Text by: Tiffany Carboni
What’s a life if it’s not lived colorfully? That’s the motto by which the owners of this house in Winnetka, IL live. In their previous home’s kitchen, they let the walls do the proverbial talking, while the cabinets played it safe. But with this iteration, the homeowners wanted to take it to the next level by allowing the kitchen’s materials to do the expressing.
“The challenge,” explains the project’s interior designer Kathy Walder Edwards, principal of KRW Design Associates in Barrington, IL, “was finding the right balance of color.”
The homeowners hired Edwards for her adept know-how in achieving such harmony, a skill in which there’s no exact science. “It’s tricky because there are a lot of moving parts in a kitchen design, and they often require long lead times,” the designer explains. “You’re not sure what the final picture is going to look like until everything’s in place.”
The first step was getting the cabinetry, which had to be ordered many weeks before the homeowners had committed to their overall color scheme. To buy time, the team decided to have the lower perimeter cabinets from Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry painted in a distressed black to ground the room in preparation for the impending bold hues. Edwards simultaneously ordered the upper cabinets and built-in hutch as unfinished pieces.
When the cabinets arrived, Edwards brought in a painter for the real fun to begin. “Having a painter on site, we were able to apply as many shades as we wanted until we got the right ones that worked with the room’s light,” she notes.
They choose a custom apple green hue for the upper cabinets, a harvest wheat shade for the hutch, and raincoat yellow for the adjoining office area. No matter the weather outside, the cheery colors inside evoke a perpetual state of warmth.
To reflect the room’s dazzling hues, the island—also by Plain & Fancy—is made with stainless steel panels in accordance with the appliances. Edwards carefully tied the steel back to the rest of the cabinets by framing it in hefty distressed black corbels. The island doubles as a generous breakfast bar and features stone-colored stools, an under-counter fridge, a Franke Kitchen Systems sink with a Newport Brass faucet, and numerous drawers for a variety of storage options.
Atop all the cabinets is Calacatta Gold marble, which is also used as the backsplash. The marble, grass cloth wallpaper, and oak flooring, offers a calm, neutral spot for the eyes to rest. “That’s important with a room with this many bright colors,” explains Edwards.
Living colorfully is a beautiful thing—so long as it’s done with just the right balance.