Kitchen Makes Bold Color Statement

Dynamic. Dramatic. Bold. There is a long list of adjectives that can be used to describe this mid-century modern inspired kitchen in Fox Point, WI. But whatever the choice, its color needed to make a statement.

“We looked at a number of colors, ranging from red to green to blue,” says Alan Freysinger, owner of Design Group Three in Milwaukee, who worked in conjunction with designer Jeff Sporer to create the vivid space. “The homeowners wanted something bold…a ‘statement color.’ When we assembled the palette of materials from flooring to countertops, we started leaning toward blue as a dynamic color that also worked with the rest of the home. The color made everything fall into place.”

The custom blue hue sheaths the custom perimeter cabinets from Greenfield Cabinetry and is accented by natural walnut upper cabinets and island. “The wood layers with the color to add some warmth to the space,” he says.

To maintain a mid-century modern aesthetic, Freysinger chose horizontal grain cabinets and, to play off the grain, included several horizontal doors with flip-up hinges.

The upper cabinets that frame the chimney-style Wolf ventilation hood – which is accented with 6"x12" vertically stacked Pavarotti Pearl Satin tile from Artistic Tile – also help to create a focal point. To maintain a clean look, Freysinger concealed the backsplash outlets underneath the cabinets.


Bucking trends

While the dramatic color bucks the neutral trend, Freysinger’s clients also opted to resist the trend to open the kitchen to other rooms, choosing to maintain the wall between the kitchen and dining room, which was preserved as an everyday gathering place for the family. “They wanted to keep some level of separation between the spaces,” he says. “A mid-century modern home is a fairly informal, open home to begin with. And, because of noise concerns, they wanted to keep the kitchen a little more segregated.”

Freysinger did, however, grab the adjoining dinette space, which gave him the opportunity to include an informal sitting area as well as the island and more countertop space. “There is a couch and a couple of tables so they can sit and catch a light meal,” he notes. “The homeowners also like this area because if one person is cooking, the other can still be connected to the cook.”

Informal seating areas such as this one are becoming more common for Freysinger. “It’s a comfortable place for relaxation, separate from the dining area,” he says. “If multiple people are in the kitchen, it gives them a place to socialize.”

Forbo Marmoleum flooring offers another striking design feature, defying the trend toward wood or tile. “It’s a unique element from a material standpoint,” he says. “You don’t see it a lot, and she wanted something that was unique and different. It’s also soft to walk on and is easy to take care of.”


Maintain simplicity

The kitchen is relatively small, only about 150 square feet. As such, Freysinger wanted to maintain simplicity with the design. “A serious mistake that often happens with small spaces is that there are too many things going on,” he says. “Spaces become busy. I recommend my clients limit the palette for small spaces, suggesting one or two dramatic elements, which in this case include the blue cabinets and the ventilation hood surrounded by the walnut cabinets.”

Additional storage challenges were created by a minimal number of upper cabinets as well an extensive wish list of appliances and a long wall of windows – which visually expands the small kitchen while bringing the outdoors in. “We needed to develop effective solutions to accommodate all of the appliances in a relatively modest kitchen,” he says.

The island, which is topped with 3cm-thick Haze Caesarstone, helps solve some of those challenges.

“It serves as a large, functional work space,” he notes, adding that it also serves as home to the Sharp microwave and U-Line wine/beverage refrigerator.

A floor-to-ceiling pantry, with roll-out shelves and specialized storage accessories, is an additional storage necessity. Sheathed in the same teal blue hue as the rest of the cabinetry, it provides a monochromatic backdrop in combination with the floor-to-ceiling wall of cabinetry that houses the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf steam oven and Miele coffee station. A Bosch dishwasher and a Wolf range/cooktop round out the appliance list.

Final touches within the space include period-style pendant lights above the island – chosen to visually occupy the space but not overwhelm it – and Andy-Warhol-esque bright orange pear artwork.

“She wanted something that would offer a splash of color,” he says of the oversized creation. “It works well within the space, maintaining the era of the home.”