Black can be a challenging color for the kitchen, a space most people want to feel light, bright, and airy. But this stunner of a design by Portland-based firm Jessica Helgerson Interior Design gets it all just right. From the contrast between light and dark to the Old World touches and the warm brass accents, we could spend days marveling over the crisp yet inviting feeling of this kitchen.
The original kitchen was a narrow, single-window galley in a circa-1926, Mediterranean-style apartment building repurposed as condos in an upscale Portland neighborhood. To start, Helgerson’s team widened the space by knocking down a wall leading to an old living room and adding a large, arched opening between the kitchen and dining room (which echoes the arch leading to the new living area).
They covered the floor in graphic, black-and-white encaustic tiles, and chose high-gloss white rectangular tile for the walls to help reflect light. The exposed-beam ceiling and granite countertops are also white, and these elements keep the seemingly endless (in the best possible way) banks of sleekly modern black appliances, shelves, and cabinets from looking dark and drab.
To compensate for a lack of countertop real estate, Helgerson commissioned a Spanish-style table for the island, but added a few extra inches to the height to make it appropriate for use as a counter and breakfast bar. In a nod to the living room that was once part of the space, the designers created a long, low window seat (with storage!) and added a soft gold velvet sofa at the far end of the room—perfect places to flip through a magazine while waiting for the oven timer to go off or for a chat with the chef. And that amazing vintage glass-door cabinet near the couch? The condo’s owner had never found the perfect spot for it, but when the designers saw it languishing in her bedroom, they knew exactly where it should go. We love the way the medium-tone wood echoes the finish of the island and warms up the entire wall.
What’s your take on this design? Would you try the black-and-white treatment in your kitchen?