Whether serving as a makeshift classroom for kids or a work hub for grownups, it’s clear that today’s kitchen has become much more than a place to prepare food. As the heart of the home, modern kitchens have become malleable spaces—and an endlessly creative platform for interior designers. To ignite our own inspiration, we spoke with three of our favourite Caribbean-American designers about their most imaginative Swoon-Worthy Kitchens projects.
Mod Moment: Island Home Interiors
From the caffeine-fueled morning rush to big holiday dinners, a family kitchen can sometimes feel like a traffic zone. So for one Boca Raton family kitchen, Jamaican-born designer Joelle Ebanks combined efficiency and elegance to create a modern look. “The clients wanted a very contemporary kitchen, but one that still felt approachable,” explains Ebanks. “It’s a place to spend time with their children while they’re cooking.” To achieve this look, fresh white cabinets in a streamlined Shaker style provided a slim profile, as well as plenty of enclosed storage. This was paired with a quartz countertop and solid backsplash that continued up the wall—a detail that’s as stylish as it’s practical. “They did not want the standard tile backsplash with grout that’s hard to clean, especially over the cooktop area,” notes the designer. “So they loved this option, which adds a level of sophistication and simplicity.
A large statement island, which the designer adorned in a bright blue to punctuate the fresh white palette, also became key in corralling movement throughout the space. “Everything happens at the island, from food prep to baking, to kids’ homework,” explains Ebanks about the island’s central role in the kitchen. “Now it serves as the true hub for friends and family.”
Glam Revival: Casa Vilora Interiors
Interior designers often find the most perfect creative playground in their own personal abode. For Veronica Solomon, a Jamaican-born designer based in Katy, Texas, her builder’s grade kitchen provided a blank canvas where she could show how thoughtful finishes can transform the most basic bones. As a proud maximalist, “I’m a big believer that your home should feel collected, presenting the things you love,” notes Solomon.
With this in mind, “I wanted to create an ‘unkitchen’ of sorts, adding personal touches to deflect away from that built-in look and closer to a piece of furniture.” This process began with transforming the cabinetry with moulding details and porcelain countertops. Color also proved key, like a deep teal for the island base, and a moody, textured grey on the upper cabinets applied by local faux painter Jenny Weaver. Solomon also swapped out the lower cabinets for drawers to improve accessibility, while replacing the upper doors with glass “so I can have items that are special to me on display.”
The designer also had fun experimenting with materials, from the chevron wooden inlay for the pantry door, to the “backsplash” statement wall of floor-to-ceiling hexagon tiles. “For me, it was a chance to push my range and show what you can do with simple details.”
Rustic Redux: Nicole White Designs
The confident cook knows that fusing culinary styles can lead to delicious results. The same is true in interior design, as Nicole White demonstrates in this dramatic kitchen overhaul in Miramar. The client craved “a contemporary space, but with some rustic charm,” explains White. “So we focused on mixing elements to create that sense of warmth and comfort.”
To mingle these contrasting styles in the same space, the designer depended on a monochromatic blend of neutrals. Crisp white cabinets and quartz countertops help add a modern note. She then used a deep, warm grey to ground the central island, while adding some lightness with the bleached-out tones of the Barnwood-style porcelain tile flooring. These hues played well with metallic accents like the industrial bar stools, the chrome farmhouse sink, and vented hood.
More rustic moments emerge from other decorative elements like the backsplash tile, applied in a basketweave pattern that “pays homage to that classic farmhouse style,” notes White. To inject more warmth, live edge wood is also used to create the dining area and open display shelves, which are perfect to quickly access dishes and display cherished mementoes. These thoughtful details “all showcase this as a space meant for large family meals and memories.”