Crafty DIYers update their kitchen with black and white color scheme.
By Patty Singstock
Our remade kitchen’s a study in black and white. Decorating is so much fun that it seems a shame to stay with a single look too long. Fortunately, my husband, Al, shares my belief and is a talented do-it-yourselfer.
Though we’re empty nesters—Alicia and Amanda now have places of their own—I love to cook and entertain family and friends, so our kitchen is always bustling. That’s especially true at Thanksgiving, a big celebration for us ever since our Amanda was born on the holiday.
From Office to Kitchen
In redoing our kitchen, better work space and storage were priorities for me. I’d been eyeing islands with a breakfast bar to replace our table. A call from Al’s dad two years ago started us on the road to our custom island.
Hauling a piece of old office furniture from his employer to the dump, Al’s dad wondered whether we might want it. The old wood file cabinet wasn’t much to look at, all beaten up and World War II-era olive drab, but Al thought it might be handy in his workshop.
When I saw it, I knew that cabinet would stay in the workshop only long enough for Al to transform it into our kitchen island! He stripped and refinished it, added wainscoting to match the walls and topped it with black Corian flecked with gray and white. That island has proven to be such a convenient work space, and you can bet I use every one of the 16 drawers.
My other favorite kitchen feature is the huge multi-paned antique window that overlooks our family room and the fireplace. I’d wanted to knock out the dividing wall altogether to open up the space, but this big window really gives us the open feeling I wanted.
Over the years, I’ve had burgundy and greens in here, patterned wallpaper and stencils, and dishes to coordinate. But a few years ago, I opted for simple black and white. We stripped and restained our oak cabinets white, added black hardware to match the counters, installed large off-white floor tiles and put up embossed wallpaper that we painted white.
Nestled on top of the cabinets, under the beams Al put up, is my collection of black-and-white enamelware. Some of it’s old, some new, but most of it was incredibly inexpensive. I’ve always loved hunting out antiques, and though I’m doing less of it these days—it’s not easy to clean all of these!—I think they add a fun country note.
I love my kitchen, but I know it won’t look like this forever. I’m forever ripping pages out of magazines and keeping my eyes open for inspiration. Still, there’s one thing we know will never change. However it’s decorated, our kitchen will always be turning out plenty of food for plenty of people—at Thanksgiving and all year long.