Cool Gray Contemporary Kitchen

Designer Catherine Nakahara uses a gray-and-white color scheme and clean lines to design a practical, modern kitchen.

White Kitchen With Brown Upper Cabinets and White Lower Cabinets

Contemporary White Kitchen with Contrasting Cabinets

Upper cabinets of light-colored wood contrast the white bottom cabinets. The use of the same hardware, as well as the brown-and-white marble countertops, pulls the color scheme together.

Working with a budget of $50,000, designer Catherine Nakahara of Custom Spaces Kitchens & Baths combines streamlined cabinetry, stone countertops, stainless steel appliances and a beautiful tiled backsplash for this El Cerrito, Calif., kitchen.

Catherine shares with us how she tackled challenges and incorporated her clients' goals into this remodel.

Describe the homeowners' wish list.

The homeowners wanted an updated contemporary kitchen to go along with their lifestyle.

They wanted to expand their kitchen and capture the space in the seldom-used laundry/utility room.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

Figuring out how best to integrate the laundry functions with the kitchen.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

During construction, we ran into unforeseen electrical issues that caused significant delays.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

We used Sketch Up & Layout 3-D modeling software for this project, and our homeowners were positively thrilled at how closely the 3-D model resembled the final product. Just stunning.

What lessons did you learn?

As with all of our projects, the most important thing we can do from preliminary design through the final details is to be precise, detailed and accurate.

What are the "hidden gems"?

We love how the cabinetry and finishes come together to create a very sophisticated and subtle aesthetic. The gray paint is soothing, the rift-cut white oak warms up the space and the glass backsplash tile and countertops add some sparkle. The pullout ironing board in the island and panel-ready washer/dryer are also very cool (and hidden) features.