Week two: coming up with reno concept

When we left off last week, Shawn and I had taken the plunge on a townhouse that had everything but style.  One of the biggest issues was the white on white on white kitchen that was closed off from the rest of the first floor. We are in the midst of a renovation to create a warm, sophisticated kitchen that’s just plain fun to look at and an overall sprucing of the whole place. Here’s how we came up with the concept.

We started by looking at the existing design elements. We’ve got classic crown moulding and high baseboards with walnut-stained oak floors throughout the house.  The door hardware is  oil-rubbed bronze, which looks almost black and feels cool and vintage. It was important to work with what we had so we didn't end up with a concept that was fighting with the house.

A quick shot I took on my phone the first time we went to see the house.

A quick shot I took on my phone the first time we went to see the house.

It was the perfect opportunity to create a space that mixes time periods and styles, pairing clean and modern design, which we love, with the house’s classic elements that add warmth and character. To make it work, we needed a clean, crisp backdrop so the elements we chose stand out and feel balanced. Imagine a modern sofa on an antique Persian rug.  

Think of the stylish naps you could take. Image Domaine Home

Think of the stylish naps you could take. Image Domaine Home

It’s a nice mix of styles. The sofa is substantial enough not to be overpowered by the rug. But it’s uncomplicated design and neutral color means it doesn’t compete for attention with the pattern and colors in the rug. 

I started searching Houzz and Pinterest for images that caught my eye. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for but after a few hours of browsing, I went back to the images I’d saved and sure enough, certain colors, cabinet styles, backsplashes, and countertops showed up again and again.  

The color palettes that caught my eye were simple, warm, and high contrast. And, the kitchens I felt drawn to had a cool mix of modern and vintage elements. Think white walls, black accents, and reclaimed wood softened by greenery and brass hardware.

We loved this color scheme, so the question was how to make it work throughout the house, and especially in our kitchen, so that we added drama but the house still felt inviting and homey.

We decided to paint the whole place a warm, bright white and to refinish the hardwood floors in black.  The stain we’re using will let the wood grain show through, so we won’t lose the warmth the grain gives the house.

I mean, seriously. How can you not love this?

I mean, seriously. How can you not love this?

White walls and black floors instantly add drama but they’re also a timeless, classic combination, so they won’t be hard to live with and they’ll make the other colors we use stand out beautifully.

The room feels so bright and colorful with that black and white backdrop. Image SF Girl by the Bay

The room feels so bright and colorful with that black and white backdrop. Image SF Girl by the Bay

I'll stop here for now. Next time: How we brought this concept into the kitchen and the details on the materials we chose from cabinets to countertops and everything in between.

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