Cool Kitchen: Modern Luxe

I was recently turned on to Swedish mag Elle Interiör via a post at Decor8. Though it’s another one that I can’t actually read (it seems like all my favourite mags are foreign, lately), the photos are gorgeous, in true Swedish style.

This kitchen is a little more grown-up and elegant than my tastes usually run, though I was still drawn to it immediately. It’s got the clean, white tiled look I love, with touches of stainless steel and wood for added interest.

Modern Luxe

The real success of this space is in the luxurious details. The marble counter top could make a convert of butcher block-loving me, and all the candlesticks add a certain ambiance. There’s even an aristocratic-looking portrait leaning against the backsplash. The glass-fronted cabinets are one of my favourite touches- check out the stunning silver locking mechanisms!

Modern Luxe

What do you think- does this space float your boat?

Posted in Kitchens on March 9th, 2010 by Ele | 1 comment so far
Tags: cool kitchen, elegant, luxe, modern, swedish

In the Kitchen: Ways with Wood
I’m a bit weird about wood, in that I adore it. I think a kitchen (or any room, for that matter) without a hint of wood looks a bit, if I can be honest, soulless. Staid, sad, and perhaps a bit boring, too. You might not agree, but for me there’s got to be a bit of nature among the modernity.

But while I surely dig wood, I’m not about to start endorsing any 80′s oak cabinet monstrosities. The trick is when and where to use it; nothing looks great in excess, after all. Here are my favourite ways to use wood in the kitchen. (All pics in this post from Living etc.)

Cabinets. This is a given, right? But there are so many options: dark, light, plain, panelled, upper, lower. I love the look of this kitchen, which has cabinets in a rich shade, but only lower ones, so the effect isn’t overwhelming:

Ways with Wood

Countertops. My hands-down favourite, and what I plan to do in my own space one day. Paired with white cabinets as in this space, the effect is modern classic at its best:

Ways with Wood

Island or butcher block. In a modern kitchen, this option is almost always a good bet. It can lend a refreshing country feel to even the most urban of spaces, as in this room:

Ways with Wood

Seating. In this otherwise white and minimal room, wooden stools add a touch of humanity:

Ways with Wood

Floors. Others can have their tiled, linoleum or concrete floors; nine times out of ten, I’ll take hardwood. The blonde wood in this kitchen fades into the background, while still adding warmth to the space:

Ways with Wood

Table. An oldie but a goodie. A big, wooden kitchen table works in any style of room, from industrial to retro and back again. This one looks perfectly at home in this bright space:

Ways with Wood

Posted in Kitchens on February 18th, 2010 by Ele | 7 comments
Tags: interiors, modern, retro, styles, wood, wooden

Cool Kitchen: Arty Eclectic
It was when I was hunting down photos for this post that I came across this kitchen on Marie Claire Maison. I must have seen it dozens of times before (I do love that site, after all), but for some reason I’d never really seen it before.

Well, I’m glad I did this time, because I think this room is gorgeous! It’s in what used to be an old printing factory, and though there’s only the one photo, it’s enough to get an idea of why (I think) it works so well:


Art. No overhead cabinets, not even any open shelving to muck up the flow of this room. Instead, a collection of art creates a gallery-like feeling, making this room just as atmospheric as any other in the house.

Retro touches. That vintage icebox, probably used as a cupboard of some sort, is divine. I love how it breaks up the white cabinets and sits front and centre, rather than off to the side.

Eclectic mix. I like how the table features both classic wooden chairs and industrial-style stools. A soft-glow, vintage-looking lamp sits on the countertop to the left, while a sleeker pendant hangs from the ceiling at the right.

Posted in Kitchens on February 16th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: Art, cool kitchen, eclectic, gallery, icebox, retro

Kitchen Storage: Ten Cool Ideas
Storage is a perpetual problem for me, and I’m far from alone on this matter. It doesn’t matter how big or small our spaces are, there just never seems to be enough room for all our stuff, am I right? In the kitchen it can be particularly tricky, especially balancing practicality with design. Today I’ve put together ten ideas on stylish and space-saving kitchen storage.

1. Vintage charm. If you’ve got a spare wall or part thereof, don’t automatically jump to adding built-in units. A vintage dresser or armoire can store your plates just as well, and adds a bit of personality, too. I like this painted hutch from County Living.

Kitchen Storage: Vintage charm

2. Open it up. With that same wall, you could also try some open, industrial-style shelving. These blue-painted shelves, also from Country Living, look lovely, and the metal boxes keep things neat.

Kitchen Storage: Open it up

3. Pretty pegboard. Pegboard might not be a new idea, but it’s still a pretty good one. You can paint it any colour, and use as much or as little as you like. Go for a small square on the wall, a larger piece covering the back of a door, even a whole wall. This lovely teal board comes from Australian mag Inside Out, via Apartment Therapy.

Kitchen Storage: Pretty pegboard

4. Through the cupboard door. The slim space just inside a cupboard or pantry door can be a great find. Think of a magnetic strip for knives, a hook for spare tea towels, or a slim custom-built spice rack. In this image from Martha Stewart, pot lids are held up with towel racks.

Kitchen Storage: Through the cupboard door

5. Frame it. Got something pretty to show off? A storage frame, like this one I found via Living etc, is fantastic for showing off cups and smaller items. This is from Heal’s, but I bet an old frame, some plywood and a lick of paint would make a great DIY version, too.

Kitchen Storage: Frame it

6. Roll with it. A butcher block, trolly or other small unit on wheels can make a great occasional storage and work space. Choose something that fits in with your decor, and then simply roll it where and when you need it. Bonus points if there are shelves underneath, like in this example from Apartment Therapy.

Kitchen Storage: Roll with it

7. Hanging out. Simply looking up can reveal several unexplored storage options. The classic over-island pot rack is a good example, but even mounting a single hanging rail can keep utensils out of the way and free up your countertop. The space under cupboards works well, as does a patch of bare wall, like in this kitchen from Marie Claire Maison.

Kitchen Storage: Hanging out

8. Up, up and away. In some kitchens the cabinets go right up to the ceiling, but in others, there’s a bit of headspace. Make that work for you by tucking rarely-used but attractive (or simply decorative) items out of the way, as in this room from Domino (RIP) which I found at Little Green Notebook. Just make sure you’ve got a sturdy chair or stepladder at the ready, if and when you need to get them down again.

Kitchen Storage: Up, up and away

9. Under covers. We don’t often see tablecloths in a kitchen anymore, but consider this: a floor-sweeping fabric can hid a multitude of sins- er, stuff. Choose a beautiful colour or print, as in this photo from Canadian House & Home, and it’ll add a whiff of French country glamour, too.

Kitchen Storage: Under covers

10. Skirting the issue. Similar to the last tip, I’ve got a total weakness for skirted work tops and tables. It doesn’t matter how messy the junk behind is- if you can hide it with a pretty fabric, who cares?! I like the skirted corner in this room from Marie Claire Maison.

Kitchen Storage: Skirting the issue

Have you got any kitchen storage tips you’d like to share?

Posted in Ideas, Inspiration, Kitchens on February 11th, 2010 by Ele | 14 comments
Tags: decor, design, Ideas, Kitchens, practical, small space, storage

Cool Kitchen: Pretty and Practical
Today’s kitchen is actually that of a well-known design blogger, the talented Anna of Door Sixteen. Anna has been blogging about the restoration of her Newburgh, NY house since 2007, and her house was featured in an Apartment Therapy House Tour in February 2008 (where these pics are from).

Pretty and Practical

Pretty and Practical

I like this space primarily for one reason: it’s a great example of how to have a pretty and practical kitchen on a budget. Not including appliances, the budget for this space was approximately $1000, which isn’t bad considering how great it turned out. I like the freestanding units and how well they co-ordinate with the appliances; the result is a look that’s modest, considered, and somewhat industrial in feel.

Pretty and Practical
Pretty and Practical

The open shelving turns Anna’s everyday plates, bowls and cups into display items, which is a great idea for those of us with limited cupboard space. Other than a great print over the stove and a simple floral tea towel, there’s minimal “fuss” in this space. A well-edited collection of useful items (it helps to have a consistent “pop” colour; in this case red) is all this space needs for maximum visual impact.

Be sure to check out Anna’s inspiring blog, as well as the tour of her home at Apartment Therapy.

Posted in Kitchens on February 9th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: black, blog, budget, cool kitchen, door 16, practical, stainless steel

The tiled wall: two looks
One current trend I particularly love for kitchens is the tiled wall. Not a tiled backsplash, not a recessed nook, but a whole tiled wall. Depending on the tile you choose, the look can be bold and impactful or subtle.

These decorative tiles make for an elegant and retro take on the trend, via Apartment Therapy:

The tiled wall: two looks

For an austere and timeless look, white subway tiles were used in this kitchen from Living etc:

The tiled wall: two looks

Which do you prefer?

Posted in Kitchens, Trends on February 4th, 2010 by Ele | 3 comments
Tags: modern, retro, tile, wall

Cool Kitchen: The Swiss Difference
Swedish mag Skona Hem has some pretty cool kitchens on their site right now, and this lovely one particularly stood out to me. Now, I know what you’re all thinking-that I’m getting tiresomely predictable. Ooooh, Ele- it’s white with wood countertops and stainless appliances! Whatever will you throw our way next? But hear me out- this space has a few subtle differences that keep it from being just another white kitchen.


The first thing I noticed was those chairs- we get so used to seeing an old, worn wooden table surrounded by modern chairs, so this simple inversion of the formula looks fresh. You’ll notice that the wood is the exact shade used on the countertops, an old decorator’s trick for mixing styles while keeping things consistent.

The Swiss Difference

A standing unit, whether antique or modern, means that open storage isn’t so open, and helps add character to the room. I think the black really makes the white dishes pop, don’t you think?

The Swiss Difference

I think my favourite feature is the tiled wall. Regular square tiles are arranged like subway tiles for a look that’s one part modern and one part classic.

Ok, I told you they were subtle differences.

Posted in Kitchens on February 2nd, 2010 by Ele | 3 comments
Tags: antique, chair, contrast, cool kitchen, Skona Hem, white, wood

Look! Ekocook
Longtime readers will know that my favourite er, not so practical kitchen ideas tend to come from Dezeen. This UK-based online mag covers the architecture, art and design worlds, so their content is an inspiring mix of practical, playful, and plain weird. I’m always on the lookout for kitchen- and food-related items, which pop up from time to time and tend to be pretty cool.


Take this conceptual kitchen, designed to recycle waste as close as possible to where it’s produced. Called Ekocook, it’s been dreamed up by Victor Massip and Laurent Lebot of Faltazi. As well as the usual things you’d expect to find in a kitchen, Ekocook includes an under-sink reservoir for collecting reusable water, a collection of super-organized recycling bins, pendant lights which double as herb pots and even a container of earthworms to turn food waste into compost.


I’m all for reducing waste and recycling more, but even I can’t imagine keeping worms in my kitchen. What do you think?

Posted in Ideas, Kitchens, Products on January 27th, 2010 by Ele | 1 comment so far
Tags: Dezeen, eco, kitchen, waste

Cool Kitchen: Bright in Brighton
I was checking out the new sneak peeks on Design*Sponge yesterday when this bright and quirky space jumped out at me. It’s the Brighton, UK home of illustrator Sanna Annuka and her husband, artist/designer Jasper Goodall. While the whole house is packed with personality, it was the kitchen, with its cheerful café furniture and collection of retro cookware, that caught my eye.

Bright in Brighton

Bright in Brighton

All the colour and pattern speak of Sanna’s work as an illustrator, as well as her Finnish heritage. I love the open shelving by the seating area, perfect for displaying all those fun pieces. Still, it’s hardly cutesy; the exposed beam and professional stainless equipment give the space a serious industrial qualityl. All in, I think this place has a wonderful European vibe that’s fun, laid-back and practical, too.

Be sure to check out the rest of this fab home, too.

Posted in Kitchens on January 26th, 2010 by Ele | 1 comment so far
Tags: Brighton, colour, finland, pattern, quirky, retro

Cool Kitchen: Light, Bright, Feminine
This beautiful and decidedly feminine space was originally posted on The Kitchn as a Before/After at the start of December. Ashley Ann’s Light and Lovely Remodel grabbed my attention immediately with its bright white cabinets, butcherblock counters and pale blue walls.

Light, Bright and Feminine

Light, Bright and Feminine

Light, Bright and Feminine

Light, Bright and Feminine

Light, Bright and Feminine

But what really makes this space is the details- an art collection on the wall, a creative backsplash made from yardsticks, piles of flowery dishcloths and a collection of vintage globes atop the cabinets. The overall effect is perfection: calming, quirky and completely unique.

Posted in Kitchens on January 5th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: Art, cool kitchen, feminine, light, quirky