Susan Yeley Homes
Life is too short not to love your home.


What are Color Studies? / A Kitchen Remodel in an Historic Home

This post is about color studies. That's what we do at SYI to determine how to mix and match color, pattern and style in a space and keep it looking intentional and harmonious.

However, you need some background. 

One of my oldest besties recently moved from a great house in a great neighborhood in a great Midwestern city (Cincinnati), literally Next Door! to an even greater house in her very same great neighborhood. Built in the 1930s, it's got grace and scale and a butler's pantry (which, okay, we tore out, but we did so reverently, salvaging the built-ins and leaving both the still-functional bell for the maid and the telephone nook). It's a fixer-upper, big-time. But my friend, she never met a Project she couldn't handle with efficiency and taste. Perfect.

As a Project Person with Great Taste, however, my friend knew pretty early on that she needed some professional help on this particularly daunting project of a house. And (ooh, how I love this friend), she called me! 

Leaving the rest of the house for another post, the bulk of SYI's work has been in designing the kitchen, keeping the original green-stained cabinetry and achieving a mix of warm, family-centered, and modern. Here's the kitchen before:

The farm sink is staying! But the window wall will all be getting new cabinetry. The floor here has been scraped to its original wood.  

This [original] cabinetry stays, and all new will be crafted custom to match.  

We tried to leave the original butler's pantry, shown here with a peak into the kitchen for context, but it really separated the kitchen from the rest of the house - as it was meant to do when it was built, after all. What's more, it made the kitchen footprint very small: a real shame for a family space where much gathering, entertaining and general cavorting is to be done for many years to come.

Here is the plan for that big window wall. The wall you see above that divided the butler's pantry would be right where the stove and hood are in this elevation:

So. Back to our point: color studies. As this client (let's call her Old-Friend-New-House) had lots of great ideas (herringbone tile! Aga range! paint a pattern on the wood floor!), we needed to do some work figuring out what combination of the following would work best: floors, countertops, island base, island top, and seating. (We had already determined that the backsplash and main countertops would be white, pendants would be brass and white from Schoolhouse Electric, appliances stainless, and new cabinetry green to match the original.) Now maybe you can figure out all those variables in your head, but we needed to get out the colored pencil box and do some old-fashioned cutting and pasting.

The results? Color studies. See for yourself. Next time I'll tell you SYI's favorite, which Old-Friend-New-House (and her husband) seconded. (Whew!)

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(You think this is a lot - we actually did more! These are the finalists. If you can do this in your head, really: hats off to you.)

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