A vibrant, colorful kitchen designed by Nate Berkus breathes new life into a 1915 historical home in Little Rock, Arkansas. This bold and lively space overflows with personality, reflecting the owners’ warm and energetic spirit. We explore how pops of color, eclectic accents, and creative storage transform this kitchen into an inspiring heart of the home.
When a young family purchased a stately 1915 American Foursquare home in Little Rock’s historical Quapaw Quarter district, they knew the dated kitchen needed a complete renovation. Calling on famed interior designer Nate Berkus, they sought to create a family-friendly, functional cooking space filled with life and color to contrast the home’s traditional bones. Berkus more than delivered, envisioning a stunning, modern kitchen anchored in light, texture, and dazzling hues. Vibrant blue lower cabinets ground the space, while glossy orange lacquered uppers and a textured metal hood make a bold statement. Creative touches like a built-in window seat, wall-mounted knife rack, and glass-front upper cabinets keep the room feeling light and airy. This dazzling kitchen, brimming with warmth and energy, shows how strategic punches of color can transform the heart of a home.
Color Selection Sets the Tone
Berkus anchored the kitchen’s color palette around the existing architectural details of the home, selecting a deep shade of navy blue for the base cabinets. This rich blue tone plays off the home’s dark woodwork while adding some welcome zest. “We wanted to bring in some colors that pop against the beautiful original details,” Berkus explains. Vibrant orange was chosen for the uppers to add striking contrast against the lower blues. Berkus added texture and dimension by finishing the orange lacquer cabinets in a striking gloss, allowing them to catch and reflect light. Beyond blue and orange, the open shelving introduces additional bright accent hues like lime green, cherry red, and sunflower yellow by way of displayed dishware. This creates a joyful, playful environment.
Creative Touches Maximize Storage
In addition to infusing color, Berkus’ design includes clever storage details to maximize function in the kitchen’s footprint. A built-in window seat at the far end of the room offers a cozy dining perch while housing dishware and linens inside. Berkeley says, “We carved out every bit of unused space to gain storage.” This includes mounting utensil racks and a knife block vertically on the wall, clearing counterspace. Glass-front upper cabinets provide visibility and create an airier feel than solid shelves. Open shelving displays vibrant dishware while keeping everyday items within arm’s reach. These thoughtful touches make the kitchen as practical as it is beautiful.
Mixing Metals Adds Interest
Berkus incorporated mixed metals into the kitchen to add layers of interest and texture. The showstopping custom range hood clad in brass mesh makes a sculptural statement. Black metal open shelving contrasts nicely with the brass tones. Chrome hardware and stainless steel appliances keep the look polished and modern. Berkus explains that metallics “give you great reflectivity to bounce light around the room.” This diversity of metals and finishes prevents the space from feeling flat.
Backsplash Makes a Statement
The eye-catching handmade Moroccan tile backsplash acts as a work of art in the kitchen. Berkus explains that the bold, colorful pattern really gives the room personality and life. “Pattern and color are so important,” says Berkus. “This kind of backsplash ensures you’ll never get bored cooking in the kitchen.” The varying blues in the tiles speak to the lower cabinet color, while the pops of orange, yellow and green pick up the accent colors used throughout the space. This stunning focal point cements the kitchen’s status as a vibrant, one-of-a-kind cooking space.
Eclectic Lighting Controls Mood
From the sculptural brass hood to modern globe pendents to undercabinet lighting, varied lighting shapes the kitchen’s atmosphere. Berkus explains that the lighting design ensures the kitchen feels dramatic and lively, while also being conducive to everyday tasks like cooking. The diverse selection provides both beauty and function. Sconces flanking the range hood provide directional task lighting. Playful geometric pendants float over the kitchen island, directing light right where it’s needed most. Soft undercabinet lighting illuminates the counters and backsplash. Together, these eclectic lighting choices create a kitchen that truly shines.
Vintage Elements Add Charm
Beyond the kitchen’s contemporary features, some special vintage discoveries integrate seamlessly, adding another layer of character. An antique glass-door cabinet—discovered at a local antiques store—now houses dishware for an old-world touch. Reclaimed wood shelves continue the warmth of antique wood present throughout the home. “Those little vintage touches make the new elements feel custom,” says Berkus, preventing the kitchen from feeling too sleek or cookie-cutter. These thoughtful vintage accents allow the owners’ personalities to shine through.
Welcoming, Family-Friendly Gathering Space
While aesthetically stunning, the kitchen also functions beautifully for this active family. A sizable island with bar seating provides a casual place for morning coffee. There’s ample countertop surfaces for food prep and homework. The window seat creates a cozy dining nook with storage. “We wanted to design a kitchen that invited people to sit, relax and engage with each other,” explains Berkus. With open sight lines between the kitchen, breakfast room and family room, the space cultivates connection. Vibrant yet warm, sleek yet family-friendly, this brilliant kitchen truly has it all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What colors did Nate Berkus use in this Arkansas kitchen redesign?
Berkus used rich navy blue on the base cabinets, paired with glossy orange-lacquered uppers. The Moroccan tile backsplash introduces more colors like aqua, yellow and green. Open shelving displays vibrant dishware including lime green and cherry red.
How did Berkus maximize storage in the kitchen?
Creative storage solutions include a built-in window bench with storage, open shelving for visibility, a wall-mounted knife block, and glass-front uppers. These details maximize every inch of space.
What materials are used in the kitchen?
The kitchen features a mix of cabinetry, from the navy blue base cabinets to orange lacquered uppers. Metals include stainless steel, brass, chrome and black metal. The backsplash is handmade Moroccan tile.
What type of lighting is used?
Lighting includes the brass mesh hood, globe pendant lights over the island, undercabinet lighting, and sconces flanking the stove. This layered lighting provides both ambiance and task lighting.
How does Berkus balance new and old elements?
Beyond the contemporary kitchen design, reclaimed wood shelving and antique cabinetry complement the historical home. Vintage touches add charm and prevent a sterile, overly modern feel.
How does the kitchen design facilitate entertaining and family time?
The large island with seating, open layout and sightlines between rooms cultivate connection. There’s ample room for tasks as well as relaxation. The window seat creates a cozy dining nook.
This lively Arkansas kitchen designed by Nate Berkus exemplifies how strategic use of color, creative storage solutions, mixed metals and materials, thoughtful lighting, and vintage accents can transform a kitchen into a welcoming, beautiful gathering space. Berkus’ bold vision resulted in a fully functional, family-friendly chef’s kitchen brimming with style, energy and sophistication. Clever touches optimize storage while playful hues and patterns energize. By anchoring the vibrant new design in the home’s original 1915 architectural details, Berkus crafted a kitchen that honors the past while looking to the future. This dazzling heart of the home beautifully blends old and new, form and function.