When faced with the task of combining cool and warm-toned living spaces, these texture and color techniques help create harmony and effortless flow

I’ve told you before that white is white-hot. We see it everywhere, from white cabinets and counters to white accessories and furniture. But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

My clients’ kitchen in Manoa incorporated a lot of white. With lots of white cabinets and stainless steel appliances, even though it was beautiful and functional and opened to the family room and dining room, it did feel a little cold.


The homeowners spend a lot of time in the kitchen and wanted a bright, cheerful environment. We were tasked with keeping that feel while tying it in with the rest of the home, especially the warm, sophisticated dining room that we were designing at the same time.

How did we achieve this? Remember I showed you how to bring in colors and textures from surrounding rooms to make spaces flow into one another? You saw how I brought some of the white freshness from the kitchen to the dining room. And you saw the dining room, with its warm reclaimed-wood table, flowers and golden accents.

Now I had to bring some of that warmth into the kitchen. The addition of the reclaimed-wood and rustic metal barstools instantly warmed the space. All of a sudden the kitchen became more alive and approachable.

Just because we had state-of-theart stainless-steel appliances didn’t mean we needed clean-lined barstools. In fact, by incorporating something more relaxed and weathered, the kitchen got a whole new outlook. We then repeated the earthy feel of the barstools in some of the accessories on the counter.

And while the countertops were rich and dark, the backsplash only went up six inches.


The rest was just drywall. We decided to warm it up with a taupe paint that also made the kitchen more inviting.

Then, keeping in mind that the homeowners wanted a bright cheerful space, we brought in the yellow from the dining room and further enhanced the freshness with pops of green.

You know how I love personalizing spaces. I felt there was something missing on the back-splash. Knowing how much the mom loves cooking for her three kids, we created something to put a smile on their faces: the letters Y-U-M in three picture frames. The children’s names were repeated to create a personalized message that also brought in a pop of fresh green.

So I hope you’ve seen that in last week’s dining room, warm colors dominated. In the kitchen, cool colors dominate. Warm and cool can work harmoniously side by side because of the transitioning of colors and textures.


Take a look at your dining room and kitchen. What needs to be brought out? What can you edit so that these two spaces that go together really work together?

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit www.cathyleestyle.com.