Time for a Little Color

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When John and I finished a design session with Emily and Yiannis recently, we all ended up in the kitchen.  They had just moved into their first apartment together in Brooklyn and sought our guidance.

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It was in the kitchen, after a glass of wine, that we cooked up the idea to make their place our temporary home.

Having unpacked only some of their boxes, Emily and Yiannis were going away, with no time to set up house.  So, while they went traveling to Portugal and Greece (Yiannis’ home country), John, Jack, and I occupied their place for a few days to check out the Brooklyn scene, and implement some of our design ideas.

The kitchen is one of three rooms we tackled.  It is large by NYC standards and has good natural light,


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but it also has some design challenges:

  • the finishes in the room are old and the space looks a little tired — the walls are tiled and painted white, with some black tile accents, cabinets and furniture are wood-toned, and so is the floor (the room lacks color)
  • a large built-in hutch is awkward to access (due to the location of a big refrigerator) and has open shelving (with potential to be unsightly if items are not thoughtfully displayed)
  • it’s a rental apartment, and the improvement budget is very limited

We soon got creative and came up with some low cost solutions.

John organized the hutch, moving pantry items into closed storage, and displaying dish ware and glassware on the open shelves.


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Next to the stove, he installed a wall caddy to hold cooking oils and spices within easy reach.


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The caddy is designed to hang in a shower, but when I saw it in a local store, I knew it would be a great solution for the narrow space between the stove and sink.

OK, it’s time for a little COLOR!

To keep on budget, we had to add color accents strategically.  I bought a quart of Benjamin Moore “Cool Blue” in a high gloss finish.


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John painted two of the kitchen chairs…


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the round frame of a wall clock…


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and a picture frame.


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Then we took a refreshment break while waiting for the paint to dry.


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During our break, John saw decorative potential in the extra leaves for the kitchen table that were leaning against the fridge (and in the way).


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Relocated to a ledge above the fridge and stove,


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the slatted panels look great and provide visual balance to the wood cupboards located further along the wall.

We used the freshly painted frame for a photo of an olive merchant that Yiannis had in the apartment.


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The framed photo introduces the blue accent color and adds another layer of interest to this wall.

And in this view, the blue painted clock, a table runner and paper napkins, all from IKEA, compliment the two painted chairs.


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We considered getting a blue accent collar for Jack, but thought we had better tally our expenditure first.

$20  Paint
8  Frame
11  Clock
18 Wall Caddy
7 Table Runner
2 Paper Napkins

$66 TOTAL

We decided not to splurge on the collar (sorry Jack) and instead turned our attention to an ironing board found in a back room; it was already blue at no charge.  We knew the perfect spot for it in the kitchen.


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Jack thinks we added just the right amount of color for Emily and Yiannis.  It transformed the kitchen they left behind…

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into one that would be a welcomed sight for a couple traveling home from the Greek islands.

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live. enjoy. repeat.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • You match the client’s palette to your aesthetic well. You don’t impose your signature colors on their environment. Some designers seem to put their current trend stamp (like a single grey wall) on every job.

    • Really appreciate your comment Joachim. Our aim is to enhance our client’s space and their experience of it – not to leave our mark behind. Sometimes our intuition is spot on… check out our post Louise’s Kitchen Goes Festive. When our client showed us paint chips she was considering, we showed a color sketch I had prepared – and it was clear great minds think alike!

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