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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