I know the counter top came out small, but I do hope you get the idea. I think a white with gray would work great and lighten up the space a bit while still tying in the cabinet color.
They want all stainless steel appliances and I think this range hood would be amazing. Oh, and if you did go with the shelving dear friends that would leave more money for some great appliances.
I have always loved the look of this faucet. I would lose the soap dispenser though. Okay, I will have to admit that I have had this faucet in the last two homes hubby and I have owned, purchased off of eBay for dramatically less.
This is where you either love it or hate it. I of course love it! The handles for the drawers and the knobs for the cabinets in antique brass would pop off ever so nicely off the dark cabinets. That little pendent would hang over the kitchen sink. I have a feeling I have lost you, so a oil-rubbed bronze handles and knobs would be nice too, but I still do like that pendent.
As for where the appliance currently stand I would leave it. That would keep costs down, but I would add a dishwasher on the left side of your sink if one will fit. I am sorry and I should have measured first. That would leave the island completely open and can be used as a buffet when entertaining. Also you could consider making a regular rectangle of an island instead of the L-shape. It would make the kitchen appear to be larger, just a thought. Oh I almost forgot, a slate gray floor would be ever so pretty, I mean masculine, oh whatever.
This brings this home project to an end. If they decide to go with any of my ideas I will definitely post before and after pics. I know the kitchen won't be for awhile, but they do want to start with the rest of the home, so I guess we will have to wait and see. Either way I am sure that I will be helping with some of the labor. They are really great friends. Luckily for me I have another friend who needs help with their home, so I will be starting that soon too. Maybe this time I will refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. F.