Materials are still under review
The kitchen has hardwood floors, so we're hoping to keep costs down by keeping them. We're looking into quartz countertops, they seem to offer a good balance of cost, durability and appeal. We may go with a granite or marble countertop for the island, some friends of ours did that - grey quartz counters and a really stunning waterfall style island in a greenish marble. The jury is completely out on the back-splash - wife is lobbying for painting most of it (and may win based on cost). I'd like for most of the appliances to be integrated, but again, cost may prevent that. Plumbing fixtures will be brushed nickel in a contemporary style. We're talking about hanging a contemporary chandelier over the island to really take advantage of the high ceiling and large skylight (the chandelier will be suspended from a beam across the center of the skylight).
We want to respect the Victorian style of the rest of the apartment while giving it a modern look. My wife prefers shaker style cabinet doors, I'd like something with more complex moldings, but all the moldings around the house are a PITA to keep clean as it is so shaker works for me. Upper cabinets will be a lighter shade than the lowers, probably in gray. I've got my eye on some stools from Thomas Moser for the island, and they may drive some of our other design decisions.
One of the changes we made when we first moved in was to open the wall between the kitchen and the rear room of the house, giving us a 4'6" opening that reaches to the ceiling of the back room. Unfortunately, there is a huge change in the ceiling height, which will only get more dramatic if we raise the kitchen ceiling. Raising the roof of the back room is really out of the question, so we're trying to figure out how to make the transition less jarring. The architect basically wants us to frame it in as a large doorway, but we want to preserve the scale of the opening. My wife's idea is to put in a lintel with the same molding as the rest of the apartment but not frame in the opening - I like this approach, as it preserves the opening while bringing the style back in line.