It’s not quite shamrock green, although that might be apropos (it is, after all, the O’Leary home). As crisp and inviting as the Granny Smith they invoke, the green walls and accessories in this dazzling kitchen were not the first choice of the lady of the house. “If someone had told me I would end up with a green kitchen, I would’ve said forget it!” laughs Mandi O’Leary. “But Libby was convinced that I needed a green kitchen and she was right. This is the color! I absolutely love it!”
The ‘Libby’ with the courage of color conviction is Libby Storts, designer and boutique director for Diane Breckenridge Interiors. “When Mandi and I began working together, it was a no-brainer because we have such similar tastes,” Storts says. “And she’s enthusiastic about the fun little details—like the bows on the chandelier shades.”
While lively green and marshmallow white provide refreshing visual impact, symmetry and subtle repetition anchor the design. The black marble fireplace and Williamsburg mantle are perfectly framed by dual crystal lamps, topiaries in twin silver urns and two gold-framed botanical prints. On the marble-topped center island, matching ears of corn in white ceramic, husked just-so, repeat the textures and garden theme of the striking Savanyo farmhouse sink. “The symmetrical placement of accessories and lighting mirrors the architectural symmetry of the deep arched doorways on either side of the fireplace,” notes Storts. The doorways lead to the dining room, elegantly formal with striking, not-quite salmon walls.
The designer incorporated pattern into the kitchen scheme with a classic black-and-white check, fashioning the fabric into bows and cushions for the ladderback barstools. The fabric makes a second appearance on the upholstered window seat cushion, topped with a plentitude of pillows. In a nod to the playful checks, a single bow anchors photographs of the three smallest O’Learys—James, Lucy and Peter—captured in what their mom describes as a ‘whimsical moment.
The space is flooded with natural light through windows unencumbered by window treatments, but that was not always the case. “When we bought the house five years ago, this was actually the living room,” O’Leary explains. “And the kitchen was dark and heavy. I love to cook but I think it would’ve been depressing to cook in there. I love the light and airy feeling it has now.”
And although she loves the airy ambiance, O’Leary admits to a preference for rich detail, and credits Storts for balancing the two concepts. Again, repetition is key. “We used gleaming white and polished silver accessories,” Storts says. “The apothecary jars, the corn, even the peonies are a rich creamy white. And the containers are fluted, beaded or ornate, but they’re all silver.”
While there is much that is new to admire, O’Leary says an existing piece fits in beautifully. “See the painting above the table and chairs? That was my husband Jim’s first art purchase years ago,” she explains. “It was hung above the fireplace in our other house. I thought it might be too contemporary, but it works perfectly in here and everyone comments on it.”
The best symmetry in this spirited and happy room? At one end, three delighted and delightful little faces mug for the camera in sassy fashion. On the opposite end, an oversized black-and-white platter with a single word—Blessings.
A succinct summary for a stylish space. LN