A mix of building materials marries blue-and-white accents for a fabulous family-friendly room.

I have always dreamed of a blue-and-white kitchen," explains Lyn McMillin. "I've collected this variety of china over the years and wanted a place to display it."

Typically, such a collection would make a simple starting point for traditional decorating. But once Lyn and her husband, David, voiced their desire for cypress cabinets and brick floors, they realized that they needed some design savvy to make the room work.

A Classic Combination
"The ingredients are time-honored elements," explains Ann Carter, the Jackson, Mississippi, interior designer challenged with the job. "Blue and white are so crisp, and the key is to choose shades that complement the warmth of cypress and brick."

Working with architects Mark Montgomery and Day Waggenspack from Baton Rouge, Ann was able to incorporate many decorative elements into the architecture to unify the color scheme and textures. She chose handmade blue-and-white tiles that appear more like pottery than ceramic for the backsplash. A handmade copper vent hood was designed to incorporate a line of the tiles; this literally blends the elements together.A variety of blue, white, and green fabrics also repeats the color scheme. "The room is cohesively put together," explains Ann, pointing out the pear design on the sitting area's ottoman and pillows. The colors also echo the warm tones in the old brick, further unifying the space.

Fit for Family and Friends
The long bar that separates the functions of the room provides ample dining space for the family of five. "We use the bar as much as the breakfast table," says Lyn.

"This room is a great place to start the day and gather before school and work," she continues. "Our children unwind here after school while I prepare dinner. Then afterward, we move to the sitting area to relax. The architects told me we would live here," she says, "and that's exactly what we do."

"This Kitchen Cooks" is from the December 2002 issue of Southern Living.