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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.



Glass as a Design Element

As interior designers, the JBi team is constantly looking for ways to push our own boundaries and bring fresh ideas to the table with our clients. I was recently asked by a client what I thought of doing a stair railing out of glass. It wasn't that I hadn't seen it done before or was opposed to the idea, I just didn't think she would like it. This simple conversation reminded me on the importance of looking out for ways to use standard materials in new and different ways from what we expect. Glass is one of those materials we use in a multitude of ways on a regular basis - shower enclosures, windows and doors, glass tile. But what does it look like when we use this material in an application beyond the unexpected? Well, that's what this post is all about. I went searching for examples of glass used in expected and unexpected ways. The comparison shows how we can take the use of this material and elevate it beyond the norm.

Shower Enclosures. We all know the frameless shower enclosure. Beautifully radiant 3/8" glass with polished edges paired with simply elegant hardware creates a stunning shower stall. But what if we took the use of glass to the edge and created the entire bathroom inside a glass room? This use allows us to "carve" out a bathroom of a room without making the room feel smaller. The glass keeps the room visually open and allows for transference of light throughout the space.


Photograph by Elad Gonen and Zeev Beech

Doors, windows and walls, oh my! This will sound silly, but we all know about the use of glass in doors and windows. Yes, the first picture below pushes the boundary slightly by using a set of windows as an entire wall. But, glass is rarely used as internal walls in a building (see previous bathroom example too). In an open space, glass walls can be used as room dividers to maintain the openness, but also provide a little extra privacy and feeling of division between specific use areas.

Design by thirdstone, inc

Design by Morlen Sinoway Atelier

Stair railings and steps. The house on which we're working (mentioned above) will be a contemporary home with glass used in some interesting and different ways. It feels like a natural extension then to use glass as the stair railings. We're going to combine the glass with metal posts and handrail. The next natural extension would be to take the glass from the railings and use it as the actual steps. The open glass steps keeps what would otherwise be an imposing architectural feature light and airy.

Design by Manchester Architects Inc

Design by AR Design Studio Ltd

Glass backsplash. Besides shower enclosures, glass tile is probably the other most common use of glass. Mosaics or larger format tiles are used in bathrooms and as kitchen splashes to create a range of different looks - contemporary to traditional. The beauty of glass in this form is its flexibility. Recently though I've started seeing glass backsplashes take on a slightly different form as back-painted sheet glass. This look is super contemporary and easy to clean, an appealing benefit on both fronts.

Design by Exquisite Kitchen Design

Design by Navo Design Studio

What is your favorite way to use glass in your home? We'd love to hear from you.

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential and commercial clients throughout Oregon and Washington, and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.



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.




Do You Know Your Arches?

The interior designers at JBi are currently working on the design and decoration of a new home in West Linn, Oregon. As with any design project, we begin with a particular part of the design to help lead the process. In other projects, it might be that a piece of existing furniture or light fixture or piece of artwork. In this case, however, we're starting with the main architectural features, specifically the arches throughout the home. So, this gave us an opportunity to learn about all the various types of arches we could work with in the design. While there are numerous types of arches, they can all generally be categorized into the following main categories - round-headed (Roman, Syrian) - #1 and #2; flat or straight - #13; Gothic - #7, #8, #9; Tudor - #12; and Moorish - #5, #6. All arches are some variation on these main types.

Various Types of Arches

Round-headed: Both the Roman and Syrian arches are defined as having a semi-circle top portion. The main difference between the two types is how they're constructed. Roman arches (probably the most common type) is a semi-circle that rests on top of two posts or columns, whereas the Syrian is comprised of segments of stone all the way around the arch.

Design by Summerour Architects

Design by Vanguard Studios Inc.

Gothic arches are characterized by a higher crest and a point in the middle of the arch. Take a tour of cathedrals across Europe and you'll see an abundance of Gothic arches. I absolutely love the modern interpretation of the second picture.

Design by Tuthill Architecture

Design by Murphy and Company Design

Tudor style, often called a flattened gothic arch may or may not have a point in the middle. Defining characteristic is the eased curve from the vertical sides to the arched section.

Design by JASON BALL interiors

Moorish arches are wildly different than the other types. It's easy to notice this type of arch. The "legs" of the arch are closer together than the width of the actual arch portion.

Photo by Ken Hayden

Which one of these is your favorite arch type? I'm a little impartial to the Gothic or Tudor styles.

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.