Have you ever heard that design is a process? At least I think the best design is. I tell this to clients all the time, but sometimes you don't know what you like and don't like until you see it, and then you don't know what's the best fit for your space until you go through all the options.
I think this is especially true when you're trying to work with some existing elements but also create a new look. Sometimes what you want most and what works best are different. You may have seen this Instagram post where I started to discover that for our kitchen design. I tested some paint swatches for our cabinets, all colors that I like, but unfortunately they just aren't ideal with our countertops (that we won't be changing anytime soon, maybe ever). That meant I was back to the drawing board with cabinet paint color. I wish I could sand down the cabinets and re-stain them to a lighter, more natural wood tone, but they're veneer, so that would be really tedious. Plus, if you remember from my original design plan post about the kitchen, we also have a 12" gap in a section of our lower cabinets. In order to build shelves that look seamless with our cabinets we really need to install the shelves and then paint everything together.
Another direction that I considered was to paint the cabinets dark - like charcoal or black. While I do think that would actually work really well with the countertop colors, I personally prefer a light colored kitchen and I think dark cabinets would feel out of place in our Texas ranch style house.
So where does that leave us? Classic white cabinets. The color will be Sherwin Williams Pure White, which reads as a true white but has the slightest hint of warmth to keep it from feeling stark or cold. This will match the white trim, backsplash, and mesh well with the stone that's on the front side of the peninsula.
I love a white kitchen, but originally I didn't want to do that in this space because I wanted something more interesting - more depth and dimension. But white does fit my style, and I like that it will work with our current finishes and give us flexibility if we do ever change the countertops. It will also add a feeling of cleanliness to the kitchen, which right now just feels muddy with the countertops that don't match the wood tones in the cabinets or the floor. (I feel like all these finishes were picked by someone with a blindfold on...)
So now that we've chose white, how do we make this space more interesting and add some character? One thing I plan to change is the cabinet hardware. Because the cabinet color won't be adding warmth (as a warm grey would have), I've decided to add unlacquered brass cabinet hardware to warm things up. Originally I had planned to use oil rubbed bronze, which does have some warmth to it, but I think it will be too harsh on the white cabinets and I want to add something softer with more character. I love mixing metals, and adding another metal with the bronze doorknobs, light, and faucet will add some dimension. I also love that unlacquered brass develops a patina that will add some character to an otherwise new space. (The kitchen shown below doesn't have unlaquered brass finish on the hardware, but it has a similar vibe!)
I'll also add woven bamboo shades to the windows for some warmth and texture there, and another new part of the plan is to add natural wood open shelves. We'll be keeping the upper cabinets in the main part of the kitchen, but in the side section (where that 12" gap is in the lower cabinets), I've decided to take out those uppers. Doing a natural wood finish on the shelves is a nice bonus for warmth and texture, but the main reason is that the upper cabinets there don't match - one cabinet is 3' wide and the other is 2' wide. To make the asymmetry even worse, they're above the two cabinets with the gap, so the gap (which will be made into shelves) is centered but the cabinets are not. Replacing those asymmetrical upper cabinets with wood shelves, plus building in shelves to look like part of the lower cabinets, will help this section to look more intentional and not like an afterthought. Here's a mockup of the plan for that wall:
The backsplash is already in, we'll add shelves and trim (plus a new kickplate so it's seamless across the cabinets and shelves) to the gap between the cabinets, paint them white, and add brass hardware. Since we have nine foot ceilings, there's room for three 5' wood shelves above the backsplash. I'll have to rearrange my cabinets to make sure all the pretty things are stored on the shelves (if given the choice I'd rather all the clutter be behind closed doors!), but I'm excited to see these pieces come together and have this spot look more intentional!