Category Archives: kitchens

tips for a functional kitchen

When designing a kitchen, good space planning and a functional layout are imperative.  Of course, aesthetics should always be top of mind but next is functionality.  For those who know me, you know that I am a practical person and I really appreciate functional things.  So kitchens really pique my interest.

Today I had the pleasure of spending 6 hours in a kitchen showroom.  I know – this may sound like a nightmare to some – but I enjoyed every second of it.  What’s not to love about surrounding yourself with gorgeous kitchens, whether they be modern, traditional, or transitional?  When you are looking at fine craftsmanship and beautiful and functional layouts, it is easy to imagine yourself working in such a kitchen.

The kitchen above is a prime example of an aesthetically pleasing and functional L-shaped kitchen. And although there are many lovely facets of this space, what I really want to show you is how they dealt with the corner because it really demonstrates how a potentially awkward corner can be made oh-so-functional if the kitchen is well designed:

Exhibit A (above) – Initial thoughts: upper cabinets extend vertically right down to counter and horizontally to the far wall.  There are two doors….hmmm….hello door in face.  And below the counter it looks like we have a great big corner cupboard. Sigh.

But wait! There is hope:

Exhibit B (above) – a bi-fold door disguised as two regular cupboards!  Now you can easily reach all the way in to access dinnerware and you don’t get smacked in the face. Ingenious.

Exhibit C (above) – Le Mans trays which allow you to easily access and use that corner space effectively. Solutions like this make me happy!

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with more details on how you can make a kitchen more functional. I’ll keep those tidbits to myself and my future fabulous kitchen (or yours, if you want me to help design it).

If you are here just to see pretty things, let me suggest you take a look at the Paris Kitchens website (the lovely establishment I visited today), visit my ‘kitchens to covet‘ over on Pinterest, or check out some of these older posts:


(images: d.simpson @ Paris Kitchens)

kitchen banquettes

Today I am launching a ‘series’ if you will. From time to time, I plan on sharing inspirational images I’ve pulled together for a large project I’m working on.  My clients are at the beginning stages of having a new home built, so we are slowly working through many decision points such as: location of lighting, choosing tiles, planning furniture placement, options for laundry rooms, etc.

One of the decisions my clients recently had to make was whether or not to have banquette seating in their eat-in kitchen.  They were a little unsure but I said yes, yes, yes!


Banquette seating in a kitchen has a certain charm. Reminiscent of eating in a restaurant (and who doesn’t love eating out?), a banquette can create a cozy, homey atmosphere, great for a family.  An upholstered bench, a removable cushion, or a padded back panel are just some of the banquette options that can be combined with matching chairs, contrasting chairs, or an eclectic mix. Depending on the amount of space you have, you could go with a round table, square table, or rectangular table.  And if you are short on storage space in your home, you can take advantage of the under-seat space.

This next one has been a favourite for some time (though not really representative of my clients’ style – but I thought I’d throw it in anyway!) One of my favourite blogs to follow is Amber Interiorsher sense of style is  totally eclectic, global, and filled with colour and pattern. This is her kitchen banquette:

You can check out more of her home in the recent issue of High Gloss Magazine.

Do you have a banquette? Would you recommend?

(images: 1-southern living, 2- michael wells, 3-lonny, 4-canadian house & home, 5-houzz, 6- amber interiors, )

[room of the week] soho loft

This post started out as a [room of the week] feature, but after I saw a few more photographs of this reclaimed industrial loft, I couldn’t decide which one to show you.  From the pages of Elle Decor….

Isn’t it gorgeous?!



(images: photography by William Waldron, November 2010 Elle Decor)

[room of the week] the ultimate kitchen

I fell in love today. Head over heels in love with this: the ultimate kitchen. This divine creation combines my two obsessions -white cabinetry and exposed brick.  H-e-l-l-o.

The cabinetry is very modern but the scuffed wide plank floor, industrial stools, and chalky brick really tone it down. And if you didn’t examine it closely already, take a look at that gorgeous chandelier!

This is definitely my favourite kitchen to date, but if you need more of a kitchen fix you can look at my previous kitchen round-ups here and here.

(image: house to home via the fabulous design file)

more white kitchen inspiration

I continuously save inspirational photos of kitchens I love.  And usually, those are white kitchens.  You may recall from my last kitchen post, I am enamored with the clean and classic look of the white kitchen.  Today I am sharing a few of my recent finds which are mostly white but there are a few new elements thrown in.  Take a look!

Absolutely love the white on white. Understated but elegant chandelier. Contrasting wooden stools.


This looks like a comfortable family kitchen. I especially love the modern lines of the island to contrast the traditional white cabinetry.  I’m not sold on the cream back splash and paint, I would prefer to see white subway tile or marble.


Simple but lovely pendants over the island.  Amazing dark floors to ground the space (what is that wood?!).  Love that marble back splash.


This back splash uses marble tiles. Less $$ than the solid sheets but just as much style.  The lower cabinetry is looking good in grey.


And finally, moving away from all white I had to include Tommy Smythe’s kitchen. The black lowers and trim are working for me.  I usually gravitate towards wood flooring but this herringbone tile looks fantastic in this kitchen.

(images: 1-julian wass, 2-buttrick wong , 3&4-style at home , 5- tommy smythe on Facebook )

[homework] top trends of 2011 – the new country

It’s time for installment #3 of my take on Canadian House & Home‘s top trends of 2011. This week I am looking at the “New Country”. Gone are the red accents, borders, and kitschy prints. The new look is sleek and artisanal; country kitchens for the modern world. Think clean simple lines, whitewashed colour palette,  organic textures, hand-hewn tables,  and industrial appliances.

(images: 1-lonny mag, 2-the selby, 3-house of turquoise)

Here is my take on the look….


You can read my first two posts on the Top Trends of 2011 here:  the new modern and the new vintage.


elements for the perfect white kitchen

White kitchens – they get me every time.  My ideal kitchen would be a mix of contemporary and traditional elements to create a bright, airy, casual, and inviting atmosphere. To achieve this I would include a combination of: white cabinetry, carrera marble or white subway tile back splash, hardwood floors, large functional island with pull-up seating, and industrial or bare bulb pendants.

Here is a sampling of kitchens I am drawn to….

Love the contrasting espresso trim and height of the upper cabinetry. Beautiful glass pendants. However I find the chairs a little too matchy-matchy with the rest of the room. I’d like to see something a bit more casual, such as these ones below.

Crisp, clean, classic back splash. Amazing floors. Great mix of traditional, contemporary, and rustic.

Love the huge range cover with shelf.  But I am wondering about those chairs – do the homeowners have toothpicks for thighs?

Great industrial pendants. The dark counter tops add some weight to balance that huge centre island. Love all the natural wood.

Perhaps a bit too country for my taste, but I do like the ceiling and cabinetry.

Definitely a feminine kitchen. The soft wallpaper is a nice alternative to white walls.  I like the upper display cabinets.

More modern than the others but the carrera marble back splash adds texture and depth to the otherwise sleek look.  The bare bulb pendants add warmth and style.

Another great mix of styles – modern cabinets, rustic floors, traditional lighting, contemporary furniture.

And I just had to include this teeny tiny white kitchen. Apparently size doesn’t limit style and function!

(images: 1-6 decor pad, 7 the marion house book, 8 skonahem, 9 pure kitchen)