Espresso Expressions

Inset cabinetry from Sharer’s premier cabinet line, Bakes & Kropp Fine Cabinetry (custom-made in Mount Clemens), was used. Beveled subway tile with a subtle crackle detail (Adex Hampton), from Virginia Tile, and dark gray quartz perimeter countertops enhance the clean lines of the room. Brushed nickel contemporary hardware complements the look. As for the original oak floor, it was simply patched and sanded, and then was given a natural finish with a polyurethane topping.
“When working with a mixed kitchen palette of bright whites and natural tones, consider a dark island, which can have rustic appeal and can balance intense white cabinetry.” —Justin Sharer
Portrait by Tracy Besek

“This was an ill-configured, dated 1990s condo,” Justin Sharer, left, says when describing this recent Northville project, above. The goal was to “transform the kitchen into a bright and contemporary living space,” says Sharer, owner of the nearly 5-year-old Plymouth-based Sharer Design Group ( The custom-designed island is awash in a custom brown-black paint that’s evocative of espresso. Contemporary cabinetry, in Intense White by Benjamin Moore, is the splash of cream this java-inspired space needed. A walnut with sapwood countertop complements the overall look.


Vases, from $29, West Elm, Birmingham,


Clockwise from left: Pam bar stool, $710, Ligne Roset, Birmingham,; See Saw tray, price upon request, Henredon Interior Design Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy,; Montmartre placemat, cafe, $24, Jonathan Adler,; and Dish, $12, West Elm, Birmingham, Product styling by Giuseppa Nadrowski.

Benjamin Moore Java-Inspired Browns,clockwise, from top left: Espresso Dark, Everard Coffee, Espresso Bean, Java.