January 13, 2016
In recent years, crisp white hues have come to define contemporary kitchens, and Amy Yin, principal and owner of Short Hills, N.J.-based Amy Yin Interiors, has mastered that aesthetic with a recent revamp in Middletown, N.J., that creatively reinterprets the neutral palette with vibrant pops of color.
“While we had updated the window treatments, the juxtaposition of these improvements left the rest of the kitchen dull, dated and uninspired,” said the clients, who had previously commissioned Yin to smarten up the space with a custom Roman shade depicting Asian-inspired birdcages over the kitchen sink. “I hoped to brighten the space with a bit of whimsy and originality.”
“The homeowner fell in love with this cheery fabric and its color palette; its aqua background is reminiscent of the ocean she loves,” Yin added. “The other colors reminded her of nature and the wonderful panoply of bird plumage. We felt it reflects her exuberant personality and used both as inspiration.”
Using the shade as a launch point, Yin began by re-facing the existing cabinetry, rather than replacing it, to cut costs. Though the cabinets’ structural layout worked well, their grooved inset panels and oak-like coloration were dated, and cleaning was difficult.
Bright white now highlights the doors and drawer fronts, which feature flat-panel surfaces that are much easier to wipe down, as well as roll-out trays that make items stored in the back more accessible. Cobalt glass knobs punctuate the Shaker-style cabinetry and reflect light while making a stylistic statement. The cabinets were adjusted to accommodate double wall ovens and a larger refrigerator with French doors.
An energy-efficient dishwasher and gas-powered cooktop were additionally integrated into the appliances’ original spots, while a new single-bowl sink’s built-in shelf provides space for dishes to drain out of view.
Let There be Color and Light
“The space was not well lit,” said Yin, who replaced fluorescent lighting under the cabinets with new LED fixtures, along with the addition of recessed lighting over the sink and along pathways for safety purposes.
New LED pendants were also suspended over the island at a greater height than their predecessors for wider beam spread, while glass shades provide playful bursts of color, “for fun and function,” said Yin. “They create excellent task lighting at the island, while their sleek profile allows the clients to enjoy outdoor views with unobstructed sightlines.”
Like the knobs, white quartz counters on top similarly reflect light and complement the minimalist aesthetic to maintain focus on colorful accents, such as pencil and field tiles in shades of yellow and blue that spread color across the room and lead the eye to a bubbly backsplash above the stove.
“With white cabinets and counters in place, we knew the backsplash was the place for personality,” explained Yin. “We selected the specific colors, sizes and proportion of each playful bubble to invoke the liveliness, effervescence and cheer of the homeowners.”
Designer: Amy Yin Interiors
Photographer: Joy Yagid Photography
Field Tile: Artistic Tile
Garbage Disposal: Waste King
Grout: Mapei Hood: XO Appliance
Oven: KitchenAid, Architect Series II
Pendant Lights: W.A.C. Lighting, Fiori Glass Shades
Sink: Franco Orca
Soap Dispenser: Grohe
Window Treatments: Custom Created by Amy Yin Interiors