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Home Improvements Chapter 8: Dreamy Kitchens

A kitchen can be so much more than just a room where you prepare and cook food by definition.  It is a place that hosts all family members with a story to tell; a place to ignite everyone's imagination.  It is the room where everyone can be inventive and messy while creating family holiday luncheons, party dinners, school snacks, party cakes, marble cakes, cheesecakes, detox smoothies, chilled lemon teas and so much more... You get the idea! 


Contemporary kitchen with marble island and backsplash
Contemporary kitchen with marble island and backsplash
Image via www.bkba.tk



An eclectic style kitchen
An eclectic style kitchen (mix and match of elements and styles i.e. bare wooden beams, open shelving, blackboard and stainless steel for backsplash )
Image via www.home-designing.com


Kitchens come in many styles (traditional, classic, contemporary, rustic just to name a few). Along with them come various attractive features (hood, countertop, backsplash, cabinetry, wine racks, molding, lighting, flooring). The design map begins the moment you decide if you prefer a classic or a contemporary look.  Needless to say that you should preserve the overall architectural integrity of your home. Design continuity has the strongest impact. An old world style kitchen with all its ornamentation does not quite fit in with a contemporary minimal concept. But, if you blend elements of a traditional style with contemporary, you can have a great transitional style. Similarly, if you go for a mix and match approach that results in an eclectic style. 


A rustic type of kitchen with some open shelving
Image via www.housebeautiful.com



A contemporary kitchen with black embossed ceramic tile backsplash
A contemporary kitchen with black embossed ceramic tile backsplash
Image via www.home-designing.com



A tiny kitchen adjacent to an accent wall in an open floor space
A tiny kitchen inspired by Scandinavian style in an open floor plan space
Image via www.home-designing.com




A dark kitchen in an open floor plan space.
A beautiful dark kitchen in an open floor plan space. The wooden top of the island creates a juxtaposition against the dark island creating an emphasis on the eating zone!
Image via www.modulnova.com

A new kitchen costs a considerable amount of money and hence, it is expected to last a long time.  Building a new kitchen or remodeling an old one is a major undertaking. But there is a lot more involved than just selecting beautiful cabinets or changing a counter-top. It is all about careful planning of every element including installations such as plumbing and wiring. I will explain myself next. 



Layout.
The layout is probably the most important thing about any kitchen.  A great layout means a functional kitchen. When planning out a kitchen layout it's best to consider it in zones (cooking, baking, preparation, cleaning and eating zones). Thinking of a layout in zones helps you achieve more efficient workstations. The cooking and baking zone can coexist especially when there is space shortage. The cleaning zone should include a large sink and a dishwasher (preferably adjacent to the sink).  The cleaning zone can also be combined with the preparation zone. The eating zone however, should ideally be further away from the cooking and cleaning zones. If you have an open floor plan direct viewing of the cleaning and cooking zones should be limited or better yet, eliminated altogether!  It is unsightly to see a pile of unwashed dishes! Islands and bar bridges are a great solution to this problem. Besides, they can also accommodate for various zone activities and serve as fabulous breakfast nooks too. The positioning of your appliances will dictate how cook-friendly your kitchen will be. 


An off white contemporary kitchen with a marble countertop
A beautifully decorated contemporary kitchen. Notice the pendant light and the table lamp on the marble countertop. The painting on the wall and the planter complement the ensemble.
Image via www.housebeautiful.com
   


A kitchen with a super wide island, a brick accent wall and a stainless steel hood
A super wide island, a brick accent wall and a stainless steel hood set the mood in this kitchen.Image via www.harveyjones.com


Storage.
A well laid out layout must most definitely provide plenty of storage space for all your pots, pans etc.  However, be realistic about your needs.  Don't go out and buy yet another high-priced appliance that you'll probably won't ever use.  Tip: if you like a counter free of unnecessary gadgets and appliances then make a provision for an appliance garage! In other words allocate a closed space to store your appliances preferably with some plugs inside for charging purposes.  


A pale blueish kitchen with copper pipe shelving where everything is in plain view
Everything in plain view! Copper pipe shelving used for storage purposes but without blocking out the sunlight and outdoor view from the window in yet another open floor plan space.  I also love the small island on wheels.
Image via www.housebeautiful.com


An industrial style kitchen with three pendant lights hanging over the island
An industrial setting. I love the three pendant lights over the island
Image via www.housebeautiful.com


Color.
This is the one element that significantly changes the overall design concept in a single blow. If you are remodeling your old kitchen, then changing its color scheme may be just enough to breathe new life into it. Color emphasizes the textures and finishes.  It sets the mood and creates illusions of bigger or smaller, cozier spaces. Bright colors create accents, if used as splashes though then they create focal points.  Personally, I like contrasts for a strong impact; lighter shades against darker backgrounds or the other way round.  They add drama. Another approach though, is to maintain a monochromatic scheme as to emphasize the finishing details like in the picture below (i.e. brass details).  

A small grey kitchen with brass details
A small kitchen with a huge impact!




A well-lit vibrant lime kitchen
A well-lit vibrant lime kitchen setting!
Image via www.home-designing.com



A contemporary kitchen with a pop of blue color as a highlight
A pop of blue color as a highlight in this luxurious kitchen
Image via www.goodworksfurniture.com



A rustic kitchen with a herringbone pattern backsplash
A rustic kitchen with a herringbone pattern backsplash
Image via www.homedit.com



Lighting.
One of the first things I notice in any kitchen is the lighting.  Bad lighting means that the design process was not completed successfully. Creepy shadows most definitely undermine any kitchen new or old. The color of the cabinets looks more stale and any chances of highlighting any stand-out features vanishes into thin air.  The bottom line is that you should invest in a solid lighting plan!  Think of accent pendant lights over the eating zone, recessed spotlights over the cooking and preparation zones and led lines underneath the top cabinetry. There are so many different options, so trust your architect to point you to the right direction. 


A walnut color wood kitchen with a black countertop and backsplash
A well balanced kitchen due to the two pendant lights. Walnut color wood against a black background. Notice the zoning in black of the floor that accentuates the kitchen as a wholesome unit tying it altogether!
Image via www.home-designing.com



A contemporary off white kitchen with a floating bar bridge
The pendant light along with the floating bar-bridge gives that ohh-factor in this kitchen.
Image via www.intervari.com



Contemporary kitchen with marble backsplash and countertop
Marble backsplash and countertop. Fabulous bar stools. Design by architect John Maniscalo.
Image via www.home-designing.com



A sleek contemporary kitchen with a statement pendant light
A statement pendant light against this "futuristic" cabinetry. What a beautiful contrast of the cabinetry against this amazing marble. Note that marble is considered as super trendy.
Image via www.home-designing.com


Features:  Countertop, Backsplash, Hood
Aesthetics, durability, low maintenance and installation cost are some of the most important factors that help you decide upon the desired countertop and backsplash. Every material has advantages and disadvantages. Marble, ceramic tiles, concrete, stainless steel, glass, corian and laminate are some of the most common materials to choose from. My advice is to be thorough in your search for the right materials. Ask questions like these: are they stain-proof? Can you cut or roll dough on them? Can you place a hot pot on them? If damaged, how do you repair them and at what cost? What's their maintenance level? Marble that is considered super trendy now, is not very resistant to acidic stains (i.e. coffee or lemon spills). Quartz is a durable material but expansive and you should not place a hot pot on it. Laminate is probably the most affordable material yet, you should not cut on it, roll dough or place a hot pot on it. Glass is hygenic, stain-proof but you must not cut on it or drop something heavy on it for it is hard to repair. Similarly, a vintage antique mirror backsplash may not require any toughening procedure as long as your range/cooktop is installed with a minimum 20mm clearance. Hoods on the other hand also range in size, material, capacity, noise level and cost. It is apparent that there are a lot of details concerning these aforementioned features. The aim is to coordinate these complimentary features along with sinks, faucets, moldings, ceiling and flooring for the best outcome. Therefore, a good partnership with a kitchen designer/architect you trust is invaluable.  

Contemporary kitchen with concrete island
A concrete island
Image via www.ideasgn.com


Contemporary kitchen with a mirror subway tile for backsplash
Mirror subway tile for a backsplash and a marble island as designed by Forum Phi Architecture.
Image via www.houzz.com


A mix and match style kitchen designed by Thom Filicia
A beautiful blend of styles for this kitchen setting designed by Thom Filicia.
Image via www.architecturaldigest.com


A white kitchen with marble, stainless steel hood and accent pendant lights
Marble, hood and accent lights: the three ingredients for this white kitchen



A kitchen with marble countertop,backsplash, brass details and brass hood
Look at that brass hood against the marble backsplash! Wow!





A kitchen remodel has to take into account multiple facets of your home and constraints of your existing home. Sometimes you can simply redecorate your kitchen or repaint it with a new color scheme. Other times more drastic measures are in need like changing the sink, the countertop and/or backsplash. Changes like that can instantly update and upgrade your kitchen's look. If the plumbing is old (over 30 years old) then a major gut remodeling is your best option. But since this is a long story, allow me to get into it in another post in the near future. 



A black kitchen with a basalt backsplash and island designed by Richard Shapiro
A basalt backsplash and island! Designer Richard Shapiro
Image via www.architecturaldigest.com


So what makes these kitchens dreamy?  Their layout, their color, their beautiful accent lights, the contrasting textures and finishes, their complimenting features but most of all the planning that has gone into them during the design process. Therefore, aside your budget as long you do some proper planning, your kitchen has every potential of turning into an amazing source of inspiration for you and your loved ones!


Till next week,

Comments

  1. Hello
    I would like to share a news In the past, kitchens were made without any proper design or glamour. Today in this modern world, kitchens are playing an essential role in bonding together family and friends. It has become the place where activities are planned and decisions are made. Whether you cook or not the kitchen should have a happy environment. Know more at-The Luxury Kitchen
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the best advice for anyone looking to renovate the kitchen, especially it floors is to give consideration to the element of moisture. No matter what you do, kitchen will have more humidity than most other places in the home. Therefore, it is important to be wary of flooring choices that are more suitable for other parts of the house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point! Flooring is indeed a very important element in a kitchen, but it relies heavily on the flooring choices of the house's overall design scheme (i.e. some kitchens are part of an open floor plan others are not). Generally, when it comes to renovating a kitchen, most people prefer to keep the budget as low as possible and therefore, they might only change the cabinetry unless they have plumbing issues as well. In that case, the flooring usually gets redone as well. I also wish people would reconsider their flooring. It is the one element that has a huge impact in a design. Cheers!

      Delete
  3. Just discovered your site and I love it! I love all these kitchens, you have really set out the fundamental concepts of good kitchen style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that was my aim because I think a lot of people get confused along the way when it comes to designing a kitchen.

      Delete
  4. I first read this post a while ago, and have returned to re-read it because of the way you've outlined the fundamentals. You see I'm considered having my kitchen redone and wanted some inspiration and I remember how I enjoyed reading this the first time. I just love the rustic one with the black herringbone backspash! I can actually picture myself making lunch there... Loveeeeeee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to have you back Kary and be of some help to you...Let me know how it works out for you!

      Delete

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