House Beautiful’s all black Kitchen of the Year for 2014 is a 1920s San Francisco mansion with a view.
Opposites attract. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the mainstream press has begun to call the kitchen color shift — from all white to all black — a trend. For bloggers like me this is hardly news. Back in March of this year, my Dark Kitchen Drama post, documented the all black kitchen and nearly black kitchens I’d been seeing, including a designer beauty in Sweden. Modern all black kitchens have been around quite some time as four black kitchen posts (below) also show.
In April, this all black kitchen debuted at the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Designed by Steven Miller it was sponsored by KraftMaid Cabinetry, Whirlpool and House Beautiful, which dubbed it their Kitchen of the Year for 2014. The dark drama reached full force in September when the Wall Street Journal woke up, looked around and wrote about “The Rise of the Black Kitchen” — essentially pegging it to younger consumers looking for a more gender neutral environment that’s also more masculine and industrial. No revelations there.
What’s interesting about Mr. Miller’s kitchen has less to do with trends and much to do with marketing and an attempt to introduce an appliance finish to rival stainless steel. It’s a handsome kitchen [top] in a very traditional style but not really ground breaking in my opinion. As I went through the photos I kept thinking about how much it looks like the classic white “one true kitchen” if the color were reversed. There’s a big helping of glitz, never a bad thing. I also like the healthy high-low price mix of fixtures and appliances. And steal-worthy kitchen features are prominent, too. Overall, it’s a well-designed for a 1920s mansion overlooking San Francisco bay. The shortcomings of having black glossy cabinets, appliances and tile — fingerprints, dust, and streaking — are offset by great natural light and the fact that nobody may ever actually use the kitchen. So let’s have fun focusing on the merch, namely Whirlpool’s Black Ice collection refrigerator, dishwasher and $1649 ice maker as well as and the four different black cabinet color options KraftMaid currently offers. It’s interesting to note approximate costs to be on trend, even when appliances and cabinets have relatively modest price points.
For me, the focal point of the kitchen is the stunning steel casement greenhouse style window over the main sink. That special window adds greenery and a modern edge. Both counters and the window sill are topped with Organic White Caesarstone which, along with the Valspar Reserve Ultra White ceiling and floor, helps reflect light. Kohler’s 45-in Stages sink ($1599) is paired with their Hi-Rise deck-mounted bridge faucet with gooseneck spout ($1565).
The kitchen actually was intended to focus on the cooking niche featuring Whirlpool’s 5-Burner Gas Cooktop ($849) with 15,000 to 5,000 b.t.u. burners. A pair of Whirlpool Gold 30-inch Wall Ovens ($1699 each) are installed below for anyone who likes cooking their turkey near the floor. It looks great and, since these ovens are unlikely to ever be used for actual food preparation, I won’t expound on my belief in the evils of installing a wall oven under a cooktop, let alone two.
A back lighted chest-on-chest cabinet glows softly in the kitchen. The black cabinets, backed by Phillip Jeffries’ glittery quartz mica wallpaper (also used on walls above the backsplash) reflects the lighting, too. The onyx satin finish KraftMaid cabinets, with Harlowe doors, are one of four black finishes the brand currently offers. There’s also glimpse of Whirlpool’s Black Ice 4-door refrigerator ($3099), a 36-inch wide model with a bottom freezer which is nearly three-feet-deep if handles are included in the measurement.
Inside the lighted cabinet, Peruvian walnut shelves are engraved with storage categories —a lovely personalization similar to the incised labels in our Monogramming Cabinets post.
Another tidy feature are Legrand’s Adorne pop out electrial outlets ($55.18 each). With a black and white option, square shape and disappearing act when they’re not in use, these look like a great option to have in a dream kitchen file.
Brace yourselves butler’s pantry lovers. This one’s a beauty. I may even prefer the butler’s pantry features to the main kitchen area. The little square with the red thingy high in the cabinet is an iPad installed to control the kitchen’s lighting and audio systems. Caesarstone counters and over onxy cabinets continue in there. Note the way the walnut counter is worked into the Caesarstone in the corner — beautiful.
Here’s a close up of the Kohler Poise prep sink mounted below the walnut counter with runnels. Keeping things consistent, Kohler’s Hi-Rise wall mounted faucet bridge faucet ($1623) is used here. Ann Sacks’ stunning Chrysalis Split Honeycomb mosaic tile in black and silver iridized (starting at $75 a square foot) is used throughout the kitchen in a herringbone pattern. This tile is so effective in this location, set between the black-painted window sill and the wood counter to warm things up.
I’m always fascinated by the way sinks are installed and this one is quite unique. Kohler’s Poise is an undermount. To utilize the beveled edge this sink was installed with a highly unusual positive reveal that, for me, is a work of art. Since water will accumulate in the runnels it can easily run off into the sink. To eliminate it traveling forward over the edge of counter, a curved channel was created along the front to direct water into the sink. It’s rare to see such a refinement and a shame the name of the counter top fabricator was not included in the online credits!
(Source: House Beautiful, KraftMaid, Steven Miller Design Studio)
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