Design Around This #6: I'm Dreaming of a White Kitchen, But...

marcoloDecember 1, 2011

...Not a true one.

Welcome back for yet another episode of "Design Around This." Today's challenge: Design a "white kitchen" that is not the One True Kitchen.That is, some or all of the cabinets are white, but you cannot use all the other features of the OTK. Tell us about the house and your clients.

Over time, there have been lots of white kitchens that were not the OTK, from the 1940s:



and today:

Obviously I didn't even touch on 99.99% of the possibilities in those examples.

Some rules:

Banned materials you cannot use at all:

- No marble

- No soapstone

- No laminate that looks like either of the above

- No subway tiles

What you must do:

- Pick a house that was built before the late 19th century, or after the mid-1920s, right up to a modern new build. In other words, no Edwardian houses, bungalows or other houses in which the OTK could be original

- Make your kitchen flow with the house, although it does not at all need to be period recreation

- Use color(s) on at least one significant, permanent surface--backsplash, ceiling, floor, some cabinets, whatever. No relying on "pops" of color from TJ Knick-naxx.

And as always:

- Do your homework. Really take some time to shake off old habits, get out of the rut and look beyond the OTK box.

- Use a realistic budget. Go high or low, but keep it real.

- Make your design work for today's family

- 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.


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I'm not a designer but I am an insomniac.

Here's my (fabricated) story:

I am a recovering crack addict who has never taken an interior design course or owned a house to decorate. I like to read every old issue of Architectural Digest and Tiger Beat magazine I can get my (somewhat shaky) hands on.

I'm fortunate to have been taken in as a charity case by a couple who has recently purchased a ramshackle surfer's shack for 3.2 million dollars on Kuhio Highway, near Tunnels Beach on the island of Kauai. They have more money than sense and when they're not tending to their hedge funds they're surfing (obsessively) and fitting in a few hours of work from their Hawaii-based office/shack.

Buffy and Chad have decided to keep me busy (idle hands and all that) remodeling the (off) white washed surfer's shack kitchen. Resources are limited and when I can get a good connection I surf the internet for products for their kitchen.

Buffy gave me an inspiration photo of a 1946 kitchen and asked that I try to make the small room as kitschy/ecletic as possible.

Here's what I, I mean my imaginary counterpart, came up with:

Buffy's Sort of White Inspiration photo:

Mood board thing 1:

Mood board thing 2:

Note: there is no backsplash in the mythical Kuhio Hwy Dream Shack. There's not enough room for a 1" square mosaic tile - let alone a subway tile.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:50AM
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Here is my attempt to be creative with white. My design is for a young couple in their late 20's. They just bought their first home in La Jolla, Ca. Small bungalow and they are on a budget. They DIY'ed their own stained concrete counters after seeing an add for a company that did it professionally. there was a learning curve so they practiced first. They used ikea for base cabs and have used all surfboard shelves instead of uppers. They repurposed an old dresser for an island and found galvanized steel pulls to use on the ikea cabs. They refinished all the homes flooring with a driftwood finish and they added a ceiling fan light fixture over island.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 11:00AM
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Sorry I meant to add a better pic of the surfboard shelves.

and this light for over the sink.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 11:06AM
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This is a bit of a cheat, because a modern white kitchen without subways and soapstone is fairly easy to design, but.....this would actually be a kitchen I would build and live in if I had the money. I love everything about it.

Pat and Chris, a DINK same sex couple, are building in a warm climate city infill lot that faces a small community lake. This is the house they are planning.

They knew if they ever built a home, it would be modern, and Pat has long wanted to design around Walker Zanger's Matouche croc tiles in Tobacco. So, they use it for the entire kitchen, small breakfast area, and great room. They also use it for the limited amount of backsplash in the galley style kitchen.

Since the floor is so dark they want to keep everything else light and bright. They pick a modern Euro cabinet door style in a subtle white on white damask print, and choose plain Glacier White Corian counters to go with the main stretch of the galley. The second side of the galley is actually an island open to the family room, and for that, they want some bright color. They use the translucent Corian Lime Ice to create a solid block of color island, and the fabricator carves out a pattern in it for backlighting.
They choose modern sparkly crystal knobs and pulls for both the main counter and the island.

Appliances are SubZero and BlueStar, with the Meile DW fully integrated to be invisible. The range hood is Futuro Futuro Lido.

The sink and faucet are Kohler Stages and Karbon.

The tiny breakfast nook blazes with color from a carved Corian Mandarin outdoor furniture table and chairs. Niche Modern's Stargazer pendant in chocolate provides light above it.

A Mellita single serve coffee maker and Kitchenaid mixer are the only appliances that will be left on the counter.

Here's the storyboard they put together for the kitchen area.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 4:33PM
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He He! Your creativity (background story) inspires me as much as the kitchens you've designed. We could make a soap opera from these. I'm thinkin "Design around this" can replace One Life to Live. :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Buffy and Chad. love it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:39PM
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This kitchen is for Bambi with an "i". Bambi is 38 and single. Her background is in Theater Arts but she now works for a real estate investment group in Florida who buys foreclosures and auction properties. She has been living with her overbearing father most of her adult life but since working for the real estate investment group she found a great deal on this 1,600 sf home with a detached garage. Bambi likes to cook and plans on buying most of her cabinets from Ikea as well as the tap and possibly the sink.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:23PM
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LWO - I like just about every element of your design, but I have a few words of advice for Chris and Pat.

First, unsolicited advice on the house. Some nice modern lines there, great windows. Shame about the garages. Garages sticking out in front do not (or at least very, very rarely) look good. They ruin the rest of the facade of the house. Consider recessing the garages, consider going with one garage. Better yet, consider buying a couple of bikes. Bring the entrance forward, perhaps a modern porch-like area, to connect the house to the street and neighbourhood. The entrance seems so isolated, make a statement with those fabulous double wood and glass doors.They are totally overshadowed by the garages. As you can tell, I have a hate on for garages. They are blighting the urban landscape of my city. As infill housing goes up, all you see is the bloody garage and you certainly never see your neighbour. Okay, rant over, sorry.

The kitchen - great elements, I really love the cabinets. My only fear is that all that SS and bright white cabinets might lead to sensory overload with time. I know the floors are wonderful and brown, but just a little bit of warmth or warm tones in the kitchen design might help the eye a bit. Just a bit - a wood counter or a single pantry in a warmer shade. I quite like the light fixture (nice and warm), but it doesn't seem to connect that well with the other elements in the room. Perhaps it would if you added a little brown somewhere other than the floor? If you don't want to warm it up, how about Moooi Dandelion Light instead?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:35PM
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Here's mine. Contemporary transitional house built between 1960-1980 with some traditional details, and an eat in kitchen.

I subverted mine a bit because I didn't use any pure white, I used Kohler's Green Tea cast iron, which is a very pale green as the "white" and use the other colors to make it appear near white. So it's a version of the OTK or SGTG kitchen but instead of white/black/ORB, it is green/brown/copper.

Thibaut Fabric/Benjamin Moore Wallcolor "Sunrise"
Ann Sacks Basics 6x6 tile "Lily Pad"
Silestone Gedatsu
Conestoga Slab Door in Benjamin Moore "Oxford White"
Oak Strip Floor
Whitehaus Faucet/Kohler Sink "Green Tea"
Lighting from Lighting Universe/Schaub Pulls
Great Windsor Chairs Pedestal Table/ Room and Board Chairs.

There is nothing here that is not available off the rack, and I think it is a completely "accessible" design for someone who wants something a bit different than white transitional.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:41PM
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The cabinets and the backsplash tile are also a pale green so all the palest tones in the kitchen substitute for the pure white.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:45PM
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LWO I love the damask cabs!

Jterrilynn I like the yellow counters fun and cheerfull.

Pal you kitchen is soft, pretty and traditional without being ubiquitous. It is probally the one I would pick to put in my home if I were to use a white kitchen.

Leia, Glad you kicked the crack:) And I have that cart in my files I thought of using it in my tuscan kitchen. I think you bambo shade could be worked into a cool backsplash treatment somehow to mimic driftwood too.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:22PM
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roarah - I'm totally into green (or blue) painted cabs right now, so I love your kitchen. It all looks great to me. I haven't seen that faucet before, do you know what it is? I think the surfboard shelf thingy is very cool, but could it really work effectively as a shelf? Love the light too.

jterrilynn, you stole my bird and butterfly scheme! You'll see what I mean in a minute... Great colours & the chair is very funky.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:01PM
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Leia love the light fixture, I have had that in my photobucket file for a while. Vintage and vintage look appliances are so cool.
Roarah, love the fan/light, sink, faucet and use of a dresser for an island.
Live wire, there are so many things I like in your design I'm not sure where to start. I'm having trouble taking it all in. It could be that with my stuffed head I'm just not able to look at it all in the right way (so it could be me).
Pal, love everything about your design except the light. Of course that's just a personal preference in wanting something with a tad of color. I don't think personal preferences are meant to matter though. Lots of people do not like yellow like I do.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:06PM
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Sochi I just read what you wrote above, where are you??? Was I unconsciously channeling in your vision or were you using mental telepathy on me lol? Anyway, can't wait to see your bird/butterfly kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:38PM
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I thought about doing something like taking this tole fixture and restoring it in yellow, which would be perfect for the fabric, and colorful, but that went against my "everything off the shelf" idea for this project. It's vintage, it's $1500, and you would spend a few hundred more getting it properly done, so that takes away from some of the accessibility of the elements.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 10:07PM
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Veronique is an RCMP officer in her early 30s. She is renovating her urban mid-1980s townhome galley kitchen. As a cop she is tough all day at work, but at home she wants to unwind in her comfortable warm vaguely shabby chic home. She loves white kitchens, but needs to accomodate her love of red. Her budget is $20-$23,000. She bought a new fridge when she moved in a couple of years ago, and the existing off-white and gray tile floors will have to stay. Sadly the existing cabinets have to go, but the existing recessed pot lights will suffice.

In order not to break the budget, she will opt for entry level SS range and dishwasher, plus IKEA sink, faucet and table. Her biggest expense will be her cabinets and countertop, with a total budget there of approximately $15k.

Veronique cherishes her grandmama's red hummingbird bowl, and that bowl greatly influenced her design choices.

Other notions and items that influenced her colour scheme:

Who knew red walnuts could be so beautiful?

Antique white and Tananger Red

Very early on found this fabulous Schumacher's Birds and Butterflies wallpaper. She will use this as a backsplash behind the range. She used the beautiful red of the tanangers in the wallpaper as her red paint colour of choice.

Antique white shaker cabinets (custom, but MDF):

She had to do custom white shaker because she really wanted to bring in just a little walnut veneer - she had the cabinet maker edge the top of her upper cabinets in walnut, and ran the walnut down the end of her main cabinet run like this:

This is her existing JennAir French door oiled bronze fridge:

At one end of her galley kitchen is an open eating area with a small window. At the other end there is room for a stand alone pantry. Her biggest custom cabinet splurge was on this pantry: she opted for a pantry like the one below (it echoes the fridge she loves), rimmed with walnut as shown, but the doors will be painted tananger red. Delicious.

Her counters are Silestone "Gedatsu" from the Zen Series.

Ikea sink, faucet and matte pulls (only $1.99 each!)

For her eat-in area, an IKEA table, red chairs and a fabulous red bird light fixture from Etsy ($130!, well, plus $35 shipping from the States)

Mood board:

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 10:07PM
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That fixture would work well with your kitchen pal, it certainly speaks to the tile (wallpaper?) More birds I see! Must be the subliminal theme of the thread.

I used the Gedatsu as well, I'd never come across it before last night. I'm not sure it will work with the JennAir Bronze, but hopefully Veronique got samples.

I think my kitchen could be very affordable as well - skip the walnut, do IKEA shaker cabs. Introduce the walnut by splurging on a huge walnut cutting board for $150. I think the kitchen would be under $15K then.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Vicky's domineering husband recently left her for his young secretary (oh my, what a cliche). But determined to make the best of things, she took her share of the proceeds from the sale of their house and bought a modest 1950s ranch house. She was delighted to find that the original Roper range was still in excellent working order, and planned her kitchen around it.

She had been disappointed with the way her last kitchen reno turned out, since her bossy ex had vetoed many of her choices. She decided to make her new kitchen more feminine, choosing a white and brown color scheme with pink and silver accents to feminize it.

She picked a brown and white Marmoleum checkerboard floor. Unable to find the pink retro tiles she wanted, she bought plain white tiles at Home Depot and glazed them herself, using tile paint she found at the crafts store, mixing the colors till she had the perfect soft pink, then oven-baked them to set.

To keep costs low, she went with white Ikea Lindingo cabinets and a Domsjo sink. Cambria Oakhampton was exactly the brown she wanted for the countertops. She made a roman shade to go over the sink window in a pink and brown fabric to tie the backsplash and counter together. A chrome and white enamel table found at craiglist was perfect, but she was stymied on the chairs to go with it, till she remembered the clear Tobias chair she'd seen at Ikea. A chrome light fixture from Rejuvenation, paired with a white shade and chocolate brown stripe looked perfect over the table. And when she went to Ikea to get the chairs, she realized that their wall storage system set against her pink backsplash would give it the homey look she wanted and look good against the plain straight 4x4" tiles.

She found a pink wall phone on ebay and picked up a pink colander at Whole Foods. But since she didn't want the room to go all Barbie Dream Palace, she picked the KA mixer in chocolate brown to stand out against the pink background.

Vicky's thrilled with her new kitchen and her new life. Oh, and by the way? The hot young secretary spent all the ex's money and then dumped him. When she heard about it, Vicky laughed and laughed.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 1:12AM
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Try a creamy white & warm browns combo...

1) Paint any existing cabinets creamy white. Okay to leave lower cabs in a warm wood brownish or yellowish color if you like.

2) Choose a countertop laminate that has fake burl wood or a faux slate or something else faux. Try for a coppery red or a gray-green & red.
Here's Wilsonart "Deepstar Fossil"

3) Choose a fake tile vinyl floor. Or a fake stone floor. Or cork. Stick to the brown or yellow or red-brown or red-green family. This is a Mannington pattern..."Mojave Slate"

4) Choose a white range & refrig or if you have some money get a high-end range in a warm color. NO Blues!

4) Choose those warm reddish faux Bennington knobs from Emtek

5) Choose iron or wrought iron for most of the exposed metals. Choose an unobtrusive faucet without exposed piping and with a high clearance, perhaps in a pewtery metal. Here's Murray Feiss MF F1888/5 as a starter, but find your own...there are lots and lots of them in wrought iron--mod to classic.

5) Choose a suitable sink you think you would actually use happily. If you want an apron-front one, consider one of the Kohler ones with an embossed design across the apron in a suitable color -- this one is probably too white.

6) Find a drapery and upholstery fabric that rings your chimes. Something with personality. This one is on sale at Hancock right now...

7) Choose a warm wood table and chair set...or paint one with the white/cream paint. These are "Boram Industries" ones but I bet you can find something perfect for your fave look.

8) Copper, RevereWare, hand-thrown ceramics, wrought iron, baskets, pewter would all be good. I don't picture shiny ceramics in this world--muted ones would be better I think. And some good art is a must, perhaps a plein aire painting? This is Sierra Nevada by David Lloyd Glover....

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 1:22AM
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Here's a more traditional white kitchen with "safer" choices that still isn't a kit or boring.

Chuck and Jennie are a Southern couple in their early 60's and have lived in Chuck's large Greek Revival family home since their 3 kids were under 10.

It's looking a bit shabby for the years of wear, and the kitchen is small, so it's time to start the spruceup with a kitchen and universal design master suite addition that will respect the traditional style of the rest of the home, but that will include a bit of the unexpected. Jennie has always wanted a French range, and after much deliberation, picks out an olive green Lacanche. Chuck has a sentimental decorative piece that he inherited from his mother, a brass serving tray from the 1934 Chicago World's Fair and he thinks that would be a perfect ornament for the wall above the Lacanche.

Cream cabinets for both the perimeter and island is a more traditional look, and they choose Eastlake reproduction bin pulls and crystal knobs. The cream will provide a calm rich background to the olive Lacanche.

The Tropical Green Granite's light green sections are exactly the color of the Lacanche, and the India Green marble farm sink is the exact color of the dark sections.
A Kohler Fairfax faucet in brass echoes the brass serving tray. They will do a traditional 4" granite backsplash and use a cream damask wallpaper for the rest of the wall covering.

Jennie wants a custom brass hood for over her Lacanche, and after Chuck finds out that it's clearcoated and he won't have to polish it, he agrees.

Chuck insists on a not seeing a giant hunk of stainless in the kitchen, so their KD suggests a custom woodworker that she knows that can build a armoire looking surround to a SubZero.

The floor is a big tug of war and they can't make a decision at all until their cabinet maker suggests a local craftsman who does stained concrete. They look at his work, fall in love, and thank their stars that the slab of the addition is smooth enough to do the stencil. The design that they pick echoes the oriental rugs in the main house as well as the damask wallpaper that they picked for the kitchen walls.

They have an old cast brass chandelier in the attic repaired and use it above the island.

In the end, it really fits the house, and they love the touch of whimsy that the floor gives the whole space as well as the traditional elegance of their other handpicked choices.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 1:38AM
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I love reading these threads and they are really interesting but I have nothing to offer. Marcolo, I just want to say "thanks" for making one of the criteria - "Use color(s) on at least one significant, permanent surface--backsplash, ceiling, floor, some cabinets, whatever. No relying on "pops" of color from TJ Knick-naxx."

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 2:16AM
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sochi, I am not sure about who makes the faucet found it on a google search for interesting faucets and it was on in my files it just says "free_shipping_kitchen_faucet" and I have no other info sorry.
I am not sure if the selves would be practical but the surf boards would be flat against the wall abutting each other to make a wave like pattern and the shelves would be the white parts and could be made deeper if needed. I thought the board design could replace a backsplash.

Sochi my neighbor has the wallpaper in her bathroom it is lovely! I like the red with white alot!

Anna using pink is a great consolation prize for a divorce! I like the femine retro feel.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 8:39AM
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I'm still smiling about this - my favorite two lines of the entire thread:

The hot young secretary spent all the ex's money and then dumped him. When she heard about it, Vicky laughed and laughed.

I'm so happy to see this thread on a laptop vs. a cell phone (our power was out for over 24 hours thanks to crazy winds and many of the photos weren't showing up on the phone).

So much creativity! I have to go back and reread it again to really absorb it all.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 9:03AM
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In a few minutes, I will leave town for a week, so won't get to carry out my design. I was planning to use a backsplash of white 3"x6" tiles (i.e., subways) in either a herringbone or modified basketweave pattern. (My aim was to tweak Marcolo while still not technically using subways!)
I will miss the thread, unfortunately... :-(

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 9:45AM
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sochi - I love the bird chandelier!
all who are chanelling sylish homeowners with meager budgets: THANKS!
Looking forward to what appears this weekend.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Young husband and wife Rahul and Taylor both work in biotech in Cambridge, MA, so they had no problem affording their $795K gut-renovated "farmhouse" in neighboring Somerville, a short hop on the Red Line to work.

If you don't live in MA, a "farmhouse" in a densely-populated city like Somerville is Realtor-speak for a folk Victorian dump that was never very nice to begin with and was left to rot for most of the past century. Due to high prices, developers can flip these houses without the aid of designers or architects and deliver "modern" open concepts stripped of original detail and often with inappropriate finishes and weird spaces. This isn't meant to be our test kitchen--it's just to give you an idea what renovation usually means around here.

Last year's ice dams caused massive damage to the recently-remodeled kitchen, which was in an old 1-story addition. Structural work was hugely expensive even after insurance, so the budget is tight for finishes and appliances.

They're the type of young couple who walks into Ikea and likes everything. Rahul just wants things clean and modern. Taylor does, too, but doesn't like stark modernism and wants things to be fun. Taylor grew up in Vermont, so Rahul always teases her about cows.

So the idea is: Modern urban Vermont farm kitchen.

Ceiling (old one was destroyed): Corrugated metal sealed with Krylon
Cabinets: Ikea
Backsplash: Wilsonart "Barnwood"
Countertop: Formica
Flooring: Existing maple carried from rest of house
Wallpaper: Sheep
Sink: Ikea
Range and hood: Ikea
Fridge: Samsung
Kitchen island: CB2 or West Elm (2 similar ones)
Stools: VOOS Milking Stool
Poster: Reproduction of famous sign from Cambridge poultry store. These are coasters--they do make a poster but I couldn't grab the image online.
Green flokati rug
Cowhide rug
Window treatments: Pierced window shades that recall both pie safes and tattered curtains in abandoned barns. This is from Timorous Beasties but it's reasonably easy to DIY.
Ceiling mount: Barnlight Electric
Pendant: "Cowbell" pendants
Also, I forgot to add this cuckoo clock:

My point is here, this is something fairly distinctive and colorful one can do with white cabinets in a bland interior for not too much money. It just has two jumping off points--the fact that the house is sorta farmhousy, and one owner is from VT. Yet I tried not to make it too cliched. And it is definitely not trying to recreate a kitchen that could never have been in that house in the first place.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 10:18AM
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LWO - stunning. I'd love to see that IRL. The orange stencil on concrete is absolutely fabulous. How much is that kitchen worth do you think? $150K?

Marcolo - I'm trying to resist the obvious call for more ... The prices and look of that house in Cambridge sound/look very, very familiar. I really like the kitchen, a great mix of modern and farm. Very fun, although the cow skin creeps me out a little. I'm not from Vermont I guess.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Sochi, first of all thanks for the compliments and suggestions for my two kitchens. I had considered a white pendant for the modern kitchen, but you are right, I wanted some additional warmth and chose the brown. You're right that it needs more brown somewhere to work. I had considered a Silestone counter in Coffee for the white cabinets, but it broke up the color block look I was going for. I took the easy way out and used the croc tiles for the backsplash against the white hoping that would be enough. I might have to do a large framed pic of coffee beans or something. IF this was RL, I would have worried it into more harmony.

The traditional kitchen is actually based on a friend of mine who married late in life. He's a FedEx pilot and she owns a liquor distributorship and their country home and address of record is an antebellum Greek Revival house about 40 miles from here in a middle of nowhere soybean patch. They just did the 250K kitchen and master suite addition, and it would have been nice if it had looked as integrated with the main house as my example does. It's a bit jarring, and their kitchen doesn't have nearly as nice details or appliances. It's a bit of a mystery where some of the money went to me, as the old house's foundations etc. were actually quite good. But they did get a pool outside the master suite! :) My friend's new wife designed it all, and they are happy, so I'm happy. My exercise was just a bit of "what might have been".

I have another in the works, as the busy season has wound down into the slack season and I'm only dealing with 3 installs at the moment and no current designs in the works. It's another beachy cottage, and inspired by Pal's "off the shelf" approach, it only uses items readily available at box stores or other major national retailers. I'll post it later this evening.

This reminds me of design school and how much fun that was! It's been GREAT not having clients who raise objections or say no to things. ;)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 8:38PM
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Amber and Jane are a lesbian couple in their early 40s with two kids. They live in an undistinguished 1958 home in Oakland, CA.

They are Pagans, and want to design their kitchen around the five elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Jane fell madly in love with the Natalie Blake Mosaics--the Dahlia tile in persimmon for Fire (range backsplash) and the Nautilus tile in turquoise for Water (sink backsplash). To tie the two together, they chose copper with a green patina for the rest of the backsplash. Inspired by Circuspeanut's DIY copper counters, they made their own from sheet copper using a patina recipe they found in a book.

Earth is represented by the floor tile, which is a dark brown porcelain.

They like the lightness of white cabinets. Because the tile is freakishly expensive, they went cheap on the cabinets with Ikea. But they customized them by painting the back inside wall a light of the glass-doored uppers turquoise.

”/>(blue-backed cabs cropped from an image on

They chose copper hardware

They really wanted a turquoise countertop. Amber is fairly crafty, and Jane is a capable do-it-yourselfer, so they made their own concrete counters to get just the color they wanted. A copper sink fit in with the look.

They painted the walls a muted turquoise. This and the glass cabinets represent air.

With so much of their budget sunk into fabulous but expensive tile, they hit Ikea for their Bjursta dining table and Stefan chairs (only $19 for a chair!)

They put in a recessed niche in the dining area. They painted the back of the niche a darker version of the wall color, and the sides they painted to match the persimmon tile, kinda like the image below. The niche holds a goddess statue that they have had for years.

The capiz pendant over the dining room table reminds them of clouds (Air)

Here it is all together:

And yes, I’ve been listening to alternative Christmas music, if anyone noticed.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Now for feedback.

I really like the first two beach house kitchens (Leia's and Roarah's). Leia, I loved the kitsch. The only element that didn't quite work for me was the cart, which seemed cold in the otherwise warm colors of the kitchen. Roarah, that fixture is wild, but does it give off enough light to be a task light?

LWO, I gotta say I'm with Sochi on the subject of prominent garages (yes, I know my clients have the same thing, but Pat and Chris are building new, so they can avoid the problem. But the kitchen is pretty fabulous. High energy.

Jterrilyn, I probably wouldn't choose the colors in your kitchen for myself, but it really holds together. Your yellow counters remind me of the giallo siena I used for the Tuscan exercise (but a real person can afford it!) I'm glad Bambi is finally getting out from under the thumb of her dad.

Palimpsest, I like the pale greens, and hardly think it's a cheat. Almost no whites are actually white; green undertones are as good as any and yours look whiter than many paint colors that have "white" in their name. The blue of the fabric and wall seems really bright compared to the muted colors of the cabs, tile and counter.

Sochi, I like the red and walnut. It seems a shame to paint the doors to that awesome pantry.

Anna, I like how feminine and retro your kitchen turned out. Your "Vicky" sounds like me, except for the secretary part. She declared her independence by remodeling the way she wanted it.

LWO, that floor is awesome! I didn't realize what I was looking at until I read your notes. Did Chuck clear-coat the chandelier before he hung it up? Overall, it's a bit too overwrought for my taste--the brass and knobs/pulls are too blingy, the fridge armoire is too elaborate. But then, I'm not Chuck or Jennie.

Marcolo, I love chartreuse. And I also love the corrugated metal ceiling. The one element that doesn't quite work for me is the ceiling-mount fixture. It doesn't seem to fit in the Vermont farm milieu. The cowbell pendants however, evoke this to this farm girl:

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 1:28AM
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My great grandparents ran a dairy farm in the Catskills. In the 50's and 60s, a stream was dammed to make a lake and it was turned into Camp Wayawhoawhatta. It has been shuttered for years and now my 3 sibs and I have inherited it. We sold off all but part of the lakefront property to fund renovations. My oldest brother is getting the farmhouse (and paying property taxes). The rest of us are moving the old cabins already on site to a sort of quad around the barn area, and we are all renovating the barn together. This will be mostly a summer destination for all of us, including 11 kids plus steps and the like.

I am in charge of decor for the barn, which will be a huge kitchen/great room with one wall of glass. It's going to be a happy kid filled noisy space I call my "Primary Scream" kitchen

Here's my plan:

CABINETS - Clive Christian white shaker inset. Recycled from green demolitions for 47k (I Episcopalianed them down) See the link! We wont have a fridge like that; where the fridge is will actually be a doorway!
FLOOR - Painted b/w with a cowhide stencil
BACKSPLASH - Old cow prints mounted on the wall and then covered with sheet glass, attached with chrome screws
LiGHT - Inspired by Moog, but using vintage bottles
APPLIANCES - Striped Smeg and forest green Bertazzoni
COUNTERS - butcher block
SINK - stainless, chrome facuet and sprayer
Tschokes - (sp?) cow memorabilia
Farm table - blue as in photo, found chairs painted in same colors as Smeg

Here is a link that might be useful: My SIL the name dropper will love this

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:36AM
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I grew up watching The Brady Bunch on Nick, and I always loved that kitchen so much more than my Mom's country white and forest green 80s kitchen. However, when Mom and Dad moved permanently to Boca, they left me and DH their Scarsdale cape. We don't want to spend a ton but the kitchen does need something! I am keeping the white cabs and the layout so I can splurge elsewhere, and working on a design that is part Alice and part Hermes ...

NEW COUNTERTOPS - Concrete in custom orange
NEW FLOORS - Concrete it tortoise shell
RANGE - Cornuefe, or really should be called Cornue-fake, half the price of a "real" one. Here is the cool part --- my range hood will be covered in brown leather, with a bit of gold trim to match the stove.
NEW HARDWARE - brown leather handles (steel reniforced) with rivets to match range hood
NEW FAUCET - Herbeau brass with dark wood handle.
SINK - Shiny porcelain and WHITE
Walls and backsplash - Wimborne white paint
Breakfast room wall paper - o/w stripe
Pendant - paisley drumshade
Accessories - lots of white white Pillyvuyt and tortoise shell bowls and vases

Here is a link that might be useful: these finishes, not this style

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 11:40AM
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And thanks to all of the other kind comments about my work. I hope these threads are educational to those who need the help, and fun for those who need a bit of entertainment.! :)

Cawaps, I agree that the traditional kitchen is a bit too too for my own personal taste, as that runs more to my modern kitchen, but I was careful to try to keep the intricate details as tone on tone as I could in order to tone the sensory overload down a bit. Plus, I do so many, um, "inexpensive" kitchens IRL that it was nice to take off the brakes for these two fantasy kitchens and not worry about costs at all.

Here's the exercise I was working on last night that is almost a direct opposite to the traditional expensive white kitchen above. It involves only off the shelf or website box store merchandise. It's not quite as creative because of limited product availability, but it's still not a OTK budgeted down. It shows that you can still do something creative even if your budget is $7K and not $150K.

Billy and Pam have been looking for a second home within easy driving distance of their primary home and settle on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as it's only 6 hours away. A vacation home here will be a trial run to see if they want to shift their residence here full time when they retire in a few years. They finally find what they are looking for in an older Craftsman bungalow in Biloxi. It's close to the Air Force base and had been used as a military rental so it's not in great cosmetic shape. But it didn't flood during Katrina even though it lost it's roof. The best part about it is it comes with the lot next door and backs up to an unimproved area close to a warehouse. It may be scrub palmetto and pine that Pam sees, but it feels like a nature preserve. And the second lot could be the space for the workshop that Billy would want if they moved there fulltime.

The main home was 30'x30' and the kitchen was in a 10' addition across the back that also contained the laundry room and a master closet. When they went to remove the old vinyl in the kitchen, they discovered some foundation issues with the addition and had to spend a lot more of their budget on strutural items than they anticipated. Therefore the 15K kitchen budget, which was already meager, was cut in half. The previous renters had let an unauthorized pet damage the old wood flooring, so they have to get new flooring for the whole house. They decide on VCT, because of it's durability, range of color, and inexpensivness. A mix of 7 different colors, all blue, white and grey, plus a fresh apple green will set the colors for the whole home and the 1200 square feet of flooring costs them only $1000 from Lowes with the tools and glue to lay it.

While Pam is painting the place, Billy goes to Lowes to pick up the special order colors of the flooring and appliance shops. There's a sale on, plus a rebate, so he gets a whole GE suite in stainless for $2600, but if the rebate ever comes back, it'll be only $2300.

He wanders over to the in stock cabinets and uses their graph paper to figure out their layout. A couple of pantries to flank either side of the sink run, a 30" sink cabinet and a 30" base cabinet and two wall cabinets come to $1200. He also looks at the in stock laminate but none of the colors go with what they are planning. He also orders the special order white granite sink and Delta Pilar touch control faucet.

Pam vows to never let Billy go to the store by himself again as he's now already spent $5300 of their 7K budget. Pam gets on the net to star looking for help with the kitchens biggest problem: a lack of storage. The two pantries help with that tremendously, but the way the layout of the sink and fridge wall is, with a doorway to the rest of the house right in the middle, and the vent off centered in the 60" range space, there wasn't really room for stock cabinets there. She finds one solution in a pegboard and hook system For $97. She'll box in the one exposed side of the refrigerator and mount the pegboard onto that ala Julia Child's kitchen. For the tiny space that's between the range and outer wall, she finds a $60 laundry storage cabinet that can hold her oils and spices. There's no real room for an eat in kitchen and they plan on making the dining area into an office area for business purposes until they fully retire, so Pam finds a $150 counter height table and stool set on Target's website that can occupy the remaining space between the range and the door. It will be counter space when cooking and can be pulled out to perch at for a quick meal.

She also finds her knobs and pulls on the Lowe's website for another $100 total.

After she installs the laundry organizer, she feels the need for some slim wall storage in that spot. It can't be as deep as a regular shelf because it would hang over the range's space. Amazon comes through for her in the form of a bookshelf potrack for $100 and free shipping. She also buys a couple of sample tiles from a vendor for the backsplash, but they arrive broken. She gets the brainstorm of making her own backsplash and counters out of a broken tile mosaic, so she goes around to the various box stores and tile stores in town for tiles in blues and grays. With the plywood and epoxy grout, it's still less than $100 for the counter and backsplash.

They have 1K left to spend, and Pam is really happy until Billy vetoes her choice for a ceiling fan light fixture combo because they are so near to salt water. He says they need something of better quality. No ceiling fan is pretty to her, but it is needed there to help to circulate the air from the window AC. She manages to find one that will be OK design wise for here and sturdy enough in construction for Billy, but it's $500. What the hell, right! By the time she figures in the cost of the apple green Valspar paint and two coats of stain blocking primer she's used on the kitchen, she's got $350 left. So she goes to Hancock Fabric and finds the perfect beachy stripe for her window treatments. The window over the sink gets the valance and cafe curtain, while the window in the middle of the galley wall gets just the valance because of the window AC hanging from it.

They still have $250 left, but what they saved here, they get to spend in the rest of the house and Pam knows exactly where she's going to spend this. One oyster dinner treat for themselves for a job well done, and one stop at the booth of a local craftsman at the flea market, and Pam now has a beautiful cedar swing for their tiny front porch and her budget is done with.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Sorry I have to post and run. I never look at anyone's until i post mine.
Funny, I had an orange mixer on my moodboard and i took it out because it was slightly off, and it shows up here again! Also funny both Marcolo and i used cows. My thought process there was that if you are stuck with white --- black and green always look nice with white and pretty soon you see a cow standing in the grass...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 11:56AM
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Cool, but I don't understand this part:

Billy vetoes her choice for a ceiling fan light fixture combo because they are so near to salt water

I live across the street from the ocean and my original ceiling fans/light fixtures are still going strong from the early 80s. I've replaced a couple but that was for energy use/aesthetic reasons, not salt-related failure.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Let's just say that it was a "$100 box store special" that was vetoed. A good quality fan is more weathertight and anything from the 80's, even if it were cheap builder grade 80's, is much better constructed than the lightweight tinfoil ceiling fans found at a box store today.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:20PM
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This kitchen is inspired from Steph2000's search for her galley kitchen wall.

But for context, let's say that this kitchen is for an about to be retired couple, empty nesters, Marc and Yvonne. They want to keep their family home, but it is time for an upgrade sans enfants. They have a number of antiques, but also appreciate many elements of modern design. A good budget, let's say $30K. Both love gardening, and are looking to bring the garden inside year 'round, to compensate for the four months a year that their garden is deep in its winter sleep. Yvonne is looking forward to her new white garden kitchen.

They essentially have a galley kitchen, open to the family room and dining room. One arm of the galley is a peninsula. Off the family room is the former mud room with a door to the backyard. This used to be full of kids boots and jackets, but now it will be converted into a sort of butler's pantry/garden centre.

They love green and orange, and were inspired by this fabric, which they used as a tablecloth in the adjoining dining room. The artichoke fixture over the dining room table adds to the garden vibe in a modern way.

Hardwood replaces tile and wall to wall carpeting on the main floor:

They want a living wall in their kitchen. There is a window just the other side of the peninsula, but the living wall will have to have some supplemental artificial light. The wall pictured is from "Plants on Walls", cost about $1,200, but it could be a great DIY project for much less. This unit easy to install, dramatic and simple to operate: it is irrigated automatically, just top up the reservoir every couple of weeks.

White upper cabinets with soft rounded glass panels. The backs of these cabinets will be painted the same soft green, as will the lower cabinets. Hardware same as those in the picture with the glass cabinets. Ignore the red in the picture with uppers.

Yvonne liked how the oven window was rounded like the cabinets:

Sink, faucet, Silestone counters, backsplash and the favoured pale green paint for the lower cabinets:

A neighbour had this old sink that Marc thought would make a wonderful indoor potting table. Since the old mud room backed onto the powder room, they had ready access to plumbing, handy for a potting bench. Open shelves stocked other key kitchen produce.

Yvonne realised as she finalised her kitchen plan that her white kitchen actually wasn't all that white ... and that was okay.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Cawaps, I love your Pagan kitchen! As it happens, I'm Pagan myself AND I already fell in love with that persimmon tile, long before this thread came into existence. So you're spot-on there. :-)

And that turquoise concrete counter is gorgeous. It looks more like water to me than air, though, probably because it's horizontal and below eye level. But I really like the way you arranged all the elements. The cloud light was awesome.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Thanks, Ideagirl, glad you like it. It's hard not to love the persimmon tile. I fell in love with it when Marcolo posted it on the "Are kitchens headed in this direction?" thread, where the idea for the Design Around this Threads was born.

Is this topic losing steam so soon?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 11:40AM
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cawaps. I had chosen a Natalie Black backsplash as well, in orange and greens, for my 2nd kitchen but changed it out so as not to repeat. Her tiles really are their stunning best in the persimmon though. Makes me wonder if I could get away with a little red in my kitchen.

I hope the thread isn't losing steam, there are several great white(ish) kitchens in this thread. Would any of you white kitchen folks consider any of these designs? Anything tempt you into added more colour to your white kitchen? Or not? Too many cows, birds and plants?

LWO - I'm not loving the last kitchen. It looks arranged well enough, but it is possible that I'm ruined for 'off the shelf' kitchens because I've been frequenting GW too long.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:10PM
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WRT the "losing steam" comment, I haven't played the last few rounds cuz there are too many rules, and I don't dig that, there are too many rules to follow IRL, I'm certainly not going to take on a fantasy project that's rife with them.

I have enjoyed reading the threads a great deal, there are some great ideas and beautiful designs, thanks to those who have posted their stuff.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:35PM
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I think part of the slowness might be due to the time of year.

But I also think we need to be careful to balance the designs so they are also accessible on various different levels. If the whole design is iconoclastic it is not going to appeal to a lot of people. If the design pivots around a highly unique element that no one else is going to be able to find or afford its not going to appeal to a lot of people. So while I think these threads have been educational in showing people how to consider things outside the box, I think they have also veered into non-reproducible territory to some degree. Any one of us, I think, could design a spectacular Lavender kitchen if we accomplished the whole thing with custom work and one-offs and unique finds, but I don't know that it would be helpful in a practical sense for someone else who wanted a lavender kitchen.

So I would like to see these threads stay a little bit closer to "off the shelf" -- which encompasses a huge amount of resources--than to be flights of fantasy where the fictional homeowner happened to uncover a Tiffany glass window in the kitchen that would form the centerpiece of the design.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:35PM
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I secretly want the pink kitchen!

These posts are some of the most innovative kitchens I've seen on here. In fact, I like them better then Houzz.
They look not only livable but functional.

You guys better not get found out or you're going to see one of YOUR kitchens
show somewhere up when a designer starts copying them.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:40PM
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Well, it was fun to see my dilemma inspire a mood board! And, to answer the question as to whether any of these tempt... I did find a lot of the entries to be kinda themey, and not in colors leaning to my personal taste. There are some individual elements that I like, but interestingly, I wasn't sure in many cases that white cabinets were the best choice with them.

So far, I think palimpsest gets my vote for the most liveable kitchen. Although, I was very intrigued by the 4 elements kitchen from cawaps and would love to see that in real life. Sochi's backsplash tile is lovely though I'm not a fan of peachy tones, and one of Marcolo's kitchens in an earlier thread of this series has inspired me to at least consider greenish counter not unlike what Sochi just picked. I loved how that counter related to the outside, which was very visible with this row of windows down near the counter. Hmmm...what was the name of that counter? It's somewhere in my piles of file archives...

I'm not even sure I have the language to describe what I would love to see - and consider in my home. White with thick brown pieces/shelving - earthy and relating to the outside while remaining quiet and neutral. Organic and primative in sort of an chunky, almost zen way, not a beat-up antiques shabby chic way. I should attempt a mood board or ten someday, but they look like they take a lot of time I don't have at the moment.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:57PM
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Really Pal? Most of the threads have had a range - from off the shelf, to modest $20-24K kitchens, with a few flights of fancy in the $50+K range. I agree it is easier to pull together a $100K kitchen off the internet than a $10K kitchen, but I think there should be a mix. I know that most can't afford a $75K kitchen, but they could use it as inspiration and appropriate aspects into a $20K kitchen.

Most people who frequent GW, Houzz, home porn mags, etc., must love the sensational expensive kitchens they see. They know they can't reproduce it faithfully, but it gets their creative juices imagining how to reproduce on a cheaper budget. I would also say that most GW kitchens splurge on at least one item - the over the top professional range, the mod light fixture, marble countertop.

I don't want to set even more rules, but I think if someone posts a $100K kitchen, they should also design a more modest kitchen as well. Or - this might be fun - essentially the same kitchen, one worth $100K the other worth $20K.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Steph2000 - I've tried to use a variety of colours in my mood boards. My personal preference is blue, but I've used red, orange, green and browns. I don't like peach either - that wasn't the greatest backsplash pick for that kitchen. Too peachy (I needed orange) and too zen for this kitchen. I just didn't come across something perfect I guess.

I'll try something more organic/brown/chunky in some future board.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:06PM
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I love your pagan kitchen too cawap! I have been slow to post due to the demands of the season but am enjoying these posts a bunch! I like the idea of an off the rack kitchen. Maybe using only HD or lowes products. Those who are just reading, give it a try and post a mood board for us! I have no idea what I am doing but no one has been mean or too critical and it is addictive. Even if my designs do not live up too the pros I am proud to have tried and I feel this exercise has helped me grow in regards to my design knowledge.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:07PM
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Mtnredux: I love that kitchen! Is that paisely a tile or fabric? If it's a fabric it would be an even better tile mosaic. And where did you get that leather pull?

Sochi: That Schumacher wallpaper always makes me happy :)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:49PM
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I am not saying more rules are necessary but without some parameters, we could go on designing versions of our same favorite kitchens again and again. I agree their has been a mix of unique and more typical, but I tend to favor the results --high end, or low-- end that are comprised of things that anybody could get their hands on (given the budget)

Off the shelf doesn't necessarily mean off the shelf at Home Depot, it could mean off the shelf at Clive Christian and Lacanche. But on the other hand, starting out with a statement piece that is unique, really expensive and hard to duplicate can make the kitchen design process secondary because the attention is held by the statement piece.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:51PM
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I like parameters. I think I went with the Elements theme because White was just too open--I found myself floundering on this one more than some of the others, for some reason.

My kitchens in the Formica thread were pretty much off the shelf (and the blue/green mobile home one was low budget, mostly Ikea). My 1920s kitchens had some vintage items, but they weren't items I designed around that the whole look would fall apart without. In reality, you'd substitute something else for the uore unique items.

I incorporated some DIY items in this one. Not completely unreasonable ones, but not something just anybody would take on. I personally would be happy to try to patina sheet copper (and I actually found some tiles that were close to what I wanted), but probably wouldn't take on concrete countertops. But I've seen some really impressive DIY projects on this site, so it didn't seem beyond the pale. And it's stuff you could pay for if you couldn't do it yourself, if it was in the budget.

I've seen a few posts where from the backstory, the remodel was probably quite expensive, but the money got sucked up with new foundations or remediating flood damage, limiting the budget available for the pretty stuff. That's a pretty realistic situation (been there).

I get that people are busy, and I'm happy to keep each round going for a week or more if that gives more people time to put something together. But the thread needs to have enough activity to stay on page 1 or 2, or it's just going to fall off the radar.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Hi, thank you. I like it too. I think taking an existing white kitchen and adding orange and and a very dark brown would look nice. I would also like to use the leather and stitches as an homage to Hermes history as a saddlery. I really think you could cover a range hood in leather. Especially if you used a protectant on it like you might with boots.

The leather handles are mine! I used them in my dressing room for the drawers. They are leather, reinforced with steel, and they have rivets. Come in different colors and metals. They are pricey. i ordered them direct from SDS London and I wired them Sterling, which was less then getting them here.

The top right hand corner is fabric I wanted to use on a drum shade.

Here is a link that might be useful: leather handles

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:28PM
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The last few times ive done this I made a point of commenting on everyone who made a moodboard, and I will again. It is just a busy time of year and with so many i actually have to take to notes as i scroll!

Im not sure it but it might be easier if each moodboard was its own post ....?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:30PM
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I understand what you mean now Palimpsest, fair enough.

I think some parameters are good as well, but sandyponder, don't hold yourself back! If you break a few rules you might just make Marcolo cranky, which could be entertaining.

cawaps - argh, foundation repair. Talk about an un-fun way to spend money. When we were finally able to rip out the (7 different levels of) floor in my kitchen to reveal the foundation below, the contractor called the structural engineer (never a good sign). They then invited DH and me down to check it out. They were trying not to laugh while breaking the news to us - that there actually wasn't a foundation under that section of the house any more. The mid-section of the house was sitting on bedrock. Apparently they don't see that often. Hence the chuckles.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:32PM
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Mtn, on the cows. Would someone on a farm really want to be reminded of the cows in their kitchen? Or perhaps the real cows are gone at this point I guess? Love the backstory, but I guess I'm not that into cows, lol.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:41PM
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I am not sure I agree. First of all, most of the design sources people look at it are unattainable in some way to most of the people looking at them. AD was always that way. First, start with a penthouse and terrace overlooking CPW ...

But people still BUY that stuff and apparently enjoy it and or find it useful.

I think the mood boards are high end but not whacky. No one has put in a Cornue or two of everything, yet, I don't think. Using one of a kind pieces is okay, too .... with ebay and 1st dibs etc etc you don't even have to get off your fanny to find statement pieces.

The REALLY pita constraint we have is this medium. We have to use things we can find images of! Good images. That often means pricey. For example, one of my fave tiles is $5 sq ft but you cannot find any really nice well lit photos of it like you will with the Ann Sacks stuff. Plus I don't even know how to photoshop, so if I think of something really unusual, like a leather covered range hood (ok so maybe thats not code...), and I can't find an image, it doesnt help my moodboard.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:51PM
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Well, they dont live on a farm at all. This is a summer family retreat, and it was a dairy farm years ago, hence a bit of nostalgic connection. I was trying to mix white with an animal print and I liked cowhide b/w, plus I thought it would be fairly easy to stencil.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Mtnrdredux, I'm with you on what a pain it is not to have Photoshop. I wanted the niche with the turquoise and persimmon, but all I had to work with to color it was Microsoft Paint. PITA, and it took forever.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:33PM
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I don't have photoshop either, I just do what I can with photobucket.

So, what is everyone thinking for the next round?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Maybe a mail order kitchen? All major elements would need to be home deliverable? For the folks who aren't in the major metro areas?

Or we could have some sample home pictures from real estate listings and imagine the new kitchens for them?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 11:12PM
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I didn't have any client in mind for this one. I just wanted to do one that was very white "except." In this case the "except" is a structural colums that can't be removed, so they clad it in Corian Mint Ice backlit with LEDs.

Floors and walls are clad in Slimlite megatile (20"x118" panels) in Oyster. Eurocabinets from Aran Cucine (photo courtesy of Liebherr fridge, Electrolux induction cooktop, and GE ovens. Casprini table and chairs. Lighting from Progress Lighting and Tech Lighting found on Rangehood is Murano Snow by Futuro. Faucet is by Kohler.

The whole thing makes me think of the set design discussion from the white kitchens thread. What kind of frigid person would want to live in such a space? So this was as abstact exercise.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:18AM
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Juliekcmo, very cool idea about finding a real estate ad and designing a good kitchen for the house. Very fun, fueling my passion for real estate and kitchen design! I just saw a mcm house for sale today not far from me, with an underwhelming white kitchen, but a cool house generally. I'd do that in a flash.

Cawaps, agreed, that kitchen is too cold for human habitation. Nice pieces though and an interesting exercise.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:33AM
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I have nothing to contribute but just wanted to say how enjoyable I find these threads. I think you are all so clever and creative. What you are able to pull together for your mood boards is just amazing and I just love the background stories... are they totally fictional? or maybe just a little bit autobiographical? So funny!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 9:35AM
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I second the idea of doing a kitchen for a specific house.

I also think each moodboard should have its own thread. These get too cumbersome to discuss. Gotta run but it is STILL on my to do list to give comments

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Mauadadapaige, I had never put together a mood board before the Colonian Revived thread (Design Around This #2). It takes a bit of time, but if you can do a Google image search and can master the basic tips on posting photos, you can do this.

The background stories are cracking me up too. I don't know about anyone else, but mine are pretty much fictional, although there are little snippets of the lives of me or my friends and family in them. My sister's first home was a mobile home, my brother has a mid-century American Kitchens sink, I have an O'Keefe and Merrit range in the garage with a damaged thermocouple. I had to replace the foundation on my house which sucked up all the remodeling budget. I live in Oakland and referred to some specific local salvage places in one post. That sort of thing. It adds realism, but hopefully doesn't reveal too much about me or my family.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:31AM
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I had never done a mood board before the 3rd thread (1920s kitchen). I've learned quite a bit about Olioboard and Flickr since the first kitchen I posted. That alone makes these exercises worthwhile. Not only am I learning a little about design (mostly from others) but I'm also learning how to more efficiently create moodboards, navigate the web, identify where to find what I'm looking for relatively quickly, use Flickr, etc. Plus it's fun and quite addictive. I encourage everyone to try it out.

Is there any legal risk if we pull a house from a real estate listing? Since these are all in the public domaine I should think not, but this isn't my area of legal expertise. I think some posters have done this in the past?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:48AM
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MDP: Mine was inspired by a few things: 1) a white kitchen someone here did with pink and brown accents (can't remember the username, sorry!); 2) our current house had a '50s Roper when we bought it...I loved it but we already had our Lacanche; 3) I did have to custom-glaze some white tiles to replace the ones in our shower for a plumbing repair, using exactly the method I described.

I thought about throwing a few glam elements into Vicky's kitchen, but decided to keep it overall very retro and plain. Self-critique: A pale brown grout might look nicer and update the pink tiles. I should have picked one of Ikea's slab cabinets to evoke the metal cabinets from the 50s, which would work better than the Lindingo. They might be too glossy, though. Also left out pulls and faucets and other appliances. What can I say, it was late and I'd spent too much time looking for a fabric that worked. That one wasn't perfect, but it was the best I could come up with.

cawaps: I know that song! :-) I love the way you thought about every element and pulled them together. Especially love the water tile...beautiful.

leia: Your whimsical Hawaiian kitchen and recovering crack addict made me smile. I thought the cart was a bit too industrial to go with everything else, but that was my only criticism.

roarah: You had me at the jade, since that's my favorite color. Lovely job; my favorite was the old painted dresser as island.

sochi: You used a similar green in the second moodboard; I liked it and the cherry blossom backsplash but thought the greens might clash. Otherwise, that potting sink on that floor...WOW.

palimpsest: Gorgeous palette, cheerful and calm at the same time. Very interesting to use the pale green instead of white. I loved the way the light fixture picked up the birdcage shape in the fabric and thought that was very clever.

marcolo: I thought the cow kitchen was very charming. Corrugated tin ceiling would be a bit much for me, but otherwise I really liked it! Fresh, thoughtful and definitely unique.

LWO: Your Greek revival was my favorite in this thread. Incredibly rich and textured and, as you said, not a bit boring.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:22PM
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On the subject of pulling a home from a real estate listing, I had thought about doing something like that, possibly as a separate thread ("Pimp my Kitchen!"). I don't know about the issue of using photos from listings--we could just link to them, but they could disappear a the drop of a hat. I'd be happy to volunteer my house and provide photos (my perennially "before" kitchen needs pimping), but it is a 1910 Edwardian, so Marcolo might be opposed on grounds of principle.

Regarding what Sochi said on the spillover effects from participating on this thread: I find that I am more likely to respond to other threads with pictures, since it doesn't seem like such a chore anymore, now that I have lots of practice. I've also learned not to overinvest in a particular choice. At the idea stage you can easily adopt, evaluate, replace, look for something else. If I was really doing a kitchen, the next step would be samples and making sure things really look like what you want (colors, textures). You can't do that in the online photo stage, so there is no point in getting angsty about it. With a real kitchen it is so easy to obsess over each and every decision (TKO), when sometimes pretty good is good enough.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:55PM
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I only wish that more of the people who need design help were trying to participate. It IS a learning exercise. Or, it was conceived of that way. It's great that so many talented amateurs and pros are giving examples of "how to", but there's nothing like getting your feet wet to go swimming. I think we should give a shoutout in the next thread to encourage first time posters, and make the next challenge a more easy, fun project like a patterned tile or fabric. Get more folks on board, and maybe they'd like to continue on in graduate school with the harder challenges. Didn't Cawaps make a list of all of the suggestions so far? How about posting it again?

I am vehemently against creating separate threads for each and every person who wants to participate. There are already enough threads on this board to try to keep track of. Centralizing everything in a single post may be a bit wonky because of the forum software, but it keeps everything and everyone together.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Here's my list again, compiled from my suggestions and those of others. This was originally posted as a straw man, so feel free to add, delete, or reorder. I've added some of the new suggestions at the end.

I'm also opposed to separate threads. As inconvenient as a single thread can be, at least it is an active thread that stays on page 1 or 2. If each design was a separate thread, the older ones would eventually fall off the radar. Also, keeping them as a single thread makes it easy to search for them (which I seem to be doing a lot).

Here's the list:

1) Keeping the golden oak
2) Tract house (specify decade? or any tract house?)
3) Interesting tile (pick specific tile or line of tile)
4) Pink Kitchen
5) Knotty pine
6) Queen Anne
7) Metal cabinetry
8) Vetrazzo
9) French Country
10) Interesting tile (pick specific tile or line of tile)
11) Starting from clothing fashions as your inspiration pic, design a kitchen that suits the era/mood/style
12) 1930s kitchen
13) Wacky linoleum (Marmoleum croco or the graphic series)
14) Rustic Modern Cottage
15) Back-painted glass
16) 1970s home
17) $10K budget
18) Animal prints! (we can put the Marmoleum Croco here)
19) Ikea kitchen (all Ikea?)
20) Mid-life crisis bachelor pad
21) Pimp this kitchen (choose home/kitchen from real estate listing)
22) Home Depot kitchen
23) Mail order kitchen
I don't know if other people are pulling ideas the suggestions people have made, but I saw a pink kitchen on this thread, and an animal print.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 2:19PM
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cawaps - I know that the list is already very long, but please add the modern kitchen reno of a Victorian period home. A few people seemed to like that one.

Also - steampunk?

I think we'd be okay with a real estate listing as long as we make it clear where we are getting the pictures from. Just extra advertising isn't it? I'd volunteer to find something that lines up with one of the suggestions - i.e. pick an interesting (or not) home and make people use animal prints, or a pink kitchen, knotty pine, steam punk, etc. The real estate ads are ideal as there are usually multiple pictures and you can really get a feeling for the house.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 2:40PM
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I thought I posted this before, but it looks like it didn't go through.

I'm not sure I like the idea of combining a specific house/kitchen with other restrictions. Sandyponder complained above about "too many rules", and while I don't 100% agree (I haven't found the recent threads overly restrictive), I like having enough flexibility that the responses show a lot of variety.

Here's a revised list, with Sochi's additions and a few suggestions I had missed from the Tuscan thread:

1) Keeping the golden oak
2) Tract house (specify decade? or any tract house?)
3) Interesting tile (pick specific tile or line of tile)
4) Pink Kitchen
5) Knotty pine
6) Queen Anne
7) Metal cabinetry
8) Vetrazzo
9) French Country
10) Interesting tile (pick specific tile or line of tile)
11) Starting from clothing fashions as your inspiration pic, design a kitchen that suits the era/mood/style
12) 1930s kitchen
13) Wacky linoleum (Marmoleum croco or the graphic series)
14) Rustic Modern Cottage
15) Back-painted glass
16) 1970s home
17) $10K budget
18) Animal prints! (we can put the Marmoleum Croco here)
19) Ikea kitchen (all Ikea?)
20) Mid-life crisis bachelor pad
21) Pimp this kitchen (choose home/kitchen from real estate listing)
22) Home Depot kitchen
23) Mail order kitchen
24) Modern kitchen in a Victorian home
25) Steampunk
26) Colorful kitchen (although I think we've been getting a lot of these on other threads)
27) Eclectic

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:44PM
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I would be up for just about any of them, but I am thinking that Queen Anne and Victorian may be too similar to be separate categories, and agree that colorful is already happening. I would like to specify for the Victorian kitchen that the current kitchen doesn't have anything of particular beauty or rarity preexisting. The Victorian kitchens I have seen were either (rarely) almost intact with new appliances inserted or there was nothing left of the original fabric except the walls, floor and ceiling.

So, if you want to use encaustics or lincrusta or quartersawn wood, you have to find it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Here's a different way of thinking about it. I binned them into groups (and added a few more house styles). Since I lumped the "color" kitchens in with the "theme" kitchens, I figure we've had two from the same bin in a row (Tuscan and white). So I think we should change it up to style/era of the home, buget or supply restrictions, or a material (but not cabinet material because I think that gets too close to what we did for white kitchens).

Keeping the golden oak
Knotty pine
Metal cabinetry
Interesting tile (we can do this one over and over)
Marmoleum graphic series
Back-painted glass

Defining the Home
Tract house (specify decade? or any tract house?)
Queen Anne
Spanish Colonial Revival
Tudor Revival
Prarie School
Pimp this kitchen (choose home/kitchen from real estate listing)
Beach House
Mash-up house (what do you do with a house that is already a mash-up of styles, like a Mission-style Queen Anne)

Theme Kitchens
Pink Kitchen
French Country
Animal prints! (we can put the Marmoleum Croco here)
Starting from clothing fashions as your inspiration pic, design a kitchen that suits the era/mood/style
Rustic Modern Cottage

Budget/Supply restrictions
$10K budget
Ikea kitchen (all Ikea?)
Mail order kitchen
Home Depot kitchen

Define the People
Mid-life crisis bachelor (or cougar) pad

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 1:51AM
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I'm lurking and loving these design threads. I'm artistically/design impaired, but am learning a ton, and love so many of the kitchens -- even the ones I would never want in my home have lots to love about them.

I've seen so many cool things to love, and I hope someday use, in my fixer-upper on a budget home. Thanks to all!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:09AM
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In the absence of any objections, I would be happy to set up a Victorian/Queen Anne design thread with a limited number of "givens." Let me know if this is good.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:48AM
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That sounds good.

I was thinking that the next post should star off with a call out to the lurkers, maybe with some of the quotes from this thread of folks who had never done this before we took it on in one of these threads. I think the lurkers have this wacky idea that everybody who posts on this thread is some uber-creative design professional, which isn't true at all (although we have some of those).

LWO: I only wish that more of the people who need design help were trying to participate. It IS a learning exercise. Or, it was conceived of that way. It's great that so many talented amateurs and pros are giving examples of "how to", but there's nothing like getting your feet wet to go swimming.

Sochi:I had never done a mood board before the 3rd thread (1920s kitchen). I've learned quite a bit about Olioboard and Flickr since the first kitchen I posted. That alone makes these exercises worthwhile. Not only am I learning a little about design (mostly from others) but I'm also learning how to more efficiently create moodboards, navigate the web, identify where to find what I'm looking for relatively quickly, use Flickr, etc. Plus it's fun and quite addictive. I encourage everyone to try it out.

cawaps:I had never put together a mood board before the Colonial Revived thread (Design Around This #2). It takes a bit of time, but if you can do a Google image search and can master the basic tips on posting photos, you can do this...I find that I am more likely to respond to other threads with pictures, since it doesn't seem like such a chore anymore, now that I have lots of practice. I've also learned not to overinvest in a particular choice. At the idea stage you can easily adopt, evaluate, replace, look for something else.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:05AM
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Okay I will do it then.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Well, cawaps, you can think my statement was complaining, I think I was stating an opinion. When 4 design elements are "banned", the age of home that can be used is mandated, color proportions are dictated and the phrase "show your work" is used, well, IMO that's pretty rule bound. You seem to like setting and following rules, so have at it, but not me, I'm more of a free association person and all the rules make this too much like work.

I will enjoy reviewing the results, these truly are entertaining threads, I'm just pointing out that not everyone likes such tight dictates.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:25AM
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I have been away for a couple of days, but I just wanted to put in my vote that I think after the exercise pal is working on, our next project should be designing around a minimal traditional house from the '40s through the '70s. The kind of house that people on the forum complain about because it doesn't give enough direction or inspiration, because it's not midcentury modern or anything distinctive, just vaguely traditional, vaguely modern and with minimal detail.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:40AM
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Sandyponder, I sorry if I offended with my choice of words. My Random House dictionary defines complain as "express dissatisfaction," which was the sense in which I meant it. I was actually trying to argue for fewer rules when I made the statement.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Those houses from the 40's-70's often, as marcolo pointed out, even "vaguely" have some detail that can be built onto decoration wise.
The one I would like to see as an exercise is one of those neo-????? whatevers that were built during the housing boom of the 80's through the 90's. The ones that are >4000 sq.ft. in subdivisions where they are all the same and completely devoid of any character. It would be interesting to see how you really smart and talented people (hear the hint of jealousy) could do a kitchen and perhaps redo the front of one of those behemoths to give it some personality that would tie into the look of the kitchen.

I am a lurker and do enjoy reading these but am waaaay too intimidated to make any comments.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I read these threads off and on with enjoyment, too. However, until we finally move into our house, I don't have time to contribute. Hopefully it will still be going when our year long saga finishes.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:19PM
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