This bustling family of five (two working parents, three active daughters, and one playful pooch) built their suburban dream home 10 years ago, and it functioned beautifully for them.

They desired a little nip and tuck for their kitchen, in order to bring it into the new decade. The cabinets were a warm espresso finish, with a medium toned granite countertop and a colorful glass tile backsplash. The gorgeous American natural walnut floors were not popping against the other dark elements, and our client wanted a white or gray kitchen. We assured her, “Brown is the new gray, and we got this!” Step One—Assess the assets and identify the challenges Assets: - The cabinets were in good enough shape, and it would have been completely irresponsible to rip them out and start over. - The appliances were all in ship shape. Challenges: - The backsplash was a tad busy. - The countertops were a bit dated. - The butler’s pantry was tricky, as the upper cabinets meet the countertop and we didn’t want to incur the expense of gutting the entire space. - The island pendants were skimpy in scale in relation to the hunky island. - The kitchen table, chairs, and counter stools were worn, and very, very brown. (I am a huge brown fan, I am a brown eyed girl, but this was a lot of brown.) Step Two—Implement our design plan - Color block the kitchen by painting the upper cabinets and island white and touch up the lower cabinets in the existing finish. - Change the countertops from granite to matte brittanica warm quartz with a full height backsplash in the kitchen. - Beef up the island by mitering the countertop edge to 2.5”. - Replace the satin nickel cabinet hardware with a curated combo of matte black and satin brass. - Swap out the milky white glass island pendants with sexy, smokey hand blown glass pendants. - Replace existing recessed lights with LED retrofit. - Repaint the entire kitchen. - Add under cabinet lighting. - Replace the heavy kitchen table, chairs and counter stools with natural, warm, light organic feeling elements, and of course, shades of gray, which are brown’s best friend. Happy clients. Happy SMI!!