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kitchen design

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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.

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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?! 

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Designing the Perfect Colorful Kitchen

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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.

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Before & After: Gray With A Splash Of Red

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Before & After: Gray With A Splash Of Red

The kitchen design world continues to love the idea of painted cabinetry. White, black, other cool colors and of course, gray. There is no better neutral than gray. It goes with nearly every color and is a perfect backdrop for any type of design - contemporary, traditional and so on. The trick is always how to get the combination just right.

When my clients first came to JBi with the concept for their kitchen, they knew they wanted gray cabinetry and some touch of red as an accent color. Our goal became to find a way to make the gray feel fresh and contemporary in this kitchen loaded with traditional touches. The extra large crown molding, flush inset cabinetry and furniture-like island all lend themselves toward a more traditional look. Throughout the design process, we looked for ways to tone down the traditional feel and bring the design into a beautifully updated kitchen filled with contemporary design elements. The changes throughout all improved the flow and function of the space, while providing a jump off point for the look of the rest of the home.

Take a look at our design challenges and how we addressed each of these to create a true showcase kitchen.

While the general layout of the kitchen didn't change that much, we did move some appliances around a little to help with the flow of the space. By moving the range to a side wall, we were able to design a beautiful cooking station with the proper ventilation (no more inefficient downdraft!). 

The real fun, however, came in finding ways to incorporate red into the overall look. We started by adding cabinets with glass doors on either side of the range with painted red interiors. The valance fabric has an artistic quality to it in reds and grays. Red accessories and a red stand mixer help complete the look. All-in-all, one stunning kitchen with all the right details in the right proportions. Here's the unfiltered picture for one last view and a detail shot of the amazing range.

ABOUT JASON BALL interiors. Jason is an interior designer based in Portland, Oregon serving residential and commercial clients throughout Oregon and Washington, and beyond. To see examples of his 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 jason@jasonballinteriors.com.

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Before & After: Creating an Elegant Traditional Kitchen with Contemporary Flair

Nothing brings interior designers more joy than sharing before and after pictures from a recently completed project. It is our chance to revisit how we truly changed a space for the better. I wanted to take this one step further and provide a little insight into why we made certain changes. The project is one that JBi completed in Wenatchee, WA. When the couple approached JBi, they wanted to create an elegant, traditional kitchen that also felt new and fresh. Let's call this an updated traditional look. The design plan was simple, improve the overall flow of the space, change the configuration to allow for a better entertaining space while maintaining a family-friendly feeling, and create a kitchen that was fitting of the custom nature of the home. 

So, the JBi team set out create a space that was custom, clean and fresh, yet still a sophisticated kitchen. The big changes in the room - streamline the wall planes (get rid of that weird angled wall by the refrigerator location), create a centerpiece range hood, set up the island for large groups and make the entire space feel family friendly. A set of tall orders, but I think once you see the final result, you'll agree that all criteria were met.

BEFORE: Lots of angles, cooktop oddly placed in island and angled wall that makes the kitchen feel smaller than it really is.

BEFORE: Lots of angles, cooktop oddly placed in island and angled wall that makes the kitchen feel smaller than it really is.

And now for the big reveal!

What you'll notice first off is how we amped up the elegance level in the space. Curved mullions in the upper cabinets, beautifully detailed flush-inset cabinetry, a grand island with appropriately-sized turned legs and 6cm marble slab. In terms of layout, by taking out the angled wall part, we were able to incorporate the rest of the kitchen into the space. We created a separate coffee/beverage area with it's own sink.

Now, some may criticize the placement of the refrigerator so far from everything. Well, as a designer of kitchens, we often have to weigh certain decisions against the function and feel of a room. In this case, we opted to place the refrigerator/freezer outside of the "first view" when someone walks into the kitchen. It also allowed us to have a dramatic range/cooktop centerpiece (we also had a perfect wall through which we could run the range hood vent pipe). So, while not optimal, the benefits we gained definitely outweighed the negatives.

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Looking back across the reverse angle, you can see how this kitchen is all about the view out the (truly) picture windows. With a view of mountains and the Columbia River valley, we moved the sink over to look out the best view. That left an expanse of counter top to the right of the range - perfect for cooking prep work. 

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I'm curious to know, could you live in this kitchen? I know that I certainly wouldn't mind having such a large room in which to create perfect meals for family and friends. Here's to dreaming, right?!

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Designing From A Distance

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Designing From A Distance

For the past six months, JASON BALL interiors has been working on a project in Eastern Washington. Door-to-door, it's a 5-hour drive, so it's one hike to get there! The project entailed remodeling a kitchen, 3 bathrooms, new paint color scheme and flooring in certain rooms. Along with the construction portion, we also specified furnishings and window treatments for most of the house. So, it's a big project!

When designing and managing a project of this size from this kind of distance, interior designers need to use all the tools at their disposal to ensure the project is constructed as designed. While there have been a couple of site visits and the clients have come to Portland several times, there are still some additional steps we have to take place when working this far away from the project location. Here are our biggest learnings to date.

1. 3-D renderings help everyone visualize the final design. If a designer is not able to be on the job site during the design phase, it's incredibly helpful to create a 3-dimensional drawing of the space as a proxy. A rendering is helpful in knowing how different design elements will interact with each other in the final product. And, by applying different textures and colors to the drawing, it also helps clients see the designer's vision. 

Rendering of a JBi designed kitchen in Orlando, FL

Rendering of a JBi designed kitchen in Orlando, FL

2. Draw, draw, draw. While it's part of our process to draw everything to scale in Autocad, we're finding it necessary to go that extra step and put even the smallest detail down on paper. The lack of close proximity means that we'll be able to stop by the job site less than usual once we enter the construction phase. Documentation needs to be accurate to ensure everything is built according to specifications.

Elevation drawing of range wall

Elevation drawing of range wall

3. Regular communication. Once the building process begin, it's imperative there is regular and frequent communication between the entire building team - interior designer, contractors and clients. With e-mail, text messaging, camera phones, the technology is available to ensure the team is always in communication with each other on what's currently going on and what's coming next. An ounce of prevention is worth everything at this point. 

Distance doesn't have to be a hindrance in hiring an interior designer any longer. Technology and a thorough understanding of the importance of communication will help ensure your project goes off without a hitch. 

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