Classic With A Twist

Gold accents sparkle like jewelry in interior designer Jessica Dauray’s confident black kitchen.

When Jessica Dauray designs interiors, she hones in on her client’s personality to understand how they live in the space. This helps her design a room around their lifestyle. For her latest kitchen remodel, she only had to know herself. And in her own kitchen, she knew she would add a sense of depth and character by incorporating a touch of black.  “Brushed gold against black is one of my favorite combinations,” she says. “It’s like a simple black dress worn with a beautiful gold necklace. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful, timeless, or elegant.”  Dauray also knew how she wanted to live in her new kitchen. That’s why she eliminated the traditional walk-in pantry, which takes up lots of space. Instead, she designed four deep drawers to hold items like cereal, rice, and quinoa. “I eat very clean these days, without a lot of processed food,” she explains.

The light blue lacquered cabinets over the deep custom pantry drawers were designed to give Dauray the space she needs to store large kitchen appliances. These cabinets feature another of her signature touches, the gold mesh insert, which she says reminds her of her northern roots.  “I’m a Connecticut Yankee,” she laughs, explaining how she grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, and fondly remembers the stately older homes she’s seen in nearby Newport, Rhode Island. Growing up only forty-five minutes from Manhattan, the big city feel that has always inspired her style is evident in Dauray’s designs. The kitchen’s subway tiles are rectangular rather than the standard square to give a modern, graphic element. Dark grout adds a timeless, vintage quality.  The placement of windows in a corner presented a design challenge for Dauray; window treatments wouldn’t really work. Taking the subway tiles up to the ceiling was the perfect solution. “I love the clean look,” she says.

The black range hood makes a bold statement in the room, with custom molding matching the custom motif on the kitchen island. Black stainless steel appliances from Kitchen Aid have a sleek design that blends seamlessly with the black cabinetry and accentuates the dark grout in the tiles.  Dauray chose fabrics for her banquette that tie the kitchen together. Throw pillows covered in a blue and dark taupe fabric by Designers Guild unify the look and add a pop of color, while chairs from CR Laine covered in vellum white Sunbrella fabric make it practical for the kitchen. She likes Sunbrella fabric, which she says has a more luxurious feel than what you would expect from outdoor fabric. Dauray collaborated with BMC Builders on the project, who helped her achieve the spacious feel in the room. “They were fabulous to work with on the bells and whistles that give this kitchen its custom mark.”

Black can be severe, but not in Dauray’s kitchen. Whitewashed wide plank floors, the soft blue lacquered cabinets, and the white island with its black walnut butcher block countertop balance the room and lighten the drama that black cabinets convey to create a look that is both formal and comfortable. “I am very excited about the balance,” she says. “I love the way the pantry area over the microwave mimics the banquette.”   “I’d say this kitchen is classic with a twist,” Dauray says. “When my girlfriends walk in, they say, ‘You can tell this is Jessica’s kitchen.’ I take that as a compliment and the true sign of a well-designed kitchen.”