Medium Gray Color in Kitchens

Elements such as millwork, cabinetry and built ins often comprise large portions of space in residential projects. Particularly in kitchens and large scale wall units or bookshelves, it can be difficult committing to a certain color, style or finish. While darker living rooms, kitchens and dark bathrooms can look elegant and represent a distinct contrast from other parts of an interior, natural lighting, size or layout can often preclude this as an option. Dark accent walls are usually relegated to walls which do not necessitate storage components.

On the flipside there is often a sense that selecting clean, light, modern cabinetry or wall units will leave a living room or kitchen feeling cold or colorless. If you would like to move up a bit from light, neutral colors, here are some beautiful kitchen examples which utilize medium gray color palettes to cultivate a delicate balance of warmth, light and functionality. In the first example the designer selected a medium gray brown color for the cabinetry, medium brown flooring and brown accents. The darker accents are offset by the carrara white marble backsplash and countertop which brightens up the space. The gray color in the backsplash matches the cabinet colors.

Over all the kitchen is has a balanced design where no single element dominates the feel. The second kitchen incorporates a similar combination of colors. As the space is small it still feels open, warm and inviting. The brown accent wall, accent wood elements and dark gray accent lights provide a nice counterbalance with the medium gray colored cabinetry.

Often when new residential buildings are completed, particularly in New York City where it is very expensive to build, kitchens, flooring, fixtures and bathrooms feel modern, cold and functional. Developers will usually not install high or even medium end kitchens due to the expense, at usually between 50-150k/ per kitchen depending on size, it is easy to see why.

medium gray color in kitchens

medium gray color in kitchens

By |2019-06-03T15:14:36-04:00October 3rd, 2013|Ideas, Kitchen|

Space Planning in Chelsea Duplex (part II)

Following up on my space planning post from last week, here are a few additional photos of the chelsea duplex I worked on several years ago.  The main level featured a bedroom, and a kitchen extending into an open layout with the dining room and living room.   A nice sized terrace adjoined the living room on the wall near the fireplace.  On the stairway leading up to the master bedroom we designed a custom built in for books and storage.  An open layout is increasingly popular space planning option in residential units in New York City.  Natural light is an essential component in higher end real estate and developers are seeking to maximize value by creating larger open living areas so potential purchasers have the option to entertain.




By |2019-06-03T16:05:41-04:00June 10th, 2013|Dining room, Kitchen, Living room|

Bringing warmth into Kitchens

Bringing a warm feel into kitchens can often be challenging due to the preponderance of appliances and cabinets.  Often clients will opt for a clean, modern, aesthetic which is easy to maintain but if not designed correctly can feel cold.  Wood floors, metal and mixing similar tones in kitchens will help take attention away from appliances and cabinets. 

In the first example the designer selected a grayish brown color for the cabinetry and steel hardware which complemented the stainless steel oven.  The countertops on the right and the lighting above the stove are also stainless steel and add to the cohesion of the design. 

In the second example a textured wall offsets the stainless steel fridge, and the wood flooring along with the carpet pull everything together.  In the third example, the cabinets were painted different colors, and the island was a hue between the wood flooring and the cabinetry on the back wall, so it doesn’t feel nearly as much of a centerpiece as if it were white and matched the cabinets on the back wall. The trick is, even though cabinetry and appliances are such a large part of kitchen design, to incorporate enough other elements so that they do not dominate the look of the space.

kitchen design

kitchen design

kitchen design

kitchen design


By |2019-06-04T17:05:07-04:00April 24th, 2013|Eclectic, Ideas, Kitchen|

Incorporating stainless steel in kitchens

Stainless steel is no longer relegated to appliance surfaces as it is now being installed on counter tops, cabinet doors and backsplashes.  Backsplashes can be smooth, have different sized tiles and shapes, and can have different colors incorporated.  Due to its resistance to heat, water and bacteria, stainless steel is the preferred finish for both professional chefs and in residential kitchens. 

Stainless steel can also function as a clean, contemporary design element.  The one major drawback is the need to clean fingerprints, though generally this problem will be less prevalent on cabinet doors and backsplashes than countertops. It is a fairly low maintenance finish as warm water with a small amount of detergent is enough for cleaning it.  For more stubborn stains use a soft, dry cloth with lemon juice, glass cleaner or white vinegar to wipe stubborn smudges and stains.

kitchen stainless steel counter tops

kitchen - stainless steel appliances and backsplash

kitchen stainless steel kitchen cabinets

kitchen stainless steel cabinet fronts

By |2019-06-05T18:31:47-04:00March 22nd, 2013|Contemporary, Eclectic, Kitchen|


Following up on an earlier article on designing with blacks or dark grays, another option is to limit the darker colors to just the flooring and/or accent pieces. Accent walls are also a possibility but it really depends on the layout of the room, the direction of the natural light and the function of the wall in question. Dark accent walls are particularly effective in workstation areas because they limit the reflectivity of a lighter wall color when staring at a computer for extended periods of time.

The downside to dark wood floors is that they need to be cleaned frequently. A cerused finish on dark flooring is a great option if you are concerned about maintenence. If you have existing wood floors and do not have the budget to purchase new flooring, they can always be sanded and refinished in a darker color which will completely transform the look of the space.dark wood floors _ cerused oak

dark wood floors _ living room

black wood floors_ kitchen

dark wood floors _ study & kitchen

By |2019-06-09T13:45:08-04:00February 20th, 2013|Dining room, Entry, Floor covering, Kitchen, Materials & Finishes|


Should you purchase a marble countertop for your kitchen?
Kitchens are often a busy area of a residence and it can be tricky finding the right balance of style and functionality.  My first post on countertops touched briefly on marble but I wanted to elaborate since it is a popular question.  

The main types of natural stone available for kitchen countertops include granite, stone, soapstone, slate, marble, limestone and lava stone.  If you are considering marble as an option there are several pros and cons.  On the plus side no two pieces of marble look the same, and you will able to instantly add some texture and organic design to your kitchen.  Many serious bakers will dedicate a portion of the kitchen counter to rolling out pastry, which marble is the perfect surface for.  Marble is also resistant to heat and cracks and is regarded as extremely durable.

On the flipside marble is also a porous material, so you will need to be careful when cooking and entertaining.  Marble can be stained with wine, oil or highly pigmented liquids on the surface.  Acidic foods such as tomatoes or lemons will cause what’s known as acid etching. Marble also has a low resistance to abrasion and will scratch fairly easily.  Light colored marble countertops tend to be more difficult to maintain and dark colored countertops will more readily show the scratches.

Here are some helpful tips I always pass along to clients who opt for a marble countertop.
1) Use a non abrasive neutral detergent to clean marble.
2) Try to clean up spills as soon as possible to avoid any staining.
3) Have the marble sealed.

kitchen design with white marble countertops

white marble countertops

By |2019-06-11T17:17:23-04:00February 5th, 2013|Contemporary, Kitchen, Kitchen Design|


Eclectic design is a mixture of styles, periods and unique elements in a space. The most effective eclectic design fuses the right balance of disparate elements into a cohesive design. When done well the interior will look memorable and follow a uniform style.

If too many items from different styles are put together without a thorough understanding of proportion, scale, color and balance, the space will feel more like a collector’s showcase of items instead of an interior professionally designed.

Today eclectic interior design often connotes a modern, clean style mixed with vintage elements. Here are some examples of an effective eclectic mix of design elements.

eclectic interior design

eclectic dining room

By |2019-06-11T17:33:29-04:00January 25th, 2013|Dining room, Eclectic, Furniture, Kitchen, Office, Retail|
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