After raising two kids, these retired homeowners in Ventura decided to overhaul their kitchen. They selected a refreshing modern theme using a combination of warm gray and brown tones. This color palette is a popular selection recently because it’s versatile, comfortable, easy to work with, and is a theme that you can be very comfortable with for a long time. There are several design elements which combine to set the theme and make this kitchen project work.
Textured melamine cabinets are a growing trend presently. Melamine is a paper finish which is bonded to particleboard using resin and high heat. There are a number of advantages to using Melamine. It looks and feels just like natural wood grain, but unlike wood it provides a very consistent and uniform grain and color, which is a major focus point on some design projects. Melamine also won’t expand or contract with changing conditions. Natural hardwoods are very sensitive to the moisture content of air. If you live in an area in which there is a large change in relative humidity between seasons then Melamine is a great solution, because it won’t expand or contract with humidity like hardwoods such as walnut, maple, rosewood, ebony, and mahogany. I was first exposed to Melamine through high end Italian cabinetry but have recently been seeing them in such places as Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Another element to the kitchen and surrounding areas is the cork flooring. The client had rheumatoid arthritis and insisted on a soft flooring for her joints. Cork is naturally hygienic, mold and water resistant, with elastic properties that make it a soft, comfortable floor. Cork is also a great sound and temperature insulator with easy maintenance: simply vacuum and mop. Cork is a sustainable material and this particular cork material even had 42.8% recycled content making it a highly sustainable option. Not be overlooked is the fact that Cork adds a distinct appealing presence and there are a lot of directions you can when designing around a cork floor. Cork can be dyed, or color matched to fit the theme of the room as well, so it is more versatile and easier to fit into a design then you may imagine.
This kitchen design used a quartz countertop. Quartz is a non-porous surface and highly resistant to staining caused by coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, makeup and many other everyday products. Quartz is often mistaken to be a synthetic material. Quartz is actually 93% natural quartz stone extracted from the earth, this natural material is then combined with a binding agent to create a non-porous surface, so it can be thought of as enhanced stone. A similar process is used for granite as well. In practice both Quartz and Granite have all of the beauty, presence, and vibe of other natural stone surfaces, which is why they are among the most popular choices for stone counters and floors. Quartz fit naturally into this design.
Glass and Metal Backsplash
A fourth element is the backsplash. I like to call this the jewelry of the kitchen. The client wanted to stay in their monochromatic color palette so I created depth with the use of various textures. Since the kitchen was subdued, the backsplash had to pop without being overbearing. I choose to use glass and metal combination to have the light sparkle off the tile. The use of the metal ties in the appliances and has become popular to use in the backsplash for that reason.
The last element I want to touch on are the appliances: Decorative hoods are all the rage right now. Functionally, they work way better than the over the range microwave hoods but mostly people are choosing them with the glass shields purely for decorative reasons. I typically recommend to tile around it to further embellish the design. Keeping in mind that the kitchen needs to be comfortably functional for everday use such as cooking and preparing meals, the preferred choice is to have a separate cooktop and a wall oven if space permits. My personal favorite oven for purely cosmetic reasons is this Whirlpool double oven. It has no black like a lot of options today so works better with lighter cabinet choices. I typically create a built in look for refrigerators but was not able to accomplish that in this kitchen due to the exterior sliding doors. In some cases architectural elements simply can’t be changed without an extensive amount added to the budget. In any case this was a great solution.