Friday, May 27, 2011

If you can´t take the heat Part I

We´ve been developing the plan of the house all week with the Architect. It took us 4 plans to distribute all the functions necessary - and this is a pretty straightforward house where the structure pretty much defines the spaces! We will have a main bedroom, a second office/guest room, living room, kitchen and bath. What gave the most trouble was the laundry room/half bath/pantry/bodega/mechanicals/utility/mudroom space. Now that I write all that, it´s a little clearer why it took so long to organize.

There are a staggering number of interior design blogs and blogs devoted to kitchens. I´ll share the ones I personally think are fun to scan. One of the things that strikes me now, living here, is how overdone American interior aesthetic is - at least to my eyes. First of all they´re Titanic in scale. These places must be measured in acreages. Secondly, they´re monumental in weight. Masses of wood compete with tile, marble, granite, giant banks of windows and doors, huge islands floating between the Scylla and Charybdis of restaurant ranges and multiple dishwashers flanking double-wide, stainless steel refrigerators.

These are some from the blogs I´ve been browsing (what a fabulous time sink!)

From an extensive design blog - Things that Inspire:

And from Design*Dump

Now these are good blogs and beautiful kitchens, both in execution and design. But who are these people? You could park a bus in some of these spaces. And the thing is - the more I looked at them, the more ¨normal¨ they looked. I remember loving the HGTV (Home and Garden TV) channel, mostly for the DIY shows, but you absolutely couldn´t get away from the house porn. And I suppose if you have a lifestyle that requires it - this is the answer.

I think of a kitchen as not just a work space, a lab, but a refuge. No expanses of polished granite, stainless steel or French Provincial cabinetry for me, if only because the space (and the budget) is too small. I want to feel free to stain, spill, scratch, cut, crack and generally inflict damage. I call the consequences ¨patina¨. I want to be at home in my kitchen.

I love unfitted kitchens. I like furniture in a kitchen instead of neatly regimented rows of boxed cabinets. I love plate racks. I love china cabinets, corner cabinets and whatever those things are called that have all the little drawers. I want a kitchen work table, not an island or a peninsula. Some people want a breakfast bar. I want a chair I can pull up to a woodstove.

These are some images I pulled together and sent to our architect to give him a feeling for what we are looking for in the house. They are almost entirely from old issues of Casa y Campo which I´ve been collecting for years, or our collection of bungalow and craftsman style books that we purchased when renovating in Chicago.

What´s the most important consideration in your (dream) kitchen?

More later.


  1. A large sink, in fact two large sinks. Our sink is way too small for all the veg prep and jam and pickle pans. I love you ideas for unfitted.

  2. They are all so stunning and I love the rustic look of the last photo. What I would love is lots of space, tonnes of storage and drawers that pull out so you aren't digging to find things, counter top space and 2 large sinks.

  3. Large sinks are hugely important. Right now we´ve got a teeny tiny one with the fridge at my right elbow. Doing the dishes is not fun.

    I think drawers are underrated v.s. cabinets. Things dig their way into the very back corners and hide.

    More soon!