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Doing Black Cabinetry the Right Way

Every once in a while, a client asks JASON BALL interiors to design a kitchen with some real drama. This is nothing against most of the other kitchens I've done, but some people just really want to push the design envelope to the limit. I'm working on one such kitchen. We, the clients and myself, set out to design a kitchen all the right details, backsplash, cabinet hardware, counter top and especially the cabinetry. Our design choice was to use cabinetry in a deep black paint color with a higher level of glossiness than usual. Different than most kitchens, this particular kitchen can handle the idea of dark cabinetry because of the quality and quantity of light available. Large windows in the adjacent breakfast nook (with an amazing view, by the way) and an abundance of overhead lighting makes it easier to ensure a light-filled space despite the cabinetry tone.

But, how can you incorporate dark cabinetry in a setting without all of these particular advantages. If the idea of black cabinetry is something that interests you, then this article will guide you through the selection process of how best to use black cabinetry in your kitchen.

Start Small. One of the easiest ways to get a darker tone in your kitchen it to only use it in one or two selective locations. An island or bar area are perfect locations for beautiful black cabinetry and a great way to introduce black into your space.

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Balance with light surfaces all around. Using black cabinetry in your kitchen is all about balance. The easiest way to balance out the black cabinetry is to make sure you have sufficient light in the room. Recessed lights, pendants, in-cabinet lighting are all crucial in creating a light filled room

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Reflective surfaces are your friend. If you're daring enough to go all out and put in a full set of black cabinetry, use metal finishes, glass and other reflective surfaces to help "lighten" the space. These shiny surfaces are important ways to push the light around the space and provide little glints of light against the dark cabinetry. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Go all out for pure drama. If you're really bold, why not pull out all the stops? This amazing kitchen has everything going for it - an amazing ceiling, gorgeous cabinetry and a floor that builds on the overall look. One design element to make note of. The farm table plays an incredibly important role in the space. It adds warmth and age to space, a great add.

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Here are a couple of instances in which I've used black cabinetry. In one kitchen, we did black on all the cabinetry. In the other one, just the island and built-in buffet area got special treatment.


I can't wait to show you the kitchen JBi has recently been working on. I'm pretty sure it's going to be really show stopper. And, one last word, don't let black cabinetry get in the way of creating your dream kitchen. Go bold or go home, right?! 


Designing the Perfect Colorful Kitchen


Designing the Perfect Colorful Kitchen

The joy of being an interior designer is getting the opportunity to push the design boundaries every once in a while. In doing some inspiration research for an upcoming kitchen design project, I began to notice the rarity of kitchens with really interesting color stories. I'm not necessarily criticizing the choices designers and homeowners have made, but we need more color in this world! 

And, like I do, I started pondering the idea of how best to design a kitchen filled with color in such a way that it could be changed as color preferences changed. So, I went searching for some perfect examples and came up with this simple list of ways to design your next kitchen with color for a real show-stopping design.  

Paint is your friend. Of course, the easiest way to bring color into your kitchen design is to use paint in smart ways. A neutral palette of surfaces and cabinetry is the perfect opportunity to go bold with colorful walls. The beauty of using paint for your splash of color is how you can always change it depending on color mood.

Fabric and decor adds the right amount of color in the right places. Similar to paint, decorative elements can also be the perfect way to bring color into a space. In the space below, a simple roman shade brings in a nice punch of color in this otherwise neutral space. Window treatments and upholstered barstools are great ways to bring in colorful fabrics. Consider too the connection with adjacent rooms. It will make all the difference in how the kitchen connects with the rest of the house.

Requiring slightly more devotion, go bold with your backsplash. In the grand scheme of things, a backsplash provides you a great design opportunity to be bold with your chosen color. And, if you want to switch it out down the road, it's only slightly more disruptive to change out. The key here, by the way, is to make the other surfaces relatively neutral.

Nothing screams devotion like cabinetry in a specific color. For the true color devotees, this is your chance to go bold or go home. While not as easy to change out down the road, putting a color on your cabinets makes the strongest statement. In the examples below, notice how smartly color is used. While bold, in their own certain ways, each room has a strong color story mixed with beautiful neutrals. The proportions are all balanced and the color doesn't over power the rooms. If you're going to paint your cabinetry, consider a subdued color, a white washed blue or lighter version of your favorite color. This keeps the room from feeling like a clown house. 

Depending on your level of devotion or propensity to risk taking, having a colorful kitchen isn't out of reach. I hope these examples of colorful kitchens have shown you how easy it can be without locking yourself into a color (unless that's what you want). Don't be afraid to use a little color in a bold way. And, if you need help navigating the design world, give JASON BALL interiors a call. We're glad to help.



Designer Notebook: Working With Complimentary Colors

Nearly everyone's favorite holiday, including interior designers, is fast approaching. Stores are filling up with red and green items with which you can decorate your home as fast as you can "Santa Claus is coming." The classic and most recognizable complimentary color combo got me thinking about using the other color pairings in interior design. First, let's get our terminology down so we're all on the same page by examining the color wheel below.

You'll notice there are primary colors, secondary and intermediate (also known as tertiary) colors. A complimentary colors are the primary and secondary colors that are directly across the color wheel from each other: red-green, yellow-purple, blue-orange. A secondary color is created by combining two primary colors - yellow + red =orange, as an example. An intermediate color is created by combining a primary with a secondary either to the left or right. For example, combining yellow and orange creates yellow-orange, or red and purple creates magenta. 

Now that we have the terminology all down. Let's get started with smart ways to use complimentary color combinations in your next design project.

Start with a base of neutrals and decorate with the complimentary colors. In the rooms below, the designs start with neutrals - browns and grays, with the two complimentary colors layered on top as accent colors. The way in which the two colors play off each other makes each one seem more colorful. By starting with neutrals, you can relatively easily switch out colors down the road with changing tastes.

For a bolder look, use the complimentary colors on the furniture pieces. In the room below, you'll notice the structure of the room (walls, floor, ceiling, other surfaces) are all done in neutrals, but the furniture pieces are bold and bright in yellow and purple. The larger piece is done is a toned down purple to keep it from overwhelming the space. Bright canary yellow chairs make a statement.

Use off shades to keep the combinations fresh. This one is the big risk for designers and their clients. If you want to go really bold, go with slightly off colors to keep the look from being too "clown house." In these two rooms, intermediate colors across the wheel from each other were used to make strong color statements. An orange-red is paired with a light teal, and a magenta is paired with lime green for two beautiful room settings. 

I hope these combinations have given you some inspiration in your own homes. Which complimentary color is your favorite? And, which one would you most likely implement in your own home? 

And, if you're unsure how to get the colors just right in your home, you know who to call!



Working with Contrast

Last week's post was about the use of balance in design (read here). This week we're tackling the idea of concept. I chose to follow proportion with contrast because getting the latter correct is dependent on the former. When first starting design of a space, the interior designers at JBi start with either color, style or texture as our origin for the "look & feel." As the design begins to solidify, we start thinking about ways in which to bring interest to the space. The use of contrast is one of our favorites. Contrast comes in many different forms - contrast in colors, materials, styles, textures, etc. The trick to getting it just right is balance and proportion. If one design element is used too sparingly it won't have the desired effect in the space. If it's used to much, then it might over power the other elements in the room. Here are the principles we use when working with the different types of contrast.

Use restraint for real impact. When working in one particular style, you might only need one statement piece in the contrasting style. The design of this dining room started with the modern Italian table, chairs and contemporary chandelier. To balance the "slickness" we brought in an artistic, handcrafted piece with a global aesthetic. Perfectly in balance, the two styles fight each other for attention, but without overpowering each other. The conflict is what makes it interesting.

Dining room by JASON BALL interiors

Play with different textures to create a special moment. In this living room vignette, we created an interesting juxtaposition between the stone candle wall and refined fabric used on the chaise. This one corner on the room has its own distinct feel even compared to the rest of the room. But that was intentional.

Living room design by JASON BALL interiors

In this example, the large stone fireplace is the only "hard" surface in the room, toned down by all the furnishings, wood and soft architectural features.

Design by Jan Gleysteen Architects Inc.

High contrast colors are toned down using mid values. Obviously the highest possible contrast would be black and white, so let's use that as our example. If you're going to take on the color contrast concept, it's important to balance out the extremes with tones in the mid values. These "mid values" might be other colors or true combinations of your extremes. For instance, in the first picture, notice the use of grays, and black and white fabrics. It is these mid values that create a bridge between the extremes. In the second picture, it is the granite that bridges the gap between the white and brown cabinetry.

Photograph by Lisa Petrole Photography

Design by Jane Lockhart Interior Design

What is your favorite type of contrast? Let us know how you've brought contrast into your home.




Decorating With Red, White & Blue

Well, Happy Memorial Day everyone! It's a wonderful day to remember those who died while serving our country and protecting our freedoms. All over the country, families and friends will be gathering for BBQs and great get-togethers. And we all proudly display our country's flag, let the red, white and blue shine brightly. These colors are so iconic for our country that it crossed my mind how one might decorate their home in red, white and blue, but without going all Americana. By the way, did you know there are 11 countries whose flags are comprised of only these three colors and around 80 who have these colors as major portions of them. But, as an interior designer would do, how can we use these colors in our homes in ways that don't scream "hey look, it's the 4th of July in my house!!" So, I began the hunt for elegant and tasteful uses of red, white and blue.

Would you ever decorate a room in your house in these colors?

Room by Horchow

This contemporary kitchen is given an All-American look with blue and red lacquered cabinetry.

Design by Michael Chen Architecture

What is mostly a white and red family room with small splashes of blue and white on the chair, ottoman and planter on the coffee table. A tasteful proportion of each color.

Design by Billy Beson Company

Clean uses of our three colors in the perfect balance. Red upholstered bed, simple blue and white bed linens and soft striped shades as an accent.

Design by Muse Interiors

In this incredibly luxe living room, a high gloss navy blue is used on all the walls and ceiling adding immediate depth to the room. Red leather stools and a navy/red area rug, combined with crisp white trim finish the look.

Design by Avissa Majtahedi Architecture and Design

If the idea of traditional red, white and blue is a little too scary, tweak one of the colors just a bit for a new combination. This teal blue is a perfect substitution and pairs well with red and white for a classic combination.

The Upward Bound House by Elizabeth Bomberger

I hope these inspiration pictures get you thinking about using red, white and blue in your home. Enjoy the day!

Happy Memorial Day!