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Lessons from Napa's Top Kitchen Designer

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

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.

erin martin: Napa's top Designer

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

Published April 2010
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