Ever since the early to mid 2000’s when Christopher Peacock made the ‘all white kitchen’ the go to look for a clean and bright kitchen renovation, I have been speculating about what would be next. I fell head over heels for the traditional look of white cabinets and soapstone counter tops for our Soho apartment back in 2006, but when every Verizon, Swiffer, and Bounty commercial started featuring adorable families in an all white kitchen – I knew deep down inside I wanted to do something different in my next kitchen space.Do you remember when we wrapped up our Country House kitchen renovation and then a second later I died a little because IKEA Canada named a black kitchen their “Kitchen of the Year?” I wasn’t surprised the following year when House Beautiful picked a super dark hue for their “2013 Kitchen of the Year.” They followed it up with an Onyx Kitchen of the Year in 2014. Recently, Lisa Mende created a black kitchen design for the Traditional Home and Junior League High Point Show House, and a few months ago Wall Street Journal proclaimed black kitchen cabinetry is on the rise. Black cabinets certainly are not over yet – perhaps it is a look that is just catching on?! The Rise of the Black Kitchen
1) Black may not be a good color choice for people who refuse to use latches and knobs. (Families with little ones may find black kitchen cabinets to be a maintenance nightmare.) It shows fingerprints. Granted, it is not as bad as stainless steel, but if you’re a stickler about a spotless kitchen it is something to keep in mind. Or, do what I do and use the latches and pulls every time you open and close the cabinets.
2) Invest in good hardware. Black cabinets are the perfect backdrop to make them steal the show. When I decorated our house I was so into the whole tone on tone look. I still am, but that is how I decided to use oil rubbed bronze hardware as opposed to something more flashy.
A lesson I learned: It was the end of our kitchen renovation and I went for a lower price point on my hardware. I have been regretting that decision ever since. I selected Deltana latches and pulls – I would NOT recommend them. I have had to replace every latch three times in just under four years. The springs inside break with regular use. Had I paid up to begin with, I’d likely still have my original set of high quality hardware. Instead, I bought sub-par quality latches that I got to replace multiple times – spending well more than I ever would have had I bought quality to begin with. (Besides, once you drill holes you are sort of stuck with the holes you have until you decide to refinish them!)
3) Counter-balance the black with lots of light color. In general when I design a kitchen I like to visually open up a space by having the horizontal planes in a room the same tone. They don’t have to be the exact same color, but the same intensity when you squint your eyes. In this instance, I have chalk white reflective floors and Carrara Marble counter tops that while having grey veins they basically read as white. In Soho, I did the opposite. The Soapstone counters were the same tone and intensity as the Jacobean stained wood floors.
4) Consider floor to ceiling light colored tile or light color walls. I tiled two entire walls (from floor to ceiling) with glossy, bright white subway tile. So even through there are not a ton of windows in our kitchen, light is reflecting and bouncing around everywhere.
5) Mirror is your friend. Do you remember when I lined the back of my glass display cabinet with mirror? Did you notice how Christopher Peacock used mirror for the back splash in his 2013 Kitchen of the Year? Figuring out ways to bounce light around a dark kitchen is key – especially if there is not a lot of natural light streaming through the windows. The New Old Stone House is quite a bit darker than The Country House – I can’t wait to show you how I have chosen to use mirror in the new kitchen!