Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kitchens: What's In-What's Out

What do you like and love about your kitchen? And what would change? My latest articles for the San Francisco Chronicle look at three Small City Kitchens remodeled on a budget and What's In What's Out for kitchens (long story short; whatever transforms the kitchen into a living room).

City Kitchen Makeovers:

Want the romance of times past but not the workload of a scullery maid? A Noe Valley family transformed their 1885 cottage turned "DIY 1970's nightmare" into  a place to dance, brew and cook with the help of designer-cousin Chad de Witt.  Cost of cabinetry: $1,500

White workspace in Clubland: Award-winning food photographer Deborah Jones turned to her friend architect Nilus de Matran to magic a galley kitchen into a space that would accommodate up to 12 people working on a shoot. Cost of kitchen: $25,000


Happily Ever After: Nik Divakaruni wanted to spruce up the "cave-like" kitchen in his Pac Heights apartment before he asked his girlfriend to move in.  Designer Rachel Seldin came in $600 under budget... Cost of kitchen including design fees, new flooring for the entire apartment and living room lighting: $31,00. The couple are getting married this month! 


What's In What's Out.

Informal poll of SF design experts

1. The Kitchen is a Living Room: Put all your living room art in there (Madonna famously kept her Picasso in her basement kitchen in London). Minimise upper cabinetry to promote that exhale factor.

2. Surprise! Watch the video to see the sneaky colour emerge in this seemingly monochromatic Marin kitchen by architect Nilus de Matran

3. Clear the Decks! Get all your appliances and bits of bobs off the counter with Appliance Walls and Appliance Garages (hidey places with pull-down doors for toasters, microwaves, mixers and other crap.) Gliding drawers for everything (stuff gets lost in cupboards) including plates.

4. Gatherer's Kitchen: Doesn't have to pretend to be a cooks' kitchen with big altar-like gas burners and mutiple squirty hoses. Which leads to...

5. Re-think the Triangle: The Triangle has been around since Roman times but became a firm rule in the 1950's when the housewife was invariably in the kitchen by herself. Now with loads of people in the kitchen, you can station fridges and pantries at the sides  - or whatever you like - to keep the kids-guests mess out.

Do you agree? What would you add to the list?


51 comments:

  1. I do like the look of the last one
    But don't want to pay a ton
    Plus i can't cook
    So I'll just look

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    1. You can do the gatherers' kitchen
      One microwave, no bitchin' no fixin'

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  2. I am ready to redo my kitchen but will likely only replace the countertops (currently granite) and cabinet fronts (currently all glass). My appliances are great, I have plenty of space, and the flow works for me. I suppose I'm fairly traditional in a kitchen sense.

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  3. I think the kitchen as living room only works if you don't really cook. As someone who cooks a lot I hate people seeing the mess I make and I actually don't like them to help me in the process. Wow, I sound anti social. I do however, enjoy sittting down to the meal with them!

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  4. I DO NOT like open concept everything. Seriously. If I wanted my bedroom to smell like dinner I'd eat in there. :) Our house hunt has been seriously hampered by my need for the kitchen to be it's own room. And I'm tired of granite and stainless steel. There, I said it. But I do love white and concrete and art in the kitchen. LOVE.

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    1. I just read about a kitchen in New Zealand which was completely closed off (quite a scandal there where everything is open plan). They had the same feelings about it as you

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    2. When we first moved to New Zealand we struggled to find a house where everything wasn't open plan. As an English gal I love cubby holes and nooks and crannies and each room having it's seperate job. Having lived here for 6 years now and having had children for a couple more, I think the answer is to rent somewhere suitable for right now then move when it doesn't suit. For example, when my children were little, I wanted everything in one room so I could monitor them and cook at the same time. These days I like somewhere with separate eating spaces so I can't see the mess the little beggars make, much less hear their dinner conversation with their friends whilst I'm eating crisps with my mates in the other room.

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    3. Jenny - too right! I was just talking about a couple of your points the other day. Europeans are fine with renting all their lives, same in London but here in the US many want to buy asap, sometimes even before they move towns. When kids are small they want to be close to you like puppies. Now the kids are teens I'm so glad they have the rec room (former garage) which we-they can close the door on!

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  5. I'm live in hope the over 'thunk' kitchen goes out of fashion. I have a super designer kitchen in my rented apartment but all those pretty,shiny surfaces just illuminate my coffee mug footprints and when it is clean it doesn't inspire me took cook or invite friends over; it inspires me to seal it off with crime scene tape and eat out. Give me lino, laminate and the carefree feel of the 70's and I might whip out the jatz and maggi instant soup dip and use the thing.

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    1. Thanks for popping by! We have new-style laminate drawers and they are (California) dreamin' and easy clean

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  6. So you are already ahead of the curve Jody..isn't your kitchen smooth and all hidden and non triangular? you style queen you!

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    1. Oops busted! yes my husband just pointed out this post is very self serving as out of the all the pages of interviews about in and outs I seem to have described my own kitchen as "In"...

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  7. I have a microscopic kitchen (3m²) so I'm lacking in space, but I also don't walk much to put things away or get things out. It doesn't match either (being rented, I added a bit) so I can cook what I like and clean or messy, it looks a mess.
    I agree about having a separate closed off space for the kitchen. I've had both and it's better to be able to contain the smells, and also have a room you can have private conversations in (while doing something useful like cooking dinner). We don't always want to be convivial and social and expose our mistakes...

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  8. I would change my whole kitchen, haha. I hate it. The cupboards are the ones that were there when we moved in and I hate the wood colour and they didn't even both to put them up all in the same direction - which always drives me mad, haha. So, I would tear it all down and start again. Smoother counter tops for cleaning. My house is mostly vintage everywhere, but I wouldn't mind a modern kind of kitchen with all the gadgets and space to make cooking easier!! But, its ok, I plan to move, so a great kitchen will be on my list of wants :)) xx

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  9. We're renting a house that has one of those all stainless steel kitchens that looks like it should be in a restaurant. Personally I prefer something a bit more rustic and warmer-feeling. (Plus, it's all a bit form over function - eg. a stainless steel Smeg dishwasher that is a bastard to stack) .I love the kitchen as living room concept - so great to be able to cook and prepare food in the room where the kids are hanging out and doing their homework.

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    1. Laughed over the bastard-stacking dishwasher. Breaking Bad in the kitchen there. We made a mistake of buying fancy dancy foreign muck dishwasher (said with Ena Sharples accent) and I am on first name terms with the repair man and putting his kids through college. It's Asko - It does not drain and cannot operate without you cleaning the dishes thoroughly first

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    2. Speaking of Asko, I had a washer from them that worked well for a long time. But when it finally broke down, I went for the Miele. There is no better washer or dishwasher IMO. My dishwasher lasted for 15 years and it was still going strong when I moved from that house.

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    3. Good to know just in case we have to give up the ghost on this one. Though I think these dishwasher makers should hire Cy to ensure their products can withstand the Cy test of stacking

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  10. Our kitchen is tiny, so I would like to extend it a bit - it is always so crowded. We did our own "interim" reno about 8 years ago, waiting for the real thing - but there is no chance for that for awhile, since I seem to like things that cost way too much!!! What I Would really love a walk in pantry with a sink, but that is for another house! I like the top kitchen best. Modern would not go with me or my house. I need that ladder! I am so short!

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    1. Big Hollywood kitchen when your book gets published WMM!

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    2. WMM - me to, I can't even reach the top cupboards without dragging a chair across the floor!

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  11. One thing designers sometimes contradict themselves in is that they equally want clutter less space so no shelves on the top but they don't want mixers and kitchen paraphrenalia on the counters. So where are they meant to go? Sometimes they see design in terms of being photographed for a magazine or an article instead of real life. Yes some of those tips are great if you live in a kitchen that is a 1000 sq ft but in London my whole house is practically that size...but I do think a kitchen is so used that putting your favourite piece of art there is a great idea!

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    1. I don't, it would get terribly greasy unless you don't actually do any cooking. Just think of the state of the top of the cupboards...

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    2. I don't cook (assemblage only) or bake so everything is in pantry. Love having our microwave hidden too and toaster. (My mother actually has her toaster in a drawer) But I know cooks do like them at hand and many of them are so swanky panky sexy looking now

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  12. we just put in an "appliance garage." i like it okay....i keep losing the opener....

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  13. I don't mind, just so long as there's room for my Smeg.
    Sx

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    1. We had a powder blue one of those in London and it was so pretty!

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  14. Interesting thoughts on what's in for kitchens. I do like the idea of getting all the bits and bobs out of sight. Our kitchen is open into the great room which makes it a hub and part of the dance party every time. Loved your look in the last post by the way-gorg!!
    xx, Heather

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    1. Love the sounds of that open to the dance floor look!

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  15. One expert also said "Done" was hanging pots, unless you want to spend loads of time scrubbing and polishing them...

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  16. The best bits in our newish kitchen are the drawers for plates and pans, the induction hob and the oven doors which slide under the oven itself (amuses me greatly). The size of our kitchen was the big attraction when we bought our house 18 years ago - still love it and we all spend so much time in it.

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  17. I love our induction hob too. Also I will keep saying 'Hob" all day now, so much more fun that stovetop

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  18. Can't cook, don't want to learn, don't entertain but love kitchens, mine is a cheap 70's makeover of an 1870's kitchen that has never been touched since but I just can't justify spending money on a new kitchen.
    I do love pinning kitchens though, it's an odd love of mine.

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    1. I've seen some great Thai-rubbed roast chook on your blog - or am I dreaming?

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  19. When all you have is fish, berries, nuts and hunny, you don't need an elaborate kitchen. (You can trust me on this; Bears are simple eaters.)

    Those places are intriguing, and expensive. Which one have you chosen for your place?

    Blessings and Bar hugs!

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    1. We just made porridge and runny hunny everywhere

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  20. My favourite topic!! My pet hate is kitchen clutter, as it always gets covered in a thin film of grease and dirt. I've never understood a certain (mid west?) American style where you theme a kitchen and decorate it around the theme... Italian for instance with bunches of fake grapes and ivy on the top of your overhead cupboards etc etc.
    Agree with you about pantry and fridge out of the way of the main traffic routes... this was a big consideration when I designed my kitchen - we'll see if it works as planned hopefully soon! xx

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    1. Yes, a lot of designers also said they disliked the vine leaf, buncha grapes Italian all over theme plus fake paint peeling overly Frenchy French

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  21. A large table so pals can sit and have a drink and not get in the way
    However MTL took a lot of trouble deciding on the size of table, chairs etc not allowing for the family members who like to lounge back in their chairs and take up twice the space which inhibits my running around with refills etc. The smart ones learn to sit up straight:)

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  22. Always fun to look at kitchen renos! I am about to change out the counter, tile and cabinets but unfortunately can't change the configuration. Guess that will have to be my next house :)

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  23. I love the first renovation. The blue cabinets are so striking but still has a homey feel to it.

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  24. I hate kitchen clutter and love to have clear work surfaces. I agree about things getting lost in cupboards (all those impulse buy gadgets that I can't resist but then use once!) The best thing we did with our new kitchen was to have huge pull out drawers where you can see everything at a glance! Love before and after pics of renovations.

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    1. Soon after getting here I banned myself from Big Box stores because of all the amounts of gagetry we collected. Now we don't even have a coffee maker

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  25. Good post, I'm in the process of planning a fitting style of kitchen for that Gothic folly I'm building...lots of thought required for the aesthetics and its functionality.

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    1. Can't wait to see what you come up with, Gargoyles are a must

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  26. We just re-did ours in the UK, with the island, American fridge freezer and white furniture. Lovely to hear about what is in SF!

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    1. Fabuloso, esp great as you entertain the famous wavy haired chefs - lucky you!

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  27. OMG this post Is beyond AMAZING:) love your blog

    Check out my new blog post and....

    have a lovely day dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)

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  28. This is interesting. I"m terrible at decorating. Congrats on your article.

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