The late wordsmith Mason Cooley had a point when he said, “No chaos, no creation. Evidence: the kitchen at mealtime.” Rarely do the two intersect as elegantly as they do when the aroma of a hot meal wafts through a house, signaling family and friends to congregate in the one area where cleanliness, organization and room to breathe are most important.
But out of the chaos comes creation, whether it’s the perfect plating of mom’s culinary efforts or an idea that pops in the domestic chef’s head while wondering if there’s a better place to store pots and pans. A well-designed kitchen can be a motivator, an idea generator and an inviting (or not, depending on exactly how many kids come running when dinner’s almost ready) hangout space with its very own identity separate of the more attention-getting living room.
Houzz.com, the rapidly growing interior design and home improvement site, recently showcased the many styles a kitchen can take on to make it unique unto itself. Among them: Classic, Eclectic, Cottage, Transitional and Contemporary. But I’d like to zoom in on a few that I believe make the biggest immediate difference in your home: Parisian Bistro, Mediterranean and Craftsman styles.
When in America… Do as the Parisians Do Anyway
Imagine the Belle Epoche-era bourgeoisie of Paris in your own home; can-can dancers grabbing a stool after a night at the Moulin Rouge, Gauguin and Matisse sipping coffee, bohemians and socialites talking smack… one of European history’s most interesting and aesthetically pleasing eras come to life in the same place you attach your kid’s daily drawings to the refrigerator door. What’s not to love?
The bistro-style kitchen tends to feature vintage furniture, marble accents, stainless steel appliances, even menu-style chalkboards. Here are a few more foundational considerations to remember:
·A zinc bar top screams “bistro!” Just don’t set that boiling pot on it for too long. It’ll leave a mark.
·True to the atmosphere of an operational bistro, be sure your cookware’s out and on full display.
·Go with rattan bistro chairs if your wallet allows.
Spanish revival has been… revived! A properly designed Mediterranean-style kitchen can be just as evocative as the Parisian bistro, but in very different ways. It should convey a bit of the sexiness that comes with the climate – ocean breezes, warm sensuality and a Vicki Christina Barcelona musicality will all lend your kitchen the feel of an everlasting vacation without the nightmare cruise to get there.
·Heavy metal without the headbanging! Wrought iron pots and pans help sell the image.
·For colors, go warm and textured (i.e. stucco) Venetian plaster or drywall mud.
A Simple Plan
Despite its Sears-y name, the craftsman-style kitchen isn’t just for dads who’d rather not bother with flair. Oak is suggestive of setting down roots and naturalism, and may be best suited for people with children, who might appreciate the simplicity of upkeep, longevity and spill resistance that a wood-heavy kitchen provides. But an overly bare craftsman kitchen can too easily feel newly lived-in, unfinished, if you’re not careful. Decorate with the same simplicity and elegance, mind your colors and keep the lines strong and watch it come to life!