Category Archives: Ideas

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

Adding warmth to interiors

Some industrial and residential developments feature natural concrete as an existing component of the design with floors, walls or support structures left exposed. Depending on the amount of exposed concrete it can be a challenge to bring warmth into the space. The first space by Dutch architect Nicolas Schuybroek features a home in Cap d’Antibes, a resort town in Southeastern France. The space features reclaimed wood on a custom coffee table and also as part of the accent wall. The Prouve dining chairs adorn a custom concrete dining table and the sofa is most likely by B&B Italia or Poala Buffa. The gunmetal finish black door hardware matches the existing window frame and is further tied together with the floor lamp and prouvet chairs.

With the amount of concrete it was essential that Schuybroek incorporate components that had warm hues such as off white and brown to offset the gray. To achieve the harmonious look of the ceiling, walls and build in unit it’s possible a form of concrete plaster was used. Plaster can be applied over bricks, cinder block or concrete foundations. It can drastically change the look and feel of existing concrete with a variety of textures, colors and molds, and be used virtually anywhere in a space including bathrooms and kitchens. The third image is a space designed by Jenny Dyer and also features a concrete accent wall. The natural colors on the lounge chairs, side table, rug and lamp are also effective in
bringing in warmth.
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Designing an entryway

Designing an entryway to a residence can define the style of an entire space. No longer just an area where footwear is put on, entryways can be bold, colorful, unique and have personality. Most commercial designers for hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, etc recognize how critical the “street” appeal is of an atrium or entrance, yet it is sometimes an afterthought in residential design. Because it is the first space guests usually see, having an entryway functioning solely as storage usually feels cluttered, unstylish and too casual. Walking into a house and seeing shoes, clothes hanging and/or open storage units can detract from design elements.

If it is feasible having a clean, open feeling entryway with one or two items such as a floating console, art, a pendant light, chandelier, bench, mirror or side table in combination with an accent color is usually sufficient. Finding the right items which are to scale can be tricky, as often entryways are not defined spaces, and if they are the size can vary.   Though it’s always better to keep the clothes and shoes where they belong, in the closet!

The first example illustrates an elegant balance of color, warmth, texture, harmony and personality in a relatively small, not so easily defined space.  This entryway incorporates glass, upholstery, a throw rug, wood, textiles and even a plant, yet doesn’t feel cluttered.  The second entryway pictured does an effective job incorporating artwork and sculpture in conjunction with the functionality of the console table. The third space is a unique combination of color, texture and organic materials.  It immediately introduces the guest to the style of the residence.  And in the last image, sometimes less is more. The captain’s mirror by BDDW is the perfect round accessory to balance a space with rectangular or square shapes. For more mirrors I love, click here.

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Kid’s Playroom Design (part II)

Following up on last week’s post on design for a kid’s playroom, here are some fun, funky and vibrant seating options.  Modular, upholstered seating works best so you do not have to worry as much about children getting hurt on the furniture while they are playing.  It’s nice to have accent colors be on the accessories or toys, rather than the walls, especially if they are the ever popular pink or baby blue, so that you do not get too tired of looking at it.  To make it more fun you can mix and match patterns, textures and colors.

It’s good to start with the base colors, i.e. neutral grays or earthy colors, and decide which accent colors you would like to incorporate.  The color options and patterns for kid’s furniture can be overwhelming.  Toys can always be stored and accessories changed, whereas repainting a kid’s playroom is more of a chore.  With the right design it is possible to have the playroom fit into the overall style of the home or apartment, so that is not just a door you shut when guests come over! These are the three options we’re considering for a playroom where we have an earth toned vintage moroccan rug.  In the first photo below the tufted, rounded shape of the sectionals is what makes this a fun choice for a playroom.  In the second image the flexibility of being able to move the seating around and re-arranging the color combinations and patterns create a youthful look.  The third image is a sectional from Lignet Roset, the Confluence by Pierre Paulin.

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childrens playroom design

Kid’s playroom design

Kid’s playroom design should integrate two essential elements, modularity and functionality.  Kids love to move things around, assemble and re-assemble, and be able to do a number of different activities.  Space permitting it’s a great idea to have separate areas for reading, playing with toys, watching tv and an open area.  Storage is key as well, many toy manufacturers now offer multi-functional toys such as letters that are storage boxes and seats with openings for toys.  If you have a playroom in your home or apartment, and would like it to serve as additionally as a guest room, it’s helpful to consider if you are putting the room together in a way where most of the toys can be hidden when guests visit.

Custom built-ins with enough drawers and closed cabinets, as well as bunches and toy chests, are helpful to accomplish this.  Bookshelves (out of reach of tiny hands!) can easily be swapped out between books and toys.  Fluffy carpets and cushy sofas like these togo sofas from Lignet Roset are a great place to start.  Here are some inspiration images to help you get started!

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