Remember how I said I didn't think I wanted to spend the money on granite or solid surface, and some upscale Formica would be good enough for me? Yeah. They had so many good discounts on the cabinets, etc., that I could get a little fancy with the countertop in the kitchen.
I realized that I didn't have to go all or nothing. The kitchen countertop will be Silestone in Bamboo.
That includes the large expanse of counter space separating the living room from the dining room. The wet-bar-no-longer and bathroom vanities will be upscale Formica in Giallo Granite. Similar in tone to the Silestone, but richer and not so matchy-matchy, and I will do the fancy rounded finished edge, not the usual squared-off edge. The cabinets will be the same, but we'll mix it up a bit with the countertops.
All of the cabinets - both bathrooms, the bar area, and the kitchen - will be Kraftmaid Northwood in Maple, in the Saddle color. Not too far off from these renderings by the designer:
The appliances will be stainless and flat cooktop, and the countertop is a light color, and the walls are white. So it won't be nearly as dark as this, but that's the overall look. We are adding a cabinet to the left of the microwave, and making the cabinets above the pass-through to the dining area 18 inches high instead of the now fairly useless small ones there now. I'm thrilled with the design; we are adding TONS of useful storage while staying in the original footprint.
I have many more decisions to make, mostly involving lighting. The current kitchen is very poorly lit, and better task lighting and a better light in the eating area are a MUST. So I'm far from done with these decisions, but happily, I'm still within my budget!