3 Lessons to Steal from an All-Black Kitchen in a Historic Detroit House

When Doug and Hilary Schwartz first began house hunting, they had hoped they would land a historic home. As luck would have it, they found a 4,500-square-foot house built in Detroit in the 1930s by the George McKnight Building Company.

“We have put a lot of love and care into the home since purchasing it in 2020, and have tried to maintain the character while making it functional for a family of four,” says Hilary, who owns DetroitWick and Trip Wipes with her husband.

Going with an all-black kitchen was definitely a surprising choice, admits Hilary, who chose to focus on the richness of Farrow & Ball’s Off Black. Still, she says, “Everyone always loves my kitchen because the black is an unexpected choice. It’s definitely one of everyone’s favorite places to hang out.”

While there are plenty of design trends out there, it doesn’t mean you have to follow them. It’s all inspiration, and sometimes it’s best to just do your own thing. So, even though your design choices may seem unconventional, don’t be afraid to do what you love.

Whether it’s choosing a color or splurging on a piece of furniture, go with what feels right to you — and makes your heart sing! Hilary says, “When I love something, I know right away, and I have to have it. Luckily, Doug and I mostly agree!”

2. Find a balance between old and new.

As part of their renovation, the couple took some walls down, painted, added central air conditioning, updated the electrical and plumbing, and worked on flooring repairs. But while several modern amenities were added, Doug and Hilary still kept the historical charm intact.

“We were able to keep all of the original wood floors throughout the house and have them refinished, which I thought was very cool,” says Hilary, who was inspired by the history and character of the home. “There was very unique leaded glass within the kitchen cabinets, so we removed the glass, had it restored, and retrofitted new cabinets to fit.”

To keep that balance of old and new, the couple also selected fixtures with a vintage feel. Take for instance, the sink’s pull-down faucet in aged brass or the matching brass scones from Arteriors.

Through the years, homeowners have told us this repeatedly — take your time! There are plenty of pricey decisions to make, and it all requires careful thought and precise planning.

Says Hilary, “This was my first time doing any kind of renovation, so it was overwhelming at first to have so many options!” She adds that the never-ending projects of a historic home are tough, especially when it takes a year for things to be delivered.

It’s best to get it right the first time rather than paying more for costly mistakes. As for Hilary’s best advice? Whatever you do, “Don’t rush to find your style.”

How do you feel about an all-black kitchen? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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