kitchen design


Simple answer: Absolutely!

But, does that mean always an involved, intricate design? No, it does not. In fact, in every project, the backsplash has to be evaluated..to see which direction the overall design might dictate. Often, I want to ignore the backsplash and not make it a focal point. In any case, I never want a person to come into a kitchen I have designed and say…”Wow, what a gorgeous backsplash” as the first comment they make. This might seem sort of odd, but it is not. I want the first impact be for the space as a cohesive unit, a work of art as a whole. Of course if you have a great design and tile or whatever, you want people to notice..but not as the primary element.  

So, I like to really consider the options for each design and I am known for not wanting to “finalize” it until we start to see how the entire space is coming together and speaks to us. Ok, sometimes we do have it all together like a small cottage kitchen we just completed. Julie, one of our designers, worked with the client and the backsplash selection drove the design to an extent. But, I usually prefer to let the other elements start to come together just a bit before really delving into the design aspect of the splash. The caveat to this is making sure you discuss location of switches and outlets prior to completion of electrical rough in.

Attention also must be paid to the transitions in a backsplash and the location of outlets and other “breaks” in the flow of the design. Often, I will recommend plugmold outlet strips that are installed underneath the upper cabinets to keep typical outlets out of the splash. There are pros and cons to this but my clients have indicated the plugmold is easy once you get used to it. If you typically have a coffee pot plugged in, then you might want to put a regular plug where this would be located so you do not have to have a dangling cord. However, if you have a highly stylized backsplash, it is worth considering plugmold to minimize your outlets. This is all part of evaluating the electrical plan as well as discussing options and pros/cons so you can make an informed decision. 

Stay away from side splashes of tile whenever possible…sometimes they can work but often they do not and just look out of place. 

Here are a few great splashes from our portfolio as well as from other websites that I have found. Enjoy! Please let us know what you think by commenting below!

 

 

Stone splash using multiple sizes of stone for visual interest. Small 2x2 pewter tiles added to tie into the pewter in the kitchen. The bar liner is also pewter. This is one of ours!

Stone splash using multiple sizes of stone for visual interest. Small 2×2 pewter tiles added to tie into the pewter in the kitchen. The bar liner is also pewter. This is one of ours! The stone is from Artistic Tile.

 

 

This is a back painted glass splash. We are working with Joel Berman Studios on one for a client now. This photo is from Apartment Therapy.

This is a back painted glass splash. We are working with Joel Berman Studios on one for a client now. This photo is from Apartment Therapy

 

Beadboard can be used as a splash also but consider the water intrusion. It is affordable alternative but may not last as long as tile.

Beadboard can be used as a splash also but consider the water intrusion. It is affordable alternative but may not last as long as tile. This photo is from This Old House

 

This cottage kitchen needed a kick of modern and the backsplash provided the canvas for a modern design element. The color of the glass 6x12 is a traditional color but the larger format is decidedly modern. It is offset so again, a traditional installation but the size of the glass and the small mosaic glass coupled with a mirrored (yes!! mirrored!)  bar liner adds the modern zip. This is one of our small kitchen remodel.s

This cottage kitchen needed a kick of modern and the backsplash provided the canvas for a modern design element. The color of the glass 6×12 is a traditional color but the larger format is decidedly modern. It is offset so again, a traditional installation but the size of the glass and the small mosaic glass coupled with a mirrored (yes!! mirrored!) bar liner adds the modern zip. This is one of our small kitchen remodels! The mosaic is called Vihara and the large glass is from Artistic Tile.

 

 

Love this Ann Sacks tile!

Love this Ann Sacks tile!

 

 

I am not sure where I found this photo. Has been in my "idea" folder for a while. But it is quite beautiful!

I am not sure where I found this photo. Has been in my “idea” folder for a while. But it is quite pretty although I would have not done a chrome faucet!

 

A great example of a full height granite splash that is same as contertops. I use this primarily in modern applications. But again, must assess the particular job. No right or wrong!

A great example of a full height granite splash that is same as contertops. I use this primarily in modern applications. But again, must assess the particular job. No right or wrong! This is Key West Green granite. It works very well in a contemporary setting.

 

 

This remodel was very traditional and stone was used for the backsplash. Again, even with the most mundane stone, you can design a pleasing to the eye splash!

This remodel was very traditional and stone was used for the backsplash. Again, even with the most mundane stone, you can design a pleasing to the eye splash!

 

I love this! I cannot find the blog I saw it though...help! It was called the "tileist blog" I think! Anyone know? Want to give credit!

I love this! I cannot find the blog I saw it though…help! It was called the “tileist blog” I think! Anyone know? Want to give credit!

 

In this vintage kitchen, there is not a design per se, but the limestone "sticks" provide a nice contemporary bit of contrast to the othewise traditional cottage look.

In this vintage kitchen, there is not a design per se, but the limestone "sticks" provide a nice contemporary bit of contrast to the othewise traditional cottage look.

 

 

 

 

Another great backsplash tile option from Ann Sacks!

Another great backsplash tile option from Ann Sacks!

 

Another good example of a full granite backsplash. Don't think this is boring...sometimes this is what the design needs...subtle works sometimes as well as heavy details!

Another good example of a full granite backsplash. Don’t think this is boring…often this is what the design needs…subtle and clean! ( and easy to clean as well!)

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Recently I did an interview on Bathonista website. Check it out and tell me what you think! But please, no brick throwing for my unforgiving diatribe about golden oak. Just say no to Golden Oak!! Keep your friends and family away from it! Don’t walk, run.

IF you must use oak, consider white oak or a rifted white oak as seen below in a pantry we did last year. (yes, it really is just a pantry but as big as my kitchen) Thanks goes to Paul, a fellow designer who made me chuckle tonight over one of his blogs about an oak kitchen. Read it but be warned, it is not for the feint of heart!!

Paul Anater

White rifted oak...about the only oak worth having

White rifted oak...about the only oak worth having

We used sliding doors in the pantry as the island made aisles smaller so this helped with passage space

We used sliding doors in the pantry as the island made aisles smaller so this helped with passage space

They are not all created equal! One of my favorites is the Franke Orca stainless sink. This is 18/10 and 18 gauge

stainless steel. It also will fit in a standard 36 inch sink base cabinet. I love the single bowl but have found this is most definitely

one of those “personal preferences”. I will give clients my reasoning for a single bowl and get them to at least think

it through…perhaps challenge the status quo…but ultimately it is what the individual feels most comfortable with having.

HOWEVER, there is so much more to selecting a good kitchen sink.

Remember this: buy the best you can afford if you are going to install as undermount in granite, quartz or solid surface countertops. Once you install it, you are most likely

living with it for a long time as is very difficult to change out since so many have quite unique shapes. Faucets can be

changed easily with same hole configuration but sinks cannot.

Litvak Kitchen 14

Franke Anthracite Prep Sink

Franke Anthracite Prep Sink

White kitchens are never going to fade out of view. They are crisp, clean and provide unlimited possibilities. The trick is making them look fresh and not dated. In this kitchen, note the more modern “sticks” for backsplash tile and the modern handles. These design elements add the edge to an all white beach kitchen.

Gray blue stone "sticks" are something different and edgy in this othewise traditional beach kitchen

Gray blue stone "sticks" are something different and edgy in this othewise traditional beach kitchen

Soft and Serene

Soft and Serene

Lots of pantry storage in this kitchen

Lots of pantry storage in this kitchen

Another article written for a magazine. Some good ideas to stretch the budget. The key is the creativity you bring to the table! Let me know what you think and if you have any great ideas to add.

Dreams vs Budget

Everyone wants a beautiful kitchen and bath but most of us have to save and plan for the the dream to happen. Yet, you still want to spruce up what you have now without making costly mistakes. You can do it! The key is to define the budget you have to spend and make choices that can work into tomorrow’s dream. These are creative and cost effective ways to polish up your space….Today!

  • Paint is the greatest design tool. Paint can add drama to even the most mundane cabinetry while covering up a multitude of flaws. Simply put: when the budget can’t handle new cabinetry, paint paint paint. And, do not be afraid of color!

  • If you are set on new countertops and are ok replacing them later for the “dream”, then try large scale tile set closely together with a “credit card” grout line. You can make a nice looking counter for far less than solid materials. Or, laminates are making a comeback and offer more up to date colors than in the past. Just stay away from the coved 4 inch laminate splash. This says tract home.

  • Consider investing in a new island. This can really change the function of your space as well as the look but at a lesser cost than redoing all the cabinets right now. Just make sure it can work for the future design layout as well or buy a movable one that can be relocated later to a different spot in your home.

  • New handles make a world of difference. If you have preexisting holes, then measure the center to center distance so you know what size you need. Bring that shopping with you. New handles can dress up existing cabinetry beyond your imagination.

  • Add pendant lights. They can be cost effective if you shop wisely. Add dimmers while you are it. Dimming is a great effect for any space.

  • Think accents! Some of your cabinets can be painted a different color for punch. Or take a couple of doors and add a glass panel …or a panel of metal or some other material. Be creative! Take off some doors and put v groove paneling in the back of the cabinet or just paint it a contrasting color. You can also use a wallpaper texture that can be painted for a really funky look.

  • No backsplash? Buy some cool cards that are “kitschy” and frame them. Hang them along the backsplash in a repetitive manner.

  • Shop for inexpensive decorative accessories that can “hide” your “stuff” and add visual texture to countertops while cleaning up clutter. I recently bought several baskets, mismatched platters and other cute items from local thrift shops. Cheap for now and when I need to redo, I can re-donate the items back! One Lucite little vase was a steal! Try it. It’s fun. Just go with the right attitude and look for items that can be used for different functions and in a creative way.

Interesting sites or shops:

www.apartmenttherapy.com More awesome ideas and for small spaces too

www.paintyourspace.com Can upload pix for a fee and Leslie will help you with paint colors.

A quick sneak peak of a kitchen we just finished up! It is fabulous and the client is one of the nicest we have ever worked with! Great space for a great family!peakes-place-007

Island set off by beautiful Hubbardton Forge pendants.

Island set off by beautiful Hubbardton Forge pendants.

This is another article I wrote for PNJ Home and Garden Weekly. Reprinted for those who might have missed it! Let me know your thoughts or if you agree or disagree! Comments always welcome!

Planning a kitchen design, whether a remodel or new construction can be a Herculean task filled with many more decisions than you ever thought possible. To complicate matters, people sometimes buy into myths about kitchen planning that can cost you the look or function you really desire. Here are some common misconceptions on kitchen design and planning.

The dishwasher location: Conventional wisdom says if you are right handed then it belongs on the right side of the sink. Simple,right? Wrong! It can be on either side but most people become used to it on one side or the other and that is just preference. I like to put it where it works best for the design and accessibility to storage. And while on the subject, please disregard the raised dishwasher idea that came and went as fast as platform sneakers. Raising a dishwasher sounds good in theory but think about how silly it would look and function having the counter right next to your sink raised 6 inches or so? Sort of like, hmmm, platform sneakers!

Dishwasher on the left even though client is right handed! Do what works for the layout!

Dishwasher on the left even though client is right handed! Do what works for the layout!

The trash pullout next to the sink: If you are dreaming of a well appointed kitchen, place this nifty feature high on your list of “must haves”. But, don’t be locked into placing it by the sink which is the default location of most designers and architects. Place it where you are doing the most prep work…where you need to swoosh scraps and debris. A bonus is to put it close enough for other people to access it without bothering the cook’s flow of work.

Trash pullout in island and accessible to others not getting into "main" area of the kitchen.

Trash pullout in island and accessible to others not getting into main work area of cook.

Marble counters won’t work: Yes, heavy sigh ,it is more maintenance than some other materials. So is a foreign import car. Does not keep people away from them does it? Marble has been around for centuries and is a classic choice. It is a beautiful, organic and living material than can be used in kitchens or bathrooms .Honed is best for not showing acidic etching and yes, it does need to be resealed periodically. And that is as easy as wiping down your tops after a meal. Don’t be a wimp. If you love it, use it.

Raised bar hides “the kitchen”: If you prefer a raised bar on your island over a single height island, usually this is just personal choice, although some designs work better one way or the other. Just don’t say it is because it hides anything in the sink or on the cooktop. How much can you hide behind 6 inches? Make the decision based on what works for the space not because you think you are fooling anyone into believing your dirty dishes are not really in the sink.

No need to hide this beautiful kitchen from anyone!

No need to hide this beautiful kitchen from anyone!

Break out of the work triangle: Simply, kitchens have evolved into a multi-dimensional aspect of the home. We do not live as we did in the ’50’s when the work triangle was determined to be the arbiter of all good kitchen design. Better, contemplate the ergonomics of how you move about the space. To quote my favorite designer, Johnny Grey, “The working triangle is a very limited and out of date concept”. A point to point path is good common sense but today you are better off thinking of dedicated work areas and targeted storage. Basically, what are you doing and where? And who might be in the space with you?

Flooring: The chicken and the egg debate. What goes in first? The floor or the cabinetry? Put the floor down first in almost every application. There. I said it. Let the feathers fly!. Insist on this if you want a well executed kitchen plan with no transition issues that molding has to try and cover. And, if you are in the middle of a remodel right now and you are keeping existing floors…bet you wished they were underneath your cabinets don’t you?