I get asked A LOT what we do for a living. So buckle your seat belts for the fastest overview ever. As I’ve mentioned before, a super high energy and extremely motivated entrepreneur married well, another super high energy and extremely motivated entrepreneur. And since we met and started dating at 14, by the time 19 and in college came around, we were ready for life. So we thought. As sophomores at the University of Georgia we got married. And then one day my Uncle asked Mark to come over after school and help him cut and install granite countertops in his home. That night Mark came home and said “I want to start doing granite”. And I said “Okay sure babe”. But no really, he meant it. With absolutely ZERO money and a fierce determination like no other, he used my uncle’s saw and backyard and on nights and weekends, he fabricated and installed countertops for our family and closest friends. All while still studying and maintaining the Hope scholarship. Proud wifey moment. He literally taught himself E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. He wanted to be self-employed and for whatever reason, while still in college, he had decided this was his moment. And seeing as though granite slabs weigh over 1,000 lbs, he did what anyone else would do when he needed to move them around. He tied a rope to them and used his truck to move them. Clearly the safest and most logical way. So that continued and I decided to take on the “marketing” and “customer service”. And yes, I did this while in my interior design AutoCad classes. I remember minimizing my AutoCad screen, opening up my e-mails, answering clients and posting ads on eBay (yes, I used eBay back then to advertise granite and it actually worked!). In 2003, while still in college, we rented our first shop. A tiny little 1,300 square foot fabrication facility. I remember leaving school everyday and driving straight to our shop for part two of my day. By 2004, Mark graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and began his full-time, well way more than full-time, focus on our company that I named… A Polished Finish (APF, Inc.). By the Summer of 2005, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design and I too joined APF full-time. We then opened a separate showroom space in Historic Monroe, GA and expanded into all things Kitchen & Bath. By 2006, our company hit $2.3 million dollars that year in sales and we moved into a much more practical 9,000 square foot facility and another new separate showroom space. And did I mention that we had zero help, zero money and pretty much zero time (in the beginning). I look back and literally still wonder how on Earth we did it all. Although my little synopsis may sound easy, breezy and magical, it was the hardest years of my life. Times a trillion. It was no sleep, stress like I can’t even describe and it was giving away all of those fun college years we keep hearing about. I’d absolutely say “don’t try this at home”. But at the same time, I’m so thankful for all of the hard work we put it so long ago. So the rest is history and for those who’ve asked, that’s what we do for a living.
So, back to my home tour! When it came time for our kitchen overhaul, can you guess who I called? 😉 A Polished Finish (APF, Inc.)! Here’s a look at our kitchen before…
And then once the walls in the house were painted…
When it came time to design our new kitchen, I knew I wanted white. White on white to be exact. But I also knew I didn’t want it to be alllllll white. First, I chose an ever so slightly off-white called White Dove by Benjamin Moore for the majority of our cabinets. The slightly off-white with the white countertops adds some depth and interest to the kitchen while not being too matchy matchy. It adds depth to the space. Then for that pop of color, I color matched a furniture piece in our home that I LOVE for a beautiful turquoise island color. I just love the beautiful vibrancy it adds to our kitchen! From there, I decided to really accentuate our custom vent hood and range cabinetry with a slightly cool gray that works beautifully with our island color… Thundercloud Gray by Benjamin Moore.
Countertops. Oh white countertops. After being in the stone industry for over 12 years now, I can tell you for 110% certainty that you do NOT want marble countertops in your entire kitchen. You can literally argue with me all day everyday but I have dealt with this over and over and over again with clients. Marble scratches. Very very easy actually. Marble is not heat resistant. It will crack. Marble is very fragile. Do not drop a pan on it. Marble is however oh so beautiful. So I chose it for our island ONLY… Statuary White Marble. This is an area that we are able to be more careful with and consciously avoid using for hot pans, cutting vegetables, etc. For the remainder of the countertops I chose Tiger White Granite. For the edging, I love a super thick look. A Polished Finish did a stunning double thick edge around our entire kitchen that makes the granite and marble 2 1/2″ thick rather than 1 1/4″ (3cm). It is breathtaking.
Here’s a look at all of the other finishing details! Oh and all of my topiaries are from HomeGoods. They’re the perfect finishing touch to any kitchen and I get asked about them ALL of the time!
SHOP OUR KITCHEN!
Cabinets and Countertops-A Polished Finish (APF, Inc.)
Cabinet Color- White Dove by Benjamin Moore
Vent Hood & Range Cabinet Color- Thundercloud Gray by Benjamin Moore
Rug- Lavender Fields Shop
Custom Window Shade & Pillow Fabric- Candy Kirby Designs
Topiaries (both sets)- HomeGoods
Appliances- Howard Payne
Cabinet Hardware and Island- A Polished Finish (APF, Inc.)
Island Custom Color by Sherwin Williams (Brittany’s Blue):
CCE Color Cast OZ 32 64 128
L1 Blue — 43 1 1
Y3 Deep Gold — 8 1 —
Plates, Measuring Cup Bowls & Blue Vase- Anthropologie
And here’s some images from a lifestyle shoot we did recently with the super talented Paige Ewing Photography! It was actually for something super duper mega exciting that I will be spilling the beans on in January!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes