Colorful Kitchens

20th Anniversary Kitchens That Cook 2024

BY Amanda Lisk

Emerald opening copy

The National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) annual trends report is in, and several themes have emerged for 2024.

A connection to the outdoors is one of the hottest trends, with warm woods making a comeback and nature-inspired fabrics and wallpaper appearing in nooks and seating. Minimalism is doubling down with an even stronger emphasis on function and easy-to-maintain layouts.

Other trends include curated lighting, full walls of tile, gold over black hardware, and a call for color. Whether it’s a striking pop of pigment
on the kitchen island or a subtle blend of earthy hues, much like an artist’s pallet of endless colors, so are the possibilities in the kitchen.

As Henri Matisse once said, “creativity takes courage.” From bold and vibrant to natural and muted, this year’s Kitchens That Cook provide inspiration on how to freshen the most visited room of the home.

The following six area kitchens incorporate touches of color and texture into their designs. Two new-builds and four renovations stretching from the beach to downtown make up this year’s colorful kitchens (that cook).


  • Construction: New build
  • Location: Landfall
  • Designer: Hooper Patterson Interior Design
  • Builder: Bell Custom Homes
  • Photography: Drechsel Photography

In this transitional with a twist Landfall kitchen, a custom hood featuring aged brass strapping and rivets becomes the focal point up against a full wall of multitoned emerald green picket tiles, uniquely petite in size.

The design is by Hooper Patterson of Hooper Patterson Interior Design (HPID) who worked with the homeowners on selections.

“I was thrilled they not only love green but are not afraid of color” says Patterson who worked with the homeowners on selections.

The mosaic tile is from Southeastern Tile Connection. The home is a new build by Bell Custom Homes. Cabinets are by Hollingsworth Cabinetry in the color Creekstone.

“We wanted something other than white, and we wanted it to be a warmer color versus a cold gray. The quartz countertops with marble veining have a warm taupe running through them, so that was the inspiration,” Patterson says.

Patterson used burnished brass hardware and an abstract fabric on kitchen island seating. Light fixtures are sourced by HPID, and counters are by Southeastern Marble and Granite. The kitchen table and chairs are Mr. Brown and CR Laine.

Before Renovation


  • Type: Renovation
  • Location: Wrightsville Beach
  • Builder: Tongue & Groove Design + Build
  • Designer: Craft Architecture & Interiors
  • Photography: Arisa Yoon

This newly renovated Wrightsville Beach kitchen by Tongue & Groove Design + Build showcases the use of gold hardware, one of the top design trends of 2024.

Beginning with a dull and dated kitchen, the team gutted the space down to its concrete studs, replacing lighting, plumbing and appliances. Next came updating the design.

“We opted for new cabinets featuring a two-tone color combo with glass uppers and floating shelves to help the space feel more open and inviting,” says builder Mark Batson of Tongue & Groove.

The ceiling was raised, and a new panel-ready refrigerator was creatively recessed into the side wall. Base cabinets by Showplace Cabinetry were painted in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.

“The Hale Navy lower cabinets help ground the space, while the Heron Plume upper cabinets with frosted glass and floating shelves elevate the height of the ceiling and openness of the floor plan, all while maintaining a coastal aesthetic,” Batson says.

Design selections were by Craft Architecture & Interiors. The Italian ceramic subway tile in the shade of Coconut was sourced from Refine Tile & Design and paired with an apron sink. Antiqued brass pendants are from Restoration Hardware.


  • Construction: Renovation
  • Location: Forest Hills
  • Designer: Big Sky Design
  • Photography: Allison Potter

When Jennifer Kraner of Big Sky Design and her client came across Schumacher’s Pandora wallpaper in colorway Onyx and Jade, that was it.

“That was one of those moments,” says Kraner. “When you find the perfect complement to Sherwin Williams Chinese Red (the cabinet paint color) and also the dramatic dark background of the Nordic tree-inspired design, we truly felt like it was meant to be. It brought the whole room together.”

The room is the butler’s pantry, which didn’t exist before the renovation of this Forest Hills home. After reworking the layout, the butler’s pantry was created and an opportunity arose to have some fun with the color. 

The home renovation project is by Jennifer Kraner of Big Sky Design. Butler’s pantry cabinets are painted Chinese Red by Sherwin Williams (SW 0057). Wallpaper is by Schumacher. Countertops and tile are by Sellers Tile & Custom Counters.
Cabinetry design is by Brandon Parrow.

“If it were any bigger, we would have a party in there,” says the homeowner. “It became our very special little surprise.”

The cabinetry design by Brandon Parrow used upper glass fronts to showcase the homeowner’s special heirloom pieces. Gold hardware, swirled counters and a chevron layout of tile complete this stylish nook.

“What could have been a more mundane space became a very inspirational, functional space reminding us of the value of small things, cooking and bringing people together,” says Kraner.

Sea Salt

  • Construction: New build
  • Location: Wrightsville Beach
  • Designer/Builder: Konrady and Son Construction
  • Photography: Rick Ricozzi
  • Current-day features alongside back-in-the-day Wrightsville Beach style elements are brought together in the kitchen of this family home.

Walls paneled in Caribbean heart pine, reminiscent of the original beach bungalows, combine with a modern layout of textured subway tile, open shelving and dual toned cabinetry. Base cabinets are painted in Sherwin Williams Sea Salt.

“It’s got that sea-glassy look, that elusive green that’s so hard to find on the beach anymore,” says Holly Konrady of Konrady and Son Construction.

Holly and husband Ralph Konrady built the home for their family of three generations to enjoy.

“Our kids grew up on that end of Wrightsville Beach, so we wanted to continue the legacy for their kids and have something we could all share,” says Holly.

The kitchen ceiling is painted in Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore. Quartz counters are by Sellers. Subway tiles are from Home Depot.

“The Shaker cabinet style, the open feel of the kitchen, and rustic appointments such as the pine walls bring back the coastal days when the Lumina was hot and everyone knew everyone at the beach,” says Neal Nesbitt of Shoreline Cabinet Company, which supplied the cabinets.

Before Renovation


  • Construction: Renovation
  • Location: Orange Street, Historic District, Downtown Wilmington
  • Builder/Designer: Homeowners
  • Photography: Bradley Strickland, Lighthouse Visuals

Previously a bed-and breakfast, the historic W.I. Gore House built in 1875 on Orange Street received a head-to-toe makeover with a complete reworking of the galley kitchen. Color and fixture choices reflect an embrace of the leading design trend of 2024 — bringing the outdoors in with soft, natural, earthy hues.

“I wanted the kitchen to be natural and neutral,” says Jennifer Sandstrom who renovated the home with her husband. “We found the granite with that bit of green and fell in love with it and then lived in the house for about a year or so before realizing we needed a backsplash.”

Sandstrom found the unpolished marble backsplash tile from Floor & Décor. The original brick was left exposed under the stovetop. The cabinets were custom made of maple. A custom spice drawer and pot drawers were worked in for functionality.

The home was sold in 2023 and the Sandstroms moved to Georgia. Sandstrom says she still thinks about the kitchen.

“It has incredible warmth and is one of the most functional kitchens I’ve ever had,” she says.


  • Construction: Renovation
  • Location: 5th Avenue, Brooklyn Arts District, Downtown Wilmington
  • Builder/Designer: Dogwood Design and Development
  • Photography: Karen Zyp, Cape Fear REALTORS

While the ultra-modern, all-white kitchen may be phasing out according to the NKBA, white kitchens with accents of warmth and texture are here to stay.

Marc and Christina Erichsen of Dogwood Design and Development renovated a downtown Wilmington bungalow for resale and used rich, warm wood accents in the kitchen to balance the cool toned tile and cabinetry.

“Whites and grays and warm woods are timeless and appeal to many different generations,” says Christina.

A wall of distressed white hex tile paired with warm, gray grout from Southeastern Tile Connection serves as a backdrop to a custom pine hood and floating shelves. Shaker-style cabinets by ProSelect are in pale gray adorned with brass handles from Lowes.

“I like the brass and golden hardware to tie in the warm wood. It’s also nice to find a quartz that has a touch of a gold color with the gray swirls,” Christina says.

During the renovation, Christina and Marc vaulted the ceilings and added stained pine beams. The sconce and pendant lighting came from Shades of Light and Wayfair. The barstools are from HomeGoods and walls are painted Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore. The home sold in 2023.

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