Design Around #7 Vict./Queen Anne. Lurkers comment.

palimpsestDecember 6, 2011

Design around #7 is a Victorian/Queen Anne house.

The only two parameters that I would set is that the room is a blank slate, as a typical Victorian era kitchen would have been updated several times. The second is that the design should related to to the Victorian house.

So the room is plaster walls,high ceilings, windows and doors have Victorian trim, and the floor is wood, but no "discoveries" of priceless encaustic tiles, quartersawn oak and Grueby tiled mantelpieces behind drywall, no priceless stained or beveled glass please. If you want to include these elemetns you have to "source" them in adequate quantity.

So anything goes in terms of interpretatio: it can be a full blown fantasy Victorian that never would have existed except as a dining room or library with appliances in it, or it could be a fully modern kitchen that interprets the Victorian somehow through proportion or mood.


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Whoho! This is my house.

Someone show me how it should be done (other than OTK).

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 3:08PM
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So this means little kitchen correct? Or a modern kitchen being expanded?

I can't wait to see this one!!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Ok I am not good at the fun back ground stories sorry... 40s couple with school age children and they want to maintain the formality of the era with out all the frills. They want the cabinets to resemble fine furniture and thus will have their custom cabs in a rosewood veneer and use furniture style pulls. Since the house was void of any original stain glass they have a mosaic glass splash to provoke the illusion of stained glass. they will use brass finishes for it seems appropriate. They will use the rotunda for a nook and a buffet from craigs list as an island.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Kind of like what I built for my house:

The "rules" were, other than appliances, use no material that couldn't have been obtained locally in 1900. So, oak, pine, ash, Virginia soapstone, and lots of varnish.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:09PM
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Casey, I thought of your kitchen right away when someone suggested Victorian for these threads.

Roarah, I like most of the elements, and particularly would like to see the stained glass reiterated as a backsplash rather than a window. I am not quite sold on the style of the furniture, because it is really Federal period furniture (Sheraton to about 1793 or so), that either predates Victorianism by at least a generation or post-dates it by another generation in the Colonial Revival period around the time of the Sesquicentennial (1920s). Furniture this simple would have been rejected by trendy Victorians as old fashioned and too plain. Centennial (1870s--) furniture was highly Victorianized Federal-inspired furniture, but there was no mistaking it as Victorian. This is just for a point of education :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Here is my take on a kitchen that acknowledges that the house is Victorian, but is placed in a house that was never elaborate and in a large but now undistinguished kitchen space:

Regimental Red laminate countertops
Conestoga Cabinets with beaded panel or 4-lite doors in finish shown.
Wales Green Wallcolor.
Forbo Linoleum field "Pacific Beaches" bordered by "Henna"

Kohler wall mounted sink, with black faucet, and black hardware.

Since there was no intact Victorian element in the room I decided to go with modern lighting as was done all over this neighborhood in the 1960s, where unobtrusive lighting was added without cutting for recessed cans. The RLM style pendant does date back to early electric. For a chandelier over the table I went with a 2000s fixture that references early industrial electrical fixtures with exposed braided wiring and globes:

For artwork I chose from the period when people started embracing Victorian houses without trying to change them:

And finally for table and chairs I went with Aalto furniture from the 1930s because it is spartan, and is also available with linoleum tops:

If I wanted to be more of a purist I could go with a table and chairs like this but then I would probably do a traditional Victorian gasolier or gas-electric style fixture:

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 6:24PM
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Pal, I agree the furniture is not right, but the true victorian pieces I tried, with claw feet, and ornate carvings made the mood board so heavy and I worried it would lose it's appeal to be applicable to today's home owners. So I ended up trying to work with wood tones that complimented the other elements.
Casey your kitchen is wonderfully rich! What wonderful craftsmanship!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 8:15PM
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Thanks to everyone who explained how to do the storyboard.

Jessica's daughter has been attending college in a nice midwestern town. The last 2 years she has been living in a large Victorian rental house with several other girls. Now the daughter has been accepted to grad school in town, and will be in school for another 4 or 5 years. The owner of the house wants to sell, and a deal has been made. The kitchen needs to be addressed, but this is a college rental and needs to be no frills and able to stand up to renters.

Jessica knows that her town has a great building supply house. She used their unpainted cabinets in her laundry room remodel and has been satisfied with the quality.

She isn't changing the L shaped layout, but will rip and replace the entire kitchen.

Faucet $80. Table light $56. Sink light $20. Cabinets are about $100 each "box". Granite slab is $150 each counter run (fabrication not included). Porcelain floor tile 59 cents each. Table and chairs on overstock dot com. Costco packaged deal on all appliances for under 2K. Now her daughter's friends can pay HER rent, since they will all want to live in this spruced up place.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 9:00PM
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The goal here is to put Queen Victoria back in Victorian. The inspiration is not residential Victorian architecture but public spaces in London--the first photo is a museum setup showing a London street before the turn of the last century. I think this imagery better recalls the magical Dickensian quaintness we associate with Victoriana rather than parlor tables with fifty daguerreotypes of dour old men in high collars.

Floor: Modern reproduction encaustic tile from Tile Source
Cabinets: Black painted wood, blue interiors in the glass fronted cabinets. One wall of very large sliding glass doors.
Reproduction "gaslights" from House of Antique Hardware.
Various English Victorian objects including Herself, Disraeli and a pub sign (which I couldn't figure out how to rotate!) All are actually fairly common online
Stove: Ilve in Blue with brass trim. Fratelli Onofri is a cheaper option.
Brass light/potrack from Urban Archaeology
Marble countertops everywhere (let 'em etch!) with an arched self backsplash at the sink.
Aged brass fixtures.
Pub furniture.

This is not an unusually expensive kitchen for GW, nor hard to source. The encaustic tile can be used more sparingly on the backsplash with plainer floor tile. The light/potrack is the one item that's quite expensive but some posters here have jury-rigged a very similar look from cheaper parts.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 9:23PM
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I think you and I are channeling the same blue color!

I love the green chairs!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Interesting, Marcolo, that I came about with my "Fantasy Victorian" not from public spaces but from Aesthetic Furniture but we end up at the same place in some ways.

My fantasy kitchen is that. A real Victorian would have much more pattern, and a different palette than I used, would not mix formal and informal, and would not have access to the later pieces such as the Chinese Deco rug or the Art Nouveau biomorphic-type table.

Backsplash tile: Ann Sacks Plum
Granite: African Violet
Cabinetry in F&B Pitch Black
F&B "Drag" wallpaper in violet.
some of the doors and some of the walls would be paneled in the gold leaf by Phillip-Jeffries, based on an Aesthetic movement cabinet.
Floor in Truckees pattern Encaustic from Tile-Source.

The tile would be accented with black liner, a metallic liner and perhaps some cobalt and burnt sienna:

The cabinet hardware would be rings or drops, and I had chosen the same faucet as Marcolo.
Kitchen lighting "Bullfinch" by Rejuvenation.
Lacanche Chateau range in Eggplant.
Table lighting "Daphne" NeoGrec fixture by Rejuvenation.
I would specify plain frosted globes.

The cabinetry was inspired by this type of piece, which would sit in the eating area:
Accompanied by Liberty "Thebes" chairs
And an ebonized Art Nouveau table.

And since money is no object I will add this serving cart:

This would be an expensive project. The light fixtures are $1000s, the flooring is expensive, as are the wallcoverings.

The sideboard is about $4000; the table is $8000; and the serving cart is...$24,000.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:05AM
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Jordan and Tyler are two sisters in their mid 20's who find themselves (much to their surprise!) working in the family plumbing business along side their dad, uncle, and two brothers. They love working with family, but living with family is just getting to be too much. They decide that since they've shared a room since they were toddlers, that they should buy a house together. They want a bargain that can be made to shine through their hard work. After looking at quite a few, the settle on this Victorian that had once been part of a thriving downtown section of their city. It had fallen into being in a questionable neighborhood and been split up into 4 apartments at one point. The neighborhood is feeling the influence of an influx of urban homesteaders, and they feel they have the funds and the skills to join them.

They want to tackle the hardest and most expensive job first while they still have the enthusiasm and most money, so they start ripping apart one of the downstairs apartments to turn it back into the dining room, butler's pantry and kitchen space that it may have once been. They'd like to do the project with a nod to the home's past, but since so much of the detail is gone, there's no point in being slavish about that homage.

The floor of the kitchen area has been water damaged over time, so they plan to replace it using encaustic tile that they find a source for online. At $30 a square foot, it's not the cheapest choice, but it does set the tone for the space that they hope the rest of the house will follow. Inspired by the home's freshly painted exterior that the PO's did for curb appeal, they choose a tile with white, dark navy, lavender, and turquoise colors.

Their next step is to choose appliances. The range will be the star, but they don't want to spend 10K just on that. They decide on a 30" Bertazzoni Heritage in black and matching hood that they get a really good deal on for 5100. For the DW, they pick the cheapest Maytag panel ready that they can find, about $500 The LG French Door fridge will be in white because it will be in the white cabineted butler's pantry.

They had already decided on white cabinets for the butler's pantry, as that was the transition space between the dining room and kitchen and they wanted it to be a quiet neutral. However, for the small kitchen itself, they want color. They choose a rich lavender-gray with stainless steel counters and integrated sink for the main cabinets and a butcherblock topped turquoise for the island.

They choose dragonfly knobs and pulls for most of the cabinets and lavender crystal for the glass butler's pantry ones.

The main elements of the kitchen are done, but they need some finishing touches. They choose a paintable reproduction tin ceiling and paint it a softer turquoise than the island. And in another nod to a Victorian trend, they find the perfect light for over the island in a faux bamboo chinoiserie chandelier. They find a couple of gargoyle cast plaster corbels to support the open shelves by the range, and the perfect lavender dragonfly print silk to give a bit of softness to the window. The local architectural salvage store provides just enough tile to do the backsplash behind the range run, and the stainless rolled edge and white paint will work for the sink run.

They are done for now, and because they shopped around, and did a lot of the work DIY, they only spent 45K on the kitchen and butler's pantry. The dining room will be next, but it only needs the wood refinished and some plaster repair to look pretty decent.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:43AM
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Kathy lives in a Queen Anne that started out its life as a single-family home, but was converted into 2 flats sometime in the 20th century. Kathy is a pediatrician by profession and a belly dancer by avocation. She does American Tribal Style, which has eclectic influences from Middle Eastern cabaret-style belly dance, to Flamenco. The costuming pulls ethnic influences from North Africa, the Middle East, to India, and she has a large collection of ethnic jewelry.

So when it came time to remodel her kitchen, she took a cue from the Victorian fascination with things Islamic, Moorish and Indian, which dovetailed nicely with the aesthetic of her hobby. The fish pulls she chose because she somehow ended up with a lot of Middle Eastern jewelry featuring fish, so it has become a theme. And they amuse her.

Here's a link of some of Kathy's friends dancing at a belly dance festival. The music for this performance leaned toward Bollywood. Spin-off Tribal Belly Dance

Star and cross tile from, colors will be blue star and yellow cross
Lighting Fixtures and rug are from WorldMarket
The Moorish uppers image is from; she'd have something similar made locally
Faucet is Kohler
Pull is from Horton Brasses
Fish knobs are from
Curtain fabric and tassels are from
Table from
Chairs from

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 3:50AM
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OK, some comments:

Roarah, I agree with pal about the furniture; there's a sense of "why this?" to the style. I think it could work in a Victorian colonial revival, though.

Pal, I think I find your first mood board too intellectual, if that makes any sense. I get all the connections from the neck up. Love the exuberance of the second one. Yes, the black cabinetry feels authentic but also has a fresh, modern vibe to it. Your colors look more Deco to me than Victorian, which opens up a whole other way of looking at a Victorian kitchen--not just Victorian, not just modern, but reflecting all the history in between. Where are those pulls from?

Juliekcmo, are you using fridge cabs to create stacked cabs? Has anyone on GW done that before? Seems like an awesome money saving idea if somebody has the ceiling height. I love the blue but I feel like I want to see an orange tone with it.

LWO, I need sunglasses!

Cawaps, very cool. I'm a sucker for both aqua and pseudo-Moroccan. Love the kitchen. Something is bugging me with the red cabinet wood tone and the star tile, though.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:29AM
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Don't know about the drop pulls, but I know the ring pulls are from Lee Valley, because I very nearly ordered those.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Hardware Round Tapered Ring Pulls

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:43AM
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Marcolo: the pulls are Bosetti-Marella from Hardware Hut. I agree the first kitchen seems a little stiff. The second one is influenced by EW Godwin.

juliekcmo: I think your kitchen would be close to what a Victorian would put in a house built now: sturdy and utilitarian with an overall sense of correctness. The fabric reminds me of Victorian embossed materials.

LWO, interesting that we both went for purple, but with really different results.

Cawaps, yours puts me in mind of the Peacock Room, but like that room would probably use cabinetry in a lighter finish.

Interesting that a number of us chose flashy ranges.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:50AM
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Well like I wrote above, I own one.

And I'm here on Garden Web because we do want to do the kitchen at some point.

So by way of background, the house is 115 years old. It is in a college town but in a section of the town that only professionals, professors and DINKs (duel income, no kids) can live/afford.

Very little of the home's original charm remains. At one point all the trim was quarter sawn oak - it is under many many layers of lead paint and current EPA regulations make it difficult/impossible/laughably expensive to restore.

The house had a fire at some point so the floors are in terrible shape and were replaced (with quarter sawn oak). For some reason most of the home's doors were also missing (don't ask).

Also the kitchen was recently done (probably in the 2000s) as it is maple, bright orange and Uba Tuba granite. Other than the footprint, nothing of the original Victorian kitchen remains, it's 12 x 14. With 10 foot ceilings.

Because of the house fire the home's wiring is not an issue (it was completely rewired in the 90s - or so). The main bit of charm the house retains are: the original windows, which we have had restored (cut out, taken off site, stripped and repainted - they found copper hardware, it's beautiful), the height of the ceiling and it's lovely Victorian exterior. There's no egg and dart anywhere, the doors (what few remain) are barely functional and have been replaced, all the transoms were painted shut and have been taken down, stripped and reinstalled.

The home is a Victorian, yes - but the generations have taken a toll on the poor thing.

So were I to do a non-OTK it would be with

-green tile backslash
-la canche range in anthracite and polished nickle
-oak cabinetry with inset doors / drawers and polished nickle knobs. Cabinetry should make entire use of 10 foot ceilings.
-recessed lighting
- star chandelier
-white quartzite counters
- floor (not pictured) hexagon tile floor.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:53AM
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(For the old hats in the group, this is a bit pedantic, but I hope educational for the non posting lurkers to be able to understand a design process as well as inspiration. Everyone that reads this should attempt this thread, if only to get the cobwebs out of the brain.)

Purple is a happy feeling color to me. It's the color of royalty, so it has some elegance, but when you tone it to a lavender, it has a fun kids color vibe as well. It's also a "today" color, as shown by the dozens of posts asking about the "perfect lavender gray" color in the Decorating Forum. And aqua is also a very now color, usually channeled as that horrible trend of a thrift store tschotchke spray painted aqua to "pop" against an all neutral palette. So, I took those two trends and turned them on their heads a bit, along with the trend for white cabinets and gray cabinets. This is something that someone looking to do a kitchen in the teens of this decade could possibly do, and still manage for it to be appropriate to the home and still not be devoid of color. The floor is the key to making it work in this described home. You could use patterned porcelain for a cheaper similar look, and white or gray cabinets are easy to find, as is a paintable faux tin ceiling. The most difficult to find part of the whole equation is the vintage purple tile, and that's where doing the weekly trip to the architectural salvage store will pay off for anyone who owns one of these houses. You may not find enough tile to use as a fireplace surround or backsplash, but you can use it as an accent with additional field tile.

And, sunglasses isn't so bad when you are channeling a Painted Lady! LOL! Remember that the actual Victorians loved COLOR. Their homes and their rooms were exuberantly textured with all manner of color from the world around them that was their oyster to pick from because of colonialism. It's only because color photography hadn't been invented and the shutter speed was rather long for the existing black and white that we view them as dour, restrictive and restrained "Victorian" personalities. If they had not had servants in those kitchens, you bet that the furnishings in there would have gone well beyond utilitarian and plain.

Using shaker style cabinets is cheating if I were attempting to dive into a more faithful modern interpretation of family used "public space" Victorian kitchen. They would have used something more elaborate and decorative like carved rosewood or mother of pearl inlaid and lacquered chinoiserie. There was no such thing as "too much pattern" or "too much color". It would be all kind of Betsey Johnson (but without so much pink) let loose all the time. I can appreciate it, but I couldn't live in it, and I don't think most who come to the KF could either.

Betsey Johnson's sensory overload designs

"Plain" is the very last description of any true to it's roots Queen Anne Victorian home. Sadly, most have lost this level of detail and color over the years. Really though, who could afford to have something like this painted every couple of years? It would be a constant start at the top and work your way down and when you go there, start over.

Even the less elaborate Folk Victorian style used color.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Good post, LWO. I wonder if it would be helpful to share more of our thought processes in developing these boards?

For me, it always starts with the house. I try to free associate about everything that describes the house. Year built, ornate or not, what type of layout it might have--always looking for something to pivot off of. In a previous thread I assumed a very humble folks Victorian, so this time I selected a more ornate Queen Anne (per the assignment). I figured a little exuberance and visual excitement was in order. A bit of fantasy because many of these highly ornamented Queen Annes are a tad fantastical.

Then I asked, what do I want it to feel like? There is a style of domestic Victorian decorating that I find very fussy and claustrophobic. Wasn't feeling it. But I had just watched part of a Harry Potter movie on TV over the holiday, and I was thinking about how iconic some of those visuals are. I was picturing Diagon Alley--where he bought his wand--and that sense of magical, Dickensian storytelling. All Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim and Artful Dodger.

You always have to start with the right elements. Way too many people on GW get themselves into trouble because they pick a cabinet or wall paint color, and then go frantic because they can't find a backsplash or floor tile to match. It's part of the 100% empirically false myth that if you just keep choosing neutrals you'll be free to pick anything else you want later on. You can have paint mixed to any color on earth, but you have to accept the tile, fabric and flooring that actually exist and are manufactured and available. That's where you have to start.

So, even though I knew I wanted black cabs for the look, I next went searching for objects to set the design mood. The tile was an easy find, because I knew about the company. That tile then made a lot of the other choices easier, because everything had to go with it.

Is that kind of Joycean stream of consciousness useful to people?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Well I tried again

I have to say, one thing really holding me back here is that in my experience - Victorian kitchens tend to be smaller. I wouldn't call them shoebox sized but not the great palaces we see today. So, while I agree the Victorians loved their colors (to the point that the reaction against it was to paint all surfaces white - as my house is currently) I think in a kitchen it would be a bit much.


These threads have been a learning experience for me I would totally do the kitchen posted above (and my other one with oak) rather than the OTK.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Roarah: I really like the lamp. I wanted to do the copper hood in mine, but ultimately thought that the there was no way my person would spend that much money on a rangehood. I ended up not selecting a rangehood in my design, because I couldn't find anything I liked (heart set on brass or copper). I think I used that same sink in a design on the Formica thread. Love it!

Sombreuil_mongrel: I really, really love the way you did the sink in front of the window. I'm facing the same dilemma right now with low-silled windows, and yours is inspirational.

Palimpsest. I also am not really feeling your first kitchen. But I love the lighting fixture with the red wires, and if we ever get to Steampunk I might very well use it.
I do like you second kitchen, especially the lamp with the cage. Except for the budget!!!! My God! $24,000 for that cart? At some point I start having trouble evaluating the design independent of the budget, and that cart definitely crosses the line (i.e. I'd rather have a semi-fabulous cart and $23,000).

Juliekcmo: In contrast to Pal's, I LOVE your budget. Just my cup of tea. Yours is also the most restrained color palette that has been posted. Very classy and probably, more acceptable to GWebbers.

Marcolo: I really like your kitchen and think it would be totally liveable except for the busts (a bit too museum for me). But the pub sign and furniture offsets.

LWO: I really like the tile and the colors overall. The specific paint colors for the turquoise island and lavender gray perimeter cabs aren't quite working for me (I think I want the lavender-gray to be more lavender, but I'm not 100% sure), but paint is easy to tweak. Love, love, love the hardware.

Painted Lady: I like both of your designs. Now that I look at your first one, it may beat out Juliekcmo's for the most restrained pallette (her blue wall paint vs. your green tile). Your second one has more Victorian exhuberance. I really like the floor and backsplash tile. I'm not entirely sure about the black cabs--I'm thinking a dark brown stain to pick up the brown from the floor. And the green of the range, however much I like it, isn't picked up anywhere else in the design.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 2:53PM
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I, for one, like your Joycean stream of consciousness, Marcolo.

For me, I started with an image of a Queen Anne in my neighborhood, that has in fact been subdivided into two (maybe three) units. I've been in the 2nd floor flat; the kitchen is a modest galley with room for a small table at one end. It open onto the dining room from one side and a hallway from the nook end.

In preparation for the exercise I had done a modest amount of research on Victorian design. The Victorian period was long and encompassed a lot of different styles, and I could have gotten rigid about making choices that were specifically appropriate to the Queen Anne period, but I consciously chose not to, because a) I was ultimately making a modern kitchen with some Victorian-ish inspiration and b) I wasn't designing for someone who cared about that kind of nuance.

In my research, I latched on to the fasciation with all things Oriental (near/far east) and latched onto that as a theme for my belly dancer. I have the WorldMarket Desiree pendant in my house, so I started with that as the anchor for the design. Then I looked for tile. I found a couple that I liked and put them aside. I visited WorldMarket because they have lots of Middle Eastern and Indian items.
I did a lot of searches with Moroccan, Moorish, Middle Eastern in the text. The upper cabinets I found searching for Moorish cabinets.
Eventually, I had a folder full of pictures, with multiple choices for some of the kitchen elements. I looked at the thumbnails, then made a folder called "Coherent Design" where I dragged all the images that I thought worked together. Those were the ones that ended up in my mood board. I have lots of leftovers, probably enough for a whole other kitchen.

I really wanted a brass or copper range hood. but couldn't justify it based on the size/configuration of the kitchen (the lack of lines of sight in the house mean it wouldn't be an eye-catching feature) or budget.

This was the tile I almost used:

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Painted, love the blues and the circle motifs. But about size--what part of the country are you in? Around Boston Victorian through Edwardian kitchens are significantly larger than those that came afterward. That is more the norm--a big cast iron coal stove that also heated water for the house needed a lot of room, whereas by the 1920s gas cookery allowed kitchens to shrink quite a bit (unfortunately).

cawaps, I defend my busts to the end. They are key to the concept. They are specifically out of context--picture them in those glass shelves next to some artful books and a bottled spice collection, a stack of modern crown-motif plates, and some mustard tins.

I have to say, it feels a little frustrating to participate in these threads with all these beautifully thought-out concepts, then visit other threads where the OP is clamoring, "Help me tie my randomly-chosen cabs and countertop together some way, somehow!! I have to decide today!!" I've said it before, but I really picture some people putting on a shirt and jacket, then running out into the street naked from the waist down in search of pants.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 5:45PM
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marcolo, I live in a suburb of Philadelphia - with many Victorian homes in various stage of renovation. More importantly for understanding the house - these houses were mostly used as summer homes for Philadelphia lawyers so they lack the awesome ornamentation found in Chestnut Hill Victorians.

Today, the town is within easy commuting distance to Phila and sits on a rail line so the town is mostly populated with college professors and professionals.

In my own QAV the kitchen is 12 x 14, not huge but not bijoux either and there is a scullery and a mudroom off to the side (we might push into the scullery and leave the mudroom as is).

I'm going to try and get my husband to go along with my second storyboard, I'm in love with the tile (and apparently the color blue).

Need to find more fitting cabinets though.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:06PM
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Marcolo, i'm one of those people clamoring for help....but i usually don't run out and forget my, yes, pants, no.....not yet anyway. By the end of the build, I may have completely lost my mind.

Part of the reason I reached out for help was particularly because you all have such good ideas and well thought out plans. I also don't need to decide my finishes today or tomorrow, so I thought it might be fun and helpful to get some input. The only things I can't change are cabs and design because the cabinets are already ordered, everything else is fair game. In retrospect, I would have done things differently and asked for input from the getgo and not relied on the cabinet salesperson for design, but based on the experience of building this house, I 'm never building again, so I want to get as much right as can on what's left.

So, I hope you don't stop posting these plans. Your thought process has been very educational.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:16PM
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BTW, as long as we're talking fantasy Victorians...

I'll just leave this link here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazing Italianate in Phila

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:18PM
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Re: my second kitchen: You could get the same look cheaper, but there comes a point of diminishing returns, and "dilute" the materials too much and you end up with my second kitchen only in purple and black.

Also this: was an outgrowth of the industrial victorian lighting, in some senses, and the sixties pendant is almost ubiquitous in the taller ceilinged mid-19th cent houses around me. Or was, until they started making nicer period lighting again. Its still a valid budget choice though, and looks much better than some of the weird inappropriate chandeliers they have been replaced with.

With regards to the budget, there are a few things that could be left out without affecting the project outcome too much. The cart is unnecessary, of course. The table could be any black heavy pedestal table, and the chairs could be replaced with black Thonet chairs which would also be period. (all inexpensive) The buffet is important though.

The floor could be almost the same with a black and white checkerboard or imitation encaustic, and the walls could be painted.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Painted, interesting to hear about your town. I enjoy traveling by car or train around the Northeast--the distances are small today, but greater formerly, so there are very distinctive styles of architecture, typical layouts and whatnot from place to place, even if now you can travel between them in a day. Very different from 2011 new build architecture, which seems identical across America except for your choice of fake Spanish or fake colonial.

And yowza, that Italianate is something else.

ohlaches, complete mental breakdown is par for the course for any renovation, much less a new build. Hold on tight! Or maybe I mean, get tight.

pal, we are hardly lacking for ideas for additional Design Around threads, but you made me think of another one: High-Low Kitchens. I think Met Home used to do a feature like that--same look, two different budgets. It might be fun, but it might also be too much work. We've been working with ballpark ideas of prices here, not firm quotes from tile stores. Still, it's interesting to see where quality can be sacrificed, and where it really can't.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:59PM
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Hi-Lows are one of my favorite things. The problem I have trying to do this in real life is that I end up manipulating the "low" so much that the labor still makes it "high" :(

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:21PM
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Thanks for the complements. My DD lives in such a house. The current 1980s stuff is so ugly, and the ceiling fan is so big that the cabinet doors hit it when you open them.

LWO, I just adore those glass pulls.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Someone in the last thread suggested a high/low. I'd suggest picking an era or theme from the list and do a high and low with that.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:40PM
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John and Melissa are a middle age couple with three kids. He's a senior executive; she's a stay-at-home mom. John is highly paid, but private school for the three kids sucks up most of their money. They have owned a Queen Anne in Seattle for three years, and are finally ready to address some of the issues with the kitchen.

When they bought the house, most of it had original woodwork--wainscoting, crown molding, etc. Not the kitchen. The kitchen had a some point been decimated (John and Melissa speculated that there had either been fire or flooding). It was the only room in the house with drywall instead of lath and plaster. All the original trim was gone. The kitchen had been redone in the 1980s with--you guessed it--golden oak. The cabinets were solid, but they looked dated, and the formality of the room just didn't match the rest of the house. The counter was off-white laminate, which was showing signs of age.

Their priorities for the kitchen had less to do with changing cabinets and surfaces than it did restoring the millwork and details to matche the rest of the house.

They kept the cabinets and repainted them Dove White. But before they did that, they found an online source for appliques, which they glued under the cabinet arch before painting. Melissa is still trying to decide if she wants to gild the appliques.

From the same supplier, the bought a medallion (polyurethane) for the ceiling fixture (the rest of the public rooms all have some kind of ceiling detail). The fixture they chose was a foofy silver and gold confection that screamed "Victorian." They chose Pottery Barn mercury glass pendants for over the sink and island.

The kitchen is U shaped, and side of the room is a traffic thoroughfare, which means no cabs or work zones, just open wall and one door. They wanted a tri-partite. They intalled wide baseboards (wood) and a polyurethane chair rail. For the lower wall, they put in a paintable embossed wallpaper. The top of the wall got an embossed border. In between they chose a green striped wallpaper. They painted the embossed wallpapers to match.

They replaced the countertop with laminate that looks like marble. For the backsplash, they used a modest amount of beautiful but pricy tile in a rhombus/dot pattern, but it is a pillow rhombus tile, so it looks like tufted upholstery. The rest of the backsplash was white subways (Gasp!)

They kept their undistinguished stainless sink and chrome faucet, undercabinet rangehood, and black appliances. A major overhaul may lie somewhere in their future, but for now, they are thrilled with the changes.

Striped wallpaper from
Embossed paintable wallpaper from
Embossed paintable border from
Chair rail is from
Pendant is Serena Mercury Glass pendant from Pottery Barn
Chandy is Silver and Gold Foil 18" Wide Ceiling Light Fixture from
Counter is Wilsonart Laminate in Calcutta Marble
Cabinet image is from Kraftmaid
Applique and Medallion are from
Capitonne tile from

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:51PM
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Roarah's use of the Sheraton furniture, made me think about the whole Victorian era, not just that from the Centennial to 1901.

This is actually a Victorian kitchen (what's left of it) from around the block, pre-Civil War.

So I decided to riff on a very early Victorian era (technically just barely at ~1845). All of the items are currently produced except the dining area furniture, and believe it or not, this isn't all that hard to come by. Technically it's late Classical, mostly.

This fantasy would involve two rooms adjacent, although in all likelihood they would have been one atop the other (and still are in some houses)


Marble countertops
Plain & Fancy Legend Cabinet in Cook's Blue/Calluna walls.
American Pine Floors
Raw brass Baldwin Knob
JP Tinsmith Solar-style fixture

Black Bertazzoni range set in brick hearth, worktable

Adjacent Dining Room:

The floor would likely have been unfinished and the strips of carpet would have been sewn together or tacked directly to the floor with those shiny blue tacks.

Ingrain carpet by Thistle Hill
JP Tinsmith Solar Chandelier
Adelphi Paper Hangings Beall Foliate paper.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 10:38PM
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(Lurker here, just trying to clear out the cobwebs.)

Sarah was bummed. She had always thought Victorian homes were oppressive and dull. And now she had one; and worse, she had a husband who expected her to handle the renovation, while he traveled abroad. Phillip rarely even phoned.

She knew she wanted pale gray walls, to offset the bold wood trim surrounding the old windows. Her favorite architectural salvage company phoned with a tip about stripped pine cabinets, salvaged from an 1870's home in Cobourg, Ontario. She liked the simple lines, and Phillip would approve of the appropriate age. To keep them light, she stained them a silvery gray.

Her husband knew she loved colorful antique English tiles, and rust-brown transferware, but frowned at the cost. (What a perfect opportunity this was.) She purchased 9 Minton Majolica tiles (just enough for a backsplash accent) from Tile Heaven in the UK. They cost a small fortune, but suddenly she was excited about the kitchen.

The tiles, of course, required a cobalt blue range. She settled on a restored 1948 Chambers stove.

Tired of the eternal maintenance the rest of her old home required, Sarah opted for a tough Silestone counter (the same color as her beloved English transferware collection.)

When it was done, her friend commented, "Sarah, Phillip will need sunglasses to view this kitchen."

Sarah smiled. "I don't care," she said. "It's mine."

counter: Silestone Orange Fuego
faucet: Vintage III by Whitehaus Collection
drapery fabric: Daisies in the Wind,

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:44PM
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Mudhouse, you're officially not a lurker anymore! I like the design and the story. Did Sarah prop up her cabinets with cinder block like in the picture? (kidding!--I missed it the first time I looked at the picture, and thought it was funny when I did notice it). If anything is off for me, it is the drapery fabric, which is reading slightly periwinkle on my monitor.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:19AM
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Adding a note to say, thanks to all who make these threads possible. They are truly a wonderful learning experience, and it does help a lot to have an inside look at how some of your thought processes go.

Thanks also for the encouragement (to lurkers) to get our feet wet. Took me a while to wrestle Olioboard to the ground, but now I know it's a tool I will enjoy playing with.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Cawaps, my DH said the same thing about the cinder block, wanted to know if it was an artistic statement. I told him that's how salvage companies stage their stuff for pics!

Actually Sarah does have a spare cinder block handy, in case Phillip has nothing but unkind comments when he returns.

I agree about the periwinkle cast to the fabric. I was tempted to color correct instead of looking for a better match, but decided that might be shameful cheating.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:29AM
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Anybody know where I can get some turquoise laminate? I'm getting sick of hunting for pics.

It's interesting that everybody used a vintage-looking "star" stove. In my experience, most people renovating a Victorian don't do that. Around here, if you have the cash to go all-out in your Queen Anne, you put in a Viking, Wolf, or some other appliance that the illiterati have agreed is the appropriate status symbol. These are people who deride 200 amp electrical service as declasse at parties, mind you, but it's what they do.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:00AM
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It depend on whether you want solid or pattern. I haven't found what I consider to be a "good" solid turquoise. But here's a list of mostly patterns and a couple solids that are all at least sort-of turquoise.
Wilsonart has Bottle Glass. Custom they have Moss Trikona, Molton Glass Blue, Molton Glass Green, Retro Mint, Sea Oblique, and Water II.
Pionite has Surfin USA and Deep Teal (solids), Agean Fresco, and Celedon Impression.
Nevamar has Vidrio Aqua. I think this is my favorite.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:43AM
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Check out Abet Laminati. The blues and greens start a couple pages in. The page numbers are partly hidden at the bottom when I open a page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abet Laminati

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:30AM
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It's interesting that everybody used a vintage-looking 'star' stove. In my experience, most people renovating a Victorian don't do that. Around here, if you have the cash to go all-out in your Queen Anne, you put in a Viking, Wolf, or some other appliance that the illiterati have agreed is the appropriate status symbol.


Well this is the exact project I'm working on and I'm hoping to put one of these pretty stoves in. I don't know if it makes me a bad person in that my entire thought process behind the stove is 'pretty.' I have a neighbor who is an architect and he did as you say, and put in a Wolf (he also added to the house, and put in a thoroughly modern kitchen all cherry and modern - I love it, though I wouldn't do it to my house, it looks like modernity exploded in it).

Also, I showed my husband my second mood board and he's on (heh) board with the idea. So, no more white kitchen with white subways/white marble.

That being said, that particularly renovation is 1.5 years away since we're still working on the rest of the house.

liriamerica has laminates and you can search by color. This board will not allow me to link you to it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:15AM
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Thanks for the suggestions on laminate!

Painted, that's so cool! Remember to work on tying together the brown, black and green. Can you really get all that tile in sufficient quantity?

Pal, JP Tinsmith is amazing. I feel the urge to read Frederick Douglas, or maybe Jane Eyre.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:44AM
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No. That tile comes from a house some place in France. But I've just (quickly) looked into it and I would consider having it made (or a version of it) or use something close to it.

I had KJ Patterson make my fireplace tile, and I'd consider having them make one for the kitchen. (I like to pretend that someone with taste renovated the house at different time periods of history - rather than IKEA, which is what the former owners did).

The backslash tile is from villa lagoon tile - and again, it's a reproduction of tile from the 1920s so I think I could find a version of it somewhere.

Rather than have my cabinets custom made by "The Shaker Shoppe" (I love these guys) I'll try to save some of the tile budget with stock cabinets.

But we'll see. I'm thankful for the exercise!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:59AM
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Painted I think it was just a commentary about how different subgroups of people skew toward different types of ranges, not so much a value judgement about picking one over another. But I think the colored ranges chosen in these threads look a bit more "period" while still performing, if that's what your going for. (Vs a Wolf or Viking which may perform but will definitely look modern--unless you get a colored Viking)

I found JP Tinsmith when I was making an offer on a house that was very intact 1810. There was a ceiling fixture in the Dining Room and one in each hallway and that was it.

I really wanted to find lighting that would have been "the very first" lighting (if they had the wherewithal) that would have been installed after candles, and that would have been a solar or argand fixture with a tank for the oil.

That's what led me to JP Tinsmith. It would be worth having the right house just to have fixtures like that:)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Wow some beautiful kitchens by new players:) We are in the mist of a stomach bug so pardon my post if it incoherent.

Paintedlady, I like both of your designs alot! I love when oak is shown in a beautiful way!!! And the backsplash in your 2nd design is wonderful!!!

Mudhouse, I love the blue and rust combo I would not have thought of that combo!

Lwo, I like your color combo and do not find it to bright but I have an aqua sofa in a grey room which abuts a dark purple hall so I am partial to the combo.

Marcolo and pal, I like your black cab kitchens alot! I am tempted to use a black and marble combo in my next kitchen. Marcolo I like your furniture choices they do not add too much heaviness or darkness to a kitchen that could go too dark.

However, pal I would like your board better with less ornate and heavy pieces. I like the serving cart, that cost more than my car, for it is airier but ,altho era appropriate, I find the table overly imposing. Again I am not all that fond of the victorian ornate furniture as is proven in my ill appropriate table and side board choice:)

Cawaps, both of your entries are my favorites! I love the lights,tile,wood finish, fabric and arch lines in your first kitchen and I love the painted tin in your second!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:49AM
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I just came from the "Frustrated with how the kitchen is turning out and oak bashing." Keeping the Golden Oak was one of our proposed topics, and given that discussion, I think it should get high priority.

Pal, the Abet Laminati site has never rendered right for me. I can't see any way to get to the next page at all--no page numbers, no "next." But I searched for "solid colors" and was able to view them all--and they do have some good turquoises. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: frustrated with how the kitchen is turning out and oak bashing

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Pal, I somehow missed your third kitchen. Now in this design I like the dark heavy furnishings. Maybe it is the lighter cabs and tile choices which offer balance and thus allowing the table and sideboard to look lovely in that room. Love the lighting too!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:55AM
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I'm surprised how much I am liking these kitchens and really surprised how much I like the black cabinets. Except for an unnatural lust for geometric encaustic floors I do not care for Victorian style. At all. But I think most of these kitchens have done a great job of focusing in on key details and patterns while avoiding the clutter of the era that is such a turn off. It's a modern Victorian that I didn't think possible.

Painted - I'll be watching for your kitchen in the future - I did end up putting encaustic tile in a hallway and LOVE it - hope you can get it to work out!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Re: the darkness of black cabinets. I would strongly urge anyone doing black cabinets to hire a lighting designer. I used one once, and it only cost a few hundred bucks. Dark finishes suck the light out of a room and you have to put some back. I don't think that means a Broadway-show lighting budget, just some smart decision making.

Re: Oak kitchens. I wouldn't touch a "Design around golden oak" thread with a ten-foot pole. We've been treating these threads as conceptual exercises with the freedom to experiment and the freedom to critique, and no one takes anything personally. Once someone barges in throwing around high-school terms like "bashing," game over. I'm not going to get into a discussion with someone who thinks everything is all about them, or that people who dislike a material they happen to have are haters.

Anyway, I think golden oak is hideous.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:35AM
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I wanted to do a kitchen strictly using finishes from the period to illustrate something that I noticed going to auctions and looking for sources of period finishes.

This was a transitional period that in my opinion, was a bit awkward, design-wise.

The wallpaper switched from mostly defined patterns in bright colors to more papers in indistinct foliates, volutes and scrolls in grays and taupes. The brightly colored papers seemed to have more garish "chemical-ly" looking pigments.

The carpets while intense, tended to get a bit muddier in color with more loose overall pattern. While Federal carpet could work with modern furniture in the right setting, I don't think the carpet from this period would.

Federal furniture works well with contemporary furniture, but the shift into late classical produced furniture that got a bit bottom heavy and dumpy in comparison. Some of the furniture is still nice looking enough but its not as graceful as the earlier furniture and the heaviness is not as deftly handled as the later furniture.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:55AM
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skyedog - did you use antique or a new tile? And if new can you tell me which one?

Anyway, I think golden oak is hideous.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:57AM
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Actually isn't that furniture mostly American Empire in decline? I love American Empire and it seems to be better tolerated by modern folk than later 19th century styles (except in a cottage aesthetic). My brother once had a truly magnificent American Empire dining set in...golden oak (aieeee!) but it was great and unusual. That version was a bit streamlined so it played even better with modern elements.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Marcolo, I'm not sure I understand your point re golden oak. The point would not be to bash oak but to rehabilitate and elevate it. How is that offensive? (except possibly to you, since you think it is hideous).

My thinking is that if all the fine designing minds from these threads to the question of what can be done with golden oak other than ripping it out or painting it, we would then have a ready-made supply of inspiration pics for the many folks who come to this site who have golden oak, and either like it but can't figure out how to make it look good with other kitchen elements, OR can't afford to get rid of it and need to be able to make it work.

I don't think golden oak is "hideous," but I have trouble working with it and other woods that have strong yellowy or orangey tones. I like colorful kitchens and always find myself stumped trying to reconcile that with the color of the oak. I actually vaguely suspect that the popularity of golden oak precipitated the descent into neutral kitchens and contributed to the problem of clashing neutrals that you have so-often referred to.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:10PM
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Cawaps, saying that Joe Blow "criticized" golden oak is objective and factual. Saying he "bashed" it is an ad hominem attack, implying that he was just doing it to be mean or cliquey. It's juvenile. Adults don't talk that way. Or shouldn't. What's next--saying people don't like golden oak because they're "just jealous?"

Some people get overly invested in inanimate objects like kitchen materials, and become "offended" when someone dares to criticize an element that appears in their own kitchen--even if nobody in the conversation has seen their kitchen, and even if they are just lurking, so no one even knows they exist. These people imagine everything in the world is about them, and that they have a personal right to step in and demand that others tone down their criticisms of a piece of wood. In other words, they're narcissistic drama queens.

We get them from time to time on the forum. They're bad enough in their own threads, but they are poison in exercises like this one.

Anyway, I'm not going to short out the GW servers or anything if people want to tackle golden oak, but I personally would probably steer clear. That shouldn't mean anything if most folks do want to try it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:37PM
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I would do a golden oak thread because of the common issues that people have with it. I totally agree that golden oak precipitated the descent into the non-correlated neutrals problem.

I think there is also the association of oak with "cheap builders cabinets, those with the grained vinyl sides and such that put people into a state of all oak being equal.

Strangely enough this type of thing happened in my area with a version of the SGTG or one true kitchen, before it was known as such.

For years (around here) it was popular to outfit apartment and small-house rental kitchens with white raised panel or recessed panel cabinets with silver or brass knobs and dark grey countertops. Does that sound familiar?

However, these cabinets were thermofoil over some kind of formed particle board, and the countertops were dark gray Grafix laminate.

So the white painted kitchen may cause an initial negative reaction in people who remember those cheap kitchens, which weren't bad looking per se, but were not good quality either.

I foresee the same reaction to espresso-stained slab doors happening my regional future if the pattern holds true.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:54PM
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I do not think an oak thread would be taken any more or less personally than was the white design thread. white kitchen people on this forum regularly comment on the white kitchen "bashing" but the design thread did not reflect that so I hope a design around oak would be met with the same respect. Also, the challenge would be a great test of creativity. I too have a hard time imagining what finishes would really compliment light oak cabinets in a very now, not 1980s, way. But whatever is picked for the next round I am sure it will fun:)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Speaking of ad hominem attacks, "nacissistic drama queens"? Ahem.

I agree with you that many people online and in real life overpersonalize opinions expressed by others, and that it is juvenile, or at least not what we should aspire to as high-functioning adults. HOWEVER, I have also seen comments about materials, golden oak in particular, that I do think rise to level of "bashing"--not that they are bashing the person who has it, but they are definitely bashing the material ("it is hideous" as opposed to "I really don't like...", ahem, not to overly subscribe to the stuff they teach you about communication in marriage counseling).

I guess I didn't see the thread the way you did. I saw it more as a support group for people who wanted to have an adult discussion about what to do with golden oak while trying to avoid getting unwanted advice about how they should get rid of it or paint over it (when that is the more common choice on the forum).

Since I don't think the proposed thread would "bash" golden oak and would hopefully (since we are all grown-ups) be entirely constructive (ahem), I just don't see how it would incite people to take offense.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Speaking of which, the time has come to start thinking of the next round. The last two have been color-based, and period-based, so the next should probably be material-, mood-, or problem-based.

If there is a "golden oak" thread in our future, for that one I would suggest a specific doorstyle, eg recessed panel, eyebrow arched or the like be selected to give a common starting point. Some of us could probably find a French Oak door that would already be quite nice, which would not really be fair :)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Here's the list again, with a couple additions and Queen Anne removed. I am personally very keen to do animal prints (they appeal to my sense of whimsy, and their are a surprising number of tasteful (!) products available). I would be fine with golden oak, but we might lose Marcolo, AND I think that it will be pretty difficult. And I would be happy doing any of the materials below.

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

Defining the Home
Minimal traditional house from the '40s through the '70s
Tract house (or was this as proposed the same as the one above?)
Spanish Colonial Revival
Tudor Revival
Prarie School
Pimp this kitchen (choose home/kitchen from real estate listing)
Beach House
Mash-up house (what do you do with a house that is already a mash-up of styles, like a Mission-style Queen Anne)

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

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

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

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

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Hey, I ain't done with this thread yet! But we can certainly discuss next steps. And I agree--nobody really complains about Mission quartersawn oak. They're usually talking about the kind that paired perfectly with Belle France dresses.

Speaking of ad hominem attacks, "nacissistic drama queens"? Ahem.

That phrase is no such thing. That's not what an ad hominem attack is. The word bashing, however, is ad hominem--a refusal to actually engage in a rational give and take argument about a thing, and instead trying to dismiss and belittle statements because someone is just "jealous" or "mean" or "part of a clique."

It's a pretty bad thread, especially when some woman boldly proclaims her quavering courage because she will bravely dare to post her new white kitchen, come what may. Right. As if anyone has ever criticized a finished kitchen thread in this forum. What trembling bravery. The boys and girls in Iraq could take a lesson from her, I tell you.

Anyway, it's true about the white kitchen thread comparison--none of the Inquisitors ever ventured onto that thread, so maybe this one will be OK.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:49PM
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I would be up for "Animal" as a material thread.

I would also be interested in a more in-depth analysis of what's wrong with my first kitchen. I am not particularly happy with the result, but I can't quite put my finger on anything really "wrong" with it, just that it's not very interesting even for a relatively low budget kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Really, don't let me put people off the oak. This is a group choice.

Anyway, pal: What ties the elements of that kitchen to each other, and to the house? I see only two things. One is the color red. The other is a set of stories that aren't visible to the viewer--stories about the use of '60s fixtures in your neighborhood, for example. I found it too intellectual.

That light fixture was something I "got" afterwards. Yes, it's all primitive and exposed like early electrics, and yes, it has the same basic shape as a gasolier. But it took too many beats for it to sink in.

I could see it working, but I would've wanted more of that same swooping fishook Victorian shape (common in a lot of things back then) elsewhere in the room. Or, look at it as a sort of twist on steampunk, which would've required more objects that combined apparent primitive simplicity with the juxtaposition of plastics and primary color, like the wiring.

Make sense?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Pal, I think the big failure in your kitchen is a lack of overt pattern. And the green walls seem lonesome without any other green in the room. I understand you trying to do "simplified Victorian", but you need at least one really detailed piece in the room.

Too much?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:41PM
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OK. I'm not going to finish this since the thread is getting a little long in the tooth. But you get the idea.

There is another aspect to Victorian kitchens we haven't explored yet--they've been around since Victorian times. Which means they've accumulated decades of life, design, renovation and accumulation.

This is kind of a Walton's Victorian, or maybe Sookie's grandmother's house from True Blood. A house that isn't a preserved Victorian but one that has been lived in over the years, presenting with a lot of elements from the '20s through the '60s.


Marmo floors
Laminate counters (I couldn't find a true turquoise like I wanted)
Vintage elements from many decades, scrambled up

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Marcolo, I like your latest design. I definitely see the accumulation of different vintages of stuff in my house and a lot of my friends houses. I did something similar in one of my 1920s houses with mid-century appliances.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Perhaps the kitchen in the movie "Practical Magic"?

Here is a link that might be useful: Practical Magic kitchen

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 8:21PM
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It's got a similar feeling to that. But the PM kitchen is more purely Victorian. The odd thing is, many of us have seen kitchens in person like the one I designed, so it feels pretty odd to "design" it!

I don't have enough time to finish that design, but I would like to add some new items to it. The idea is that this kitchen would never actually change, but would always continue to absorb some of the flavor of the time as its life goes on.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:04PM
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Odd that giving feedback seems about as anxiety producing as developing a design might be. At any rate here goes.

Rorah: I am amazed that no one has asked where that incredible sink can be seen (other than your post).

Pal #1: You asked for feedback about why this design did not quite work. For me it is because a sense of the context was missing, where are the elements going? What is the room like? How will the one actual bit of warmth (the fabric) be used?

Juliekemo: The explanations you added with each of your elements were very helpful. Like Pal�s board #1 I found it cold but it made sense.

Marcolo #1: For me it seemed like a Sherlock Holmes movie set. Fun to move through quickly but not a place I would want to sit and have tea.

Pal #2: The rug with the warm orange grounding made the �room� seem habitable to me.

LWO #1: The pieces were fun, but I would not linger in that space.

Cawaps #1: To my surprise, given the cacophony when I followed the link, I would like to sit and have tea in that room. The pendant with the amber colors made it for me.

Painted Lady #1: The green tile (in a great shade of green) did not do much to bring the other parts together and everything else seemed cold and utilitarian.

Painted Lady #2: The floor and the great light fixture made it. The back splash seemed odd.

Mudhouse: Great cabinets. The bright blue drawer pulls and other colors did not seem to work together but I thought it was a great story.

Marcolo #2: My favorite. I could spend time in that space.

On anther note: I have been bemused by how irritating LWO and Marcolo are finding the oak cabinet thread. On that thread people mention how helpful and supportive they find their fellow posters and then Marcolo and LWO are adding their comments about 1) how childish the posters are and 2) how they are not learning anything from this post (to paraphrase greatly).

I have been enjoying both threads. It occurs to me that a way to understand this is with the Myer-Briggs type indicators. On the one hand we have two incredibly talented individuals who most likely rate very highly on sensation and thinking function and on the other hand we have the folks who are not confident of their sensation function and trust their feeling function. I think we should celebrate the difference.

Finally, as an INFP, thank you to those of you with sensation function for this tread. I am always sad when one of the design-this threads ends and then relieved when another one begins. To all of you who contribute, thank you!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:38PM
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I noticed two things I did by accident.

You said you wouldn't want to have tea in Sherlock Holmes' kitchen. My reaction was, "I'd love to!" But then I realized, I'd rather have a Scotch or a sherry--which is what guys would drink in there. Heck, look at what I said about being inspired by public spaces in London; in Vicky's day, that was the province of men, not women. Without meaning to, I had made the first space very masculine and the second very feminine. So that may be part of the reaction.

Second, I think both of my designs are very movie set-ish. The first is transparently Potter-y and Dickensien. Yet while the second does remind me of real kitchens I've seen (remember johnliu's friend's kitchen?), it's much more cohesive than something that really could have evolved over time.

However, now I'm really intrigued by the notion of incorporating elements from multiple decades starting with the date of the house, and continuing to do so indefinitely. Would that work in a 1980s house?

Oh, and by the way--to paraphrase greatly is quite the understatement. You know people are saying a lot of other things in that thread besides how wonderful everyone is.

Anyway, if people really want golden oak as the next topic I'll participate, but only if everyone agrees to enforce the "no taking it personally" rule if need be.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:59PM
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As an INTP on the very far side of the T, that being able to bring order and coherence to a physical space is a clearly logical process akin to working a geometry problem. I'll freely admit, illogical emotion is an irritating obstacle to that process.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Your comments make me think of a Scotch tasting in Scotland more than 2 decades ago - if the Scotch is peaty, tasting of Scottish Lochs, I think I will join you - with the fall back plan of an excellent Sherry.

The second design also reminds me of real kitchens, hence my reaction. I'll look for johnliu's friend's kitchen. I don't remember it.

Point taken about the understatement - still....

I hope the topic of oak is left in the dust. I love quarter sawn oak (for example, 1920s singer treadle machine cabinets) and despise the kitchen cabinets from the 80s, having lived with the cheap tract house version for years and being delighted when they were painted over. That experience has left me with sympathy with those who are still trying to make that stuff work.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:34PM
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I don't think it's hard to make quartersawn oak work in an early 20th century aesthetic--it just works. Heck, all the floors in my house are oak in a Provincial stain and they look great. It's the golden oak, golden arches, cheap builder cabs that are the issue. They're not just out of trend; they were poor quality and poor design to begin with. I think for some reason oak got really cheap in the 1980s, so those cabinets didn't proliferate because they looked good, but because they made a nicer profit.

I don't think that thread has anything to do with Meyers-Briggs. I'm OK with emotional people. This is something more specific: the Victim Princess, She Who Must Be Obeyed Lest Ye Be a Hater and a Basher, For It Truly Is All About Her. A kiddie tantrum is all it is.

Meanwhile, I'm eagerly collecting elements for the Golden Oak thread, including goose water pitches, Hunter Green Formica, and maybe some burgundy wallpaper with little white dots and a country border. Ooh, and I can update the shiny brass with smoked glass!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:37PM
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If I remember my Meyers-Briggs results, I'm also an INTP.

Orcasgramma, regarding Roarah's brass sink: I used a similar one in an earlier thread, and I think they are from the same manufacturer, Restart (Italy). I'm providing a link below. They also have complete kitchens that would look pretty fabulous in a Victorian.

Here is a link that might be useful: Restart brass and copper sinks

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:10AM
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I am having so much fun with all this Design around threads. Can you add Farmhouse/ country kitchen with a modern twist to your list? It would be great to see all the creative minds interpret this for present times where one lusts after a modern german appliance and a classic sink or faucet with the same fervor.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 3:02AM
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Lurker only (well, occasional solution-seeker with all clothes on before leaving the house). Not because I want to be able to design a kitchen (or any other room or structure), but simply because the backstories are clever and the results are stunning. I cannot comment on whether the elements meet the design criteria only on whether they are pleasing to my eye in and of themselves ("in a vacuum").

Roll on, please.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:03AM
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Orcasgramma, it is a Restart sink I found it on They are beautiful, sorry Cawaps, I did not remember yours in the formica thread or I would have credited you for it:). The only thing I am not sure I love about the sinks is how shallow they are. I had ,in my last home, a 1930s shallow sink that did not bother me at the time but after having a deep sink now I am not sure I could go back:)even when it is sooo pretty. Form over function.
Javachick, I wondered if the mood boards really did portray how it would look IRL so I did one of my current kitchen with just close ups of my individual elements and it provided a very realistic feel of the whole room so I do think these boards can portray how the finishes will work in a real room.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:53AM
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Cawaps and Rorah,

Thank you for the information about where you found the sinks - such eye candy!

Although I am probably the only one who learned there was such a thing as steampunk from reading the Design Around threads, just in case there are others who wonder - the Roundedoff site has a great pair of steampunk goggles. If you are interested the link is:

Marcolo, reading your plans for the golden oak thread I find myself wondering if it will be the first of these threads I'll be ready to see come to an end. :) Probably not - such amazing talent here.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 10:24AM
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Mudhouse: Great cabinets. The bright blue drawer pulls and other colors did not seem to work together but I thought it was a great story.

Orcasgramma, the colors work for me but then I've always had a bad weakness for the admittedly courageous pairings of complementary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel.) However I doubt I would have the guts to do it in real life with something as permanent as a range and countertops (my family would freak.)

I thought the cobalt glass pulls were too bright too, but after plopping about five other pulls in my board, decided to go for broke to see what others might say.

The fun thing about this exercise was pushing myself to do things I would not/could not in real life, and get good input back. I really appreciate your comments.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:09PM
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Regarding a possible Golden Oak thread, I do see value in a thread dealing with any common "design hurdle" that is faced by many kitchen owners. I have not wrestled with golden oak, but we did update a bathroom with sixties wall-to-wall tile the color of band-aids (ugh.) Working with challenging colors you can't change is an exercise in frustration, and I personally would enjoying seeing what others might do.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:18PM
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If we're starting to vote on the next theme, then I vote for animal prints. They're ubiquitous in today's designs. And yet they can look so 1970's Harlem pimp if you aren't careful. I'll admit that I mostly don't care for them, so it would be challenging to make them a tasteful inclusion, especially in a traditional kitchen.

If we do oak, and we should, we should let at least another topic or two in between now and then to allow people to settle down, and also to be able to cheat and start accumulating images now. ;)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I would not/could not in real life

I have to bust you on this. Why not?

There is an instinctive fear reaction that causes people to pull back too far when it comes to their own kitchens. Too risky. Bad for resale. Family would hate it. It's important to realize these are rationalizations. I busted mtnrdredux for saying some of the earlier kitchen designs were too impractical and expensive. She's a smart lady with great taste but she was dead wrong on that. With some exceptions most of the designs she was talking about could actually be sourced point-and-click at the same prices a lot of GWers seem to pay for blander kitchens. It seems to be that the natural reaction to anything different is, "I can't do that," and then afterward we come up with a rationalization why not.

I'm not saying you would actually build a specific kitchen in one of these threads. But these ideas absolutely do apply in the real world. In fact, they're indispensable in the real world for anybody who doesn't want to overspend while still getting a bad result. We see a constant stream of people who did not follow this process, simply defaulted to bland and "neutral," and then come pleading, "How do I fix this?"

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 1:43PM
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Voting: Animal prints please. If I can manage it I might try to do a high/low.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 3:02PM
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Marcolo, busted, and rightly so! A more truthful sentence would have been, "the fun thing about this exercise was pushing myself to do things I would not previously have had the courage and self confidence to even consider, in real life."

Truth is, some of my happier creative moments would likely affect resale, and cause the all too familiar eye-rolling among family. But then again, they might lead to real success that would not have been possible without crawling out on the skinny tree limb. And anyway, life is short, and I am having too much fun stretching to let those things be impossible obstacles. Thanks for the gentle and quite appropriate bonk on the head.

Hopefully Sarah will be back in future threads, having fun falling on her nose in front of everyone, and learning (which is the very best part.)

I hope others who have not tried a mood board will jump in here too (if I can do it you certainly can.) It's such a great way to work on'll be amazed. Olioboard was not hard to learn after some fiddling.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 4:48PM
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I have an honest non-judgmental question for the new participants here and lurkers in the thread who have never worked in what are typically (not always accurately!) called the "creative professions."

Have you ever participated in a real brainstorming session? Do people use these in a lot of other professions, or not?

I ask because a lot of folks seem to start their processes by eliminating things. Masses and masses of options are dismissed out of hand as "too expensive," "bad for resale," "weird" or whatever, often with literally not one nanosecond of thought. It's more of an autopilot assumption. Right from the start, it seems, the task ahead is defined as replicating some other commonly-seen kitchen, and that's all that's considered. Anything different makes them freeze in fear.

Imagine the fear worked the other way. If you worked in advertising and you wrote a boring headline, your creative director or client may humiliate you at a public meeting. If you wrote boring songs, your audience might walk out before you are done. If you designed a boring building for a major architecture firm, your boss might call you into his office and fire you to your face. Imagine that.

In professions like these, people brainstorm because they have to. They have to get over their fear of coming up with a stupid idea, and just start generating ideas period. Maybe we should advertise e. dysfunction with a talking broomstick. Maybe we should write an e. dysfunction jingle. Maybe we should have an old guy turn into a male stripper. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 99.99% of these ideas will be awful. It doesn't matter. A few of them won't be. Those are the ones you have to get to.

How you narrow them down later--that's a separate discussion.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 5:35PM
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I've been busy with insurance adjustors, so I haven't played or commented...but I just wanted to say "Wow" to Marcolo's last kitchen. That's my favorite kitchen example on GW, ever. The mix of vintage details, the colors, the's the kind of kitchen I'd like to have :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 5:51PM
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Actually, lavender, I was specifically thinking about you when I put it together. But that's why I was frustrated to be unable to find a laminate that tilted more turquoise rather than green--you put that idea in my head!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Marcolo, interesting comment about brainstorming.

I work in a pretty analytical field. We sometimes do brainstorming sessions. Just today I was working with a team trying to pin down the documentation approach we want to take with data inputs to a model. We had come up with an idea months ago (to run by the client when proposing the project), but now that we are into the project and really digging into the data, we are reevaluating the approach. There is so much data in so many forms that there doesn't seem to be a perfect solution, but four of us were throwing out ideas and actually came up with some good new ideas. Now we are each off to the drawing board to each do a mockup of how we think it should be done. Next week, we're going to discuss and evaluate the four mock-ups.

When I was planning the remodel-that-didn't-happen-I'm-getting-a-divorce-instead, I started with the things I liked in my existing kitchen--inset Shaker cabs with cabinet latches (it's a 1910 Edwardian and as far as I know the cabs are original; the white kithcens trend hit at the right time for me), linoleum flooring, mid-century Wedgewood-Holly range. Then I built up from there. Not exactly brainstorming, but it seemed like a good approach to preserve the historic character of the house.

For these exercises, I've been starting with a lot of ideas that don't all necessarily go (the brainstorming part), then I review the ideas and pick a theme, then assemble specific elements from the brainstorming process that work with that theme, and then fine-tune it (e.g. That fabric is a bit too formal, everthing else is heading in a more casual direction, let me find something else).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Marcolo- That is so sweet! It's been a rough month and it's nice to know someone is thinking of me...if only for a kitchen laminate :)

Are the birds and flowers both wallpaper options? Those are beautiful and elegant, but still blend very well, with the more simple lines of the vintage appliances, countertop, and floor. The chair and bowl? (under the sink) are perfect with the other colors.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:08PM
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I haven't had the time this week to do a board, which sucks since modern Queen Vic was my suggestion I think. Oh well, you've all done a great job. Mudhouse, I wish I'd seen those pine cabs in Coburg before Sarah, I have just the application for them. Really great kitchen. I'm still figuring out Olioboard as well, but it is fairly intuitive.

LWO, I love the sisters' kitchen! The lavender gray cabs with the purple backsplash is inspired, and with a turquoise island to boot, love it all. Thanks for the long informative post on Victorian homes too. My neighbourhood is full of coloured Victorians, although most are "restrained" greens and yellows with a few nice gray/blues. My immediate neighbour painted her home the most shocking blue last year, with a serious PINK front door. Shocking at first, but I quite like it now. Still don't know if I would have done the pink door though. I'm bummed that I didn't get to do a colourful Victorian, mais c'est la vie. Next time. I'm already thinking about animal prints for this weekend.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:53PM
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I appreciate you going where I cannot yet follow - putting a board together. I've gone back to look at your board after realizing that my comment didn't give any details - just a reaction. I hope these are more thoughtful comments:

On my monitor the blue in those wonderful tiles and the drapery fabric looks like a soft, almost lavender blue, very different from the cobalt blue of the range, which seems different again from the electric blue of the drawer pulls. Those elements don't seem to be a good fit with each other to me.

On the other hand the tiles, the transfer ware, the counter, and the stripped pine cabinets seem to belong together to me. My reaction surprised me because on its own I very much like the cobalt blue range.

Marco - in disciplines where outcomes are measured by grades on standardized tests thinking in general, never mind brainstorming, is given lip service but NOT encouraged. Sorry to be so cynical/angry but major money is being made from standardized testing and it does not work with thinking.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 8:27PM
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You know, Sochi, I don't think these threads have an expiration date. There's nothing to keep you from doing a Queen Anne even if Animal Prints is already up (you might have to point people back to it, though). And of course you could put your animal print in a Queen Anne, if you wanted.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 8:58PM
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I agree with Cawaps, Sochi. I have so enjoyed your beautiful boards in other other threads. Personally I'd happily wait forever to see your colourful Victorian. Although the animal print Queen Anne is intriguing, too.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 9:40PM
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lavender, yes those are wallpapers. When you get to that point, poke me and I'll try to find them. The parrot is called Parroquet, and it's Osborne & Little. I forget the other but can probably reconstruct.

orcasgramma, I hear you. I'm very sorry that so much money is being spent to ensure that our youngsters grow up to fail. Because standardized responses to an unpredictable environment inevitably result in failure. Oh well. Every empire falls. Anyway.

cawaps, that sounds pretty close to a typical brainstorming process. The first rule is, be generous. The second rule is, be ruthless. Open, then closed. I'm truly personally amazed how many people don't get that.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Marcolo, we were professional craftspeople, so brainstorming was a normal routine. My guess is brainstorming may be a bit easier when the folks involved all know each other quite well, since the underlying (unspoken) respect makes everyone more comfortable (harder to ruffle feathers.) Brainstorming on an internet forum may be a bit harder...?

On people tending to replicate ideas...on rare occasions, customers would ask us for a copy, free, of a design we'd developed, so they could use it on their own. (Rather a touchy point for artists, but let's set that aside.) One woman was delightfully honest, explaining:

1. I can't come up with anything on my own that looks that good, and
2. Why should I do the work of figuring it out, when you already have?

This was an eye opener for me. I believe we are all creative, but I understand it's hard to grow up with these beliefs intact. Many wonderful things are lost to the world because people are taught (often by well meaning family and friends) that they "don't have a creative bone in their bodies." Of course I disagree, but if people believe it about themselves, it's sometimes a long road to changing their minds. This is such a shame.

The second is not as simple as it seems. I think many people are able to perceive the work and value in a well-designed widget (thank goodness, or creative trades across the country would starve to death!) But surprisingly often, they may not perceive the joy/satisfaction/reward involved in the process and work of creating their own widget. To some, the process is not fun. It's hard, and scary (see point one.) And/or, they just have other things they'd rather do. If they really feel this way, then replicating a design they like seems the wiser choice. Doing something risky seems needless, with no up side. (I'm not defending this viewpoint, but I know it exists.)

Of course, as you've pointed out, the folly is, the safe route doesn't guarantee a happy ending. I think these Design threads are great for helping people get more comfortable with both sides of this issue:
1) wow, I really can do it, and
2) I'm actually having fun doing it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 11:44PM
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Sorry to interrupt--tech savvy people needed right now to protect these threads.

I just went back to check something on the "Dreaming of a White Kitchens" thread, and multiple photos have already disappeared. This is what happens when we post using outside image hosting, whether through a service or manufacturer's website.

Anybody know how to save these threads, images and all, immediately for later preservation? Please? We need action right now because damage has already occurred.

mudhouse, apologies for interrupting your well thought-out post.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 12:29AM
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marcolo, just visited that thread and it appears to be fully populated with photos (i.e., nothing to indicate anything's gone missing).

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 1:02AM
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Marcolo, I recognized the danger when I tried to show my FIL the 1920's thread. I think the issue was mostly his Mac or his network, but a lot of stuff wasn't showing up (it was there when I went back later from my computer). I took the time to save the pics from my posts to my computer. I can assemble them into one image file and put them on Photbucket and repost that way. I've since gone to that approach entirely.

I think anyone interested in saving the fruits of their effort should do the same.

Of course if any tech-savvy person can save the entire thread with images, that would be even cooler.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 1:19AM
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Not that I am tech-savvy by any means, but I will save an important thread as a web archive - it saves everything - pictures and text - as is to my computer (I have a Mac.) All I do is File -> Save As - > and choose web archive. Not sure how that is done on a PC.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 6:50AM
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Ok, I started from a real house - its what I think of as a bridge house that foreshadows the coming trends. It's kitchen had been the subject of multiple remodels including an unfortunate tex-mexican mission period. Because it's me, there are elevations and a floor plan instead of a mood board.

It has elements left from likely the original that I'm interested in preserving. The house is located in a historic district and policed by a neighborhood association so nothing about the exterior or the floor plan of the house shall be altered in any way. I'm uncertain that removing the tex-mex fireplace is possible or impossible.

I like the tension between old things and new things. So, the room is victorian, but the working bits are modern. I'm picking modern, italian cabinets but in a softer style. Counters to be dark to medium gray caesarstone in a matte surface. I'm thinking about recasting the tex-mex as a wood-oven - there is an alcove above that looks like a beehive oven, so I'm adding a salvaged oven door to it.

The hood, the marble slabs on the walls and a few kitchen cabinets are original. Why the marble slabs on are the walls is beyond me. Dude who built the house was a shipbuilder. There are two converted gas lights scones on either side of the range. There is one intact top and base, one top and one set of shelves and I'm using all of them plus one replica base after a trip to the paint strippers.

The kitchen is larger than it should be because of one of the previous remodels - possibly the one that added the fireplace. A fair amount of the room trim has been removed and the remaining woodwork is quite plain. The historic restrictions are so strong that to replace the woodwork with replicas, I would need actual proof that it wasn't original. On the other hand, they don't consider kitchen or bath fixtures as needing any restrictions.

The floor is a disaster - water damage, wear, shrinkage, holes. It needs to be replaced. I'm choosing white oak in a matter slight brown finish.

I'm going with William Morris wallpaper and prints plus the embroidered white linen curtains. I'm thinking the same type of table and chairs that cawaps posted, but I'd like mine to have wear and tear marks. The chair seats would be the "upholstery" which is a velvet weave.

The ceilings are pretty high and would love to get away with something like this..

or this

Not so much for the steam punk vibe but for the noise, the air movement and the reminder of belt-driven factory machines.

It's funny how cobalt blue and Victorian goes together in my head too. This is very plain-ish in comparison to the others. I'm a plain-ish person.

Alternate if fireplace goes:

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I tried to post earlier but "computer ate my homework" so here's another try. I envision a warm, inviting room with historic references but a modern feel. Assume that this house is like my Grandmother's 1880 place in St. Paul, with a speaking tube to upstairs, a narrow door to servant's steep stairway upstairs, an inside door to basement (as well as outside one with ramped cover over door), and window facing neighbor house with lilies of valley underneath. I'm going to insert a twist--a single story narrow 20th century porch/sunroom addition on back that I'm now going to incorporate into this room, making it pretty big and allowing me to add a bank of good, tight new doublehung windows across the alley end of the house. Also let's install a good outside door--with a lot of glass--at the former back hall entry area which faces alley abt 6 feet from the outside corner. There is a big budget for all this--the owner has a lot more money than Grandma and very different taste.

First, add a beadboard wood bin in that corner beyond the door. Then add a wood stove in the opposite corner of the addition. The stovepipe should have a kink in it for character and it should pierce the ceiling through one of those old fashioned tin-plates. Get a soapstone one, either old fashioned or modern, with a flat surface for warning pots and coffee cups. Consider one of these...Scan "Anderson 40" or Woodstock "Keystone" for example, although you can find much more Victorian stoves if to your liking

The existing cabs can be rehabbed and painted a gentle gold; walls get painted creamy white; the countertops are Vermont Structural Slate's "Unfading Red Slate"
The island is sort of a cart without wheels, made of a yellow wood like maple with a wood top and open storage below. There is a pot rack overhead also either made of the wood or of non-shiny stainless steel or such. Pots include a few enamel cast iron items in a strong green color.

There is a banquette built below the bank of windows at back and a rectangular trestle/harvest table of same warm wood is there, with mismatched chairs from antique to modern on the open sides of the table. If there's a high chair, it is of wood, perhaps antique. There is a valence high over windows made of same bold red-gold-green mod fabric that covers the banquette. There are stiffly starched panels of white linen on the lower halves of the window; window shades can be pulled down by the tatted rings that hang in the upper part of the windows.

The kitchen sink is Kohler's largest "Stages" unit with all the accessories and two "Karbon" jointed faucets. A second sink is in the butler pantry, an L-shaped connecting hall between kitchen and dining room (make it wider than Granny's for efficiency). This one by C.J. Kitchen Designs is an integrated sink and countertop in zinc but let's add a historic-style faucet with white ceramic handles.

A paper-mache animal head or a wooden hay fork would not be unwelcome mounted above the windows. If the cupboards have space above them, put up a collection of large, colored interesting items. Put a large framed piece on the non-cupboard side of the pantry/passageway with lots of bright color and use strong hooks so that the piece does not fall if bumped. Inside the glass-front uppers in the kitchen you can let all the stuff show through--cereal boxes or whatever. In the pantry, put the good stuff on display behind the glass fronts: Ittala pebbled glassware, white bone china, and perhaps a LeCreuset lime green casserole.

Refrigerator (medium capacity French door with drawers below) and dishwasher (use plenty of insulation around it so it really is quiet) are practical, stainless steel, perhaps Kenmore. But the induction range is ired, perhaps this Viking "Apple Red"
Cabinet handles are pewtery. There's a different sculpted mod-backed Jeffrey Alexander I had in original lost posting, but his "Encada" are close:

LIghting is a combo of old and new. I can't get the image to behave itself so look for yourself at the Toltec Lighting pendant show below in link. It's got black metal and I'm not sure where to put it but I really like it. Maybe over the butler sink? There needs to be a ceiling fan to keep the windows from rotting with condensation and to pull heat out of the ceiling in about a mod one with hallogen light from Minka to position between cooking and table area? If you like recessed lights, hey put them in, but I like globes that stand out in relief against a ceiling, and with a tall ceiling you gotta hang some good light or use _large_ globes. We used two and three bulb "Nova" ceiling models from Besa in our current project and we really like them, but the "Katie" would have that Scandinavian vibe that this new room has. Besa also makes a lot of flexible combos for pendant-izing their many great glass pieces. Avoid the temptation to use colored glass in work areas. White matte glass is very practical--doesn't show dust. Of course there needs to be undercab lighting--gentle, please not harsh.

If you want to go Victorian nutsy, put in an embossed ceiling--either metal (has an echo problem) or embossed wallpaper that can be painted. Retain old beadboard where appropriate and smooth out the rest of the plaster walls and paint semi-gloss creamy white. If you want tile, go for something that your children won't hate when they're 50. Right now I'm thinking about a backsplash in checkerboard of matte 4" rectangles in red and cream but it just might be too much. Ya think?

And of course, Florantha prescribes a minimum of three pull-out wooden boards, one at the chopping station near the kitchen sink, one in the butler pantry to accept overflow items coming and going to dining room, and a nice big one at the baking station unless there is room for a recessed stone area for candy making and rolling out dough.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bellacor / Toltec Lighting pendant with funky glass

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Thanks for playing :)

I think this would be a really pretty kitchen. All that marble--do you think that was salvage from something commercial?

The fireplace probably isn't very practical but I does add the the "evolved" feeling of the kitchen. As to what the historic commission would say about it's removal, I suppose that's up to their interpretation. There is one school the would probably let you remove it because it is not original and may not be considered "appropriate", while another school would say that removing something old would be revisionist.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 9:52AM
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I did this a little too quickly, but here goes.

This is a house in my neighbourhood. Beautiful red brick. Owner recently won a city heritage award for the restoration of her chimney, it is fabulous house. Some exposed brick in kitchen. I've been in the house - narrow rooms, small kitchen that leads through a short hall to the dining room. I don't know the owner well, but what I know of her lead to many of my choices below.

Wallpaper and wall colour in hall to DR.

Cabinets will be blue-gray (imagine all cabs below are the same colour). No island, just the open shelves with a zinc countertop beneath, and carrara counters on the main run. The inset nook shelving will be in the short hallway that leads to the DR.

Shallow sink with mini-black range, good for small spaces

src=""; width="400" height="300" alt="White Carrara Marble CD commercial">

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 12:04PM
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    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 4:22PM
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I'm so glad we waited for the late entries.

BMore, I like it--it seems very elegant. I like the layout better without the fireplace, but I'm not optimistic about the removal flying with the hisoric preservation police.

Florantha, I have to admit I'm having trouble visualizing, especially with key elements like the cabinets not being shown.

Sochi, I like. I especially like the open shelving and the recessed cabinet. Who makes the black range? I'm notusually enamoured of tiny ranges, but that one might make me a convert.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 4:29PM
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I see that the cabinets I posted in the thread are different from the ones in the mood board. Ops, that is what happens when you try to post too quickly! I prefer the look of the cabs in the mood board, although they are very similar.

cawaps - I'm afraid that the oven is from the UK. Leisure Gourmet Mini Range (see link). It is only about �450, or about $700 I think, pretty affordable. Apparently Leisure used to be owned by Aga ... maybe there is a way to get one on this side of the pond? They are pretty great.

bmore - those fans are ridiculously wonderful. I love the exposed red brick with the cobalt blue appliances.

florantha - you used zinc too, I like that choice for a modern Victorian kitchen. I contemplated the Karbons, but I just couldn't picture a Karbon in my neighbour's house. But I think every kitchen should have a Karbon! :) It is hard to visualise the whole kitchen, but good elements I think. Like the red too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leisure Gourmet Mini Range

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Hmm, I think that I may have caused the disappearance of my pics. I cleaned out pics from my DH's Flickr account that I thought I didn't need anymore. Guess I shouldn't do that. Will fix tomorrow.

So animal prints next?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:00AM
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I believe there is a consensus for animal prints. Who wants to post? Does anyone have insight into the history of animal prints in interior design, or educational content of any sort?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:23AM
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Clearly late breakers should become a tradition. Such great ceiling fans, a reason for choosing white matte glass, and a new (to me) range. In 3 wonderfully creative boards.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:13AM
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The tradition of animal prints extends back to the 19th century as far as I know. Scalamandre makes the ultimate animal prints, Le Tigre and Leopardo in silk velvet. They list for approx $2000 -2900 a yard, and are used in highly formalized, traditional interiors.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 9:27AM
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This is the house I just sold. (crying, lol). 1880's, but a stick Victorian not a Queen Anne.

10X10 main kitchen, with a regular pantry (all shelving from PO) and a butler's pantry/water pantry that housed the sink and dishwasher, as well as a few original/early 20th cabinets with glass door uppers and bead board lowers. Clearly built in place and not to standard depths or heights.

The main kitchen had one, 1970's, 12" floor cabinet, a broken range and an old side by side fridge. Happily it also had original white beadboard, 10' ceiling and a heavy plate rail around the top. It also had (challenge) 7 doorways and 2 windows. In a 10X10 space.

We wanted a functional kitchen that played up the nice architectural details of the room and had a bit of an unfitted feel (had to due to all the doors, there was no space for a "run" of any kind) but were very much on a budget and looking for materials that were simple, easy to clean and could be replaced without tears if we decided to make changes in 5-10 years.

Changed the pulls on those cabinets to these:

the uppers had proper and nearly matching latches so those stayed.

In the main kitchen, we put IKEA Adel White cabinets, with glass door uppers, and IKEA butcherblock countertops (later replaced by a dark green granite).

Light fixture: Restoration Hardware Schoolhouse with vintage fans ceiling fan fixture (no longer made).

Range, micro/hood, and dishwasher: Bosch smooth white. D/F range with warming drawer for busy working family with kids and crazy schedules.

Fridge, Jenn Air French Door floating glass white.

Walls Benjamin Moore Popcorn Kernel:

(ooh I found an old GW pic of MY kitchen!)


If I could do that kitchen over, I'd have done granite/stone counters sooner (we did it just to sell), and I'd have done the backsplash sooner. But the rest, I was really happy with!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 9:55AM
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The history is not easy to find, but anecdotally I have seen pictures of rooms or pieces over 100 years old with animal prints (and or the real thing).

I will set it up.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Awww lets do this one again...I wasn't ready in december LOL

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Igloochic- LOL! It would be fun to do this one again...or something similar.

I really like Marcolo's idea of an older kitchen starting out to fit the house and then adapting different elements from later decades. That could be really interesting, if done his example above :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:47PM
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