She likes the color blue, he wanted a coffee bar … in the give-and-take of marriage — and interior design — the goal is for everyone to be happy. Atlanta interior designer Julie Holloway recently tackled the remodeling of this circa-1986 kitchen in Norcross, GA, so homeowners Ashley and Eliot Usher could gain a lighter, more up-to-date space.
Since Julie’s design firm is called Milk and Honey Home — with a specialty of creating creamy, cottage-y interiors — it’s no surprise that the Ushers ended up with this sunny, white kitchen. “I think of this kitchen as classic with a touch of French cottage,” says the designer. The soft blue island as the focal point came about naturally: the designer had noticed a blue front door on their house, and then Ashley produced an inspiration photo with a blue island, confirming it was a happy color for her.
Julie completely gutted and changed the layout of the kitchen to maximize the homeowners’ wish list. One clever move: creating a cozy banquette eating area at a sunny window, which had once been in front of the kitchen sink.
The designer chose Shaker-style kitchen cabinetry, painted a timeless Benjamin Moore White Dove, which she calls “a perfect creamy white. I say you can never go wrong with white, but my personal opinion is you always need to then add black in a room for contrast — such as the lanterns over the island — along with the warmth of wood floors,” Julie explains.
To further distinguish the space, the designer chose glass subway tile for the backsplash. “The glass backsplash gives it a touch of bling,” Julie says. A mix of shiny/matte, light/dark and smooth/textural materials is a hallmark of Milk and Honey Home interior design.
Built-in cabinetry along one wall resembles a large piece of furniture, particularly with its open shelves and marble top. Thanks to lift-up doors in the middle of the cabinet, the designer was able to tuck away an espresso machine and other appliances to reduce countertop clutter. These kind of custom touches are a must for today’s kitchens, but require advance planning. “Work with your contractor to plan accordingly for electrical and water while you’re still in the design process,” Julie advises. The unit also houses a baking station, where Ashley keeps all of her measuring cups, bowls and cake stands.
The end result merges form and function in a colorful, classic way and ensures everybody in the family has something to call their own.
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