Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Part I: Design Inspiration in the Kitchen

I'm thinking about my kitchen today. I'm not really sure what I want to do with it, but my sweet little kitchen needs a makeover.

I have been browsing Google Images this afternoon scoping out some truly great kitchens (and getting distracted with dining rooms and living rooms, too. However, since all 3 of those spaces are connected in my house, I feel like they sort of 'go together'). Here is a list of some of the primary ideas I have for MY kitchen (think of it as my design journal) along with some of my current favorite photo inspirations.

Kitchen/Living/Dining: My Design Top-10

#1 Green/turquoise cabinets; my current cabinets are sound, but need to be refinished. I would like to do a green-ish stain or a paint/rub off look (I think this is called 'antiquing'?) with some fresh pulls to complete the look.

I like the shade in this first photo especially - subtle and minty (but maybe a bit to 'dusty'? hmmm).

#2 Concrete floors. I currently have a very sad, dated linoleum in the kitchen that was partially ripped up by the previous owner due to a repair so it's missing a large patch which is covered by an even sadder, more dated blue rug. I want all of that gone and to sand and finish the existing concrete floors.

I love the look of this 'natural' gray floor.

#3 Add a cabinet 'end' shelf to the large section of cabinet/countertop that divides the living room from the kitchen. There is a rounded end to the counter that cantilevers over the end of the cabinets and I think a few open shelves there would be nice - I like the idea of showcasing a colorful collection of glasses or plates, or simply shelving a collection of cookbooks (and opening up some pantry space at the same time).

This type of kitchen feels really 'cookie cutter' and cold to me, but the open shelving element is nice.

I really like how the shelving contrasts against the fun, pale-turquoise cabinets. This color is not too far off from what I have in mind for my cabinets (see #1).

#4 Add 2 or 3 short wood or aluminum shelves to replace to some very rickety, last-minute little shelves at the end of the wall cabinets by the fridge. Maybe a few baskets here for storing boxes of tea and cocoa.

These simple, white-painted wood shelves would be perfect - they could be very simply constructed with some pre-made brackets and a 1x8 or 1x10 board cut down to size.

I love this example because of the juxtaposition (!) of the closed cabinets and the open shelves. This proves that you can have a mix of storage 'types' and it looks great - it doesn't all have to be the same.

#5 Get a stainless steel trashcan with pedal - the kind that has the little 'doors' that open so your trash isn't just sitting there in an ugly plastic container for everyone to see (and potentially smell! hah)

Love this cool 'butterfly' version by Simple Human.

#6 Install open wall shelves on the far wall by the dining room, perhaps with an open space below for large, categorized recycle bins. The open shelving above would be great for storing small kitchen appliances, serveware (like clear glass cake pedestals and trifle bowls), or surplus dishes that deserve to be shown off (like some of my vintage pieces or some colorful Fiestaware). Along this wall, I would want to keep some space (below the little arched 'window' that opens into the living room) for a countertop which would be great for a prep 'station' or for setting out food for company.

Colorful pieces like this deserve to be on display! I love the adorable frog reamer on the top shelf. How great is that?

Love the great detailing on the brackets and the tiniest hint of green on the shelves.

Love these 2 simple shelves - what a great, light and bright space. (Also, LOVING the cabinet colors! A marriage of mint green and turquoise blue.)

I love the idea of this sort of 'enclosed' shelving tableau.

A really cool 3-compartment recycler in stainless:

#7 Replace the countertops. I have NO idea what kind of countertops I really want. I am torn between granite and Corian (after a visit with some friends in their new place, Corian is definitely on my short list now - very sleek clean and classy) - something on the darker side like an ashy gray which I think would compliment the cabinet color I want (see item #1). My first priority is price/durability - I don't want to go crazy for something just because it's pretty, but I'm willing to pay for something that will be sturdy and sound for a long time.

A very pretty gray granite:

One of my favorite Corian's called 'Mardi Gras' ... how fun!

#8 In my dining room, I would LOVE to install floor to ceiling open shelving. I think this would be awesome for some of the insane amount of books Kevin and I have accumulated over the years. I think the mix of colors and sizes, old books and new books, make a great (sort of eclectic) design element. Plus, I think it's a cool idea to mix room 'purposes'. I don't just dine in my dining room so why not put books in there to make it something of a library, too? Not only do I eat at my dining table, I read, I make jewelry, I play games ... it's a multi-purpose gathering space so why not embrace that?

I love the idea of using the wall surrounding the walkway from dining room to kitchen as a storage space - really opens up the rooms!

How cool is this? Who said a window couldn't be used as a storage space? ;) What a great way to show off beautiful colored glass pieces, as pictured.

Another sample of the wallshelves that surround a door or walkway. I really like this example because I think this idea would suit our little dining room. What a great way to bring in more storage without adding a bulky credenza or buffet.

LOVE this! Love all the Jadeite against white wall and shelves.

So open and bright! I really like the idea of the dark wood shelving against a light wall. The sort of long brackets extending from the bottom of each shelf adds something a tiny bit industrial to the look. A very warm and modern and academic looking room.

#9 Paint my dining chairs a contrasting color. I think leaving the table as-is is OK for now, though that table is not my favorite. I need to find a nice simple tablecloth for it, too.

The contrasting wall behind the build-ins coordinates with the blue chairs - love this look. It's a little too traditional and 'matchy' for my taste. Love it, but not for my house, ya know? But I like the idea it gives me to paint the wall behind shelves a different color. What a great way for dishes or collectibles to 'pop'.

These warm yellow cane seats are adorable in this country kitchen! Just a nice warm infusion of color, especially married with the great bursts of red all over the space. (And there are those darker-wood shelves again.)

#10 Paint my living room. I want something really vibrant but I have to admit, however much I love color (I truly do! See? Here and here, too!) I am also scared of it. I am scared to paint my living room (or at least an accent wall) a bright grellow or almost-neon/pastel blue (yes, that combination IS possible, if only in my head!). Yes, it can always be covered up or changed in 6 months if I hate it. But I guess I have commitment-phobia when it comes to painting. Which is probably why I have yet to paint a single room in my house after living there for nearly a year. I am currently working on tearing down those pesky mental barriers to progress!

Amazing, focal-point, grellow/chartreause walls. I love how colorful furniture stands out against the bold walls. I have a warm orange club chair in our living room and pale blue velvet grommet-top curtains (both pictured here) that would really contrast well with such a confident wall color.

Also loving this at once subdued and bold blue. It doesn't quite take over the room like grellow, but it gives the room a very open and energetic feeling while being a great 'background' for the rest of the furnishings. I'm not so sure this would work with my curtains, but ... maybe for another room - the piano room!

I really love this blue in particular - verging on a Tiffany's blue and so great for this small space and the saturated light from the window.

So ... that's it for now - my current Top-10 for my living/dining/kitchen space: the heart of the home, right? Now to just slowly and surely chisel away at the to-do list. Honestly, a maority of them are not especially pricy or time-consuming (as they say, painting is the cheapest way to make over a room!) it's just a matter of gathering up the will-power to 'Just Do It'.

If only home decorating was as easy as a quick 'Copy' and 'Paste', my house would be right out of a magazine. ;)

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