How Arlyn Is Working With—Not Against–The Dark Cherry Cabinets In Her Rental Kitchen

The 12 months was 2004. My dad and mom had been transforming the circa Nineteen Nineties kitchen in my childhood house, full with honey oak cupboards and beige tile counter tops (initially a peach Formica). Many journeys by way of IKEA and unnamed kitchen showrooms later, my dad and mom declared my thought of going for a (gasp) white kitchen as unfit for his or her design aesthetic—”White kitchens won’t ever catch on,” mentioned my mother—and went the way in which of the penultimate in early aughts sophistication: cherry wooden Shaker fronts, black veined granite, 1-inch sq. multi-color glass tile backsplash. Certainly, this might all the time be a traditional, yeah? Properly…everyone knows how that story unfolds (did somebody say “white kitchen”?). 

Quick-forward to 2023, the place I discover myself face-to-face with a blast from a not-so-welcomed design previous. You guessed it, people (most likely since you learn this submit’s title): The cupboards in my new house’s kitchen are cherry. And whereas there’s nothing inherently unsuitable with the house—it’s pretty massive, it has format for workflow, it will get good mild and has a breakfast nook—it’s actually simply not my type. Principally, it’s fairly devoid of character, uninspiring, and fairly 2004. 

If any of this sounds acquainted and also you’ve been battling with what to do in your dated house, whether or not you hire or personal, I’m right here to carry your hand and stroll us each gently into the good kitchen refresh all of us deserve. Whereas that is my journey, and the design concepts I’ve landed on might not be just right for you particularly, I hope you could possibly pull some inspiration for your self if wanted from how I’m bringing the room nearer to “good” and “fashionable” and “charming”…all these issues all of us need our houses to be. 

At first, I considered doing by far the best and most cost-effective factor: That’s to do ::drum roll:: …………. nothing. Charles can be completely content material if we went this route. The truth is, I’m pretty sure he has no clue I’m even penning this submit or speaking about any tasks on this house other than window remedies and discovering a desk and chairs. If he heard me even utter the phrases “peel-and-stick” flooring OR backsplash—or worst but…armoire/china cupboard—effectively, I’m undecided what the state of our marriage would seem like. After which he’d ask how a lot it was all going to value (completely truthful). 

Whereas the $0-do-nothing plan is engaging, as quickly as I began envisioning what it may seem like with only a small funding and some weekends’ value of labor, I obtained that little bouncing glow within me that occurs when a brand new design mission is afoot. And I merely can’t ignore a bouncing glow, now can I? AND NEITHER CAN YOU!

So, let’s get began by looking at my house, after which we will chat by way of some options for me, you, and the remainder of the stuck-with-cherry brigade on the market.

Right here we’re. Our little rental kitchen. It’s not unhealthy, I do know, nevertheless it might be higher. It says nothing in regards to the individuals who dwell right here in addition to “There have to be a child with all these sippy cups” in addition to “My goodness, somebody right here wants to hunt assist for small equipment habit.” Nothing a bit of ingenuity and artistic reversible design planning can’t assist. Dare I say…I don’t truly hate the wooden. Whereas I’d favor one thing a bit extra toned down and fewer purple, wooden cabinetry basically has a ton of favor potential. 

After doing quantity of analysis to see if there was a kitchen design I vibed with that had comparable cupboard coloring and discovering, effectively, little or no, I began getting inventive. I looked for pictures of rooms that had mahogany furnishings, cherry wooden floors, and even simply darker-toned wooden items and studied what they did to tone down the heat. All of the areas I used to be drawn to checked the identical 5 packing containers:

  • Modernized the purple by including pure, impartial wooden tones
  • Introduced down the distinction by going saturated with different colours
  • Created a heat, inviting palette
  • Modified the point of interest with an fascinating backsplash, flooring, or furnishing
  • Added heat with brass

Let’s discover these concepts a bit, and I can stroll you thru how I plan to execute them in my very own house.

However first…

The Inspiration

In my view, the under rooms work to make deeper cherries and mahogany woods really feel a bit extra traditional. Many of the designs are fairly “old-world” in really feel, which isn’t what I’m going for, personally, however there are nonetheless classes to be pulled from them. In my house, as a lot as I really like the look, it simply doesn’t make sense to stroll from the pretty up to date eating room into an English cottage kitchen. It could be type whiplash, so I’ll must make sure to maintain among the components a bit extra trendy, like the form of the desk and chairs, and any mushy items. 

That is the closest illustration of what I feel may be carried out in my kitchen by way of aesthetics. Clearly, I cannot be portray my uppers, however the designers at Meet West, who reimagined this house, did an incredible job of taking darkish stained woodworking and making it really feel timeless, impressed and charming.

Queen of modern-yet-charming eclectic English cottage (I made it up, however I feel that type applies), Heidi Caillier’s use of the impartial wooden tones towards the darkish stained wooden paneling is my muse for the breakfast nook furnishings. This marriage does an incredible job of honoring the richness of the darker wooden whereas modernizing it with blonder tones.

The dusty, French blue right here pairs so fantastically with the purple tones. I noticed this colour duo quite a bit in my hunt for design muses, in addition to peacock bluish-green, and, on the other spectrum, dusty pinks or peach.

Whereas not precisely “cherry” (okay, not cherry by any means) it’s nonetheless a reasonably heat cupboard shade and I’m drawn to how the moss inexperienced and slate blue makes the whole lot really feel grounded, pleased, but timeless.

Okay, lastly, let’s get into the plan!

Restrict Distinction With A Daring Use Of Colour

the home equipment listed below are fairly mismatched: white fridge, stainless range, black dishwasher. discovering a strategy to make these extra cohesive can even assist deliver issues collectively visually.

I don’t even have a ton of uncovered wall house in my kitchen, however leaving them stark white steals the potential allure of heat wooden cabinetry. As talked about, the blueish-greenish-grayish partitions of the inspiration areas (not dissimilar to my previous eating room’s Inchyra Blue that I cherished a lot) may be the ticket to including some curiosity and homeyness right here.

As well as, bringing the sage inexperienced of the counter tops as much as fill the house between prime and backside cupboards will visually simplify issues. To me, this right here feels so uneven. Your eyes have to soak up the colour of the cabinetry, the colour of the backsplash, and the colour of the wall in between. At first, I had the concept of simply color-matching the counters and portray the white the same inexperienced however now I’ve a distinct thought to make use of peel-and-stick tiles as a result of I feel I nonetheless wouldn’t have been absolutely pleased with the orange peel texture of the wall juxtaposed with the sleek counter tops. 

Change The Focal Level

Cherry cupboards are just like the protagonist of a play in group theater: it needs all the eye. However right here’s a trick to unfold the visible love a bit: demote it from the kitchen lead. There are a couple of methods to do that: make your flooring fascinating, make your backsplash or partitions fascinating, make your furnishings fascinating. In my case, I’m going the ground route as a result of I HATE these tiles. They’ve a really unusual anti-slip texture that I used to be satisfied was powdery residue from the owner portray the partitions with a twig gun. I confidently introduced within the flooring steamer once we moved in to rid the room of the sensory situation for my toes and, effectively…I used to be unsuitable. It’s simply the tile.

As a lot as I attempt to keep away from bandwagoning on a design development, I can’t assist however assume the checkerboard remedy right here is a good possibility. It’ll add a ton of curiosity underfoot, it’s low cost, and it will work completely with my current tile dimension (11.75″x11.75″). I’m undecided on colour, however there are such a lot of choices today, so I’m certain I’ll discover the fitting mixture.

Add Heat With Brass {Hardware}

Look, there’s nothing unsuitable with brushed nickel {hardware}, as a lot as Instagram-famous kitchens may make you assume in any other case. However in my explicit house, I feel some brass cupboard pulls in a extra trendy type will do wonders for updating issues. I additionally love the allure and performance that brass rails add, and anytime I see them, my coronary heart pitter-patters a bit.

As a result of my counter tops are at present being eaten by *issues*, I additionally assume a rail system will assist to deliver utensils, produce and prep objects up off the floor stage to unlock extra working house. I discovered a really reasonably priced possibility at IKEA I’m fairly pumped about (see moodboard on the finish of the submit).

Modernize The Crimson By Including Pure, Impartial Wooden Tones

why sure, that proper door *is* photoshopped, as a result of the door observe broke final week and nobody must see what i stuffed on prime of the washer that, but once more, i haven’t discovered a closing house for.

I’ve lengthy cherished the concept of a bit of eat-in kitchen. A spot to sit down and sip my espresso within the morning and even plop myself right down to work in. From a sensible place, I’d actually favor to have my daughter’s excessive chair right here relatively than within the eating room for meal occasions since the place she is now shouldn’t be seen after I’m within the kitchen. So, our plan is to truly have this perform as a breakfast (and lunch, and a few dinners) nook, which lends the right alternative to herald another wooden tones.

Whereas I quickly have my previous banquette in right here (I used to be curious if it will match and look good…it doesn’t, and it doesn’t), I’ll be on the hunt for a lighter-toned wooden desk and chairs. Probably one thing white oak or pine, however the secret is to maintain the wooden tone from going overly orange or purple, just like the instance I discovered from Heidi Callier. Additionally, sticking to a extra monochrome wooden look between each desk and chairs will simplify the palette.

And since we’re on the subject of simplifying the palette, I’m aiming to seek out curtains to match the brand new wall colour that may exchange the folding doorways at present concealing our washer and dryer. That may make it simpler to work round furnishings since we received’t need to account for the house it takes to open them.

Don’t Let Your Cupboards Be Your Solely Contact of Crimson

This final tip is a bit much less apparent than among the others, however I feel it’s pretty necessary. Since design is all about steadiness, including in a contact of purple (both in a brighter hue or barely completely different tone) some place else in your kitchen will go a protracted strategy to finishing your colour palette. It doesn’t need to be a lot: possibly some upholstery in a bar stool or the again of a glass cupboard and even just a few fairly ceramics. For my house, I plan on reaching this by way of a burgundy piece I discovered that can even remedy the issue of storing most of my small home equipment which can be at present scattered throughout.

Alright, now that we went by way of that “how one can make cherry trendy” lesson, I’m keen to point out you the moodboard I’ve put collectively for my kitchen. It can contain a handful of tasks and duties, which I’ve outlined under:

  • Swap out {hardware}
  • Paint partitions a blueish-greenish grey to assist with distinction
  • Set up kitchen rail system into new “backsplash” to carry utensils, meals prep objects, and a few produce
  • Add peel-and-stick “zellige” tile backsplash
  • Swap laundry closet doorways for curtains that match the wall colour for visible cohesion
  • Improve flooring with reversible peel-and-stick tile
  • Usher in cupboard or storage answer for the breakfast nook space to accommodate issues I don’t seize continually however nonetheless need common entry to clear counters
  • Discover mild wooden desk and chairs which can be sufficiently small to stroll round to entry the washer and dryer, however large enough to seat 2 adults and a excessive chair

The Moodboard & Colour Palette

I do know my design right here received’t work for everybody, however this mixture of colours and supplies will go a protracted strategy to creating an inspiring, extra up-to-date kitchen house for my house. Let’s discuss by way of a couple of issues:

Brass Cup Deal with | Brass Bar Cupboard Pull | Inexperienced Tile Backsplash | Paint | Curtains | Pinstripe Material | Checkerboard Flooring | Brass Rail | Brass Hooks | Wicker Hanging Baskets | Rug | Eating Chair | Eating Desk | Burgundy Cupboard

The tile: Imagine it or not, these are peel-and-stick made to seem like Zellige tiles. They’re a bit glossier than I like, however maybe I may discover a matting spray (or simply depart them shiny). I’m undecided if it’s a bit an excessive amount of square-on-square with a checkerboard flooring, so I’m nonetheless looking round for one thing else. I did discover a extra vertical “tile” however the colour was presumably too yellow. I’ll must order a pattern to essentially know. 

The textiles: The window within the nook is crying out to me to rid it of the damaged vertical blinds. If I had shot the house with them closed, you’d see 4 of the blinds are lacking. The window seems like a 3rd grader with 1 / 4 of their entrance tooth gone. I considered doing common material right here, however I felt it will be too heavy with the laundry closet panels. Plus, I can already see peanut butter palms grabbing on the material any likelihood my tiny human will get. A Roman shade goes to value a literal fortune to buy as a result of the window is 70”x75”, so I could strive my hand at stitching one with a reasonably impartial striped linen. Pray for me. 

The cupboard: As talked about, I would like this to interchange the wire shelving but in addition to hold the purple by way of to the opposite finish of the kitchen. Whether or not I find yourself with this particular piece or simply one thing I paint, it’ll be a workhorse for much-needed storage.

The desk and chairs: The impartial wooden second. I might love a stripped-back classic desk, however I do know that’ll make the house really feel overly conventional. It wants a contemporary silhouette to talk the identical language as my eating room. The one pictured right here is available in a ~32” diameter (in addition to 39”) which is simply large enough for what we want for each day use, however sufficiently small to stroll round and nonetheless have the ability to do laundry. I’ve thought of additionally making this desk as a result of I feel it might be fairly simple, however then I keep in mind that I’ve a 15-month-old that requires fixed bubble blowing, and assume my time can be higher spent simply throwing cash on the downside. 

So…that’s what I’m planning to resolve my cherry cabinetry woes. I welcome the problem and hopefully you do now, as effectively. I’m truly very enthusiastic about how this might all look.

Jess, clear your schedule as a result of I’m going to wish your assist… 🙂 

BUT WAIT! Earlier than I am going, I simply need to say one thing. For anybody studying this who additionally learn my piece about whether or not investing in rental houses is a waste of cash, I’m nonetheless of the mindset that this isn’t for everybody. To be trustworthy, if I didn’t pitch the concept right here to transform my house for example to anybody searching for options to the same kitchen, I would assume twice in regards to the money and time I’ll be placing into this room. However the factor is, I spend a lot time in right here. I need/want it to perform higher for me, and whereas I’m at it, look thrilling. All the pieces is very reversible and principally damage-free (although if anybody right here has had unhealthy experiences with peel-and-stick flooring or tiles, may you let me know?). There shall be moments within the in-between of beginning and ending that I’ll 100% remorse the choice to do any of this, however when it’s full, I do know I’ll simply need to stand within the room and take all of it in each single day. I need my daughter to see me making our house our personal and placing my passions to work. Watching my mother tinker round my childhood house formed me drastically.

Keep tuned. 

Your good friend in design, Arlyn

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