How To Style the Ultimate Coastal Kitchen
Classic white tiles and simple hardware create a crisp backdrop for layering in color. In this Atlantic Beach, Florida, kitchen, handmade subway tiles and polished-nickel hardware give periwinkle the stage. "I kept the background quiet so the colorful elements, along with the natural woods, could stand out without competing," says designer Lauren Leonard. Read on for more of Leonard's kitchen wisdom, and see the rest of the house here.
From striking solids to dynamic patterns, these jewels bring instant wow factor to floors and backsplashes:
1. Artistic Tile Calacatta Bluette 18" by 18" Marble Tile, $33 per square foot; artistictile.com
2. clé Zellige Sky Bloom Mounted 2" by 2" Terra-cotta Tiles, $32.75 per square foot; cletile.com
3. Original Mission Tile Sofia 02 Classic Cement Tile, $13.50 per square foot; originalmissiontile.com
4. clé Belgian Reproduction Star & Cross Terra-cotta Tiles in Flemish Black, $23.25 per square foot; cletile.com
5. clé Barn 8" by 8" Solid Hex Cement Tiles, $14.74 per square foot; cletile.com
6. Mosaic House Bejmat 2" by 6" Ceramic Loose Mosaic Tiles in Lime Green, $27.50 per square foot; mosaichse.com
7. Moroccan Mosaic and Tile House Ahfir Multicolor Handmade Moroccan 8" by 8" Cement and Granite Floor or Wall Tiles, $103 for a case of 12; overstock.com
8. Mosaic House Midi L 12 – 13 Terra-cotta Mosaic Field Tile, $70 per square foot; mosaichse.com
9. Itona Tile Georgia 4" by 4" Travertine Field Tile in White, $6.75 per square foot; wayfair.com
10. Commune for Exquisite Surfaces Mochi Cement Tiles in Pink, $27.50 per square foot; xsurfaces.com
Tips for choosing tiles with plenty of staying power:
Look for handcrafted tiles
For a backsplash that won't feel dated in a few years, Leonard recommends going traditional—with a twist. She favors handmade versions of classic shapes, like square and subway tiles, for their versatility; the freeform shapes create a sense of movement and ramp up color variations. "Often, the outer edges of a handmade tile are a bit darker than the center, and this creates a beautiful depth," she says.
Strike a balance
Graphic patterned tile is a big win as a focal point in otherwise neutral kitchens. "But pairing them with colorful cabinetry can be just as smart," says Leonard. Choose tonal combinations that have built-in harmony—navy and aqua tiles, for instance, or mint and forest green.
Opt for natural flooring
Organic materials like stone or clay-based ceramic tiles are durable, easy to clean, and moisture resistant. But because smooth tiles will become slick when kids or dogs trek through the kitchen after a dip in the waves, textured surfaces with brushed or tumbled finishes are often a better investment.
The best and brightest materials are on parade in this new crop of faucets, knobs, and pulls:
1. Alexander Marchant White Porcelain Oval Pulls, $52 each (small); alexandermarchant.com
2. CB2 3" Round Brushed Brass Handle with Bone Backplate, $18; cb2.com
3. Cost Plus World Market Blue Clear Square Knobs, $8 for a set of two; worldmarket.com
4. Signature Hardware Hanno Wall-mount Kitchen Faucet – Cross Handles in Chrome, $220; signaturehardware.com
5. Alexander Marchant Oak Tube Pull, $27 (160 mm); alexandermarchant.com
6. Cost Plus World Market Green Marble Knobs, $14 for a set of two; worldmarket.com
7. The Industrial Farmer Faux Coral Branch Pull/Knob, $12; etsy.com/shop/theindustrialfarmer
8. LeatherEU Leather Handles, $6 each; etsy.com/shop/leathereu
9. RH Helmsley Knobs in Lacquered Burnished Brass, $21 each; rh.com
10. CB2 Peach Facet Glass Knobs, $5 each; Visit a CB2 store near you
11. Delta Trinsic Single Handle Pull-down Bar/Prep Faucet with Touch2O Technology in Champagne Bronze, $498; amazon.com
12. CB2 Plus White Marble Knob, $8; Visit a CB2 store near you
13. Schaub Mountain 6" Bar Cabinet Pull in Verde Imperial, pricing available upon request; schaubandcompany.com
A cheat sheet for selecting finishes that play well with the rest of the room:
Use a brushed-nickel finish anytime, anywhere. It blends seamlessly into its surroundings, making it a safe bet for just about any cookspace.
Brass pairs well with neutral palettes, especially white or gray; unlacquered finishes darken over time, giving brass a pretty patina.
The Mod Essential
Polished chrome is a trusty staple for contemporary kitchens. Dress it up with pops of color (you can't go wrong with blue) and nautical details.
They're not your grandmother's appliances: These stylish workhorses add serious design cred to your coastal cookspaces:
1. Vitamix Ascent Series A3500 Blender in White, $620; vitamix.com
2. SMEG Citrus Juicer in Pastel Blue, $160; williams-sonoma.com
3. La Cornue CornuFé 90 Albertine Range in Tapestry, $8,600; lacornueusa.com
4. Thermador 23.5" Built-in Fresh Food Column, $5,799; thermador.com
5. Cuisinart Convection Steam Oven, $299; cuisinart.com
6. SodaStream Fizzi One Touch in White, $130; sodastream.com
7. KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-quart Tilt-head Stand Mixer in Bird of Paradise, $500; kitchenaid.com
Reduce waste and save time in the kitchen: Here, three innovations that bring big-time benefits.
To save more H2O, try upgrading your faucet. Adjustable fixtures let you set a dial to dispense exact amounts in containers you use every day, such as pet bowls and reusable water bottles, for as much as 30 percent savings annually.
In-Home Food Recyclers
These turn your shrimp tails and vegetable scraps into usable fertilizer overnight. Whirlpool's Zera model controls moisture, heat, and air to transform 95 percent of your waste into nutrients for your lawn and garden
A rising wellness trend, steamed food retains more vitamins and minerals, and doesn't need a slathering of butter or oil because the moisture is sealed in. Plus, steam ovens cook food faster than traditional ovens. (Hello, extra beach time.)