bored in the kitchen

When we bought our house, I loved how big our kitchen was. Of course, I had dreams of changing it to make a space I would actually enjoy doing the dishes in. Well, I have cooked, cleaned, and washed for six months now, and I have no idea what direction to go in first. I know when I see a kitchen I like, but there are so many different aspects that go into creating it (and money). I'm not looking to totally tear everything out and hire a contractor, etc. I just want to add a little oomp.
So where do I start right now?
The floor in this shot is very similar to the hardwood we picked out for our entire first level. If I decide to go darker with the kitchen colors, I could paint my white fridge with chalkboard paint like this one (do you think i'll get sick of it?) Of course, I would never rip out all our upper cabinets to have open shelving like this (even though I love it!). Notice how they painted the bottom part of the dishwasher to match the lower cabinets so it blends in. When we go to re-sell, do you think people will hate that we painted our cabinets?  

we heart it

This kitchen has some of the same colors, but the appliance are all stainless steel [which our wallet isn't ready for yet!]. I like the upper cabinets are white, while the bottom are a darker neutral color. The counter tops are dark- much cleaner looking than my yellow grout tiles (yuck). David Bromstad said tile grout on kitchen countertops is soo 70s (even though my house was built in 2006), and i totally agree.  we tear out the tile countertops in our kitchen now, do we have to get granite countertops? I love the idea of putting down butcher block instead. The cabinets here go all the way to the ceiling and include crown moulding, and mine aren't quite as high. I also like the white subway tile for a backsplash.

What do you think? Where should we start?

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