Design Around This #4: Formica Patterns are coooool!

cawapsNovember 19, 2011

The exercise today focuses on patterned laminate. Patterned laminate was extremely popular in the mid-century period, but faux wood designs rose to prominence in the 70s and now stone looks are dominant. However, manufacturers continue to offer some (non-stone, non-wood) patterns. Some of these are abstracts, some are based on ceramics or textiles.

I was going to limit this to just one pattern, maybe in multiple colors. But I wanted to highlight the diversity of laminate pattens (one of the big advantages of the material), so I'm opening up to any distinctly patterned laminate (speckles are a pattern, but not what I hav in mind for this exercise).

Here are some of Formica's patterns. If you want to go off this list, for example to another laminate manufacturer, that's fine, but the laminate should have a distinctive (non-stone, non-wood) pattern.

Formica's European website showed a much greater selection of bold patterns in vivid colors. I'm okay with you using these, but be aware that IRL you'd have to go to a lot of work and expense to import them:

A Brief History of Formica (and laminate countertops in general)

Formica, a combination of fibers and thermosetting resin, was first invented in 1913 as an electrical insulator. The inventors soon found other applications for the material. Patterned laminate was introduced in 1927, and laminate counters came into limited use at that time. But laminate counters really took off in kitchens in 1938 when the development of melamine thermosetting resin made the material more heat resistant.

Textolite samples (Source:

The last sample in the second row is what my mother still has in her 1960 kitchen.

Formica samples (source

Interesting links:


> Do your homework first. This isn't such a huge part of the present exercise compared to the historic homes exercises)but I've thrown in some information here for your edification.

> Be unique. Patterned laminate was extremely popular in mid-century design, but don't feel you need to restrict yourself to homes of that era, since patterns have continued to be manufactured and used since then. Your laminate doesn't have to be a countertop. It could be a tabletop, or whatever application you want.

> Put it in context. Your design should flow from the look of the house.

> Use a realistic budget. Laminate is a budget material, but if you want to go more upscale, that's okay too.

> Show your work. Explain and rationalize your choices.

> Critique others and accept criticism yourself. You spend a lot of time on your design, and you deserve some constructive feedback, good and bad. Don't make criticisms personal, and don't take criticisms personally. This isn't a finished kitchens thread so nobody has to pretend to like something they don't.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok I rushed this because I have a very busy for 15 4 and 5 y/o girls at my house tomorrow.
My design is envisioned in a 1950's cape for a young family early 30s. They want a modern retro 50s feel. They have built the scheme around beluga formica they will use for the counters and they do not need a backsplash. They will have only lower green cabs and there is a small eat in area. They are tossing around the idea of having croco linoleum for flooring but they also think small plank light oak would also be appropriate. The light is a larger ticket purchase, as are the chairs, but everything else is budget oriented. the walls will be painted similar to the boards boarder color. I realize there are probally many elements I have excluded in my design sorry but if I do not do it now I may not have the time this round to play and I am really enjoying these challanges and am hopefully learning alot too.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm no designer so I just lurk on these threads, but oh my! roarah - love those choices! The pulls, the sink, and that light!! My home is more traditional, but I just LOVE seeing these alternate choices. Please tell us more (like who makes that light?)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I chose the Beluga. My kitchen is modest-budget transitional.

Cabinets - White square backsplash tile - Metal liner - Walker Zanger accent tile in white. Adura Vibe vinyl floor tile.

Doorstyle - White appliances - primary and secondary hardware - chairs

Table - white glass chandelier - art.

I chose the blue accent color in the art because the color of a typical Beluga Caviar tin is a deep blue.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That white glass chandelier is to die for, really love it with the Beluga. For some reason latley I'm fixated on fixtures as being the star art of the room.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really like the Beluga that you guys picked. But I would like to see more color in these pallets. Or maybe it is more color with some warmed. Not to blow my mind though, but to balance me.

I like the picture Pal.

Roarah, that pull with the boomerang is great, as is the funky light fixture.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You guys, I HAVE beluga in my kitchen! I'm loving this! I won't post my finished kitchen pics because that isn't in the spirit of these threads, but I'm loving seeing what people are coming up with to go with the beluga.

(I mostly lurk here, but have been loving the Design Around This threads.)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A couple in their late 50's who've taken early retirement and sold the family home purchase a downtown loft with an industrial vibe. They don't want to spend a lot of money on furnishings, as they'd rather spend it on travel. So, they paint the walls white and clear coat the concrete floors in the entire unit, and while they are waiting on that to cure, they take a trip to Ikea. Abstrakt Grey cabinets are loaded onto the trailer to make the trip home. Thank goodness for the freight elevator! While they are sitting on the floor putting together the cabinets, the wife has a brainstorm about how to bring some color and life to the space. She has taken thousands of photos in their travels, so they'll turn one of those into a photo mural that will cover the wall bridging the kitchen and dining areas.

It feels fun an funky and perfect for the mood they want to set. They have a direction now, so the wife searches for laminate counters to go with the Abstract Gray cabinets. She finds Wilsonart's Rose Bouquet, which is a special order, but when she asks about it, she's pleasantly surprised at how reasonable it is.

They then hit the thrift stores and antique spots and come up with a repro Sputnik chandelier to put above the Noguchi dining table with the Eames fiberglass chairs. The big finds were the hot pink lacquer buffet and the complete set of 4 barstools to be placed at the island bar. Some Doug Mockett pulls and the plain stainless Ikea sink are installed as finishing touches to the kitchen, and they paint the spiral staircase leading to the sleeping loft a bright pink. The special order counters aren't in yet, but they and the Home Depot Merola ceramic pebble tile backsplash and the rest of the space can wait until they get back from their trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Cabinet door - Large format tile backsplash with alternating silver or bronze liner tile - brushed bronze hardware and fixtures - Adura Vibe vinyl floor - stainless steel appliances.

It would be easy to go with blue grey as the secondary color and keep the light fixture in the gold0brown colorway:
However, you could shift into a grey blue colorway, That could be picked up in the chairs:
and maybe some kind of blue top on the brass table pedestal:

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 5:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chigaoans the light fixture is from Lindsey adelman studios and I think you should try to make a mood board it is a lot of fun and a bit addictive! I really should be making cakes and truffles for a party but I keep wanting to do another mood board!:)

Pal I wish I had choosen a different formica:) Your board is lovely. I have those chairs cut out too but chickened out and went for a safer color in the end and I thought the curve mimiced the sink...

LWO again yours is wonderfully colorful! My mom, also retired, is very into pink, in decor, all of a sudden. She says it makes her feel happy and young. She had never liked or used pink til recently! Your board makes me smile. It is something I would not use but would be thrilled if my mom did!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Laura is a single woman in her mid-twenties. Her first home purchase is an older mobile home that needs fixing up. She is going for a mid-century feel but doing most of her shopping at Ikea. She's going for a colorful, fun, young look.

Cabinet Ikea Rubrik
Uppers Ikea Avsikt

Counter Formica Dogbone White & backsplash is striped approximating the fabric shown using different colors and widths of tile

Hardware is Ikea Satta knobs & pulls in white (for the lowers) and green (for the uppers); paint is BM Hawaiian Breeze


Ikea table and chairs. The stool is similar to a mid-century one her mother had,

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't got the time to post pictures but I definitely was impressed with the laminate faux polished aluminum patterns when I was working on my kitchen; very different from the faux stones--scallops of arcing sheen.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A couple in their early 40s, young children. Middle of the road kind of budget. They met teaching in Japan, now live in a bright 1960s bungalow and appreciate modern design.

They choose Formica for their backsplash wall - it will cover the full wall, no upper cabinets, just an open teak shelf.

Teak counters run the length of the main kitchen run:

Black matte cabinets

with a black and teak island like this:

With these pulls (second one):

sushi plate

Wegner Teak table and chairs


Furniture in the adjoining sitting room

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, I should have specified: Formica - Fossil

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's funny that we have 3 kitchens with Beluga or Beluga Beige already (and one poster who has it IRL). I initally was going to choose just one pattern (in multiple colors) and was going to go with Beluga. Then I decided to highlight the variety in the material by being inclusive.

I like all three of the Beluga kitchens. I especially like Pal's use of the bubbly WZ accent tile in his first. The vinyl floor in the second manages to look elegant in the second one with the brushed bronze harware. Roarah, I like the color of your cabinets, but the distressed finished seems at odd with the other elements. I love that you used the Marmoleum croco--that was my second choice of material for this exercise.

LWO, your kitchen is so far over the top I don't know what to say. Just, wow.

Sochi, I love yours. Every time I got to the next design element, I was like, "Oooh!" and the the next one, "Oooooooh!" Very Zen.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sochi: awesome job. I responded to each design element just like cawaps did.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just want to say I am LOVING these design threads.

Best thing to happen on GW in a dog's age.

All your kitchens are quite interesting.

(But Pal is NKI).

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 6:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ooh, I am lovin' all of these!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roarah, your pull is called a Whale's Tail, and that's interesting because along with Beluga Caviar, there are also Beluga Whales. I try to stick connections in designs sometimes even if they aren't discernible.

I don't know what NKI means, except Nash-Kelvinator-International--and they used the acronym for a prototype car that became the Nash Metropolitan. The first picture that popped up for Nash Metropolitan would go perfectly with Live Wire Oak's concept:

Sochi, I like the formica you picked, the color and the sculpting. I would like that "middle of the road" budget Hans Wegner Chair at $2500-3500 :D

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, you get a gold star! I picked it by googleing nautical kitchen hardware! I intially was going for a wave theme with a boat shaped island I saw, but it was too much of a theme kitchen, so I changed directions but needed to keep those great pulls!
Yes cawaps the cabs are not perfect but the color felt right to me so I used a inspiration pic I already had in my photobucket.
Sochi, You are very talented!!!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LWO - I'm wondering if anyone could live with the rose counters IRL, maybe on a island or table top, but a full counter? Fabulous small outdoor table for two perhaps?

Let's talk about taking your favourite pictures and using them in a kitchen. Wall murals for sure, or if you have no uppers, put art on your walls. I like your flamingos, in fact my DH has a cool picture of a flamingo I've often wanted to do something with (pasted below). A cool mural for sure. What about using a plexiglass type removable backsplash and putting pictures behind that? I've seen pictures of wonderful tile / mural backsplashes, what about using a photograph?


palimpsest - I should have specified "cheap(er) knock-off versions" of the Wegner chairs!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since my colorful loft kitchen makes some people's eyes bleed (LOL!) How about a neutral one instead.

Formica Tangled Seaweed

Earthy grey cabinets

A bit of Mission Trebol patterned tile

Some Damask Wallpaper

Add in rustic bronze knobs and pulls, a Cafe Brown Silgranit sink with Premier bronze faucet, a natural oak Essex dining table, Patara dining chairs, a bronze Maitland Smith sideboard with some retro lamps, a modern grey and tan wool rug, Landmark Lighting Cirque fixture above the dining table, and a tan drum shade island fixture for the island. All grounded on gold travertine floors and a custom light taupe paint for most of the walls.

Neutrals do not have to be boring. :)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is a great neutral palette. You are right, they don't have to be boring. (but they really lose something when the neutrals are non-correlated, or the 'p-p of color' is not a compatible one).

That might be a good design around too: non-banal neutral.
Although I am looking forward to an Amerituscan challenge.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With all of the talk about the OTK, maybe we should put a white kitchen on the list---minus white subways and marble. Force some creativity and out of the "kit" thinking. An almost all white space is very hard to do right.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK...this is my first time with one of these design threads but I'll give it a shot.

Not anything earth shattering, but my kitchen has a coastal/beachy theme.

I'm building around these Formica Fossil Weft counters with a metal banded edge:

Soft blue/green glass subways backsplash:

Beadboard type cabinets but uppers would have seeded glass:

Let's put some reclaimed driftwood floors in there:

This rustic kitchen island painted a darker brown/grey

I'm going to brighten up the walls with BM Hawthorne Yellow

Appliances will be stainless; sink will be a Kohler cast iron.

Nautical type lanterns over the island:

A simple chandelier for over the table:

Table and chairs:

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Designed for a late 20's/early 30's single man who has a large, long great room, with a kitchen wall at one end and an entertainment wall in the living area at the other end. There is an open area between for a dining table and chairs.

The living room entertainment wall:

The sofa for flopping on while watching sports or movies:

The kitchen is all on one wall with Charcoal Boomarang Formica covering the entire wall. There are open stainless steel shelves on the wall instead of upper cabinets. The countertop is Graphite Grafix Formica and the lower cabinets are all stainless steel. Stellar mini pendants hang over the Silgranite Anthracite sink with Kohler matte black faucet. All the appliances are black and the young man has a black tool cart with drawers topped with a thick butcherblock for an "island". The floor of the entire great room is Camelion concrete tiles in dark gray, silver, and white.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chocolatebunny, I LOVE your color palette and beachy idea. And I like most of your choices. Here's the "but". :) I think the backsplash being so close to the counter creates a color monoblock that doesn't let you notice each individual item. Maybe a lighter or darker laminate with the blue tile? It's the same with the floor, island, and table. They are virtually identical in tone, so that they would all blend into each other. Maybe if your floors were a ligher almost white/grey driftwood color?

Kode, wow! I really LOVE those tiles. I have to research them now. The room sure puts off a cohesive manly vibe. I can feel the testosterone from here! :) It's certainly the room of a young man (or a divorced man of 50! LOL!), but I find it a bit severe even for the most die hard techno dude. Myabe softer upholstered chairs for the dining table and some fabric for window treatments? And although I LOVE the stainless cabinets, one of them would break the bank for someone trying to do a more budget kitchen. Love the toolbox island. I actually have a 1950s red Snap-On chest that I'm contemplating doing the same thing with for the pantry area so it's good to know I'm not insane for thinking about it.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks LWO - that's a huge compliment :) I was *really* in a hurry when I did this (about to run out the door to work) so I didn't take the time to find all the exact hues I wanted. I have seen glass tile that was slightly lighter than the one I posted but in my rush I couldn't find it. If I were planning this for real I would make the island very dark and the floors lighter like you suggested (but not as white as the cabinets).

I love what everyone has come up with. A very cool exercise :)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LiveWireOak, your flamingo kitchen is wondrously kitchy. Awesome.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I picked a laminate that I would be least likely to pick and planned a kitchen around it. Its not for everybody.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Formica Hunter Green
Dynasty-Omega Door
Daltile Navy ceramic tile
Ann Sacks trend Aureo accent tile
Baldwin Knob
Kohler Faucet
Forbo Floor
Bertazzoni Range
Visual Comfort Lighting.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, I think you need to sell that kitchen to RL Home.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Second go:

Client is a couple with 2 children. This is a second, vacation home, a cabin in the Sierras. The couples tastes run to modern, but they wanted rustic for the cabin. The tension between modern and rustic led to the following choices.


Backsplash Marmoleum Butter and Counter Formica Earthen Warp; Cabinets are kaffe quartersawn oak Shaker; floor is porcelain stone-look tile in taupe


Sink & Vintage McCoy Pottery

Table and chairs

I'm taking off for the holdiay and won't be connected. Looking forward to seeing all the designs when I get back (and maybe a new thread by then).

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, I'm afraid your blue/green kitchen is disqualified on the grounds that forest green Formica doesn't have a distinct pattern. (Disqualified from what?, you may ask. It's not like there are prizes). I want to try to keep folks focused on patterns for this thread. We can do bold-colored solid laminate in another thread.

When I first looked at your post, I couldn't figure out what the Trend Aureo tile was. It looked like the fiberglass mesh backing for mosaics. Once I had the tile name, I Googled it and figured out what I was looking at. It's funny that so elegant a tile can look like somthing so pedestrian.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ralph Lauren? Is that good or bad?
Disqualified? I know that's bad. I just got excited about using an unfashionable laminate that they still make...ah well. :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My clients are in their 50's, new to Boca Raton and want Bling. They are trying to break in to the "ARTS crowd".

My countertop pick is the Spring gold.

The backsplash is mirrored wall paper.

The cabinets are custom.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, I love those blue cabinets and green range. It's an intensely traditional vibe, but updated. I just don't think laminate "works" with that kitchen though, given the level of the rest of the materials. I think a quiet green granite or quartz would be at home though. Your other kitchens are perfection, as usual.

Capaws, the butter yellow and taupe is almost too sophisticated for a cabin in the Sierras. It's main house material to me! Especially with those lights. They pull a little formal for a cabin. It is a peaceful and restful vibe and the pattern you chose does work visually.

To me, laminate is about cheap and fun. If you want to play it safe for the next 15 years, there are plenty more materials to choose from. It's not "disposable". But it is a lot less serious. Look at the Europeans and their relationship with laminate. It's a favored material for cabinets there because of the ability to print darn near anything on laminate and have it be a decent wear surace. Just look at this interior door in a laminate design.

And this sliding closet door in laminate with a print.

This is what you can do with laminate!

And yes, you can still do "wood" laminates more affordably than the real thing and still have it look great.

Because of it's whimsy, I think my favorite kitchen in this is Live Wire's wild kitsch one. Who couldn't smile every day coming home to flamingos! For those that think the rose counter is a little much, what about Molten Glass Blue instead?

Cawaps turquoise and lime Ikea kitchen is also fun and low budget. It also makes me smile.

The kitchens with the broadest appeal, meaning interesting but neutral, would have to be Sochi's's, Pal's Neutral Beluga, Live Wire's second kitchen, and Cawap's yellow and tan one. That's not meant as either complimentary or critical. Just factual. Neutrals appeal to a lot of people, but it's harder than most think to make their house work in neutrals. These kitchens get neutrals right, although some secondary soft color is used in 3 out of the 4. I debated on terming the other grey Beluga kitchens as neutrals and decided that because the green was a bit more intense and present than the grey, they didn't qualify as "neutral", even though they work well. And although Kode's kitchen is also technically nothing but neutrals, it scares me. :) It has great cohesion and plenty of interesting choices, but I think that kitchen is waiting on it's first blood sacrifice to become sentient!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And you wondered why the table and chairs were such easy-to-clean plastic and no fabrics...

Blood red is such an interesting accent color, don't you think?


    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just wanted to say I love this thread....really love the rose countertops. And also like Palimpsest's design (even if it disqualifies)...the color scheme would go well with the burgundy with navy/hunter green/yellow designed wallpaper I found as one of the layers in our kitchen walls. Too dark for our north facing space, though!

We are going to be replacing our laminate counters with new in our upcoming remodel, and as we're looking for laminate patterns, this thread is great!
This is one choice we're considering. Although it's a faux wood, which we didn't want, I'm hoping it looks kind of kitschy...have to go see it in person:

Also love the name-- Pionite's Leave Likatre :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wallpaper/ Door / Laminate (it's white that's the picture
Knob/ Chair and Table
Granitewear lamp / Floor.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cheated: since I'm going to use laminate, I used my own kitchen. If that is too personal for the exercise and disqualifies me, then please feel free to move along to the next post. :) Even if my moodboards are bad, I've really enjoyed working through this after reading the other Design threads for how you-all have come up with your designs.

The house is in a lovely location near national forests and a small river runs through the property; the stone fireplace and oak paneling is rustic (along with all the views outside) but the overall design is more contemporary. Unfortunately, the builders made everything brown or tan in the whole '80s house. Golds, greens, and dark-wood-color (accent to the golden oak cabs) have been introduced.

Retirement=fixed income=DIY + extremely careful spending

The golden oak cabs aren't in style but fit well enough with the contemporary side of the house while the copper hinges fit the rustic side. The tile goes through most of the house and, with two dogs and lots of dirt and snow outside the door, the easy upkeep and the no-cost of keeping it are no-brainers. Existing white dishwasher and fridge that'll stay til they die. Replacing the slow original electric smoothtop with the gas SS cooktop was a splurge that pays for itself every time a meal can be prepared when the weather takes out the power.

A neighbor has had the sink sitting in their field for a few decades and is very grateful to get rid of it.

At first Dogbone White was a favorite (dogs rule!) since the counter would be right next to the white sink and the gray of the SS cooktop and the dogbone pattern went with the vintage sink. The quilted SS backsplash seemed to go well with the gray dogbones and SS cooktop. Oh, and vintage white enamel light and a couple SS bar pulls for the pantries that flanked the sink run.

Except instead of a bland tan kitchen it'd be a bland tan and gray one. Blech.

Moving on to the best color, green, Formica Grass, Tangle Seaweed, and Seagrass Strand stood out since they had green but also amber that maybe pulled in the cab color and white for the sink and appliances. But do the Seagrass 'Strands' echo the river running outside the window? Seems like a neat idea. The Fasade copper quilted backsplash pattern pulls in the copper hinges and is very contemporary but the copper maybe made it somewhat rustic as well, at least more rustic than SS would be. Two of these pulls for the pantrys that flanked the sink run are affordable; no other cabs have hardware at all which is fine. The light is something findable in the local area and DH can make the fixtures, especially if copper pipe is used instead of conduit.

It still doesn't have a lot of color but ''it'll be fine.''

But since the redo isn't happening until next year, there's more time to look at lots and lots of kitchens on the web. And this tile popped up with green, tan, and white like Seagrass Strand. But blue too, does that add too many colors? And pine trees, mountains, and maybe a river just like what's outside the kitchen window. This is expensive tile but using Talavera tile as the field brings the cost down.

The blue is the wall color, a deeply pigmented natural clay plaster.

What do you think?

Thanks to those who hung in there through the whole post!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mtnfever, I love the greens and blues with the pale green/white laminate. It really works. What unfortunately doesn't work is the golden oak cabinets. If you gel stained them a darker brown similar to the brown in the patterned tile, that would work.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think RL is bad, but I could be wrong.

jterrilynn - holy cow. I think your 50s couple and LWO's couple need to meet. What is happening to these 50 somethings? They sure are stepping out there (which is a good thing, just to be clear). I think all your elements hang together well, but I'm still trying to take it all in. Is that a shoe encased in amber??

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cawaps - I love your IKEA kitchen, fresh and fun. I'm a big fan of greens and browns, so I really like your first kitchen too. That 'beluga' pull is fantastic.

Mtnfever - everything looks great to my eye. I agree with GreenDesigns about the oak though - could you possibly stain or paint it?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the RL blue+green could work, I wanted to do something intense with plain materials, but green marble or something would be better I guess. It would also work with all nickel metals. I like to put together experimental schemes that wouldn't be livable for a lot of people but might be for somebody. I wouldn't want the blue+green one myself, but maybe in the right kind of house.

I would like to do something with the Bacterio laminate by Ettore Sottsass.

I like the Seagrass strand and that scenic tile a lot.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sochi, oh you got me laughing so hard at myself...I just noticed it was a shoe in the amber, I thought it was a big bug lol. Leave it to you to notice the shoe!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know if it's from all the practice on the first three Design Arounds or if formica is just that inspiring but I think these kitchens are the best so far. They tend to be more creative and fun yet something people could actually live with. I still have no idea how you all find these images so quickly though.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mother had a pretty stylish house. I have only vague memories of our home from the mid '70s. She probably did the bulk of the design in the late 1960s. By the '80s she had redone the house in brass and peach, but from the mid to late 1960s until the mid to late '70s our suburban bungalow was pretty unique. (Well, our '80s house was unique too, but I don't like it as much. I still have an aversion to brass and peach). I've been trying to do a modern living room modeled on our 1970s LR, I'll probably post on the decorating forum eventually. I really don't know what to call her 'style,', so I'd like to know what others think.

Anyway, I thought I'd try to take her LR palette and create a kitchen. I don't think this is neutral...

Starting with Wilsonart Laminate Counters - there is a wave or feather like pattern to it.

The colour scheme:

Cabinets like these, but in a mustard yellowy orange, like the colour above:

Goya red wall paper with thread-like mustard accents:

I want to use this wallpaper as an accent, perhaps behind glass as a backsplash?

Yes, this fridge is from Europe, but I couldn't easily find a chocolate brown fridge in NA. Shame. We had brown appliances in my '70s kitchen:

There was a fair amount of spanish styled wrought iron in our house:

And a quick glimpse into the living room:

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

GreenDesigns, Sochi, and Palimpsest, thank you for your feedback! I got out my Seagrass Strand 5x7 sample this morning and DH even made a point of saying he liked it! He's been resisting all kitchen talk (he's still recovering from a major bath remodel) so this is a step forward :).

I will think hard about staining the cabs darker like the floor tile grout color. Changing the cab color raises other questions that I'll post separately when I get closer to something happening.

Meanwhile, the Formica blog shows design trends from Neocon where fabrics are based on science ala Pal's ''germy'' fabric ;) .

I think these would look great in a truly Atomic home. We live very close to Los Alamos (and somewhat windward, which is not so good, potentially) and if we really lived there, it would be so cool to have the chartreuse design on the wall, table, or countertop.

thanks again, and cheers

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So what next?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been out for a week, so I'm catching up.

GreenDesigns, thanks for posting the Euro pics. Laminate is fun, and I think we in the U.S. have lost our appreciation for that. I've loved seeing the different laminates people found to work with--those roses! And the Molten Glass Blue!!

Sochi, you credited me with the kitchen with the Beluga pulls--that was Roarah (gorgeous kitchen).

Pal, I like the B/W kitchen. Which of the Marmoeum graphic series is that? It looks like a slate gray background rather than black, and I think I'd like to see a sharp B/W (Sgraffito rather than Signo or Dry Point).

GreenDesigns, you said, "Butter yellow and taupe is almost too sophisticated for a cabin in the Sierras." I totally agree. My "story" was a client (not that I'm actually a pro) who SAID they wanted rustic, but rejected things that were actually rustic and kept drifting toward a sleeker modern look. "You know, rustic, but modern." The resulting kitchen would be considered "rustic" by no one but the fictional clients.

Mtnfever, I like the last set of tile you posted. Very pretty. I like the Seagrass strand, but I think the tangled seaweed would tie in well with the existing Oak cabinets. I didn't think the dogbone white/stainless would work with the oak. Good luck with your choices!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 12:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marcolo was keen to do "Tasteful Tuscan." I'd be okay with that, since we did a material this time. But I cetainly don't feel qualified to expound on what defines a "Tuscan" kitchen. Hopefully Marcolo will read and launch the next thread.

Or we can open the floor to other suggestions. LWO suggested "With all of the talk about the OTK, maybe we should put a white kitchen on the list---minus white subways and marble. Force some creativity and out of the "kit" thinking. An almost all white space is very hard to do right."

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't get my head around how to do Tasteful Tuscan. I'd be interested in seeing if it is possible I guess. LWO's suggestion of all white out of the kit thinking I'd like to see.

Anyone else have a preference?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm voting for Non-Disney Tuscan as the next one. It's something that a lot of people have interest in, and yet is often done badly or cartoonish. It will make people really think and work on the definition of Tuscan vs. Americanized Fantasy Tuscan. Thinking outside of the grapevine and wine kit should be good mental exercise!

Suggestions here.....Then maybe some kind of interesting material (Corian, RTA cabinets from a box store or Ikea, sheet vinyl, tile counters) that sees little exposure here. And then maybe the white kitchens for white Christmas week through New Years when everyone is going to be bored with the holidays and ready for school to take up again.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LWO, are you suggesting doing "real" Tuscan, not American fantasy Tuscan? I'm all for that, but I interpreted "tasteful Tuscan" and keeping the weird American Tuscan fantasy but trying to make it tasteful.

As for other materials for a later date, I really do think that using knotty pine would be a great challenge. I dislike it, but I've seen a few neat spaces with KP lately (not kitchens though). Plywood panels is another related material I've seen used in interesting ways of late.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would be up for the Tasteful Tuscan or tuscAmerican (and the all-white, but I did a near all white in the first one).

I would say look at "Tuscan" kitchens as one finds in google images, then look at pictures of real Italian kitchens. The latter images aren't easy to find, and a lot of Italian kitchens seem to be bits of IKEA stuck in a really old house.

Then come up with a kitchen that connotes to you good taste and old world or Italian and make it something that fits in a real American sagging ceiling and such a la Tuscan outbuilding.

If that seems ok I will start a thread on it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok on the tuscan for me as well, although I'm about to get real busy to play.
I have an idea for an exercise here, maybe down the road though. A few days ago I got my Black & White catalog (it's a nice clothing store for women) and I could not believe the early to mid-eighties fashion rip-offs shown. Of course it was all done with a spin. Instead of the Miami Vice Don Johnston white suit for men they had the same style for women. I saw all the dresses I wore at the tail end of the Disco days except these were about 8 or 9 inches longer. Most all the models had the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love hair and makeup like the vid below. Anyone remember the wide waist belts?
I had dresses exactly like this but the accents were gold not gray or sliver tone.
The kitchen exercise could involve correlations between fashion and home decor and your individual take on it. I think as there are so many talented people on here it would be kind of neat to look back on a thread like this and see if anyone here accurately predicted the "next" new kitchen looks in the next few years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, I think we have a consensus on a Tuscan reinterpretation, so if you would be so kind as to start the thread. I wouldn't have a clue on how to introduce it or define the style. Please repeat Marcolo's rules (go back to the 1920s thread for the full list; I omitted at least one that didn't apply.

Googling Cucina Toscana is more likely to turn up authentic Italian kitchens (on Italian language websites) than "Tuscan Kitchen" (although you get a lot of U.S. restaurants, and a lot of food pics, too).

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 7:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Undermount sink keeps separating from granite
We recently had granite installed in our kitchen and...
Need floorplan advice/help
Hello everyone! Looking for floorplan advice on our...
Gap between backsplash and over-the-range microwave?
Hi, all. Does anyone have an over-the-range microwave...
Ikea Cabinets & Butcherblock - Quality?
We're about 95% sure we're replacing our cabinets....
Liebherr cs2062 door badly scratched
Hi everyone, I am considering the purchase of a "scratch...
Chris Treadwell
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™