White kitchen doesn't have to be plain vanilla

  • Designer Erin Paige Pitts worked with RangeCraft to style a striking stainless-steel and pewter range hood for the Todorov family's kitchen in Bishopville, Maryland.

    Designer Erin Paige Pitts worked with RangeCraft to style a striking stainless-steel and pewter range hood for the Todorov family's kitchen in Bishopville, Maryland. John McDonnell/The Washington Post

By Jura Koncius
The Washington Post
Posted4/15/2017 6:00 AM

White kitchens seem to be everywhere these days. White cabinets and white counters continue to be the top choice of many homeowners, whether going for a classic, country or industrial look. But yours doesn't have to look like everyone else's.

Designer Erin Paige Pitts was careful to give a light and bright custom look to the Todorov family's kitchen in Bishopville, Maryland.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

"It's very easy to order a kitchen full of white cabinets, but that isn't what makes it special," says Pitts, who has offices in Maryland and Florida. "I look for opportunities to add a lot of visual interest, whether it be interesting tile for the backsplash, beautiful cabinet hardware or unique glass."

Particularly when using white, "it's the layering of all these interesting elements that makes a kitchen special and visually appealing."

Here's her advice:

If you go with white tile, make it special

The Todorov kitchen has lustrous white tiles that shimmer in the sunlight. Pitts used handcrafted iridescent tiles (the specific color is Chalk) from the Winchester Tile Co.'s Metropolitan collection. The company, based in England, is a favorite of Pitts's. "I love to use them in waterfront homes where we want to have light reflecting through the space," Pitts says. She says the glossy finish of the tiles "reflects on water and brings it into the home." She also used Winchester light blue (Lupin) tile as an accent to add another dimension.

Make your range hood a focal point

Seek out a beautifully designed hood or customize one so you make it a design feature instead of just a functional appliance. Pitts worked with RangeCraft to style a striking polished stainless-steel and pewter range hood embellished with a riveted trim. She added a Newport Brass wall-mounted pot filler in polished nickel, which is useful and adds another design element.


Research your marbles

The marble countertop that Pitts and the Todorovs selected is Calacatta gold. Pitts says she is fond of it in white kitchens because of the pureness of the white and the veining. The white sections of Calacatta gold are very white, so the contrast of these against the gray and golden-beige veins adds warmth to a white kitchen. She is also fond of statuary marble, which has slight gray veining. That's what she used in her own kitchen.

Don't go with plain glass

In keeping with her water theme, Pitts installed "water glass" in some of the cabinets with glass doors. This type of glass is wavy and looks like ripples in the water. It adds another layer of shimmer to the space, especially when the sun hits it.

Choose a clean, crisp white paint

There's a whole spectrum of white paint out there, some with a little yellow, some with a little gray. In this project, Pitts used Super White by Benjamin Moore, which she calls "the best pure white." "It's like a crisp, new white bedsheet," she says. This color allows detail in millwork to pop and reflects color and light without discoloration. Pitts used Super White in matte on the walls, semigloss on the trim and flat on the ceiling. She suggests pairing Super White trim with walls in Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore, which has a touch of gray, when you want to create a contrast between the walls and the trim or when the house has too much southern exposure.

Use a darker floor to ground the room

Any time you're doing a very white kitchen, the floor needs to balance the white and ground it. At the Todorovs', Pitts did that with a walnut wood floor. Gray or taupe tile is another option.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.