Ten Special Kitchen Features

kitchen with solarium and seating by Geoffrey BradfordUnique and practical ideas make better kitchens.

That’s always been a basic belief of mine and a reason I continue to save detail photos. For this kitchenista, it’s all about ideas that go click, which is the same passion that prompted me to assemble the original “Kitchens We Love” album as the basis of this blog. I’m not ideological when it comes to style. I save anything that interests me. Even if many of us aren’t turning up our doing dials right this second, it’s nice to tuck inspiration photos into a maybe-one-day file.

Kitchen Solarium

A lucky English client of designer Geoffrey Bradfield’s has a kitchen in an old house [top] with windows in back that create a solarium effect. I’ve seen many old brownstones in Chicago renovated in this same way — a favorite is shown in the Indoors-Outdoors Kitchens. Bradfield made this one cozy and open by adding easy chairs upholstered in ’60s-era shocking pink. Most people would try to wedge a dining table in there, or be more knee-jerk with wicker.

built in kitchen booth with storage drawers belowBuilt-in Booth with Storage Drawers

Built-in kitchen seating lost its appeal it ultimately became inflexible. Perhaps my fondness for built-in upholstery in kitchens stems from the red-leather booth my parents built in our very first house. I still remember the safe feeling of clambering in there next to my Mom while she listened to the radio. This cozy set up is perfect for breakfast and cleverly provides space for storage below.

low kitchen window disguised by painted shelvesDisguising a Window with Shelves

An awkwardly placed, low window can go from deficit to asset by building out a cabinet below and adding shelves to be used for display or plants. Here, traditional wood shelves with brackets ramp up the charm but a more modern treatment easily could be devised.

Victorian screen door used on a cottage-style pantryScreen-Door Pantry

A fancy screen door, with Victorian detailing, gives a walk-in pantry the proper peek-a-boo effect that feels right for a beach house or cottage-style kitchen.

china storage niche adjacent to an open kitchenChina Storage Niche

Modern, open-plan houses  now often incorporate built-ins adapted from the American Federal style. In a traditional home, this elaborately bracketed plate rack and shelf storage would likely be consigned to a corner cabinet in a dining room. Here it’s set into a modern niche (note the absence of molding) that faces the dining area as a transitional point in a large room combining two functions. It’s interesting to see the origin preserved in the historical green color. While I suspect this to be a Crown Point showroom photo, it makes a great point.

decorative bracket support for upper cabinetDecorative Upper Cabinet Bracket

Brackets beneath upper cabinets are purely decorative these days and range from elaborate to very simple. The graceful arc of this C-shape brace has a refinement that lends itself to the shade of pale blue often seen in 19th-century milk glass.

fully adjustable shelves that slide into grooves on the cabinet sidesAdjustable Open Shelves

Base cabinet storage breaks down to the hide-in vs the show-it-off camp. Hide-it people like doors while the show offs love open shelving. Count me in the second category along with Madame Martha, whose much-photographed, gray lower cabinets are built with expensive but highly desirable, horizontal zig-zag runners that allow for incremental adjustment of shelf height. This shelf adjustment style — borrowed from fine libraries – kicks the kitchen cabinet cost up a few notches.

Veritcal open storage area in base cabinets Storage Space vs. Cabinet Filler

It’s not always possible to be as clever as my friend Leena was at the end point of her base cabinets. But kitchen designers of the world should take note of the way she used this 3-inches for highly functional tray and cutting board storage instead of turning it into the usual dead space, stopped up with filler.

plug mold outlets hidden below a marble counter topConcealed Island Outlets

Designers often like to make stone counters flush with the face of the island base. In this kitchen built for a Napa Valley cooking pro Susie Heller, Carrara marble on the mammoth 12 x 5-foot island has a slight overhang that conceals plug mold all around – allowing for electrical appliances to be used anywhere and everywhere. Talk about wired. Shallow drawers, used exclusively for knife storage, are lined with cutting mats.

custom soapstone farm sink with runnels or integral drainboard grooves Soapstone Sink with Runnels

Your grandma’s drainboard might have looked just like this custom-made double-basin soapstone sink mounted underneath a matching counter. This counter has what’s called a negative reveal — which means the counter actually extends slightly over the inside edge of the sink all around. That makes the runnels, or grooves channeled into the stone angle, act like mini waterfalls when dishes are drained.

(Source: geoffreybradfield.com, crown-point.com, Met Home, The Daily Wag, gardenweb)

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6 Responses to Ten Special Kitchen Features

  1. Stacie Dahlin July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Hi there,
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your kitchen nook…..is there any way to find out how to obtain that fabric? The floral window fabric especially.
    Would truly appreciate the info,
    Love your style,

  2. Jane F @ Atticmag August 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Hi Stacie,

    So sorry to report we don’t have info on the fabric. Often we can get it but not in this case. The best I can do is suggest a look at the fabrics on this site which might be similar.

    So sorry! Jane


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