Design Around 8: Animal 'Prints'. Newbies welcome

palimpsestDecember 11, 2011

The history of animal prints (as opposed to skins) goes back at least to the late Victorian era as far as I can tell, and although they cycle in and out of "fashion", they do not go out of style.

For this project, use an animal "print" as a key element in your kitchen design.

Some examples of the finishes available include the Forbo Crocodile series for flooring, the Matouche series of tiles from Walker-Zanger, and various other tiles, wallcoverings and fabrics.

The only restriction I would place is that the animal print must be an INTEGRAL part of the scheme. Don't decorate a neutral kitchen with animal print accessories. This does not rule out the use of accessories or fabrics, but the scheme should be built around the animal of choice.

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Based upon backsplash tile.

This kitchen is Neo-Deco in style:
Glass tile backsplash
Maple eased-edge slab doors
Smeg Opera Range in cream
Forbo Corklinoleum floor
Snake cabinet pull (a few doors)
Visual Comfort Alabaster bowl fixture
Bronze pull for most cabinets
Loos chair from Artistic Frame
Springer-style parchment (goatskin) table
Lacquered grasscloth server
Finish board clockwise: Silestone/Chair fabric/backsplash/wallcovering.
The Neoclassical Snake bowl (19th c.) and the Serpent and Deer painting (1930s) show the history of the snake as a decorative subject.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 12:40PM
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I'm going to do a high and low version based on the Peacock. Here is the high: (I don't know all the prices, but those I know I've provided)/

Retired couple, Zoya and Misha, both love rich colour and drama. Formal rural home with some modern pieces. They picked up the taxidermied peacock while visiting Bruges, $1,500. They already had the Dror Peacock Chairs, $6,400, in the sitting area off the kitchen. The table is an antique found in London some years ago. I found them a $12,400 silk peacock rug, but in the end felt that this $600 rug worked better.

Cabinets will be similar to the brown cabs below, but custom made and painted peacock blue, like the colour behind. Oil bronzed Pirouette knobs. The island will be walnut, showing off the grain as in the picture below (Misha felt the burled walnut was just a tad too showy, and didn't echo the peacock as well as the walnut selected). Zoya and Misha's island will be a little more traditional than the pictured island, with bronzed shapely legs and the same black marble as on the peacock blue cabinets. No pulls on the island cabinets. Rothschild and Bickers Flora Pendants over the island, approximately $450.

Black Aga (the fridge is panelled in peacock blue) on herringbone floors, bronzed sink and faucet. Black marble with white veining and peacock feather glass mosaic backsplash.

A peacock influenced kitchen:

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:43PM
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I wonder if most of us will use snake skin. I've been looking around for materials since it was mentioned in the other thread and found that there is a lack of tiles in animal format. But snakeskin is lighter.

I took a look at walker zanger but found their crocodile tile far too dark.

Anywho. I went gold here. I imagine this person lives someplace warm and dry and that they don't cook very often as the reviews I read for that smeg oven were terrible.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:44PM
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BTW, that snakeskin thing is tile. So that's the back splash.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:06PM
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This is one that no back story came to me. It's just the plain exercise.

Imagine tile alligator print tile floors.(Not textured like the Walker Zanger Matouche, so easier to clean.)

Green stained bamboo perimeter cabinets with Zodiaq Carraway counters and Matouche in Ivory for the backsplash.

Maple Biscotti island with Zebra wood counters and lit by a red Poul Henninsen fixture.

Red Verona gas range, aluminum Martin Pierce Morphic knobs and pulls (echoing a mod interpretation of a giraffe print), and some cloisonne ones for a few special cabinets.

A Danish modern table with red Chippendale chairs recovered in a modern suzani.

A vintage mirrored chandelier above the breakfast table, with some ostrich wallpaper and the suzani fabric used again above the window.

All pulled together.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Also based upon backsplash tile. Overall this would be a high budget project because of the backsplash and even a yard of the Leopardo fabric @ close to $3000.00 list, but it's kind of a mix of high and low(er).

Leopard tile backsplash
Plain & Fancy Metro cabinets
JennAir Oiled Bronze Oven (and induction cooktop)
Amtico vinyl in Gold metallic.

Cambria Quartz - Bisazza Tile - French Abstract Painting
Scalamandre Leopardo - Wall color - MCM Greek Redware

Chandelier for table - Buffet lamp - Buffet painting
Paul Evans patchwork burl table - Room/Board chair - Milo Baughman buffet

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 3:26PM
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I really like the peacock rug and the herringbone floors.

Painted, we both used snakeskin and ended up with a very close palette with all different materials.

LWO I really like the Martin Pierce hardware. I have a single chippendale from that period hand painted in red/brown stripes.

In general, I think it's interesting that we are veering Toward a very dark cabinet, and Away from stainless steel ranges. Almost all of us have pulled out some relatively unheard of (or at least not commonly used,) range, probably because our palettes have tended to skew warm. If only appliances were at least available in the car colors.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 4:30PM
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Palimpsest, you're right that white and SS appliances have been conspicuous in their absence in most of these threads. Yet they probably represent 95% IRL. Should we be trying to include them more in these threads I wonder? Even in the "low" budget peacock I'm working on, I still have a black oven. Painted Lady did use a good looking SS range in her thread though. I really like the brown appliances myself.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:08PM
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I would say not yet, with the appliances. Then we would start designing around white or stainless.

If you analyze it, white or stainless would work okay with my first kitchen (my palette is the same as Painted's), and black (which is often cheapest) would work with the second.

I didn't consider budget too much on this project because the Bisazza is so expensive. I can't quite understand how it is priced because its not by the square foot-- I don't think-- and each pattern covers differently. (One list said $15K a box but they don't tell you the coverage on it.) The scale is bigger than I first interpreted too, probabaly 2 x anyway.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Snake designs - pal, I think your snake kitchen holds together really well, which I guess is all that matters - but I really don't like it - except the range. I find it anemic I think. And a little creepy. The painting I think, and the snake.

painted lady - I like the gold, but wonder about the SS range - re: the discussion above, would a brown range look better? It might work with the brown in the marble - is it marble or onyx? Or is the brown too dark? I think it might work better if it had gold or bronze handles.

Now your leopard kitchen Palimpsest, that I really like. Wouldn't want it, but like it. I don't think I could do an animal print that "in your face". I'll definitely take the burl table and the blue French painting.

LWO - I could use that alligator tile IRL. I'm not sure about the backsplash - the cabinets and counter work well, but the backsplash seems a little uninspired to me, too close a match to the counter maybe? I'm not sure. Like the colour scheme overall though. I love that fabric, but is it still a suzani if it has a modern pattern like that? And if it doesn't cover a bed?? Certainly doesn't remind me much of Central Asia.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Cream colored rooms are a hard sell, and it depends a lot about both the natural lighting and the artificial lighting.

I did an all cream project for school (with a walnut core down the middle a la Mies van der Rohe only it was a 4000sq foot loft.) When I was working on it people came right out and said they hated it. And it was took entire days at a time to assemble the fabrics and finishes. But when it was done, and people saw all the fabrics and finishes IRL, it ended up winning a prize, because it was really enveloping.

The thing about either of the kitchens I've posted in this thread is that you could pull the obvious "skin" or reference (snake handles) out of it, and it would work with a similar but non-referential backsplash. I couldn't live with such a permanent animal reference either, but they could hang together with something else.

I would use the Scalamandre fabric in two seconds, with the right budget.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:12PM
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I'll have to admit that the topic didn't excite me and I couldn't quite picture an animal print kitchen, but I'd gladly have the peacock, snakeskin and alligator kitchens set forth already!! What fun -- and how creative and beautiful! Great ideas Sochi, LWO, and Painted Lady!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Lower budget peacock kitchen. Jack and Jill, first home. Funnily enough, just like Zoya and Misha, they also have a small eat-in nook just off their kitchen. Fairly common barley twist table from Jill's mother.

The backsplash is the fantastic peacock wallpaper with flexiglass. The black peacock on a nearby wall is an $18 wall sticker. The painting is mass produced on canvas, around $450.

Ikea kitchen and faucet, marmoleum flooring, Wilsonart Laminate black counters, Crate and Barrel armchair and accessories, readily available and affordable black appliances, plus as a treat - Heath Ceramics coffee cups.

The light fixture is a DIY suggestion from Apartment Therapy I think. Start with an IKEA lamp, add coloured felt ...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:14PM
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All really spectacular, particularly considering that I really don't care for animal prints. FWIW...

Painted Lady, I like the stainless range, with the rest of the room, it puts me in mind of the sort of silvery, metallic snakeskin...cobra, perhaps?

Pal: What I like most about your first room are the way the chairs have a bit of Cleopatra's throne look to them...very apt with the snakes (asps, I presume?). Gotta say though, that snakes give me the creeps and beautiful as it is, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable in this room for more than 5 minutes.

Live Wire favorite. The most subtle use of the animal motif. Definitely there, yet very liveable and warm, with no sense of theatrics.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:23PM
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I think the "Low" version might actually be a bit more cohesive than the "High" although I would probably just go for one of the plastic ready-to-assemble IKEA pendants. On my monitor the linoleum doesn't read quite warm enough but that could just be the monitor.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:27PM
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I think snakes used to be thought of more in their symbolic sense: While looking for elements for the room I came across snake serving pieces, snake chandeliers, floor lamps that were extended pythons, and Empire-period ring back chairs where the rings were intertwined snakes. Then there was a bunch of stuff that just had snake head or tail forms. And a lot of snake jewelry.

The chairs are a klismos form, which is Egyptian, these are styled after Adolf Loos who first did this fully upholstered form.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:35PM
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Here is the chair I found:

Innocent enough, at first.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:58PM
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Yeah, I think I know what you mean about the cohesiveness with the high peacock. I like the chairs and rug. Maybe if the blue was only on the island and the cabs were a more traditional style of walnut? The sink & faucet would have to change. I love the light fixtures though and the backsplash though. I tried to pull modern into traditional, but I really don't know how to do traditional, so I was grasping a little.

The $18 peacock wall sticker is my favourite item in the "low" peacock space.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:03PM
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Zane is married to Elyse. They live in Clarksburg, California with their nine children. They got married staight out of college. Zane works as a sales representative for a fertilizer company; Elyse is a stay-at-home mom.

One day, Zane came home to find his wife sobbing in the kichen. Through sniffles, she asked,"Do you remember that zebra-striped skirt I had when we first met?" Boy, did he. What he remembered most was wanting to get her out of it. "I looked so hot in that skirt," she continued. "What happened to that person, Zane? That sexy, fun, adventurous person. Now I'm...frumpy. Boring. I'm so pathetic!" She sobbed some more.

"You're just a sexy now as the day we met." Not really, but Zane had learned that telling the truth was often not the best strategy in these situations. "You just need to spice up your life a bit. What about a zebra-stiped kichen? You'll be the most fashion-forward housewife in town."

Elyse briefly debated whether this wasn't just as bad as when your husband give you a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. She decided it wasn't.

In the end, the star of the kitchen was the Wilsonart laminate countertops, in their special order Zebra pattern. The backsplash was a super sexy black back-painted glass.

To go with those choices, they picked cream-colored cabinets from Scavolini. The cabinet hardware is from The Hafele pull reminded them of zebra stripes and the Pamar knob was clean and simple. They chose a porcelain tile for the floor--Fantesca from Daltile. The lighting they ordered online from Lamps Plus--Possini Euro Parallel Square line, echoing the zebra stripes, again. The small table, Monroe Ebony Dining Table from Crate and Barrel,fits in the breakfast nook and give the family a place to hang out while she's cooking (of course they have a much larger table in the dining room). The zebra chairs came from Target.
The overall effect was both fun and sexy. Elyse was thrilled.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Sochi: I like the green chairs in your first peacock presentation. The animal kingdom is full of males that really strut their stuff and those chairs remind me of that attitude. The second "low budget" one that you presented doesn't have the same strut. Just because kitchens are low-budget doesn't mean they can't have that "strut" in them.

Live wire oak: love the danish modern table.

Don't listen to me because I couldn't do these presentations to save my life but I'm learning a lot. So thanks.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 11:21PM
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Okay, here's Zebra, round 2. (Yes, I was working on this before it was posted). This one also doesn't have any color (well, beige). I really like the stong contrasts of a B/W color scheme (one reason I really like the OTK with a definite preference for those with black counters).

This one does not strictly qualify under the rules. It is not, in fact, an animal print, but a cabinet caved and colored to evoke zebra stripes that is the centerpiece of this exercise. It was just so danged cool, I had to put it in, but combining it with other zebra stripes just brought it down. I fully understand that this disqualifies me from a medal or any prize money.

Jason and Georgia live in a 1999 McMansion in Livermore, CA. Before they were married, Jason traveled extensively in Africa, and he has a collection of African art that he displays in the house. There was one piece that he didn't buy when he had the chance, a cabinet carved in geometric patterns and colored to look like zebra stripes. He always regretted not snapping it up. When he sees a simialar piece on, he immediately buys it. It is about 5 feet long and 3 feet high, for $1600. The upper doors on either side fold down to form desk tops. He figures he can use it as a sideboard, or set it up as a bar for entertaining.

The purchase precipitates a kitchen remodel. He keeps the exising dark wood cabinets, but finds a black and white cement tile, Paccha from Ann Sacks, for the backspash. He updates the floor with Marmleum Litho, with a border of Marmoleum Black. He chooses a beige marble for his countertop--for all that zebras are black and white, the "white" of the cabinet is quite beige, which is okay with him because it makes for a warmer look. He replaces the stainless appliances with black ones, a JennAir cabinet depth fridge and a Viking range.

Georgia picks a black fabric with thin beige stipes from for the drapes. She also picked out the dining table. They haven't found the "right" chairs yet; these they kept from their last dining room set.

They found the lighting together on Lamps Plus. He liked the Sonneman Boxus dining pendant; she liked the Utopia mini pendant.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 12:27AM
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sochi I love both of your designs. I think I like the "low" one better, something about the wallpaper.

I don't know why I didn't think "peacock" for an animal print.

Re: stainless - I hate stainless steel. I know it's "the look" and people want it like they want granite, but I think it's the avocado and harvest gold of our generation. It's hard to maintain (I actually scratched the stainless in my rental while cleaning it) shows everything and ... it's just so damned ubiquitous.

painted lady - I like the gold, but wonder about the SS range - re: the discussion above, would a brown range look better? It might work with the brown in the marble - is it marble or onyx? Or is the brown too dark? I think it might work better if it had gold or bronze handles.

That's onyx. I was looking to illuminate the counter from behind. I figured no one actually cooks in a kitchen that looks like that so there was no point in being practical.

I think brown would work, but you'd need the brass fixings - and maybe a slightly lighter brown.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 7:24AM
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I would probably switch the Zebra laminate for the backsplash and do AB granite or black quartz on the work surface. I think both your versions hang together well.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:12AM
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Sochi, I adore your "high peacock". I love the herringbone floors and light fixtures.

LWO, love your pop of red - wouldn't have thought of that in combo with animal prints. very subtle.

I'm thinking of hopping into this round... it looks sort of daunting but fun.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:24AM
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Palimpsest, I seriously considered that. I kept thinking that zebras have the stripes for camouflage, and that having those stripes on the work surface would be both visually distracting when doing normal kitchen tasks like chopping, and also that things would tend to get lost on the surface. Was your reason for switching similar, or was it about esthetics?

I really liked the (sexy) back-painted glass, though, and couldn't get the same effect with the counter. In real life, they (and I) probably would have done exactly what you said. I had a picture of black galaxy granite in my folder for exactly that.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Is it supposed to be more like this?

Roughly the stuff on the left is lower cost fulfillment and stuff on right is higher cost.

Upholstery (banquette or chairs) elephant hide vinyl

(Pillows or table cloth)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Bmore I think the interpretation of tiger maple is fine, (and zebrawood would be interesting also) because you did pull in some other elements.

The key point of your presentation (and your other presentation) is the labeling and the systematic approach.

A visual pinboard or mood board is okay for the type of thing we are doing in here, but this is not something that works in real life very well. My straight up elevations and your labeled items may not be as esthetic as an artistically arranged mood board, but IRL clients need to be told exactly what is what and they may be blown away by the visual appeal of a cabinet knob that is shown in detail the size of the chairs on the board and then wonder why the finished product doesn't have the same appeal with 2" knobs scattered around.

Are clients really that dense? They sometimes can be...I had a client look at a rendering that was an exact representation of a lobby space with a "before" photo adjacent to it and say "What is this?" and point at the ceiling. "Why is it that weird gold color?" --"Because it's wood"--"Really? why would you do that, I mean aren't ceilings usually white?"

At this point another member of the committee interrupted and said "Bob, this is a representation of a different paint scheme in the existing lobby, everything else is as it already exists, the ceilign is *already* wood".

"Really?, I never, noticed" said Bob, who lived in the building and was on the committee for updating the lobby.

I also know a designer who had to scramble and find carpet that looked like the fabric and fabric that looked like the carpet because the head of the committee got them mixed up but then Wanted it that way. Why the confusion? Although labeled the fabric sample was much larger than the carpet sample and since floors take up the most room, the biggest sample must be the carpet.

I know this is a long story but to some degree I feel that the mood boards have contributed to a focus on a sometimes relatively small element of the big picture, which may not indicate how the project would look in real life.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Sorry for my absence. Time crunch. Forgive me simply and uselessly saying for now, these are awesome, but they are.

To pal's point: I had taken to repeating certain patterns in my boards like the floor tile for exactly that reason. It wasn't reading right when the entire floor took up the same visual space as a cup pull. We may not need to worry about this here, but it's something people should address if they try doing mood boards for real-life projects.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 6:01PM
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I am loving this thread, and I get the impression people are really having fun with it (I am).

But compared to other threads, how likely do you think people are to do these in real life? It seems to me that animal prints have a lot of cultural baggage, from "snakes are creepy to this LWO quote from the last thread: "...they can look so 1970's Harlem pimp if you aren't careful."

While Marcolo often chastises people for being afraid to take design risks, animal prints are one risk that I don't know if I would take. Not that these kitchens aren't fabulous. Just that only a pretty small segment of the population would dare to actually do them. I noticed that there are fewer stories on this thread--maybe becuase we can't quite imagine who would actually DO one of these.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 6:34PM
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bmore - your animal print content is pretty minimal - I'm not sure if "tiger stripped" maple cuts it! :) I like all the detail in your post, and the "high/low" options, but I don't have a good feeling for what the room would look like overall, or if I would like it. Might be because I lack imagination though, I do better with slightly larger pictures of the items in question -I can barely see the cabinets, for instance.

I agree with you cawaps, these are a little hard to live with. I think I could imagine living with my "low" peacock kitchen, but peacocks are pretty trendy at the moment, so that helps. LWO's kitchen is pretty livable too I think. Not a kitchen, but I LOVE the two peacock chairs with that rug and table in my "high" board. I could certainly live with that little vignette. Not sure about the actual bird though.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:00PM
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I think the Bissaza Leopardo and Python are both nice in person, but they are large scale. I've only seen pictures of these in commercial environments.

I would use the Scalamandre silk velvet in two seconds if I could pay $2000 a yard.

Could I actually have a leopard backsplash? No, I don't think so, but I could have a leopard vestibule, anteroom, alcove or something like that in a large enough house.

I have never been good at the fictional back story other than "Client A like X, so I am doing a design incorporating X, nuf said."

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:00PM
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"A snake? You put a giant snake over my Wolf range?" said Sarah's mother, Alice. She stared at the room that used to be her kitchen.

Sarah tightened her jaw.
"Yes, well, the theme this week was animal prints, and I thought... you'd like it. They're, um, timeless, you know."

Alice loved subtle tones and understated elegance, and had never understood how her daughter had failed to inherit her stunningly good taste. But she knew Sarah was trying.
"At least you kept my Poggenpohl cabinets," she said, "and I do like the Aegean White marble countertops."

"I used Silestone unsui for the island," said Sarah, "and the taupe silk pendant lamps are by 2Modern. I thought they looked like you."

"Oh heavens, it's just the snake tiles; their large size rather reminds one of those man-eating pythons from the Sci Fi channel, doesn't it? The ones that make people run and scream?" asked Alice, frowning. She drummed her manicured nails on her gray Chanel jacket.

"Those are by Imagine Tile," said Sarah. "I used matte gray glass tiles for the rest of the backsplash. I thought if I only used the snakeskin tiles in one place, it would work. Like a big waterfall of warm visual texture, behind your range. And, see, the new maple floor picks up the beige tones in the tile."

Sarah picked up speed. "The rug in front of the sink is one of those Dash and Albert rugs you like. The Italian leather island chairs are by Calligaris, and they pull in the black color from the snake tiles. The china cabinet is from Ikea. We'll light it, so you can use it to display some of your Mata Ortiz pottery, especially the snake pots."

"Well," sighed Alice, "it's done now, so we might as well submit it to the Kitchen forum, to see what they think."

"You know, Mother, maybe we both need to loosen up a bit," said Sarah, as she clicked Submit Message.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:41PM
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This last one is very pretty.

A friend of mine growing up had a combination of blue snakeskin and red and blue jacobean patterned wallcoverings in their kitchen. I always just thought of it as a "pattern".

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:57PM
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I probably conceived this one first when I thought of the history of faux skins in upholstery and what kind of houses they were in. This would be a kitchen that maybe Diana Vreeland would've had, or someone like the pug lady perhaps: overall highly formalized.

Finish blocks: Silestone-secondary leopard print-F&B paint
Scalamandre Leopardo silk velvet-F&B "Drag" - parquet floor.
The last piece is a Regency period Cellaret.

The palette is based more on Imari porcelain than anything. Take out the leopard backsplash and but in another saturated tile and it still works.

The room is not strictly period regency, because the regency tables were too big (this is federal), and the large majolica leopard is, perhaps more Hollywood regency, but it's not an eclectic room, it's purely classical.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:21PM
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Lovelier and lovelier. Both the saturated and neutral kitchens are great, but what a lesson in how a neutral kitchen can be improved by interesting pattern.

pal where is that Chinese Deco rug from?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:26PM
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I went with Komodo dragon skin with some Indonesian flavor due to the location of Komodo Island.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:36PM
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It's from Doris Leslie Blau and is listed at $45,000.
It's 10 x 13 ish and is circa 1940.

I dated/was friends with girl (...), back in the day that lived in a huge loft in Chelsea and had floors covered with these rugs, a Beidermeier suite, and a Nakashima chaise. And she was in grad school. These were her parents "out of rotation" pieces. I kinda knew this was atypical but I would occasionally take people to the apartment, and they would freak. Anyway the bar for what I liked was set early.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:45PM
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The pattern is very similar to one someone tried to pitch me for my dining room. That was only 15K. The good news is that the Stark showroom will have it reproduced for a fraction of that amount.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Okay, I forced myself to do this one because I have an absolute horror of animal prints; OTOH, I thought I could maybe handle a marine theme, which is harder because there aren't as many patterns.

Drs. Matt Hooper and Christine Watkins are professors of marine biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Dr. Hooper comes from a moneyed family, so price isn't really an concern for them. They wanted a kitchen for their home near the beach that reflected their love of marine biology and the sea without being too beach-themed. They wanted subdued colors and subtle finishes.

I started with the Charles Stone for Ann Sacks shagreen tile:

Then I added the beautiful cerused oak cabinets that mamadadapaige posted the other day. (I also shopped in some uppers with frosted glass because the color reminds me of sea glass):

The floors are a fish-scale pattern in a pale color grouted in a gray that would tie in with the cabinetry:

The range is a Bluestar in Stone Gray.

For contrast, counters are a fossil limestone. The sink, hardware and faucets are all a dark copper finish. The hardware and faucets both have rope detailing to tie in with the sea theme.

The Serena drum chandelier is made of capiz shells and works nicely with the color scheme:

The fabric is a Thomas Paul print, only in the bark colorway:

which ties in with the antique shell print.

For fun I added these tortoise glass dishes and a pair of sea urchin salt and pepper shakers:

To pick up the frosted glass uppers and glass dishes, and to add a sea glass color that isn't too saturated or minty, the walls are Pale Powder by Farrow & Ball.

Here's the composite board:

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 11:46PM
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I couldn't quite imagine what this thread would look like. I'm so enjoying all the lovely rooms here... many small touches of great beauty in the details, and so much to absorb in each board.

I love the inclusion of the colors of peacocks, and the subtle textures of reptiles, fish, and sea creatures. I realize now I had a very limited understanding of how animal prints could contribute to a space.

I'd frankly be much more comfortable including some kind of animal print (or texture) in a home. Looking at all these visuals helps me see how wrong it would be to rule out textures or patterns taken directly from nature, just because I was worried about the result being "over the top." No shallow cliches here, these designs have a lot of fun and interest. Great stuff!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 2:37AM
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I like the griege colorway of this last kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:48AM
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I love your design board, anna_chosak! I could totally live with that kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:30AM
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Wow what a great thread!!! Wish I had time to play. When I first saw the animal print idea I thought ewww but after looking at all the great boards...well this is all a keeper.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 11:17AM
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Circus Peanut

Defying the resource-gobbling reputation: a modest, environmentally-aware, salvaged and repurposed Pig Kitchen.
(Also by way of being an homage.)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 11:43AM
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Writersblock and pal: Thanks! Glad you liked it.

So now that I'm done, here are my comments on the others. But first:

PALIMPSEST: THANK YOU FOR STARTING THESE THREADS. This is something completely new for me, and I wish I had known about it when I started my kitchen remodel. It's soooo much easier to conceptualize how everything will work when you do this. Yes, there are always details to be hammered out later, but it's a far, far better approach than the piecemeal panic the rest of us seem to go through.

And everyone else, especially newbies starting out with a remodel, I can't encourage you enough to do this exercise! You won't believe how much you'll learn and the difference in your perception of the room as a whole. If everyone here learned to pull together a board before beginning a project, then Palimpsest will have done the GW world a major service.

There. Got that off my chest. On to comments:

Palimpsest: I LOVE the first one. Just love it. Could be because I am very drawn to cream, but it's so rich and warm. If the motif is on the snake as an art icon, I'd add some bronzed apples in the bowl, and maybe a fig leaf shape somewhere since I like whimsy and allusion.

The second one I also like. I'd take that Scalamandre fabric too--it's gorgeous. I like the bubble chandelier picking up the round shapes in the print, and love the burled wood with the color scheme, the lamp and the painting. The blue is a nice surprise with all the brown going on.

The third one....well, I can appreciate it in the abstract, but most Diana Vreeland rooms make me go "GAAAAHH!!!" so there you go. I do like the rug a lot and the little leopard tsochtke. And I would SO buy that snake chair, because a) I love it and b) I would steer unwelcome guests into it.

LWO: Have to tell you that many of the individual elements as you posted them made me think "WTH???" But then I was wowed by the composite. Really beautifully pulled together with a wonderful palette and so many surprising elements that look great together.

cawaps: The zebra kitchen I can again appreciate in the abstract, but it seems a bit cold to me. The second one is much better and more to my taste, especially with the North African influence.

bmorepanic: I hope you can make the pictures larger on your board because you have some very intriguing elements, but it's hard to get a sense of the whole thing. Love the way the ceiling light echoes the shape of the handles, and that fabric would look great with the upholstery.

mudhouse: The colors in yours are so beautiful together, and the other elements subdued enough to let the snakeskin backsplash dominate. I like it much more than I would have thought had I not seen it all pulled together. And you DEFINITELY had the cleverest and most creative backstory. I could just see Alice, the way you described her. I think she'll like her kitchen once she gets used to it and then all her society friends will copy it and she'll complain about that.

Sochi: You stole my peacock idea! That was my original thought as well, but I doubt yours could be improved upon. The first design is a little heavy to me and needs something to lighten it up. I like the second much better--much lighter and more playful in feel.

PaintedLady: Really like yours a lot! What a beautiful palette. Love the mix of metals and the gold tone back to the print.

Leia: Yours is my favorite so far! Okay, maybe it's because I'm a lizard lover and the proud mama of a bearded dragon, but that wallpaper is GORGEOUS. And the textures that evoke lizard skin on the lamps, plus the silvery gray palette teamed with wood and that trompe l'oeil Javanese roof...LURVE. I was totally blown away by how everything in the cooking area worked together...the colors in the hood echoed by the floor, ceiling, cabinets and range. Absolutely stunning. (That picture would scare me though. Might be good for my diet OTOH.)

circuspeanut: Well, since I love pink and copper and Towel Pig, what's not to love about this kitchen? I couldn't really see where your animal print came into play though...the floor? Very cute anyway, and certainly very green with all the repurposed elements!

Self-critique: I'm not sure the range in Stone Gray really works with my scheme. In truth, I completely forgot about the range till I was in the middle of posting my board, then had an "oh crap" moment. If I had to do it over, I'd lose the range altogether and substitute a cooktop with a copper hood, I think...maybe deliberately with a bit of verdigris to pick up the other blue-green in the room.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 2:21PM
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After visiting Santa Fe on vacation one summer, Dorothy and Tom fell in love with the southwest and decided to retire there. Not able to afford Santa Fe on their fixed income, they found a place closer to Taos that abutted the national forest so they'd have forever forest views. The custom house was in good shape but 1980s bland. Since Dorothy spent so much of her time in the galley kitchen, they decided to give it more of the Southwest flavor that they love but with clean lines that went with the rest of the house.

Starting from the floor up, Dorothy got a kick out of the coyote print Saltillo tile that they saw at a local flooring store and Tom was ok with it as long as she'd be the one cleaning and sealing it.

They both like the tile's warm color and decided to echo it in a copper range and hood. They selected Bluestar all-gas so they could still cook during the power outages that occur fairly frequently in their rural area.

After recovering from the price quote of the copper ''inspired by'' range, they decide the terra cotta Bluestar looks just fine and lets the hood be the copper statement. While the sheet copper for the hood is pricey, Tom's handiness saves the day because he can fabricate it over the existing hood motor.

Dorothy wants a solid surface countertop and they decide on concrete to bring in the contemporary vibe from the rest of the house and its DIY nature. Tom's willing to do the countertops with Dorothy's help but decides to get a pro to do the sink. They both prefer the lines of the Grohe K4 and having only one countertop hole to deal with.

Dorothy likes the darker cabinet finish as more rustic and thinks the lighter color of the distressing picks up the concrete color. She gets all lower drawers since they're so much easier on her aging back. Upper cabs are only on one side of the galley due to the windows opposite.

For lighting, she loves the adjustability of the Porter Pendant and thinks the gray SS and its design fits ok in her kitchen.

Since her favorite color is green and to reflect the view of evergreens from the big kitchen windows, Dorothy picks a soft green tile backsplash with gray undertones, hoping it won't clash with the concrete color but nervous that it doesn't relate well to colors of the rest of her choices. She uses the pine tile as a border with the rest plain field tile except for one coyote and one rabbit tile (NB: ok, the rabbit tile is really in green like the others and I couldn't find an appropriate coyote tile so please use your imagination here that it's similar in style to the rabbit tile. Thank you for your support!) as a bit of whimsy playing off of the floor. Extending the whimsy a bit further, she uses one coyote print knob and one rabbit knob on two of the kitchen's small drawers while the rest have plainer bar pulls as seen on the cabinets.

Looking at the moodboard of her selections, Dorothy thinks it all works.

(So, is Dorothy right? Does it all work?? I realize that, like bmore I think, this isn't much of an animal print. The ones I could find seemed to be quite African or reptile, neither of which could I figure out what to do.)

Thanks for reading!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 2:51PM
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I think the projects have been getting better and better, maybe because the jumping off point is NOT something one thinks of as kitchen-y. I also think it is because more people are playing and people are letting go with it.

Leia, the ceiling is awesome, and since you and anna posted gray kitchens in succession I unintentionally passed it over. I think the grey colorway is going to be a more frequent choice in the future. (I know that the RH catalog has turned a lot of people off, but Gary Friedman et al. must know something--and I think IRL the grey/greige thing will be much more modulated and moderate than the catalog)

Peanut I like yours because it is peachy, and that Chambers:)

The paw prints in the last one are awesome.

I think also in relation to "letting go" though, something else is happening and that is a different form of cohesiveness.

There tends to be a rather universal interpretation of what a white kitchen, or a neutrals kitchen or a colorful kitchen "is" with point in time taken into account.

My "issue" (too strong a word, perhaps) with the colorful or atypical kitchen is that they are almost always electic-fusion --kinda transitional, quirky, anything goes in nature. What I like to see is kitchens (or any design) with a strong viewpoint and specific style, but in a different way. If you notice my set-ups, the python is pretty specifically deco, the brown one is pretty specifically MCM and the cobalt is pretty specifically neo-Classical. This is just my opinion but I think the tension between a pretty rigid interpretation on one hand vs. the outlier finish, color or whatever it is on the other... can make more of a statement than full-on anything goes.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 4:01PM
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pal - speaking only for myself, it would be difficult for me to do a specific style, because I don't know any. I assume I'm like most here - I'm interested in design and interested in learning, but I've never studied design, nor do I have any hands-on knowledge. Like most people probably, I designed my own renovation and kitchen based on what I like - dangerous perhaps, but I bet that is what most people do. While I may know a little tiny bit about MCM design, I really don't even know what neo-classical is, so it is tough to design to it. Maybe we need some threads asking for a typical design style, no doubt we'd learn quite I bit, or at least I would.

All the kitchens I've done for the threads I designed based on the theme and on what I like, for better or for worse. Perhaps the next step for me is to work on cohesiveness and a specific style - even if I don't happen to much care for that style? That would certainly be tougher for me.

But again - IRL, not here - do most people really want a space that is so specific to one style? Aren't most spaces eclectic to some degree?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 4:33PM
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Circus Peanut

I agree, Pal. A cohesive line is vital, even when things are "eclectic".

In the Pig Kitchen I was aiming for '30s modest deco, but not overtly kitschy, Eames-inspired or Memphis retro - I could see a very glossy pink-white-black kitchen in that direction, but it bored me. The Smeg was pushing it, but it could be any white fridge; I was rather drawn to its rounded porcine lines.

Re. the pink marble, shiny white counter, floral curtains: I was thinking of an older woman, living alone now, who just loves her some rose, gloss and florals, but finds what this generation calls "retro" distasteful.

Actually I had a narrative going where I was forced to build around her existing honey oak cathedral doors when I ran across the St Charles white cabinetry instead. I could put them back in to see what folks think. Wanted to try an animal color palette that specifically wasn't African savannah in tone, like most of the above designs - I started with Elephant but everything kept going green and grassy on me.

Those are pigskin equipale chairs and pigskin-esque linoleum; yes, ideally one would find beter, more piggy fixtures. Hmm. I'm so pressed for time, grrr. Next round.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Circus Peanut

Cross-posted with you, Sochi. I think that folks who go by "feel" are often channeling some sort of cohesive stylistic line, whether they are aware of it or not. Thus the difference between folks said to have "an eye" and those who don't. Perhaps?

I agree that most folks don't think in terms of period or style, but often I see kitchens (not here) which would have been vastly improved if they had. There's a certain amount of leeway for the eclectic, and then there's just right off the mark.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 4:58PM
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I really do intend to post some comments soon; I've been compiling them, but I never seem to catch up to all the posts. And I've been having trouble pulling myself away from my own efforts... (hangs head).

Anyway, here is another, much more colorful, effort. Although I wasn't specifically channelling a time period, it is pretty solidly mid-century modern. I was thinking of someone who liked bold colors and used them throughout the house.

Backsplash tile is Petracer Savana series in Croco, in orange for behind the counter and turquoise for behind the range, because I really liked the contrasting brights next to each other.

The floor is Marmoleum. Mostly a blue color called Rafting River, it has a red-orange border of Fresh Fountain. I've really been into borders on this thread; not sure why. The appliances are from Big Chill in Beach Blue.

Cabs are slab-front cherry; counter is laminate from Abet Laminati in Turchese (I'm pretty sure that's Italian for Turquoise). The table is orange lacquer found on The chair is the Cassidy crocodile chair made by Dan-Form (Denmark), found on

The chandelier, to hang above the orange table, is Dolcetti from Corbett Lighting, found on The squares reminded me of scales and the color picked up the turquoise. The mini pendant is from Uttermost Lighting's Albiano collection, also from LampsPlus.

The fabric is from, and channels the bird & butterfly thing that was going on in the white kitchens thread. It made me think of the birds that pick bits of meat from the teeth of crocodiles on the nile river.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 5:28PM
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I will probably contradict myself a number of times, but maybe it's because it's a complex subject.

No, Sochi, I don't think a lot of spaces are particularly eclectic or that most people want that. Of course there is no escaping that unless one lives in a museum, very few things are "period" either--because it's not natural in design to complete ignore everything that's come before. (Technology is involved when That happens).

Lets start out with houses. With the exception of some really nice houses built for people who've posted them here, for example, the current house style is --a mishmash. I will pick Philadelphia as a region because it varies

Exterior is based upon a historic or regional style, but this is grafted on a contemporary house

Interior is contemporary volumes or layout

Interior detailing is Colonial Revival: baseboard with an ogee at the top, "colonial" trim on doors and windows (its Called that); and 6 panel doors; cove + ogee crown moulding.
Vaguely tuscan-ish or old world kitchens are very popular, even though the rest of the house is not.

Rehabbed houses are completely contemporary inside for the most part with contemporary kitchens but still tend to have the colonial 6 panel doors and trim.

In terms of furnishings, most people fall into a couple of very broad categories; "Traditional", "Cottagey" "Transitional" "Contemporary" or they decorate in a historical style perhaps. Ethan Allen has the categories: Elegance, Modern, Romance, Explorer, and Vintage right now, and they try to hit pretty much everything except true modernism and true historic replication. Of course these categories all have blurred boundaries.

Eclecticism is more purposeful than this, and if you were to choose furniture from all five Ethan Allen categories, the result still wouldn't be particularly "eclectic" but it would probably be some sort of multi-layered transitional, which is what most design probably is. The Victorians were eclectic in the sense that they may take a room with pretty classical greek-revival styling and add a Moorish looking turret room at one end with specific Moorish features.

The thing about kitchens is, they are attached to the house, so they should reflect some kind of cohesive statement that goes with the house.

In contradiction to what I said before, though, to a degree my set ups are electic but not so much in the elements that are stuck to the house or attached together. In the last one, the rug is deco instead of an older Chinese or turkey rug, and the photograph is current. In the MCM-ish one, everthing is period but the light fixture is current. In the python one, the light and bowl are neo Classical, the painting is probably WPA, the chairs are deco period, and the table and credenza are MCM but from the deco-revival subset of that period--but it all Reads together as deco-ish, because the later pieces reference early pieces that further reference even earlier period furniture...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 5:50PM
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"I agree that most folks don't think in terms of period or style, but often I see kitchens (not here) which would have been vastly improved if they had." I can see this circuspeanut, and agree. Also agree with Pal that the kitchen should reflect some kind of cohesive statement that goes with the house.

But most houses in the suburbs of my city, and even in more recently built urban spaces, I don't think have a style. The owners then opt for "traditional" or "cottagey" based on what they like - what else can/should they do?

And contemporary isn't a style, is it? I would tend to call most new builds around here contemporary blah, with no distinctive or interesting character (or style?). Would a designer not go with what the owner likes in that case, rather than a particular style?

Sorry for all the annoying questions, thanks for the answers.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 6:30PM
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That goes back to some discussions that we've had in the past as well. This is an issue, for sure: the general stylistic void that exists inside a lot of built now houses.

But its not really a void, the houses are contemporary (meaning what is happening right now) but also contemporary (meaning modern). Modern in that they have open floor plans, asymmetrical layouts, double height, added height or vaulted spaces open to conventional spaces etc.

The problem is that most people like contemporary layouts, but like more traditional details. This is fine because it eventually creates its own design vocabulary. But the problem comes when you want to veer too much into a historical style and add it to the interior architecture of the house (I think anything furniture-wise is kinda fair game). If you want to make the entire interior detailing --craftsman-inspired, then do it ALL--then at least it is complete. However, it usually turns out more like this: a very "Craftsman" or "Edwardian" or "Old World" or "Somethings Got to Give" kitchen gets grafted in its entirety in a house that has nothing to do with that Anywhere else, including the other Furnishings. That's not eclectic.

There is nothing wrong with taking ELEMENTS of the above and somehow working it into an overall scheme that doesn't scream too much "I'm Old World!" etc.

The strangest example I can think of is a butter yellow Clive Christian kitchen with double-ogee granite countertops, and all the appliques and carvings you would want squeezed into a one bedroom apartment that looked like the one Bob and Emily Hartley lived in in the 1970s on TV. The rest of the apartment was brown parquet floors, architectural bronze windows with a cement terrace and slab doors. If the WHOLE APARTMENT -or at least living space, had turned into some high rococo fantasy, that would have been okay. People do that in NY highrises all the time. But the ~$100K kitchen, (I am assuming, it had the $10K+ Subzero glass fridge) made the rest of the apartment look awful, and the apartment made the kitchen look, just stupid. If she had gotten a cheaper fridge and spent $10,000 on drapes and some fussy wallpaper for the open K/LR/Dining Area, at least the whole Thing would have made some sense.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 6:59PM
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Some thank yous for some of the wonderful visuals you have all planted in my mind.

Palimpsest, for me, your boards are like a happy and unexpected enrollment in an online school of design. Lots of googling material to better understand periods, styles, materials. (Before these threads, I might have have thought Forbo Corklinoleum was the name of a swash-buckling galactic Star Wars hero.) I love your first room best because of the subtle warm tones and the sense of age and history. Thank you.

Sochi, the vibrant warmth of the peacock rug you found for Zoya and Misha is etched into my brain (thank you) along with the wonderful herringbone floor. I also loved your "low peacock" board because IRL I enjoy the challenge of trying to make special things from commonly available materials.

PaintedLady, warm gold metallic tones are foreign territory for me, so using those to unite your pretty board was a good eye opener.

LiveWireOak, your beautiful boards also send me scurrying to look up the styles and designers mentioned. They expand my horizons. Before seeing this board I would have guessed zebrawood would have to be the boldest element in a room, but your other choices disprove that! I learn so much from you. Thank you.

Cawaps, Elyse should keep Zane forever (few spouses would recommend a zebra kitchen out of pure love.) I liked the light fixtures (essence of electric zebra.) I admired that your second zebra board moved away from literal zebra stripes, because thinking freely is something I admire. In your last board, the creative connection between the crocodile textures, the birds on the cool fabric (picking meat from the teeth of crocodiles in the Nile) and the Rafting River Marmoleum made me smile!

Leia, I loved this entire board (yes, even the Komodo dragon eye print, I also love movies where giant lizards eat cities.) I would like to run my fingers over all of the bumpy surfaces. I thought the juxtaposition of the silvery weathered wood and the burnished metal range hood was quite beautiful. The imaginative ceiling painting was the lovely dollop of icing on the cake.

Anna, I could move right in here too. All of the textures and patterns are wonderful, each one adding but none overpowering. Loved how the soft green tortoise dishes made the other subtle colors even prettier. How is it I never even considered marine life for inspiration? It's all lovely.

Circuspeanut, thank goodness you worked copper in there, along with vintage charm and creativity. But now I want a towel pig again. Loved the peachy-pink countertop.

Mtnfever, yours feels like home to me, because I live with lots of old Saltillo (wish I had the concrete countertops too.) We have foxes and rabbits in our yard, too. I like how the simple straight lines of Dorothy's concrete sink/counters are echoed by the simple lines of the cabinets. Green is my favorite too, and I think soft green works well with the orangey warmth of Saltillo (I think it can be a rather tyrannical color!)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 7:25PM
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First, I want to commend all the first-time design-arounders. Welcome! Congratulations!

Second, I want to commend all the out-of-the-box thinkers on this thread. I never would have thought of peacocks, or fish scales, or coyote prints, or pigs, or elephant hide. The result was some really creative, unexpected kitchens.

Now for specific kitchens, in the order posted:

Palimpsest, I'm going to have to throw in with others on your first (cream snake) kitchen: It holds together well, and is really beautiful, but feels creepy to me(no doubt due to cultural baggage about snakes). It isn't so much the snakeskin, which I'm accustomed to seeing in fashion and upholstery, but the snake hardware and other images. I like the cream, though, and the combination of finishes (including the multiple versions of snakeskin).

In thinking about snakeskin on this thread, I remembered that my ex has a mid-century sewing chair with a deteriorating faux snakeskin seat. I never thought of it as especially creepy, although it seemed an unlikley pattern for his grandmother to have had.

Sochi, the green chairs in your high peacock room are absolutely fabulous. I really like the walnut with the peacock blue. The walnut cabs in the pic remind me of yours, with the matched grain. But they aren't yours, are they? Were they one of your inspiration pics? The lighting fixtures are great--I would use them in a second. I think the whole thing holds together really well. I think I prefer it to the lower-budget peacock, although I seem to be in the minority.

Painted Lady, I find your snake kitchen less creepy than Pals, probably because it lacks actual snakes. I think the range should pick up some gold or brass (handles/knobs) to reflect the gold elsewhere in the kithcen. I think stainless with brass would look great, but the straight stainless looks a bit cold.

Live_Wire_Oak, for all that you say you don't like animal prints you put together a beautiful kitchen with them. I think this is one of my favorites. I love the upholstery/drape fabric, and they really pull together the different colors. I love the giraffe pulls, and the ostrich wallpaper was an unexpected bonus (that I missed the first time around).

Palimpsest, my cultural baggage is showing again with the leopard Bisazza. I don't know why, but of all the "African" animal prints, leopard is the one I've always associated with too-short skirts and too much cleavage. It makes it hard to process it when it appears in such a classy way.

Sochi, I also like you low peacock (although as I mentioned I think I like the high a bit better). My absolute favorite thing in this one is the DIY felt pendant. I would totally do that, although I probably wouldn't put in in my kitchen (I still lack a rangehood and it wouldn't stay clean). I love that the bowl echos the peacock feathers without screaming "Peacock!"

Regarding my first zebra kitchen, Anna commented that it seemed cold. I agree. When I was putting them together, the first (modern) one drifted more to a black/white pallette but the chest in the second (traditional) one pushed the colors more to black/beige. I also like the warmer combination better. Relating to Pal's comment about designing to a specific style--the first kitchen is modern, more Euro modern that mid-century modern, but the story I wrote for it had it shoe-horned (not explicitly) into a more traditional home. The kitchen was what Elyse wanted to be; the traditional of the rest of the house was what she had become. In that sense it was intentionally a bad design fit for the house.

Bmorepanic, I think most people missed the elephant hide vinyl. And I really liked the elephant print fabric. I do think it is hard to process the overall design with the images that small, though.

Mudhouse, the story was hysterical. I am working on a snake design that used the Imagine Tile too. Very different from yours. I like the taupe and the accessories. The snake pots will be safely behind glass, yes?

Pal, I think I like this leopard one better than the other, which was overwhelmingly tawny despite the blue artwork. Are the clouds a ceiling treatment? I wasn't clear.

Leia, the komodo artwork scares me, but I really like the kitchen. I like how you evoked the effect of scales without having anything that was specifically manufactured to look like dragon hide. The lizard wallcovering is cute (why do snakes bother me and not lizards?)

Anna, kudos for thinking of fish. I really think the whole thing works together beautifully. Muted pallette, very soothing. I liked the fact that the chandelier was both made of shell and evoked bubbles. Also one of my faves.

Circuspeanut, I like that you did salvaged and repurposed (especially the big dent in the range--I'm pretty sure I could live with that for the right price). The particular shade of pink, particularly as it comes out on the counter, is not my favorite, though. I like the wallpaper, and overall it is a very sweet kitchen.

Mtnfever, I ran across some similar saltillo tiles when searching for "Animal prints." Very cool. I like the way you pulled in the rabbits and coyotes on the tile (coyotes hunting rabbits?) Even though it's not what I had in mind for animal prints, it is a great interpretation. I like the green (verdigris) with the copper.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 8:19PM
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Thank you for all your creativity. I would think how much I would like a kitchen that featured a kimodo dragon. I also like the vibe of the marine biology professors.

Circuspeanut, I love what you did, too, using elements from your own kitchen, including the famous towel pig!

Cawaps, I love the turquoise and orange. I may need to look into that fabric for our kitchen chairs as we have the blue fridge. I see that it's drapery fabric. I assume this will work?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 8:42PM
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mtnfever: I love the Santa Fe-inspired kitchen! Particularly the tiles (though in reality they'd be a nightmare to clean). The pine cone tile works really well to tie in the cool and warm colors. I especially like the coyote and bunny in perpetual opposition to each other, � la Ode on a Grecian Urn. Not sure the terracotta range works with the dark cabinets; I think a muted green might be better? Overall so charming and since New Mexico is one of my favorite places on earth, it really resonated with me.

cawaps, the blue and orange kitchen instantly brings the 50s to mind for me with the exuberant palette. It looks like too much orange to me, but then again with the blue floor and other blue pieces, it's probably better balanced than it's striking me. Well-put-together. Unfortunately, I have a floor in a bedroom upstairs just like that that I'm dying to rip out, so that kinda ruins it for me. But I do love the chandelier and the bird material (the description of the birds picking the crocodiles' teeth made me smile).

mudhouse, cawaps and gsciencechick, thank you for your kind words and even kinder analysis. I didn't even think of the bubble image in the chandelier; I was thinking of shell material and how it mimicked the octopus tentacles!

(I confess I am a little surprised that no one picked up on the reference in my client story.)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:19PM
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So far this has been my favorite 'design' thread. Wow! Thank you all - I've learned so much and been intrigued by every design board.

I must be kin to Bob, who didn't notice the ceiling. I've had to return to various designs several times after a commentator pointed out something that I missed. Goes with the too frequent conversations with DH, DD, etc that begin with me saying something like 'that is an interesting building is it new?' And after a long pause ends with someone saying 'um, it was 10 years ago. We've been driving past it several times a month since then.' I promise never to be on the design committee for projects any of you work on.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:26PM
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leia - the kimono dragon kitchen is fantastic. Great job. I especially love the hobnail effect pieces and that fantastic wallpaper. I'd love to use that somewhere.

cawaps - no, they aren't mine, I just happened across them. To be honest I should have chosen the burled walnut for the island - or, if I wanted to make this more like a kitchen that someone would have - perhaps main cabinets in walnut book matched with burled ends and the peacock blue island. I sometimes really love burled walnut, but I can't take too much of it. That said, I think I let my preference trump what might have worked best in that kitchen - burl or perhaps crotch walnut (I'm not too sure of the difference between the two).

And I love those blue appliances with the blue floor & orange border. What do we need to do to start a revolution in the kitchen industry re: coloured appliances?

circus - your pig kitchen made me laugh. Of course we needed a pig kitchen! How do you think a designer would react if a client asked him for a kitchen that pays homage to the pig?

mtnfever - that coyote print tile is just awesome!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:35PM
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Anna, I am ashamed to admit I managed to miss reading about Drs. Matt Hooper and Christine Watkins, professors of marine biology. I did read your comment about pushing yourself to do this board (thank goodness) and then the shagreen tiles pulled me in...followed by the cerused oak...soon I was surfing with sea turtles...and after that there was no going back. (Now I know why they made such informed choices.)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:37PM
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I did a couple of experiments with my kitchens in this thread.

The python kitchen is a "white kitchen". Of the fixed elements, only the floor has any particular saturation, so even though it is a taupey, pale yellowy kitchen it's still basically a monochromatic "white".

Leopard kitchen #1 is a "neutral kitchen" of all earthtones, very tightly correlated.

Leopard kitchen #2 is the most typical "environment" for leopard if the leopard is a silk velvet pillow or a broadloom rug, and the room is a living room.

I used leopard because it is kinda difficult and in your face and it does have that Kardashian quality, which is kind of unfortunate because Scalamandre Leopardo and Tigre are much older and have a better pedigree than that.

Cawaps, I lost a descriptive paragraph in my post. The clouds are a photograph and I picked it because it is the coloration of the Imari pottery.

Finally, I really misinterpreted the scale of the Leopardo material. The tesserae are half inch not quarter so the spots would be about twice the size. I think it looks more nuanced in photos. The backsplash is actually a colored schematic. I think you would get about 4 spots vertically not eight.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Well, they're particularly into sharks, hence the shagreen. ;-D

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:09PM
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I think the one thing missing from this thread, in terms of the natural habitat of animal prints, is Hollywood Regency.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Someone should use the word "pavonine" somewhere in this thread.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:46AM
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gsciencechick, here's a link for the fabric. It says "Ideal as decorative pillows, bedding fabric, curtain fabric, drapery fabric. Fabric suitable for many home decorating applications." It may be a bit lightweight for upholstery, but you'd need to get a sample to know for sure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird-butterfly fabric

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:56AM
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I hate I'm too busy these days to play! There are some great kitchen combos and I'm loving the stories that go along with them!

Yes, Pal, THANK YOU for starting this game! I appreciate the time everyone is putting into them, and apologize that I don't have time to comment.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:09AM
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Should we try for one more before the holidays?

What would people like to see/work on?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 12:53PM
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I think there is life in this one yet. It's only been up since Sunday, even though some of us started working on it early.

It seemed like we got a lot of new people on for this thread. I don't know if it was because there we fewer rules (nothing to study), or that it sounded fun. Either way, I think it caught people's imaginations, and I'd like to keep the enthusiasm going.

I had been thinking to do golden oak, but I think that golden oak will be hard. Even if you really love it, I don't think it is an easy color to work with, and a lot of people don't like it so it won't generate the same level of enthusiasm. In other words, I think it would not capitalize on the momentum from this thread.

I had been thinking to do something for the holidays, like remodeling Mrs. Claus' kitchen. But I don't want to offend exclude the non-Christians on the board. We could frame it as an abstract exercise for a older, grandmotherly woman who likes to bake and lives above the arctic circle. Lots of design issues there considering the extremes in daylight from winter to summer.

Here is the list again. I added Hollywood Regency because it sounded fun. And I added commercial kitchen & restaurant equipment because I've done a fair amount of shopping at my local restaurant supply store, and there is a lot that can be used for residential.

Keeping the golden oak
Knotty pine
Metal cabinetry
Interesting tile (we can do this one over and over)
Marmoleum graphic series
Back-painted glass
Commercial Kitchens/Restaurant Supply
Defining the Home
Minimal traditional house from the '40s through the '70s
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/Decorating Styles
Pink Kitchen
French Country
Starting from clothing fashions as your inspiration pic, design a kitchen that suits the era/mood/style
Rustic Modern Cottage
Hollywood Regency

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
Santa and Mrs. Claus (or a couple with similar personalities who live above the arctic circle)

Presentation Strategies that Can Be Combined with Other Choices
This/Not That (Good taste/bad taste, works/doesn�t work)
High/Low (same look, different budgets)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I'd love to see the Tract House one, because I think that's something that so many here can relate to. For those of us not fortunate enough to live in a house with great bones and built-in details, it'd be of tremendous interest.

However, I think the Mrs. Claus kitchen sounds like fun for the holidays! (And I'm Jewish, so....).

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Yeah, I think this still has some life in it for now. I'm working on another one if I can finish it up. Maybe start a new on on Saturday? And to keep the newbie participation up, another fun one with less rules would be great. The mid life crisis kitchen sounds like it could be one that is full of way out there ideas. Then we can do a harder one after that. A lot of people have extra time between Christmas and New Years so a harder one that takes a bit more work would be appropriate then I think.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:09PM
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I don't think too many rules are required anymore because people already get what the exercise is about. At first people were responding with just words ("I'd go with walnut cabs..."), refraining from commenting on others designs, etc. Now I think rules will mostly be needed only for specific challenges.

Also agree that between Xmas and New Year's people will have a little more downtime.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:17PM
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I agree, I don't think this is done yet. But like my boss who plans Vacation #2 and marks out his schedule, before he Leaves for Vacation #1, (So he doesn't feel too let down after), --I think having something else to think about can be stimulating even to the project at hand. So even in the midst of doing Animal Print, some ideas may arise for ____, or you may find something to use for___ instead of for animal print kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:28PM
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These three would get my top votes, in no particular order:

French Country
Hollywood Regency
Rustic Modern Cottage

I would boycott any thread about Santa and Mrs. Claus' house UNLESS:

- their house is in Finland or Sweden and represents Scandinavian style
- has NO Christmas decor :)

If it is a northern Swedish/Finnish country cottage - I'm all over it. Rustic Scandinavian Cottage anyone??

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:00PM
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There you go stealing my ideas again, sochi!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:51PM
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There are parts of Sweden and Finland above the arctic circle, and Sweden and Finland have grandmotherly types who love to bake. I'd say that absolutely qualifies. And if I were Mrs. Claus, I would want to keep the pine needles and tinsel out of the kitchen anyway, so there is absolutely no requirement for anything Christmasy.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:39PM
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Drs. Matt Hooper and Christine Watkins

Too funny!! We're going to need a bigger boat! ;D

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:03PM
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Okay, one more. I'm going to take a turn at a creepy snake kitchen. I made lots of very expensive choices for this one, including the table, chairs and range hood.

This design started with the backsplash tile("RepTile") is from Canakkale Seramik. Now that I have seen Leia's komodo dragon art, I think combining this on a wall with that eye would be terrible frightening. Very Godzilla. But I started working on this before she posted her kitchen, and I went off in another direction.

The tiles seem to have a metallic sheen and that influenced a lot of my choices, with a lot of metallic finishes described as "bronze" but differing in actual colors. I wasn't terrible bother by this because many snakes have a variety of colors and their scales tend to reflect light in a way that changes the effect of the colors. I ended up with an Eleek bronze sink from, oiled bronze appliances from JennAir, an etched bronze dining table by Georges Mathias (Belgium, 1970s, available at for $22,000). The chairs are from Taylor Llorente (Art 545 Dining Chair Ebony in snakeskin, at $2,413.65 for the side chair, not including the upholstery).

Cabinets are painted taupe (approximation of BM Stone Harbor). The counter is python soapstone (someone had to do it; if I hadn't done this I would have gone with Silestone Gedatsu.) The image is from a post by AnotherWhiteKitchen here on the Forum. The hardware gave me the most trouble, but I settled on these oystershell jobbies from Laurey's Atlantis line (found on Interknobs).

The range hood is from HandcraftedMetal.
The floor combines the ame Imagine Tile Python that Mudhouse used with a metallic tile from Daltile, Reflective Elements in Graphite.

The lighting was chosen to evoke snakes in various ways. The Metropolitan Ajourer Drum Pendant reminds me of scales, the diamond pattern of the Jeweled Golden Bronze fixture echos the tile, and the scroll on the Crown Jewel Mini Pendant looks like a little snake. All can be found on Lamps Plus.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:44PM
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Aliison: THANK YOU. :-) Man, if only I'd thought to work in the line "We're gonna need a bigger kitchen."

cawaps: Very nice! Love those chairs, but dear lord, the prices! Very clever to use the python soapstone. What is the material that looks like rainforest marble? That'd be an interesting choice in an animal print kitchen since it's--wait for it--a serpentine.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I don't get a lot of time in December to hang out here, but I had to stop by and check up on your collective craziness.

You guys are good, but this group has to be the ones I'd get tired of the quickest. Cool in a vacation home, but not every day.

That said, I now want an Under-The-Sea kitchen too.
That one really appeals to me.

I may put it in my home in the Virgin islands in my next life.

Carry on!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:13PM
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Thanks, Anna, for the kind comments.

I'm not sure what you are looking at that looks like rainforest marble. Are you looking at the hardware (in front of the cabs)? It is actually a mother-of-pearl (oyster shell). If that's not what you meant, you'll have to give me clearer directions.

I took my daughter to the dentist last week and they had done their office with Rainforest green marble. It was very nice.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:24PM
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Cawaps, lots of remarkable elements! Sarah wishes she had found those Jeweled Golden Bronze fixtures...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:33PM
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Thanks, biochem101! It was fun to put together.

cawaps, I'm looking at the material over the cabinets, directly underneath the sink and faucet pics. Those Laurey pulls are nice; I almost used the same one in the mother-of-pearl finish for the marine creature kitchen, but they were a little too formal with the driftwood look of the cabinets.

Leia, I just took a look at the Osbourne & Little site. You are a very bad girl for introducing me to that.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:43PM
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In between the cabs and the reptile backsplash is the python soapstone. I stretched the image a bit for presentation. The original image is in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Python soapstone link

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Ah, okay. I was expecting to see a dark oiled soapstone. Didn't realize the Python was so veiny!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Very nice kitchen cawaps. Python soapstone is genius. The backsplash still creeps me out though. I'm sticking to the birds.

Sorry I keep stealing your ideas Anna. We need to severe our cosmic connection!

And obviously I know that Santa doesn't REALLY live in Finland or Sweden. Obviously he's Canadian (hence his good nature, the red coat, etc. etc.), but I'd rather design a Scandinavian retreat, seems more exotic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Santa is Canadian

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:31PM
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Here's one that is conceptual and thrown together: I think the colors would need to be tweaked a lot and it might look better in "science" colors rather than human colors.

This one is about the human print. The tile backsplash is a DNA gel phoresis print. Skin toned solid surface counter, skin toned wood cabinets, skin toned leather tile floors.

The wallpaper is some kind of DNA structure turned into this pattern by Aoife O'Donnell. The (non-human, I liked the color) photo is by Laura Letinsky.

Polished Hudson chairs and black Saarinen table to pick up lots of fingerprints, and a hand chair by Pedro Friedeberg.

This turned from one thing to another while I was even putting it together so I think the backsplash and wallpaper could work in primary colors in a metal "science lab" type kitchen as well...maybe even more successfully.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:39PM
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I find the last two kitchens beautiful but repellent. cawaps' snake kitchen has a palpable sense of evil about it, while pal's fascinating DNA kitchen evokes a sense of human beings almost as objects probed by aliens.

A lot of design is about the story it tells about the way you are supposed to relate to the motifs, materials and structures presented. A Greek temple and a Fascist amphitheater both use classical pillars, but the Greek building "stands as a man stands" in the landscape, making man the measure of all things, while the purpose of the same pillars and forms in a Fascist building is to express domination by reducing human beings to a "visual zero," in Albert Speer's words.

Another example: In the '90s, "world" design first became popular with the appearance of Moroccan tables and island motifs and African textiles, but they were all sold as part of a "British Colonial" look. In other words, this was the time when corporations started selling cheaply made foreign crap at high markups, and the West was in the middle of losing its economic sovereignty. But in design world, all of this was disguised with a nostalgic veneer of British Empire. The English-speaking consumer could encounter all of these Asian products from the vantage point of an upper middle-class Victorian enjoying the fruit of the Queen's subservient subjects. Poppycock, of course, but that is the story that the British Colonial look tells the viewer: You are still the center of the civilized world, and its master.

Circling back to animal prints, a lot of the kitchens in this thread are either all about luxury--treating animal patterns as if they were literally rare trophies--or about some kind of harmony with nature story. Both are pleasant stories to here. In the last two kitchens, folks are thinking very hard about what defines an animal print, and what other kinds of story it can tell.

That's the problem.

A lot of nature is actually either threatening or disgusting, and we are only comfortable with a few kinds of stories about it. Luxury works. So does eco-harmony. But microscopic examination of a snake's skin, or of our own genetic instructions, does not. Neither story is comfortably anthropocentric enough for us.

Both are great designs, btw.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 12:12AM
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I just looked back at my post, and wow, I really can't type. Or I can't spell. One or the other.

I did say it was going to be creepy, although I wasn't actively going for frightening. It's probably not surprising that it went there though, given that I didn't think of the backsplash tile as a microscopic examination of snakeskin, but rather a to-scale depiction of something more like Godzilla (I really think it was the Komodo dragon artwork. It scarred me for life).

Pal, I don't find your design as off-putting as Marolo did--except for that artwork. The dirty dishes, the canteloupe rind, the discarded napkin: first of all, not what I want to look at in my kitchen (I have enough of that without purposefully putting it on the walls). But there is also something wrong with that canteloupe. Is it just me, or does it look half rotten? The image is small so maybe I'm seeing something that is not there.

I like the double helix hanging from the ceiling. Is that a light fixture or a sculpture?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 1:39AM
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I know exactly what you mean by it "turning" on you! LOL! I wanted to do a sleek modern black and white cow kitchen, and somewhere I found a brown cow stencil and everything took a turn for the rustic and country.

Twins Jeannie and Janie inherited their dad's hunting cabin in the Smoky Mountains when he died. Once upon a time it had been in the middle of now where cow pastures, but time and development had caught up with the locale and now it was in the middle of a "resort" area. That was fine with the twins, as their families could use a great vacation spot for hiking and fishing, but it was going to take a lot to turn the knotty pine overload into something family friendly. The floors, walls, ceiling and cabinets were all knotty pine.

The first thing they did was to scrub the place from top to bottom and then paint those knotty pine cabinets white. The old white Formica had to go, as did the plastic utility sink, although Jeannie liked it's utility. So they went to a restaurant supply house and bought a stainless replacement. They'd keep the old white refrigerator and they found the old Tappan range charming. For the floor, they thought of painting checkerboards, but Janie was browsing a craft store and found the large cow stencil and thought that would be something graphic and different that would pay homage to the former cow pasture out back. They chose brown and white instead of black and white because it was less harsh to the eyes and less predictable. They settled on Formica's Cocoa Leather for their new counters and knobs in a faux tooled leather.


"Janie, we're ad bad as Dad with his knotty pine! Everything we've picked is either brown or white."

"Don't worry, we've still got room for plenty of color here. I'm gonna pick out some country fabrics to put some punch in the room. How about gingham?"

"And a bandana print! We have to do a bandana print! Remember Dad was always carrying one as a handerchief substitute"

"Yeah, let's go garage sale-ing and see what else we can find."

And so they hit the garage sales and found an old pedestal table that they painted red. Halfway up some mountain road on which they were sure they were lost, they came upon a chainsaw carving artist and furniture maker who blew them away with log versions of the classic Panton chair. They also cruised the same craft fair where they had found the cabinet knobs and found a reverse painted plexiglass cow chandelier. They finished up that weekend by sewing a curtain to hide the sink plumbing out of the bandana fabric and using the stripe for a valance above the sink and creating some fabric panels to put in place of a couple of the cabinet panels they routed out. The old leather jackets they picked up at the thrift stores and garage sales got cut into squares in preparation for next weekend's chore of sewing them into a rug.

The next weekend, the barn light ceiling fixtures had arrived, so they put the pair of them up and then finished up the leather rug. The hood insert had arrived, but Janie was feeling less certain of her idea of using galvanized metal to create a chimney hood for it. They were coming back from Sunday breakfast at the local eatery when they saw it. It was perfect! It was also a cow's watering trough! So they called up the chainsaw craftsman and asked him if he knew anyone that did a bit of metalwork. His brother owned a machine shop and agreed to go down to the co-op for the watering trough and have everything done by the next weekend. That left only the mail order butcherblock island to paint and they'd be done.

The crowning touch was the towel cow that they had found at the craft fair. :)

They'd work on the kid's bunk beds next, but at least they had a place to fry up the fish they caught and a table to sit around and tell lies. It was all second hand and slightly hokey, but they loved it to death and would be perfect for years of family gatherings to come.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 2:04AM
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The helix is a fixture called "DNA".

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 12:30PM
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"The Labradoodle"

Backstory: Hendrix is a kooky 2 1/2 year old chocolate labradoodle. When he was really little, his coat was a deep chocolate brown. After his first haircut (a shave) his color was almost like a Weimaraner - a beautiful brown / grey with a lovely depth of color. He is a gorgeous dog, in his family's admittedly biased opinion. And yes, he was named after Jimi Hendrix, by the family's then-10 year old son. He lives up to the craziness of his name.

His 'mom' was inspired by the top of Hendrix' head and a curly tile pattern to design a Hendrix kitchen for this thread. This is perhaps a stretch for an animal print theme, but the thematic elements are the 'Labradoodle' curly tiles, muddy paw print granite, and leather (dog collar) pulls and knobs. The color scheme is pure Hendrix.

Here are the elements:

And of course "purple haze" accessories:

The kitchen:

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 1:28PM
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How cool we are still getting great new kitchens!

The lack of anthropocentric (cool word) qualities in some of these materials is a really interesting point. I've been fascinated by the use of words like evil, creepy, and repellant, in this thread of visually beautiful rooms. In my own board, Sarah wanted her mother to see the colors in the python tiles, but Alice was too distracted by the frightening animal itself. I think we have very complicated emotional reactions to these materials, without even understanding why (the threatening aspect is surely a large part of it.)

I was almost relieved to see LWO's introduction of the cow pattern into the conversation. Because cattle have been used (unfairly or not) since the dawn of time to provide humans with food and clothing, it's not remarkable or scary to sit on a leather chair. Same with circuspeanut's pig-centric kitchen, with equipale chairs. But lowering my tush on cawap's stunning snakeskin chairs, it would at least flicker in my mind to assess the risk...!

For most, a brindle longhorn calf hide pattern is an acceptable material for rugs or upholstery. Fewer would purchase the same item marketed as a brindle Great Dane hide pattern, because of how we relate emotionally to the animal. Similar size, texture, color, pattern; but two diametrically opposed reactions.

Carefully setting aside the emotionally charged topic of the ethics of using real hides. I also think most of us, viewing a ceramic leopard tile, automatically flip past the quick mental image of real leopard skin. This is slightly creepy because we instinctively know that Something Bad happened to the leopard to get the hide. Although hides can be quite beautiful, but they're basically an unnatural form of the animal (you'll never see a leopard skin stalking prey) and unnatural takes us to the creepy zone.

I think I had a happier reaction to Sochi's peacock board, and Anna and Leia's marine-related boards, because those materials were more of a celebration of the beauty of the animals, with nothing bad happening to the donors of the beauty.

When we're sitting in the doctor's office, I doubt most of us enjoy looking at huge colored prints of John's internal organs. Instinctively, we know that in order for artists and scientists to depict these organs, we know that Something Bad happened to some of John's ancestors. (Now that I think about it, Something Bad is also happening to the cantaloupe in Pal's art print!)

Pal's DNA wallpaper is fascinating. I think it's beautiful, reminding me of the fine network of amber lines in DaVinci anatomy studies. But I'll wager many of my friends would say it was weird if I told them the source of the design.

Totally fascinating how we react to these naturally occurring elements.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 1:50PM
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At 2 a.m. (don't ask) my cowtown kitchen seemed kinda kitchy and fun. In the light of day, it's too Hee Haw meets urban New Yorker with B A D banjo playing consequences. All we need now is a chicken kitchen and the barnyard trio will be complete. Where the heck is igloochic? I bet she could do a mean chicken kitchen! LOL!

If I get the time I may do one more. My idea folder overfloweth with all manner of animal stuff. Who knew there was so much?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 2:11PM
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lwo, your Hee-Haw kitchen lacks only a denim banquette with stitched pockets. The watering trough hood is genius.

Mud, I think the comparison to Davinci's drawings is fascinating because they are visually similar but philosophically polar opposites. Davinci had that Renaissance thing going, making man literally the measure of things, of the perfect circle and the square. DNA art is reductionist--this is all you are, just like a chimp or a squirrel, same as everything else.

I am p-o'd that I am having both a busy schedule this week, and a hella time finding cabinetry that evokes a Draper Espana chest. Darnit!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 2:38PM
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This is the last one, I swear.

I wanted to use a giraffe print but found that every time I tried it strayed into Africana. My efforts only gelled when I embraced that. This is a mixed budget design (Ikea cabs but expensive lighting fixture, rangehood, and probably the table and chair although I never found a price--I got the pic from the designer's website, not a dealer).

The center of the design is Imagine Tiles giraffe tile. Because it seemed like a lot of giraffe quickly became too much, I opted to limit the amount of giraffe by using it to frame the rangehood in two colmns, which also evokes giraffe necks. The rest of the backsplash is a limestone mosaic run vertically to evoke savannah grasses.

The Cabs are Ikea Ramsjo, which echos the red/brown in the giraffe tile. The counter is Silestone Capri Limestone. I couldn't find the knobs or pulls I wanted ready-made. I wanted African batik (or mudcloth) bone. I pulled an image of a large (1 inch) bead that I figure could be converted to a knob, but I'm sure somebody, somewhere makes hardware out of this stuff and I just couldn't find it. The floor is a wood-look porcelain tile (Daltile Timber Glen Rustic Dune).

Riffing on the red tones, I chose a burgundy Bertazzoni range, and wallpaper in a brownish-red tone with a pattern intended again to evoke grass. The rangehood is a copper "Montreux" hood from Vogler Copperworks.

The table and chair were designed by Adriana Hoyos and I found them on her website. I was planning to reupholster the chair with African mudcloth (from
The Batik artwork is by Setsinala found on These are for the wall of the dining area.

The "Kalahari" antler lighting fixture for the dining is by FireMountainForge. The glass semi-flushmounts are Amber Scroll Art Glass from Lamps Plus.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 3:43PM
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This is off topic on topic.

I thought about doing a cat kitchen since cat's have become the most popular domestic pets but I quickly realized that it would be almost impossible not to decline into kitsch like the cow kitchen did. Then I came across a pic from The Cat's House book, which I own. It's all about how Bob and Frances Walker converted their home into a cat friendly environment. These are people that are not afraid of color! The various catwalks and cubby holes throughout the house are blindingly bright. I love the idea of somewhat adapting the home environment to suit the four legged members of the family, but I personally draw the line at cutting holes in the walls to let them walk through on their catwalk.

Here's their kitchen floor. It's decopauged from a gazillion print pics of cats that Frances cut out and then coated with lots and lots of poly. It's a pretty hard use environment and seems to have held up well.

The dividing wall between dining and living area with it's red sisal climbing poles.

Another view of the room divider.

Part of the network of catwalks that run through the home.

There's more if you want at their website.

But, this is one real life "animal inspired" home.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Cats House

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 4:47PM
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I decided to further explore what Marcolo introduced in terms of the disturbing quality of my people print kitchen. I pushed the kitchen into a more scientific direction and some of the pieces into that midcentury period when we felt sure that we were being watched, probed, and analyzed from space...a recurring theme on shows like Twilight Zone. So step back for a minute and remember that we are also animals (no real human hide used in this project)

DNA backsplash and wall covering
St Charles Cabinets
Erwin Olaf portraits
Loewy chest (banded colors look like phoresis)
Vintage billiard light
Polished Hudson chair
Stainless table
Hand chair
Forbo Colorex cleanroom flooring (looks cellular)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Well, that story is about nostalgia and paranoia. Very human.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:31PM
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I like this one better. The colors are much more comfortable (the band-aid color of the last was off-putting).

I like your artwork, but your theme put me in mind of this one by Lichtenstein. I saw it in Cologne many years ago and it cracked me up. Looking for it led me to a similar one by Magritte. Of course, if Marcolo thought your first human design evoked a sense of human beings being probed by aliens, he should really avoid hanging these in his house.



    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:49PM
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LWO, funny cat house.

I have a cat print countertop in my house. Stainless counters + cats who feel they can go anywhere they want when I'm not home = little kitty prints all over the counter.

But I don't plan on doing a design around it.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Funny those, because I forgot these. This happens to be the Fornasetti wallpaper, framed but I would hang Fornasetti plates from the same series on that DNA wallpaper.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:58PM
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Question not related to animal prints: I have trouble finding images of cabinets. No problem finding shaker or slab, but for a few projects I have been looking for something different (but not cathedral oak) and really have had trouble. LWO had an interesting ornate door in one of his boards. Where do you go to find a variety of different cabinet types? Ideally pictures of just the door, or drawer.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Plain & Fancy, Dynasty/Omega, and Wood-Mode all have doors you can save as jpegs.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:33PM
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I would hang Fornasetti plates from the same series on that DNA wallpaper

Now THAT would be interesting. I like it.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Tom and Amy live in Missouri. They met in college, and Tom is a HUGE sports fan.

Amy has been dying to redo the kitchen. They host lots of get-togethers with their friends and neighbors,and love to entertain.

Amy long ago realized that Tom has a soft spot for anything MU related. So when she showed him her ideas for the kitchen, complete with a Towel Tiger, she knew that it was a go.

So here's my idea of a animal and sports themed kitchen without the kitch.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:56AM
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Circus Peanut

LWO, here is another cat house, this time a very (Danishy) modern version in Japan:

Here is a link that might be useful: Neko no Ie

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Circus Peanut

And yes, another one:

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese cat house #2

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 9:50AM
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Labradoodle Kitchen Redux

I was thinking about this at the dog park this morning (where else) and decided not to be such a freakin' wuss with color.

Embracing the animal print theme as before: curly 'labradoodle fur' tile backsplash, leather 'dog collar' pulls, and Antico Bianco 'dog prints' island counter. The island is about the same color as my dog.

Newly embracing the Hendrix spirit (my dog's name): purple is my new neutral. Circa 1969 (Woodstock era) lights and stove hood. I didn't like any 1969 ranges so I picked what I like (after all, it's my pretend kitchen): a Bluestar wall oven for looks and an induction cooktop to kind of be unobtrusive.

Don't know if it works, but I like purple:

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Now that is a cat houses I could live with! Especially the first you posted. The alterations to the home are architectural and sculptural yet function for the furry ones at the same time. Thank you so much for finding that! I might steal the stair stepped cat platforms for my laundry room area if I can figure out how to make the hidden support carry my 20 pounder.

This made me LOL! A privacy wall between you and your feline friend so you could both use the facilities at the same time. And it looks as the cat waste is also plumbed to swirl away? Wow!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Circus Peanut

Chicagoans, I'm really grooving on the color scheme of Hendrix' kitchen. There are far too few purples used in today's color schemes, yet the shade goes so brilliantly with white and gray, the 'in' colors of the moment.

LWO - yes, aren't they marvelous? We have plans to implement a similar cat shelf wall, as soon as we've finished all the human improvements around here. If you love cats and modernism, check out for your daily dose. They've featured some modernist scratching posts that are out of this world.

And here are some tiles for someone to do something kitschy with: integrated paw prints (cat or dog!) in any custom glaze you desire!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tiles with Style paw tiles

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 12:33PM
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Chicagoans, your first one looks more like your Labradoodle, but that second one really says something. I especially love the changed up lighting and rangehood, and the dog collar pulls make more of a statement on the purple. I think they faded into the gray a bit on your first one.

Juliekcmo, I've never known rabid sports fans to be that restrained. I'd like to see more black and gold in your design--maybe black cabs and a gold Viking range. And maybe some leather to represent the football itself. You were going for not-kitschy, but I think I would have liked to have seen a little bit of kitsch.

LWO: Yes, it's a bit Hee-Haw, but it's fun and the rangehood is brilliant.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 1:49PM
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OK, I finally finished my cat kitchen. It's inspired by my Evil Overlord Oni, my mostly Siamese demon cat. Unfortunately, he's cat-spicious and camera shy and prefers to stay under a chair or bed and bite your ankles when you try to take his picture. He probably thinks a vet visit or pill taking is involved when people pay too much attention to him because he was so sick when he was just a youngster. He's a Blue Point, much like this guy.

My jumping off points Mahogany Blue Eyes granite and a stained glass tile with browns, grays, and blues that I've had in a folder forever just waiting on someone to share my lust for and allow me to do in their kitchen. The granite in particular has always evoked Siamese cats to me with that flash of blue in the lilac browns and grays base.

The design really took off though when I found an Ikat rug in blue and brown that looked like blue cats eyes. Then I found the Piet Hein "cat head" light and I was off and running.

For the cabinets, I chose a custom Euro laminate door (on Ikea boxes) that is a subtle grain pattern that resembles fur. The knobs and pulls are a rhinestone accented and give a rhinestone cat cat collar feeling.

We'll paint the walls and ceiling Benjamin Moore Blue Lace, and create a custom large graphic wallpaper of a closeup of cat fur for the main wall in the dining area. A pop art pic of a Siamese will also hang in the dining area.

A plain gray industrial work table that looks like the exam table at my vet's office for an island, with a Morroccan "cat bell" light fixture for above it, and bar stools that resemble ribbons on the end of a cat toy for perching.

Crossvile Tile's Color Block Too in Tabby Cat for the flooring with a cats eye blue glass dining table and wicker dining chairs that remind me of old fashioned wicker cat carriers.

The appliances will be all GE Profile because of their cats eye door design of their ovens and Advantium OTR.

Circuspeanut proved the finishing touch in her link to modern style cat furnishings. A cat condo that is both art and functional!

Sinfully Siamese

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:39PM
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We are Siamese if you please
We are Siamese if you don't please
Now we're looking over our new domicile
If we like we stay for maybe quite a while.

I suspect that they would like their new domicile. Really fun kitchen, LWO. I love the cat head light, and the colors are spot on, especially the backsplash tile.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 6:22PM
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I really liked the fish scale kitchen and the Siamese kitchen. I am a little late to the party but I'm home sick today and needed something to occupy my time so I thought I'd give it a shot. Just FYI...I am SOOOOO not a designer!

Country kitchen in an older farmhouse. Cozy. If it weren't quite so thematic, I might put this in my own little farmhouse in Wyoming.

I was trying to come up with an animal print outside of the snakeskin or leopard that might be more obvious, although possibly more challenging. I did want it to be something someone might be able to use rather than just a far fetched design exercise. While I love some of the thoughts about why limit one's vision of a room, it is often practicality that wins.

I have been planning to add honey bees to my garden in the spring so I have been reading a LOT about beekeeping and they seemed a possible choice for "animal print". So, here goes, my first entry into the challenge threads...the honey bee kitchen.

Soft yellow walls, sage green base cabinets, creamy white uppers. The countertops are a custom walnut interlocking thing that made me think of the joinery of the woodenware hives. The jute is a rug. The pendants are either a pewter honey comb to match the pulls or a basket design like a skep hive. I picked the sink for its diagonal lines like the honey comb. The backsplash tile is self explanatory. The appliances are simple butter yellow. I like the burlap on the chairs for around a country table that would double as a workspace (seated working like my grandma used to do). I just can't figure out which light fixture I prefer and I can't come up with a flooring choice. Suggestions?


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Yay! Another newbie! Welcome Rene. I can't think of a honey bee kitchen without honey onyx tile. What about swapping your hexagonal backsplash with honey onyx in a hexagon? The harder ceramic would wear better than the soft onyx in real life, and I like the introduction of more pattern in a big way on the floor.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:12PM
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So you'd put the honey comb ceramic from ann sacks on the floor and the honey onyx as a backsplash? Not too busy?

I actually had fun with this. Wish I had done something like this in building my real kitchen. I had an idea board but no "theme".


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Yesterday my kittens surprised me with their own design contribution. Note how well it freshens up the golden oak.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:15PM
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It'd be fun to source a kitchen strictly from CL or Ebay, Etsy, etc. No "traditional" retailers. That might be a challenge. All re purposed materials or something like that.

This was fun. I want to do another.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:29PM
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It is addictive doggonegardener.

LWO, my blue point Sochi appreciates your Siamese design.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 1:44AM
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The latest Siamese one, and the bee project are both really cohesive schemes.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 9:59AM
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So, next?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:24AM
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Circus Peanut

LOL linelle! And I love the macho saunter away from the scene of the crime.

I really think we should attempt the Golden Oak Challenge next - folks will be on vacation with more time to address the intricate issues involved in THAT one.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 11:11AM
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I would be up for that. I recommend picking a certain door. Nothing too builder-cheap, but an oak door that would be fairly common.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 11:23AM
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    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 12:40PM
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You could do an arched raised panel, which I think is a bit harder because it adds one more level of cliche/datedness. Or we could do an either/or (arched or square).

But I'm okay with the one Pal showed.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 1:01PM
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That is much too nice looking a door for a honey oak thread. It's not nearly orange enough or partial overlay enough. The truly awful ones with the badly veneered panels and cathedral arches (#3) are hard to find individual pictures of though as it seems no one is proudly advertising them for sale anymore. It's easier to find pics of existing installations--usually with pleas for help or descriptors such as "orange" or "ugly" somewhere in the data.

Here's a baker's dozen images that I could snag. That last one is just thrown in because I found it. No one could take that door and make a kitchen look good with it as is and no painting involved. And the plain stained wood shot is in there because it's so hard to capture the absolute orange-ness that is most honey oak. Most of the rest could be worked with.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 2:55PM
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I tend to agree that something more yellow-orange that Pal's example oak door might be a better test for the golden oak dilemma. Maybe something like #5 above is a good compromise?

Or, maybe those who are willing to struggle with a stronger golden tone could pick their own oak cabinet long as they didn't choose one that was less yellow than the standard example for the group.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:09PM
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    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:22PM
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    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:29PM
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Kraftmaid is still selling this door: Arched raised panel in Honey Spice. This is the door I think of when I think of Golden Oak. The color is similar to LWO's #5.

LWO, the doors have to be good enough for someone to want to keep them rather than replace them. So I'm thinking they need to look like they are still in good shape with the issues limited to color/style.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:36PM
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Love the Siamese kitchen. LOVE. But then I think Siamese are the most beautiful cats in the world, so it would appeal to me.

Also I liked the honeybee kitchen very much, and agree that the honeycomb onyx tile would be a good addition as long as it didn't fight with the brigter yellows of the appliances.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Wow, those are just the doors that we just got rid of. Perfect! Sorta pink, sorta gold, sorta ugly. This is going to be a tough one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When do we start?


    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 8:55PM
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First we have to figure out which door. I think I don't like Pal's for this exercise because they have a less pronounced grain than most of the golden oak I've seen. I'm thinking along the lines of LWO's 2, 5, 7, 8, 10 or 11, or the one I posted. The grain is too fine on Pal's, the color isn't yellow/orange enough on LWO's 1, 3, 4, 6, 9 and 13. Twelve is so ratty it's impossible to believe anyone would keep them (maybe they could be painted).

Speaking of which, is the rule going to be no painting? I think it should be. What about staining? I've been thinking of the exercise as how to work with the color as-is. What's the consensus?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:13PM
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No painting, no staining. Painting it just turns it into a painted kitchen, or another type of project, not a golden oak project.

I am fine with the Kraftmaid door you posted, although the door I posted is more what I tend to see here...pinkish.

The Kraftmaid door is fine though, can you set it up?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:24PM
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I'll set it up.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Newbie here who must first gratefully acknowledge all of the very talented folks who post here. I have been lurking and learning from you for months. Am at the stage in my small kitchen reno where I can join several of you in your granite vs quartz and backsplash woes. I saw a fantasy thread here Dec timeframe on animal kitchen designs. The Siamese Cat one had marvelous granite and backsplash tile suggestions (TY Live Wire)! Granite was named, but not the tile My KD has been looking but no joy. Can anyone else help?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 7:24PM
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With the revival of the Design Around This threads, I felt inspired to bump this old DAT thread so newbies could see what the DATs were all about. I was blown away by the creativity in this thread (and am sad that some of the images are not available any more).

If this piques your interest, we look forward to your participation and/or comments on the upcoming beach house DAT.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:03PM
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