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Deep Dive

The Key to Making This New-Build Kitchen Feel Lived-In? The Perfect Shade of Warm White

Words by Morgan Goldberg
a kitchen with a center island with stools

Photography by Stephanie Russo

Achieving warmth and character in a new build can be a challenge, but that’s exactly what Alex Adamson did in a recent Alpine, Utah kitchen.

The Salt Lake City-based interior designer used custom Shaker-style cabinets with curved details and a mix of brass hardware—from bail pulls to knobs—to produce an updated traditional cooking space that looks like it belongs in a historical East Coast house. “I love creating homes that make people doubt when they were actually built,” she shares.

Alex painted the kitchen in Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, a “tried and true” warm white that helps age the room. Meanwhile, the adjacent pantry, which offers additional storage and a small workstation, is covered in a soft blue-green hue. “Rather than try to conceal it with doors, we embraced the opening and added transom windows so you see into the space and get this little jolt of color,” she explains.

Most importantly, the kitchen is a workhorse and a gathering place for the young family that inhabits it. Alex ensured plenty of counter space for prepping meals and seating for the children to join their parents while cooking. The homework area is conveniently situated nearby, too, so no one is ever too far from the heart of the home.

The project: A new construction

The location: Alpine, Utah

The space: An open kitchen and pantry

The client: A young family

a chair sitting in a kitchen next to a window
a corner of a kitchen with green cabinets

Photography by Stephanie Russo

a wall mounted light with a brass finish
Visual Comfort & Co.Pimlico Double Swing ArmINQUIRE
a white toilet sitting in a bathroom next to a sink
Farrow & BallPigeon PaintINQUIRE
a wicker chair on a white background
Sika DesignRomantica Rattan Chair, AntiqueINQUIRE

The biggest problem to solve

For a family with lots of kids who needed a good amount of storage, there wasn't a huge footprint for cabinetry—uppers especially. We created long towers rising from the countertop to the ceiling to maximize the cupboards. And then we built out a long, galley-style pantry.

The item that started it all

We wanted an East Coast traditional feel, so we kicked off the design with the copper and brass pendants hanging above the island. They felt nostalgic to me—they could’ve been designed a long time ago or could be brand new. I liked that feeling of timelessness.

a kitchen with a center island with stools

Photography by Stephanie Russo

a light hanging from a ceiling fixture
Mullan LightingIndoor/Outdoor Nerissa PendantSHOP NOW
a wooden stool with a wicker seat
Serena & LilySunwashed Riviera Rattan Backless Counter StoolINQUIRE
a large metal bowl on a white background
Freeforms1929 GAB Flared Silver BowlSHOP NOW

The piece that anchors the space

We wanted to make the range hood the focal point and emphasize its tapered shape by not using upper cabinetry next to it so it’s the first thing you see. We cased out the entire opening around the hood and wrapped it in Carrara marble tile with recessed spice shelves on each side.

The design risk with the biggest payoff

Painting the entire pantry in a blue-green color was a risk. We covered the whole hallway—its cabinetry, walls, and ceiling—in Pigeon by Farrow & Ball. Luckily, the client loved it in the end. It's soft enough that it doesn't take away from the kitchen but it adds interest to peek into this darker area.

a kitchen with two stools and a center island

Photography by Stephanie Russo

a wooden cutting board with a wooden handle
LostineCubist BoardSHOP NOW
a table lamp with a white shade on it
Visual Comfort & Co.Terri Round Accent LampINQUIRE
an antique persian rug with an intricate design
District LoomLoma Antique Persian Malayer RunnerSHOP NOW

The little detail with a big impact

The whole house has beautiful long hallways that we divided with transom windows. They’re not only in the kitchen, they continue throughout the home. They add character and light to every room.

The splurge and steal in the room

The cabinetry is where I spent the most. We went custom and used a great local workshop that I love. The pendants were a steal.

a kitchen with a stove, sink, oven and a window

Photography by Stephanie Russo

a wall light with a long arm on a white background
Mullan LightingRio Adjustable Wall LightSHOP NOW
a blue and white bowl sitting on top of a table
Pomelo CasaTraditional BowlSHOP NOW
a set of silverware including a fork, knife and spoon
MepraDolce Vita Cutlery SetSHOP NOW

The happy accident

The pantry has a tight footprint so we couldn't run lower cabinetry all the way to the door. To fit enough storage into the space while still having clearance to walk, we designed a China hutch that’s recessed from the rest of the cupboards. It feels like a piece of furniture and it's perfect to display pretty dishes. It was a tricky puzzle to solve, but I love the end result. It feels custom and intentional.

The final vibe

Warm, inviting, cozy. There's personality, but nothing overly competes for your attention. It feels calming and for a recent construction, it doesn't feel too new.

a woman standing in front of a black closet
a dog sitting on a bench in front of a window

Photography by Malissa Mabey

Photography by Stephanie Russo

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