A couple sits down at a meeting with their kitchen designer. The wife retrieves a sleek faucet from her handbag, looks at her husband, turns to the designer and then says, “Design a kitchen around this.”

Remember that commercial? The camera pans to the opposite side of the conference table and the commercial ends showing the designer with a puzzled expression on his face.

I had the same experience with a client who was in the process of a kitchen face lift project. She and her husband were no strangers to the renovation process, but needed a few ideas on incorporating a design element she’s always wanted–a candy apple red Big Chill Refrigerator.

“Design a kitchen around a throwback ‘fridge,” I asked.”It would be my pleasure!”

It was a refreshing challenge and a welcomed departure from the stainless steel appliance craze. Eye-popping refrigerators, without a doubt, make a delicious statement in any kitchen. Wouldn’t you agree?


Here are three concepts I presented to clients using a kitchen elevation drawing of the wall where the new refrigerator would be installed:


The addition of reclaimed wood floating shelves bring an element of warmth into the kitchen and balances the coolness of their existing stainless steel appliances. Wood also provides another layer of interest in lieu of introducing another color. The Cherry Red “Big Chill” shares the spotlight as ‘statement piece’ along with the red high gloss built-in cabinetry (also proposed, but not shown in this drawing.)



A combination of upper cabinets and floating shelves provides them with an attractive option for even more storage. Glass doors on the upper cabinets allow for closed storage without the visual weight of a solid door. Floating shelves fill in the balance of the wall and allow space for colorful kitschy décor accents.



A series of base cabinets and one upper cabinet keeps this kitchen elevation pretty minimal and clear of potential clutter. However, there’s room to have a bit of fun with some retro metal signage. When they tire of this look, they can replace the wall art with framed photos or other décor items for a different theme.

Which option do you think they chose? Would you be brave enough to add a major appliance with confectionery appeal?

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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. Raye Cage Says:

    I like both the rustic modern & retro contemporary. I like wood floors & the combo of floating wood & glass door shelves.



  1. DINER CHIC: 9 FUN ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR RETRO KITCHEN | BluLabel Bungalow | Interior Design Advice and Inspiration - January 21, 2013

    […] new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.While working on a retro-inspired kitchen renovation I grew to love the element of fun vintage accessories bring to a kitchen. My clients were very […]

  2. | BluLabel Bungalow | Interior Design Advice and Inspiration - April 6, 2013

    […] below is one of the three options I presented to the homeowners. You can see the other two options, here. The Rustic Modern design allowed the kitchen to feel like an extension of the bungalow style home […]

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