Ask a Designer: Karen Williams

The designer shares tricks for timeless kitchens and the five things she's loving right now.

By Madeleine Frank

Award-winning New York designer Karen Williams gives tips for smart and stunning cook spaces.

Do you have any tricks for adding storage to a small kitchen?
KW:
Build drawers into the toe-kick space, the 3 or 4 inches of indented space below floor cabinets. They're ideal for storing flat items such as platters and cookie sheets.

What styles will stay relevant as trends come and go?
KW:
White kitchens will always be popular and timeless, but I like to do a little spin on that with soft neutrals instead of stark whites. From afar you still get the effect of the light color, but it also warms the space a bit more.

How do you add interest to a white or neutral kitchen?
KW:
I paint the ceiling a fun color, like a bright blue, and then pick up the shade with pendant lighting or pillows on a banquette. It's so unexpected and beautiful, and it's relatively easy to change a few years later to update the look.

What decorative tile options are exciting to you right now?
KW: Monochrome Moroccan tiles are hand-glazed and gorgeous, because the undulations reflect light so it almost looks like water is running down them.

TAKE FIVE

  1. Fab Cabinet Hardware "This piece looks like a beautiful cuff—but it's for your cabinets to wear!" L'Univers de la Poignée Puzzle Handle in Palladium, $238; poignee-deco.com
  2. Oven Lovin' "This versatile indoor rotisserie cooks beautifully and is a stunning accessory in any kitchen." La Cornue Flamberge Rôtisserie, from $10,000; lacornueusa.com for retailers
  3. Sweet Scent "Carolina Herrera Eau de Parfum is the perfect final touch in my dressing ritual." $98 (3.4 oz.); macys.com
  4. Dream Destination "Flying Point Beach in Water Mill, Southampton, is my ideal place to decompress and enjoy the summer sun."
  5. Go-to Hue "Soft neutral shades embrace the colors of the ocean without competing for attention." Farrow & Ball Paint in Cornforth White No. 228, $95 per gallon; us.farrow-ball.com