So I would wait and do the counters first before you decide on repainting the uppers.

    And if you do decide to repaint the upper cabinets, I would not use Gentleman’s grey, although I LOVE this color. It’s a beautiful color, and it amazed me that it is a “neutral”, but I think a whole wall of it would be too much and very dark.

    Good luck!

  94. 1) Floors 2) Countertops 3) Reassess the color of upper cabs. I vote the same color as the base cabs…very striking with the bright white tile and soon-to-be bright white countertops.
    Having had very pale colored cabinets in the past I find them a real pain as every fingerprint / jelly smear / splash shows.

  95. #1 – I would hold off on the walls for right now. Make sure it is installed where you’ll have cabinets but then do all the painting, etc. first. I think with your husband in a wheelchair it will be too difficult to properly cover and protect the floors while you do other projects and you don’t want to ruin new floors! Even just thinking if one room has lots of dust or whatever, the wheelchair will track it all around on the new floors.

    #2 – I don’t love the look of two toned cabinets. Not yours in particular, just in general. BUT with so many other projects I would put this off until the end. They are painted and they are perfectly fine! If you still don’t like it when you have the counter and adjacent rooms done, then revisit it then.

  96. I think sanding down the floors and the protecting with paper is an excellent idea. You can then finish later. I’m in the Waterlox camp as well. I think after you get your countertops white, you will want your uppers white (or blue) as well.

  97. I think it makes sense to do the floor first.
    As far as the cabinets are concerned, I would paint them white (first choice) or blue. I do not think that you are a beige or greige kind of person. In my opinion, the color you have now does not look good with the white tiles.

  98. Hi Kristi,
    The new direction you’re taking for your house is gorgeous! I lived in houses with light oak floors like yours for 20 years, then recently moved to my current home with darker floors. I love them, but they have a very different feel even though they are both neutrals. I suggest doing the floors first so you have a better idea what colors and fabrics to choose to look good with them. Also, your upper cabinets look great right now because they relate to the countertops in color. Once the counters are bright white the upper cabinet color needs to be repeated somewhere in the room to look good. Maria Killiam has a blog about how to use color in decorating and her advice is invaluable! Definitely worth checking out before making any color decisions.

  99. I just finished having my house built and the floors were done first. So, do them and cover them.
    As for the kitchen, what might look great is painting the uppers (in the picture shown) the blue and the rest of the uppers white. That is a focal point in your kitchen and separated from the rest of the uppers. It would give that light airy feel, and what a statement your focal wall would be! I’m sure whatever you choose will look awesome.

  100. I would do the floors first and then protect them. On the color of the cabinets I am loving the blue and would do the uppers the same as the lower cabinets. If you feel a need for two colors either match the white of the backsplash or go with a darker neutral gray that doesn’t compete.

  101. I’m not sure about the floors, but there is potential for the floor color to change any color plans you have for the rooms on your radar. The floor stain will have an effect on how the colors read.

    For the kitchen cabinets – it’s hard to say as I think whether or not the current colors work depends on the surrounding colors. I’d say wait on the adjoining room colors to be in and done (well the wall color at least). If the breakfast room is mostly white or a very light neutral, then your current cabinet color is fine, or all blue would be pretty. I’d also wait on the countertops as whites can look so off and different. If the breakfast room/pantry is going to be mostly white or neutral, multiple cabinet colors will look nice. You need a color focal point in the kitchen area 🙂

    This might sound like dumb advice, but something that has helped me when planning changing up our house is to do a couple of rough sketches of the room views, and color them in to see if my plan works. I’ve even made photo copies to color them different ways 🙂

    Good luck on your plan!

  102. I love the kitchen cabinet colors, but it’s really hard to visualize right now because the upper cabinets match the counter top color, and that I’m not a fan of. Before you decide whether to change the paint or not, if I were you, I would fix the counter tops first. Then you’ll be able to see what they really look like, especially up against all of your white tile. I think you might be wasting time if you repaint those uppers before you really see your finished counter tops. If you repaint the uppers to be bright white, then fix the counter tops, you might find it’s all too much white and end up wanting to repaint again. Do what you already know you want to do first, the counter tops.

  103. We are just starting the remodel of our third bathroom; and the hard rule for bathrooms is start at the top and finish at the bottom; but, we did install all of the trims and moldings last. Our kitchen will come after the master bath. We have most everything ordered, except I just bought several stains because I am going to use a two – possibly three color scheme on the cabinets with the island included. I plan to use two different cabinet styles as well. Jacobean is a for sure, and I am debating the slate or charcoal minwax to add to the uppers, either alone, or possibly over the jacobean. A color similar to taupe or greige will be my accent color and I also plan to refinish (again) a hutch and refinisih a new kitchen table we bought just last year. I think your colors look really good. It’s a matter of taste, and it is your home so you should love your choices. If you aren’t sure, give it some time and see if it grows on you. We also will be removing carpet from our dining room and have ordered Boca Raton hand scraped natural acacia. It is three tones of wood blended unbelievably beautiful and I chose it because we do have a very open floor plan, so I must consider all colors from the front living room entry point, to the dining room, where the wood floor will end under our wrap around kitchen bar counter that has one side exposed in the dining room. As for tile, most of the time they do lay the floor after the ceiling and walls are complete. Many times you will see the tile under the cabinets – but, having grown up around builders, then marrying one, I do know that stone tile goes first, and since wood has a long shelf life – and someday should you decide to change the cabinet layout, your wood will be where it needs to be. I say, go with the floors first, but take into account the height of the lower cabinets (if any), and appliances (if any). We built our home and the floors always came before the cabinets.

  104. Hi again. With regards to your kitchen cabinets, I love the look of the pic of the two tone cabinets you found. However, it doesn’t appear to be your thing. Doing the blue in the upper and lower might just be the contrast you’re seeking. At the end of the day, you are doing a great job and you are talented. I think once everything is completed, you will love the end result. Isn’t that what really matters?

  105. Hi! I have never commented before because I have, generally, agreed with your ideas/logic – everything you do is so very well thought out and planned. BUT when you first posted the pictures of your kitchen cabinets with the new paint colors I found that I disagreed with your decision for the first time (and obviously it’s your house so it should be the way YOU want it, so my opinion didn’t really matter). However, since you asked, I think you are absolutely right in thinking that the upper cabinets should be painted white or blue like the lowers. I like the look of two-tone cabinets personally, but having them all be blue could work to! Whatever you decide, I can’t wait to see the end result!

  106. ever since you posted the first pictures of your new kitchen colours, to me it felt a bit like looking at the pics from the built-ins in there before – I know the revere pewter it’s not the same colour but it’s kind of similar in that it is a light colour that looks like an old white one that faded over the years. Even though I sometimes like that in old furniture, I felt the look a bit odd in your beautiful kitchen.
    I second some comments that say that the colour at the moment matches the counter top colour (at least in the pics) and it would be advisable to first change that and consider again afterwards which colour should go with it. I know that I would simply chose the lovely blue for the upper cabinets, too, as that’s the easiest way to go (and the colour is fantastic) but I could imagine gray as well. But knowing you, I’d recommend to stay away from the gray as you never really liked it so far (apart from your – beautiful!! – fireplace).

  107. I love the blue. I do not care for the upper color with your tile. Maybe do that section uppers and lowers all blue….and the rest of the kitchen with white uppers and blue lowers.

  108. I am so glad you are repainting the uppers. I was not fond of the off-white with the white backsplash. I vote white cabinets, with the lower cabinet color as my second choice.

  109. I’m at work right now (tee hee!) but had to sneak in a quick read! Only time to comment on Item #2: I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED. I’ve personally not been a fan of the upper cabinet color with the base cabinet color for precisely the reasons and concerns that you state. Have tried to envision how whiter countertops might change that but just not seeing it clearly. It’s easy to picture the uppers matching the lowers. Or the uppers in a lighter version of the lowers. Or even a soft grey-green on the uppers.

  110. Kristi – I love it, but you should 100% change the color of the upper cabinets. You have stated in the past that you like clean crisp colors. You are not a muddy color person. So it was just a matter of time before that color would start to bother you. Go with a crisp white color or go with the blue color on the bottom. Either choice will look good and you will have peace of mind.

  111. We have remodeled various rooms (most recently the kitchen) both personally and using contractors. We always finish the floor first especially when adding permanent or semi-permanent fixtures (i.e cabinets). This also protects the floor under the fixture if there is a spill. No one wants the floor under cabinets to warp or stain from liquid. I love the idea of two color cabinets. In my kitchen the island is stained a dark tone and the uppers and lowers across from it are alabaster by SW. I love the warmth of the wood tone with the brightness and airy feeling of the light cabinets. I really like the blue paint color and I think the counters will really brighten the space when they are a true white. It’s hard to tell from pictures, but maybe a creamy white instead of a color with tan in it will help with the appearance of dinginess.

  112. I like the color of the cabinets as you have them now. It’s not too white and not too much color, a nice mid range, but also a very nice color in itself.

  113. I have no knowledge about the floors, sorry. But as to the cabinets, I don’t think you can accurately tell how it will look until the counters are re-done. The existing counter color ties in with the upper cabinets (at least on my screen), and I like it. Once the counters are brighter white, the upper cabinet color might really stand out in a not-so-good way. I would wait until the counters are re-done to decide. However, I don’t think YOU like the upper color so much. If so, you should change it!

  114. I have had to have my floors completely gutted so that new piers, girders and joists could be built. My remodeler neighbor removed all the hardwood in two 16 x 22 rooms and my brother and I hauled it to his barn where over a period of a couple of weeks I used his grinder to cut off all the old rusty nails. He put it back down after building kitchen cabinets and an island in the old large den. He sanded and polyurethaned it twice but then waited to do the last coat of poly after building my new fireplace/bookcase wall. (He’s working on that now.) So he’ll do the final coat and all will be finished in that part of the house. (Phase 1 and 2 complete) Phase 3 will be the back part of the house and he’ll enter from the back so not tracking through with tools, wood, etc. If he were to have to come through the area he’s working on now I don’t think he’d finish the floors until the last thing. Yes, he will put some quarter round molding down after the final poly coat but that’s it.

  115. Hi….floors come last unless you want to take your chances covering them with builders paper but if any grit gets trapped underneath it will scratch your new, not cured finish. I think you should match your uppers to the subway tile. The colour now looks dingy with the white tile. You do fantastic work.

  116. The blue is gorgeous but if there are no windows I would go for white for light reflection, using the same colour white for the counter tops. Silver knobs or pulls would add a nice touch and the richness of the floor colour will add a lot of warmth. Marbleing the counter top white with faint grey/blue markings I think would tie top and bottom together – – similar to carerra marble. Exceptional work and blog though!!

  117. Hi! I have been following your blog for so long and I learn so much from it. So, thank you!
    1. I agree that the floors should be finished before the baseboards and cabinets are going in. However, I also think the big paint projects like the walls are what is scaring everybody. Trim and cabinet paint projects are less messy than walls with rollers and paint slinging (and I think you might have a ceiling or two also?). So, my suggestion is to paint all the walls and ceilings, finish the floors and cover them up and then go on to the cabinets, shelving and trim.
    2. As for the kitchen color, I agree that the cream does not make sense with the white tile and counters. My dream kitchen is white cabinets, grey tone backsplash with a dark grey island. With that idea in mind, the cream doesn’t tie in with anything else. Both the white or blue options would be ok, but I am afraid that all blue would be too in your face like the green was and you wouldn’t be happy with it. I don’t think grey top cabinets, as others have suggested would get you any closer to your goal because the grey doesn’t tie into anything. Unless you thought of some creative way to tie it in.

  118. My vote is to leave the upper cabinets for now until other things (your counter) are done. You’ll get a better read on what you really want. You know you need the counters to be freshened up so do that first and then re-evaluate your cabinets. Just my humble opinion! I have no advice to offer on your flooring issue as I’ve never dealt with it. Good luck with everything!

  119. when we did our remodel we did floors 1st and then everything else could be done (cabinets installed, trim etc). In the house we are currenly under contract for a floor guy said that he suggests that all trim be removed before they refinish the floors. It makes their job easier and less to work around. We are planning on replacing the trim anyways so it was not a big deal.

    As for the cabinets, i have to kindly agree with your thinking. I dont know if it’s becuase when you shoot the cabinets there isn’t much light on them or the fact that glass isn’t in the doors yet, but to me they look a little dingy. The white has to much of a grey undertone I think. I am more of a bright white type of gal. I also love the idea of painting all of the cabinets blue. I think if you have it in the budget you should possibly think about replacing the countertops all together. If you go with all blue cabinets I have seen some really cool kitchens with dark blue cabinets and a butcher block countertop. It is more affordable than granite or quartz. That is just my two cents. Can’t wait to see what direction you go!

  120. Let me just say right upfront that in no way do I intend this to come across as either critical or unkind, but each time I read your newest blog post I wonder why you keep doing the same projects over and over and over again. Along with taking care of Matt, you must be totally exhausted!! You seemed so focused and determined after your stepdad passed away and now you’ve gone off the rails again, it seems. In the military there’s a phrase “paralysis by analysis” and maybe that’s where you are at this point. I’d love to see you just take a month (or even more) completely off everything and recharge. The role of breadwinner/caregiver is HARD, and the remodeling work you’re doing is hard. Give yourself permission to rest until you can come back with a clear focus again 🙂

  121. Floors first, is a must 🙂
    Secondly, I agree with many others here, do your countertops before deciding on cabinet color! I love the two tone cabinets, btw! Your kitchen will be far too dark to do uppers same as lowers. I LOVE the blue 🙂

  122. Well we did the renovation ourselves, but what I decided to do was demolish my old kitchen, break the concrete cabinet bases, install new tiles everywhere in the empty room, and then replace the cabinets. My main reason was that I expect the floor to outlive the kitchen, and if I need to change it again, I don’t want to have to patch the floor. For the same reason, a small wall we built also went over the new floor.

    I think the same could apply to you, particularly since you change things a lot. I would also think since you have wooden floors, it’s better to seal them – what if you spill something in the pantry and it soaks under the cabinets?

  123. 1. Do floors first for the reasons everyone stated above…
    2. As to cabinets, I really like the two-tone look and maybe what now appears dingy won’t if you add back in some depth via dark wax… just enough to show some relief. Being a light color the shadows don’t show up as much as they do on the lower cabinets…. Think kind of a soft antiquing but without any distressing… They will be lovely with the white counters and also look sophisticated and fashionable without being ‘trendy’ which can look outdated in a short bit of time.

  124. Kristi,

    I love the color of the blue bottom cabinets so I vote for the same color on the upper cabinets. I don’t know why – I just am not a fan of having a different color on the uppers.

    I always think everything you do is beautiful and I am always amazed at your talent. Follow your heart.


  125. 1) floors first, before projects 🙂

    2) Although I typically love Revere Pewter, I don’t like it as the uppers. If I were you, I would do navy for both uppers and lowers, keep the white tiles, whiten up the counter, and do a light wall color (perhaps edge comb grey, a lighter version of Revere Pewter). Dark floors will look lovely with it all

  126. I don’t know why ur so against white on the uppers ITS SO FRESH and it helps elevate the navy….and then with gold fixtures 😍😍😍😍 also white is great for u because u can add so much with white without worrying about competition.

    ALSO….LOVE LOVE your blog!

  127. The Maria Killam blog entry is a must read before deciding on two-tone cabinets. I would go with blue on uppers very lowers.

    I’d paint a small much a small I could, redo the floors, put down red paper, put in cabinets and baseboards.

  128. Although I haven’t refinished floors I say refinish them while you have a head of steam and are ready to go. I also think you want them done before you put down baseboards etc. I would paint the upper cabinets white because they will look dingier next to white counters or go with something 2 shades lighter than your base cabinets.

  129. I would do the floors first for all the reasons you listed. My in-laws has a house built and all the floors were installed ans stained before any of the cabinetry or trim went in. As for the cabinets, I would paint them the same color as your lower cabinets. I’m not a fan of the two different color look, I think it looks busy. I agree that the uppers look dingy, especially against the white walls. Having them all one color is more calming. Ch

  130. I’m no expert but I’d say do the floors first, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I LOVE the cabinet colors now, but I agree that the white is distracting from the creamy effect and makes the top cabinets look dingy. That will be further pronounced with a white counter top. I suggest doing the counter first. Then re-do the top cabinets in a lighter, but similar grey that coordinates with the bottom cabinets. Maybe give some thought to doing the top molding piece in the same darker shade as the lower cabinets. Then post pics so I can decide if I want to do that to my cabinets. 🙂

  131. I’m just going to comment on the cabinets–I think you need to settle on using all one color or two for the cabinets first. And IMO, your pictured upper cabinet color would be a better for lower cabinets with something lighter (white?) above. So, I guess I’d have to say use a shade off of white if you leave the bottom cabinets as is. When I redid my gallery kitchen a few years ago, I first envisioned white upper cabinets over gray lower ones but when trying to make a decision, I wavered and started looking at wood stains or all white. I couldn’t decide. Ended up going back to my initial vision and used a shade off of pure white and a medium gray. I wanted a “soft” countertop so used chartreuse laminate and a backsplash of stacked white subway tiles with vertical accent stripes of iridescent greens. Perfect of my space!

  132. I feel like you can do better on the upper cabinet color. Its ok but I don’t love it like so many things you do. If it were mine, and I knew I was going to change a major feature that is either expensive or a pain to change…such as the color of the countertops, I would change that first before making a final decision on the upper cabinet paint. Once you get the new countertop color, it will be easier and paint can be made an unlimted number of colors.
    But I do feel like white on a repeat of the blue would be better. I like the blue b/c I think two color cabinets isn’t always as soothing. But that might be a lot of blue and make for a dark room. I like how in the example photo the white uppers, white backsplash and white countertops are soothing together yet interesting b/c of the different textures.

  133. Well, you’ve gotten a ton of input on project order in regard to the floors, so I’m not going to add anything on that other than to ask if you can have your floors sanded using a dust-catching system? On season 1 of Rehab Addict, Nicole had the wood floors in the mansion she was working on sanded using a dust-catching sander, and the mess was minimal. Season 1 of the show was several years back so hopefully dust-catching sanders are more common these days?

    As far as your upper cabinets, I really like the color with the white subway tile and the blue lowers, I think the problem is the color of the counter as it is now. If it were *my* home, I’d refinish the counter first before doing anything about the upper cabinets. You may find the uppers look great with the white backsplash and counters, or you may find that you need to go a touch darker with them. I think the two-tone looks is just beautiful!

  134. Kristi:
    I’ve commented on your blog only a couple times before, but one of the things I’ve said was that if you don’t already read Maria Kilim’s blog about color you should head over there and read about dirty vs. clean colors. The reason you’re struggling with the color in your kitchen is that you have a bright white – clean white on the walls and backsplash and then introduced a dirty or mudddy blue and cream and they are all fighting against each other. You can’t compare them to the other pictures you posted because those are cleaner brighter looking blues and whites. Before you open another can of paint I would spend a couple hours reading her site it will help you sooo much.

  135. Ripping up the carpet and baseboards then refinishing the floors was first on my list. The dust alone is a good reason – but, unless your paint is perfectly cured, the dust may adhere, and that’s a big mess. I’ve always used oil-based poly on my floors. It does yellow, so that may be a problem for you. I used LastNLast poly, and that stuff is amazing! These floors are pine, so they dent – but the poly hasn’t separated even then. You can also spot sand and reapply as you do for the sealer you use. I would typically do that as “touch-ups” where the dogs ran the most every 3-5 years. High gloss is harder than lower gloss, so my paint guy recommended doing the first few layers with the high and then the last whatever finish you wanted.

    As for the cabinets, I agree with a few that have recommended that you fix the countertop first and then decide. From the photos, I would think you would want to either match the wall or have more contrast, but that’s so hard to tell in a photo. I like how light your kitchen looks with the light uppers. But the boldness of the green was stunning so I imagine all blue would be as well.

  136. Do the floors first, stain the entire floor. Reasons: dust, stain on base of wall, ability to change cabinet placement (you are not afraid to change something that isn’t working the way you want it to work), and not having to work around cabinets, etc.

    In the kitchen you should get the counter top the color you want it and then revisit your upper cabinet color. I don’t care for the color it is (I don’t care for the gray/greige trend) but it isn’t my kitchen. My vote would be for matching lower and upper cabinets, although I do like the different upper/lower cabinet colors in general. Maybe wait till you have all the adjoining rooms painted so you can judge the interaction. You may see something that will inspire your selection that you can’t see till the rest of the picture is before you. Good luck! I love your work. My favorite is the Music room pocket doors/cabinets. But the pantry sounds like it may become number 1 on my hit parade.

  137. I purchased a flip house with all new and freshly painted finishes. Everything was replaced except the oak floors and solid wood cabinets in kitchen and bath. The seller had the floors refinished last with a clear poly. The workers left marks all over the white baseboards because they bumped their mop against them. I was in tears because of the new shiny line left on the baseboards. They will eventually need to be sanded and repainted, but then the doors and window trim will also need to be painted to match. I vote for floors first, or baseboards last.

  138. I agree with the people who say that you should re-do your countertop color before making a decision about the upper cabinet paint. In photographs it looks quite similar to your current countertop color, which may be why you don’t like it right now. Personally, I’m not a fan of the differing upper and lower cabinet color trend (I think I said once that people will soon be saying, “that look is so 2016”). But I trust your instincts.

  139. Wow, you are asking a lot today but all very important questions. Actually you and I are rowing the same boat together down the same river. I am currently working on a remodel and some of the same questions came up. Since you asked for honest input let me give it to you.
    1. My contractor is not tackling the hardwood floors until the installation and painting of the cabinets are complete. I requested that my contractor do it this way so my floors weren’t damaged when the cabinets were installed.
    2. I too really really really really really love and wanted bi color cabinets, but after talking to several designers I’ve found that this is a look that will be out within a couple of years. I know I can repaint my cabinets when the look becomes a “has been” but knowing me I will be too busy to repaint so I just went for the classic white.
    3. I agree with the rest of the responses on the issue of your counter top- finish it first before anything else. If the the cabinet still looks dingy try Sherwin Williams “Alabaster” to brighten it up. Also paint inside the cabinets with the glass with the grey color.

  140. So I have no real 2 cents on the floors, but for the cabinets I would definitely repaint the uppers. I think you need crisp in your kitchen and that would be white uppers. You might even want a little more snappy blue color on the bottom too. I often feel like your inspiration photos have very defined, true paint colors but then the colors you go with are more muted versions of them and you never seem to be quite happy.

  141. I think all navy cabinets with Carrara White Marble countertops would be stunning. White upper cabinets with navy lower cabinets with Marble would be beautiful, too. Really…I think you won’t be happy until you spring for Marble countertops. You can see your kitchen from every room – and it would be beautiful to see those countertops whenever you look toward your kitchen. You’ve put so much money into other things…I would definitely get the beautiful, marble countertops you want. It makes me happy every, single day to look at my beautiful countertops in my kitchen. It’s SOOOOO worth the money. I agree that the color you currently have on the upper cabinets is not good. Either white or navy uppers will be gorgeous when you get the gorgeous marble countertops.

  142. My humble opinion – Paint as much as you can, stain and seal floors, cure, protect, replace counter, assess. The upper cabinets now read as another color and it’s competing for attention if it’s not repeated somewhere. Remember also that you’re looking at this with no accessories. After your counter is done, try accessorizing before your final decision. The addition of something natural or woodsy could bring some warmth that is often lacking with blue. Keep posting. I’m enjoying your journey!

  143. No experience with the floors so will leave that to all of the commenters above and there are a LOT of them! LOL

    On the cabinets, the current uppers look dingy in your photos to me, too. It’s hard to tell how much of that is the photo/lighting and how much of it is reality. The photos you’re sharing as alternatives are basically showroom photos! It’s kind of apples and oranges – they are clearly professionally staged and lit and photographed! That said, both the white upper/blue lower and all blue schemes really popped. Personally I think I preferred the all blue. I didn’t think I was going to until I saw the picture. I thought the white/blue mix was awesome and the clear winner until I scrolled just a little further and saw the all blue.

    But that’s all personal preference, you have to do what looks good to you when you live there every day. If it were me, I might wait until the counters are done but I do think based on your past posts that you may need to try it and see to figure out which works best for you. You know you’re going blue on the bottoms so you could always do those and then do one set of uppers blue and one white and see which ones peaks to you more.

    Look forward to seeing which way you go on this!


  144. I think the upper cabinets definitely need to stay a light color — I would not make the cabinets all blue because the kitchen would be too dark and the intense contrast between the counter top and cabinets would be too great for such a thin profile that the counter top provides. I also agree, though, that maybe the kitchen is a little top-heavy with all that light color. Here’s a radical thought: how about painting just that topmost panel extension of the cabinet that touches the ceiling another color that would help bind the color scheme together? Maybe the same blue that is on the lower cabinets, although what I might be tempted to do is to add some of that white color to some of the blue color and mix up a lighter version of the blue for that “header” along the top.

  145. I’ve mentioned here before that I don’t care for the color of your upper cabinets. It competes with the white tile. Plus, I just don’t like Revere Pewter in spite of its huge popularity. I have it in my hallway, dull. Go with all blue, it’s a stunning color!

  146. Kristi, definitely change the color of the uppers to either crisp white or the blue. You’re absolutely right, it does look a bit dingy. I think whiter counter would make it look dingier (is that a word?) As for the floors, I agree with your logic. I would sand them at this point too. Everything looks beautiful. You never cease to amaze me!

    Can I just say I love how engaged your readers are!

  147. Many good posts! I like the idea of blue matching top cabinets…white will blend in too much and not stand out like they did when they were green. Yes the color now is dingy looking. And I kind of like the countertops as they are so they aren’t so matchy to the tile. the blue paint makes them look fine.

    do your floors first. I feel better having protected wood under my appliances and cabinets in case of water.

    carry on!

  148. Well you got lots of input here’s my take… floors first. It’s easier to do the floors first. FWIW inlaws had raw wood under cabinets and we never knew till we were working on the island (to modify it). Quarter round in a slightly warmer (similar humididty) climate than yours covered it up well. Just remember to make sure the floors around the freezer are finished to protect them from water damage.

    Cabinet colors…
    Are you looking for a color to act as a neutral for the top, but love/hate grey for the games it plays in the light of your home? If so, Think of the tile as bright white glossy trim in a room, and the lowers are a buffet What color would you paint the wall? Pick a wall color not a cabinet color.
    However you look at it, Id start with the colors you got try, Smoke, Iceburg, Silver Grey, maybe Galveston Grey, then choose from there if you want to try white or a shade away from a specific earlier color. Also do this color dance after the counters get finished. Those will tell you more if you want greyish/colors, or a bright white than any of these comments will.

  149. Finish the floors first!!! We are in the process of updating our home and we will be tearing out all trim and cabinets before refinishing our wood floors. Then we’ll add new trim over the little bit of flooring that didn’t get sanded down. It will be a huge project but we like to do things the right way.

    I would recommend going all blue in your kitchen. The current color never appealed to me and I agree, from photos, looks dingy and clashes with the tile color. I think white would also look nice but I think tuxedo kitchens are a trend and I always try to stay away from trends as decor dates so much quicker.

  150. I have been away from your blog for some time, mostly because when I did check in you wre taking time off. I see that you are still on your Gerbil wheel, going round and round. I can no longer keep up. I will still come back to look at the pictures, and maybe to read some diy’s but I can no longer expend the time on this with a sick husband and a new grandson. Take care, I wish you the best and maybe in a year or two I will check in discover that you have wrapped up all your partials and moved on to a new project. Best regards

      1. What WOW? LIfe is short, I have seen the kitchen, done, redone, and now the floors again. I am tired of seeing the same stuff over and over. Or seeing something great, like the mural, destroyed. She is going in circle and that might be fine for those of you who have nothing else to do. I can’t look at this stuff everyday. There is a world out there and it is time to turn off the blogs and experience it. If that offends you, too bad. It is my life, just as Kristi’s is her’s. I just cannot waste anymore time reading responses and talking about her house. I will be very anxious to see it all come together someday, but for now, I am stepping back.

        1. Wow, that if you do not wish to read this Blog any longer, why not ride off quietly into the sunset? Why do have the need to chastise Kristi and the way she chooses to renovate her house? I didn’t realize this Blog and her house were being attended to solely for your amusement. Since reading responses and talking about her house is something you find a waste of your time, I wholeheartedly recommend and agree with you that you not do it! I do hope, for your sake, that you have Unsubscribed. Being subjected to “this stuff everyday” against your will can’t be healthy, dear.

  151. I know you are a master DYIer, but have you considered hiring a professional to refinish the floors? Our house was built 17 years ago, so I’m not sure of the finish they used, but it was of a gym floor quality – very smelly so we had to be out of the house for a few days (but it was under construction and not yet lived in anyway). That finish has held up to lots of abuse, kids, pets, grandkids, things being dropped on it. The only thing I would do different is change the color (like you’re doing). Have the floors done first, then protect them while you complete other projects. Another thought on having them professionally done is they have the equipment and expertise to help keep the dust to a minimum.

  152. On the topic of floors, I’d recommend doing some projects now, then refinishing, then continuing down the list. Hold the doors, cabinets, all things pantry, and all trim till after the floors. You will want to have clear space to run the sander so those need to be done later. I’m not sure exactly what the hall tree will look like so it could go either way. I think you should protect your current floors as is, then refinish the countertops and build the vent hood first. Those will both likely be messy but quick enough projects that you don’t want to necessarily put off as your floor cures. Doing those kitchen projects first will also give you more time to think about that top cabinet color. I think you should go solid blue – your white accents in the room mean that white cabinets will feel overwhelming (and you didn’t like the too much white look in your front room) but keeping it the current revere pewter will look even muddier when the countertops change color. Go all blue and you can’t go wrong.

    So in short:
    1) kitchen counters and hood
    2) Refinish floors + rethink cabinet uppers with context
    3) Go crazy in the pantry + keep thinking about those uppers as you install
    4) Go for the uppers
    5) All those other projects

    I still think dark floors aren’t a great idea and I know you tend to change your mind when you finish a project but floors with poly and sanding aren’t a thing you should change up since it damages the long-term use of the floor. Please be sure you’re certain and really ask yourself why you are going dark.

  153. I like two-tone cabinets in general. If this was my kitchen, I would try painting the uppers in a lighter version of the blue that is on the lower cabinets.

  154. My sister recently had a house fire and her wood floors were refinished as part of the kitchen repairs. They finished the floors first before fixing the rest of the kitchen.

    I love then revere pewter and gentlemans gray. I think you’ll love it once it’s completely done. Don’t second guess…you’ve got this!

  155. Floors first for sure. They should always run under any cabinetry. As far as the upper cabinets, I was never a fan. They looks too tan/muddy for my taste. I feel like the blue needs a crisp color to complement it and the tan/gray combo up top isn’t crisp. It reminds me of drywall mud to be honest. (sorry)

  156. Finish the floors and protect them with the paper. Paint the upper cabinets the same color as the rest of the trim. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it….

  157. Finish the floors first. It’s going to be gorgeous! As for the cabinet color, I would go white. I think the contrast would look nice with the lower cabinet color. I do kinda miss the green, but I completely get your vision. It will be stunning! Thanks for sharing with us! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  158. Kristi,
    I loved your green cabinets but understand not mixing with the new blues in other rooms and do love the new color themes you got going on now. I do not like the upper cabinets .they do no jive with your classy look . they look too washed out. i would go with top and bottom same color as you currently have. Get good bling hardware or what ever is your style to to brighten up the CT and keep white back splash as is i love the pic with both the same. uppers/lowers
    I recently finished my kitchen with Versailes Annie Sloan paint. had a ball doing it. added bronze/black hardware. the back splash is thin glass tile with brown tans/green yellows and this versails green with a basic quartz QT in a speck that is all in the back splash. My floor is cherry distressed laminate. colored laminate distressed. would have loved hardwoods but my home is a slab home with hot water pipes in cement foundation an could not place HW floors d/t the nails. I love this look now. you got it just keep peddaling

  159. Hi Kristi – first, I love your choice of stain for your floors. It was my first choice too. I have no technical explanation for this, just my gut reaction and love of pulling together colors. For the upper cabinets, I would choose white, or all blue rather than any other neutral color. Blue and white look crisp, clean, and classic together. You can’t go wrong! Having been through remodels, I would go ahead and refinish the floors now. If cabinet building and installation may scratch them, just cover them temporarily in the area in which you are working.

    I like how willing you are to view your work, admit it wasn’t what you really wanted, and revise it. Ultimately, YOU have to be happy with it and love living in your home. I think you’re doing a wonderful job of creating a home with flow.

  160. I really do think that the upper cabinet color looks dingy. It just doesn’t work with that white subway tile. I think a little more contrast might be in order. I don’t know, it just doesn’t look right.

  161. Since you asked, I will be truthful and say that when I first saw your new cabinet color scheme I was underwhelmed. I did love your green, but could understand how they could be hard to live with and “bossy” as far as limiting your other colors. I do like the gray blue cabinets, but think that you need either a grayer or white uppers for more contrast. The uppers look more creamy beige than gray to me–at least on my monitor. I thought/hoped that perhaps they looked better in real life so I didn’t comment on them at the time. But then again, since you are a professional blogger, you need something that photographs well, as well as looks great in real life! Gray is trendier than white, so, unless you don’t mind repainting them when the gray trend is over, white would be the more “timeless” choice, as well as the brighter choice. You don’t have any direct windows in your kitchen, so perhaps white cabinets would keep it cheerier. Just my humble opinion, since you asked.

  162. My entire main floor is painted in revere pewter and I love it, but for some reason I’m not loving it on your cabinets. I really like the all blue, but find it a bit much in an entire kitchen. I would probably do this wall in all blue, and all of my other cabinets in white with blue accessories throughout to tie it all together.

  163. I’d rather have the floors out of the way because it’s such a big job.

    Personally I like your cabinet colors. It’s unexpected, but it looks sophisticated to me

  164. I think the cabinet color is a bit too warm. It’s hard to tell because I think this picture may have been taken at night and the light shining onto the cabinets seems a bit warmer than normal, but this also makes me think that in general the color just doesn’t work. If it were a hint cooler or more gray, I think it would be fine. The tile is what makes it not work in my opinion. Because it’s crisp white with blue, it makes the cabinets look like they’re dingy. I don’t think you’ll be happy with it until you repaint – I think white or a light gray would work well if you want to stick with two color cabinets.