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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Timeless Kitchen Design

It's a question which is being asked with more and more frequency as we want our kitchens to have as much design longevity as possible: What elements make up a kitchen design that translates into a timeless look?

The question comes to mind now as I think about my trip to Spain, from which I have just returned. I was invited to travel to Spain to speak about American kitchen design trends as a guest of Autokitchen, an exhibitor and partner of the SICI fair, at which I and my colleague, Roberta Kravette, conducted our presentations. 

Spain is amazing. Amazing IS the word! I have visited Spain once before, many years ago. Roberta and I took the opportunity to travel to Malaga, Ronda, and Granada, leading up to the SICI fair in Madrid. So, the word "timeless", as we traveled through these ancient cities, is the first concept to grasp in my consciousness as I write this first post on my experience in Spain.

The culture of Spain....the food, its landscape, the architecture and interiors spoke to me in a way that I did not expect. On the second day of photographing endlessly (my obsessive side emerges when I have a camera in my hands and over the course of 5 days, I took a good 1500 images) I felt "it." I saw centuries' old design elements that are perfectly in sync with today's modern kitchens and interiors. The patterns, the flooring, the tile, the colors, the decorative details from ages long past are without question the foundation of a timeless style.

Is this a new concept in design? Decidedly not. Being up close and personal with authenticity is a sort of nudge to stop and observe ancient design elements (which look awesome when observed in situ rather than in a store with flouresent lighting mixed with contemporary items) with today's perspective. Short of visiting old and ancient cultures in person, I'd highly recommend these at-home treasure hunting activities as your road map to inspiration and authenticity:


Visit Museums

Look Carefully at Old Paintings To Observe Decorative Details

Find Books in Your Area of Historic/Cultural Interest (example)

And, Of Course, Google Image and Text Searches (example)

Most of all...take your time and research to find what speaks to you!

I have much more to share about my trip to Spain, including the purpose of the trip...my invitation to speak at the SICI (kitchen show), a request for a meeting in Madrid (via email) by a lovely Spanish couple which was REALLY a treat (I met with them), and the many beautiful things I saw at the kitchen show. More soon!!!

Here is an autokitchen image...no, it's not a photograph, it's a rendering!

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Reader Comments (19)

Less is better. That is why designs that use a lot of icons leave the room overcrowded and unpleasing to the eye. Minimalism is at its best if you use white space. It is so pleasing to the eye. What is also great about it is that white compliments all other colors. You should use this color all over the room. It also creates a big space.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdouble glazing birmingham

That's an incredible rendering! I think a timeless kitchen is simple, neutral and true to the house. You can personalie it and update it with paint and accessories which are easy to change.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

My answer to your query is to stay true to what you love. If you use elements that resonate with you AND complement the surrounding architecture, you're sure to be happy for the duration. That said, it doesn't mean you have to strictly do, for example, "country" in a farmhouse. There are ways to complement surrounding architecture without being too literal. Great post. Looking forward to more.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGloria Graham, AKBD

You can also observe similar styles and patterns as you travel to certain Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico or various south American countries. I have noticed the same old styles in tiles and flooring along with very vivid colors often times very bright. Today we are starting to see some of these designs entering our market. It is definably an old-world charm that we are missing here.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHome Remodeling

I have to say that quality of workmanship is one of the most important keys to timelessness. The style and design are critical, but if the work doesn't hold up, then it is going to look old and dated before the popularity of a style changes.

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Last time when I was in spain in andaluzja was amazing.
architecture houses and atmosphere people incredible!
sun colors houses and modern look I love it!

home decoration
kitchen decorating

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter7interiordesign

Wow..the scenery just as you've said, its really amazing...how I wish I'd be able to visit Spain. The comments here, really helpful.

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity

I taught English in Madrid--how wonderful to be looking for a comprehensive kitchen design learning center and to stumble across this!

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Madrid is amazing!!! And I love being about to look through pictures for these kitchen design learning center areas as I'm definitely a visual person.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Sounds like you had a marvelous time -- I'm both envious and happy for you!

A lot of the southern Casa California style is similar to this (not really a surprise, I guess.) I'm also thinking this dovetails very nicely into your Scandinavian design as well, doesn't it? Seeking the "life" in lifestyle....

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly M

the ancient city..Spain..
its very nice and wonderful... the kitchen that post is very nice the design as well... i'm happy for you for having kitsen like this...
i hope i have too..

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

the kitchen that you show is very nice and marvelous people of spain is very creative....

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjose

i love the ancient design of the kitchen... i hope someone will have to take make this kitchen too.. i want to visit the madrid spain too.. because there is so many place to be enjoy in the spain..unless the kitchen that i want to have...

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjuan

Very interesting...really spain people have much creativity...superb..

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInterior Design Ideas

Great site ,very informative!!
Great site ,very informative!!

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrissy S

I would say that a timeless kitchen to me is one that seamlessly blends traditional style with modern elements and a touch of personality.

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKitchen Views

That rendering is beautiful, even the lighting looks natural. Thanks for sharing.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNYC Interior Design

I guess it's become timeless when your interior is a contemporary style because it simplifies present time.And have white painting because it make the place more wide and spacious.

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkitchen plumbing

Your summaries are always top-notch. Thanks for keeping us apprised. I’m reading every word here.
Cool kitchenware

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewgede

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