Moving away from formal dining and living rooms with separate kitchen spaces, today’s family embraces a transitional floor plan that combines cooking, dining, living, and entertaining opportunities in one open gathering space – with flexibility to change the way formal rooms are used. Whether a family (often multi-generational) or a retired couple, everyone is spending more time at home together, and that time centers around the kitchen.
As a designer, I am rejuvenated and inspired by all things outdoors – sunlight and color (grays to brilliants) and infinite textures and smells of nature. My vision for this space was an open, flowing plan with a mixture of warm modern, rustic woods, and smooth organic materials, punctuated with high sheen metals, glass and a color palette borrowed from Mother Nature. The center kitchen offers modern functionality with clean lines and convenient storage, while the bookending family spaces add pops of rich color and contrast. A coat/laundry/hobby room with dog dishes and lots of utility/broom storage center flanks one end of the space, while a comfortable lounging area with fireplace, music, books, and TV is at the other.
Along with color to inspire excitement or meditation or conversation, lighting is a critical design component. I often say, jokingly, that you can use chicken crates for furniture if you have great lighting to shape the atmosphere… whether a kitchen, bath, study, task lighting and general lighting and indirect lighting must all be used – in energy efficient outputs and correct color temperatures. With dimmers for all! A strategic compliment of kitchen lighting gets a boost from counter windows, clerestory windows and a massive wall of sliding glass doors. The outdoors is brought inside and the inside out with grilling, dining (and gardening) on the deck.
Because today’s homeowners are more conscious than ever of their health and the environment, we choose low VOC, replaceable and recycled materials. Appliances are energy efficient and kitchen amenities (countertop compost, huge island Galley Work station sink and second clean up sink, ample cold storage for fresh produce, window fresh herb garden) cater to our desire for fresh, locally sourced foods and healthy lifestyle choices.
A family’s personal space should reflect who they are and provide them with beauty, light, tranquility, and a warm inspiring retreat . The use of varying textures and colors and avoiding monotony through interesting design enhances emotional, spiritual, and physical health. I encourage my clients not to be afraid of mixing many different materials nor to be afraid of using color – a $50 gallon of paint is the least expensive and most dramatic tool for aesthetic impact and mood!
To view the entire “Ultimate Kitchen” Project, CLICK HERE.