Holiday House Hamptons

Last week I dressed up in all white (as was requested) and went to a fabulous press event in Bridgehampton for the opening of Holiday House Hamptons. Celeb designers were there, everyone in white, and it was a perfect summer day. Following are images of the kitchen and breakfast room, designed by Jennifer Duneier.

As a kitchen designer, I like to point out pros and cons and anyone is welcome to discuss, agree, disagree, etc. so please do! Here's my take on this kitchen.

It's eye catching! There's a sort of "no fear" approach in terms of bold color. At the same time, there is restraint by only using two main color-colors, each of which allows the other to be a visual player. 

The softer color of the backsplash, bold in its pattern, yet softer in tone, supports the brighter colors in the kitchen to make them be the stars. The backsplash is a supporting role, yet it's not. It works because the wall is otherwise uncluttered, given the bold pattern, let me put it that way-it's a good thing! I'll also say that I was initially struck by color, not pattern when I first saw the kitchen, but that's just me and is not a positive or a negative.

I'm not sure I would have added the vertical metal stripes on the hood, but there is interest in lines and circles used near one another, allowing for another focal point on that wall, and it is simple in its execution. And, classic.

The marble works well and adds to the cool/warm design. It was smart not to add the strong tile on to the other walls.

Now to the cabinetry

I have a few issues here. The door design is absolutely fantastic - stunningly different, interesting, original. Love it. 

Personally, I would not have wrapped the cabinetry around on to the range wall. I'm more conservative with cabinetry and don't like to fill all spaces in with cabinetry. There are other alternatives. 

I would also have done something more interesting to the right of the refrigerator. My guess is that the designer wanted to keep things simple and have the cabinetry be sort of cohesive "blocks" in a sense. I think there would have been other opportunities, lots of them, to add interest, but not clutter, on this wall. 

One thing that could have been done is to use fewer cabinets but have them float on the wall, allowing for about 15-18" or so of wall space on either side of the cabinets. That would still be simple and they would appear more "dressed", less utilitarian. 

One could also put up simple but industrial stainless steel shelving which could tie in the appliances and strong hardware, as long as there were few, but properly proportioned items on the shelves. Or span a stainless shelf in between 2 cabinets. There are lots of other things that could have been done on this wall. 

I'm not sure the island had to be that long - it is definitely an obstacle to the refrigerator. Making it a little shorter at the range end would help immensely in traffic, especially as people are walking back and forth in real life. It's always a challenge when there are windows and doors and room connections going on, to find places for appliances, so I understand why the refrigerator is placed there. 

That said, which way should the refrigerator be hinged? Given the location of the sink and range, possibly the other way.

I may have added a cabinet that sits ON the counter to the far right of the sink which would also be more of a furniture look than what appears to me to be too large (wide) of a cabinet in that location. Given the elegance of the kitchen and breakfast room, to my point of view, that cabinet just appears to have too much of a "box" look. It's subjective, for sure.

Very cool lighting and love the turquoise ceiling! It was a fantastic event. What do you think of this kitchen? Would you change anything?

House Beautiful Kitchen of The Year 2012 (KOTY) Designed By Mick DeGiulio

I always look forward to attending House Beautiful's Kitchen of The Year and this year was no exception - it's one of the highlights of the summer for sure! House Beautiful is such a great American brand (I love great American brands partially because they have trudged through so many crazy times-in this case since 1896) with lots of good old American sheer determination. Impressive, to say the least. But, I'm digressing a bit. Point is, I have great respect for House Beautiful and what it has stood for and this is a good excuse to express that!

This piece will be a critique, as it has to be, in one sense, since I've been a certified kitchen designer and owner of a kitchen design studio for many years. For this reason, my perspective on this kitchen must include both pros and (constructive) cons.

Mick DeGiulio designed the KOTY (Kitchen of The Year) for House Beautiful. I've known of Mick's work for many years. Mick is a talented kitchen designer and produces exquisite kitchens. At the press event last Monday, in opening remarks, Newell Turner, EIC of House Beautiful, said: "Mick DeGiulio is one of the best kitchen designers in the country, if not THE best kitchen designer." That last part immediately threw me for a loop and I can't not address it!

Being very involved in the kitchen industry in various ways, which includes having built/financed a website for kitchen designers that was in place for 8 years with thousands of members, serving as a judge of kitchen design contests, and having a wide circle of kitchen designer friends and colleagues, I know that there are MANY kitchen designers throughout the U.S. who do truly amazing (amazing) work. 

So, as a long time ally/friend/passionate advocate of the kitchen design profession and supporter of kitchen designers (the good, dedicated ones) the first part of Newell's statement has a good deal of merit to it, but the second part does not. It's very important to add in a little real world perspective. 

Following is my critique of this year's House Beautiful Kitchen of The Year, and here we go!


Open Shelf/Breakfast Section: The kitchen as a whole is lush, it's gorgeous, it's luxurious, it's stunning. The separate area, "la mattina", Italian for "morning" is a wonderful, highly useful area in which to prepare a light meal. The storage behind the backsplash of fabulous Ann Sacks tile with a beautiful visual depth to it, is a fantastic idea. I have seen a strong upswing in the use of sliding doors for upper, lower and tall storage this past year.

This backsplash storage area solves several problems - it reduces countertop clutter, provides a home for small appliances, is a virtually (visually) seamless design element and is great to use, ergonomically. It's very smart, too, to continue the tile on the inside of the storage area. The open shelves add charm, but not just charm, CHARM. Charm meets elegance meets usefulness in this open shelf feature.  Nice hardware and nice configuration of base cabinetry in this section. The non white toekick creates a floating effect for the cabinetry.

Chrome and Stainless Accents: What comes to mind next are the polished chrome accents throughout the kitchen. They are smart and stunning. This accent adds significantly to the luxe feeling all around the space. You do not normally see a wood hood trimmed in polished chrome, a simple but very creative touch. The polished chrome trim surrounding the tall appliances-oven and refrigerator, was also highly creative. The trim makes the refrigerator look high end and the ovens are just beautiful. Appliances by Whirlpool. I'm crazy about the brushed stainless steel handles on the white refrigerator. It could have been a no brainer to do a stainless refrigerator but white works well in this context.

Cabinetry and more: The tall pot/pan storage with glass doors, dark gray lower cabinets, brushed stainless interior and polished chrome and glass exterior, left of the cooktop section is (that word again) stunning. This grouping of tall, dark, cabinetry visually balances the larger white cooking section to its right. Speaking again of the emerging popularity of moving panels, this design element, used behind the cooktop for additional storage is a useful and smart feature, especially with the dark gray contrast behind the panels which showcases colorful spice jars.

The cabinetry, (all) by KraftMaid, on the island is beautiful, and I love the hardware. The variety of countertop edges adds interest and is another opportunity to create unique design elements throughout the kitchen. I love the feeling of the zen-like sitting area - overall, it's all about comfort. 

High/Low Budget: This kitchen illustrates how one can selectively choose fabulous (and fabulously expensive) products as well as very affordable products. It's a strong trend in kitchen design today, and a smart one. 


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Misc. Observation: This has nothing to do with Mick's design or any sponsor - it's just an observation but as a kitchen designer, I can't resist. The wonderful non-cooking lite meal prep area with the open shelf feature begs for a refrigerator drawer due to the main refrigerator being situated so far away. Whirlpool does not offer an under counter beverage appliance, so that was not possible to include. I might also have wanted to include a single drawer dishwasher or a small, 18" dishwasher, given there is a good sized sink in this section.

The Island: Looking at the island when standing at the sink, the white dishwasher really stands out to me as being a very different white than the white cabinetry. In a kitchen with so many luxury touches and finishes, it does not work, especially, too, with a very modern handle next to traditional hardware.

First, there could have been a piece of the stainless toekick attached or otherwise adhered to the bottom white access panel for a continuous toekick on the island. Second, since this dishwasher does not take a front wood panel, a stainless steel dishwasher should have been used here. Here's why: the white (different colored) dishwasher is viewed as a large, unadorned white slab, visually incongruent with the busy surrounding cabinetry. The white monolithic refrigerator fares much better being separated via chrome trim from the different white of the nearby cabinetry. While the opposite argument is that a stainless dishwasher is visually "choppy", it's an upgraded and improved look, more conducive to inclusion in a KOTY design.

I do not love the island in general. I think it is too big (and I do love big islands) and/or it could have had a more interesting cabinet configuration, and general shape. I would have positioned the wood countertop section about an inch or so above the Caesarstone white countertop and made the Grothouse wood countertop thicker. I think a little dimensional interest with this separate countertop section would be a natural choice. I did not care for both countertops being on the same plane.

I would not have added the open shelf lower cabinet facing the table - it just does not seem to contribute design value to the kitchen as a whole or to the island, specifically. I would have included a 3rd white/dark gray cabinet there or designed something entirely different. As is, I would have added more space in the island seating area and taken away space from the cabinets at left - the seating area seems slightly out of proportion to the cabinets at left.

Actually, when viewing the island and cooking wall from the seating or dining area, the short/wide cabinets behind the island do not balance well with the tall, narrow dark gray pot storage cabinets just beyond. Balance and proportion of these lines seem off to my eye. One does not always have to follow the rules, of course, but I'm not seeing a visual connection here.

Cooking Wall: At the cooking area, I'm not sure if the hood, notched up into the soffit area above was intentional or a mistake. The execution looks a little awkward to my eye. It does look very out of proportion to the 30" cooktop in this particular context (although an enormous hood over a smaller cooktop is done in highly styled kitchens but is a design element used most often over larger cooktops/ranges.) I would have added a second 30" cooktop, two cooktops side by side, relating better to the hood, and configured the lower cabinetry differently. With an island this large and with multiple work areas in this large kitchen, this section needs more than one 30" cooktop!

Living/Dining Areas: I like living flexibly, and I may have put casters on the upholstered chairs, loveseat, or both so that the furniture (by Kravet) can easily relate to the table or the island or both on a whim. There was ample room for a larger sofa, in part, to balance the very large island. 

I can't say that I am on board with the concept of a small dining table. With such a large kitchen (and a large island) presumably, the kitchen, being talked about as a living area, also requires either a larger dining area that is more proportionate to the island and other kitchen elements, or, a table that is capable of expansion. The living and dining areas looked unnecessarily small to my eye. 

I assume that the higher than normal coffee table can duplicate as a dining area. I did not sit and experience the upholstered chairs and table. I would like to have known who the TV serves, the dining or sofa area or both. I may have tried lining the right edge of the tv up with the left edge of the fire wood recessed enclosure. 

Refrigerator/Oven Wall: My eye very quickly wanted the trim area immediately surrounding the refrigerator to be brushed stainless steel to coordinate with the brushed stainless cabinet above the ovens and on the ovens themselves. I think that would have been a perfect opportunity to further tie in height-wise, the refrigerator and oven sections. Overall, this wall is a little awkward and the vertical lines in the center cabinet are busy.

Lighting: I would have added lighting within both backsplash storage areas and in the pot/pan cabinet as well. If it was there, I missed it.

Overall: I would like to have seen more artwork. The lack of color was obviously part of the plan (except for Kohler's gorgeous sinks) but it did not leave me with a warm feeling as I experienced the space despite touches of linen and other textures, but with a cool, formal feeling overall. With this much time taken to critique the kitchen, there is no time to discuss the butler's pantry. I'll say this - awesome countertops and ceiling treatment! I mentioned that the various countertop edges were a creative touch and they are, but, and this is a quibble, I feel it was one "note" too many to do the thinly wrapped countertop at the cooking wall.


It is certainly unclear how much time is available for a designer to micro manage this (KOTY) project. I think it's important for a designer to do that (micro manage it) and I hope House Beautiful provides adequate time, and I also know, having designed and produced many projects this size, that it can take many months and super focus to get your head fully into the details to get it all right. Delegation to others vs. complete hands on control vs. a combination of these is also a factor in how a project comes together.

Some issues above are more significant to me than others. I leave it to you, the reader, to decide which issues are more or less important for you.

And, then there's this: everyone's a critic! Actually, I think I may be the only one! But, this critique and analysis has been done in the spirit of pointing out that there are many ways to experience a kitchen design as well as to offer my detailed professional interpretation and insight, hopefully, in a constructive and interesting (ok, I know it's a tome) way. It sort of took on a life of its own... I know one thing - it's an exciting event and it always stirs the senses!


Kips Bay 2012 Kitchen

Last month I went to see the Kips Bay Decorators Showhouse in New York City where there were not one, but two great kitchens, and I will feature the second kitchen soon. The walnut species kitchen and living area of this first kitchen were designed by James Rixner, interior designer from New York city. Here are my thoughts on this kitchen!

Below: The view from kitchen to living area. Someone tell me, what's not to like...not much! The kitchen is (relatively) simple, clean, modern, colorful and interesting. What I love is the use of white, seen in the kitchen and in the furnishings. To my eye, the white shade, especially in the kitchen, serves to reflect light, always a good thing in a small space and it also sort of tones down the feeling of formality.

In addition, the seamless white countertop and backsplash allows the space to flow, undisturbed by visual clutter (I'll get to that later.) Less is more is a mantra I always have in my head and having the strong interest of the rug as a patterned visual anchor...on the floor, in this case, is an excellent place to use pattern. I don't think I would have used the stainless steel apron sink, but that is another quibble where there is no right or wrong to attach to it. The rug's connection (and the floor as well) to the living area also makes perfect sense visually. Love.

Below: Here is where I will talk about visual clutter and in one respect, it is a quibble. For those who have not lived in a New York City apartment (among my immediate family, 3 of us lived in NYC apartments for a collective total of 22 years) a few things out of place have a way of pretty much drastically affecting the feeling of spaciousness. To my eye, there are too many accessories in this kitchen. It's also a simple fix to edit the accessories here.

Below: Another quibble - the shelf is so shallow, I would have continued it across range or included a stainless steel shelf of the same dimension. You never know what a coop board will or will not allow, however.

Below: A visually strong feature, I think I would have designed this stunning stainless steel wall cabinet to be in the center of this particular countertop section with an equal amount of wood on each side, probably ending in line with the base cabinet corner, but it's an interesting and creative feature, very much so.

Below: I do really like the shallow wood shelf that runs along the backsplash. It is useful and a great feature, as it is elegant, simple, and just different. I like it.

Below: Another view of the shelf. It works for me. The stainless material throughout in various places ties in beautifully, accentuating a cool/warm feature, allowing each element to "pop."

Below: Yes, it's a narrow ledge for casual dining, but, hey, it's New York City and you are lucky to have that alternative dining spot!

Below: To me, this is near perfect. I'm good with all of it. Too many accessories? Maybe, and that's a quibble.

Below: Warm, stunning, lively, absolutely beautiful.

Below: Love the glass table and love the white. I also love the varying shades of blue and the analogous color scheme.

This kitchen is a beautiful execution with a feeling of elegance, the right amount of comfort and great function. What do you think?


Le Tour de France - French Country Kitchens

I'm engrossed in le Tour de France, the fabulous cycling event which takes place across France each July for 3 weeks, ending in Paris on the last day. I watch it every day it's on (truthfully, morning and night) and am emotionally transported to the beautiful small villages, the stunning landscape, fields of sunflowers, majestic mountains, and amazing 11th century chateaux...and, the fierce cycling competition too! There are few sights as beautiful as the peleton racing across the French landscape.

Image by Graham Watson

So, what if one were to visit le Tour and rent a Chateau as many do? It's on my list to do one year. Take a look at some of these wonderful, authentic, French country kitchens found in homes and chateaux scattered across the Loire Valley, in today's Stage 8. These are beautiful homes to rent (but I'd also like to rent a chef to cook French cuisine, right?) Images from Luxury Retreats

Below, a classic French style - the hood blends into the architecture in a seamless way, the cabinetry is traditional with mustard color on the island as well and is sort of built into a sort of foundation which defines the kitchen. 

Below, this one may be my favorite. It's SO gorgeous yet simple. The white (and white hood) form a light and spacious backdrop. The red tile backsplash is a perfect focial point to the cooking area. The wood beamed ceiling is beautifully graphic and other simple lines update this otherwise traditional French Country look.

Below, another traditional kitchen. Creamy, dreamy, warm monochromatic colors with minimal contrast. Of course, who would not want a cooking fireplace/oven in the kitchen? The sink is sensual and the terracotta tiles, while out of fashion right now, are classic, timeless, and wonderful.

Below, this dining room is: (pick your adjective!) Again - that creamy color throughout all architectural surfaces in various textures creates perfect flow. Even furnishings, doors and trim blend in seamlessly. Defines a timeless look in my opinion. 

Below: Fabulous. The shots of red are the glam that many French interiors incorporate so effortlessly - it's like it's in the dna of the population! Here we have warmth, coolness, color, texture, clean surfaces - an interesting mix of contrasts.

Below, I think when dining in this room, the conversation MUST be stimulating, don't you? It certainly sets the scene for joy, frivolity, and good times. The open doors to the outdoors add the element of nature and light.

Below, a small but awesome kitchen! Wow, just look at these elements - the copper pieces above the integrated hood, at one with the architecture of the room. The built in rotisserie and fabulous cooking center. A rustic sink and rustic built in/inset cabinetry. And that mustard colored striped table linen - love!

Below, some drama is clearly going on in this kitchen - the dark, rich, brown/black tones of tile surround built in cabinetry in this traditional design. Not the most beautiful kitchen, but the simple shapes, forms, colors and textures do bring style to this kitchen.

Somehow, I think I'd be happy with any meal that is prepared in these kitchens! They look like cooks' kitchens. I'd also love to tour each one to look closely at all materials used and to just sort of drink in the feeling of an authentic French Country kitchen. A cultural authenticity is the thread across these kitchens - can't you just feel it?

To see other posts I've done on le Tour in previous years, take a look at this post on French Country kitchens and this one on kitchens in French Chalets. This is such pure pleasure for me, I may add more throughout the Tour in the coming weeks. Do you like the French Country style?


When the French Country Kitchens Go Marching In...

I'm sitting here listening to WWOZ radio on the net as I often do, listening to a very modern version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" part rap, part gospel, part jazz, and of course, with that New Orleans influence everywhere. I know, you're saying "whaaaa?" but trust me, it's a good thing. Now, here comes another rendition after that one? Ok, I'll take it!

Oy vey, so how do I weave this into kitchens? There must be a way. I'm hearing "When the Saints win the Superbowl...." Ya gotta love NOLA!

NOLA! Yes, there is a huge, historical, French influence in NOLA, plus, I watched le Tour again this morning, from somewhere in France, so how about a few more Frenchy kitchens? I found them here, and many of them seem to be the Americanized version of French Country, but some are so good that I can't tell where they're from, so THAT'S interesting.

What a difference between kitchens from France and French "inspired" American kitchens. And, that's ok, say la vee, we're a melting pot after all over here, oui? Have fun!

Beautiful Kitchen - Remodel Magazine

I received a copy of Remodel magazine in the mail today, a Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication. I'm definitely psychic, that's a fact, but I never know why I'm getting these thoughts! It's been forever since this project of mine was shot by BH&G. A long time has passed. The funny thing is, they were in such a rush to shoot it. Maybe they shot it a year and a half ago? Anyway, what do you know, just yesterday I wondered, where is this feature?? It was already in the mail to me, and it had been months and months since I last thought of it.

This was a crazy project. The problems just kept coming, one after another. It's a very old house and the house just did what it wanted to do, end of story. So, I was left to figure out the ceiling due to various beams not willing to move, but they had to relate to the different kitchen sections. It worked out very well, I think, although you can't appreciate it very much in the shots.

I think it's simple, yet elegant. Gena was so much fun to work with. I don't think she says more than a few words without laughing or smiling. That made everything very enjoyable. We had a few tense times, as can happen, but it all came together beautifully in the end. Take a look...

Draper DBS Sub Zero Booth Kbis 2008

Quick the weather's 73 degrees and not even 11 am(!) I like to lighten up the here is a fresh, crisp, change, along with some small new images just below the main image. It feels like summer already to me!

Here is the other Sub Zero booth from the 2008 KBIS show last week, by Bill Draper, of Draper DBS. Bill Draper shares his, always unique, always interesting, vision, creating a mix of materials, a fusion of smoothness, texture, shine, shimmer, waves, and grids in a simple, yet strong, kitchen design.

There is movement in this's in the "wave" drawer fronts, the rounded, amazing, Sub Zero pieces, made as one, the "moving" glass features, even the carved artwork of 3 people in slight movement. The colors are clear and warm, and the lines are strong. Bill Draper's designs for Sub Zero always delight the senses. We, in the biz, KNOW it will be something special if Bill Draper is attached to a project. His cabinetry is wonderful, and he has a policy that his factory will create anything buildable...just go ahead and dream...

Take a look at the Flikr slide's a quick one, only 7 images.

















UPDATE: I had a request to see the drawer fronts on this project. I did not focus on them, so they are not as sharp as they could be, but it's not bad. kbis%2008%204831.jpg

Beautiful Kitchens - Western Interiors

There's a small part of me that would love to do a kitchen out west, if I had a home, or for someone else, for that matter. What would I do? The whole rustic Colorado/Montana/wild west look? Or, maybe a kitchen with a California mediterranean/Spanish ifluence. Or, an elegant, San Franciscan back in time look? I don't know, but I do dream about a western kitchen. Or, maybe I'd choose sort of a modern, yet, warm, kitchen in Oregon or in Seattle, maybe? That could work out quite well.

I first saw these at Apartment Therapy San Francisco. and gasped! What a treasure trove! They are from Western Interiors magazine.  Sometimes, less is more, and sometimes less is, well, less. You'll find your favorites, which, after all, is the point...there's something for everyone. :)

You've got to see it in the slide show...go ahead, waste a little time and get into the kitchen dream zone...zzzzzzzzz 


Desire To Inspire - Inspirational Kitchens!

I'm excited to present to you this first kitchen, in a series of wonderful kitchens culled from the Desire To Inspire blog! Jo and Kim, the ladies who are the force behind this award winning blog, (recently named one of the ten most influential design blogs in the blogosphere) have an "eye," a vision for finding stunning interiors. It is the place I go to when I just want to look at interiors to get, well, inspired. In fact, it can be very addicting, looking at these beautiful spaces!

It is not quick and easy to do what Kim and Jo do. The time spent on research behind the scenes is impressive. To create a collection of spaces, which all flow from one to the next, is itself, a creative work. Whether the context is color one day, style the next, a showcase of a particular design firm, or any other theme, we understand what it is we are viewing. It all makes sense.

Let's look at this elegant kitchen. It just speaks to me. I think, because, it reflects my personal style. Maybe that's why I'm choosing this one first. Here's what I love:

  • combination of cool and warm colors/shades and the larger proportion of warm shades
  • contrast of woods
  • contrast of colors
  • the simplicity
  • the artwork
  • the personal, lived in, look (it's not sterile!)
  • the natural, branch-like, touches

The clean, yet warm, lines are soft contemporary at its best. I'm crazy about it, what do you think? And, thanks, Desire To Inspire!


A White Kitchen by Susan Serra, CKD - Published by Better Homes and Gardens

BH--G-Better-By-Design074aba.jpgI arrived home last night from my vacation to see one of my favorite recent kitchens I've designed, finally, in print! The feature just came out in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It's in a section called "Better By Design."

I designed this kitchen a variety of different ways for the client, in an extensive design process, and in the end, the client decided not to change the existing location of windows, doorways, and appliances. BUT, that was only the start of the story. Maintaining these same locations, I wanted there to be a renewed excitement and importance to the kitchen design, but, based on good design principles, rather than easy, but, uninspired "runs" of cabinetry as you can see in the "before" pictures. I also wanted to "lighten up" the area above the refrigerator, which was achieved. A much more spacious feel on that side of the kitchen than before.

Other Ideas Which Didn't Make It:

Some of my ideas were not implemented that I would have liked, but I have to remind myself, it's not my kitchen! I had recommended that the rear wall, rather than subway tile, be some sort of subtle stone, a slab material, although the end result looks great. I also did not want to connect the cabinetry on each side of the range to each wall. I thought it would look interesting to be open, a bit unfitted. Then, I suggested open shelves with the wall showing behind, and no toekick. In the end, the client wanted a more "connected" look, but we did maintain the open shelving below, which makes it.  

New Ideas 

New design ideas were developed and explored, based on the proportion and scale of the space as well as taking into consideration the architecture and style of the home. I also created a personal style interpretation for the client, which bridges the concepts of tradition, a nautical feel, a bit of a "commercial" look, and some real beauty included in the mix too. Please see all of the images in the gallery.


Paris Kitchen Design and Le Desastreaux Tour de France

As the cyclists in Le Tour de France make their way to Paris, a much smaller group than first started in London 3 weeks ago, but we won't go down THAT road, it is still time for celebration. Why? Because it ends in Paris, after all! The cyclists will be making their numerous rounds on the Champs Elysses this Sunday, to the delight of huge, cheering, crowds, always an incredibly beautiful sight. If you haven't seen the ending of le Tour de France, you've just got to!

So, where will you be? Perhaps you have rented an apartment in Paris for the event! Will you be spotted sipping a glass of champagne, or going to the markets for fresh baguettes and fabulous food? Perhaps you will create your own celebration in your luxury Paris apartment kitchen as you gaze upon the chaos below. One can dream of Paris kitchens...oui?

Au Revoir....away for the weekend (thank goodness for the DVR-le Tour is recorded!) Here is your source for luxury Paris apartments at which these beautiful images reside!







Kitchen Design and Style

I received my copy of Better Homes & Gardens, which is sent to me automatically since I'm subscribed to Decorating Inspiration, a good resource by the way, and I saw a major featured kitchen in this issue that was also on display at KBIS. I had taken photos of this kitchen, which are the top three, below. This issue is out now with lots of other images and information on this kitchen. It is the August issue.

The real point I want to make about this kitchen is to encourage my readers to consider its style. My sense, which I hope I can communite effectively, is that this is one of a "type" of kitchen style, that, is just that, about (kitchen) style alone. It's not about history, architecture, or about one's unique personality being reflected in the kitchen design.

It's simply all about how to style a kitchen, end of story.  It's the kind of look that I know it when I see it! I've seen it many times before, and to me, it is a distinctive look, this all encompassing theme of "kitchen style," for style's sake. It's a really beautiful kitchen in many ways. It's not for me, personally, but then, I have the luxury to sit here and go into the nuances of all things kitchens and dissect it all! There are a good number of clever and interesting elements in this kitchen. It's beautiful in many ways, and certainly highly functional, but I cannot find the soul. It is subjective, don't forget that. AND, after all, it's a "set" kitchen, made to showcase products' versatilities, which it does quite well.










What are your thoughts?


French Kitchens - Chalets in the Alps

French-Alps-9.jpgToday is Bastille Day, commemmorating the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. Of course, on this national holiday, always falling in the midst of the Tour de France, it is traditionally the day upon which French riders will make a special effort to take a stage victory for France! 

And, so, it is appropriate to show some kitchens from France today, and I think I have a treat for you! Since the Tour is entering the treacherous and stunningly beautiful French alps, let's take a look at some French country kitchens in some luxury chalets, oui?  Images from the Oxford Ski Company, specialists in luxury ski vacations. I'm there...I just need to learn how to ski, just a detail! I hear tomorrow the route for the Tour is even more grueling in the mountains of France. I'm watching, are you?











As you can see in the first image, many of these chalets will accommodate from 10 to 20 people, or more. Some have 8-10 bedrooms, hot tubs, indoor pools, and of course, locations with amazing views of the Alps. Pretty good kitchens too!

French-Alps-5.jpg French-Alps-4.jpg French-Alps-3.jpg French-Alps-2.jpg

Le Tour - Belgian Kitchens Today and Yesterday

A-Maid-In-The-Kitchen.jpgToday Le Tour de France goes through Belgium, through beautiful Flanders, amongst chateaus, canals, and wonderful little villages. Unfortunately, there was rainy weather and a huge crash! Watching the peloton is really something awesome.

While I won't be updating you on the tour every day (I promise) I do feel compelled to give a bit of a showcase of Belgium by virtue of, what else, Belgian kitchens! Now, it's not the easiest thing to do to find Belgian kitchen design, so we have a mix of the very old Belgian kitchen by Belgian painters, and the uber-cool and awesome new kitchens, found in Design Addict.


The first image is called "A Maid In The Kitchen" by David Emile Joseph de Noter. I don't think the maid is doing her job, do you?  She looks awfully depressed!


Belgium-3.jpgNext up is a kitchen by Suzon Inber & Associates at  


Let's take a look at another kitchen from Suzon Inber & Associates. belgium-1.jpg

And one more ancient kitchen. I think they had issues in those days. What a mess! This  was painted by Joachim Antonisz Uytaewael, 1605.

Here is an interesting explanation of this painting from"Another erotic kitchen scene, with the cook spitting a chicken in the center of the picture (apparently a suggestive activity to the 16th century mind). She is wearing the same type of clothing as the woman in the van Ryck kitchen scene, only her partlet is more decently done up. There are two men in the picture. they are wearing trunk hose, gathered to just above the knee. In both cases their nether hose (stockings) are falling down. I think this was probably pretty typical for working men.  The stockings come just above the knee normally and are gartered, usually just below the knee, but since elastic hadn't yet been invented, it would not be untypical for the socks to still end up coming down around your ankles all the time. This scene has wonderful details of redware, cooking utensils, and orange carrots. Most carrots at the time were white." 

Take a look at that site, there's some very interesting kitchen scenes and analysis of the paintings.

Kitchens on Le Tour De France!

bike-racer-1.jpgThe first stage of the 94th Tour de France began today in London, for the first time ever. They say one million spectators lined the streets to take in the start of Le Tour, the route going from London to Canterbury, 203 kilometers. 189 of the world's best cyclists are now on their way toward 20 stages in all, through villages, mountains, long flats, and ultimately, of course, into Paris (wait till you see the luxury Paris kitchens I already have lined up!)

I have a personal interest in the Tour. My son is a bike racer and aspires to great cycling accomplishments! We frequently attend races around our region. I'll be watching the Tour every day. I must say, the producers of the tour tv footage frequently include amazing views of the French countryside and villages. Turn it on for an hour, you'll see what I mean. It is a fabulous tour of France. Those aerial views are crazy!

So, in honor of the first stage of Le Tour, beginning in London, here is a collection of kitchens from England, in England's distinctive, and really wonderful, traditional styling. Images from Kitchens Bathrooms and Bedrooms magazines. More images will follow, coming from my binder of clippings I have accummulated for some time. More coverage of the tour, and of regional French kitchens will follow from time to time over the next three weeks of the Tour. If it's Monday, it must be Belgium - tomorrow's Stage 2! Enjoy!


Beautiful Kitchens

Want to see some beautiful kitchens? Look through Coastal Living's kitchen section and get inspired! I love lots of things about this kitchen and have a couple of quibbles.

LOVE the same paint on the walls as on the hood

LOVE the dark brown accents

LOVE the contrast of the white floor and dark island/table

LOVE the use of white

DON'T LOVE the refrigerator enclosure

WOULD BETTER LOVE an integral open shelf toward the top of the island for useful storage

WOULD BETTER LOVE the ceiling fixture over the island hanging lower

WOULD BETTER LOVE a piece of artwork hanging over the recessed wall cabinet next to the blinds 

Overall, a winner for me. How about you?? Enjoy these inspiring kitchens.




More Kitchen Inspiration from GE Monogram

Psychic things happen to me from time to time...I'm sure they do to you too. It's too much fun to think "coincidence." So, what comes in the mail the same day I put up yesterday's post? A new version of the GE Monogram's brochure on inspiring kitchens, called "Perspectives." I just know I'm connected to the energy of the kitchen universe! It finds me! Here are some more great kitchen ideas. And, I must say the appliances are very well designed into the kitchen, don't you think?





What Is Kitchen Inspiration?

I have had this glossy GE Monogram brochure opened and folded back to a particular page for months. I have no idea when I got it in the mail. It has traveled from one pile to another pile to another, I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this. It's a reasonable attempt at organization...isn't it??

This first image of the red/cream kitchen just struck me immediately as strong and stunning. I know I would design the cabinetry in a different way, much different. Parts of the cabinetry "speaks" to me, much does not. But, as I often try to communicate to my clients, it's the "feel" of the room, not any one element, that makes a kitchen special. That's the secret ingredient to a wonderful kitchen. It may not be the countertops, or the cabinetry, or the appliances, but all of it and much more working together, each with an important place in the design to collectively evoke a feeling that the owner wants to feel.  Each piece is another layer in the entirety of the design. Each piece plays a key role.

As a kitchen can be an expensive proposition, enormous focus, and justifiably so, is placed on those three elements...cabinetry, appliances, and countertops first and foremost. And that is as it should be. BUT, as we see in this first image, the other layers of paint, yes, simply paint, accessories, and the use of texture, is, well, everything. I don't know about you, but this first kitchen speaks to me. The others are wonderful for other reasons. The message is, every part of the design has valuable work to do. First, however, one must dig deep to explore and discover what one wants and needs to be surrounded by to feel great joy, and comfort, or, for that matter, stimulation! More about that process soon.

Thanks GE Monogram for permitting the use of these images. As stated above, careful selection of appliances in terms of function AND design is also a critical layer. Very critical. These appliances work to enhance the design of the kitchen. That's the goal. Enjoy! 



ge monogram kitchen015.jpgge monogram kitchen023.jpg

KBIS 2007 - Sub Zero's Inspiring Booth

KBIS%202007%20226a.jpgI've got to say, the Sub-Zero booth at KBIS is one of the, if not THE booth to go to to see inspiring designs. More than inspiring, it is wild, wonderful, fantastic, design. This year does not disappoint. Seeing the Sub-Zero booth just gets the design juices flowing, broadening the possibilites for incorporating appliances into kitchens in a fabulous way. Spotlighting Jamie Drake of Drake Design, New York, NY, here is what Jamie Drake's design is all about, from Sub-Zero:

"Jamie Drake's design stems from the magical mystique of the number seven -- seven deadly sins, Seven Wonders of the World, seven seas. The seven deadly sins is a creation featuring a Wolf rangetop with charbroiler set in a red hot peninsula, paired with a series of Wolf wall ovens and a floor afire with glowing embers. This design creates an appliance-focused environment that is presented to designers in an unexpected way. The other two designs also whimsically invoke the number "seven".

The image is of Jamie Drake, himself. 




Blogging Kitchens

Rustic Kitchen.jpgI'm so thrilled when I come across a great kitchen in the blogs...they are not so frequent on interior design blogs, so I still say "YES! A kitchen!" and I think interior design bloggers also love kitchens too, I can absolutely feel it. They can't help but put a kitchen in from time to time, one that speaks to them. At least, that's how I see it. I KNOW they love them! The kitchens are often grouped with an entire home's images, so you can see the flow of the home, which is good for context. Here are a few recent ones I've noticed as being special.

An Eye For An I:nterior chronicles some very nice kitchens. Take a look through the "pages" of the blog.  This rustic kitchen with the (La Cornue?) black range is from the blog. The styles range from rustic to modern, and in between, and the feature with this image is from Sandra Lane, a photographer.

Take a look at the Peak of Chic's complete devotion to kitchens! OK, at least on April 24, it was wholly kitchen focused, and I'll take that! I find it very interesting to read how one responds to certain kitchen styles, and this is a peek at some nicely styled kitchens and some insight into what's liked and why.

At Home With Color.jpgTerramia, who has shown kitchens before, shows a charming kitchen image. Don't we all love a white cottage kitchen? The image is from the book At Home With Color 

I can easily tell you why I like these kitchens. And, I'm not looking so much at function, I'll save that for another day. But, look at the artwork. The textures. The imperfection as to what's positioned where. OK, maybe the lamp is a bit much right next to the range, but I WOULD have a lamp and just position it to the far right, why not? So, to me, these kitchens are carefully chosen, I'm sure, and they have soul.  

A special case are the ladies from Desire to Inspire. Jo and Kim sneak in a kitchen image, I think, possibly once or twice a week. They, too, feature great designers, and whole homes, and include the kitchen, which I always look for first. Just look at this fantastic red and stainless kitchen. Red Kitchen.jpgDon't you love it? I do. It is part of the work of Tony Ingrao. I DO think, however, that they are admirers of modern kitchens, and/or that soft contemporary look. I'm happy about that, which feeds my natural inclination toward kitchens with clean lines.

I am rewarded when I take the time to seek out interior design bloggers' points of view, and it's a bonus to find a kitchen here and there. They are always inspiring.  Take a look at these blogs. The images are those which speak to the blogger in a meaningful way. I appreciate their efforts!

Do you like these kitchens? What do you like about them?