We bought our house 7 years ago and I just can’t wait until we finally build our dream kitchen. What’s your kitchen personality? We all have one, you know? Well, those of us who love to cook do, anyway. I’m definitely an odd one, drawn to bright, bold colors, unexpected elements tamed by an old fashioned buttoned-up sensibility. The kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house. It’s where I want to be, even when visiting friends. It’s where the cookies and ice cream and pasta magically appear and draw people to gather.
There is no happier space, is there? My perfect kitchen is an ever-changing sketch, but some things stand true to time. It must be organized in somewhat Zen fashion, but retain a casual and inviting warmth. Appliances and storage should be located in a practical way so that the foot traffic flow is natural, not frustrating. That much I know. What our kitchen will look like one day is still a big mystery.
For now, I’ve been collecting snippets of things here and there, like this wild & crazy little pink number. She really is high on my dream kitchen list. The sparkly chandelier and wild color screams Betsey Johnson’s name. Daisy would flip over this kitchen, because her (current) favorite color is dark pink. What a playful and inspiring space. I love the way three walls of bright cabinets wrap around the center island. Access to the stove and sink from the big rustic workspace table is clearly mapped. Taming the wild & crazy beast within was tough for me. I’m drawn to unusual design elements, bright & bold colors, a space that is as lively as it is useful.
Our house is a Tudor built in 1925 with an extension added toward the backyard in the 1980’s. Shortly before Daisy was born, we purchased this mother of all fixer-uppers, something that could very well have terrified even Chip & Joanna Gaines, but I had faith in Shawn’s talents. He’s meticulous, focused and can build anything. I mean ANYthing, from jewelry to furniture to beehives. Our love for cooking sparked a connection between us, so the kitchen is a room that is especially special to us. Unfortunately, the condition of the one we got was horrendous. Mismatched cabinetry, cheap laminate countertops (some of which are not properly bolted down) and a faux-brick vinyl floor in a hue reminiscent of frog puke beige.
For years, I have been fighting with myself as to whether or not to share of a photo of our eye-sore kitchen with you. I must say I am still gathering the courage to do so, but have resolved to spare you the visual agony in exchange for images of the kitchens that inspire us.
Am I Blue?
I want to live in this Coastal Maine kitchen without having to leave the sunny West Coast. Is that possible? The striking little kitchen leverages a simple palette of blues, beiges and creamy whites.
Apart from the Carrera marble counters and fancy range, it can be had on any budget. The recessed hutch looks like a built-in and lends a vintage touch to the design of the room. It went right to the top of my dream kitchen wish list.
Let’s go back in time a bit. Taming the wild & crazy beast within was tough for me. I’m drawn to unusual design elements, bright & bold colors, a space that is as lively as it is useful. Something sensible in keeping with the history and architecture of our house would be the better choice for us, of course. Neutral hues, creamy tones, classic cabinetry would be beautiful and timeless. The curved glass-front cabinets add a Moorish touch, revealing the lovely pieces stored within.
Historically relevant sconce lighting adds a whimsical nod to the past. I found a pretty little kitchen online with wooden floors, milky cabinets and brushed bronze hardware online one day and feel in love. The large farmhouse sink is definitely on my must-have list. I’ve always dreamed of giving my baby a bath in the kitchen sink. Don’t ask me why. Unfortunately, I never go to do that with my Daisy, but I still want that big sink. Beautiful curves and fine details like the molding give the space such a polished look. Perhaps the most catchy detail are the medieval castle sconces flagging the sink on either side. A touch of old gets the technology of today.
Cape Cod Cute
This little sweetheart screams my name. A refreshing white backdrop with pops of orange-red here and there. The marble counters and dark wood floor add just a touch of casual elegance to a vibrant, breezy space. I’m already cooking there (in my head). This layout invites company to grab a stool, nibble on goodies while the cook does some magic at the stove. This kitchen delivers Cape Cod beachy charm with a practical layout. If poppy red’s not your bag, it’s easy to change things up with pops of your favorite color.
The Greenhouse Effect
Our kitchen is very small and a somewhat cramped room with little storage and even less work space. It was built in 1925 for the 1925 lifestyle, not for the modern epicurean family like ours. This kitchen opens the ceiling to a metal and glass greenhouse construction, making the kitchen feel bigger than it actually is. The design brings the outdoors in, bathing the entire space in natural light. This strategy stays true to the architectural identity of our English Tudor exterior. Truth be told, I have an atrocious black thumb when it comes to gardening and should be forbidden to be anywhere in the vicinity of a greenhouse. Redefining the conservatory means I can cook under the twinkling stars for as long as I like.
These days, a generous island offers additional workspace possibly with a stovetop or sink for the home chef and barstool seating on one side for the spectator crowd. Older homes like ours usually have a little breakfast nook in the kitchen and very little room for an island. The need for additional storage and seating can be addressed with a charming banquette like this one. The cabinets above are an unobtrusive element, both functional and beautiful. The seats of the benches can double as chests for additional storage .
We have an an adorable French bistro table and chair set that we had powder-coated bright red. I’m not sure we are willing to give up this beautiful piece for built-in benches. For this reason, installing wall cabinets as base cabinets is a trick my parents used in their own kitchen remodel to maximize space in the breakfast nook.
If I had things my way, a rustic kitchen like the one at Palazzo Donati in Northern tip of Italy would be replicated in my house, but, alas, I have neither the high ceilings nor the budget for such drastic measures. The planked ceiling, stone walls, recessed window with bottle-glass panes, alcoves contribute to the charm of this room, but it may be the massive hearth that inspires cooking the best. It is ageless in its antiquity and compliments my recent back-to-basics approach to cooking beautifully with just the bare necessities. If you have a trusty knife, wooden spoon, a big pot and fire, you can cook anything.
New Old World Charm
It’s hard not to like Chip & Joanna Gaines. They’ve become masters at matching rustic farmhouse with French country, bringing Old World charm back into vogue in a space-age era. They’re style is somewhat industrial, but never loses sight of casual comfort. Rough, imperfections dwells in the details of the concrete countertops, hammered copper sink and the cabinets look like Grandpa built them from salvaged wood. Truth-be-told, I am not a fan of the brick floor – it’s a bit too cheesy ’70’s for my taste, but that rough plaster wall just barely revealing the blocks and grout behind it is something I would love to see in our own kitchen. It would suggest the kitchen is original to our house, even though you and I both know it’s brand new. You can keep a secret, can’t you?
In a New York State of Mind
This tuxedo kitchen I found one day wandering online reflects my style best. It’s crisp black & white palette, subway tile, tailored window frames are old timey goodness.
The glass fronts on some of the cabinets showcase pretty pieces of porcelain and pottery (of which I have tons, thanks to my antique aficionado mom). I go back to it this dream kitchen every now and then, daydreaming about life in Manhattan where my favorite uncle lives.
A touch of army green in the built-in desk adds interest to an otherwise stark palette. The columns are hinting that the kitchen was once separated from the dining room and are keys to opening the space up so that it feels larger and more airy.
There are subtle variations in the details. The cabinets around the fridge have hinges made to look like those on vintage ice boxes. Also,there are two different, but complementary styles and finishes to the rest of the hardware.
Most kitchens are white. It’s demure, modest, sensible. It takes a brave, adventurous heart (or a lunatic) to paint kitchen cabinets bright pink. Let it be known that I refuse to follow the masses, but as I get older, it seems the white kitchen becomes more and more alluring.
The kitchen is often a messy, chaotic place, brimming with activity. Food processors, stand mixers, mandolins, toasters, espresso machines, bread machines occupy precious counterspace, sometimes all in action while there are several burners bubbling away at the stove. Keeping the cabinets, walls, countertops and floor a heavenly hue can help tame the chaos, perhaps even helping creativity blossom by staying quiet in the background of activity.
Anyone who loves to cook and bake will tell you that the kitchen is the favorite room in the house. As such, it makes perfect sense that it’s robed in crisp white, bouncing sunlight back and forth like a tennis ball. White doesn’t have to be boring. Whitewashed kitchens can still evoke personality, if composed properly.
I don’t know when we’ll finally renovate our kitchen. For now, I’m gathering ideas and sharing them with Shawn. Hopefully soon, we’ll get started and build our dream kitchen where we can cook with our little sweetheart and make new memories.
My Dream Kitchen
My husband has been asking me for months what I want for my birthday and I just didn’t know what to say. The truth is I have everything I need to be happy, the most important things in life – a loving family, the best friends, beautiful shoes and fine chocolate. There are only two things my heart longs for right now – a long trip far, far away and a new kitchen, neither of which make for practical birthday gifts.
In the end, the best facelift for our little kitchen is likely going to be a practical, polished look of Heavenly whites which will make the space feel larger than it actually is and bounce sunlight from wall to wall. Milky white beveled subway tile walls, antique white cabinets with file cabinet drawer pulls will work best with our stainless appliances and mark a timeless look that compliments the Tudor architecture of our 1925 house.
I prefer small, cozy spaces, so I think our teeny kitchen is actually a blessing, despite its maddening floor plan. It is my haven, where I feel most like myself. My imagination runs free and I make nourishing things for those I love most. I dream of the day it gets a refreshing makeover. Who knows what the future holds? It’ll be a busy, liveable space full of chit-chat and laughter, where happy memories will be made. This will be my dream-come-true.