Thursday, September 16, 2010

No upper cabinets? No problem!

As I mentioned previously this week, upper cabinets are not a kitchen necessity. In fact, a well-designed kitchen will provide great storage solutions elsewhere, and maximize wall space with other show-stopping elements.

Canadian House & Home

I would gladly trade upper cabinets for this glass tile running up to the ceiling. Check out the entire makeover here.

Or what about a butler's pantry just off of the kitchen? Its a great way to have walls of storage that are unseen from the main kitchen. Don't we all wish we had the space (and the cash) to put one of these in? This one, by Design Galleria even has a secret door!

Design Galleria via Eva Designs

Additionally, with so many base cabinet storage solutions available today, spaces that have traditionally been "wasted" can be well-designed and well-used.

Space corner by Blum

Servo drive by Blum

This clever little device can make all of your drawers "automated". Just a gentle touch on the front surface, and an electronic motor allows the drawer to glide right out.

Take advantage of skinny spaces with these sleek, aluminum pullouts. These ones are by Hafele, are easy to clean and height adjustable for varying bottle sizes.

Check back for more photos and products that make it easy to eliminate the need for upper cabinets!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The topless kitchen

Kitchens without upper cabinets are not a new trend, but they certainly are a good one. Many designers and homeowners have become attached to the idea that a kitchen without uppers won't afford nearly enough storage, and in the process have overlooked the many clever solutions that can offer a ton of great storage elsewhere in the kitchen. Check out these beautiful de-cabinetized kitchens that that show the many advantages of going "topless".

1. Hello daylight. Foregoing upper cabinets can allow for large windows with spectacular views to the backyard and beyond. So striking!

image via Canadian House & Home

2. Empty wall space provides an opportunity for an artful composition of everyday items, or a display of collections and objects that don't deserve to be hidden behind closed doors.

Canadian House & Home

Amoroso Design

3. The absence of upper cabinets is often synonymous with modern design. However, clean lines and an uncluttered, edited look can lend themselves to both contemporary and traditional settings. The view to the outdoors is breathtaking in the second photo. Check out more photos of this house here.

So what do you think? With all of these gorgeous examples to inspire you, would you go topless?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Everyone Should Know Before Doing a White Kitchen

White is the new white. This is a kitchen scheme that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Which in my eyes is a good thing because it allows us to create kitchen spaces that are classic and timeless--or at least in our 21st-century eyes "timeless". With this in mind, I thought I'd offer a few pieces of advice to keep in mind when pursuing your dream of a white kitchen.

1. Finish is everything.
There are many ways to achieve the color "white", but quality and proper finishing techniques are critical when it comes to creating a white that will stand the test of time. Do your research and make sure you understand the type of finish and the process that will be used in the application of this finish.

2. Choose your white carefully

All whites are not created equally, and what looks great in the showroom or on the paint chip may not be the "right white" in your home. A professional designer should always provide expert advice, as well as adequate color sampling to ensure the white is right for your space. Once your cabinets are in, this is an expensive and difficult thing to change, so its important to get it right the first time!

3. Consider incorporating a secondary color or finish

Maybe you can't get enough when it comes to white (and that's okay), but adding a second finish can add interest, texture, and durability in a white kitchen space. Consider an island that incorporates seating and gets a ton of use--a wood or darker finish color can go a long way in helping to disguise scuff marks and heavy wear. Additionally, the pop of another color/texture may be just what your white kitchen needs to create that final 'wow' factor.

4. Think carefully before adding a glaze/artistic finish

Glazes, hand-brushed, and distressed finishes are a wonderful thing, but only when executed properly, and used appropriately within the space. You don't need to "amp up" the white for the sake of being different. This will look dated much too quickly, so keep it simple and if you like white, embrace it.

5. Layer in texture

Either visual or tactile, to add interest and dimension to an all white color scheme. You can do this in subtle, yet effective ways through the use of backsplash material, countertop surfaces or textiles within the space.

Click here for some additional great color advice (and more beautiful photos) on white kitchens.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Farmhouse Modern?

I love this new "farmhouse modern" look. Even more than that, I love how this look is being interpreted in kitchen design. For all of the years we've spent "cabinetizing" our kitchens, this unfitted look is a breath of fresh air, where there are minimal rules and maximum opportunities for creativity and uniqueness.

For more on this kitchen, belonging to Canadian design icon Lynda Reeves, click here.

Another impressive take on modern-meets-farmhouse design by the folks at Canadian House & Home magazine. For a complete tour of this unique beauty, click here.

This white-on-white-on-white cottage kitchen was featured in House Beautiful. The unfitted furniture style cabinetry isn't for everyone, but I love it, and think it is an appropriate choice for a home that was built in the 1880's. Read the interview with designer Myra Hoefer (and check out the rest of this fabulous home) here.

This kitchen by Bulthaup brilliantly re-interprets the farmhouse style table as a stainless steel work center. Love the wood floors and ceiling detail as well.

Any thoughts? How would you define Farmhouse Modern?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

'Bout time

After much procrastination, I'm finally sitting down to start my very own blog. I refuse to allow the fear of the unknown get the better of me, and know that now is a great time to get to steppin' and enter the wonderful world of blogging. In the time I've spent researching other blogs, I've been overwhelmed with the sense of community that comes from belonging to this network of people. I'm so excited to enter that community, and learn more than I ever thought I could from bloggers, other professionals in my industry, and most importantly, from myself.
I'm a kitchen and bath designer, and I love what I do. Specializing in this field of design has given me the opportunity to get exposure to so many aspects of the design/construction/renovation process, and I'm so grateful to those who have taught me along the way. The more "into" this career I get, the more I realize how far we've come in the way we do life, and how we have the ability--now more than ever before--to truly customize our experience as it relates to the spaces we live in. Below is the White House kitchen circa 1920--note the utilitarian pot rack, work tables and lovely ribbing and rivets on the metal hood. Also note the extensive use of white subway tile.

In the world of kitchen and bath design, form truly follows function. These are the spaces where we are spending the majority of our time in the home, and practically speaking, they need to serve a large variety of functions in order to sustain the home's inhabitants. Fortunately for designers and homeowners however, the gap that has existed between form and function continues to dramatically decrease, and we now have the luxury of a space that not only functions with maximum efficiency, but speaks out as a beautiful feature within the home. This kitchen, by Mick De Giulio re-imagines traditional elements and translates them into modern-day luxury. Note the lighted pot rack, mirrored leaded glass, and expansive sliding marble backsplash--just a few of the custom details that make this a gorgeous kitchen.