A Kitchen on the Bright Side

White paint lightens up a formerly bland kitchen and dining nook, proving that this color is anything but boring
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Kitchen cabinets, affixed overhead, increased storage and removed shadows, while two different shades of white paint—for the topmost cabinets and the adjacent wall—enlivened the adjoining rooms

“It’s amazing what paint can do,” says Heidi Caillier, interior designer and owner of her eponymous design firm (heidicaillierdesign.com), which recently moved its swatches and sketches from the Bay Area to the Puget Sound area. She’s referring to her latest project in Fremont, which involved transforming the dark, cave-like kitchen and dining space in Jennifer and Brodie Young’s midcentury home into a light, bright area by applying a few coats of Benjamin Moore’s crisp Snow White paint to the walls. It made an instant and uplifting difference in the rooms, which were formerly coated in a yellow hue.


Each room stands on its own through carefully chosen statements, such as the two punchy-patterned chairs aligned in the living space

 

The kitchen’s existing U-shaped layout within the home’s open-concept first floor was appropriately functional, so Caillier focused on aesthetics, incorporating more storage and creating a cohesive design. She added a row of wood cabinets above the original set to draw the eye upward and eliminate any dark shadows that appear when cabinets don’t reach the ceiling. Those were painted in Benjamin Moore Simply White, while the lower cabinets were slicked in Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray to add contrast and freshness. She paired the cabinetry with un-lacquered brass hardware, which will develop a patina over time. The old wood countertops were replaced with clean white quartz, and simple white subway tiles were used to line the walls. “People sometimes shy away from white,” she says, “but it’s my favorite way to bring light and life into a space.” 


Brass pendants with exposed bulbs, from Brooklyn-based Workstead Design Shop, hang overhead

Since the kitchen, dining room, living room and entryway are all in one large area, she used color in furniture and accessories—grays, blues, white, black and eggplant—to help the rooms flow while maintaining their separate identities. Standout pieces, such as the art wall in the dining room and the jazzy Roman shade above the kitchen sink, allow the design to feel strong but not overwhelming. 

“The design dictate was to elevate the space stylistically, and to lighten and brighten the house,” Caillier says. “Their home feels family friendly and stylish, but not overly designed, which I love.” 


Throw pillows are sheathed in checked Calton Hill fabric in grape by French fabric and wallcovering company, Casamance

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