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KITCHEN design


Clever Kitchen Organizers at Ikea

ikea kitchen built for a family

The kitchen is the hub of the house. For that reason, it must be a place where it feels comfortable for the cooks and the rest of the family. More and more kitchens integrate areas for kids to do their homework and play.

The two most common area of frustrations in a kitchen are storage and the sink area. The good news is that clever and affordable organizers for your kitchen cabinets are now easily accessible. Current kitchen design rules put an emphasis on drawers fitted with several types of organizers. I still think that nothing beats a walking pantry but it is not always possible to integrate a big pantry.

rationell kitchen storage system at ikea

Dividers, trays, plate holders, boxes and containers mean that everything is at reach in your drawers. You move the containers on the counter while you are cooking and replace them inside the drawers once you are done. Wooden boxes are practical for potatoes, onions, and dry foods. Basically, we bring the best ideas from a restaurant kitchen to our home.

For me, the carrousel, which is a modern version of the lazy susan, is a must for a corner unit. I like it because everything is at reach. It is more appropriate for big objects, like pots and pans.

Waste Sorting System

With recycling and composting, we need to plan for a waste sorting system. We want bins that are easy to reach but out of sight. Plan a shelf for your compost container as most are not stylish.

Sink Organizers

ikea boholmen sink organizers

From cutting boards to cover plate and rinsing baskets, the sink accessories aim to make our life simpler. I never succumb and buy any. Do you use them?

Gathering the plates, glasses and cutlery after the meal in a tub reduces the number of trips between the table and the sink. Ideally, the bowl should be on a wheeled cart. Something like the BOHELMEN washing-up bowl would be perfect, assuming that is strong enough.

Two sinks is a must but if you live in an apartment, you may not be that lucky. The rinsing tub is intended to help you wash the dishes if you only have one sink. It seems like a good concept. The Dish Drainer, if it fits into your sink, will eliminate the need to wipe water from your counter.

I do not know if it is only wishful thinking but I imagine that if I had a kitchen where everything is neatly stored and is easy to reach, I would find no excuses to avoid cooking at the end of a long day. But one thing is sure, I would feel more relax cooking.

+ BOHOLMEN Rinsing Tub $14.99 CAD
+ BOHOLMEN Dish Drainer $6.99
+ Rationell dividers for drawers $20 for 6
+ Rationell Corner base cabinet carousel $120
+ Rationell waste-sorting system $8.99 to $56.94


Modern Rustic Kitchen that Feels More Modern

The wildness of the oak wood kitchen on the cover page of Elle Decoration UK edition caught my eye. I envy anyone who has a kitchen with floor to ceiling cupboards. It looks neat but more importantly for me, it reduces the amount of spring cleaning. Plus, using more vertical space for storage keeps the floor plan airy.

This new kitchen opposes organic and urban through the materials and its design. The metal stools and white tableware help in making the room feels more modern. It fits the beach mood sought by the owner, the interior designer Boyd Ferguson. One superb detail to steal is how Boyd varied the board widths. I like the simplicity and warmth of his kitchen. The wood wall effect shares design elements often seen in the modern Scandinavian cottages. Therefore, the overall effect feels comfortable and natural.

If you are interested to know more about the design philosophy of Boyd Ferguson, read his profile interview on Cape etc.

Elle Decoration UK

I typically prefer the houses presented in the UK edition than the US edition. You know by now that I am partial to European design. Sadly for you, Elle Decoration UK does not have a Web site. Check out for the October 2009 edition at your nearest news stand. I bought my copy yesterday in Montreal. Depending on where you live, you may still be able to grab a copy.


Three kitchens I spotted at IKEA

gorgeous ceramic from ceragres at ikea

I went to IKEA Friday night. I took pictures of 3 inspiring pictures. The cheapest price of an IKEA kitchen means that you can indulge in a remarkable ceramic wall and countertop surface.

ikea long kitchen island

This is the perfect island if you like to entertain. I wish I got the space for it.

expandable BJURSTA dining table

The best of the crop goes to this long kitchen. If you have the space, the expandable BJURSTA dining table, which opens up to 260 cm (102 inches) costs only $299 CAD. This leaves you more room on your budget to buy the chairs.

red kitchen with wallpaper wall

If you are looking for island, models like this red and white costs between $450 to $600 CAD at IKEA. Although I am not too keen on shiny kitchen cabinets I enjoy the overall kitchen layout. AKURUM is IKEA kitchen cabinet series. I especially like the pattern wall. Put an acrylic clear panel in front of the wallpaper for easy cleaning.


Social Kitchen Design for my Friday’s Quick Links 2009.03.06

The best trend that happen in kitchen design has to be the social kitchen. By social kitchen, we mean a kitchen space that acts as the hub of a house. You aim for bring the outside in and vice versa.

social kitchen designed by fuse interiors in Ireland

+ The excellent kitchen designer Susan Serra of The Kitchen Designer shares her top social kitchen design tips on Twitter. Go for a large kitchen door access for outdoor socializing. The glass wall with the sliding doors is the ultimate but classy French doors work as well. I love what the Dublin-based design studio Fuse Interiors did.


+ You have a narrow long space. Do not worry; it is possible to bring several elements of the social kitchen in a long narrow kitchen. Look at how Colin & Justin did it in one episode of Colin and Justin’s Home Heist. Here a butcher’s block doubles as an entertaining bar or buffet station. The lounge area at the back allows the cook to be with her guests without the kitchen feeling crowded.

+ I love the look of a fridge hiding in a flat wall unit. But for practicality reasons, you need a 12-inch wide flat surface on the opening side of the door so you can deposit things when you get food in and out of the fridge. One solution is to integrate a sturdy pull out tablet on either side of the fridge. For more kitchen design tips, check out what Marissa Ponikowski wrote for about the Top Ten Kitchen Layout Mistakes.

+ Top Images from Fuse Interiors
+ Colin and Justin’ Home Heist TV show
+ Via The Kitchen Designer


How to Create a Unique Look with an IKEA Kitchen

ikea kitchen makeover winner:: march 2009 of canadian house & home

The best way to reduce the cost of a kitchen renovation is to go with store-bought cabinets. The IKEA kitchens are getting better and better every year. They are cheaper than custom build cabinets.

ikea kitchen at ids 09

At IDS 09, IKEA showcased a style I affectionate: the full wall cabinets. I like this kitchen design because it delivers the sleek modern without sacrificing on storage.

mixing kitchen series

A wonderful trick is to mix kitchen series. Here, they combines IKEA’s Nexus oak-veneer with the glossy white Abstrakt cabinets. Through the layout and the selection of materials for the backsplash and countertops, you can provide a look that seems custom-made.

organizing your kitchen with clever storage and mud room

The March 2009 of Canadian House & Home is about sleek organizing your house. One area where families need organization is certainly the kitchen. This year winner of the Kitchen Makeover contest can testify about it. They won an IKEA kitchen coupled with the expertise of senior design editor Erin Feasby.

alterning matte and glossy tiles for a backsplash

One design element that is worth stealing is the backsplash. They alternate matte and glossy glass tiles to create a sophisticated texture.

+ Images from March 2009 issue of Canadian House & Home were photographed by Mark Burstyn


Dishwasher Buying Guide

miele dishwasher and my buying guide

At last, we bought a new dishwasher to replace our old one that broke two days after my husband’s big birthday bash. At least all the mess from his party was cleaned.

Although I dreamed of a Miele’s dishwasher for a long time, we looked at other brands to compare. I analyzed the features carefully and made a list of what I consider important. I then check which models have the features I need and the ones I wish for.

Miele Dishwasher Sale

I am glad we didn’t have the time to place the order earlier because Miele Canada has a sale right now. The first ever Miele dishwasher sale runs until December 31, 2008. You can save 15 to 25% on any dishwasher. We used the rebate to indulge and got a superior model.

Fit Your Lifestyle

Before you buy any new appliances, take a moment to explore your lifestyle and how you like to use an appliance. All my entertaining tableware (dinnerware, glassware and flatware) is dishwasher safe. Easy entertaining means that you simplify your life from start to finish. For me, putting everything on the dishwasher improves my quality of life.

My Must Have Dishwasher Features

  1. A Delay Start
  2. Cleans better than average
  3. Run quietly
  4. Some type of barrier to make sure the broken porcelain and glass pieces cannot enter the mechanical parts. This is how my old dishwasher broke down for the second time.
  5. Excellent basket configuration tailored to my dinnerware. My everyday dining plates are big and square. I bring it with me to try it. The basket configuration is a matter of personal choice, so make sure to have a look at it. I put all my pans and pots in the dishwasher. It was also important that I can easily fit my big pots.
  6. My wine glasses are taller and they never fit inside my old dishwasher. I made sure they fit inside the new one.
  7. Be energy efficient and low-water consumption
  8. Good and long warranty

My Nice To Have Dishwasher Features

  1. The utensil drawer exposes all surfaces of the utensils. Moreover, I own a modern, organic stainless steel utensil set for entertaining that I rarely used because the handles are so thin that it does not stay inside regular utensil trays. I did not try but I hope this will solve the problem.
  2. Easy to operate
  3. Fits more place settings: useful when I entertain

The scheduled date of arrival is tomorrow. After more than a month without a dishwasher, I am very excited since I will be the proud owner of the dishwasher of my dreams.

By the way, the Canadian Web site of Miele looks like a 1998 Web site. The photos are not at pair with a high end brand. I went to the Australian Miele Web site to find inspiring pictures for my post.


In Love with Orla Kiely’s furniture at Heals

Even if the mid 20th Century furniture design trend is showing fatigue I still still fond of the look. I guess it is an unconditional love. I love that style since I was seven. And my passion is nourished by the fact that the style does not fit my current house. In fact, I never live with the style.

orla kiely dining room furniture a theal's

Launched in the 1990’s, the world of Orly Kiely is one where color, pattern, graphics, texture and rhythm continually reinvent themselves. London-based Orla Kiely continues to be popular amongst the women blogosphere.

Over the years, she has teamed with many brands to produce products with her unique designs. Orla Kiely for Heal’s is an exclusive and distinctive range of furniture. The line reflects both the designer’s work and Heal’s core values. The dining room furniture is crafted out of solid American black walnut.

Everything on that picture, including the doormat, are exclusive to the UK retailer Heal’s. Coincidence: This dining room furniture line is a favorite of Living etc, my all-time favorite magazine.

+ Orla Kiely Rowan Dining table – £1295
+ Orla Kiely Rowan Dining Chair Multi Stem – £250
+ Orla Kiely Rowan Cupboard – £1395
+ Orla Kiely Flower Abacus Doormat Brown – £30


Open Plan Living Design

living etc elegant through room

This is one of the most popular home design trend, especially for family with young kids. And it is normal since it allows the cook(s) to be with everyone. I gathered on Living etc. successful open plan living rooms.

Living etc. is a great source of inspirations. And they acknowledged it by providing their online users to browse through their vast photo galleries.

A split level by a few steps adds elegance and interest to the open living design (top picture). This is the best view. And when you sit down in the living room for the digestive, your guests can sit down and not see the kitchen mess. I like it because they would not insist on doing the dishes.

open kitchen dining room living

There are many more ways to diminish the cluttered view of the kitchen when you have guests over. Here, homeowners used fringe walls and sliding doors.

Do not forget the classic large opening between two rooms that is so typical in old Victorian style houses. By removing the historic doors, you create a open sense of intimacy.

If you prefer a more casual look, check out the Family kitchen-diner and Laid-back living on Living etc.

PHOTO CREDITS – images by Living etc:
+ Elegant through-room
+ Fringe divider
+ Contemporary kitchen-diner
+ Sliding glass panels
+ Dramatic setting


Food Photographic Prints

jennifer squires art food photos - rights reserved

Every room needs some type of art pieces. Hanging framed photos of food or kitchen tools is a simple way to decorate your kitchen.

Canadian photographer Jennifer Squires, an Etsy seller, contacted me by email this morning. She introduced me to her beautiful photos of Greece. Maybe it is because it is lunchtime, but her sandwich shot caught my attention. I like the way she captured these close-up views of everyday food. Her photos invite you to cook.

Most of her fine art photographs can be produced as large as 24×30 inches or as small as 4×6 inches.

+ Food photos by Jennifer Squires – $6 to $35 USD on etsy – rights reserved


More IKEA Kitchens in Animation

ikea kitchens and tableware

Take a few minutes to relax. Have a look at the funny situations depicted in the animated movies done by IKEA.

The video showcased 5 different lifestyles and tastes. You explore ideas from the Greek alfresco family lifestyle to the urban singles, the suburban families, and the gay couples up to green conscious people. Although, I do not know what is eco-friendly about IKEA kitchens, besides the flat pack?

Tableware for Entertaining

Between each kitchen, you discover a few kitchenware and tableware items. If you are looking for Champagne flutes, you can choose between the SKIR mouth-blown flute with engraving or the very affordable SVALKA champagne flutes.

The SYNTES SKISS dinner plates are gorgeous. The series comes in 4 bowl sizes and 3 plate sizes.

You control the interface easily. You can go forward and backward at will and stop whenever you want. Try it, it is fun!

+ More IKEA Kitchens Video
+ SKIR Champagne flutes – $10.99 CAD for a 2 pack
+ SVALKA Champagne flutes – $6.99 CAD for a 6 pack
+ DINERA bowl in  lime green – $2 CAD
+ VICKNING white oven dish – $6.99 CAD
+ SYNTES SKISS dinner plate – $6 CAD
+ SYNTES KONST Deep plate – $4 CAD
+ ANRIK coffee/tea maker – $39.99 CAD
+ MOTTO bowl in beige – $0.75 CAD


Flashback: La Cucina Alessi

la cucina Alessi kitchen systems

In 2006, Alessi entered the kitchen furniture market by launching its first kitchen system in collaboration with kitchen maker Valcucine.

The Kitchen Line

La Cucina Alessi is split into four lines: Sinuosa, Agreste, Geometrica and Transparente. I am particularly found of the curved kitchen island of Sinuosa. With a curved island, everything is easily at reach.

Designers Alessandro Mendini and Gabriele Centazzo integrate lazy susans to neatly store glassware, spices and utensils.

The bottom images show the Agreste series and the Geometrica kitchen line. Agreste’s main storage units come with sliding doors made of ebonized wood with leaf inlays.

Collaborative Work

Four brands collaborated in making La Cucina Alessi a reality. Alessi trusted Italian companies Foster and Valcucine and the Finnish company Oras for this project. It is common in Europe to sell the entire package with sinks and rangetops.

The cooking appliances are Alessandro Mendini’s sinks, cooker hobs (stoves) and hood by Foster. The sinks can be made from stainless steel or a man-made resin and minerals material called Ekotek.

Although Geometrica and Transparente did not age well from a visual point of view, I still enjoy the look of both Sinuosa and Agreste.

+ Via Trendir and Czech design