Thursday, August 12, 2010

Neutral is a Four-Letter Word

Ah, color. Some embrace it:
Source: Alt Film Guide Go Katy Perry!
Some don't:
Source: We Like Fashion Oh no, Kirsten Dunst!
While I would probably never wear Ms. Perry's above ensemble , I admire her boldness and find her much more interesting to look at than the unfortunately-styled Ms. Dunst, who as a blond should never wear anything that color again, even if told "It is a neutral and will go with everything."

"Neutral" as pertains to decorating is a word I have come to detest. When we sold our home in Texas, I was advised to neutralize it for a fast sale. I found an inoffensive beige and proceeded to paint almost every room in the house. Good-bye, pumpkin orange kitchen; see ya later, red family room. So long, any kind of personality our generic McMansion may have had. It was nice knowing you. I may not have liked making the change, but I guess I did see the wisdom in "appealing to the masses" who might not like red or orange or the lime green that was my middle son's room---though if I could pick up a paint brush and some tan paint, so could any buyer---but I digress....

Thankfully, this house is a different story. We are not planning on selling, or moving, any time in the foreseeable future. In the past year I have painted all three boys' rooms, the hallways, the dining room, and the playroom--and not one room is the same color as another. We love our colorful house. So why was it, when I first started thinking about a new kitchen, that what I envisioned was something like this?

Source: Oliveaux Very pretty, but not a lot of color.
I knew I wanted painted cabinets, and all I 'd ever seen were white painted cabinets. I sort of assumed any color I threw in the room would have to be on the walls, or a bright tile backsplash, or some funky canisters. It was while searching photos of painted cabinets that I first came across the website for Kevin Ritter and Timeless Kitchen Design, and I was amazed by what I saw---Blue cabinets! Green cabinets! Yellow, red, and orange cabinets! And some white ones too!

It was at this point that the little wheels in my brain began turning. When Kevin came out for our first home consultation, we told him our vision for an off-white kitchen. He casually suggested we perhaps consider adding a piece or two in an accent color, and left us a few samples. Okay, we thought, maybe we'll do the snack station in a different shade. It'll be cool! And maybe a little daring.

After more discussions about our ever evolving design, and a look at all the room painting I'd been doing, Kevin threw out another idea---we obviously weren't scared of color, so why limit ourselves to one extra hue when we could have two? We were immediately excited by this prospect. I started Shmoogling, looking for information/inspiration on colorful cabinets---and ran into something of a brick wall.

Seems "they" (not sure exactly who they are but they seem to populate HGTV) dictate cabinets really should be kept a neutral wood or white, and any pops of color should be on easily changeable accessories. This isn't to say I couldn't find a bunch of examples of color on cabinets; just that the owners of these bold kitchens are portrayed as rebellious risk-takers who may not know what's best for them. Apparently, people who choose to paint their cabinets anything other than white are asking for a world of hurt come resale time (whether that be in two months or twenty years).

Okay, I get this point. It would be a pain to have to repaint cabinets, or even replace them, to sell a house. However, I would argue while we are living in the house, shouldn't it be decorated for us and not a potential buyer who may never materialize? And here's another thought: if we did end up having to sell our house in five or ten years, a new owner would most likely consider our kitchen old, or used, or ugly, and replace it no matter what it looks like! We could do a 2010 on-trend stainless/cherry wood/granite/travertine combo, and a buyer could walk in tomorrow and say, "But I like maple." Or "This is dark granite, I like light granite." And rip it all out--to suit their own tastes.

Source: Ugly House Photos I hear this is the next big thing for 2011!

I'll concede that there may come a day, a loooooong time from now, when we might tire of our color choices. We don't think so, because we find them so timelessly appealing, both calming and cheery at the same time. More importantly, the colors, together with the cabinets, countertops, lighting---it all seems to belong in the house. In our opinion, this kitchen will never look too outdated because it suits the overall aesthetic of an 1873 farmhouse. Well, these people might disagree:


Source: Flixster Delia and Otho!
And if we do get sick of our choices, well, I just read a great article about how switching out your cabinet hardware can make any old cabinet seem brand spanking new!

End of rant. I'll show you the colors and where they are going in my next post.

PS Just want to give a shout out here to some of the kitchen design bloggers who fight the good fight; I gained a lot of useful knowledge, unique inspiration, and support from them, whether they know it or not. Thanks to Sarah at Kitchen Clarity, Laurie at Kitchen Design Notes, Kelly at Kitchen Sync, and Paul at Kitchen and Residential Design for generously sharing your time and your expertise--you really helped a sister out!

1 comment:

  1. Just read your post on Lavender's GW thread...love your kitchen. I also have similar blues and greens in mine and love them!

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