Tour my kitchen: How to make the place you cook the place you want to hang out.

I’ve been working on my house in Brookline, Mass. for the last two years and now that it’s done, I want to share with you my interior design work room by room, starting with the kitchen. My hope with this blog is to show you not just my inspiration and process for completing eight major rooms, plus a full walk-out basement, a few baths and a laundry room, but to share some tips that can amp up the design of any home. I’ll also incorporate design trends and some interesting client work along the way.

BEFORE/AFTER
Kitchen first, which was featured here in Boston Home Magazine.

When we bought the house, the kitchen was in the basement — a common issue in older Victorian homes. But this was not going to work for our family, with three active boys, two cats and a dog. Also, I wanted to make the kitchen more of a living space than just a cooking space. So, we ripped out the fridge, cabinets and stove in the basement (a blog for another day) and created a new floor plan on the main level with a brand-new eat-in kitchen. Basement kitchens are dark and gloomy. Check out the before:

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Here’s the after:

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Many of my clients say they want a large kitchen that is open to other living spaces, especially if they have kids to watch who are snacking all day, or using the room for everything from breakfast, trading Pokémon or actually for homework. Sure, we needed that too. But I also wanted the room to feel and look like other rooms in the house — comfortable, not just a bank of white tile and cabinets.

The overall aesthetic is not too shiny and not too sterile but mostly not too kitchen. It’s warm and it makes us happy. There’s matte black enamel, warm brass tones, and the crackle in the subway tile make it feel more artistic than just functional. Lots of plants — as well as the wallpaper by Ellie Cashman give a garden-like feel that the space is alive. You don’t need kitchen wallpaper to have chickens or food on it. This bold floral reminds me of a Dutch painting, one you’d sit and relax in front of it, appreciating the art.

FURNITURE & KITCHENS
Then there is the furniture — a word isn’t used often in kitchens. Since I wanted this to be more living than just cooking we needed furniture. I chose a banquette with a high back to feel like an old Parisian bistro while being super comfy. My husband has even fallen asleep on the banquette waiting for that very special once-in-a-blue-moon occasion when I will open the cookbook to make dinner. Then I layered on the pillows and this is where I had some real fun picking fabrics from England, Denmark and Boston. The Haack Table had me at American Black Walnut. If its legs were shorter, it could be in my living room. But why have a wood-topped table in a kitchen? Isn’t that asking for trouble? Yes, but that’s what good old fashioned orange oil is for and I never looked back.

Finally, there’s the lighting, which is an obsession of mine in all of my work. Here I have ambient light at different levels - sconces, pendants, under cabinet, tiny recessed and a chandelier.

Before we talk about that chandelier. Let’s me share how much fun it was to learn about Allied Maker, creators of my over the table pendant light. They are from Long Island and I asked them if I could come visit their showroom while visiting my family. They were surprised — no one had ever asked that so, yes, I was their first visitor and now I love saying I knew them when…

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FOCAL POINT LIGHTING
Ok, then there is the focal point like no other: a Lindsey Adelman Branching Bubbles light fixture with grey glass globes. It took my breath away and still does. It hangs in front of the black and brass hood I designed with Aaron at Vogler Designs in Indiana, where it was made. The hood goes perfectly with my LaCanche range, which was a starting point that led to many of the choices for my kitchen. I saw that stove in a home design magazine and knew it had to be mine so I could feel like I was living in Paris again. 

 Aaron at Vogler Designs sent me this picture before shipping it Brookline.

Aaron at Vogler Designs sent me this picture before shipping it Brookline.

 Look how many guys it took to carry in a little bit of France for me!

Look how many guys it took to carry in a little bit of France for me!

One final note, the ceiling medallion was a very simple one — even though it was original. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about changing it until I found a shop in Boston that creates molds of original ceiling medallions from some of Boston’s finest townhouses on Commonwealth Ave. So I upgraded to this:

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TIP!
The owner of the Boston Ornament told me to paint the ceiling behind the medallion black because it hides the light box. Genius! Well it all worked and I couldn’t be happier.

Next blog..Living Room...coming soon