Erin Martin tells how to give any style of kitchen a beautiful sense of balance.

April 01, 2010

erin martin

© Dominique Vorillon

One reason why Erin Martin is Napa Valley's most sought-after interior designer: her genius with scale. In a small French-country kitchen, she installed hand-painted blue-and-white tiles and an elaborately painted ceiling mural that, together, make the room feel larger (left). To de-emphasize the bulk of a four-and-a-half-foot-wide marble hood, Martin designed a pattern of cutouts around the edge.

In the Trinchero winery's new entertaining space, she designed oversize resin lights to give the massive kitchen a warm amber glow. Here, more of Martin's best kitchen ideas.

Trinchero Winery's Dramatic Kitchen

Mix metal finishes

"Different finishes add texture," says Martin, who used a cold-rolled steel border on the blue steel hood in Trinchero winery's new kitchen and entertaining space.

Pop Quiz

    What's the best temperature for storing wine?

    • A. 55°
    • B. 68°
    • C. 42°

      Plus: What To Look For in a Wine Fridge

        Answer: A

        Turn classics upside down

        Martin installed wainscoting on the top half of a wall (instead of the usual bottom) for a fresh take on farmhouse style. The wainscoting under the statuary marble countertops, painted in Benjamin Moore's Copley Gray, protects against scuff marks. 888-236-6667 or benjaminmoore.com.

        Decorate kitchen walls with art

        Martin displays Cara Barer's graphic photographs of cookbook and dictionary pages above a 1920s work bench. She also cemented vintage silverware molds into the backsplash to break up the broad expanse of limestone. Photos from $1,100; 707-967-8787 or martinshowroom.com.

        Add seating with character

        The riveted leather and iron "Mantis" stools from Blackman Cruz have adjustable backs. $3,600 each; 323-466-8600 or blackmancruz.com. Napa's top Designer

        Plus: Erin Martin's Tips for
        an Airy Modern Kitchen