Getting there from here, or how did it go so wrong?

live_wire_oakNovember 18, 2011

You start your brand new journey into madness with a magazine pic. Your inspiration. That's IT! The ONE! I want my kitchen to look EXACTLY like that!

And yet, when you are done, your kitchen looks like this:

What the heck happened? Why doesn't my kitchen look like my inspiration?

1. Layout schmayout. Why do I need to move anything around? Yeah, so I only have 18" between my sink and stove and stand in that corner for everything I do in the kitchen. I've lived with this for 10 years and gotten used to it. It's fine.

2. Wow! cherry is expensive! I'll save $1200 by going with oak instead. It's close, so it'll be fine.

3. Full overlay doors are $800 more than partial overlay doors. No one will will ever notice the difference. It'll be fine.

4. I know the KD is recommending honed Absolute Black, but black counters are just so DARK! I want my kitchen to be light and bright. I'll go with a light countertop instead. It'll be fine.

5. Wood floors in a kitchen make me nervous. What if it leaks? Tile will stand up to a flood much better. I'll go with tile. But I hate cleaning grout, so I'll pick a dark grout that won't show dirt. I'm all about easy care and this will be fine.

6.That black crown molding is going to be dated at some point and I'll wonder why I spent my money on it. I'll just do the plain wood. It'll be fine.

7.I'll go ahead and replace the fridge, because the ice maker is shot, but why should I buy new appliances when the others I have are still working? It'll be fine.

8. Undercabinet lighting? Recessed lighting? Are they serious? I've lived without it all these years and I'm not spending money on that now. It'll be fine.

9. Wrought iron knobs? Nah, the black will show all kinds of dirt. Nickel will be a lot easier to clean. It'll be fine.

10.OMG! My kitchen is so beige and brown and boring! And it's dark with that dark wood. I'll hang that light in the spare room above the sink. And I'll paint the walls red for a POP of color. It's fine.

And, it's---well, fine. It's a new kitchen. With the selection of decent quality products, it will last you a while. It's not BAD. It's not ugly.

It's just not ANYTHING like it could have been!

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LOL! That is so on the mark! I can just hear all of these things coming out of my mouth! I think this post has shown how that kind of rationalizing can really work against our "vision". Thanks for the reminder to stay true to our inspiration!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Dear Abby used to repeatedly run a column on why people didn't like the pie they made from the recipe after substituting for this or that so it must be a bum recipe. :)

Harken ladies and gentlemen!! When you choose a magazine for your inspiration picture, make sure it fits what you want to do! There are a lot of looks that I like in other people's kitchens that would never do in mine, including those black counters.

LWO, are the clients happy? Did it really go "wrong"? Or is this one of those things where the parts of the inspiration picture they really wanted were the round knobs, sunny window and medium toned wood? If they really like those red walls, maybe it is. Not everyone wants gorgeous and snappy, and some people are much happier holding the line on the budget than getting something really really nice for a larger investment. Different strokes and all.

And there are people here who think their new kitchens are beige and boring before things are moved in, clutter is on the counters, and people are moving around. That's why they choose neutral colors to begin with, to give a resting place for the eye beyond all the ruckus of their lives.

So I choose to hope these people are really satisfied with what they've gotten, even though it doesn't have the style of the inspiration picture.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Fori is not pleased

I don't know if this is supposed to represent an actual thought process or just a hypothetical.

Personally, I think the oak kitchen would require less work to make it into a good kitchen than the inspiration photo!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:53PM
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Hilarious. I feel like there's a groundswell movement on this board. Occupy Bad Designing.

I'm glad to see that people are being directly challenged now when they post an inspiration pic followed by a series of choices that completely violate every aspect of their goal. Design is not a Colorforms exercise, where you get to pick your favorite element from this design and another element from that design, and have them automatically work together. And those who coo "Do what YOU love" are performing the worst disservice of all--that phrase is appropriate only when someone with a solid vision keeps getting overruled by their contractor, husband or mother-in-law.

This all reminds me of a comment pal made in another thread about why some people can't draw. They can't see what is actually in front of them, a wavy series of specific lines and angles and curves that make a neck. They see the neck in their head, which they know is sort of a tube, and thus they draw pictures like a five year old.

Same thing happens with inspiration pictures--people don't actually see what's in front of them. You should ask yourself, what do I see here? List the elements in words, if that helps. I see strong contrast between certain elements. I see horizontal linearity, two parallel lines made by the crown and countertop. I see reddish wood, not yellow wood. And so on. Figure out which of the things on the list are things you really like. If it isn't that many, go find another inspiration.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Your inspiration picture got you motivated to start, so that's a good thing !

Don't beat yourself up, you did what you had to do and your kitchen
looks very nice and fresh.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:00PM
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Fori is not pleased

They aren't even from the same decade are they?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:36PM
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First reaction: ouch, that hits too close to home.
Second reaction: thanks for such a good thought exercise.

I'm still in the planning stages. I have a death grip on the throat of our budget restrictions (or maybe the budget has me in a death grip.) Our neighborhood won't allow us to recoup much of our investment if we go way overboard on a kitchen remodel.

But, this encourages me to carefully consider the design ramifications of each compromise, even if they are grounded in financial realities. What's the point, after spending the money and doing all the work, if I'm generally disappointed in the results, deep down inside? I might be better off to keep the money in my bank account and apply that "it'll be fine" comment to my 1960's country blue kitchen.

I totally agree with Marcolo (and Pal's) observations. Being able to truly and quickly see the critical elements that make a project work (or not) isn't something that comes easily or naturally to many of us (darn it.) I have to really work at it, and think hard about each part. (My kitchen will probably be done sometime around 2020.)

If I want to really be happy with the final project, I guess I need to keep a close eye on settling for things along the way, and really try to see how each compromise may affect the sum total. And maybe some elements won't even require a bigger chunk of money to make a better might just require more careful consideration and creativity on my part (she says hopefully.)

Good food for thought.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:28PM
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I think when you eventually replace the appliances with all SS and change the color (red usually gets old after about 5 years..that's what our painter says anyway) to a warmer color it will look better. did you DIY the tile?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:53PM
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I think one can make compromises/changes without going so far off course. The phrase about perfect being the enemy of the good can cover some changing.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:39PM
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well, I'll never say "It'll be fine" again...but I sometimes wish for Granamils (sp?) kitchen tags lol.

The design threads and this one are educational and interesting. At least I'm now doing moodboards of different ideas for my kitchen, and that is very helpful.

many thanks to all who are creating and participating on the design threads, trends threads, and threads like this one of LWO's!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:43PM
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LOL, great post!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean for anyone to take me literally like this is my kitchen or one I've done. There's been so much talk and so many examples of design angst even with an inspiration pic that I though I'd show why even people who do have a good idea of where they want to end up veer off of track into a mediocre "safe" design.

To be absolutely clear, I found the two kitchens by searching first for "ugly kitchen" and the oak kitchen came up as being self titled that. I don't think it's a bad kitchen, and it could even be tweaked to be a pretty darn nice kitchen. But, someone somewhere tagged it that and put it on the web. I then searched for "cherry slab cabinets" to find a more cohesively designed kitchen using the major design element of the oak kitchen. The whole "I'll choose this instead of that" is a fictional account of how we can start out with the best of intentions and lose the courage to follow through and thus compromise into bland and boring.

I'm not saying that to "have it all" you can't do it on a budget. You absolutely CAN! If you've read any of the design threads, you've noted that I'm all about stretching the dollar. But, that means making smart compromises, and not losing sight of the design vision.

In my mythical example above, choosing the oak over the cherry would be a fine choice, if the stain were tweaked a bit to be a bit more reddish in tone. And, even though the oak cabinets aren't "fully full" overlay, they are close enough. If they had smaller doors with more prominent stiles and rails, they would not work. Where it starts to veer off track is in the countertop choice. A laminate is a fine choice, and there are loads of great colors. But, the spirit of the original kitchen is lost by not choosing a black counter. Then the floor veers badly off base. Tile again would be a fine functional choice, but not in that light tone, and NOT with that darker grout with the light tone. It looks like a fast food restaurant. A better tile choice would be something darker with the dark grout. Maybe one of the new faux wood look tiles, or slate look in a medium dark tone. The hardware misses also. You need the contrast of the darker hardware.

I hope that this "design decent into compromise hell" exercise is helpful with those who want to achieve something great in their space. Keep the vision. Even if you have to do the project in stages to accomplish it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Keep the vision.
Okay, I'm gonna tattoo that on my forehead. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:52PM
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I blame HGTV for the "compromise into bland and boring". Those damn real estate shows and their "resale value" bugaboo have stifled any actual creativity that people feel and injected fear into a process that should be about a fun form of self expression.

OK, maybe that's over the top in the self expression department, but no one has any doubt as to the personality of the family living there! And at least it's colorful, light hearted and FUN!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:03PM
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My first thought after reading the initial post was "If they had only kept the dark counters and the wood floor, it would have been closer to the vision."

To my eye (and I'm normally a function over form sort of gal), it was loss of that contrast that was the biggest deviation (dark counter to light, semi-dark floor to light). And add in the dark knobs to metal ones. Though, as those are easy to change, as is the paint.

I'm hoping that my resulting kitchen has some resonance with my inspiration photo. I know it cannot possible _match_, as I decided not to blow out the back wall and increase the footprint. It is that "resonance" that I feel as the "keeping the vision" spirit.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Fori is not pleased

I've always loved that kitchen, GDesigns! I especially like the plants.

It's not so obnoxious when you notice the blizzard outside. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:04PM
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Totally spot on. It wouldn't be so funny (and sad) if I hadn't seen versions of this happen. Usually less egregious, but the pattern is there.

I'm a big fan of design software for visualization. You can see what happens when you take away or change one of the design elements, and you don't need the gift of being able to do that in your head.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:19PM
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I forgot to add that the Black Silgranit sink does NOT show water of the many reasons we purchased one! REALLLY REALLLLLY LIKE my Blanco Silgranit Sink!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:29PM
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I think it's time this went to the top again.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 9:26PM
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Haha, I wonder how many people read this and thought that it was directed to them specifically. I am betting quite a few, I know that I saw myself in lots of these statements. I have been guilty of a few "it will be fine" moments, especially when the budget is a huge consideration....I can make particleboard look like walnut, right?

You missed another big one....realizing that your urban loft design isn't keeping with the decor in your bungalow/colonial/farm house!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 9:54PM
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I think it's time this went to the top again.

I was thinking the same thing. There are encouraging signs from a few folks who have been following the Design Around threads. But then someone actually, really, truly posted that as long as she picked things she loved, she didn't need a vision. She'd be fine.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Mudhouse, tattoo it on your hand, because you can't see it on your forehead. If you look in the mirror, which you won't be doing while making choices, you'd have had to tatoo it backwards to read it anyway. [lol]

I have "Don't Settle" written all over the place. But then, I don't have finished drywall and lots of it is on the studs. What the heck! : )

I wish I had an inspiration picture, actually. I tend to be inspired by components. So far, I'm happy with my choices and when I find I'm not? I just change 'em.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:49PM
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I can make particleboard look like walnut, right?
kellienoelle, please quit stealing my ideas.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:59PM
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exactly. make the plan, follow the plan. period.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Well, mudhouse, I will concede the idea to you. But if you can find a way to actually make it work and post it here, then I am totally going to steal it. ;)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 11:34PM
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This is great advice. Our reno included the kitchen and 2 baths. For the kitchen and one of the baths I has a vision, stuck to it and they turned out great. For the other bath, I had a vision, let myself get sidetracked and became sort of indecisive, and made some last minute decisions thinking it will be "fine." Well,, it turned out "fine," but not great like the other 2 rooms. And for the money I spent, I would have preferred great.

What I learned from the process was to have an end goal in mind, and to ask yourself with each design decision you make, "Does this fit with the plan?" It really helped me to have all my materials (including backsplash) selected prior to the demo, so that I could take the time beforehand to make cohesive choices rather than feeling pressure down the road to make last minute choices because "the contractor wants to do the backsplash/pulls/paint/whatever tomorrow." The other thing that helps is, if you don't have a great eye for design (and I don't--these were the most major design decisions I'd ever made), bouncing your material choices off a friend (or professional) whose taste you trust to make sure you're on track. This forum is great for layout advice, but as far as aesthetics, people are all over the place in taste and style. And they don't know you or your home or neighborhood, or even the true colors of your choices since everything looks different on a computer monitor.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I can't believe I missed this back in November. I nominate it for GWKF 2011 Post of the Year.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Too funny!
Am I the only one who didn't have an inspirational kitchen? I never really saw a completed kitchen I wanted to copy 100%.
I guess it helped I remodeled a kitchen in my previous home, and learned what not to do again. (Well, except for a few small mistakes lol)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 5:28PM
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No jillsee, you're not the only one. I never saw any kitchen that I felt I wanted to copy 100%. Nothing even close. Just kitchens that had certain features that I liked...dark wood floors, open shelving, beadboard backsplash. I think my vision was more something in my head, not in someone else's photograph.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 8:02PM
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I missed this in Nov as well but I think I've met the imaginary owner, LOL!

Many years ago, I drew up plans to help a neighbor update a small kitchen in an older home to make it functional & age appropriate at minimun cost. She never mentioned that she made changes to the original plan but when it was finished,she had changed everything including purchasing scratch-&-dent appliances in the wrong sizes. It wasn't a change in vision (because apparently she never had one), it was a disaster - but she was so pleased she couldn't stop bragging to the neighbors about how I designed the beautiful kitchen for her. I moved shortly thereafter!

If she & the kitchen are still around, I bet she thinks it looks just like my rendering! NOT

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 5:50PM
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Here's one of my favorite maxims, that I invoke at moments of indecision:

One of Socrates students came to him for advice on the eve of his wedding - should he go ahead with it? Should he back out?

"Whatever you decide, young man," Socrates was supposed to have said, "you will regret it."

Human nature in a nutshell!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 8:38PM
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I think I am as guilty as HGTV of inspiring ideas
but not the work involved when I post visuals.

Please know I love kitchen eye candy and if this inspires
someone to try, fail and a hire a designer at least I am
keeping the economy going.
: )

~boxer who loves this topic thanks op.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 10:17AM
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I love your 1985 kitchen. Don't you?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 12:53PM
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I think there are two main factors that play into project "drift" where it turns into something completely different than you expected and you don't know how. One is lack of Direction and the other is lack of Discernment.

I had a client whose sister asked me to design a kitchen "just like" I had for my client except that she didn't want dark stained base cabinets, wanted glass doors on some uppers, wanted a wood floor, didn't like contemporary, didn't want ORB hardware and wanted to use blue as the secondary color. In other words, she wanted a kitchen that was entirely different from her sisters kitchen in almost every way.

I have told this story before but I was looking at this wallpaper one day, because I often obsess about things I can't afford, and because it is perfect for the front hallway of my apartment (circa 1830s, 10 ft ceiling, no obstructions or fixtures, and short enough that I could potentially splurge on a few panels one day). Now that I'm moving its a moot point.

Anyway here is the paper: (Zuber's Eldorado)

So my friend client says:

"THAT is what is so expensive? Oh my parents had that in their dining room in Ohio, and my mother got tired of it and took it down."

"You had this wallpaper...was it a 19th century house?"

"No, probably about 1965, maybe ten years old when we moved in"

"And it had THIS wallpaper in the dining room...--the whole thing all around, like its usually done?"

"Well, almost like that, but just one wall"

"And your mother tore it down and threw it away?"

"Yeah she redecorated a lot and got tired of it"

Well...this is the wallpaper they had:

Either this Thibaut mural or one from Waverly...pure 1960s and nothing wrong with it in a 1960s house with colonial revival furniture.

But until she saw them side by side my client/friend could not really tell much of a difference.

If your selection process turns into "almost like" + "almost like" + "almost like" it becomes cumulative until it's "almost Nothing like".

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 3:19PM
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Great thread!

I think that it takes time to develop an eye for discernment. Some people never are able to see differences from one choice to the next. But those are usually the people who don't care what it looks like, so they'd never post here. The issue comes from someone who can tell enough of a difference to know something is "wrong" but they do not have enough discernment to choose the "right" thing.

But, I will blame the "video generation shortened attention span" for the lack of ability to maintain a direction. You're looking at wallpaper samples for the kitchen, and then you come across something that has your bedroom's colors and instead of taking a photo with your phone and making a note, you start looking at stuff for the bedroom, and then it morphs into thinking "would I need new towels in the master with this", and then it devolves into thinking about shopping for stuff in general and now it's time to pick up the kids from soccer practice. Look! It's a shiny foil paper!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 3:34PM
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I'm glad this thread was bumped.

Part of the problem is I think that when we're looking at inspiration photos especially in magazines or online, and even here to an extent, many time we're looking at things that are WAY out of our budgets (without knowing it) and when we go to add them in we realize just how much ONE special faucet costs, or ONE bit of tile for the backsplash. So in an effort to get a look that is comparable we substitute something that "is fine" but in the end doesn't quite make the cut; a white subway tile for a white subway "style" tile. We've all seen pictures of really crap looking subway tile.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 1:09PM
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ROFLMAO at the original post ... I've had some landscaping clients who did the same things to their yards. They say they want "low maintenance, casual, low water use" and I come back to find out they have planted 5 flats of petunias and overseeded the buffalo grass with annual rye.

It's a good idea, with your inspiration pics or your Pinterest pins, to isolate EXACTLY what appeals to you and why. Because if you can't explain why you like it in words, no one else will be able to make it happen.

What problem does it solve for you, what ambiance does it have? And what would you give up elsewhere to get THAT detail? Where are your design lines in the sand?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Great post, educational and fun at the same time. I'm glad I read it when first bumped in January and decided to follow this advice yesterday when finalizing a paint selection for a basement bathroom (that snuck itself into my main floor and kitchen reno somehow). I found a photo with a colour scheme both DH and I really liked, then almost immediately thought about how changing the xxx to yyy could still be nice and sent my GC the decision to go with yyy. I'm not sure why. Maybe I thought it might tie in with the rest of the basement better (in reality both would be fine with the rest of the space)? Or maybe because I actually had been thinking about painting it yyy anyway? The latter most likely, or some other reason I can't put my finger on. Then thought about this post. I asked myself "what's the point of following an inspiration if you don't actually follow it?!" So we're going with the inspirational xxx after all. My basement bathroom (and DH) thank all of you for contributing to this post!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Wow, I missed this thread when it was originally posted. Interesting idea, Live Wire Oak. It takes a deep thinker with overtones of cleverness and wisdom in order to produce a thread like this.

My dream kitchen morphed many times in my mind because the planning and construction took so long. I must have had at least four dream kitchens, serially. I still think longingly of the kitchens that never were but I am happy with the one that evolved into being. I am not sad to say that expediency, cost, compromise, and dire change were part of the evolution. And serendipity. What we ended up with was bigger and grander in function and simpler in materials than I had assumed we would create. This has turned out to be a good thing. And the room is very pleasant to be in.

I do think that it's important to make lists at the beginning--what do I want from the room from the get-go--the reason(s) for the new kitchen? how do I use a kitchen? what will I want from it over time? how will I and my family change in ten, fifteen, twenty years? what fads are just fads and what can be done to avoid letting the room get dated too fast? and so on. Sweeby Test stuff.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I'm late to the party here, but I'm finding this thread to be very, very interesting. I'm a little hesitant to jump in, because I'm pretty challenged in the decorating department and I usually just watch from the sidelines. I poke in on those "Design Around This" threads and I marvel at what you guys can come up with--my mind just doesn't work that way. I really want to go from "here" to "there", but am usually not sure just how. I can get the basics down, but when we get into the details I begin to waffle. One of the previous posters said this, "Some people never are able to see differences from one choice to the next. But those are usually the people who don't care what it looks like

That's not completely true, and I'm an example of someone who might not see that difference until it's pointed out--but I do care. Being able to see quickly what "works" in a given decorating scheme and what simply doesn't is a gift. What may be obvious to you is not necessarily obvious to others. I'm that way with cooking. I can create dishes in my head, or take a recipe and nudge it this way or that way to make it better/different/unusual. It's intuitive. To my mother in law, who does not have this ability, it's almost like magic. (She has her own talents). I'm like that watching you guys decorate. Reading a thread like this is interesting because LWO pointed out just where things went awry--and that's the kind of thing I need to learn, but struggle with. LOL, I'm currently wrestling with yet another decorating decision, the dreaded backsplash. I may paint it and avoid a decision altogether--but that's really not the look I'd hoped to achieve. Asking the Expert at the tile store didn't yield a whole lot of help, because after I'd narrowed down the choices she presented, I posted here for validation. The opinion was almost unanimously thumbs down.
I guess my reason for posting is to just say--while you sort of laugh at the way the original project went awry, some of us are just trying hard not to do just that, and it's not a matter of not caring or not trying to learn--sometimes, we just don't get it.

OK, I'll shuffle off and just go back to looking on. :-)


    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Cj, I really don't think the above poster meant for that comment to apply to anyone who takes the time and effort to participate here (and here you are, and I'm glad.) The entire quote read, "Some people never are able to see differences from one choice to the next. But those are usually the people who don't care what it looks like, so they'd never post here." My italics on the last (pretty important) words. You're here!

I am a good person to agree with your cooking analogy, because I can't cook. Hardly at all. My gifted gourmet friends who cook intuitively ("oh, just a pinch of this or that") drive me crazy. I know I could improve, somewhat. But the truth is, I don't really care enough about it to spend the time sharpening my culinary skills. I'd much rather be doing other things that I find more rewarding. Accordingly, I never post in cooking forums. That would be how I'd interpret the above comment.

I hope you'll keep posting and participating. I'm here to learn too, although I don't yet have a kitchen as lovely as yours. Believe me, these folks are going to get a lot of questions from me, when I get to the "waffly details" you mention. ;-)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:41PM
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:-) I didn't take it as an insult or anything, the people on this forum are generally very nice, so I tend to interpret what's said in a positive way. I'm sorry if it came off as being a negative post--I really didn't mean it that way at all, just offering another perspective.

And by the way, to those of you who hopped over and responded to my plea for help with my backsplash, many, many thanks. If you EVER need help with a stew, a soup, a roast, etc. you know where to find me. :-)


    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Bump for new peeps!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Too funny!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 8:55PM
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LWO, that first post is just too funny. And probably oh so true. What a great post, so glad it got resurrected.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 9:29PM
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Oh, that was so entertaining. And enlightening! There's a cooking forum? I was hoping to move on to the decorating forum since my family room & dining room don't really go with my new kitchen. DH would probably like it if I actually cooked & quit spending money.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:37PM
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romy-ha! We are doing a new build and dh can't believe the cost of the ranges (that I want and they are under $3k) - he keeps saying for that amount of money it better cook some amazing food. :) I say just give me the chance and it WILL!

lwo-the slippery slope of budget. Yikes. This will not be me, this will not be me!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 7:10AM
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I had forgotten about this thread. It's one of those that should be a "sticky" at the top!

And I miss Pal's insights here. Too bad too many people took his brilliance personally and snarked on him.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Don't know how I missed this - twice. Livewire's premise was amusing but true.

Like some others, my inspiration kitchens all had a certain feeling that matched my Sweeby list, not necessarily specific finishes or details.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 12:32PM
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oh LWO, the original inspiration pic is gone. I was just going to show this to my dh, but without the insp pic it loses in the translation.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:39AM
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Bumping 'cause it's true!

LWO, can you put the inspiration picture back in, or one like it? Love this, and I fear this in myself frequently!

"It'll be fine!"

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 2:16PM
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I love this thread. I'm glad someone resurrected this because now I can bookmark it. It can apply to other rooms in the house as well. Or an outfit you are trying to put together or...

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Great thread! My related thoughts:

I think one BIG theme here is, Know Thyself.

Someone else mentioned that cooking comes naturally to her -- I could say the same thing. It's easy for me, and it's fun. But I'm remembering my beloved aunt, who did not have that talent. She was always AMAZED that I could look at the pantry and whip up something company-worthy without a recipe. It was solidly outside her talent set. But she could do dozens of other things that I couldn't -- we genuinely appreciated one another, and I miss her.

Back to design . . . I know that I personally am very good at layout . . . but I absolutely STINK at color. I am a color idiot. Some time back I discovered a fantastic website about color in design, and I learned about bases of colors -- that is, the difference between a gray-based blue vs. a beige-based blue. However, I still don't really trust myself on colors. So I'll pay someone to help me with color.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 5:58PM
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I wanted to address the comment that the kitchen ends up being way more boring than the inspiration picture.

This is something that is happening to me. I'm choosing something very neutral, with the main hard elements lacking character. The reason is because the kitchen is open to the living room and family room, and I want to have different options on how to decorate the other spaces. If, for example, I went full-fledge 'country' style in the kitchen, I'd have to go full-fledged country in the living room and dining room too. I just don't want to do that. Or if I went full-fledged MCM, I'd have to do all MCM furniture, and I can't do that either.

Put another way: inspiration pics are very 'bossy' and reflect a very narrow style. If you look at this lovely cottage kitchen,...

... how are you going to introduce any non-bluey-green elements here? You can't. It's bossy. And even Sarah Richardson herself is wearing a blue shirt to match the kitchen. It would look wrong if she were wearing a red shirt or a purple shirt.

I think having such a bossy style would feel like jail.

Now, on the other hand, if your kitchen is cut off from the rest of the house, then you have more freedom to be more creative, because you don't have to coordinate the tile with the sofa and the coffee table, kwim?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Florantha got it right! Dream kitchens. Kitchens in the plural. There are so many separate elements that I like but if I try to put them together I end up with a mess. Certain elements work in certain kitchens and not in others; understanding what works and sticking to it is 9/10 of the job and it's cost-effective too in that you don't end up redoing it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 11:02AM
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The original image is gone, but the following altered image was close. I added the black crown accent in Paint to be able to get it close. (original image Frontier Kitchens, Inc., Houzz)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 11:15AM
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And just in case the second image is corrupted, here's it as well.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 11:18AM
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bragu_DSM 5

three years later ...

This post was edited by bragu on Sat, Nov 22, 14 at 0:55

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 12:54AM
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I loved this thread. Glad to see it pop up again.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 1:38AM
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The original image is available from the WayBack machine, and it's a beaut:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 12:41PM
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"One is lack of Direction and the other is lack of Discernment."
And those other "D" words:
Lack of Discipline
Lack of Dollars

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 12:45PM
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One more thing: As a photography teacher, I can say that the quality of the photography in these pictures is not equal.

That is, the black countertop picture was taken from a very nice angle, showing the kitchen to best advantage. The lighting is nicely done.

In contrast, the red walls picture is poorly composed. It's almost as if the photographer were emphasizing the flooring and the poor layout. If taken from a different angle, it would look better -- maybe not as good as the other picture, but this kitchen is shown at its worst.

Mind you, I'm not saying the point is invalid; just pointing out that quality of photography matters.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 1:14PM
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