Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Artful Kitchen

Featuring Design Style Guide members.

So many times we see kitchens on TV or in movies that make us want one “just like that”. We may note the stainless appliances and granite counters, the seemingly vast cabinet space and abundance of utensils. But if we pay closer attention to what pulls on our imagination, it is likely to be color and artistic accessories that take us beyond admiration and in to yearning.

Details - it always seems to be the little details that make a mere food preparation area the single place in a home where you can not get guests to leave. The wall colors that make counter tops glisten. The utensil holders that are more than a cluttered container. The butter dish, pepper grinders, cutting boards, and art tucked in otherwise boring spaces under cabinets. These details will turn any kitchen in to a haven of self expression and add the touches that make cooking duties much more pleasurable.

For the sake of this article, let’s say the walls in this kitchen are painted a warm, earthy brown with red undertones. Perhaps there is an accent wall that is deep brick red topped with a Philadelphia Crème ceiling. Let’s assume stainless appliances, a cooktop island and a separate breakfast/dining area. A basic kitchen. How do we dress it up and make it one of those “I want that!” kitchens?

Let’s start with the functional items:

A deep red, copper wire wrapped bottle, by Xanadu2You, filled with olive or cooking oil, on the island near the stove top adds a splash of red to both brighten the counter and pull the eye from the red accent wall in to the center of the kitchen.

An earthy brown spoon rest, by Dovecotedesign, near the stove or on the counter by the oven, ties in the warm brown wall color.

Coordinated with the spoon rest, but adding a bit of cool color to offset the largely warm wall colors is a utensil holder by Kathyart.

Again, using the red accent wall as inspiration, deeply colored cutting boards bring art to the counter or table as you serve and trivets cover burners with color and distinction. By Debra Linker.

Remove apples from storage places to this distinctive bowl by PatsPottery.

Speaking of serving, imagine your salad in dbabcock’s salad serving set!

Strategically placed on a counter with a brown wall backdrop, this red candle by MadHattersPottery will tie the colors in the room together. Lighting the candle adds a subtle, warm aesthetic to offset the cold stainless appliance.

And now for the wall art. It is very common for kitchens to have awkward wall space - tall and skinny and seemingly useless. Consider brightly colored paintings in the same aspect ratio as the wall space such as this Tuscan Vineyard scene by RenieBritenbucher.

My favorite trick … utilizing the space between overhead cabinets and counter tops. It is usually a narrow space, and often dark. Small art, even 6” in height, is very suitable for these areas, and will add drama and color to an otherwise boring, ignored but very visible area. See LanitaPhoto’s pears.

Or consider well spaced triptych’s such as Debra Linker’s small format fruit set.

For otherwise unadorned areas such as above light switches or in the space between the pantry door and the wall corner, consider three dimensional pieces such as NatureStudio’s leaf.

Another area of the kitchen which is either cluttered or ignored completely and is an ideal spot to add character to the room is a window sill. Picture a detailed, even whimsical silhouette by Mountainbrook.

The opportunities to make your kitchen a showcase of art and style, search the Design Style Guide using your imagination and you will find no shortage of functional, artful kitchen accessories. Be warned - these accessories will likely become necessities once you start looking around your own kitchen for the opportunities awaiting you!

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