Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Bold, Go Blue.

There seems to be a general resistence in the design world to decorating a kitchen in anything other than neutrals or whites -- probably because of the expense and difficulty of overhauling a kitchen should you decide just a few years later that you're no longer so enamored with, say, peach. And that's fair. I, too, eskewed bolder choices in favor of safer, buyer-friendly selections when I designed my kitchen last spring. But the end result is that, while I like my kitchen, I don't really love it. So I wish I'd stretched myself a bit more, been a bit bolder with my choices and maybe gone with, say, a blue kitchen.

The great thing about a blue kitchen is that, while it's a bit of a departure from the oft-used white, it's still fairly traditional. Nobody is going to think you've gone completely off your rocker and there's a good chance that you'll still love it in a few years' time. And even if you don't, repainting cabinets (or riping out backsplash) isn't the enormous hassle or expense that it's often made out to be.

One of my all-time favorite kitchens is this one by Sherrill Canet (shown in two photos above). Of course the towering cathedral ceilings probably have a lot to do with it, but I also love how Sherrill used a lighter blue on the wall cabinets and a darker blue on the island to anchor it in the space. My favorite element though is the glimmering stainless steal subway tile backsplash around the oven and the gorgeous stainless steel hood.

Elle Decor

This kitchen deservedly made the rounds in the design blogosphere when it first appeared in Elle Decor. I love the contrast of the large white island with the indigo wood floors and cabinets. The pendant lights and the milk glass chandelier are also envy-inducing.

Massucco Warner Miller Designs

A more modern take on a blue kitchen. I absolutely adore the (Silestone?) countertops and backsplash. The reddish tones in the natural wood floors and trim are a great contrast to the stainless steal and the cool blue of the cabinets.

Michael J. Williams

This kitchen from Michael J. Williams was featured in the latest issue of Traditional Home. As a brief aside, if you haven't picked up the February issue of TH yet, I highly suggest you do. Between the spread on Ruthie Sommers' latest work and Kara Mann's, it's one of the best issues I've seen from any shelter magazine in quite some time. Both spreads are also so reminiscent of domino that I found myself flipping back to the cover periodically just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating and reading a "new" issue of domino. In any case, the blue on this island is almost a chambray and it's this denim-like quality that I think really gives the space a laid back, family-oriented vibe.

Retro Renovation

This kitchen is retro to the point of kitsch, but turquoise and red always make me smile.


When this kitchen first appeared in domino a few years ago, it made me desperate for a chandelier in my kitchen. I love the contrast between the ornate black glass fixture and the sleek and modern kitchen.

House Beautiful

I love the deep royal blue featured on all the cabinetry -- it works so beautifully with the pops of bright citrus that the stylist brought in for the shoot. The color choice here is undoubtedly brave, but it's what elevates this kitchen into magazine-worthy status. The designer also wisely kept the rest of the kitchen quieter with classic Carrera marble counters and backsplash. Matching your counters to your backsplash is a great way to create a seamless and sleek look, which is ideal if you've got a lot of "look" going on elsewhere in your kitchen.

Frank Roop

The Ann Sacks tile featured on the backsplash in this kitchen makes me a bit weak in the knees. It works perfectly with the sleek gray (soapstone?) countertops without feeling overly match-y. I think backsplash is a great way to bring color into a kitchen if you don't want to go for a bold color for your cabinetry. If your tastes change, it's also not nearly as onerous to replace.


Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

That Frank Roop kitchen has been in my inspiration files for awhile - it's stunning! That's definitely my fave out of the bunch, with a gorgeous mix of traditional and "today" without feeling like it's trying too hard. LOVE!

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Kitchens seem so permenant, so it is hard to stretch beyond neutral, but your examples certainly build a strong case for color!

When I did my kitchen I didn't paint the island, figured it would be nice left wood toned and I could also paint it later. You've planted a seed in my mind! Perhaps one of these days I'll paint it another color, it would be really great I think!


pixelimpress said...

great post, averill. that ruthie sommers kitchen had me at hello when i saw it in my th. hubby and i are re-doing our kitchen this spring. new countertops (moving from tile granite to slab), new backsplash (hopefully some sort of subway tile), and sink and faucet. i'm dying to do something with the island to make it "unmatch".

i know i've read a few of your posts before but i've just rediscovered your blog. and i'm lovin' it. glad you didn't stay away for too long. pam

Kathysue said...

this is a great post, I so agree to be bold and use a color on your cabinets. I don't have blue but I have chosen a wonderful green and I would never go back to a neutral. Green is actually my neutral in my home. I have it posted on my blog if you ever get in the mood to view a green kitchen. kathysue

Poindexter said...

oh my, I love that Ann Sacks tile. simply gorgeous. I'm saving this clip for my inspiration file. Some kitchen work is in my future, not right away, but down the road a bit. I'll forget by then. Our greyish slate looking porcelain floor tile has hints of blue throughout.....

alison giese Interiors said...

Now I'm SERIOUSLY itching for my TH mag to show its pretty face!
You're a sneaky-sneak, even when you "take a break" you write great posts! ;)

Southern Aspirations said...

Great selection.. I'm quite fond of the first picture you showed. The House Beautiful one, though, reminded me of the cobalt blue and yellow of the Provencal designs we don't see nearly enough of. I miss those. :-)

of course, one can always paint the walls a dark blue too... I'm looking at my kitchen (wood cabinets, neutral backsplash) but we have red wallpaper (first homeowner's choice). Someday it will go as the red is a bit much for me right now but it definitely livens up the room!

Kitty said...

if my kitchen were like the one on top, i'd cook more for sure! hope you're doing well averill! xo kitty

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I wouldn't think I'd go for a blue kitchen in any hue, but you had me rethinking my stand after viewing all these examples. Gorgeous kitchens!

Unknown said...

Yeah, you're back! Hope you were able to de-fog. Great post - I'm rethinking my kitchen and bathroom cabinet choices.

Kathysue said...

Hi Averil, I just wanted to come by and thank you for reading my blog and for posting a comment. I think you and I are kindred spirits. I too am from the camp of folded neatly. I have to make myself try asymetry in areas of my home but truth be known I love symetry, In fact I have a post drafted on that very subject, You will probably totally relate. I so enjoy your blog,you have very interesting topics. Keep doing what you are doing, I love it,Kathysue

Megan said...

Love this! I'm planning on redecorating my dining room in blues, blacks and whites. This is great inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Couture Carrie said...

I just love cornflower blue! That first space is my fave. Beautiful post, darling!
Hope you're having a spectacular weekend :)


P.S. Yay for tall girls!

Sarah Klassen said...

I really like the personalities of these kitchens, especially the first two, and especially the indigo kitchen from Elle Decor. I'm seeing more and more of that rich indigo blue, and it's seemingly sticking with me. I adore the tiles that they used in that kitchen and the cooking centre. I agree, I doubt they would tire of such a beautiful space. I like the old world, European feel of it. Details like that stunning antique painting and fruit bowl just make it for me. I prefer a warm and comforting kitchen as far as colors and materials, but still clean.

I think you could add blue to your kitchen, Averill, and it would look stunning! :)

cotedetexas said...

Suzanne kasler's blue kitchen will always be my favorite.
loved you comment about not liking anything in magazines! sooo true! haha!!!

cotedetexas said...

on your comment
Mothology IS Vagabond Vintage - same company. Olivine carries their whole catalogue just about. the best!!!

Sanity Fair said...

Thanks for broadening my horizons! I never would have considered blue, but honestly, that robin's egg blue kitchen just makes me happy!

Beth Connolly said...

I love kitchens with pizazz and personally love painted cabinets. Another good way to bring blue into your existing brown/beige kitchen at little expense would be to bring in blue accessories as they did in the last kitchen-such as blue and white Chinese porcelain, an oil painting, bar stools with blue fabric, etc. As you know, blue and brown work great together. An Anne Harwell ginger jar print framed would be great. I have four of her pieces in my kitchen!

Things That Inspire said...

This is an interesting post for me at this point in the design of my new house, because something in me cries to not do the standard neutral kitchen! The Traditional Home kitchen really spoke to me - soft colors, but not just white (although, check the magazine - wasn't it Mark J. Williams?).

Jenn @ Dear Heart said...

So much to love here, but I have to say the darker blues in Elle Decor and HB are my faves. Very subtle.

Christy said...

I love blue - as you know - and think a blue kitchen is a great idea. The ones that lean more towards turquoise really sing to me - so gorgeous. I'd LOVE to have a kitchen like the Warner Miller one, one day. The bench and view, included!

Averill said...

Holly - you're so right. I'll make the change!

Christi said...

Blue is my favorite color. I especially like Frank Roop kitchen. Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

beautiful color!

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