Design & Home

These Design Elements Are Turning Up in Kitchens All Over Washington

Here’s why the combination works so well.

This elegant Foxhall kitchen, designed by architect Anne Decker, features custom details, including open shelves by AK Metal Fabricators. The island color is Farrow & Ball “Mole’s Breath,” and the cabinetry is Farrow & Ball “Purbeck Stone.” Photograph by Gordon Beall.

Lately, kitchen designers have been deploying a particular combination of color, materials, and lighting that, once you know to look for it, is suddenly everywhere. Why does this recipe work so well? “Combining these elements makes the kitchen feel less like a kitchen and more like a beautiful room in the house,” says architect Anne Decker. Here, we break down the ingredients.

Moody Hues

Shades of gray, along with inky blues and dark greens, have become the new neutrals for a wave of homeowners who want their kitchens to convey warmth and sophistication—call it the Farrow & Ball effect. Deeper hues can make a space feel more intimate and cozy; it’s no wonder Decker described the warm gray palette of the Foxhall kitchen above to her client as “a cashmere blanket for the space.” Richer tones also work well with the trend toward more European-inspired kitchens, which mix cabinetry with freestanding furniture.

Dark-green cabinets with brass hardware, honed Calacatta Miele marble countertops, and opaque globe lights by McGee & Co. form a winning combination in this Cathedral Heights kitchen by Four Brothers Design & Build. Photograph by Morgan Howarth.

Brass Accents

To dress up cabinets, homeowners are turning to brass hardware and accents. For a Cathedral Heights kitchen—opposite, below—the clients fell in love with a particular shade of dark green for the cabinetry. “The brass hardware made a huge difference in making that color really pop,” says Elizabeth Saint Rain of Four Brothers Design & Build. Mixing metal finishes is an easy way to partake in the brass trend without a ton of risk—it’s not uncommon to use brass for cabinet pulls or light fixtures and use oil-rubbed bronze or polished nickel for the faucets.

The exterior stone of this Silver Spring home inspired the gray-and-navy cabinet colors in the kitchen by Aidan Design. Clear globe factory pendants and sconces from Restoration Hardware keep sightlines open. Photograph by Robert Radifera Photography

Round Lights

Because so many kitchen elements are boxy, a round light fixture can throw a much-needed curve into the mix. Globe-style pendants trace back to the early 20th century, when they often lit factory floors. Due to their long history and many variations, globes can convey belle époque elegance or midcentury cool—perfect for transitional kitchens, which blend traditional and more contemporary design elements. The best part? Globe lights are available at every price, making them ideal for a quick update when a full reno isn’t in the cards.

This article appears in the October 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

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