I’m helping Allen (neighbor/friend/outstanding real estate agent) with a few projects around his house, first and foremost the revamping of his kitchen. Allen sent this picture my way with a note asking me to check out the tile. I like that tile. I like the whole thing. Well, for good reason: this kitchen belongs to Tommy Smythe, you know, Tommy Smythe from Sarah’s House. He’s brilliant. Of course, we like this kitchen.

Many times I’ve stared at this kitchen as a source of inspiration. There’s so much to notice, so many details. I have such an appreciation for this particular work. As Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

Let’s take note of the details–I mean, design.Black and White

This kitchen is beautifully balanced, don’t you think? I like the dark lower cabinets and white upper cabinets.  The dark-painted window frames/muntins and door create interest make the space less stark. And, it’s nice to see windows with different patterns.  Rather than going busy and distracting, the herringbone pattern draws the appropriate amount of attention to the floor, which is a really nice compliment to the dark cabinets.


I can’t think of anything that would look better there than that antique, mildly rustic table. It brings a bit of warmth and comfort to the mix.


Cabinets that climb to the ceiling tend to make a room feel bigger. Notice the glass doors: they aren’t everywhere, just used on the wall near a door. Glass doors create a sense of visual space. Using glass doors by the door establishes continuity and creates a sense of airiness in along that wall. So, if you’re thinking of using glass cabinets, use them wisely: place them well and fill them with lovely things. My rule is to go all white or all color. I have very little middle ground in my life.

Okay, let’s notice a few more details:

  • the wine rack–the one that isn’t above the refrigerator–because your eye follows it from floor to ceiling (or ceiling to floor) it creates a sense of height, which is really nice
  • the built-in workspace/desk with a small bench that keeps the space open
  • the pulls on the cabinet drawers
  • the taxidermy above the pantry door
  • the light fixture you might or might not have chosen but manages to pull it all together and to the center as good light fixtures should

And, finally, the stainless sink and counter space is a nice break from marble.

All credit is due: Tommy Smythe (Design) // Michael Graydon (Photos)

Isn’t this a classy and comfortable kitchen? What’s your favorite detail?