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Last week was a big week in our kitchen renovation journey. After a few months of gathering inspiration, it was finally time to take action.

While we knew the demolition would be a swift process, it still came as a surprise when we came home after work one day to this bare space, below:

Believe it or not, this is my new kitchen. The far wall that housed my fridge, stove and sink is now stripped bare. And remember that wall with the cut-out to the dining room? It’s gone!

The view in the photo above is from the other side of the room. Amazing! It’s not even done and it already feels so open. It was definitely the right choice to take down that dividing wall.

There is no looking back once you are down to the studs. (The photos don’t quite do it justice — we’re literally walking on plywood in here!) Even with all the drastic change, it’s hard to believe this raw space will one day be our dream kitchen.

My husband and I are trying not to let this quick progress fool us, however. It’s overwhelming to think of all the work that stands between us and our brand new AyA kitchen.

There are still so many design decisions to be made. Having already selected our cabinetry, I can now move on to the many other steps in this makeover process. In addition to making some tweaks to our kitchen design, the next round of decisions includes sourcing new flooring, countertops and backsplash tiles.

Here are some examples of floors I love:

I adore a herringbone floor. I am also leaning towards light floors — I think they will add a fantastic contrast to the dark cabinetry and hold up well with the wear and tear of a young family.

Photo: Reclaimed Wood Flooring with yellow chairs and rustic table

I also love the look of wide-plank flooring. The floor shown above is made up of reclaimed wood. Not only does it bring a rustic feel to the room, it’s also an environmentally-friendly option, which my husband and I both love.

When it comes to countertops, I’ve been dreaming of marble. Most of the inspiration shots I have collected are marble, marble, and more marble. However, our AyA designer recently introduced us to quartz. Because quartz is harder and less porous than marble, it’s more resistant to spills over the years. (In other words, it’s the perfect countertop option for a young family like us.)

Here are some of the quartz samples we’re considering:

We really like the natural look of these two samples. Plus, they are similar to the many marble samples I’ve been admiring throughout the planning process.

As for the backsplash, I am having a hard time deciding. (It’s a big commitment!)

Here are some backsplash ideas I’ve collected so far:

Did I mention I love herringbone? If we don’t go with herringbone flooring, I think this tilework  (above) would look fantastic going all the way up the walls.


This pattern is a great variation on the popular Moroccan and arabesque styles many people seem to be using.


I also like the simplicity of having just one slab of stone all the way up as our backsplash.

Throughout the process of shopping for all of these finishes, we’re collecting samples wherever possible. By taking home our various options, we can go home and play with each combination and see what they will look like in the true light of our space.

Now that our space has been opened up and we’re well on our way to selecting our finishes, all we need is an actual kitchen. Let the building begin!

Click here to read Jen's previous blog post.

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