Sunday, January 29, 2012

A REAL Kitchen Table

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I've had this in my "tile file" forever (love the dark grout and wood countertops). But this morning I saw something in it I'd never seen before.  A perfect solution for a small space kitchen. 

If you don't have room for an island plus a breakfast table, why not a classic style kitchen with a large farm table in the center? We never do that anymore. I'd prefer the way this kitchen would "live" to one with a skimpy island and a few barstools. You get fabulous prep space and dining for eight all in one because this stone kills both birds, turkeys or whatever you're cooking. It's the perfect spot to stuff him, dress him, snap peas or shuck corn. And the best part for this lazy cook, you can do so while seated. 

I remember my feisty great-grandmother at her center kitchen table, chopping meat for homemade sausage, while us kids sat around her rolling out biscuits. And then of course we'd all assemble for a casual meal in the warmth of that kitchen, eating, laughing and sharing the fruits of our labor.  Isn't that cooking is all about?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workin' It

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...or just majorly procrastinating. Once again, I'm feeling overloaded and, as it often does when I'm stressed, my mind is wandering through irrelevant design territory. (Luckily, I don't bill hourly, lest my clients read this in horror). Looking around my office, though, I realize the perfect solution to greater productivity isn't necessarily gettin' down to business. It's a redesigned office space! While some might consider this a "distraction," I consider it a creative warm-up exercise.

So here's what I believe is really impeding me from redrawing my client's lighting plan: 

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I don't have this full-wall bulletin board to fill with my inspirations! I could break down sections by clients, but let it all bleed together, as it often does anyway. How many times have you had something lying on your desk for one client when you realized it was perfect for another? Or knew you'd pinned or bookmarked something somewhere that would work here or there? This wall is the perfect solution for total access, total recall.

And if my desk looked like this...well, I'd have little or no workspace. But! I'd be so inspired.
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Maybe I'd be less distracted if I whipped up some draperies to hid my bookshelves...
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Or could always find my scotchtape...
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Maybe a little greenery would oxygenate my brain...

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I've been meaning to add French wire baskets for fabric samples like the ones in this cozy eclectic space There's even my bit of brass and one of my favorite fabrics on the chair. Must be a sign...
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Okay, well, I'm sitting in that chair below; I already have those white boxes; I even have that mac. I guess it's the  Carrera countertops that I'm missing in my office!
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Sources: Domino (Aerin Lauder), Coco+Kelley, pinterest, pinterest, pinterest

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ballet in My Inbox

American Ballet Theatre has announced its 2012 season beginning this month in Dallas
Performances in NYC begin May 14, at The Met

This has me idly day-dreaming at my desk. I lingered over the ABT season schedule the way I wistfully browse estate home catalogues. How I'd love to secure that NYC pied à terre by May so my friends and I could gather there for dinner and drinks before stepping into the warm Spring night and heading to the ballet. My dream montage looks something like this...

It starts here in my fabulous apartment (I know, it's one of your favorites, too!)....

I'd serve cocktails from this pretty little bar....

then the girls and I would walk back through these doors 
(Can't ever get enough of these, can we?)...

to powder our noses and gloss our lips in here...

before heading for the Met to see Swan Lake, wearing a little something 
I put together when I should have been reorganizing purchase orders...

Oh, and my daughter, the ballerina, would be dancing the role of Odette. 

Okay, back to the Friday workload...

Have a dreamy weekend!

Sources: Moth Designs; Miles Redd; pinterest; Alexandra Rae's Style File: stunning jacket, Dries Van Noten $1,420; to die for Loubitins, $870; Clutch, Rodo $1,899; perfect LBD, Oasis, $225 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hail Caesarstone

As I've said, I think Carrera marble is currently the law here in Los Angeles. But I am forever trying to convince people Caesarstone is the way to go! That's why I was so happy to see their newest products (via Amber's blog) this week. The stuff is virtually indestructable. I once had a rep scribble all over it with a Sharpie, four year-old style, then remove it. Oh wait, that was Corian. Anyway, Caesarstone is still heat, scratch and stain resistant, and five time stronger than granite. Plus they're always coming up with beautiful new products. Gorgeous in the kitchen or the bath! (I'm loving  "Ocean Palace" and "Fair Lady.")

Check out their site.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dreaming of a White Kitchen...

I'm dreaming up (another) fresh, white kitchen for a client.  It's not that I'm stuck in a 'white' rut. It's more that I'm always indulging my two greatest passions in kitchen design: Clean and Bright.

First, the cleanliness. Not the sexiest passion, but a passion nonetheless. To me white equals clean. White towels, white sheets, white kitchens and baths. Who doesn't want their kitchen to feel spartan clean? At least between meals. 

Second, the brightness, or more specifically sunlight!  White kitchens reflect more sunlight. My vampire/Norwegian husband says I'd live in a greenhouse if I could. (Who wouldn't?!) So, considering we spend a majority of our family time in the kitchen, you better believe I want great sun exposure and tons of windows. A view of a beautiful garden with a wood or ocean in the background is a big plus, too. (Remember, I'm dreaming, for my clients' sake.)

With the saturation of white, Hamptons Style kitchens, I try to add unique decorative and architectural details to keep each project special. I'm always scanning the market for new fixtures, windows, millwork, etc. Finally, I always add greenery and lots of fabrics to warm things up. Here are just a few images from my files, each with its own bit of inspiration.

This first image inspired a recent project. The ceiling plan was an electrical and architectural nightmare, since they had to work with an existing space. We loved the dark line around the ceiling perimeter. The painters thought my clients were nuts. But the final effect is stellar. So is the entire kitchen.

 Take about unusual details. Love this tin coffered ceiling. Who knew metal could feel so warm.

 I love the detail of this backsplash. It's a cut slab remnant, installed against simple subway tile.

This is on the top of my wish list for a current project. Those glass cabinets are as close to a greenhouse as you could get. Beautiful! I've worked them in! With all that light you could have a few small potted citrus in there. An orangerie kitchen!

I always love a wall of floor to ceiling lighted cabinets. (I'd add a rolling ladder on an antique brass rail). My client pointed out that things would have to be kept "very organized and pretty up there." But, I pointed out, it's not like you'll be storing Sipee cups and Tupperware up there.

Great fixtures and a cheery color scheme keep this Elizabeth Dinkel kitchen fresh and unique. I think white cabinets and Carrera marble are now officially the law here in Los Angeles. 
 Another Elizabeth Dinkel. Love the nickel pendants. 
I lost the source for this house long ago. I just had to show you the picture window, perfect for plants and herbs. I think I'll try to incorporate deep sills in this next project for said purpose. Years ago I ripped an ugly aluminum picture window out of a house in Encino. The owner had kept it filled with plants. But it was so dated. I have to admit, the kitchen lost something when we replaced it with a standard window. I should have replaced it with something like this. There are even better ones on the market now. I would also love to see a lighted lower cabinet on that island. I've seen this done to great effect! Love that clerestory at the dining room passage, too. Okay, and last thing on these images (that I'm not even particularly crazy for): I love the paneling's height and proportion in the dining room. Let's move on.

A Carrera sink (with breakfront)

Double islands used to feel like the spawn of extravagant McMansion kitchens. But I now find them to be one of the most functional layouts for a large family kitchen. I also love the mix of warm wood on the fridge wall with the otherwise all white kitchen.

Hope you found something inspiring, too!