Joe Zeff Design

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Our story . . .

Julianne and Harriet,

Here we go again . . .

The details: We’re buying a three-bedroom townhouse a block from our apartment. It isn’t yet built, so we get to pick from a menu of options. On Friday we have a three-hour appointment to select upgrades — basically kitchen, bathrooms and floors. The appointment is in Edison where they have their design center; it’s open every day until 5 if you wanted to see some of these in person. Assuming you’re too busy, so I’ve put together some photographs and descriptions below.

Here goes:

We bought a townhouse with two stories and a fully finished basement.

Link: Photo gallery of model home with the same floorplan

Link: Interactive tour that lets you move from room to room

We don’t have to figure out paint or upholstery until late summer. For now, we just need your input on the following:


This is their picture:

We photoshopped it to what we prefer, a bit more like Mendl :-)

Specifically: white cabinets, gray countertop, light gray backsplash, wide-planked hickory floors, black quartz or granite fireplace surround, gray painted wall or walls. We’d spring for crown molding that isn’t shown here, as well as a farmhouse sink.

We need your help on the following:

Countertop. They have a model there with a swirled countertop that depending on the lighting looks gray or tan. Not sure whether we should consider this throughout, or just on the island, or not at all. Concerned that it could fight with other things we do later. Thoughts?

Here are some other options from their design gallery and models:

Here’s an Uba Tuba countertop/white backsplash reference image that we found online that we like:


. . . along with a photoshopped version of our kitchen with a white backsplash:


Island: We’re seeing contrasting islands in magazines and not sure if we ought to go down that road. Here’s an example from one of their models:


As you can see in this picture, our floor plan not only has an island and kitchen counter, but a desk:

So the question is whether to make the island different from the other cabinetry, and/or to make the island countertop different. All of this needs to coexist with a fireplace on the living room side of the room, too. Would love your input.

Two photoshops:

Cabinetry: This picture shows the available cabinetry. The four whites in a row are better quality than the white on the bottom. We like the two whites on the right more than the whites on the left.


We have also considered the two cabinets in the upper right — maybe one would work for an island if you think that’s wise:

Backsplash: They don’t have a lot of options; we could hold out and do it ourselves after we close. Here’s their selections:

Flooring: We like the Hickory, but they have all kinds. Our plan is to do hardwood on the first floor, second floor loft and master bath. We are considering hardwood laminate for the basement, as there’s a sliding door to the outside that could be muddy. Not sure if there’s anything here that jumps out to you, or stands out as something we should avoid.

Stopping here, as not to overwhelm. Let us know how best to proceed!


Roberta and Joe