I love the color aqua. I was excited when I learned that it was one of Julia Morgan's favorite colors too, and that she included subtle touches of it in her architecture-- including at the fabulous Berkeley City Club, where we had our wedding reception.
But Sunset.com's article "Sea Glass Style" takes the beauty of aqua to a whole new level. The two page spread features a kitchen inspired by sea glass. This manifests in a gorgeous aqua Big Chill refrigerator, what looks like an aqua Wedgwood stove, and a breathtaking variations-on-aqua tile backsplash. All set against the brightest white cupboards and walls you've ever seen, grounded with a gorgeous pine floor.
The design lesson for me here is that going for color is possible and can look great if you've got a palette that's consistent. The sea glass colors are gorgeous-- I especially love the matching aqua fridge and stove. I think those large matching elements anchor the variations found in the rest of the room. They don't look TOO matchy matchy to me, just enough to keep everything together.
I'm keeping all this in mind as we house hunt. It can really help a small kitchen become a room with a personality.