Industry News - Kitchens That Stylishly Mix Dark and Light

While the latest Houzz research shows that white is still the most popular colour for kitchen cabinets, Sara Malek Barney of Bandd Design in Austin, Texas, is seeing an uptick in requests for something different. “Our clients have been interested in dark, deep tones for their kitchens lately but seem a little hesitant at first to incorporate them into their home, probably because all-white kitchens were so popular over the last few years,” she says.

For a recent kitchen renovation, she skipped the all-white approach for a palette that mixes dark teal cabinets with White Oak cabinets and beige stone. That kitchen project is featured here, along with other kitchens that showcase equally moody colour palettes.

1. Deep Teal, Light Wood, Beige and Brass

Designer: Sara Malek Barney of Bandd Design
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 500 square feet (46 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. Update the kitchen to give it a more modern and transitional look while incorporating elements that highlight the family’s personality. “This original layout wasn’t a good use of the space, so we changed the footprint to make it more functional,” Malek Barney says. “There’s a lot of wood throughout the client’s house, which made it feel very heavy and dark. We wanted to lighten up the wood elements and the overall textures in the kitchen so that the space would feel more airy and fresh.”

Palette mix. White Oak cabinets and accent beams. Dark teal cabinets (Cascades by Sherwin-Williams). Beige tones in the stone wall, White Princess quartzite countertops and floor tile. Brass cabinet hardware and satin-bronze faucets. “We wanted to highlight the natural textures and elements throughout this home, so we chose to incorporate more organic features into this kitchen, such as the White Oak cabinetry and quartzite countertops,” Malek Barney says. “We wanted to complement the strong wood and stone elements with a bold, modern touch through painting the cabinets a deep teal colour, while also giving a subtle nod to the owner’s Latin roots.”

Designer tip. “I personally feel like the custom adjustments that we made to the KitchenAid refrigerator really bring this room’s whole look together,” Malek Barney says. “The fridge on its own has just a standard stainless steel appearance. We added matching trim and paint to the fridge to make it blend with the cabinetry, while also adding custom mirrors to the doors and brass hardware to give it a more sophisticated look. I think that this decision really elevated the space and made it feel more cohesive and one of a kind.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “This project was actually the result of an ‘uh-oh’ moment,” Malek Barney says. “Although the client had been thinking about remodeling their kitchen beforehand, the reason that they finally pulled the trigger on it was because there was a leak in their ice machine and it made all of their kitchen cabinetry and flooring leading into their powder bathroom moldy. Luckily, they were able to have their remodel covered by insurance due to the damage from the leak.”

2. Black, Medium-Tone Wood, White and Brass

Designer: Allison Lind Interiors
Location: Lake Tapps, Washington
Size: 600 square feet (56 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. A kitchen that would feel both classic and modern. “They wanted something that felt fresh and new, but would age over time and not feel too trendy,” says designer Allison Lind, whose clients found her by searching for pros on Houzz.

Palette mix. Walnut cabinets teamed with black stained Oak island base, black paneled fridge and cabinetry, and black custom range hood. Brass cabinet hardware, faucets, shelf brackets, counter stool legs and range hood accent. “We loved the warmth and character of Walnut, and felt it was complemented by the drama of a black stained Oak, which was rift-sawn grain, so it varied in texture from the walnut as well,” Lind says. “The brass was an obvious choice for glamour and warmth.”

Other special features. Marble-look quartz countertops. Concrete-look quartz backsplash on stove wall. Calacatta marble tile backsplash on bar sink wall.

Designer tip. “The important part of this room’s design was thinking about how the family really would use the space, not just designing from an aesthetic standpoint,” Lind says. “They’re a family of five — three young kids — so it’s going to take a beating. Hence the quartz counters that replicate the look of marble without the maintenance of it. It’s also an open floor plan, off the living and dining areas, so it was important that it worked aesthetically with those spaces. So instead of making bold design choices, like a busy or bold pattern backsplash, we opted to add little details, like the black stained Oak cabinet panels placed in a way so the grain makes a chevron pattern upon closer look, or the brass Schluter details, or custom black-and-brass hood vent.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “One issue was the bar counter at the island,” Lind says. “The homeowners wanted a place where their family and kids could gather and hang in a casual setting — casual meals together, homework spot. In order to make it large enough to seat six, it’s a big slab, which means heavy slab. Our original design was for a live-edge tabletop, but we just couldn’t find the right piece that would work. After months of searching for the perfect slabs, we gave up and opted for a complementing quartz to work with the main counters throughout. Our original design also included a beautiful glass table base, but due to weight restrictions and the fact it probably wasn’t the best call for three kids, we had a custom metal base crafted instead.”

3. Black, Light Wood and White

Designer: Sandra Mahoney of Create Design Build
Location: Medina, Minnesota
Size: 252 square feet (23 square meters); 14 by 18 feet

Builder’s request. Designer Sandra Mahoney wanted to give this model home transitional style that would feel like a departure from the more contemporary styles of other model homes in the area.

Palette mix. Sleek black veneer cabinets mixed with White Oak cabinets with a slightly gray wash. White quartz countertops and white tile backsplash. Black cabinet hardware. The floor is also White Oak. “We encourage the use of mixed materials, and in taking the time to plan and get the balance right,” Mahoney says. “The repeated use of colours, design elements and materials, used in the proper scale, is key. In this home we used contrast without it feeling too stark or commercial.”

Other special features. “This home is very personal, inspired from a home I wanted to design for myself,” Mahoney says. “I had been scouring images and clipping files for inspiration. My favorite find was a contemporary room screen that had a metal header. That became the inspiration for the use of metal caps on the ends of columns and beams for my design. It proved to be one of my favorite features of this home and was a design element and application I had never seen before, and a fresh alternative from the I-beam designs you often see.”

Designer tip. “When combining multiple colours and elements, balance and simplicity are vital to good design,” Mahoney says.

“Uh-oh” moment. “I walked into the kitchen and saw the collar for my beam, and the template on the ceiling was not centered on my open cabinet design but had been spaced evenly as the plan specified,” Mahoney says. “Sometimes things look different on-site. The builder was on vacation, and I quickly called the trim carpenter and builder and told them we needed to move the beam to be centered on the open cabinet.”

Article provided by, New This Week: 3 Kitchens That Stylishly Mix Dark and Light, April 3, 2020

 Kitchens That Stylishly Mix Dark and Light



Powered by Innovasium