The Kitchen is the New Living Room

Kitchens are rarely quiet, impersonal rooms. They are spaces where tastes and aromas, friends and family, work and relaxation collide. The kitchen has earned its reputation as the most important room in the home because it functions as the hub of daily life. From your first cup of coffee to your midnight snack, your kitchen […]


Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before a Kitchen Remodel

You may have 100s of questions for your contractor and that’s great. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. But which questions are crucial when comparing and vetting potential contractors? How can you be sure that you are hiring someone trustworthy, transparent, committed, and capable?

Country Chic

We are delighted to share with you, one of our latest projects. A country chic kitchen which blends traditional style cabinetry, subway and marble accent backsplash,  reclaimed barn wood timbers, and top of the line appliances. These features create a timeless space that will be functional and comfortable for years to come.

In paying homage to the country style, this kitchen features an apron front sink, reclaimed barn wood, original 1″x 8″ pine flooring, jadite barn style island pendants, tongue and groove ceilings, and a salvaged school chalkboard. 
One of the showcase features of the kitchen is the unique copper range and hood.  The range is from the Blue Star Precious Metals Collection. 
There you have it, a classic updated country chic kitchen. 

Kitchen Design….. Done Right

We all know the heart of the home is the kitchen, so be sure to take these important considerations into the design of your kitchen. We spoke with Karen Soojian, principle of KSID Studio a Twin Cities based Interior Design firm to get her inside scoop on what makes a well designed kitchen.

What are the most important things to incorporate into kitchen design
How many times have you heard friends and family saying “We always end up in the kitchen.” The truth is, this is where many of us live today. In my opinion, all of the aspects of kitchen design are equally important. How can you design for one feature and not the other?

For example, you might have a functional layout but your surface selections don’t fit your needs. Your counter is beautiful but your lighting is poor. Your kitchen appears beautiful to the eyes but your cabinets don’t function well for your storage needs. Your kids do their homework in the kitchen but there is no where to plug in their devices.

In the design process each decision leads you to a different conclusion. It is like fitting all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I usually consider several layouts and may end up selecting components from each. Kitchens today are hardworking spaces that are both the social center for family interaction and entertaining.

What are the best options for countertops
When making countertop selections for the kitchen it is important to decide on a material that fits in with your lifestyle. There are so many options out there, from the familiar granite to more unusual surfaces such as concrete or copper.

I advise my clients to consider the benefits and drawbacks of the products they are considering and be truthful about how they will live with it. Combining countertop surfaces in a kitchen is commonplace now. I am currently designing a kitchen that will have three different surfaces: soapstone, live- edge wood and copper. Each area has different functions and each require different maintenance. My client loves them for their aesthetic qualities and feels comfortable they will be able to maintain them.

What are the best options for kitchen flooring
Again, it depends on what your priorities are. For comfort underfoot, I have had several clients request cork flooring lately. It is very comfortable to stand on and easy on the back. I designed a kitchen in the ASID showcase house last year and the homeowners requested cork flooring. Green initiatives were a high priority in this project. Cork flooring holds up extremely well with particularly high traffic areas.

ASID Showcase House 2012
ASID Showcase House 2012
ASID Showcase House 2012 
ASID Showcase House 2012

The 2012 ASID showcase house kitchen was part of a large scale renovation of a Victorian-era home built in 1899. As stated, green materials and principles were a high priority in the renovation. We put a modern twist of classic American style. Inspired by men’s fashion we chose a color palette of navy, white and tobacco.  The homeowner was the architect on this project, John Larsen of Design 45 and this project was photographed by Mark Ehlen of Ehlen Creative.

For durability clients prefer natural stone, concrete, porcelain or ceramic tile. For warmth and character you can’t beat reclaimed wood flooring. The more distressed they are the less wear and tear they show. Everyday wear blends right in!

How can one personalize your kitchen without committing to something permanent
Don’t forget to allow a place for artwork or photography to add personal flair in your kitchen. Carefully chosen light fixtures have an amazing impact on a kitchen both visually and functionally. Wallpaper while somewhat permanent, is once again enjoying resurgence.  Window treatments can help you define your kitchen’s personality as well.

Important factors to consider in kitchen design layout
A functional layout is key, you need to consider the working triangle. All the legs of the triangle should be approximately four to nine feet. You need to be able to work efficiently between your sink/ preparation area, stove and refrigerator. You will waste a lot of time in your kitchen preparing a meal if this classic idea is not well thought out and incorporated.

Unique features to incorporate into your kitchen design
There are too many unique cabinet details, door styles and other options that are available to even scratch the surface. An example of something unique would be incorporating different types of inserts into cabinet doors ( more interesting then just glass) such as antique mirror or copper with a beautiful patina.  You might select architectural elements such as iron brackets for shelves or carved corbels for your island.

For a sleeker look you can use back- painted glass or stainless steel on the backsplash. You can select your cabinet hardware to be the jewelry of the kitchen or opt for no hardware to reinforce a sleek design. Using unexpected patterns and colors on the floor or ceiling can make a bold statement. There are endless options!

Trends in kitchen design
A strong ongoing trend that everyone seems to follow these days is the white cabinet, white subway tile, Carrera marble trend. New trends on their way into the American market include the increased appearance of gray and greige for cabinets as well as walls. Brass faucets and light fixtures are once again becoming very popular. Designers like the contrast between the warmer metal and the gray or griege background. This is not the shiny brass of the past but a sophisticated antique brass.  Some designers are using unpolished brass that is considered a live finish because it will change over time.

Upcoming trends in European kitchen shows include the use of natural wood finishes, counter materials and added textures. Bloggers who have attended these design shows say that glazed cabinets we have seen so abundantly in the past were nowhere to be found. Also they have reported seeing a lot of glossy cabinets and color blocking with bright colors. Strong eclecticism was seen.

For appliances integration was noted. The kitchens were decidedly sleeker and more modern. I have also noted that appliance companies such as Blue Star, and  Smeg  are making customizable color features available. They are daring but really beautiful.

A huge thank you to Karen for sharing her expertise in kitchen design and trends. Check out more of her work on her website and houzz page!