When Gilday Design and Remodeling in Silver Spring, Md., finished designing a three-story addition to the back of their clients' house, the homeowners were thrilled that they would have more room. But they were puzzled about where to place a favorite Japanese armoire. So they decided to incorporate the "tansu" cabinet into the kitchen, which was also part of the remodel. Unfortunately, the dark-stained wood and clean lines of the cabinet didn't match the new white country kitchen.

Designer Leslie Roosevelt of Gilday met the challenge with several smart solutions. First, she placed the cabinet in a run of custom cabinets that serves as a dry bar, close to the family room. "I included some columns around the tansu to delineate it," Roosevelt says. She also had the cabinet stripped by a local cabinet shop, which revealed a wood similar to pine that the shop said could take a medium stain. She used a matching medium stain on a few cabinets that form the base of the island, blending them with a few white cabinets. As a finishing touch, she installed matching wood trim throughout the kitchen.