Classic, Clean, and Colorful

It’s not often that designer Kelly Neely gets a request for color in a kitchen, so when these homeowners made the ask, she took off in a sprint.

Kitchen island
The ranch-style home originally had a small galley-like kitchen. In the renovation, space was taken from an unused secondary den to nearly double the size of the room and allow for a large island—a must-have for the homeowners. To provide as much functionality as possible at the island, Kelly went with all drawers. “They’re more functional than traditional cabinets,” she says. “Everything is much more accessible.”
Photography by Mary Margaret Smith
Styling by Kathleen Varner
An appliance tower allows the homeowners to hide appliances yet easily access them as needed. Kelly brought the shades of blue to the wall with a still life by Caroline Stroud from Design Supply.

To give her clients the colorful space they desired without it feeling too quirky or playful, designer Kelly Neely went with a soft blue (‘Light Blue’ by Farrow & Ball) on the island and pantry tower. “It’s a safe way to add color while keeping the look more sophisticated,” she says. “I didn’t want it to feel like Barbie’s kitchen.” The designer then worked with Neely Construction to keep the rest of the aesthetic classic and clean, starting with a mosaic Asian Statuary polished marble backsplash from Fixtures & Finishes that mimics the geometric shape of the custom vent hood. As another nod to the curvature of the backsplash and hood, as well as to bring a little extra character into the room, Kelly added a dainty trim profile to the drawers on the island. And to keep these details from feeling too feminine, she balanced them with the sleek, straight lines of shaker doors and inset cabinetry in the rest of the space. Calcutta Gold marble from Surface One, featuring gray-and-white veining that complements the pops of blue, tops off the island and perimeter cabinets, while a mix of hardware finishes—polished nickel plumbing fixtures and French antique cabinet pulls from Brandino Brass—add some shine. Barstools from Ballard Designs and pendant lights from Circa Lighting complete the look.

“From the strategic uses of blue to the applied molding on the cabinets, each detail works together to elevate the space.”

—Kelly Neely
Laundry room
Kelly wanted to bring the blue-and-white scheme of the kitchen into the laundry room without copying it too closely. She chose a more masculine spin with darker cabinets and a darker slate floor from Fixtures & Finishes. A rug from Paige Albright Orientals brings additional pops of blue. To add interest to the flat panel cabinets, the designer included a backplate with the drawer and cabinet pulls. A gold light fixture from Circa Lighting offers a bit of bling.
Custom vent hood
Kelly created an instant focal point with the custom vent hood. Because the range is on a wall by itself, she wanted cabinetry on either side for a sense of symmetry. Glass doors on the cabinet towers soften the look while also allowing the homeowners’ Estelle colored glasses to shine through.

In the laundry room, Kelly continued the use of blue, but she chose to go a bit bolder in the small space. ‘Hauge Blue’ by Farrow & Ball makes a serious statement on the flat-panel cabinets, which are topped with easy-to-clean white quartz countertops. Hand-painted walls perfectly imitate the look of wallpaper and bring another shade of blue into the space. “My wish was for both rooms to feel colorful and welcoming yet sophisticated, and Kelly made it happen,” says the homeowner. “When you walk inside, you can’t help but be happy.”

TIP: To combat the lower ceiling, Kelly painted the wall, trim, and cabinets the same shade, ‘Alabaster’ by Sherwin-Williams, giving the illusion of height.

Kelly Neely

Incorporating Color

Considering color in your kitchen? Kelly Neely of Kelly Neely Interiors shares her tips on layering in color without overdoing it.

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  • Stick to just one color. Too much color will overwhelm the eye. Here, blue is used on the island and certain perimeter cabinets. The remaining cabinets are painted white to blend into the wall, allowing the blue to be the focal point.
  • Use the color in strategic places. It’s important to make the color feel purposeful, not random.
  • Ensure additional pops of the color throughout the room. Circulating the same color throughout the space pulls the eye around the entire room.
  • Add a contrasting hue on the island. This is an easy way to incorporate color while also helping to anchor the space.
  • Bring in more color with rugs and artwork. This helps continue color without overwhelming the room.

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