Paint color can be a surprisingly tricky thing. And one of the
trickiest colors to get right is white. I know it may seem silly, but finding the right balance between cool and warm can be harder than you think. When I said I was searching for a great warm white for our kitchen, I couldn’t get over all of the suggestions I received and how many people had gone through upwards of 10 different colors trying to find the best hue. But for us, it came down to one perfect, warm white (“” RL1007 by Ralph Lauren Paint) that turned our kitchen from a dark hunter-green space into the bright, white dream room we had always wished for. So today I’m thrilled to share another sneak peek into our new (old) home and how we’ve transformed it in the past two months. xo, grace
Photographs by Maxwell Tielman
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The kitchen before and after! While I understand the dark green paint color (it does have a cozy "country house" feel), for us, it didn't suit our personal styles and it made the kitchen feel darker than it really is. We searched high and low for the perfect white and settled on a gorgeous, warm white called "" from Ralph Lauren Paint. But first...more before shots!
The full kitchen before. Even before we worked on making over this space, it was our dream room - and the room that sold the house for us. There are windows everywhere in this space and about 100x more counterspace than either of us have ever had to work on. Since the kitchen is basically Julia's office, it was important for this space to suit her needs and be a bright, light place for her to test and develop recipes.
The kitchen island is wonderful and provides more counter space than we could have ever dreamed of, but it's a very dark part of the room. The base paint is a dark hunter green and the top is an aging black granite. A new countertop and cabinets weren't in our budget (and both are perfectly fine and useable), so we decided paint would do the heavy lifting in this room refresh.
Parts of the home's original kitchen cabinets were salvaged (you can see them here to the right) and used as cabinetry throughout the kitchen, which we love. But after scraping down a few layers, we realized the first paint color they ever got was white! That little discovery made me feel much better about lightening everything up a bit. (Our fridge is the tall unit in the middle, hidden by a wooden panel.)
One of my favorite spots in the kitchen is this copper countertop. I wouldn't dream of touching it, but we did want to remove (and reuse elsewhere) the decorative corbels under the counter. They weren't original to the kitchen, so we felt they could be reused elsewhere inside to free up some more space and make the room feel a bit more opened up.
This cabinet was a majorly heavy spot on the wall. Not only is it super narrow and a pretty weighty piece, but it was slanting pretty dangerously, so we knew this would come down and be replaced by open shelving to brighten up this wall some. (The wood will be salvaged for another spot in our home.)
And voila! Goodbye, heavy green cabinet, hello bright open shelving! Most of our everyday dinnerware is white/cream colored, so we knew open shelving would work for this area. We hired Jack from in Kingston, NY to make these shelves for us and couldn't be happier. He used salvaged pine from his old work bench and simple brackets from Home Depot to make the three shelves. We love knowing they've served a long life as part of his studio, and now our kitchen.
The after! The "Tibetan Jasmine" color (RL1007) from Ralph Lauren Paint was just what the room needed. It feels bright, open, fresh and CLEAN. I knew our belongings would add some warmth and much needed color to the space in other ways. The cheese board hanging on the wall is an antique, as is the funny little lamp made from a very old kerosene glass bottle.
Now that the kitchen island got a coat (actually, it took three coats) of white paint, the black top feels like it fits in the kitchen a bit more and doesn't weigh things down as much. I'd still love to replace this with lighter marble one day, but that's a way down the road. The rug is an antique I bought at Nightwood in Brooklyn before we even knew we'd buy a home. It fits perfectly between the stove and sink. (I've always used nice rugs in my kitchen and don't have a problem keeping them clean. I vacuum them once a week and they've always managed to stay in good condition.)
The wall of cabinets against the far right wall feels so much brighter and lighter now!
Last but not least, we're still on the hunt for more comfortable counter stools. It's been hard to find stools that are the right height, but these old industrial stools from Julia's first apartment have been great in the meantime. She added rubber stoppers (the kind used on the bottom of canes) to prevent the legs from scratching the wide plank pine floors.