Kitchen Inspiration

September 15th, 2011 · 85 Comments · Kitchenlightenment

I stumbled upon an inspiring photo in Elle Decor a few years ago when we were in the process of renovating our kitchen. It was just the corner of a room, but unlike a lot of the spaces featured in shelter magazines, it looked like someone lived there. There was childrens’ artwork on the refrigerator (tastefully arranged), some raffia wallpaper covering a small desk area, and a round table surrounded by red Eames chairs. The Eames part of those red chairs was not in the budget, but I stuck that photo to my bulletin board and it got the ball rolling on the designing. Nevermind that I didn’t pay an ounce of attention to the dishwasher door blocking the cabinets (forcing us to put away our glasses in two steps) or the fact that it will be the year 2029 before my children will be able to reach to the ice tray in the freezer or be able to open the 200-pound pull-out pantry door by themselves. I got my red chairs and I love my kitchen to this day.

But I love the kitchens featured in Design*Sponge’s at Home — the book based on the blog that everyone except maybe two people in the world are obsessed with — even more. Grace Bonney, the founder and author, takes the concept of inspiration to a whole new level here with page after page of gorgeous personal spaces along with personal stories that explain how the lucky owners managed to execute their visions. The kitchens, of course, were my favorite. For instance, if I had stumbled upon the photo above a few years ago, there is a 100% chance that I’d be sitting in a yellow kitchen with a painted checkerboard floor right now.

Artisan was nice enough to send along a sneak peak of some of the kitchens featured in Design*Sponge At Home and to celebrate its publication, DALS is giving away a free copy of the book to one lucky commenter below*. Winner will be chosen at random next week, but special consideration goes to anyone who shares a cool family kitchen design idea. Even special-er consideration goes to any commenter who follows DALS on facebook.

I love the red on red here. It’s the 2011 answer to Julia Child’s museum-worthy pegboard. (more…)

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The Recipe Door

February 3rd, 2010 · 19 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Rituals

When we bought our house in 2003, the kitchen was terrible (think avocado counters, not of the charming retro variety), This was exciting to me for one reason: In a few years, when we could maybe afford to renovate, we could create the perfect family kitchen from scratch. Of course, as anyone who has lived through a renovation can attest, “perfect” means one thing to someone and another thing altogether to that someone’s spouse. (A story which deserves another post/Lifetime drama all its own.) But the idea to have an illustrator (the amazing Gina Triplett) paint recipes on the inside of an upper cabinet door was universally loved by all the decision-makers in the house, especially the kids. The only tricky part was figuring out which recipes were deserving of such an honor. Ultimately, to qualify for “cabinet door” treatment, we decided the recipe needed to be both steeped in family history and, of course, be delicious. The line-up: One recipe from each of our grandmothers  (Grandma Catrino’s biscotti, Great Grandma Turano’s meatballs)  “Rosa’s “mud cake , which my best friend’s mom served at every one of my best friend’s birthday parties when I was little, and Marcella Hazan’s milk-braised pork, which Aunt Patty made the first time I met my husband’s family in 1992. Now we have a private living memorial to those who have influenced me in the kitchen, and my kids will grow up with a certain reverence for these dishes. Guess that means I’m never moving.

The How-To: Triplett started by giving the door a coat of paint similar to the outside color. (This allowed her to paint over any mistakes she made along the way.) She then sketched out the words in pencil and went over them using a superfine paintbrush dipped in black paint.

PS: I’m thinking of expanding this project to a few more kitchen cabinet interiors. Does anyone have any good ideas? I was thinking of painting William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say” but what happens when plums aren’t in season?

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