Divine Design: Interior designer Candice Olson updates a kitchen for a couple that entertains both clients and friends at home.
Many people work part-time from their homes, and many also entertain clients in their homes. This can provide a more personal and comfortable business atmosphere in which to develop a working relationship.
Two of my clients had a large open kitchen where they most often found themselves entertaining both clients and friends. But the kitchen was badly outdated and needed a face-lift to project the right kind of professional image yet still be comfortable enough for casual dinners.
Space was not a concern. A separate eating area large enough to house a family-sized table was open to a spacious working area with plenty of counter space. A small island in the middle provided extra prep room. But the aesthetics hadn’t been updated in years: boring beige countertops, an outdated California ceiling fixture and busy flowered wallpaper.
The first thing to go was the wallpaper, which, with its small, busy pattern, was overwhelming. I repainted the walls a buttery cream color, which provided a serene base from which to work and highlighted the wood cupboards, tying them into the new color scheme.
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Many people don’t think of black when renovating a kitchen. Used properly, however, it can provide a great anchor in a large room and bring a sense of sophistication and style to any space.
The countertops were the first place I brought in black, and the change was immediate. To set off the newly contemporary feel, I created a backsplash out of inexpensive aluminum panels. The look was the same as if I had used stainless steel, but the cost was less than half. The panels were joined together with stylish chrome grommets in a linear pattern at each seam.
The California lighting fixture cast a harsh, unflattering fluorescent light. I took it down and installed recessed halogen lights strategically throughout the work area. The effect is a bright, down-to-business feeling during the day and a moody party sense at night.
The center-island countertop was replaced with a black countertop that extended a few feet beyond the original size. This allowed a breakfast bar with stools to be put in at the end.
I paid special attention to the large dining table and area. I anchored the eating area with a stunning black and burnt cream area rug, which one would think too formal for a kitchen, but it works beautifully. I kept their old dining table and chairs and repainted just the spindles and arms black to tie them in with the other black accents in the space.
Simple, unfussy Roman blinds in a black and cream check covered the large windows that faced the yard. The final touch was a black candelabra-style chandelier that I centered over the table.
What really gave this kitchen its personality and panache was the use of black in the color scheme. Don’t be afraid to try it in a room in your home, but be sure to use it wisely and sparingly. A sophisticated and stylish space is the goal — not Dracula’s castle.
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