5 Paint Colors, 1 Surefire Kitchen

Why do just one hue? This space from HGTV Magazine proves using a whole bunch of shades amps up the charm.


Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

It’s hard enough for most people to choose a single paint color. Melissa Buksbaum picked five — in one afternoon. “We had only a few weeks to renovate after we signed the contract for the house,” says Melissa, whose family of four relocated from a nearby town house to this 1940s Colonial in Arlington, VA, to gain more breathing room. The kitchen, last renovated in the 1990s, was a stuffy and bland blend of dark cherry cabinets, pinstripe wallpaper, and white tile floors. So Melissa tapped Lapis Ray Interior Design to pitch in, stat.

Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

Although her husband was color-shy — “When I first met Gregg, his place was all beige” — she was on board for unexpected ideas. One of the designer’s first suggestions was to pull several colors from the roman shade above the sink for the paint. Melissa got excited, even though it meant a frenzied few hours of wading through dozens of paint chips. She settled on a handful of hues that bring out the kitchen’s best features: Deep gray outlines the French doors, watery blue makes the 8-foot-high ceiling appear loftier and greenish gray cabinets bring out the veining in the marble on the island. “Since the colors are all in the same family, the kitchen doesn’t feel chaotic, just relaxed and welcoming,” says Melissa. “Honestly, Gregg probably doesn’t realize there are five different colors!”


Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

With a couple coats of greenish gray paint, the old cabinets and island base suddenly looked fresh and new. For the floors, Melissa picked porcelain wood-like tile from Florim and had it laid in a modern herringbone pattern. Adding legs and a longer marble countertop to the island made space for three blue-and-white-striped stools from One Kings Lane, where Melissa likes to sit and watch Gregg and the kids play in the backyard. The roman shade on the window — the inspiration for the room’s colors — was made with Cowtan & Tout fabric.

Dining Area

Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

With two young kids, meals aren’t exactly relaxing, says Melissa — “but at least where we eat looks that way.” Built-in cabinets used to surround the window, which made the whole setup appear dark and unfriendly. Melissa and Gregg replaced them with open shelves from Bungalow 5 but kept the window seat, now painted white — it’s handy for squeezing more guests around the turned-leg trestle table by Sarreid. A custom cushion and lots of pillows cozy it up. The brass Moravian star pendants are from Visual Comfort, and the chairs are from Pottery Barn.

Wet Bar

Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

Connected to the dining area, this nook was built during a 1990s renovation. The Buksbaums gave it a dramatic update with smoky gray paint and two styles of hardware: antiqued brass flush-mount ring pulls and antiqued nickel knobs, both from House of Antique Hardware. The gray-and-cream wallpaper is from Ralph Lauren.

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