The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Entries in Scandinavian Kitchens (31)


White Kitchen - Scandinavian Style!

I haven't really shown you any images from my trip to Copenhagen yet! I have so many....over 2,000 to be round about precise (call me obsessive, I'm guilty!) And, let's not forget my 10 (at least) magazines too. Lots of good stuff. Don't get me diamonds, just get me a Scandinavian interior design magazine! (I didn't really say that, right?)

Speaking of good stuff, I went a little crazy with taking lots of images of this very soft, romantic, Scandinavian style that everyone loves so much. I found this wonderful style (so much style) in some very special antique stores, Atelier September and Fil de Fer.

I have shared these particular images with Desire To Inspire, my good blogging buddies, because they have featured one of the stores before and I thought they would enjoy them, a fresh look from being IN the stores. I think they enjoyed them so much that they are doing a feature today AND featuring more, and different, images tomorrow! 

What's missing is the kitchen! The apartment we stayed in, in Copenhagen, definitely had this same romantic style going on. I saw pictures of it online and booked it immediately! I just HAD to stay there. So, here is a kitchen design connection to this romantic Scandinavian style that Desire To Inspire is showing.

Today I will show you the kitchen, tomorrow, I will show you the adjacent breakfast room which will make you fall right over!

Don't forget to check back with Desire To Inspire tomorrow too, to see the complete look, connected with my images here.  

Here are previous posts in Desire To Inspire...on Scandinavian Style  and more Scandinavian style and good Danish design too. I would encourage you to use the search tool in their blog, but watch the time, you'll be there all day!


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Thank you blogging buddies!

DSCF0972a.jpgI think I'm the only one I've come across who refers to "blogging buddies." I do like the sound of it! I would like to thank my blogging buddies, Holly from Decor8, the gals at Blink Decor, and Linda from Surroundings, for showing my kitchen design work and/or my images from Denmark.

Thanks to Blink Decor for showing the images of my currently published kitchen. I'm glad they enjoyed it! I have to take a moment to say that I'm really crazy about the layout of their blog. I love the colors, it's very exciting, it always revs me up, and it's very user friendly. Good stuff on there too, and always thoughtful and informative advice. Thanks, gals.  

Thanks to Holly from Decor8 for creating that big, fantastic, post on Danish home interiors (images from some of my familys' homes) and for showcasing some of the great, Danish, furniture that I photographed in the fine, home furnishing stores. My cousin's comments on sources and designers of her home furnishings are very interesting. What a thrill to be on decor8! It's always a destination for me. Need to keep up to date and see what's happening design-wise!

And, last, but definitely not least, to my very good blogging buddy, Linda, from Surroundings. I laughed out loud when I saw the title of Linda's post, about the rotten state of Denmark, and wish I thought of that myself! Thank you Linda, for both showcasing my white kitchen and for linking to the Danish inspired posts on the blogs. Always a go-to source for interesting, eclectic, design information, and, I appreciate the mentions, Linda (each live link links to a different post). Surroundings takes the pulse from many sources and makes sense of it all to the rest of us!

You know, I really need to ask this question. Due to the enthusiasm over "things Scandinavian," I am often confused, because I'm SO tied into the culture and the beauty of it all. So, tell me, what do you all love about it? Do you see Scandinavian design becoming even more of a factor in today's design interests? Do you see it moving forward in everyone's design focused radar screens? Or is it just the classic beauty of it which will always be appreciated? Is everything old new again, or is it fresh, new, Scandinavian points of view that you are seeing? I'd really love to hear your thoughts.  

The image is my cousin's dining room, with some of our family, a beautiful Danish home interior.



Scandinavian Kitchens - Open Shelving Ideas

Something I already knew, which was confirmed at KBIS in May...open shelving is HOT! It adds that warm touch, anyway it's done. Although, there IS an art to the arrangement of objects on open shelving, very much so. I designed my own kitchen (meant to be temporary, and here it is 4 years later) with lots of open shelving of various types to allow me to be surrounded by my collections. FYI, in the first image of my kitchen, the objects (all mine) were artfully arranged by the stylist on site when my kitchen was shot for publication last year, so I can't take credit for that! But, I digress.

Let's call today's journal entry, Scandinavian Wednesday, rather than Monday (late again) and take a look at how the Scandinavians "do" open shelving. They're very good at arrangements, the shelves themselves, and creating a look and feel of real warmth. Today we'll look at traditional shelves and arrangements in the kitchen.

It's not really difficult to put items on a shelf, but one may want to think in terms of "layering" the shelf. Put something behind, perhaps a plate, platter, or a piece of artwork, then something of a different color or texture in front of that, or monochromatic items if that look is pleasing. Books stacked sideways is always lovely, and a piece on top of the books, and so on. For me, it takes some time arranging until I'm happy with the look. There is volume, color, texture, proportion and balance to consider. Sometimes there are happy accidents, other times, it has taken precious time.

Next week (if I remember!) we'll look at shelving in modern kitchens.

Images are from left to right from the top down as follows: First, from lantligt, second, from boligmagasinet, third from sol-solstad, fourth, from Karna.sprayblogg, fifth, from Savannah-beach, sixth, from Masan Shabby Chic, and last but not least, from min lilla veranda.

Oh, I hate when I forget a detail, that's why it's also good for my subscribers to come to the blog to see if I've added something...take a look at the entire Scandinavian Kitchens category for more inspiring open shelving ideas! Heck, look at all the kitchens on the blog!  :-) 



Kitchen Accessories - Scandinavian Style!

I think it's time to trick out the Scandinavian kitchens that we're loving every Monday (ok, it's Tuesday, skipped right over Monday)! As innovative as the Scandinavians are with their design and decor with such a rich history to draw from, that innovation and great design has also historically reached over into housewares in a very big way over many decades. It seems there has always been some item that's been hot, a "must have." Even recently, we've seen a large introduction of Danish crafts in the MoMA store, and others just devoted to Scandinavian housewares. Here are a few bright and fun items that reflect the Scandinavian point of view.

First, look at this dish pattern from Scandinavian Details. From the site: Kristina Runske, founder of Scandinavian Details,returns home to Scandinavia several times each year to connect with emerging designers and trends. Her commitment to bring you superior craftsmanship matched with leading-edge technology and environmentally-friendly materials can be seen in each of the products she personally selects for this thoughtful collection of clean, clever, contemporary objects for modern living.










All right, I admit it. I selected this next piece for several reasons...yes, I love the background, but more than that, look at that wonderful turquoise. And, ok, I'll also admit that turquoise has been my favorite color for decades! So, there you go. But, it is such an elegant, simple, and useful piece from Tivoli Home. From the site: We are a couple of Danes who love to share our passion for good design from Scandinavia.

The store is located in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, such a delightful area, worth a trip.

And, next, I found this great site, Fjorn Scandinavian. From the site: Envisioning a collection that was both elegant and soothing to the senses, Sigurd and Ann sought out the most beautiful Swedish table linens, the softest and warmest hand made woolens, lovable children's things, cozy, colorful blankets and sweaters in an array of great designs, and tableware that reflects the Scandinavian Good Life.


Take a look at this beautiful table runner. I love table runners, and I don't even use them enough. I grew up with table runners, as it is a common Scandinavian part of the table. 

OK, here's a kitchen you can use them in! Some kitchen inspiration....

















All these companies have wonderful products and contribute in a big way to the entire fresh, organic, Scandinavian look. Enjoy! 


Scandinavian Kitchen Design ROCKS!

I'm not kidding about this. It really rocks, trust me. Take a look, and turn up your speakers. A LOT. It doesn't always work for some reason. Refresh your browser if you don't see the video right away. It's short but unlike anything else I've seen!

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Or try this link, but try it! (And then report back!)

My cousin, Lis, sent me some links for Scandinavian kitchen websites, many of which I already had, but some were new. I had asked her to send me some magazines, and she said links are easier. Nice! I'll be loading up on magazines when I go to Denmark in August. I usually spend at least $100 on magazines, and they add so much weight, but it's worth it (to me!)

Here are some thoroughly modern kitchens from the company, Trend. The wood really looks fantastic here, doesn't it?


And, as always, try out a few blogs. The first, Modern Country, has text in brown in English. Also check out hvitstil, and last but DEFINITELY not least, Karna.



Scandinavian Kitchens and Independence Day!

It turns out it's perfectly appropriate, and I even wish I had planned it this way, that I'm two days late for my weekly Monday Scandinavian Kitchens exhibit. Today, being, July 4, Independence Day, is the perfect tie-in to dedicate this post to my parents, who came from Copenhagen to the U.S., at that time, sailing past Lady Liberty, to pursue the American dream.

chezlisen.blogspot.com2.jpgMy parents, especially my mother, wanted to assimilate as seamlessly as possible into American life. She quickly found a church to become a member of, got involved in school and PTA activities, made lots of genuinely good friends and was happy to gain citizenship and to feel like an American. My father founded a business, made his fortune, later lost it all, blaming it on unions, also typically American! I lived the American dream growing up, and while assimilation was important to my parents, the wonderful Scandinavian cultural traditions remained intact. Food, the language (between my parents), the fantastic Danish modern furnishings, the special Danish sense of humor, and more, remained inside the home as I grew up. To think of the furnishings that were thrown out in later years, I can't go there! I was raised in two cultures with perfect balance and proportion.

So, hats off to my parents and those who dream of a better life in the U.S. I still cannot imagine the pain there must have been to leave one's home country, family, friends and all that is precious, but the promise and draw of the United States surely burned strongly then and burns ever stronger in so many people dreaming of living in the U.S. And, the dream of a better life became official on July 4, 1776!

It is with great pride as a Danish-American, that I share with you some simple, yet lovely, vignettes of Scandinavian kitchens, with a little bias toward dining together, on this July 4! Enjoy! 


Here is my cousin Lis in her kitchen in her and her husband's summer house.  A great memory:


 The top image is from the wonderful blog chezlisen and the next image is from Huset Fullt adnother enjoyable Scandinavian blog!


Scandinavian Kitchens - Summer Fresh!

Since my last Scandinavian Kitchens post, summer has arrived! Summer, to me, is one of those extreme experiences in many ways. I wouldn't want it all year, I like it just long enough to really enjoy it fully. I happen to like the summer garden better than my huge spring rose flush with thousands of rose blooms. Likewise, eating any meal of the day al fresco enhances the dining experience and creates summertime memories.

As another summer solstice-inspired change, I lightened up the look of the blog a little bit...also more light filled and clean for the summer. I hope you like it. 

Here are some fresh, summery, Scandinavian kitchens for you to dream on (ok, put wireless in the backyard and then bring your laptop, jump in the hammock, and dream that way!)



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Denmark%2005%20632ba.jpgI'm especially excited this week because just this morning I found and booked an extremely (that word again) charming apartment in Copenhagen for our vacation this summer, for 2 weeks.

Made the plane reservations first and then began the search for as perfect a place as I could find. Think real brick floors and whitewashed stone walls. It's near the palace, a park, the harbor, and the street with the finest mid century furniture and art galleries.

You'll see pictures of that Scandinavian kitchen and others for sure. In fact, you'll get lots of beautiful images. I'm hoping to get a shot of my mother's cousin's kitchen in her tiny, hand built log home on a hill overlooking the water. That's a special kitchen!

There is truly nothing like Copenhagen in the summer. Unless it's in the winter!

And, as usual, Scandinavian blogs for inspiration this week are designe, interiorhuset, and Karna. Enjoy!


Scandinavian Kitchens - vacation villas!

Well, I guess I took an unintended week of vacation from blogging...very busy week last week! But, more about that another time. After all, clients ARE #1!

I'm toying around with the idea of going to Denmark on vacation at the end of August. Which got me into the vacation villa, or "summerhus" as it's called, rental mode. A great place to look at REAL Scandinavian kitchens.  I found some lovely kitchens that may actually make you want to COOK while on vacation, do you think? In any event, surely, the design, and openness of a kitchen plan is conducive to happy and casual living in a rental. Who wants to be isolated in an entirely separate room if you don't have to be. A perfect reason to search for an open kitchen plan. Please go to nice summer and take a look. Oh...click on "Luxury Cottages."  Nice start.



I also found this great kitchen at klmdesign.dk.

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Scandinavian Kitchens - Beamed Ceilings

There are many Scandinavian kitchens which have beamed ceilings. There are many old buildings, both apartments in the city and old farm homes, which have beams used as structural timbers in the home. Of course, as said before, Scandinavians beautifully mix their contemporary design aesthetic with these old beams, (or in this one case, contemporary styled beams) and they do it with style and confidence. Thus, a home with truly rustic elements does not have to continue this look of "country", even if the floors are old, the walls are textured stone, as well as the ceiling with ancient beams. Some old structures have low ceilings. In these homes we will see beams too, but they may be closer to the ceiling, more shallow, and perhaps painted a light color, looking into blend in, another great look. Enjoy these images, and please look through the previous images in this category in the sidebar to see other great beamed kitchens. Top image is from Tidens Bolig, second image from Bo Bedre. And, again, here's a great Scandinavian blog: Min Lille Veranda.

A blog bonus for today is a recent blog entry by Holly at Decor 8 on Scandinavian design blogs. 






Sleek Scandinavian Kitchens

After a 2 week absence due to the KBIS show and other things thrown into the mix, it's good to be back with Scandinavian kitchens on Mondays. Here we go!

Here are actually two kitchens, but one has a lot of images. I'd like to take a minute to review what makes them Scandinavian in nature and what is also not only cultural, but good design.


The first concept is lighting. Scandinavians love interesting lighting, and lots of it. So, the lighting fixtures must be well designed as well as highly functional. Task lighting is huge in Scandinavia. There are little light fixtures anywhere and everywhere. So, take note of the lighting.  

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Second concept is "shapes and forms". This is a more architectural concept, which can be seen, for example, in the mosaic tile wall behind the cooktop and elsewhere. Scandinavians do not fear blank walls, and in fact have used them as part of their design work for a very long time, long before this idea became popular elsewhere. It is the "less is more" effect. Always simplicity and elegance combined, as a functional artform, the essence of Scandinavian design.

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Third concept today is something old or hand crafted. Notice the floors, or the wonderful pottery or other items. Some items are old and speak of texture, repetition, or pattern, as we see here as well. There is thought and whimsey both present in Scandinavian design. Nothing is taken too seriously. That seems to be an inherent truth. Enjoy, and I'd love your comments too...

 And, as always, another couple of great Scandinavian blogs.....Lantligt and Karna.



Scandinavian Kitchens - Today's Mix

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Today we have a little bit of a mix to keep things interesting. All modern kitchens. Some, just downright elegant. A few that you cannot see very well, but you sort of get the picture anyway. Isn't that what our homes are, when all is said and done, an overall feeling? What feelings turn you on and off about these images?

One thing I have not mentioned as yet is that typically, and I only see this in one image, surprisingly, but typically, the lighting hangs down quite low in Scandinavian homes. I LOVE that look. It creates a real intimacy and softness. 





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In the top image, I'm crazy about the minimalist feel and the plain walls, Also, the artwork. But, I don't believe those plain walls will remain perfect forever. I don't get that. 
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These lower two images are from the same kitchen. I'm responding to the large, plain, windows and the white walls, which I love. It's an overall tailored look, very modern, but tailored. scandinavian kitchens color031.jpg I LOVE the way this one is done. Look at the lighting against the wall. And, the dark table with white chairs love that too. And, of course we see the little splash of red color that we saw last week. This is a comfortable kitchen for me. This last image was from Bolig Magasinet and the other from Interior Magasinet.

And, a couple of blogs as usual. Anyone check into these that I include every week? Here's one called Milly Tulipan . And, Ingrid's Blog.  


Scandinavian Kitchens - Splashes of Color!

I think it's a very common thing in Scandinavia to show small splashes of color, like, very small. It seems the smaller the color, the bigger the impact (in some cases). My friend, Lone, a Danish girl who lives in New York, showed me an ad (she's a kitchen designer) she was putting in a magazine, and it was a kitchen that was all white with some black and then only half of a red chair was showing, sort of at the way end of the room...of course, an Arne Jacobsen chair. I didn't get it at first, I don't see that a lot, but now, these images brought that concept back to me, and brought it to life. Images from Bolig Liv.

So, now we have 3 interesting elements....white (nearly always), a splash of color, and texture (nearly always). Fantastic combination.

It's fun, cool, and fresh, don't you think? Oh, here's a nice Scandinavian blog, Molly's Heaven and another great one, Lantligt.

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Scandinavian Kitchens - shades of gray

Scandinavian KitchenI tried to break out of black and white Scandinavian kitchens, but I'll tell you one thing, it's not easy! There is more black than I realized lurking in Scandinavian kitchen designs I am coming across.

Black is very interesting in kitchens...sometimes you hardly know it's there. It is a neutral and it makes a statement, but sometimes it comes on like the strong, yet silent type of statement, sort of like Leonardo DiCaprio...don't you just wonder what's going on behind those eyes (and those eyebrows?) I know I do. Moving on...

Many of us are familiar with a classic light to medium blue gray color, found more in Swedish kitchens than in Danish kitchens, for example. Why gray? Isn't the air cold enough to be also reminded with a cool color? I wonder about that. Doing some quick research does not reveal answers. I'll need to get on this trail. 

The light gray kitchen and dining area is from Vakre Hjem & Interior. The white kitchen, from Interior Magasinet, as well as the top image. The rustic wood and white kitchen, from Bo Bedre.


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ScandKit 4_16_7.jpg ScandKit 4_16_8.jpg The top light gray kitchen, is very subtly eclectic in style. Notice the lighting fixture above the table. While a classic design, by Poulsen, and designed many decades ago, it is a contemporary feel. The cabinetry, to me, seems a beautifully simplistic country style, yet, with modern overtones, which complement the lighting fixture. The expanse of wall in a singular color, with little ornamentation can also be interpreted in a simplistic modern way as well as simple country. I suppose in the end, we seem to be looking at a modern country look. Do you agree?

Oh, before I go, again, here are some wonderful Scandinavian blogs...I hope the authors will comment on what they see makes their kitchens so special! Take a look at Dreamhouse, a white kitchen in the latest post, and Annas hus pa landet, with a list of blogs to make you procrastinate all afternoon! OK, and one more, Sara vill fara.


Scandinavian Kitchens - Black & White 2

Since last week's black and white Scandinavian kitchens had such interest, I thought I would do it again! You know, I have to admit, something struck me this week that did not strike me last week.

Part of the reason, I think, that these kitchens appeal to us is that it is not just the white cabinetry and great accessories and materials, it is that, surprisingly, and very unlike what is done, at least in the U.S., the walls are also white! The decorative/accessory layer also has much white in it as well. That is what is distinctive about these kitchens and their "look". We see the first image a million times, it is a popular look. But, we do not often see it with that type of lighting or with the simplicity of white walls, or, for that matter, the raw look of flooring such as we have here, which I hope you can see.

As I have said previously, I really believe the Scandinavians do electic "right", and, added to their own distinctive look, with color and light elements, and even the use of restraint, it ends up being stunning kitchen design, and very exciting! The images are from the Danish magazine Bo Bedre, with the bottom right image from the Swedish magazine  Skona Hem.

Good timing, still in the Scandinavian mood, since Saturday, I viewed the Danish movie, nominated this year for Best Foreign Film, "After the Wedding." It was fantastic, please rent it. Oh, and by the way, there are some kitchen scenes in the movie and the kitchen is.....white!

And, as usual, a few great Scandinavian blogs, in which you will see still more kitchens! an angel at my table and  I min vackra varld


UPDATE:  Just saw this post on Scandinavian tableware in the new blog Blink Decor...perfect to get a little closer to the look, and it's authentically Scandinavian, Danish to be exact!

Scandinavian Kitchens

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Scandinavian Kitchens - Black & White

I've previously talked before about Scandinavian kitchens being very light in color, and they often are. White seems to be the common theme. When white, neutral woods, and black, come together, it's very exciting. We'll save color for another day, but these kitchens are no less wonderful without punches of color. Look at these beautiful images from Bo Bedre. Notice the floors, aren't they amazing?

Do you want some inspiration for white or neutral accessories? Look at this amazing blog on Scandinavian design. And, for more inspiration, another Scandinavian home design blog. I will try to feature Scandinavian design blogs every time I do this series, to add the "real" look. I also hope to receive comments and design advice on Scandinavian kitchens from those who live in them!

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