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Kitchen Disguised As...

Over the last couple of decades, we've seen kitchens become the clear winner of the Best All-Around Room award. Home construction and remodelings have functioned on the basis of knowledge that families desire, nay, require the kitchen to be large, open, and often a part of the grander family spaces.

More recently, key design elements of the kitchen have also adopted a less traditional stance. For example, we've seen the move to more open shelves and free-standing storage in lieu of blocks of installed cabinetry. Fixtures and hardware have become seminal design decisions too, as they play key roles in providing beautiful form, not merely function to a great kitchen. (A mere five years ago, I discussed the placement of recessed lights during our kitchen redo, but never gave a moment's thought to amazing pendant lights!)

There's more, though...smaller touches being used to blur the lines between kitchen and "other room?" I'm seeing fine rugs, mirrors, art and graceful chandeliers. It makes me think that perhaps homeowners want their kitchens to feel like so many other rooms they either don't have, or wish they could spend more time in.

The rugs and window treatments in this eat-in kitchen make it feel more like a family room.

Rolling ladder, vintage brass fixture over the island, and a perfect little reading spot? Clearly a nod to the library.

The combination of the metal bistro chairs, open shelves lined with simple glass jars, and classic barn lights makes me think this person would like to spend more time in their potting shed.

I love this kitchen. I'd venture to guess they either own a bistro, or would like to. Look at the classic elements: bar-like brass railing, a cozy banquette with a giant mirror overhanging. Not to mention that great collection of whiteware displayed. Chances are, they've also been to Paris!

Pendant lights over islands have taken on a design life of their own, but these polished nickel beauties make such an elegant statement. You'd usually see something like this relegated to a formal dining room, but why? If the average family's lifestyle resonates, then this pair of pretties will provide much more visual enjoyment in a more-used place.

These three kitchens are great examples of bringing mirrors and art into the kitchen. I rarely cast doubt on the use of mirrors anywhere, and having one reflect an already-enjoyable space is simply spectacular!

The much-blogged about kitchen by Richard Norris and Mark Leslie, that incorporated an antique French mirror above the stove. The designers had the specific intent of making the kitchen look more like a formal dining room.

They continued the vision with a grid of artwork around the sink area - a clever replacement for a window, I feel.Another take on a large scale mirror in the kitchen

And a more intimate mirror/art combo

If you feel your kitchen is less-than-ideal, consider bringing in items not traditionally placed in a cooking space. Surrounding yourself with items you treasure should be a house-wide endeavor. Happy Rearranging!!
Photos: Barbara Westbrook, Katie Ridder, source unknown, source unknown, Tim Clarke, Norris & Leslie, HB


JMW said...

What beautiful spaces! You're right, we spend so much time in the kitchen that people are making them more like alternate living rooms.

Averill said...

Great ideas, Alison! I think the trend to bringing "real furniture" into once utilitarian spaces has extended to bathrooms as well -- rugs are replacing bathmats, chandeliers are being hung in lieu of simple recessed lighting, etc.

Sarah - La Jeune Marie said...

Great post, great kitchens! I agree that the kitchen is the heart of any home and we should dress it as such. You have provided lovely examples of that concept here!

Morning T said...

I love this post Alison! In my next life I will have many of those elements in my kitchen. Right now I would love to have a kitchen large enough to have a seating area adjacent, so that Naya can do homework and watch tv while I'm in the kitchen. I don't really even cook, so why I'm in the kitchen from 6-8pm every night is totally baffling! :-)

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such beautiful kitchens. Yes, I would love to have one of those, but I am happy with the one I have. Seems we do spend a lot of time in them, so I so agree that we should put some things in them that we really enjoy being surrounded with. Hugs, Marty

Diane @ InMyOwnStyle said...

I just found you thru Beach Brights. I recently posted about the stove and mirror combo in the Richard Norris and Mark Leslie kitchen from House Beautiful. I just love it- it feels so elegant. In my next house for sure.
Diane @ InMyOwnStyle

Chic Coles said...

This is a great collection of kitchens! I like the ones with the rugs in it...disguised as a family room because whenever anyone is making dinner at our house, we all hang out in there together.

Jennie said...

I totally agree with your kitchen post. This is my first time to your site and I completely adore it! May I please link it to my blog ( ? I am just four months into my own interior design blog. Your blog is the first I've stumbled on that I completely agree with! (every else is a bit too shabby chic for me.)

LindsB said...

These are such great ideas! I really love that kitchens are the hub of the house and they should start to feel more like a comfortable room to hang in and not just a place to cook.

Taylor said...

This has to be one of my favorite design related posts I have ever read. You really put a lot of thought into it and pulled out the details of those kitchens...I had seen a lot of the pictures before but never looked at them that way, thanks!

my favorite and my best said...

love the rugs in the first one...big fan of the 1st HB kitchen and that last..i am a sucker for small kitchens. that HB one that opens to the outside patio/garden is what my dream kitchen would look like. but i love that little cramped one in the last image...did i just repeat myself?

Tamy said...

Olá, adorei o seu blog e o fato de vc ter alguma ligação com o Brasil.


Style Maniac said...

Thank you for this post. I have been looking all over for a photo of that kitchen with the ornate mirror over the fireplace. How fabulous!

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