Where There’s Smoke

A shady new spectrum of smoldering hues lets the kitchen show its sultry side.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

It’s dark in here. PureLine Wall Oven by Miele.

The “smoky eye” of the kitchen world is batting its eyelashes, and its adoring public is starting to flirt back. The steely hues this trend delivers — from warm and wooly light grays to smoldering charcoal, smoking gunmetal, and effortlessly cool matte black — are as seductive and sophisticated as the day-to-night staple among makeup pros.

Making no apologies in its big, bad boldness, the Bosch 800 Series French door refrigerator keeps everything chill in a sleek, almost intimidating cloak of black stainless steel. Miele’s PureLine Wall Oven in Obsidian Black begs for a surround of custom cabinetry so it can hang out incognito. Anyone with an aversion to the prim white farmhouse look might fix up their kitchen with a Totten sink in gray or black by Mirabelle.

Range hoods, pendant lighting, and faucets have all joined the intense allure of the kitchen’s new palette. Call this shadowy aesthetic “urban,” “industrial,” or “nouveau goth.” By any name, it complements modern furnishings in lofty, open-plan settings.

Mary Hannah Fout, a senior marketing manager for Ferguson Enterprises, answers our questions about the look (seen here and  at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Rancho Mirage) and how to apply it with professional day-to-night drama.

Black stainless steel appliances by Bosch.

Why smoldering hues and matte black?

The new black and gray finishes we are seeing are classic and elegant yet have a bit of an edge to them. They work with just about every style from contemporary minimalism to industrial or even traditional. It’s a versatile finish that makes a statement and adds a subtle layer of intrigue and distinction.

Best way to work this smoking-hot scheme into an existing kitchen?

Switch out your kitchen faucet to a matte black faucet — there are many options on the market right now that incorporate touch and touchless features, so you will be upgrading your faucet technology as well as the finish. Or upgrade your kitchen lighting to black fixtures that complement the existing finishes. Mixed finishes is also a trend — swap out one appliance to black or gray and the rest can remain stainless or another finish.

Gymnast Pendant Light by Varaluz.

Most coveted piece in this color family?

Probably a large range in a smoldering hue that becomes the focal point of the kitchen. If the rest of the kitchen is neutral, it anchors the design and makes a statement.

Has stainless steel overstayed its welcome?

Not yet. While new finishes are hitting the market, stainless steel is still the most popular. It’s durable, and homeowners still like its streamlined and elegant look and the fact that it pairs nicely with any wood tone and finish.

Mirabelle’s Totten kitchen sink in black.