Monday, August 28, 2017

The Coolest Kitchens

I know I haven't been blogging as much as I used to and one reason is some time I've been trying to devote to a home remodel we have been planning.  The kitchen part is especially stressing and I tend to overthink everything.

I could make it easy and choose all the traditional things -white cabinets, counters...pedant lights, farm house sink, subway backsplash, etc. I love all of those elements! However, after traveling to Europe and also pouring over of kitchen ideas, I have begun to say why not think out of the box? I don't want trendy, but I want something uniquely mine and kinda cool and something that won't look dated.

One thing I have been avoiding is Pinterest and a few other sites.  The same images or look alike images are shared so many zillions of times and things start to look all the same. The homogenization of Pinterest and somewhat of Instagram, has been a pet peeve of mine. They all look the same...Or variations of the same. It gets really monotonous and I think will look very dated in a short time. Houzz has more variations and ideas, but most adhere to a traditional look or a modern one.

The only solution is to forge your own style and look, so where to get ideas? The MLS is one good spot as real estate listings have such a diversity.  I also find European kitchens more inspiring as they seem to appreciate quirkiness, take more chances and don't care for the model home look as we Americans fawn over.

In that spirit I am sharing some of the more unique kitchens I've been loving and I say you only live once...Take chances and dare to be different.

This is one of my favorite kitchens - Sara Ruffin Costello's home in Saint Louis. Photo is from her website which feature her Garden District home is one of my very favorites.

I love the painted brick backsplash, the mix of modern and traditional and the bright feeling.

Another awesome and unique kitchen I love is this Swedish one...

The home of former model and now designer Malin Persson is a great combination of furniture pieces and modern counters, lighting and tiled walls. How gorgeous is her china cabinet? 

The whole post originally appeared here on Habitually Chic.

I also love the idea of painting a kitchen a color like this one by English designer Ben Pentreath. Ben and his blog are ground zero for that quirky English vibe. If only California wasn't so hot, I could have an AGA stove. I just love their old world look.

If you like this, Ben's blog has more of the parsonage he shares with his husband Charlie in Dorset. I love the way he mixes it all and makes it beautiful.

Some other antidotes to the usual... Yes I love white shaker cabinets and white counters, but it's good to see other options right?

This kitchen is the work of the Luigi Fragola design firm in Florence, Italy.

So is this...

I'm crazy about the color of the cabinets and the floor and what wonderful cabinetry.

More of their designs on this post by Desire to Inspire which highlighted their beautiful work.

One thing my designer Debbie says to me is that I would live in glass house if I could and she's right. I crave light and can never get enough. I especially love a garden outside. This kitchen surrounded by a garden is dreamy.

So is this..

  I thought I might be able to model the layout of my kitchen after this one. The bank of windows, lamp on the counter (makes it so cozy) and the glass doors to the pantry or office are all things I would hope to do. However, I may now be moving my kitchen to an entirely different space, so the layout would not be like this.

Elements of Style

I also love this, lots of wood, white and steel and windows.

How about rock for the backsplash? Sorry no original link to this so if someone knows please tell me. Originally found on Pinterest.

I also love a mix of modern design and a fancy chandelier...


Jasper Conran's kitchen has always been a favorite with it's steel counters combined with the traditional.

Another mix of rustic, modern and classic elements by Rose Uniacke.

The beams look traditional and the dark windows are modern. I'd like a black, natural wood or even a blue hued island. Via Elements of Style.

 I'm also partial to the grey blue tones.

If you have to do white, then this mix of tile, painted chandelier and lots of chrome is fun. Both photos above designed by Ilse Crawford.

 Another mix here by Kristin Buckingham.

 This kitchen by Windsor Smith has been seen everywhere, but I still love it!  I believe this is actually a very dark navy paint that is almost black, but with the light of the kitchen, the marble and all her silver it still feels light.

Another color that is just starting to be seen more in kitchens is pink and this tone is almost a neutral.

Apartment Therapy 

Veronica Swanson Beard in her New York kitchen in Bazaar. Not everyone could live with this blue, but why not and the lantern is beautiful. The color is very retro and reminds me of our kitchen growing up, until my mom got into cornflower yellow. 

Remember those days? My mom had our frig painted yellow. it matched all our appliances and then we had some wonderful orange accents via mushroom hot pads and macrame owls. Around 1973 that was the height of hip. My mom dreamed of getting rust shag carpeting to go with it all! 

Searching for these pics I found a nice one of Gloria Vanderbilt in her kitchen around the same era. She was also embracing those tones and the quilted/Holly Hobby look that was getting popular then.

I'm digging her apron too. Oh kitchen trends!

Here I am complaining about trends and choices when I found this gem of Julia Child in her Paris kitchen. I forgot how tall she was! I will not complain about my back hurting when I see what she had to deal with. Apparently it didn't hinder her cooking abilities.


Anyone have advice about kitchen remodeling- what they would do/not do or wish they did?

The world is full of choices! Sometimes it's too much.

Watch this space and I'll share my remodel with you, hopefully something different.



  1. Kim this is so much fun! All of your kitchen pictures are so interesting and I have to say Ben Pentreath's kitchen is hands-down my favourite. I guess it's been two years since I remodelled our kitchen but I still feel the love when I walk in there. I do still obsessively think about kitchens and how I would renovate my next one, I own a stone house that we currently use as an office and I have plans to convert it to a residence in a few years. The kitchen will be unfitted with a large wooden table in the centre, La Cornue stove and furniture pieces rather than built in cabinets, a large sink with a skirted bottom... you get the picture! Oh goshI could talk kitchens all day long.
    There's nothing I would change about my remodel, one thing that worked out well was designing the kitchen around the La Cronue stove in stainless steel and copper. It truly is the highlight/centre of the kitchen and the stove performs beautifully. I love having two ovens and all of the burners.
    Actually I'm not a fan of the kitchen faucet I installed, the look is good but it turns on at a touch so sometimes I accidentally turn it on and have water running on my sleeve or over freshly drained pasta. Very annoying! I think I can have this feature disengaged but I just have to figure out how.
    I cannot wait to see what you do. Thanks for sharing Kim so lovely to read this post this morning. xx

    1. Dani, Isn't Ben's kitchen lovely? I think your remodel was wonderful and look forward to seeing what you would do with the stone house. I love a unfitted kitchen. That sounds like one of my favorites- have you seen the original Amanda Pays kitchen? I love an eat in table surrounded by an open look.

      Dani you have great taste.. Anything you do is beautiful!

      One thing I was wondering about is the automatic faucets. Good to know maybe I can pass on that.

      Hope you're enjoying the last bits of summer Dani! xo

    2. Yes I would definitely pass on the automatic faucets, of course they cost extra too so you'll save some money by not having that feature!
      I wrote a post on my new blog about my next kitchen design in the stone house. It's a few years away but the planning is the best part as I'm sure you'll agree!

  2. I love these kitchens and I'm totally with you craving some individuality in your choices. My advice is to always keep function in mind and let that drive your choices. In my last kitchen I so wanted to have a bank of matching deep drawers run the length of the kitchen (obsessed over the lines going the whole way across) but it would prevent me from having the functionality of some of the pullout cabinets that made the kitchen so much better. I got over it and let the form follow the function. Never noticed the lack of unified lines in the end.

    1. Oops, this is Gail, not sure why it's coming up as unknown

    2. Things we love about our new kitchen....

      The kohler stages sink for prep with a pullout compost bin below.
      The blanco cascade silgranit sink for cleanup (love having 2 fully functioning sinks if you have the space)
      The induction cooktop, would never go back to gas.
      Drawers everywhere. I have 1 regular cabinet under my prep sink, everything else pulls out.
      Drawers for plates/bowls etc. right next to dishwasher for easy unloading.

    3. Gail,
      Thanks so much for your input! I agree I need to focus on the functionality over the 'look!' I am in love with your sink for the prep- so nice, and also the idea of two sinks for different uses. I never considered induction, but will think about it after seeing yours. Yes to drawers for everything!

      I hope you'll let me share your kitchen soon. It's beautiful, functional and totally unlike anyone elses!

  3. Good Luck Kim! You have some great inspiration kitchens.

    1. Cindy thanks so much. You have done so much that inspires me!

  4. Hi Kim, I can't wait to see what you decide. The chances of me being able to remodel my kitchen is 0% so I must live through others lol. I have a friend that remodeled her kitchen recently and is now remodeling her master bath and it seems like it is so hard to choose what to put in. She is so stressed about it. She has fantastic taste, as do you, and I am sure whatever she picks will be awesome! I think that if I could remodel I would go traditional as fads fade so quickly. I also like quirky and original with some personality. Tell us what you pick soon! Kel

    1. Kelley, When we bought this house almost 7 years ago Max almost immediately began his own start-up or working on it. We had no salary and not a dime for a very long time. In the meantime, I collected all my favorite kitchens by tear-sheets and through books for the past 7 years. I really know what you mean. Now having a little bit to do it, I seem almost more pressured as I don't want to screw it up. I may not get this chance again, nor do I want to be wasteful with the cost or trendy... It may need to last a few decades! I agree traditional seems safe and can be just as lovely...and could have some quirky bits thrown in. That's what I will likely end up doing.

      It was so great seeing you the other day shopping. I told Griffin we used to go to the same mall as middle schoolers...Do you remember that? I think we would hang at Carl's Jr and eat fries and laugh our heads off? You look the same so young!! Whatever your doing -don't change it!!

      Hugs, Kim

  5. GOOD LUCK and don't get a DIVORCE Over it!!!!!!!!!XX

  6. Kim I love the direction you are going with this. I do think of this eclectic look as very Old Northern California, if such a thing can be said to exist;). Kitchens in old houses in the Oakland hills, or Los Trancos Wood, only kitted out in luxurious materials. Natural elegance, with personal history evident. To me this is good taste of the highest order. I bet this is going to become a thing of beauty that gives back over the years to come.