Dark kitchen cabinets range from deep blue to black with touches of white only for accent.
More and more often I’m seeing kitchens with such dark kitchen cabinets they seem designed for people with reverse lives — like rock musicians whose days begin at 4 or 5 p.m. And the high contrast and dramatic effect of extra-dark kitchens is almost upstaging the white and black combinations that have been popular for so long. In a renovated late 19th century home in Hellerup, outside Copenhagen, designers Marianne Brandi and Keld Mikkelsen went with a kitchen [top] dominated by glossy black cabinets and graceful marble accents, saying they wanted “classic and contrast.” Classic would certainly describe the black-painted drop leaf table in the center of this kitchen — a table that easily could be mistaken for a narrow island. As someone who is passionate (or perhaps obsessive) about paint-decorated Scandinavian furniture – especially black tables – I spotted it immediately. This type of table has been used in Danish and Swedish homes for centuries. With both leaves extended it could could seat six in the kitchen but here, the leaves are folded down and out of the way with the resulting effect of a modest island without actually having one.
While the inspiration for the black kitchen cabinets might well have come from the table, the hexagonal marble tile floor and marble backsplash add notes of luxe. I adore this floor. The sink, placed in a windowed bay, gets ample light from a triple pendant fixture with white shade, needed between two banks of black upper cabinets! And, look at the elegant English-style bridge faucet with rarely seen black china lever handles. Additionally, there are tall black-handled pillar tap faucets on each side — a traditional but stylish way to dispense filtered cold and instant-hot water.
I’ve long admired the deep gray-blue kitchen esteemed British designer John Minshaw installed in his home, a converted barn in Oxfordshire. Placed at one end of a great room that includes kitchen, living and dining spaces – and dominated by a massive antique chandelier from Carlton Davidson — this kitchen is flanked by a wall of windows overlooking a garden. So while the cabinets are an inky hue (RAL 5008) Minshaw sourced from Technical Paint Services, an airy, open feeling prevails. What interests me about this kitchen, with its double Wolf ovens, pro-style refrigerator and discreet wine cooler (right), is the way the range and sink areas are flipped. The usual arrangement has the range centered on the main wall with a vent hood above it and the sink placed directly across in the island. Here, Mr. Minshaw wrapped the island cabinetry around a big range and used the sink nook — with its high-arc sprayer faucet — as the focal point. Glass-front cabinets in the island are no less usual. These are well lighted to provide dishware storage near the dining table under the sensational 6-foot wide chandy.
Cabinets on legs – including island cabinets – fall into the contemporary European modular style popularized worldwide by Ikea and championed in German by Bulthaup. These are matte black with a hip semi-industrial style and unfitted. By that I mean not built-in so they can be moved as easily as furniture. Note that the 24-inch oven, induction cooktop and sink are contained in the modules – you don’t leave appliances for the next tenant, either.
The portability of these cabinet modules make them easy to place in loft spaces next to pesky pillars.
A modest coffee bar, on a marble top table with industrial shelves above, looks integrated and chic against the kitchen’s matching black-painted accent wall.
In a 6000-square-foot new-build, designer Debra Toney packed a family-size kitchen with high-end features. Charcoal-stained oak cabinets update the look of the neo-Craftsman house and provide ample drama against a red-oak floor. As in many American kitchens, appliances are noteworthy. First and foremost is the massive modern range hood with a glass storage shelf. Then there are double Wolf ovens, and a SubZero refrigerator-freezer pair. In a kitchen with so many brand-name features it would be easy to get a generic suburban look. But the daringly dark kitchen cabinets keep it modern.
The view down the main aisle shows a sleek Bulthaup-style steel tambor door that conceals storage and a Wolf rangetop in the island. Soffit cabinet lighting on the refrigerator wall helps emphasize the high ceilings.
It’s difficult to believe a kitchen this dark would work on a tropical island but photographer-turned-architect Wolfgang Ludes created minimalistic midnight in a Caribbean villa on St. Barthélmy. And the moody photo and lack of hardware makes it difficult to distinguish pantry cabinets on the window wall. With everything the same color, the long island looks like part of the wall until you spot a sink faucet peeking up out of the blackness. While the usual smudges and kitchen smears might never be visible, this is a stunning concept and not unsuited to a vacation retreat which no doubt provides maid service.
The surface of Moroccan tiles has a wonderful ability to catch and reflect light, even when the tile is black. I love the tactility of the pieced wall and the way it embellishes the matte minimalism of the cabinet wall. But the secret ingredient in this kitchen is the white floor, I think, since it functions in much the same way as the skylight above it.
The tiles blend well with the charcoal wall color which acts as a background for the weathered wood and wabi sabi baskets.
(Source: JohnMinshawDesign, Lonny.com, designville.cz, debratoney.com, wolfgangludesarchitecture, style-files.com)
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