A not-too-big house with curb appeal was what Marisa Munoz was looking for when she came upon this one on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. The 1910 house, a transitional fusion of late-Victorian and Craftsman elements, had just about everything she wanted: steep gables and pretty windows; original mouldings, hardwood floors, and a romantic winding staircase. Well maintained, the house generally was in move-in condition . . . except for the kitchen.

Benjamin Moore’s Chinaberry is color #1351

This room proves that strong color, used well, becomes a neutral backdrop against which details sparkle. A tried-and-true magenta, Benjamin Moore’s Chinaberry is color #1351 in the Classics collection.

Remodeled by the previous owners, the claustrophobic room was fitted with cheap brown cabinets, very shiny black-granite counters, slate flooring, and—incongruously—baby-blue walls. Marisa knew she would want to redo it.

1910 house, both Victorian and Craftsman

Inside and out, the 1910 house has elements both Victorian and Craftsman. The steep roofs, corbels, windows, and decorative half-timbering are original. Colors are a custom teal with accents of Tricorn Black and Zurich White, all
from Sherwin-Williams. 

When she contacted Seattle interior designer Sheila Mayden, the two decided to begin with a small, manageable project: creating a brand-new, three-quarters guest bath for the family room on the basement level. All went smoothly, so, the following year, Marisa felt ready to tackle the kitchen. By now homeowner and designer had a great working relationship; Sheila knew that Marisa liked strong color and lots of detail.

Wisely, Marisa did not want to enlarge the kitchen, as that would have affected the adjacent dining room. Staying within the original footprint would also help preserve the essence of the early-20th-century house.

hemlock beadboard

The space was small, just 12' by 8'9", so planning was a challenge. The main cooking and cleanup area was nearly square, with just three walls: one each for the sink, the range, and the fridge. The pair decided to leave appliances in the same locations, but chose state-of-the-art replacements: a 36” ‘Bussy’ range from LaCanche (matte black with brass detailing); a built-in Liebherr refrigerator hidden behind cabinet doors; an apron-front fireclay sink; and a disguised dishwasher. The microwave oven would be tucked into the rear pantry.

Pierre Frey wallpaper

The Pierre Frey wallpaper depicting neoclassical flower vases and cameos adds to the room’s timeless period charm.

Homeowner Marisa Munoz, interior designer Sheila Mayden

Homeowner Marisa Munoz (at left) and interior designer Sheila Mayden enjoy the exuberant space. 

Custom cherry-wood cabinets were chosen for their weight and solidity, and run to the ceiling in the traditional manner of a butler’s pantry. Cabinetwork continues into the pantry area. Windows were added above the sink and at the back of the pantry, adding light and depth.

For Marisa, who wanted to showcase her extensive collections of china and crystal, the cabinet color was a critical decision. She was smitten with Benjamin Moore’s striking Chinaberry, a warm and saturated pink-red hue with a touch of purple. Designer Sheila Mayden admits she was initially nervous about using such a strong color. But “I found I love its bold exuberance in this space. It lends a rich background for period-inspired details.” Marisa insisted on having the cabinets painted by hand. She smiles as she recalls the reluctant cabinetmaker telling her she would see brush strokes: exactly what she wanted, she told him.

apron-front sink

Vintage elements include the apron-front sink, bridge faucet in polished nickel, and carbon-grey granite counters in a honed finish.

built-in Liebherr refrigerator with freezer drawers

A built-in Liebherr refrigerator with freezer drawers is camouflaged behind custom panels with brass appliance pulls. The dining room is seen beyond.

Beveled- and leaded-glass fronts designed for the upper cabinets were modeled after diamond-pattern wood mullions found in upper sashes of original windows in the house. A china hutch is recessed six inches into the east wall of the pantry, fitted with a leaded-glass door for additional display. For symmetry, the design matches that of the breakfront opposite. Sculptural brackets, a 3 ½" beadboard backsplash in hemlock, and traditional ball-tip hinges add turn-of-the-20th-century appeal.

“Details and finishes tie a room together,” Sheila says. She and Marisa paid careful attention to selecting lighting, hardware, and wallpaper. With a beaded detail subtly matching the beading on the cabinet fronts, pulls from Water Street Brass were chosen in an unlacquered “living” finish that will develop patina over time. A flowing floral wallpaper in rose on cream perfectly complements the cabinet color. A new stained-glass window in the pantry picks up on the wallpaper’s ribbons and roses. Marisa found the 1920s nickel-plated pendant that hangs above the sink.

A narrow pantry

A narrow pantry—8'10" by 5'5"—adds cabinets for storage and display. The stained-glass window by Unique Art Glass repeats the pattern of the wallpaper.

It took nearly a year to complete, but the project is exactly what Marisa Munoz hoped it would be. A careful orchestration of color, pattern, and period details invites people inside, whether to prepare a meal or just to enjoy the room.


Interior designer Sheila Mayden admits that this kitchen project was complicated—but also wildly successful. Here are her tips for ensuring a good outcome for a kitchen remodel.

1. GET INSPIRED Before making any decisions, take the time to really look through books and magazines, and online at Pinterest, Houzz, and other design sites. Keep a notebook of favorites; it will help you and your designer.

2. PLAY WITH SPACE Analyze the room carefully, right down to the square inch, to maximize storage and to consider every element and detail.

3. RESEARCH APPLIANCES Read about your options and know all the specifications; choose wisely, as quality pays off. Do choose one focal point; this homeowner’s LaCanche range became the center of the kitchen.

4. GO FOR CUSTOM CABINETS If your budget allows, invest in custom cabinets for a handcrafted, personalized look. You can also mix a custom piece or two with
semi-custom cabinets.

5. ADD BLING Your kitchen is a workspace, but it should be beautiful and inspiring. To that end, have fun with color, lighting, and the hardware.


designer Sheila Mayden Interiors, Seattle, WA sheilamaydeninteriors.com
paint Chinaberry #1351 Benjamin Moore benjaminmoore.com stove 36” ‘Bussy’ in Matte Black, brass Lacanche lacanche.com
range hood Zephyr zephyronline.com
hardware unlacquered finish Water Street Brass waterstreetbrass.com
sink Shaws Original Lancaster single-bowl apron front fireclay sink Rohl rohlhome.com faucet bridge faucet, polished nickel Perrin & Rowe perrinand rowe.com through rohlhome.com
counters “carbon grey” granite in a honed finish
chandeliers ‘Bagatelle’ 3-light, 11” mini-pendant crystal Schonbek schonbek.com
wallpaper re-creation of a woodblock-printed cloth ca. 1790: Braquenie ‘Choiseul’ in Frey pierrefrey.com stained glass Unique Art Glass uniqueartglass.com
(baths) powder room paper ‘L’Arbre Indien’ Pierre Frey pierrefrey.com guest bath tiles (floor hexes) Cepac cepactile.com • (walls) ‘Tahiti Revival’ 3x6 Pratt & Larson prattandlarson.com (shower) Rose. BP303003 Pierre Frey pierrefrey.com
stained glass Unique Art Glass uniqueartglass.com (baths)
powder room paper ‘L’Arbre Indien’ Pierre Frey pierrefrey.com
guest bath tiles (floor hexes) Cepac cepactile.com • (walls) ‘Tahiti Revival’ 3x6 Pratt & Larson prattandlarson.com • (shower) ½" x 6" pencil liners glossy black Precision H20 series Daltile daltile.com
mirror ‘Wisteria’ Venetian Mirror venetianmirror.com
pedestal sink ‘Guinevere’ Toto toto.com
faucets ‘Country Bath’ bridge faucet Rohl rohlhome.com

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