The White Cabinet and Wood Island Combination

Kitchen design is something that we love helping our clients with. Here in Western Canada one of the most popular looks that we get asked to create is a mixture of painted and wood kitchen cabinets. It is a fabulous style and can look either modern or very traditional. One of the easiest ways to pull it off is to use painted cabinets on the perimeter of the kitchen and wood on the island. Here are a few of our own projects with this classic mixture of finishes.

In this Mount Royal home in Calgary we designed a kitchen in keeping with the age and charm of the home. The kitchen features a painted cream perimeter and a dark stained maple island. Two of the most unique features of this particular kitchen are the hidden pantry between the paneled Sub Zero fridge and freezer and the location of the fireplace in the kitchen. The backsplash is a basket weave pattern of Crema Marfil and Emperador marble from Tierra Sol Ceramic Tile here in Calgary. It really ties the cream and dark wood cabinets together.


Burke. kitchen01 - Copy



This next kitchen we designed has not only the dark stained wood island, but also a wood hood fan that matches. We used a granite countertop on the island and limestone on the remaining countertops. In this kitchen since we had soaring ceilings we decided to use an oak library ladder that rolls along the upper cabinets and enables the user to reach the highest cabinets. We purchased the ladder through Richlieu Hardware and stained it to match the island. It also is the most distinctive feature of this kitchen. I love the way it turned out!

Corea Res 001

Corea Res 009

Corea Res 008

Often we will use a cream or ivory colour for the cabinets but sometimes we want to create a sharper contrast or a fresher palette. The next example illustrates how a true white cabinet achieves this. The island in this kitchen is really a piece of sculpture! We wanted this island to appear as a piece of furniture so we designed very intricate legs and even added nickel sabot feet to accentuate them. There is a beautiful arched and beveled glass detail in the cabinets over the fridge. The high contrast of the wood island and very white cabinets is so striking – I love how this kitchen turned out!




We were honored when one of our client’s homes was recently featured in the Alberta Ballet Home and Garden Tour . This is a wonderful fundraising event where select Calgary Interior Designers and home owners open their doors so that the public can tour some of the most beautifully designed residences in the city. The kitchen in this residence is absolutely stunning. I think it is largely due to the amount of light that pours into this space. The client wanted a mixture of modern elements and traditional detailing. Again, it merges a painted perimeter and wood island. It really is one of my most favorite projects that we worked on.

Gouw. kitchen detail (2)

Gouw. range

I think that the painted and wood cabinet combination is so timeless and elegant. Even though it is the most popular look for kitchens, every one that we create is unique in its own way. There are so many different ways to reinvent this classic style to keep it interesting and fresh!



6 Comments on The White Cabinet and Wood Island Combination

  1. Heather
    December 6, 2009 at 12:04 am (9 years ago)

    I understand that many of the colors that you use are neutral so that they are timeless – but let’s say I wanted to work in blue or red hues – maybe at different times of the year?

    How do you do this without it looking like I have just thrown something blue and totally different into the room? How do I add a splash of color in a way that works?

  2. brian donovan
    December 8, 2009 at 12:51 am (9 years ago)

    Jacqueline, a great blog and impressive beautiful work.

  3. coreasotropa
    December 8, 2009 at 6:06 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks Brian!

  4. coreasotropa
    December 8, 2009 at 6:31 am (9 years ago)

    The beauty of a neutral kitchen is that you can easily add colour through your accessories that can change depending on your mood. There are so many great small appliances like mixers and toasters that are available in a great range of colours. You can always add colour with accessories like canisters, flowers and decorative bowls. Accessories add personality to a space, so don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and throw some serious colour in your neutral interiors. A white kitchen with a wood island is not the only way to finish a kitchen – we’ve done plenty with lots of colour either in the backsplash with wonderful coloured tiles or even in painted islands or walls in fun colours. I’ll have to post some of those kitchens for you check out! If you are a little afraid to commit to a colour for your cabinets, tiles or walls, then a neutral kitchen is a great solution for you to have fun with the colour that you inject into a neutral kitchen. I hope you found this information helpful!

  5. Heather
    December 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks – very helpful,


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on The White Cabinet and Wood Island Combination

  1. […] Country flair.  She showed me many inspirational photographs most of which featured a mixture of cream and wood cabinets and a range with a stone façade and mantle.  I was excited about the stone surround as it would […]

Leave a Reply