Sally Wheat-Martha Stewart Sampler

island in Martha Stewart's gray farm kitchenHow a Houston decorator sampled the kitchen that took gray from dreary to dreamy

In the music biz, producers and composers often use clips and bits of well known songs in new compositions. The practice, called “sampling,” is widespread and artists acknowledge it. In the design world, the same process is called inspiration. We bloggers salt posts with it on a daily basis since making connections between influential designs is our portfolio. So I thought I would sketch out  some similarities I observed between Martha Stewart’s gray kitchen at her farm near posh Bedford, New York, and Houston decorator Sally’s Wheat’s much-lauded gray kitchen — especially since this color trend is picking up steam as an alternative to white’s-always-right.
Sally Wheat's gray kitchen

Sally Wheat and her kitchen rocketed to internet and subsequent magazine stardom following a pair of extensive, photo-driven house tours on Côte de Texas, the popular Houston-based blog, during 2008-09. Her use of Benjamin Moore’s Fieldstone Gray as the colorway  [above] became blog “news” and an object of significant drooling as photos  ricocheted around public internet forums and flickr photosets.

While the Wheat house and kitchen was described in articles as Belgian-inspired, Ms. Stewart’s tilts toward New England.  Yet details of the Wheat kitchen appear to directly connect to Stewart’s — beginning with the general color to the  white marble countertops, open shelving with brackets and even the bar stools.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.

The principal color of Martha’s Stewart’s Texas-size kitchen –  some 750-square feet — is her own hometown Bedford Gray paint, previously by Valspar and now in her line at Home Depot. That hue launched the trend and has remained a force in taking gray as a kitchen color from dreary to dreamy.  Then along came Sally, as the photos bar in Martha Stewart's gray farm kitchen

Open shelves over Martha Stewart’s coffee bar supported by decorative wooden brackets in a style found elsewhere at her farm.
Open shelves in Sally Wheat gray kitchenOpen shelves supported by decorative wooden brackets à la Martha flanking Sally Wheat’s sink.Martha Stewart's marble farm sink, backsplash and counters

Martha Stewart’s honed marble farm sink, counters and backsplash with her gray wood-grain cabinets.Sally Wheat's Rohl farm sink and bridge faucet

Sally Wheat’s pearl-gray cabinets, Rohl fireclay farm sink and honed marble counters.bridge faucets in Martha Stewart's and Sally Wheat's kitchens

Bridge mixer faucets: Martha Stewart’s is similar to the classic English Barber Wilson’s with cross handles and gooseneck spout. Sally Wheat’s is similar to Rohl’s with cross handles and hook spout.Martha Stewart Bedford gray paint swatch, Benjamin Moore Fieldstone gray paint swatch

Gray paint swatches: Martha Stewart Living’s Bedford Gray used in Martha Stewart’s kitchen [left] and Benjamin Moore’s Fieldstone Gray used in Sally Wheat’s kitchen.

(Source: Côte de Texas, Martha Stewart Living, Rohlhome,, Benjamin Moore, Home Depot)

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