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Kitchen Chronicles: Color inspirations

December 29, 2009

Initially, color seemed like one of those fun details that we could save till the end of the kitchen renovation process and have a little fun with. As it turns out, it’s a decision we need to make fairly early on in the process, since the color of the cabinets will drive a lot of design and cost decisions. (Specifically, we need to decide whether we’re doing painted cabinets or natural wood, since that in turn affects flooring choices and both affect the bottom line.) So I dug up several art pieces I’d been saving for a while and had them matted and framed over at Kuhl Frames + Art in Uptown. (Miraculously, I also got through the whole framing process without having to buy D. the Devo poster he’s been eyeing that’s part of the Lil Tuffy poster exhibit the shop is hosting right now! Yes, that would be the only poster in the whole show that costs more than all of our new appliances put together will…)

The first two pieces are old fruit labels that my aunt and uncle gave me years ago; I’ve been toting them around ever since (note the nice crease down the snow owl one!) I think they’ve been in no fewer than seven different apartments in five cities over the last decade—augh! So it’s long time they were framed. It’s hard to see, but the frames are actually a very deep brown with a light cream mat.

Fruit labels

The third piece is by Olympia-based artist Nikki McClure, who does crazy beautiful paper cuts. (I got this one at Issues off of Piedmont Avenue, where they usually have a nice assortment of her work.) Seriously, I’d wallpaper our house with these if D. didn’t have a say in it! (But he does, so we also have some old school Shepard Fairey from back when he was still counterculture. And also, cute photos of elephants with little children.)

Nikki McClure print

So obviously our kitchen is not going to be striped in red and black, but I do want a color scheme that this art can accent. We’re leaning strongly towards painted cabinets right now, and D. is adamant about not wanting a white kitchen, which is the more traditional “look” for an Arts and Crafts house. So instead, we’re exploring lighter creams, grays, or greens—plus a few natural woods—for the Shaker-style cabinets, probably with a wood floor and dark countertops. That actually gives me a nice palette to work with, since we can potentially keep the walls in the sage family, which makes the red and cream a perfect complementary color. Or we can use some yellows, which could look really nice with gray cabinets and red accents. I like the look of the green cabinets too (D.’s favorite is a color called “silver sage”) but it just seems like the kind of thing that we could get tired of in the years to come, and then we’re pretty locked into the color. Bleh.

Anyway, for now, I’m stalking Sunset, Apartment Therapy, Design Pad, and the many house blogs out there for some inspiration and ideas. Know anyone with good green, gray, or cream kitchen cabinets to look at?

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