Monday, October 19, 2009

A Kitchen Post

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Although I have certainly posted my fair share of kitchen pictures on the blog, I have never devoted a post to my favorite kitchens. Yet, it is one of the most popular search terms on my blog. Perhaps I have not focused extensively on kitchens because I have been relatively satisfied with my own kitchen; despite the fact that my home was designed in the late 80s and my kitchen bears many of the hallmarks of that time, the appliances were top of the line at the time, and the layout is quite good.

However, now that some of the appliances are getting old and I am thinking more and more of my 'dream home', I have started to pay close attention to kitchens. This post is a compilation of the kitchens I love, and a recent kitchen post at one of my favorite blogs - the Material Girls - inspired me to go ahead and post on the room where I spend the most amount of time in my own house. When compiling this post, I found it interesting that the kitchen pictures I like the most are the ones that I have saved over the past 9 months. Kitchens become dated much faster than any other room in the house, and seem to be susceptible to the latest and greatest in trends. Although I like to think of myself as classic, traditional with a twist, I wonder whether I am influenced by the trends of the day? Take a look at these pictures, and let me know what you think.

This is my current favorite kitchen - a departure from my usual love of white cabinets, but there is something about it that really speaks to me.

This kitchen was in an Atlanta showhouse a few years ago, and it is incredibly beautiful. Kitchen design was by Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria, one of the lead kitchen designers in the Southeast. The beautiful stone range hood is by Francois & Company. I really love the layout and design of this kitchen - it has a moody elegance due to its color scheme, and has beautiful details. Image via Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas, photography by Michael Partenio. (Check out the Design Galleria blog - it is very clever. A word is selected for each post, and a design element is selected that reflects the word.)

The people who bought the showhouse hired designer Suzanne Kasler when they moved in; Suzanne put her own touch on the space with a zinc table and antique chairs with original leather upholstery. I love those fridges - two subzeros with a custom cabinet face to match the rest of the kitchen. It makes the fridge look like a piece of furniture, an impression further enhanced because of the height. This image is in Suzanne's new book, just released last week; the book can be purchased wherever books are sold, and a signed copy can be purchased on her website (click here).

This kitchen is a recent addition to my picture files; there is something about it that has great appeal to me. It has a very elegant French feel. One side of the kitchen is windows, an unusual arrangement in a kitchen where wall space for appliances and storage is usually at a premium. Design by Beverly Ellesley, via Decorati blog, a great design blog worth checking out.

I immediately noticed the Niermann Weeks Avignon chandelier, however, my favorite feature is the antique French flooring used on the island. As the designer said, flooring is strong enough for foot traffic, so it is definitely strong enough to take the wear and tear of a kitchen counter.

This is a Victoria Hagan designed kitchen, and there is so much to love in this space: the beautiful quality of the light that flows through the windows, the streamlined and simple lines of the counters and cabinetry, the crisp white contrasted with the dark countertops, the sophisticated lighting.

This kitchen was one of the winners of the 2008 Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles kitchen design contest, and was designed by Mary Kathryn Timoney of Design Galleria, one of the top kitchen studios in Atlanta. Image via AH&L. I can see a theme emerging - the light and dark contrast really appeals to me in a kitchen. I love the herringbone pattern of the tile behind the range - simple, but elegant.

I promised myself not to post this kitchen on my blog again - but how can I do a kitchen post without one of the most charming kitchens I have seen this year? It is the winner of the Southern Accents Kitchen Award 2009. What appeals to me about this kitchen? I love the colors of the walls and cabinets, the vent hood (one of the prettiest I have seen), the decorative medallion, the furniture-like look of the cabinets and the storage, the fact that there it is a happy medium between the desire to have very few overhead cabinets, but the practical need to have a few well placed cabinets. Generally, I prefer to have the casual dining area in its own nook, but I love how designer Gwyn Duggan has integrated the seating into the island; instead of bar stools, the table is placed quite close to the island so it does not disrupt the flow between the kitchen and the adjoining family room.

There is something so appealing about this relatively compact kitchen. Perhaps it is the soothing tones, the sheen of the tiles and the ceiling. It has many of the elements I admire - a nice big window over the sink, a range with pretty architectural vent hood. The floors look beautiful too - it looks like a chevron or herringbone pattern using bleached wood.

Another view of this kitchen. It looks like the counters are made of polished marble.

A kitchen designed by Jim Howard. I had the pleasure of seeing this house in person with Jim as the tour guide, and it was amazing to hear about the design decisions behind each room. I love the clean lines in this space, and the elegant clear pendant lights over the island. In Atlanta, most custom kitchens these days have marble countertops. When I asked Jim about this, he said that European kitchens have used marble for decades (even centuries), and part of the beauty is in the patina that they acquire over time.

Earlier this year, I declared this to be my 'dream kitchen'. I love how it looks - with its soft cream and brown palette, the random pattern on the stone floors, the enormous window. In reality, this kitchen is a bit big for me (it is in a house that is almost 14,000 square feet, so it is in scale for the house), but its size is part of the drama. The large window that lets the light stream into the room is simply breathtaking. I also like the color scheme - cream with dark accents - and the random pattern of the floor. Of course, the Barbara Barry script chairs are one of my all time favorite bar stool designs. Kitchen design by Christy Dillard.

Lighting seems to be something that can make or break a kitchen. Elegant and simple globe lighting like this allows the kitchen to be the star of the show, with a little sparkle. This kitchen meets all of the criteria: nice big window, beautiful range and vent, large island (although, I am too practical to have an open island like this - I want to maximize storage). Image via Brooks & Falotico Associates.

Brooke of Velvet & Linen did a post on vent hoods recently - and it was eye opening to me. I think this post made me realize how much I like a decorative vent hood that is the focal point of the kitchen.

Bild 4
My Aunt in Scotland has an Aga range like this - she swears by it. I have only seen an Aga once in an Atlanta home. I didn't save this picture for the range, though; I liked the light and dark contrast, the farmhouse sink, and the huge window. To me, a bright and sunny kitchen is of utmost importance.

I love the colors in this kitchen - the cream and black (or is it dark, dark brown) theme is cleverly done, with black counters, oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware, then a cream counter over a dark island base, and finally the combination of the two colors in the tile behind the range. The range hood is large and very dramatic. Via the Jack Arnold, architect web site.

A reader of Cote de Texas sent in pictures of her kitchen, and the simple beauty and soft color scheme really appealed to me. Look at those beautiful marble countertops - the colors in the marble veins are picked up in the variation of colors in the subway tile backsplash. I think that marble is the most beautiful countertop out there - but I am trying to talk myself out of using marble in my next house because I cook every day, and I am a very messy cook. I just don't think I can handle a high maintenance countertop. Anyone with marble counters want to weigh in on this?

Another white kitchen - these really seem to speak to me - and I love the sparkle of the chandelier in this space. Design by Heidi Friedler.

When looking at these pictures, it is clear what elements appeal to me in a kitchen: lots of natural light, either a combination of light and dark contrasts, or a tone on tone with creams or whites. Many of the pictures seem to have a wood surface on the island, although marble is also prevalent in all of these kitchens. Given how my taste in kitchens has shifted over the past year, it makes me nervous about the choices that I will be making in designing my next kitchen. I guess the important thing is to keep the design simple and streamlined, with an emphasis on function first (I love a good work triangle), as well as color (not pattern - I always tire of a pattern) - this always seems to serve me well.

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  1. Beautiful post and some lovely kitchens. I was just reading about that Suzanne Kasler kitchen last night. I have a couple I should send you photos of.
    As far as the maintance of marble. I never do anything to mine. I know it is probably bad, but I just don't worry about it. As Jim Howard says, they've been using it for years in Europe and something tells me they aren't making sure they put a sealer on it once a year! A honed finish really is the best way to go though, particularly with kids!


  2. I really like all the lighting in these kitchens - They definitely bring another layer to the room. Great images!

  3. So many beautiful, inspiring images!
    PK @ Room Remix

  4. Beautiful kitchens!! I just love the grey blue walls with the black and white check valances. Gorgeous.

    Question for you, I'm painting my cabinets off-white and wondered if you have a favorite color? I will be using Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams paint - can't spring for any of the fancier brands. Any input would be highly appreciated!

  5. I just had my cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore white dove, and even the painter commented that this is perhaps the perfect white for a kitchen cabinet (I use it for all of my trim). It is not a stark white - it is warm, and it actually looks like it has a light glaze on it at night, like a white cloth that has been quickly dipped in tea.

  6. Such beautiful kitchens!!...the first one is soo Gorgeous! I am in love with that vent hood.

  7. Thanks so much for the quick response! I think this is one of the chips I got - I'll check it out!

  8. Great post! I love these kitchens. While I love the dramatic hoods, I don't particularly like when the range/cooktop is boxed in by bringing the sides of the hood down. I really like having open space around my cooktop so I can easily move pots away, bring the cutting board over, etc. Like you, as someone who cooks every day, I value functionality!

    Also wanted to add that I love Benjamin Moore White Dove. I painted the bottom half of my dining room walls with it (over the prior owner's high gloss white - ugh!) and am now thinking of painting all the trim in my house that color. It is a nice, warm white. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but since most of our baseboards could use a fresh coat, why not?

  9. TTI: what a wonderful post - I devoured every word and picture - there is a theme running through the pictures - the contrast of the black and white and the fireplace like range hood, the large windows.

    I just did a kitchen with a honed black granite that is textured - it is rough or pebbly, not flat and smooth - it looks like a rough stone of some kind instead of smooth granite (and yes I know that granite is a stone!) - you could do that on your countertops and then do a beautiful Calacutta Ora marble on a big island. just a thought. Also, you could do the white marble backsplash to bring in more contrast and marble.

    I haven't had any problems with my marble. I think the bad rep comes from the polished white marbles which etch when lemon and fruit and veg acids come into contact with it. the honed is very easy - no maintenance at all!! you just wipe it clean after you cook.

    As for the kitchen you always show on your blog - i am beginning to think that the one thing you really love about it is the beautiful, dramatic oversized wing chairs and the big check print at the window - you seem to love furniture in a kitchen - so you should remember that if you ever remodel. yes, that kitchen is beautiful = but without the furniture and the fabric - it wouldn't be quite as eye catching.

    A hood - for sure! make the range the focal point. And I love Kassler's refrigerator - those are truly some of the best hidden ones I've ever seen!!!!! I wonder if she would ever find out if you copied her in your kitchen remodeling? :)

  10. Hi- Beautiful post. I have many of those kitchens in my "files" as well and agree that the one with the wing chairs is the best-

    Countertop weigh-in...I have lived with several different granite countertops over the years (I have the honed, antiqued black granite that Joni was speaking of in a bathroom now - it is great) In my latest kitchen I used a white granite instead of marble because I was worried about the maintenance issue. Turns out that this white granite has to be sealed about every six months. Right after I moved in all of my spills were soaking into the stone. We were able to remove most of the stains and reseal but what a nightmare (I still have a big grease stain from a grilled cheese sandwich uggg!)

    My point...get what you want becasue there are no guarantees that the safe route will be any better!

  11. Beautiful post. I love kitchen posts for some reason. I guess it's because I have a really small kitchen right now and love to think that someday I'll have my huge dream kitchen. My favorite is the all cream kitchen from the Cote de Texas reader. I also love the thought of having a large enough kitchen to have a seating area or large kitchen table in it.

  12. We're just back from 13 kitchens at the Plaza Towers tour: from the original galley floorplan to wall-moving redesigns. All did have at least one view of 9' floor to ceiling windows. But honestly, right now, I'd have a heck of a time picking my dream kitchen or even my budget kitchen. It's the room of a million choices and a million compromises.

  13. Mirror, Mirror on the wall - who is the Fairest of them All?

    I certainly would not be able to pick a favorite from this entirely gorgeous selection!

  14. Lovely collection of kitchen photos. I always try and pick a favourite by decided which one I'd actually love to cook in. And the Gwyn Duggan one would be it for me. A wonderful room.

    I placed an Aga in a kitchen for clients a few years ago. They loved it and it looks just amazing. I did attend a cooking class with my client however, just to make certain she would actually use it! And I"m happy to say that she does!

  15. I love all these kitchens....such great spaces!!

  16. Thanks for the "shout out!" I LOVE the first kitchen by Matthew Quinn- I saw that in the BH&G magazine and have been meaning to post it. It's just gorgeous!

    All the kitchen images are gorgeous!

  17. Gorgeous images! My white kitchen could use a tweal here and there so I've bookmarked this post for further study. Thanks!

  18. Lovely post! I have posted about a couple of these, but most were new to me. Thanks!


  19. Love all your kitchen inspiration! The black cabinets are definitely a favourite for me! Tracey xx

  20. What an incredible collection of kitchens!

    I like all of them to look at, though I think I wouldn't want any of them. Sort of gone a little too European, I suspect! Our kitchen is 36 square feet. I'm afraid I'd collect too much clutter in one of those big spaces. But gosh they're fun to look at. love your commentary and reflections, too.

  21. Many great kitchens. Most of these are predominantly white or off white, which gives them an amazing quality of light. A kitchen filled with dark wood tends to soak up all the light.

    Simple,Unique, Small House Plans Cottage, Craftsman and Modern Home Plans
    Spreading the word on great home design

  22. We build a lot of kitchens, they are my favorite above all things. These are gorgeous. Wonderful designs.

  23. Thanks for the great posting. The kitchens are all fantastic and inspiring. I would have a tough time choosing just one.

  24. What a fantastic gallery, i have seen the seamless marble backsplash in the past and I am a huge fan. Natural LIght,creamy cabinets, and a large workspace are a must for me. One image above had a beautiful fireplace in it. In my dream home, there is a fireplace in the kitchen.

    I love Ina Garten's home in the hampton's - All that light, french doors opening to a terrace - fireplace, huge counter. It's a little too large, but a scaled down version would suit me just fine..:-)

    great... now my head will be in the clouds all day long..:-)

  25. Very interesting. You can definitely see trends in your kitchen tastes (large hoods, white/cream cabinets, statement lighting) but I think these trends are about as close to timeless as you can get.

  26. This is a great post! And I mean that!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!


  27. These are all stunning examples - and I'm noticing a lot of white cabinets! But I wish we could just invent a "classic kitchen" and stick to it. I know appliances go out of date, but otherwise, why is this room so trendy? I always feel a little sick when I see folks on HGTV remortgaging their homes to do a $70,000 kitchen renovation. Eeek!

  28. I love all of these pictures but I always love a white kitchen. Am sure yours looks great. I use white dove on trim and cabinets often

  29. My favorite is your 'dream kitchen.' Oh, those windows! I think I'd feel like a Princess cooking in that kitchen! Trina

  30. Some of the kitchens featured are for homeowners who don't cook! The refrigerator is so far from the stove and sink that you'd need roller skates to get around.

    I know that you love the focal point of the decorative vent--however, my cooktop is set into a spacious island--and I love not feeling closed-in when I'm at the stove. I have a retractable vent and it works just fine--when I use it, which is not all that often. I enjoy having the good cooking aromas linger for a bit. I also love having a window over the sink--I have a bird feeder in a tree just outside, and watching the birds makes cleanup more pleasant.
    Calico Corners

  31. One more question re: painting cabinets... On design shows, I often see designers sending things "out to be sprayed". Are there places that I could bring my cabinet doors and have them sprayed? Thanks for any advice!

  32. TTI,
    So many lovelies...my favorite is the kitchen done by Suzanne Kasler with the zinc table. I too like the light and dark contrast. Great kitchens, what fun. Makes me want something different in mine!

  33. TTI,
    So many lovelies...my favorite is the kitchen done by Suzanne Kasler with the zinc table. I too like the light and dark contrast. Great kitchens, what fun. Makes me want something different in mine!

  34. Thank you for the comments, everyone!

    Regarding cabinets - I seem to recall that the Lettered Cottage has a good post on painting cabinets? For mine, I hired my wonderful painters, who have painted just about every square inch of my house at some point or another over the past 10 years. They took the cabinet faces off and painted them off site (I think that they cleaned them, sanded them and sprayed them). The cabinet bases were painted in my kitchen. All were painted with an oil based paint, which smelled horrible but we were out of town for most of the month so we did not have to deal with the fumes. The result is beautiful - the finish is very hard because of the oil based paint, and the appearance is nice and smooth. The painter recommended a glossy finish, but I wanted satin. I am very happy with my choice - they truly look new.

  35. Too many great images! My personal favorite is Jim Howard's kitchen. Both traditional and contemporary. Yet another great post that will be saved in my style file. Happy week! OX, Monika

  36. Thanks for a fantastic, inspirational post.

  37. I liked creamy/white kitchens with white marble 10 years ago, and still like them. I don't think any major changes will occur with your very classic taste - just maybe the "accessories" -like fixtures and appliances.

    Beautiful pictures.

  38. I am in LOVE with Gwyn Duggan's kitchen! I wish mine were big enough for the table and wing chair combo. This is such a fantastic idea!

  39. Thanks for the suggestion - I didn't know about The Lettered Cottage, so not only did I get a great tutorial but a great new site. Thanks a ton!

  40. bookmarking this one!! so many beautiful simple elegant kitchens. I have the same thoughts myself about marble- I adore the look but am so messy I just don't know if it's for me. (And when I see it wrapping up onto the backsplash!!! ah perfection!!!) But it sound slike commenters are saying the honed is ok?

    I love light kitchens too... and beautiful fixtures are key.
    gorgeous post!

  41. Wow, such beauty and elegance!! Stunning examples!

  42. amazing kitchens.

    i am beginning to think i want my next kitchen to have a huge counter height table, with beautiful counter height chairs.

    these rooms have inspired me.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Love the kitchen with the great big chairs around the table. Guests always want to crowd in the kitchen whether you like it or not. The "gathering place" is definitely always the kitchen. I've always thought that a kitchen should have a sitting area for at least 4 friends to sit and chat with you while you prepare meals or just sit with a glass of wine and appetizers. Having these comfortable chairs around a table makes it more casual and relaxing! Thanks for this great post with amazing photo's. I too loved all the lighting!

  45. I especially love the Victoria Hagan kitchen - fresh, full of light, without a whole lot of embellishments. Love the ceiling, lighting and furniture!

  46. I love those kitchens, we have the same taste! Interesting your comment on white dove. . . I like the sound of that!

  47. Yet another post to love. Crazy for subway tiles in a herringbone pattern.

    I'm torn between white cabinets and black...

  48. There is a simple elegance to all of the kitchens in your post. Like you, I could never do a patterned tile in my kitchen. I don't want my kitchen to scream at me. Instead I prefer a serene place that can be a backdrop to all of the family chaos that goes on in the kitchen.
    Like many of the others, I have never had a problem with my marble. I actually think it looks better now with a little age than it did when it was new.
    In regards to hoods, although I do love a pretty hood, I actually don't have a hood in either of my kitchens. I put my stove in front of the window and just open it up if it gets a little smokey! I think I can get away with this because I live in a temperate climate plus I don't cook very much!

    Great post.


  49. Oh I love kitchen posts! Wonderful photos!
    I, too, have White Dove as my trim through-out my house,and on my kitchen cabinets. I absolutely love it!
    Regarding the marble... I have a honed Venatino on my island and even with a sealer it does etch.... I'm thinking of doing the Meg Ryan tomato wash!! But trying to figure out if an etch will etch again on top of an etch;)! I think 'mind-set' is the biggest thing to overcome with marble- first you have to really want it, then remember that it's been used for centuries in Europe and finally, just let it be. Patina is a good thing!
    Great post!

  50. Love these kitchens!! My favorite is the one with the Aga range... so simple!

    And I love marble countertops too, but it sounds like you do as much cooking as I do and marble is such a hassle! I recommend granite that is sealed VERY well (my Mom has well-sealed granite and it will last forever, but I have granite that was very poorly sealed and hate it) or some type of composite countertop. I like this new thing called IceStone, it's made of recycled glass bottles + concrete, and some of them look like granite! There's also Corian, which my parents swear by, but you can't put a hot casserole dish on it or anything like that. Also look up CesarStone.

    If you must have a kitchen with at least SOME marble, another option is to use marble tiles as your backsplash (like the kitchen of the reader of Cote de Texas) and your countertop a different material.

  51. There are some wonderful kitchens here.
    I have always loved the idea of having a fireplac in the kitchen, and am suprised that this is not a more prevelant trend. I am hoping to put one in the next large kitchen I do!
    Thank you
    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design


  52. What a lovely post! As to the marble, we have a mix of honed marble and a granite called Cambria black satin in our new kitchen. The marble is on the kitchen island and we have a marble backsplash as well. I love the way the marble looks but am too...well...anal to weather stains all over the place. The Cambria black satin is a honed satin finish - almost like an aged soapstone, but obviously much sturdier. Like the granite Joni from Cote de Texas described below, it is slightly pebbled and has great texture. It was a good compromise between my aesthetic desires and my practicality. The marble has some stains (the kitchen is about a year old) - grease is a big enemy of marble. That said, if you can handle the occasional stain, nothing beats honed marble for looks. I have Carerra all over our bathrooms and feel like I'm showering in a hotel every day!

  53. These were all beautiful spaces. I personally like the contrast with either the mix of the dark and the white/cream cabinetry with the light floors or the white/cream cabinetry with the dark flooring.

    I don't see these kitchens as being trendy because there are enough classic features in them... but sometimes just updating the lighting fixtures and the hardware will give it a freshening up.

  54. Oh my, I am drooling over here - these kitchens are fabulous! I can't even choose my favorite! Lovely photos, great post.


  55. LOVE this post! The Gwyn Duggan kitchen makes me drool! We are about to begin a kitchen reno and I am so inspired by these photos. Can anyone tell me what color they think the blue on the walls are? I am sitting here with 200 BM paint chips and I'm very confused! Would White Dove work well with the light blue? I would really appreciate any input - Thanks, Jen

  56. Can you tell me the fabric designer for the window treatments in the very last photo on this post? I love your blog so much!! We will be renovating our home built in 1950. I'm getting great ideas from your posts!!

  57. BEAUTIFUL! Like you, I too am drawn to white kitchens. I have one myself and I couldn't be happier. A trend where I live in Canada seems to be towards dark cabinetry, but I went against the trend and went white and I am thrilled. I would do it again! Thanks for the post. I am adding this to my favorites.

  58. These are great pictures!!! I am still such a fan of the "white kitchen." Always so much character.

  59. Love these beautiful pictures! I'm disappointed that I never see any inspired kitchens with natural maple cabinets. My kitchen is in maple and I long for inspiration without changing them out! They are contemporary and nice, I just never see any kitchens with cabinets like mine.


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