Monday, May 20, 2013

Creating a White Kitchen

"So we're getting another white kitchen?" Will asked me today, when we were playing with hardware at Rattlebridge Farm.  He was referring to kitchens in previous homes--a stucco Georgian and a "four square" ex-funeral parlor. One was all white, and the other was cream with black and green accents.
"Are you okay with that?" I asked.
"I'm going to trust you on this one," he said. "You're the cook!"
It might be a mistake to trust me with design.
Before we remodeled the kitchen, I elected to keep the original cabinets to keep the cost down, and because the cabinets were perfectly all right. No, the doors weren't inset. But I couldn't justify the expense. As it happened, we ran into a bit of a layout problem because A) the vent was aligned between the beams, but the range wasn't aligned (my contractor noticed this), and B) I wanted two ovens.

I know. Why all this fuss for a bit of a skewed arrangement and especially for two ovens?

My mom cooked memorable family meals with a single oven and no dishwasher. But my present home has two ovens, and they get daily use. I could foresee many arguments with Bandwidth.
Adding to the dilemma, the footprint was tight.

After a bit of shuffling, we revised the layout. 

On the stove wall, we planned a new hood, upper cabinets, and lowers, including two pull out spice drawers. The wall oven and microwave will be relocated and we'll have cabinets and a counter. The island will be extended so we can add counter stools.

The rest of the cabinets will stay, but they'll get new hardware.

The new cabinets arrived last week. I snapped a few grainy pictures with my iPhone. I've been
busy writing, and I've let things slide. However, home things always recharge my writing
batteries and vice versa, so I'm ready to plow ahead, even though a few things are up in the air.
Sorry for the grainy iPhone photos, but they offer a peek:

The top cabinet will have slots for my baking pans.

The appliances have been ordered. Now it's time to choose a cabinet color, which means I must also consider trim, wall color, knobs and pulls, material for counters (granite or marble), and back- splashes (subway tile or beadboard or a combination). I'd planned to use SW's "Creamy" on the cabinets, since I've used it everywhere else.

But the kitchen receives warm afternoon light, and "Creamy," which is a warm white, looks very  creamy.

Would it be a design gaffe to use a cool white in the kitchen when "Creamy" was in adjoining rooms?What to do.  When Will and I were building our present home, I visited Gardenweb's Kitchen forum (and many others) to educate myself about layout, appliances, hardware, paint colors, and everything else.

Hand's down, Benjamin Moore's "Simply White" seems to be the new favorite for a neutral, yet warm white. Many homeowners say that it has one drop of black. Others say it's crisp and reads white, yet it's not cold. Some people believe it has a very faint green tint.

At least I've narrowed my choices: "Simply White" vs "Creamy" for the cabinets.

I found a few photos at Houzz.

Here, the cabinets have been painted BM's "Simply White." The lovely wall color is Farrow and Ball's "Stoney Ground."

I found many examples of SW's "Creamy" on the cabinets. Here's one. It "reads" white. It would look very pretty with a warm granite. However, I'd planned to use a lighter granite, possible with black or gray movement or even (gulp) marble. I have not ruled out Absolute Black, which I used in another kitchen, and that stone was bulletproof. (I'll report soon about my adventures in the stone yard.)

SW "Creamy"

I was so confused, so I assembled a white kitchen dream book.

SW"s Eider White. Wall color is Sherwin Williams Anew Gray SW7030

Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Ultra Pure White UL260-14.

BM "Cloud White" on the cabs. Backsplash is Walker Zanger, Grammercy Park--color "Heirloom White" (2x6). Carrera marble on the counters.
Traditional Kitchen by Minneapolis Interior Designer RLH Studio

A few years ago, BM's "Cloud White" was a popular choice for white cabinets.
Maria Killam explains why it's no longer the "go-to" color.

I always smile when I see a "Something's Gotta Give" inspired kitchen, known on the Kitchen Forum as the OTK--One True Kitchen. Here, the cabinets are BM's Decorator's White, and black granite (Cambrian Black with an antique finish) was used on the counters, rather than soapstone. Details include the pro range, black hardware, and a 3 x 6 subway tile backsplash. BM's In this photograph, BM's "Woodlawn Blue" brightened the walls.

Yet I love the peace of an all-white kitchen. Details: 1 1/4" "Aubrey" knobs (Restoration Hardware). Cabinets are BM "Pure White " and walls are "Edgecomb Grey"; subway tiles are classic white.

A white and black kitchen with cool undertones.

This black-and-white kitchen feels warmer. It's another spin on the "Something's Gotta Give" look. BM "Cloud White" on the cabs. Absolute Black granite counters (they look honed). Subway tile is Ann Sacks' Cappricio White Gloss. Love the wall color,   B. Moore OC-140, "Morning Dew."
Traditional Kitchen by Seattle Architect Paul Moon Design

The hardware is from Restoration Hardware.
Traditional Kitchen by Seattle Architect Paul Moon Design

A previous kitchen was white-and-black, and it certainly had its pluses and minuses. Our present
kitchen cabinets have a maple-like finish.

Quite a change!
What's your favorite white paint? 


  1. Oh, shoot! I don't know what my favorite color of white is. Can I end a sentence with the word 'is'? :) Anyway, going through your remodeling with you is so much fun and your new home will be gorgeous! Your kitchen is going to be the most lovely!
    Hope you had a great weekend and you're always a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. Michael Lee, Your kitchen is going to be so perfectly gorgeous!!!! What a fabulous design, my friend.
    Our kitchen is white too and we love Benjamin Moore's Atrium White. It has a drop of pink in it and is very soft. I never look at my kitchen in any light and think the color looks hard!Picking paint colors is the hardest thing for me! It is difficult to choose the "right" color the first time!

    Please let us know what you decide. Exciting!

  3. I've alway wanted a b&w kitchen, so I went for it when we renovated. Counters are honed absolute black. Polished was out of the question I like the Something's Gotta Give vibe. Cabinets are SW Nuance.

  4. I love your current kitchen. It's so warm and inviting. White is too sterile for me.

  5. I had no idea there were so many different shades of white until we decided to repaint our white cabinets in our new kitchen to freshen them up. I feel your frustration. Our last kitchen cabinet color was called biscotti and it was a warm cream and so much easier to deal with than white.

    White is very frustrating. I've found that if you have anything white in your kitchen, such as an appliance, the cabinets should be close to that color. If you're starting from scratch with everything, the Creamy should be perfect and will go well with the rest of your house.

  6. I love a white kitchen. They just look clean and fresh like no others can. That was a fun kitchen tour!

  7. I love this recipe ! Reminds me of you making soap at home, Mom.
    And it's fun to see photos of your house there and see
    Dad in that comfy chair we sat in when we visited,
    attempting to use the slow internet :)

    I can't wait to hear how the soap turned out in terms
    of using it. Does it smell different since it is made with
    animal fat? Any other differences from vegetable-based soap?

    Love you!

  8. My favorite white is BM Ballet White. I love your kitchen. Christine Godfrey

    1. I am going to try BM Ballet White for sure. It is such a soft, yet complex color. Thanks for visiting!