Designers:Adam and Amber Ford (also the homeowners), through Standard Kitchen and Bath
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Size: 90 square feet (8.3 square meters)
White cabinets: The cabinets are simple Shaker-style units. The top color is White Dove by Benjamin Moore. The bottom color is Pigeon by Farrow & Ball.
The finishes: Brass cabinet hardware and schoolhouse light fixture. “The two cabinet colors are cool colors,” says homeowner Adam Ford, who, along with wife Amber, designed the space through Standard Kitchen and Bath. “The brass along with the wood — floors, window, open shelves — brings in a really nice amount of warmth to keep the space feeling comfortable and warm.”
The couple wanted a space that felt “calm, cheerful and open,” Ford says. “There was also definitely a goal to achieve a sophisticated, classic look. The space before we renovated had dated cabinets, linoleum floors, ’70s lighting and peach walls. It felt very small and dark. We felt that bringing in fresh, simple colors, changing the flooring to wood found in the rest of the home, knocking out the ceilings to take the height up a few inches and adding classic lighting really upped the overall feel and sophistication of the space. We also felt that bringing in open shelves to open up the space was a game-changer. Amber attended culinary school and cooks a lot in the space.”
Designer secret: “The kitchen is obviously pretty small, and felt very claustrophobic when we bought the home,” Ford says. In redesigning it, “we decided to have open shelves installed as opposed to upper cabinets on the left side. This drastically opens the space up and allows the kitchen to feel much more spacious. We decided to use upper cabinets on the right side just for the practicality and storage.”
“Uh-oh” moment: “After removing the drop popcorn ceiling, it became evident that the ceiling was sagging as a result of a wall removal by a previous homeowner that wasn’t up to code,” Ford says. “This discovery explained why there was a small partial wall that ran through the middle of the previous cabinets. While this did require some structural work and the addition of a beam, it also allowed for the removal of that partial wall that was disrupting the function of the kitchen.”
Countertops: Ella quartz, Cambria; wall paint: Distant Grey, Benjamin Moore; lighting and hardware: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.; appliances: GE; bar stools: Serena & Lily; faucet: Delta; sink: Kohler
Designers: Brooke Murphy of Union + Dixie and Ashley Mills of The Handmade Home
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Size: 266 square feet (24.7 square meters); 19 by 14 feet (5.7 by 4.2 meters)
White cabinets: Painted in Shaded White by Farrow & Ball. “I think technically they are inset doors, but they have that rounded edge that makes them project out,” designer Brooke Murphy says.
The finishes: Gold and brass range hood. Unlacquered brass faucet. Brass cabinet pulls. “I think I have a mild diagnosable obsession with metals and mixing them, but brass for sure is the top dog of all the luscious metals,” Murphy says. She loves how brass patinates. “It’s so rich and elegant and such a classic material. What I love about brass and white is that all shades of white work well with brass.”
Other special features: Wood beams from the 1800s. Terra-cotta and wood lattice floor. Skylights. Shiplap walls. Soapstone perimeter countertop. Lunar Eclipse marble island countertop. Four ovens for serious cooking and entertaining at large parties.
“Uh-oh” moment: “Our ‘uh-oh’ moment was when we realized that we couldn’t afford the original kitchen design that I had thought of,” Murphy says. “Originally, we were going to go outside the original footprint of the house and expand the square footage, but once the bids came in, it was about $250,000 over what we could afford! Uh-oh. So we put our thinking caps on and came up with a design that stayed within the original footprint of the house. And without a doubt, the second design was the better design. We would’ve never come up with the better idea if we had all the money in the world, and that’s kinda fun.”
Paint by Farrow & Ball: Strong White (walls), Skimming Stone (trim) and Shaded White (cabinets); wood beams: Evolutia; hood: custom, Legacy Metals; cabinets: Julian & Sons; light fixtures: Currey & Co.; terra-cotta tile: Renaissance Tile & Bath; faucet: unlacquered brass finish, Newport Brass
Also on the team:Huseby Homes (contractor)
Designer: Hope Pinc
Location: Carlsbad, California
Size: 315 square feet (29.2 square meters)
White cabinets: Alder wood with Shaker-style doors in a white finish.
The finishes: Brushed-brass hexagonal handles and knobs. Wire-framed stools in brass lacquer. Antique brass candlesticks on open shelving. “I felt that the brass added a perfect elegance and fun contrast to the otherwise simple white cabinets,” designer Hope Pinc says.
Other special features: Quartz countertops. Black-and-white cement tile backsplash. The backsplash tile “really added a fun hypnotic rhythm to the space, creating a bold feature but in a very quiet nature because it was used sparingly,” Pinc says.