A case can be made (and won!) for the predominant and monochromatic use of white in interiors (particularly in the right Parisian or Scandinavian home it seems). I've been a long time proponent of it from the yellow-y "neutral" walls of my various rented loft apartments where I longed for clean white whites.
But once we moved into a home with my dream all-white kitchen (white walls and trim, white subway tiles, white farmhouse sink, white carrara marble counters and white cabinets) I was itching to change it. It was the single-most defining reason why we bought our home, we compromised on other items on the wish list (including size of home) for this single room, and here, I wanted to change it!
Thankfully, I didn't want (or need, thank you previous awesome owner!) to change much - just the color of the cabinets.
We still wanted an airy and light-filled room but we wanted a little more contrast. My feeling was the carrara marble countertops, the subway tiles and the white farmhouse sink were all simply disappearing into one big wall of white. I wanted those items to be more noticeable and to stand out a little more.
We used a very very light gray (SW Snowfall) - almost white but not - on the walls in our living room and hallways and ended up carrying that over into the little paintable wall space we had in our kitchen. This proved enough to pop the subway tiles. Then we chose a slightly darker, but still quite light gray (SW GRAY CLOUDS) for the cabinets and that is what really did the trick. Suddenly the white details (counters, sink, tile) stood out but we successfully maintained the airy and bright feeling we thought we would get from the white. The new kitchen feels both cozy and bright and modern.
We made a controversial decision to use satin finish instead of semi-gloss on the cabinets. The primary reason to go with semi in the kitchen is cleanability. We took a gamble on satin (still cleanable but less so) to achieve a more matte or flat look that we desired.
It is so far proving a good choice. The luster of the counter, sink and tiles really come to life against these cabinets. We couldn't be happier with the result visually. Our kitchen is cleaned regularly and the cabinets get a wipe down every couple weeks and so far all is well with the satin finish. But, I'll report back next Summer after a year with a toddler.
As is the case with all the main living areas of this home, wall art is still needed but we couldn't be happier with this room. We are using the color green in this space as well. We included decorative plates and live plants, along with some delicate green fleur-de-lys glasses from Anthropologie, which has all helped to make this the hub of our house.
all photos by Suzuran Photography