Something about walking into a bright, white kitchen feels positive. It seems refreshing, like a bowl of fruit or a cold bottle of water from the fridge. Hamptons home designers, however, are stepping away from the look, in search of creative ways to make the spaces equally inviting, but a little more interesting.
Like with any trend, all-white kitchens were first big in magazines, and before long became the most common style on HGTV, Bravo and other television renovation shows. This led to an oversaturation in the last few years, according to area designers like Alicia Murphy, making the style played-out. “It’s so pervasive that it’s cheapened it,” she said. “It no longer looks youthful and fresh. It no longer seems current.”
It isn’t necessarily the most practical color either, as white paint, whether oil- or water-based, can turn yellow over time, Murphy added. Stains are also more likely to happen on white, sending surfaces even more off-color.
“I personally love the classic white kitchen, but with that there needs to be something that elevates it so that it doesn’t look like every other white kitchen,” Murphy said. Matte black or antique brass handles and knobs can add the perfect amount of spice, she said. “I think hardware is a huge part of a kitchen. It’s the jewelry.”
Architect Blaze Makoid, whose firm also specializes in interior design, said a kitchen doesn’t have to be all-white to have that clean, calming effect, it just shouldn’t be too busy. “We’re always trying to reduce the number of materials in our projects, both inside and out,” he said.
Makoid uses tricks including extending countertop materials to the backsplashes, for cohesiveness, and concealing appliances behind cabinet doors to provide a cleaner appearance.
Reclaimed wood and unique tree species, like walnut, are more contemporary, decor experts added. That being said, “I’m not doing anymore white oak floors,” designer Debra Geller chuckled.
If she does paint kitchen walls white, she uses other colors on the surfaces, at least. For example, for one recent client Geller installed a black coffered ceiling, grey countertops and a hand-painted, grey leather island. “When done correctly, black is drop-dead gorgeous,” she said.
However, Geller predicted the next trending decor color to be navy. It’s fitting for Long Island’s nautical eastern point, but she pictures more of a Parisian look. Think dark blue cabinets, grey counters and an eat-in nook with blush pink seat cushions. “I don’t mean navy-and-white sailor stuff,” Geller clarified. “I’m talking sophisticated.”