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KITCHEN design


Modern Take on an Old Barn Kitchen

converted barn in France on living etc august 2008 :: photographed by bob smith

This open-plan kitchen and dining room look amazing. It takes guts to design a black kitchen. It takes finesse to make it works.

Fashion designer turned interior designer Charmaine created a space that is airy and sophisticated in a house she shared with her husband and young daughter.

The Key Design Elements

Charmaine played with contrasts to add drama. The black cabinets and worktops act as the little black dress. The kitchen does not seem dark because it sits on a vast, light stone walls space. The high-gloss cabinets reflect the light while the waxed-concrete surfaces add textures.

The breakfast bar feels welcoming; it must be the hub of any dinner party. This kitchen proves that hard surfaces can produce a warm and modern rustic atmosphere, when used cleverly.

Congratulations to Charmaine and Paul on their beautiful renovation. If you wish to know more, Living etc. provides plenty of details on this barn conversion in the South of France. Do not be shy to adapt her great ideas.

+ Photographed by Bob Smith for the August 2008 issue of Living etc, pages 88-95 – rights reserved pictures


Living with Red Kitchen Cabinets

abstrakt high-gloss red kitchen cabinets at ikea

A bold red is not the typically color people would choose when they selecting their doors. But look at how great these two kitchen look.

A bold red like that used to be restricted to high-end Italian and German kitchens. Ikea made the high-gloss red kitchen accessible.

People often ignore vibrant colors when it comes to big items because they are afraid to get bored with a few years. In reality, whatever the color, you will get bored at some point. Playing safe has its merits but it can also lacks personality.

My Own Experience Living with Red

We renovated our current home in 1995. Our house was built around 1860.

I believe that there must be a connection between the interior and the exterior of a building. Since I leaned towards a modern look, we opted for shaker-style door in natural maple. But I added a twist. I alternated the color of the inside panels between the natural maple and bright red panel tint. I selected a sort of crimson red almost fire engine red. Some days, I regret not having more red panels.

I have seen elegant rooms with a fuchsia painted wall. The color alone does not determine if a room is stylish or not. It is the ensemble that produces the overall effects. You can also tone down a stronger color with the other surfaces of a room if you have a change of heart. If you renovate your home this summer, do not be afraid to be adventurous if you feel like it.

Introducing Abstrakt Kitchen Collection at Ikea

The low cost of an Akurum/Abstrakt kitchen at Ikea greatly reduces the risk. As the new advertising illustrates, a high-gloss bright red kitchen can look very stylish if you put sophisticated wall tiles, install a real stone or a man-made solid surface countertop, lay down dark flooring and hang cool light fixtures.

The bottom picture has a fun vibe. Both layouts are great for entertaining. I prefer the kitchen on the top. It represents a trendier style. While we’re on the subject, I will publish early next week a post about the social kitchen from a guest blogger, the certified kitchen designer Susan Serra. I read it; you will not want to miss it. Stay tuned for Susan’s excellent advices.

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Abstrakt kitchen cabinet doors at Ikea – starting at $45 CAD
Buy online Akurum/Abstrakt High-Gloss Kitchen at Ikea – starting at $2980 CAD for a 10′ x 10′ kitchen


Kitchen Design That Fits Your Lifestyle

Poggenpohl kitchens :: design tips for a kitchen that fits your lifestyle

Poggenpohl :: design a kitchen that fits your lifestyle

I visited the Poggenpohl showroom in Boston this winter. For a modernist like me, seeing the MODERN PURISM collection was a real treat. I would like someday to own one of those kitchens.

Design for the Way You Live

Poggenpohl makes amazing storage system. Everything has its place with cute containers and spacers. I was going to talk about their cool storage system for the kitchen. As I assembled my montage, a trend emerged. Therefore, I will talk about kitchen layouts.

If you planning a new kitchen, the first thing you should consider is how you like to live and entertain. By answering these questions, you will make the space fits your lifestyle. Then, you can start to look at finishes and nifty storage gadgets.

I must stress out that you must design for the way you live, not the way you dream of living. So be true to who you and your family are.

Avoid the Good Look, Bad Layout Syndrome

My husband and I visited a condominium showroom last week-end. Very European, modern architecture but one thing strikes me on the larger unit: the lack of counter spaces. The architect designed a cool kitchen but honestly, I would feel cramped in it.

The 15 feet island was broken down by the stove and then the sink. The fridge and a pantry sit tall at each end. Where is my work triangle? At the end, I never had more than 2 to 3 feet of continuous counter. I imagine myself entertaining. The island would be impractical for a buffet table. It looks great but I do not think I will enjoy cooking in this kitchen.

My advice is to go beyond the look and first examine the design layout. Look can always be altered. But layout flaws are pricey to correct.

How to Plan for Great Design?

Examine these kitchens from Poggenpohl. Each one fits a story. The red kitchen is designed for a family that cooks together or for people who hire staff at parties. That kitchen spreads over 3 rows instead of 2; something we do not see often. If you have a big enough space, it is probably great because you will not bump with each others.

I enjoy a layout like you see on the bottom pictures. Style wise they look great. One or two persons can easily cook in it and I got a long space for a buffet station.  Having a preparation area where my friends can sit while I am cooking is high on my list.

My Top 5 kitchen design tips

  1. Consider the flow of movements, the entrances and how the appliances open. Aim for more than the minimal clearance.
  2. Collect lots of pictures of kitchen you like, analyze them and write down what you like about each one. Share this information with your kitchen designer.
  3. Make a list of your priorities. Go back to the list when you need to make tough decisions.
  4. Be flexible. Designing a kitchen is tricky. The shape of your dream kitchen may not fit into your space. If you say what features are important to you and how you plan to use your kitchen, your talented kitchen designer will find a solution that satisfies your needs.
  5. Make an inventory of your cookware, dinnerware, glassware and small appliances. Consider how often do you do grocery? Do you buy really need to buy in bulk? You need enough storage.

As for the nifty kitchen storage systems, do not worry. I will talk about them later.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Poggenpohl


My Top 3 inspirations from May 2008 Canadian House and Home Magazine

ciot marble :: through sink :: elte round dining table :: modern kitchen on Canadian House & Home  May 2008

The May 2008 of Canadian House & Home is the Green Issue. It is full of eco-friendly advices and products. What caught my eyes are 3 entertaining details.

Trough sink

The first one is an advertising picture by Ciot. The marble slat is gorgeous. It looks so modern.

I wish I have the space to install a through sink. Typically, you integrate the through sink in your preparation area. When you entertain friends, you use this long and narrow sink to chill bottles of wines, champagnes and beers. Check out the model by Kohler. This trough sink exterior dimensions are 60″ x 8-1/4″ with a basin depth of 5-15/16″.

Round Dining Table

The elegance of the classical round table is irrefutable. A round table of the right size promotes group conversation.

This upscale Elte dining table is a reproduction of the Georgian style. The table has a rosewood cross banding around blistered mahogany veneer over an insert base. The Plain saber legs with brass casters make it easy to move around when you serving a standing buffet party.

One special detail about this table is that the leaves attached to the outer edges to preserve the true circle shape when extended. All these special elements explain the high price tag.

Kitchen Design

I love the style of this kitchen. What special about it is the integration of bar elements. This kitchen was designed to not look as a kitchen but more like the eating bar of a restaurant. Yet, the kitchen works well when cooking. This is a wise decision if you want your kitchen to be a part of your living room.

A 16 feet island seems marvelous. Since my kitchen space is about 10 x 11 feet, it is out of the question for the moment. At least, I got the part where my guests can sit and chat with me while I am cooking.

A Digital Issue

In case you do not know, you can subscribe to a digital issue. I receive both the digital and the print versions. At my renewal, I am thinking of renewing the digital version only. It works very well and I can always access the digital version before the print version. The digital version costs $24.95 for 12 issues. A bargain for US and International subscribers.

Learn more: Kohler Through Sink K-3157 price: $1222.70 USD and up
Learn more: Dining Table by Elte – price: $7345
Photo credit of the dining room: Ted Yarwood – Canadian H&H May 2008 page 74
Photo credit of the kitchen: Martin Tesler – Canadian H&H May 2008 page 164


Picks of the Week on the blogosphere | 08.03.24 issue

clarissa hulse lamp shades : elita platinum vent hood : cat plate set by shinzi katoh : orla kiely dress  This week is all about the drum shape and fashionable fun patterns.

My 4 picks of the week

Purple Area for Clarissa Hulse

The Urban Jungle range enlivens a classic ivory and black with punches of neon pink, aqua and sweet pea. Clarissa Hulse emulated the urban landscape by the bright lights of city life.

One of the most distinctive textile designers in the UK, Clarissa Hulse is designer of luxury housewares specializing in wallpaper, cushions, throws and lamp shades. Fabrics by the meter are also available.

GlamNest for Getting’ Steamy in Here! The Hottest Vent Hoods Ever

Like a movie star, the shining, glossy steel of Platinum does not go unnoticed. I am especially fond of the models that like a lamp shape. Look at Grace, Platinum, Twin, Star and Wave for the hottest island vent hoods on the market.

The high-end appliances produced by the Italian brand Elica are both stylish and technologically advanced. If you live in North America, you will be sad to know that these most daring and fashionable vent hoods are neither available in Canada or the United States for the moment.

Decor8 for Arthur’s Circus

The vintage look is all the range for many. The Japanese tableware for kids does not escape this trend. If this is your taste, check out the inventory from Arthur’s Circus. This small online retailer from Australia specializes in old-fashioned toys and vintage style housewares.

Arthur’s Circus carries this cute Cat plate set by Shinzi Katoh. There is also A Rabbit Plate set online. Both are so cute.

Oh Joy for happy friday + new orla!

I adore this 60′ style dress from the Orla Kiely Spring/Summer 2008 collection. Orla Kiely described the SS08 in Collection in these terms:

The silhouette of theis modern, simple and sophisticated with a boyish charm, cute dresses, knee-length shorts and mini summer trenches.

Buy online: Wingnut & Helix large tapered drum lampshade at Clarissa Hulse – price: £195
Learn more: Hottest Island Vent Hoods by Elica
Buy online: Cat Plate Set by Shinzi Katoh – price: $35 USD
Learn more: Orla Kiely Multi Rhododendron Dress – price: £252
Buy online: Front Bow Floral Print Dresses by Orla Kiely – price: $342 USD


Fit your kitchen to your entertaining style

bulthaup kitchen and dining room layout :: seating and table communications series by bulthaup

How do you do it? Simple, you start with the layout. Before you think about finishes and esthetic framework, it is best to have a clear answer to How you like to cook and entertain within your kitchen?

Even if the shape of the room is a key factor, the layout of your kitchen must first be tailored to suit your lifestyle. After a few months, the love affair with your kitchen will flourish only if you enjoy cooking meals in it.

Meeting with your kitchen designer

By far, casual entertaining is the most popular form of dining party. But easy entertaining means different things to people. So make sure you portray well the way you like to entertain when you meet your kitchen designer.

When you are renovating or designing a house, you need to be prepared to be flexible. Your space may be able to accommodate only your second best kitchen layout. If you express well your priorities, an excellent kitchen designer will be able to create a kitchen that meets your wish list.

Casual entertaining kitchen design

Do you prefer to prepare the meals with 1 or 2 cooks yet you want to have your friends around? Do you want to have a separate kitchen and dining room?

If you like to throw parties like Make your own pizza night!, your kitchen needs to accommodate lots of people all at once. These are the types of questions that you must discuss before starting the project.

system b3 kitchen by bulthaupDo not worry about the mess unless you entertain small groups, 4 to 6 guests. After that, the mess may get out of control during the night. Remember that casual entertaining is about having a good time with friends, so no one will make a fuss of the mess if they are having fun. Plus, when you host a dinner party for a large group , chances are that one person in a group will offer to do the dishes while your serving the meal.

A quick look at bulthaup

With bulthaup, beauty radiates from functionality. This German manufacturer displays on its Web site attractive spaces for casual dining. These are the types of kitchen I dream of. But unless I move, this layout is impossible in my house. So I got the second best option and I am happily living after with my kitchen layout.

bulthaup is also about dining room. Casual dining can look trendy. Whether you prefer c3, korpus or duktus, the product lines in bulthaup’s communication series will enrich your space. The mix and old look is typical of casual entertaining.

+ system b3 kitchen by bulthaup
+ communication seating and table collection by bulthaup


3 blogs and a mood board – 2007.09.15 edition

purple area : design to inspire : The Kitchen Designer

This week’s spotlight is about modernized versions of rustic country charms. Fall is the best time of the year to visit antique shops. My mood board mixed antiques, modern style and a Scandinavian connection.

1 | Purple Area for Oväntade kombinationer

With Oväntade kombinationer, the Swedish blog Purple Area shows us a perfect example of the coexistence of old and new.

The rustic island table steals the stage of this modern kitchen. The white washed old wood floor adds characters. Finally, remark what look like a reclaimed wood butcher block on the left side of the picture. Mix it together with an all stainless steel kitchen and you got the recipe for an impressive kitchen decor.

2 | Design to inspire for Sightseeing with Susan

The kitchen designer and blogger Susan Serra just came back from a trip to Denmark. She took pictures for Design to inspire and a few bloggers while on vacation. Sightseeing with Susan displays the treasures at Fil de Fer, an antique shop in Copenhagen. Most of Fil de Fer’s inventory originated from France.

Old bottles are popular. If you can put your hand on beautiful old bottles, do not hesitate and grab them. Serve water, lemonade, ice tea and even punch in those. Vintage bottles will made a statement when you throw a party.

3 | The Kitchen Designer for Beautiful Kitchen Cabinetry – A Preview!

I was digging for a kitchen done with old craftsmanship qualities but produced today. After all, antiques are great but we do not always find what we need. Antique furniture can be unpractical for our lifestyle. That is why that most of times, people only accessorize with antiques.

The cliché What goes around, comes around certainly holds some truths. I found what I am looking for with Beautiful Kitchen Cabinetry – A Preview!. This post is a sneak preview of a new kitchen collection to be distributed by Susan Serra. I cannot wait to see the whole collection. In the meantime, you can read Susan’s blog, The Kitchen Designer for great advices and inspirations.

The rules of my weekly column: 3 blogs and a mood board

Each Saturday, I selected three blog posts. The challenge for me is that I must create a mood board with pictures that other bloggers have posted in the last 7 days. The mood board must stay true to the scope of my blog.

Learn more: Web site of Fil de Fer in Copenhagen, Denmark


How to cleverly combine food preparation, cooking and dining into a single unit?

Grace Kitchen center by Schulte Design

The German Schulte Design Grace Kitchen pushed the envelope of the traditional kitchen islands. The custom made productions in North America look pale compared to this ingenious creation.

The island apron boasts innovative retracting electrical receptacles and five invisible drawers one of which is to house cooking knifes.

The hidden cable management system, the flat cooking surface and a cantilever surface are my favorite features of Grace Kitchen. Schulte Design offers it in five Tutti Frutti woods: olive, apple, plum, walnut and wild cherry.

One way to live large in a small space

Grace Kitchen fits well into the smaller condo units surfacing all over Metropolitan cities. The eating space does more than acting as a breakfast bar. Bring a couple of benches or day beds to get additional seated plates at a dinner party. If you live in a small space, a design like that enables you to set up a dining room without trimming down the living room.

combining food preparation and stylish dining experience

In North America, custom-built kitchens will continue to rule the market. Since most of you will not be ready to buy Grace Kitchen, ask your kitchen designer to integrate the best features in your own kitchen island.

About Schulte Design

Franz-Josef Schulte heads the company today in its fourth generation. Grace Kitchen is one of many amazing creations of Schulte Design. Take a look at the dining table collection. Their tables beautifully house inside the extensions.

Learn more: Grace Kitchen at Schulte Design
Catalogue: Dining tables at Schulte Design
Via: dual purpose kitchen table by schulte published on roadside scholar


My Top 5 tips on how to build a kitchen made for entertaining

Boform kitchen :: open kitchen concept

While I was eating out yesterday, my friend S. and I talked about how our kitchen layout influence the way we entertain at home. She suggested that I should write a piece on my best design tips for an entertaining-friendly kitchens. Here is my top 5 list.

Good ventilation in the kitchen

Open kitchens are great because they allow you to enjoy the party while you are prepping the food and cooking. But it is a nicer experience for your guests if you have and use an excellent aeration system.

I say use because I know people with huge restaurant hoods in their kitchens that do not use it because they are too loud. Honestly, a restaurant hood is often too powerful for the average house kitchen. Hoods are a status symbol that seduced many men. I recommend an efficient less noisy hood model and to always put it on when you are cooking. Whenever you can, open the windows to keep the air fresh.

Work triangle and several prep areas

If you like getting help from your friends while you are cooking, design the work triangle to account for it. You do not want to always bump to each others. Make sure to get more than one preparation station and ideally, a second water station with a small sink.

Work triangle and several prep areas by Boform

Scullery room

I am glad that scullery rooms are making a comeback. They are so practical. A scullery is a must for people that entertain often lots of guests for dinner or cocktail parties. Instead of one large kitchen, I suggest you split it in two to make place to build a scullery room. By adding this extra room, you will be able to maintain all the times a streamlined and uncluttered main kitchen space.

Use the scullery room to hide your bulk of food platters when you are hosting a cocktail dinner. If you hire some service staff for your party, they can work from the scullery. Make sure to include a place to wash the dishes. The best thing about a scullery is that it hides the mess and the noise.

Service pantry

The next best after a scullery is a serving pantry. Put you wine cellar in the serving pantry instead of under the kitchen cabinet. It will be better placed. Use the serving pantry to store all your entertaining gears – dinnerware, serving ware, glassware, cutlery and linens. If your guests are giving you a hand, the serving pantry simplify the instructions. You save time and energy.

You do not need a separate room for having a serving pantry. That is what makes it different from the modern day scullery room. Depending on the configuration of your house, custom made build-in floor to ceiling closed cabinets are great for that purpose. The idea is to concentrate the storage of your entertaining equipment in a single place.

Entertaining-friendly kitchen idea :: Boform kitchen line

The ultimate bar station

Ideally, the bar station should be outside your kitchen but close by your kitchen. Otherwise, the next best thing is to set it is outside of your work triangle (fridge, sink and stove). You can have a custom made wall unit with a preparation surface and a bar sink. Undercounter refrigeration units have come a long way. The beverage center neatly stores your soda pops, water bottles, juices, beers and coolers. Beverage centers are also popular in the media room.

An automatic ice maker is a must. If you often entertain large groups all day long, take a look at a stand-alone ice maker machine that can produce up to 30 pounds of ice a day. High end appliance manufacturers produce very functional undercounter refrigeration units in all design styles. So you will find one to match your taste.

The beauty side of my story is these kitchens from the Danish-based manufacturer Boform. I like their style a lot.

For more ideas before building or renovating your kitchen, I suggest you visit a blog dedicated to kitchen design. The blog of Susan Serra, a Certified Kitchen Designer, is full of practical tips and design ideas. She has a section on Scandinavian kitchens, one of my favorite stuff on The Kitchen Designer blog.

Picture credits: Web site of Boform
Link: Scandinavian Kitchens and Independence Day! Published on The Kitchen Designer blog