Color in the Kitchen
September 8, 2021
Bye-bye white. The freshest kitchens feature materials, textures, and palettes rich in personality.
Text by Meaghan O'Neill
A Cabin by the Sea
The southern coast of Maine exudes a gentle quality of life that’s all about family, fun, and the great outdoors. This newly constructed timber-frame vacation house, built for a young family with two daughters, embraces togetherness, especially when it comes to the kitchen, which connects to dining and family areas as well as views of the vast front yard and ocean beyond. Defined by a large island that sits perfectly between two timber posts, the kitchen features “a coastal farmhouse vibe,” says interior designer Annsley McAleer, principal of Annsley Interiors. “The exposed beams make a strong architectural statement,” explains the designer, “but the color palette is beachier. We needed to create a balance with all of that wood.” To that end, McAleer chose kelly-green stools by O&G Studio and textural tiles by Waterworks for the backsplash. The effect is a casual-meets-practical space that delivers on its promise. “The family’s relaxed attitude,” says McAleer, “is reflected in the way the house looks.”
For a family of five with young children, a hyper-functional kitchen in their newly constructed Cambridge, Massachusetts, house was a must. At the end of a long, open-plan area that includes a dining room and library, the kitchen needed to act as a family hub. “We thought a lot about how we would use this space,” says Elana Rudiger of Elana Rudiger Interior Design. “The kitchen really informed everything behind it.” One challenge, however, was bringing light into the room, which features walnut cabinetry but no windows to the outside. To capture as much light as possible from other parts of the house, Rudiger installed a mirrored hood and backsplash and honed white Silestone countertops; the latter material was also installed on one wall, this time with a polished surface for a subtle textural change. A glass transom between the kitchen and family room helps, too. The design team also found clever ways to carve out additional hidden features, such as a work surface that pulls out of a wall and connects to the island. A nearby banquette creates extra seating;
a secret pocket door turns it into a cozy alcove.
Interior design: Elana Rudiger, Elana Rudiger Design
Architecture: W. Edward Pitts III, Charles R. Myer & Partners
Cabinetry: Karla Monkevich, Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers
Photography: Michael J. Lee
Sunny Side Up
While some kitchens are mostly for show, others serve the needs of devoted cooks. This colorful space in Concord, Massachusetts, designed for a family of six, was built for both. As the first space in view when one steps into the open-plan home, it needed to be welcoming and pretty but also operate as a working kitchen. “The homeowners wanted a warm and cheerful palette,” says interior designer Melinda Guglietta, principal of Bespoke of Winchester, who drew color inspiration from the geometric tiles installed on the island’s base. Because the wife is a passionate cook who also teaches classes at home for cancer patients, Guglietta maximized storage and seating. A previous owner’s renovations had left the 1963 deck house with some disconnected Colonial-like elements, so Guglietta worked to seamlessly combine traditional and modern details that would strike the right notes for the family, which includes four teenagers and two dogs as well as chickens and bees in the lush backyard. To that end, the designer chose cabinetry with classic styling, then subtly modernized it with low-profile doors and drawers and streamlined hardware. A custom oak hood, minimal trim, playful lighting, and, of course, the sunny palette further perk things up. “It’s a not-fussy style,” explains Guglietta, who specializes in custom kitchens, “and a big mix of contemporary and traditional.”
Heart of the Home
Built in the style of an old Adirondacks lodge, the kitchen in this New Hampshire lake house was sited to be right in the center of the action, between the dining and family areas and a screened-in porch. “It’s right at the knuckle of things,” says architect John Battle, principal and owner of Battle Associates Architects, who worked with Beyond the Garden interior designer and his spouse, Janice Battle. To create an authentic Adirondack space and feeling, the designers relied on skilled artisans to custom build features including the highly figured cherry cabinets and stained-glass detailing. Installing two islands ensured there’s always plenty of work space for cooks and extra seating for everyone else. On the south side of the room, a glazed breakfast bay with seating for twelve and views of the lake and boathouse creates an ample, welcoming eating area for the extended family who frequently come to visit. “There’s nothing standard about this kitchen,” says the architect.
Architecture: John Battle, Battle Associates Architects
Interior design: Janice Battle, Beyond the Garden
Builder: Wood & Clay
Cabinetry: Paul Reidt, Karla Monkevich, Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers
Photography: Greg Premru
When it comes to the built environment, things that appear elegant in their simplicity rarely start out that way. Such was the case in a Boston brownstone apartment, which had steps up and down throughout the first floor when the homeowners—two busy professionals with grown children—purchased it. Leveling it out required rearranging HVAC ductwork, a tricky operation that “took a lot of mechanical gymnastics,” says architect Sam Kachmar. Next, he aligned a hallway connecting
the living room and kitchen, creating a much smoother transition between spaces. The move allowed interior designer Nancy Serafini to smartly divide the kitchen into its functional parts. Along one wall that abuts the circulation route, she installed tall storage cabinets. Across from those is the work space, with island, sink, range, and primary oven. “It’s so beautifully organized now,” says Serafini, who specified a navy blue for storage, lower cupboards, and the island but left upper cupboards white. “It’s just so pretty in its simplicity.”
Architecture: Sam Kachmar, Sam Kachmar Architects
Interior design: Nancy Serafini, Nancy Serafini Interior Design
Cabinetry: Jewett Farms + Co.
Builder: FBN Construction
Photography: Michael J. Lee