Kitchen Disguised As...

Over the last couple of decades, we've seen kitchens become the clear winner of the Best All-Around Room award. Home construction and remodelings have functioned on the basis of knowledge that families desire, nay, require the kitchen to be large, open, and often a part of the grander family spaces.

More recently, key design elements of the kitchen have also adopted a less traditional stance. For example, we've seen the move to more open shelves and free-standing storage in lieu of blocks of installed cabinetry. Fixtures and hardware have become seminal design decisions too, as they play key roles in providing beautiful form, not merely function to a great kitchen. (A mere five years ago, I discussed the placement of recessed lights during our kitchen redo, but never gave a moment's thought to amazing pendant lights!)

There's more, though...smaller touches being used to blur the lines between kitchen and "other room?" I'm seeing fine rugs, mirrors, art and graceful chandeliers. It makes me think that perhaps homeowners want their kitchens to feel like so many other rooms they either don't have, or wish they could spend more time in.

The rugs and window treatments in this eat-in kitchen make it feel more like a family room.

Rolling ladder, vintage brass fixture over the island, and a perfect little reading spot? Clearly a nod to the library.

The combination of the metal bistro chairs, open shelves lined with simple glass jars, and classic barn lights makes me think this person would like to spend more time in their potting shed.

I love this kitchen. I'd venture to guess they either own a bistro, or would like to. Look at the classic elements: bar-like brass railing, a cozy banquette with a giant mirror overhanging. Not to mention that great collection of whiteware displayed. Chances are, they've also been to Paris!

Pendant lights over islands have taken on a design life of their own, but these polished nickel beauties make such an elegant statement. You'd usually see something like this relegated to a formal dining room, but why? If the average family's lifestyle resonates, then this pair of pretties will provide much more visual enjoyment in a more-used place.

These three kitchens are great examples of bringing mirrors and art into the kitchen. I rarely cast doubt on the use of mirrors anywhere, and having one reflect an already-enjoyable space is simply spectacular!

The much-blogged about kitchen by Richard Norris and Mark Leslie, that incorporated an antique French mirror above the stove. The designers had the specific intent of making the kitchen look more like a formal dining room.

They continued the vision with a grid of artwork around the sink area - a clever replacement for a window, I feel.Another take on a large scale mirror in the kitchen

And a more intimate mirror/art combo

If you feel your kitchen is less-than-ideal, consider bringing in items not traditionally placed in a cooking space. Surrounding yourself with items you treasure should be a house-wide endeavor. Happy Rearranging!!
Photos: Barbara Westbrook, Katie Ridder, source unknown, source unknown, Tim Clarke, Norris & Leslie, HB