The Countdown

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Kitchen: Start with the Heart.

A lot of the posts thus far have been about the body of the house - the skeleton, the guts, the skin, etc.

It's high time we discuss my favorite part. The house's outfit, or interior design.

I should say that this is by far the most overwhelming part of this process to me. Ridiculous I know - who cares about a few throw pillows and a rug? I don't think I have terrible taste, but I also know I have a tendency to get carried away and end up with madness that induces acid flashbacks. I like color, and I'm not shy when I use it. However, I can tell that as I've gotten older {i.e. terminally uncool], my taste has evolved, and I do want something a little more sophisticated, without loosing that sense of humor and boldness that I feel reflects our goofiness as people. I'm no designer, but I want to put together something that we love, that is comfortable and practical, and that we won't be sick of in 5 years. Is that possible?

So funny enough, when I picture the rooms in my head, the easiest rooms to put together are the kitchen and bathrooms. I couldn't even touch the living room and the bedrooms for months, and I'm still slowly trying to put them together. This isn't even REALLY putting together, this is just on-paper-putting-together, in theory with mood boards. I'm a visual person, so I find it easier to put things together when I see them, hence the collage style. Not all of the pieces shown in the photos will necessarily be in the room, but then reflect the feeling/style/color palette I'm going for, so please don't take it literally.

Without further ado, Voila! Le Cuisine!

Design roughly began with the tile selection. My love for tile is well documented. I found a photo from a tile designer online which I loved, copied the photo into a random drive on my computer, and then proceeded to lose the designer and photo online forever. I knew I wanted a colorful subway tile for the kitchen back splash, so I did my best to re-create that photo (now in my head) with custom tile selections. The colors in the mood board above don't reflect the actual colors of the tile very well, that is the problem with colors on the web - nothing is exact, and everything is subject to the individuals screen. Basically, I was going for a chocolate brown, mustard yellow, tangerine, cherry red and salmon pink color. A very autumn color palette, but that is what makes sense to me in a kitchen. After deciding on these colors, I read somewhere that red and yellow induce hunger in people, which makes sense if you're whipping up delightful grub.

After looking at many counter top options, we decided on sile stone for several reasons:

1) It is durable.
2) It is contemporary.
3) It is good quality.
4) It is less expensive than some of the other options we liked (hi recycled glass counter tops, I'm looking at you)
5) It is virtually maintenance free, not needing to be sealed like granite.

We went with solid white, as we figured the counters needed to be simple and clean, in contrast to the colorful crazy back splash.

If you are into appliances, I will have to direct you to Andrew. He was like a kid in a candy shop that day. He kept asking my opinion, and I tried to be thoughtful and appreciate his enthusiasm, but the only genuine question I asked was "how difficult is this item to clean?" There are apparently very real differences between each brand and model, I just can't speak at a level beyond boiling water, so none of it really means much to me. Sad. There were some Miele and Dacor and GE items thrown into the mix, but that's as far as I can really decipher.

The bar area, dining area and kitchen all go together, so they all have to coordinate. To me, the bar back splash had to be a little sexier, a little more masculine, so we went with metallic penny rounds over the white sile stone.

All the cabinetry will be the same throughout the house - a dark stain, flat panel cabinet. I know we picked out hardware, but my memory fails me on what exactly it was at this moment. Something modern but simple I know. The floor is also going to be sand and finish, dark stain wood through the second floor to coordinate.

We are looking at wallpapering one wall in the dining area with a damask print, which apparently is a very polarizing move. We are not stupid enough to hang wallpaper ourselves (again.), but would hire a professional. We like Graham & Brown's lines, but this is still up for debate. The Ochre print above is the front-runner thus far. Thoughts? Have we completely lost it to even consider this?

You will shake your head in dismay, but most of the kitchen was designed (in layout) around a pot rack we got as a wedding gift and the orange Kitchaid appliances we also received as wedding gifts. It all had to work together. What do people typically design their kitchen's around?

The lighting had to be fun, we knew we wouldn't be happy with any of the standard options. We found the Nelson line of pendants on HGTV's Design Happens, and waited until they went on sale at a local shop to buy it. Yes, our current dining room is becoming a storage facility for such items until they are ready to go to their home in our future home. We eat amidst the light bulbs and tile samples. Ahem.

The red pendant was a find on, and we chose 3 of them to hang over the kitchen island/peninsula for additional spot-lighting. They are simple and loud, but we love the retro-look of the Edison light bulb, and the industrial feel of shadeless hanging bulb.

The bar stools we found last week at IKEA, and liked the mid-century clean look, and the comfort factor was there. They even pump up and down to adjust the height. Lilly enjoyed playing on them until we had to drag her away. T

hat's all we've got thus far on the kitchen, but I feel good about where it's going. I realize this will always be a work in progress - that design isn't an immediate destination, it is always evolving, no matter how much I want to just "get there." Knowing me, by the time I get there, "there" will have changed meaning anyways.

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