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December 07, 2009

The Best Color & Design Don't Go Out of Style


Michael berman kitchen

Do you ever wonder if what you pick for your home now will still cut it in a few years?  In today's world, we're all selective in how we spend our decor dollars.  Of course, I still think color is key--it's the fastest, most effective way to reinvent space (and sometimes disposition, too).  The key is to start with what you love and figure out how to make choices that will last.

I just read this article about a beautiful kitchen in the Hollywood Hills.  It used to belong to one Mr. Errol Flynn.  A few years ago, talented designer Michael Berman reinvented it in a way that not only refreshes the site, but gives us a good lesson in monochromatic color design and how to do it well enough to make it last.  Jane Freiman did a great job on the story telling us all about the details that make this renovation a dramatic success.  I think it all comes together because of Michael's skillful use of color.

The real lesson in this project is how to create a design and color concept that lasts.  The aesthetics of this kitchen still look fantastic in today's world of design.  That's because Michael skillfully employed a monochromatic color scheme.  This type of scheme is defined as a "one-color" color scheme.  Of course, this has the potential of getting very boring very fast if you don't do it right. 

The key is to apply contrast.  Once you select your preferred color, choose objects, wall color, and other accents in the full spectrum of that color, from the deepest shade to the palest tint within that family of color.  Check out the pale blue-gray veining in the stone countertops, the midtone blue on the wall, and the deep indigo upholstery.  A one-color scheme is fantastic because with contrast and variety, it's actually fairly simple to accomplish.  Also, it's classic because you can always find the latest version of the color you love and incorporate it into the room with an accent wall or a throw pillow to keep it fresh over the years. 

This kitchen goes just one step forward with a great variety of wood colors, too.  The medium wood tone of the dining chair legs are complimented by a deeper variation on the floor and the dramatic stroke of dark color in the dining table and ceiling beams above.  The light fixture from Fuse is a nice touch, too, adding in all these neutrals into one piece.

I've always thought of Michael's work as classic, and now this retrospective confirms it- he always manages to bring a touch of balanced glamor to a space that will work over time.


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I loved the article. In the early 90's I had the privilege of attending a stage combat class by Errol Flynn's private fight instructor. His assistant did all the work, but he lectured and critiqued everyone.

Did you see the blue floor kitchen at the bottom of the article? That's my idea of a wonderful kitchen.

You sure do have aneyefordetail! I think refacing and using the old cabinets is a great idea if it works. Really, it's a great way to revitalize while recycling, too.
Color note- Pear green is fantastic! Thanks for reading along and sharing your thoughts, too!

I think this kitchen makeover, and its success, is amazing! To use so many different colors, albeit in the same range, is difficult. Here it succeeds beautifully....And, the idea that the owners actually kept some of the original cabinets, only changing lower doors and hardware, is so... unusual. I applaud them.
We too had the opportunity to gut our kitchen, but chose instead to keep the still very good quality wood cabinets, but also replaced the doors and hardware, and gave them a gorgeous new color of white.And yes, contrast, at some level, is crucial. We have Benj. Moore "Pear Green" on one wall and the soffits!
Thanks for the story!

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