Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just One Kitchen... A Learning Experience

We can learn so much from dissecting rooms & spaces. It's one of the things that I love most about blogging: when you have to verbalize something, you end up forming opinions & making insights you may not have if you hadn't tried to explain it writing to others. I thought I'd share a photo of one of my favorite kitchens from Southern Accents. The owners designed the entire kitchen around the 18oos 17 foot L-shaped oak table from France. Now I know most of us don't have the space or luxury of designing a kitchen around a 17 foot antique table, but we can dream, can't we? (And learn from it!!)

What I'm loving in this space is:

1) The juxtaposition of old & new (antique table vs. modern cabinets) (farmhouse sinks vs. contemporary range hood)...

2) The windows!!!! -- Although they look like steel, they're actually custom wooden windows painted to look like steels. (Steel windows are SO on my list for my house one day!) How amazing would it be to have a wall of windows instead of upper cabinets?!! (Unfortunately I don't think we'd ever have the storage space for this, and quite frankly, we'd be staring out at our neighbor's house anyway.)

3) The mix of materials: travertine, marble, stainless steel, iron, and wood aged to perfection... People always ask about mixing metals and I say "go for it" (as long as you do it thoughtfully.) This kitchen is the perfect example of how it can make a space really special. It makes a home feal more "real"/ less model home/ cataloggy.

4) Old World light fixtures: They fooled us again! These chandeliers look antique but were actually custom made by a blacksmith! (eeeek on the wallet!) Light fixtures are key to making a space amazing. I especially love vintage & antique fixtures because they add so much character & age to a new kitchen like this one.

5) And finally, what amazes me most about this room is how light & airy it feels, yet cozy at the same time. I think that's a feat in and of itself. I'm DESPERATELY trying to achieve this in my own home because I really do just want both!

I think the important thing in looking at rooms we love that we want to emulate, is that we figure out how to make it work for our personal application. This kitchen above is massive... Not very normal. But how can we apply the principles used in creating this beautiful space to our own homes? Pretty easily. Just break down each element.

I know most of you are as design-obessed as I am (and probably do this already in your own blogs & at home) but I also know some of you are looking for some tips & tricks to get your home just right.

Lots of times we love rooms because of the overall feeling or atmosphere so it really helps to break them down. If you have photos of rooms you love, just figure out what you love about each space and write it down. 1-2-3, a-b-c. And then the most important part is to apply it to your space. Figure out how you can achieve each element in your own space. (maybe on a smaller scale or with different materials, get creative so you're not copying and it's personal to you, etc.) Write down an example next to each element. It really helps!!