Accent Your Kitchen

Who says cabinets have to be white? Brighten your space with touches of color.
Julie Feagin Sandner

When you think about it, there isn't much wallspace in a kitchen full of cabinets. So if you want a colorful room, you'll have to look to the cabinets as the source. That's exactly what architect Mark Maresca did at the Helmers residence in Greenville, South Carolina.

Inspired by Color
Glenn and John Helmers didn't need persuading from Mark to paint their cabinets. Glenn has always been drawn to color, especially blues and aquas, but it was difficult to find the perfect hue for their kitchen. In the end they chose the shade from one of Glenn's favorite sweaters.

Touches of Black
A bold color such as aqua creates a strong visual impact. To avoid a busy look, Mark paired the strong hue with black accents, creating a crisp and clean contrast.

The floor's oversize checked print set on the diagonal anchors the room. In addition, it acts as an axis to help organize the space, balancing the large ebony-stained island and black granite countertops.

This stylish kitchen is also practical for a large family. The lower cabinets contain pull-out drawers that make items easily accessible for everyone.

 

Ample Storage
Due to the number of windows, there aren't a lot of upper cabinets, but no storage space is really lost. The large island compensates for it. Functional cabinets on the front of the island provide space for items that are used less frequently.

Furniture Style
Mark designed the island to look like a piece of furniture. The substantial turned legs are in perfect proportion with the large piece. A honed white marble countertop, paired with the ebony-stained wood, creates a nice sharp look against the surrounding colorful cabinetry.

The base of the cabinets, or the toe kick, also bears furniture-style legs. This simple detail makes the cabinets appear to be freestanding.


If you're not quite ready to paint your cabinets a bold color, here are a few other ways to introduce a favorite hue into your kitchen.

 

Colorful Additions
Look for fun accessories to jazz up drab countertops. Don't just hit kitchen shops; we found colorful pots in a garden-supply store. Plant herbs or small citrus trees in them for an additional burst of color, or fill them with utensils for a pretty and functional decoration.

A band of turquoise brings subtle color to simple canisters. The look is complete when paired with a coordinating blue bowl filled with apples. The canisters are porcelain reproductions of the more expensive antique enamel-style ones made in France. A blue bread tin brightens a drab corner without a huge investment. An everyday tool such as the complementary aqua colander becomes a stylish accessory.

Switching cabinet hardware benefits a kitchen in two ways. These simple knobs not only update the look, but they also offer a a touch of elegance. A knob was installed in the middle of each center cabinet to achieve visual balance.

Choosing the Right Color
If you are considering a bold paint color, make sure it's one you love. Everyone has a favorite color. Just look in your closet; it's probably a shade you wear often. Then head to your paint store to have them mix a custom hue to match your favorite.

Always start with a quart of paint to test on a wall before you commit to an entire room. If the color is too dark or too light, take it back to the store so they can adjust it accordingly, but make sure you write down the new formula so you can have it mixed again.