Warm Walnut and Soothing Gray Balance a North Carolina Kitchen

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Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

Photos by Marilyn Peryer

Kitchen at a Glance
Location:
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Size: 315 square feet (29.3 square meters)
Designer: Caroline Shillito at Emma Delon

The plan: The homeowners wanted to replace the cabinets, widen a narrow island and remove the island range, and establish more visual symmetry.

Color combo: Walnut found elsewhere in the home influenced the new accent material, which shows up as cabinet trim, open shelves, bar stools and backing for the new island. Perimeter cabinets in pale gray (March Wind by Sherwin-Williams) are a softer alternative to white.

Cabinetry: Aeris Hardwood Creations; paint on walls: Sand Dollar, Sherwin-Williams; bar stools: Nuevo

Before Photo

Walnut gray kitchen

Before: A built-in cooktop on the granite island ate up countertop space, while the vent hood made the homeowners feel closed in when cooking.

The microwave and oven stack was the focal point, and the design team, which included Caroline Shilito, knew they wanted to get it off the back wall and tucked next to the refrigerator.

Transitional Kitchen by emma delon

emma delon

Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

After: Putting the cooktop and hood against the back wall allowed for a wider island with a prep sink. The room gets a bright glow thanks to a sweeping backsplash of honed Bianco Carrara marble tile.

Backsplash: The Tile Shop

The Case for 2 Kitchen Sinks

Contemporary Kitchen by emma delon

emma delon

Wood detail: Walnut kickers give visual interest to the island, which is topped with white quartz that pulls a modern edge into the room.

Countertop: Cambria

Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

Cabinet-shelf mix: In ditching the original cabinetry, the design team opted for a combination of cabinets and floating walnut shelves custom made by a woodworker in collaboration with an electrician to tie in recessed LED task lighting.

Walnut floating shelves: Aeris Hardwood Creations and Mike Sanfilippo of Creative Electric of North Carolina

Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

Trim tie-in: Using walnut trim between the perimeter cabinets ties into the island detail, keeping a horizontal thread in the kitchen design.

Kitchen Confidential: The Pros and Cons of Double Stacked Cabinets

Before Photo

Original corner sink

Before: The original corner sink location created lots of angles that the homeowners found overbearing.

Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

After: To clean up the room in a linear way, the designer installed a new sink under the window.

The storage: A mix of storage includes deep drawers for pots, utensil slots with dividers, and U- shaped pullouts under the sink for cleaning products.

“There is a double-decker spice drawer unit for overflow spices in one of the deeper drawers near the range,” Shillito says. “This creates a large space for more-often-used items on the top, with refill and bulk spice storage below.”

Contemporary  by emma delon

emma delon

Straight lines: Linear hardware complements the new symmetrical, horizontal look.

Hardware: Top Knobs

Contemporary Kitchen by emma delon

emma delon

Warm corner: The combination of wood and black comes up in the breakfast nook, where natural light pours in and highlights the homeowner’s walnut furniture.

Kitchen set: Lyndon Furniture