I've been tearing Plain English ad pages out of World of Interiors for years. Plain, yes, but perfect and elegant, sometimes beyond words. A dream kitchen for those of us that thrive in pure but personal spaces. And the colors are always spot on. This kitchen is no exception. I've been painting kitchens in this "half and half" manner for years, coating the bottom half of the room in a darker color and the top half in something lighter. Part utility, part beauty.
When I spotted A Kitchen for the People: Courtesy of Prince Charles, I was inspired to create a similar color palette. Wooden cabinets provide a perfect opportunity to bring color into the kitchen via paint. I get asked all the time about what paint is best for this kind of project, especially now that environmental legislation has changed the formulas of most house paints.
Not so long ago we would have used oil or "alkyd" paint as it's know in the trade. Oil paint has wonderful properties—it levels well, reducing the appearance of brush strokes, and it dries to a very hard film, making it durable. On the downside, it's more difficult to work with for novice painters, it has a solvent odor, it takes much longer to dry than water-based paint, and it's not as safe to work with.
After a few misses, the paint industry has finally made some progress with products that mimic the appearance and properties of oil paint. Fine Paints of Europe sells a great paint called ECO Brilliant that is a water-thinnable, urethane/alkyd emulsion, which means it works like oil paint but cleans up with water and has an formula that works with our environmental legislation. It comes in satin and brilliant (high gloss) finishes. Benjamin Moore makes the stateside version with its fantastic new product Advance waterborne interior alkyd. It's also a oil/water hybrid that cleans with water and comes in satin, semi, and high-gloss finishes. Both products are perfect for painting wooden cabinets.
Ed.'s Note: For more advice from Eve Ashcraft, consult The Right Color.
Above: British Standard cupboards are available in Broken White eggshell finish, ready for the customer to paint in any color they wish. In this case, the color of the cabinets extends above the work top, creating an unexpected and quirky visual datum.
Above: These are a few colors from Fine Paints of Europe (L to R): Fine Paints of Europe Select Collection #9335, #7540. Fine Paints of Europe Mount Vernon Collection #MV51 Mopboard Black, #MV106 New Room White, #MV107Crushed Oyster Shell, #108 Palladian White.