Duplex, Home Decor

The Duplex Kitchen Makeover Inspiration: White, Black & Subway Tile!

duplex kitchen before shot

It’s been about a year and a half since we moved into the duplex. My mama always told me to live in a house for a while before making big redecorating decisions, and after doing just that (and maybe procrastinating the task a bit), Nathan and I are ready to tackle the duplex kitchen and make some changes! As a refresher, our to-do list in the kitchen from the duplex house tour looks a little like this:


  • paint and refresh walls
  • replace flooring
  • paint kitchen cupboards
  • replace all hardware on kitchen cupboards
  • re-finish counters
  • replace kitchen ceiling light fixtures
  • replace back splash
  • find a fabulous pendant light for over the dining table
  • take down all curtains, let in the LIGHT!
  • create an interesting “feature wall” in the dining room

When my parents built their dream kitchen, they chose shiny, sleek, sexy, black granite countertops. About a month ago, they were wondering what to do with the remnants of their stone which is just sitting in their garage, and after a quick snoop I suggested that we could take the stone off their hands for our kitchen! I’m not sure that words can properly describe how excited I am, so maybe the several exclamation points after this sentence will!!!!! (Count ’em – that’s 5!)

Our faux wood beige cabinets are in remarkable shape for being 15 years old, so I’d like to keep them and paint them out white in the interest of saving money. Any tips for painting cabinets that are most likely laminate of some kind? Send me your DIY links please! What is your favourite white paint colour for cabinets? Do tell! Here’s my inspiration for the winning combination of white cabinets with black counters:

Duplex kitchen cabinet inspiration

For back splash, I considered Stikwood for something different, but I’m concerned about durability, not to mention high cost for a small area. I keep coming back to subway tile but I want something other than the classic 3×6 tiles, though there’s nothing wrong with traditional. My mom brought me a sample of a 2×8 subway tile and I’m absolutely smitten! It’s unique, and the perfect dimension for our space. I’m also loving light grey grout for a bit of pattern pop. Here’s an idea of what I’m going for:

Duplex kitchen backsplash inspiration

As for the sink and the faucet, we’re definitely going for an under mount, most likely in stainless steel for durability, but the question I’m stuck on is single or double basin? I think it completely depends on your washing style, but I’m leaning towards a nice and deep single basin. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sloshed water on the floor and myself because our current sink is too shallow.

For the faucet, I’m loving something a bit more traditional with some curves, to contrast nicely with the more modern proportions of the back splash. What do you think? If we go with a stainless steel sink, can I entertain the idea of a brass faucet? Mixing metals is in, right? I could be crazy, but I just really love gold. Ha!


It’s not lost on me that I keep saving images with white apron sinks (hello gorgeous!), but it’s just not going to work with our current cabinet situation. We’d have to cut down the doors, and then the front face detail would be all wrong, and it’s not worth it this time around. An under mount will have to do! So that’s the design plan for the duplex kitchen – black, white, and subway tile!

Source 1: Studio McGee  |  Source 2: The Design Files  |  Source 3: Style at Home  |  Source 4: FGY Architects via Stacy Nance Interiors

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  • Reply Janine Rogan October 1, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Beautiful! I can’t wait tobring a bottle of wine over to celebrate the completion of your home!

    • Reply Nicole @ Dutchie Love October 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Wine will be the perfect way to break in our new kitchen! Looking forward to it 🙂

  • Reply 204park October 1, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I just love your inspiration photo, and you’re so lucky to get left over countertop- that will help save $ big time! I looked at stikwood for a project because I love it but it was a little cost prohibitive – I’m sure your backsplash is going to look great! Use lots of double sided tape when you put it up 😉 haha XO!

    • Reply Nicole @ Dutchie Love October 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Diana! Isn’t that kitchen by Studio McGee a dream?? I couldn’t believe our luck with the granite – my mama has great taste! I’d still like to use stikwood somewhere, but it will have to be in a very small area, haha.

  • Reply Justine October 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I love the look you are going for!! It will be amazing!! Whoop, whoop for white subway tile & mixing metals (stainless with gold)! I vote double basin. We only have one working kitchen sink right now & it is horrid. Dishes either pile up all over the counter to keep the sink empty for use or the sink is full & I cannot use it for anything (i.e., fill pots, wash hands, rinse dishes, etc). If you do your dishes more than me, I suppose this won’t be an issue… haha!! When we were renovating our condo, we found a DEEP stainless double sink at Costco for uber cheap & it was great. If they don’t still have it, at least I know that a deep double stainless sink exists. Happy renovations, love! XO

    • Reply Nicole @ Dutchie Love October 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      You can’t go wrong with subway tile! I love mixed metals but I wasn’t sure if it would look like a crazy person picked the faucet if we went with gold – now to convince the husband 😉 Your insight about dishes all over the counter is exactly what I was worried about with a single basin, so I think a double is the way to go. I would never have thought of looking at Costco! Thanks for the tip! xo

  • Reply Kristina Lynne October 1, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is soooooo up my alley!! Love this!!

    • Reply Nicole @ Dutchie Love October 2, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I was also inspired by your Laurier Heights kitchen inspiration! If only our kitchen got more natural light – I’d do black lower cabinets in a heartbeat. So sexy!

  • Reply Amy October 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Hey Nicole!

    I love your ideas with your kitchen renovations! If you’re still interested in using Stikwood as a backsplash, we’d love to collab! If you’d like, you can email me at: amy@stikwood.com, and we can chat a bit more. Either wish, we can’t wait to see how your new kitchen turns out!


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