Create the Perfect Blue and White Kitchen

A light-filled functional space reflects homeowner’s dream for the perfect kitchen.

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A blue and white palette plus vintage touches bring out this kitchen's charm.

A perfect kitchen doesn't happen overnight. Even when you know what you want, it takes time for everything to fall into place. The first seven years of their marriage, Bill and Marie Trader lived wherever the Marine Corp would assign him. That was more than 30 years ago, but even then Marie could picture the kind of kitchen she'd have someday.

When Bill retired and the family finally settled in an early 1900s Colonial, Marie's dream came a little closer. Although it took some work, Marie finally got the perfect kitchen she had always dreamed about.

A lively blue and white palette, enlarged windows and a breakfast room addition combine for a light-filled, functional space for the entire family to enjoy. Bold prints, checkerboard patterns and painted diamond shapes are a feast for the eyes. Blue and white tile was applied in a checkerboard pattern all the way up the walls; the pine floors feature painted diamond shapes for geometric contrast.

The stove surround has doors that open up to reveal hidden storage. The artwork on the door fronts was inspired by a piece of wrapping paper; the handpainted checkerboard pattern defines the door and ties in with the backsplash. A stained-glass window hung up high acts as a faux shade; below, cafe curtains are hung on a pair of metal rods that can be pulled out from the center.

A custom cabinet was fitted to accommodate two pullout shelves and a row of plastic containers, providing easy access to tea bags, coffee beans and snack foods. Marie's dinnerware collection is kept tidy in white racks purchased from a home-improvement store; glass-front cabinets turn the interiors into a showcase of her colorful ceramics collection.

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