Our kitchen has long been a source of frustration for us. It’s our largest room and always the one people gravitate towards. It’s also the most remodeled room in the house and I can’t say they did a very good job. The tile floors, the cabinets, the paint color—all awful. To make it worse, they chose flat, beige paint for the walls so not only did every splatter and fingerprint show, it was impossible to remove anything without leaving a mark. The ultimate goal is a kitchen remodel that restores some of the historic feel to our kitchen but since that’s a long way off, my immediate goal became a kitchen I could clean.
Historically, Arts and Crafts kitchens were small, utilitarian, and easy to clean—a sanitary space in which to cook was the aim. In contrast to the rich colors and stained wood of the public rooms, the walls were painted white or some other light color and the floors were covered with tile or linoleum. With that in mind, I started looking at some paint options. One possibility was the Roycroft Vellum we used for the outside trim. It was a neutral that might help tie the disparate elements of our kitchen together.
It took most of Saturday to ready the room and paint the walls. The Vellum actually ended up looking very nice against the white trim, and read as a light butter yellow. It didn’t really go with the cabinets but I had intended to paint those white to match the trim anyway (a project neither of us was looking forward to).
Unfortunately, as I started pushing all our wood furniture up against the walls, I realized I had been blinded by the fact my walls finally looked fresh and spot free. Looking over the entire room, it came across as anemic. Jonathan, who had been in the backyard all day working on another project, agreed—very politely, I might add.
It was time to make a quick decision and Jonathan once again tried to persuade me of the benefits of a red kitchen. The thought of red walls and our white trim made me think we’d end up with a kitchen more akin to a 1950’s diner, certainly not the look we were going for. Remembering my misplaced apprehension over Jonathan’s vision of a yellow living room (I think “schoolbus” was the term I used), I reached for our Sherwin Williams Arts and Crafts paint samples to see what reddish options they had.
Roycroft Adobe was the color we painted our front and back doors but we thought it may be too orange for the inside—and a tad too creamy.
Although I was concerned it would be a little too formal, we ended up choosing Rembrandt Ruby.
Sunday morning came and I was at it again. This time, I pulled Jonathan in from the yard for a second opinion before I plowed on through. As we started losing the light towards the end of the day, Jonathan cleaned the mud off his shoes and pitched in to help me finish the job.
I still had some hesitation about the red walls against the white trim but overall, we were completely surprised at how this color tied together all the completely discordant elements in our kitchen—the crazy patterned tile, the cabinets that didn’t seem to match anything, our wood furniture, the stained glass, and even my green pottery. It was as if we gave up trying to find a middle ground and simply forced everything to behave.
Now the rich red walls, the tiled floor, and the butchers block-styled cabinets made the entire room feel like a wine cellar. Not to be deterred, we promptly opened a bottle of red and celebrated what a pleasant time we’ll have waiting for our kitchen to be remodeled.
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