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Lessons From a Kitchen Guru

Designer Christopher Peacock shares his strategies for building the perfect kitchen, from the ideal island size to the right countertop finish.

Over the past 25 years, cabinetmaker Christopher Peacock has designed and built more than 200 custom kitchens worldwide—so many with white-painted cabinets that they’ve become his signature style. The versatility of white cabinets makes them "the little black dress of kitchens," he says.

Paired with marble countertops—"I wouldn’t put in granite unless forced to"—white cabinets serve as a plain backdrop to set off a bright color on the walls or the tones of beautiful furniture. "I avoid anything too decorative for fixed items like tiles," he says. "Otherwise you tire of them quickly."

Today, Peacock has four showrooms around the country (peacockcabinetry.com) and he designs his own cabinet hardware. This spring, he will introduce a line of extra-durable enamel paints. Here, he shares his rules for creating the perfect kitchen.

 
1. Wall Color

Wall Color

People are often frightened to pick a color, afraid they’ll make a wrong choice. But as long as the design and cabinetry are simple, you can afford to put a strong color on the walls.

2. Cabinet Paint

Cabinet Paint

I like a satin or low-sheen finish. Shinier finishes may be tougher, but they show finger marks. I use Fine Paints of Europe, and I like the company so much that it’s manufacturing my new line of paints.

3. Flooring

Flooring

Wood floors are lovely, but in kitchens, I wish more people would use limestone or slate. Stone floors are more durable and easier to clean than wood—you just sweep them. I use large slabs of stone; I don’t like to see a lot of busy tile.

4. Ideal Island

Ideal Island

The perfect size is 8 or 9 feet by 4 feet, and it should be located between 42 and 54 inches from the countertops on the perimeter of the kitchen. To me, an island should be a prep area free of appliances like ranges and sinks. I can’t stand it when islands dominate the whole space—you can’t reach across and clean them.

1. Wall Color People are often frightened to pick a color, afraid they’ll make a wrong choice. But as long as the design and cabinetry are simple, you can afford to put a strong color on the walls.

2. Cabinet Paint I like a satin or low-sheen finish. Shinier finishes may be tougher, but they show finger marks. I use Fine Paints of Europe, and I like the company so much that it’s manufacturing my new line of paints.

3. Flooring Wood floors are lovely, but in kitchens, I wish more people would use limestone or slate. Stone floors are more durable and easier to clean than wood—you just sweep them. I use large slabs of stone; I don’t like to see a lot of busy tile.

4. Ideal Island The perfect size is 8 or 9 feet by 4 feet, and it should be located between 42 and 54 inches from the countertops on the perimeter of the kitchen. To me, an island should be a prep area free of appliances like ranges and sinks. I can’t stand it when islands dominate the whole space—you can’t reach across and clean them.

Sources

Fine Paints of Europe finepaintsofeurope.com

Plus

Published February 2008
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