It may sound counterintuitive for a color to blend well with everything and simultaneously make a statement—but it’s not. When a family in Upper Arlington decided to renovate their kitchen, they knew they wanted some color but they found the decision-making process, with its myriad of color options, a bit daunting.
“We don’t spend much time watching HGTV,” says the homeowner with a laugh, “which is part of why we went with The Cleary Company. They have a strong design process and did a great job with the color palette.”
Nowhere is that palette more pronounced than in the kitchen cabinetry, which is painted the fresh and calming Pewter Green by Sherwin-Williams. Kitchen designer Katie Florjancic and interior designer Shannon Tannehill from The Cleary Company teamed up to make selections that suited the homeowners’ style.
“The color is a nod to nature, a green with bits of blue, and it really brightens up the space but also blends well with the rest of the house,” Florjancic explains.
Adjusting to change
As with many renovations, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The family lived in the home during construction, using the front room as a makeshift kitchen (complete with microwave and hot plate). The couple’s 10-year-old son was a hard sell, often telling his parents during construction that he preferred the old kitchen.
But after eight years in the home and an increasing desire to open up the space to better accommodate gatherings of family and friends, it was time. The project was significant, since an oven wall separated the kitchen and dining area. The wall was knocked out, the dining area shifted to the opposite side, and a slider was added for easy access to the back yard. The slider, conveniently located near the beverage center, creates an elegant entryway and serves to bring the outdoors in.
“The sliding door is a big highlight for us,” explains the homeowner. “It allows for lots of natural light and pulls in the rest of our backyard. It’s my favorite feature.”
Just as television shows have “Easter eggs”—hidden messages placed throughout that are only visible to eagle-eyed fans—this kitchen has Easter eggs that aren’t immediately visible but that nonetheless create an optimally efficient space.
Case in point: Pull-down custom cabinets that conceal the usual kitchen detritus. An appliance garage that houses appliances the family wants easy access to but doesn’t want cluttering the countertops. A two-tiered sliding silverware drawer that accommodates items that never had a home before now (read: chopsticks and reusable straws).
There is also a pull-out for garbage and cleaning supplies. Florjancic says, “We didn’t want to bog down the area under the sink with a soap dispenser, paper towel holder, et cetera. The pull-out, which takes up minimal space in the island, holds these items.”
Warm wood accents
Speaking of the island, its natural white oak stain is pulled into other parts of the kitchen, including the custom chevron hood, thus bridging different parts of the space. And much like the silverware drawer, the island is two- tiered, a deliberate design choice that was heavily debated (but now revered). Since it’s an extensive, L-shaped island, the varying tiers not only break up the island but allow for plenty of eating and cabinet space.
“I like the way the two tiers break things up,” says the homeowner. “The kids will sit there and do homework. There’s a sink in the island but it’s positioned to separate the wet-working food space from the bar space, so papers don’t get wet.”
Other unique features include the aforementioned hood, whose natural-looking stain adds depth and texture; the hood’s stain also nicely offsets the stainless-steel appliances. And along the stove wall, the brick-patterned tile is laid in a traditional running bond, whereas in the bar area, the traditional herringbone patterned tile lays in a different direction to create visual interest.
A subtle statement
Pendant lights highlight the island, just as under-cabinet lighting highlights other areas. As an added bonus, while the exterior of the cabinetry is painted, the interior is stained. LED strips were inserted along the wood shelves such that the beads of light are hidden but the cabinets are beautifully lit from within and illuminated by the backdrop of the cabinets’ stain.
The lighting makes a subtle yet stunning statement, much as the green shaker-style cabinetry does. Florjancic confirms that most colors that are increasing in popularity right now are in some way related to nature, such as greens and blues within the natural world, as well as earthy clay reds and oranges.
“Our clients are getting a little more adventurous,” she adds. “They are picking out colors that are more muted and not saturated but that will stand the test of time and not date themselves.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Florjancic concludes. “Homeowners still love their white kitchens. But gray is making its way out and beige is working its way back in, as are fun colors such as ox blood or even subtle yellows.”
As far as the subtle green that enlivens this kitchen—and the rest of the renovation—perhaps the best endorsement is that the family’s 10-year-old son quickly came around and admitted of the finished product: “Yeah, I really like it!”
Contractor The Cleary Company Kitchen designer Katie Florjancic, UDCP Interior designer Shannon Tannehill UDCP Custom cabinetry Perimeter in maple painted Sherwin-Williams Pewter Green, island in white oak Countertops Ceasarstone, Moorland Fog Backsplash Equipe Village Range hood White oak chevron Lighting Kichler Brinley 5” Pendant, Northern Lighting Hardware Ascendra, Top Knobs Sink Elkay Quartz Luxe Faucet Brizo Rook Smart Touch Appliances Bosch refrigerator and dishwasher, Faber range hood, Avallon beverage fridge, Sharp microwave drawer, all from Ferguson Tile Hamilton Parker Quartz Konkus Plumbing Carr Supply Sliding door APCO
Article by Lee Rhodes | Photos by Matthew Garsky
Article originally appeared in July 2023