The catalyst: Homeowners Sing and S.K. Lo were content with their all-white kitchen until a refrigerator leak, while they were out of town, ruined the floor. S.K. saw it as an opportunity to add some color: an accent wall of bright cabinets. "I wanted to do something kind of fun," she said.

The designer: Shannon Nelsen, an interior designer with Poliform.

The inspiration: The bold orange-red (Poliform's "Mandarino") takes its cue from China. Both S.K. and Sing are natives of Hong Kong, where the hue is widely used, and it takes a starring role in some of their Asian artwork.

Sing initially favored a more neutral palette. "I'm getting used to it," he said. But S.K. loves the color. "Every time I come into the kitchen, it makes me happy," she said.

Streamlined: Designer Nelsen reconfigured the cabinet layout for maximum efficiency, gaining 2 linear feet of cabinet space, which she used to create an appliance garage.

"One of her [S.K.'s] issues was that she didn't like clutter and appliances out," Nelsen said. She also maximized storage space with Poliform's "Magic Corner," a hinged pantry insert that's "like an updated version of a Lazy Susan." Nelsen said. "The new design is cleaner and less cluttered." And the new Miele appliances fit so seamlessly into their setting that they sometimes fool the eye. "People ask, 'Where's your refrigerator?'" S.K. said.

Finishing touches: New lighting, gray quartzite (engineered stone) countertops from Capital Granite and a few red accent pieces complete the kitchen's new look.