For California designer Caitlin Moran, color was key in renovating a 1920s Dallas kitchen for a childhood friend and her family. “I encourage clients to look beyond a white kitchen,” says Moran, who came up with a budget-friendly update that was more than a paint job but did not require a complete gut. The result: a richly hued space that only looks like an extreme makeover.
1. Colorful Tile
With gray Victorian-inspired cabinets, the original kitchen was “pretty cold and sad,” Moran says. It did have one asset, though: a colorful Moorish-style tile backsplash. “It’s something I totally would have picked!” says the designer, who saved time and money by keeping the tile as a focal point. To avoid covering it with a range hood, Moran opted to install a downdraft version behind the range.
2. Colored Cabinets
One of Moran’s favorite hues is Kitty Gray by , a rich blue-green she used on the cabinets. “It works well with the composite stone surfaces that are popular in kitchens,” she adds.
3. Finish First
The fixtures hanging over the island, from the Urban Electric Co., have an aged-zinc finish. “We stayed away from anything that looked too new and shiny,” Moran says. “This is an older Tudor-style house, so even with the update, I wanted it to feel tied to the architecture.”
4. Custom Hardware
Instead of installing brand-new cabinetry, Moran kept the interior boxes but swapped out the “fussy” old cabinet fronts for ones that were cleaner in profile. She added decorative toe kicks “to give a more furniture-like feeling than standard Shaker cabinets suggest,” she says. Taking the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling means extra storage space rather than an empty “dust zone.”
5. Deep-Hued Countertops
“There was some hesitation that the dark countertops combined with the cabinet color might be too much, but it actually made the room feel warmer,” says Moran of the quartz surface in Raven. For the island, she selected a sink and faucet. “The spout has a vintage quality to it that mirrors the cabinet hardware,” she says.
6. Spill-Proof Furniture
Moran turned an adjacent room into a breakfast nook, adding a built-in bench with drawers underneath that slide out for linen storage. She had the fabric on the chairs laminated — a favorite trick for “bullet-proofing” textiles in spill-prone areas. A fabric covers the banquette. Chandelier, .
7. Open Doors
Double doors — one of three sets on that wall — lead out to the patio. When all six doors are open, they create an indoor/ outdoor living area.
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This story was originally published in the March 2018 issue of CQ.