Celebrating My Life of Living Well. Domestic and Otherwise.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Kitchen , My Vision

As I have mentioned , we are in the process of building a new home and we have about eight weeks to go until we need to vacate our current premises- so this is crunch time !
Many friends have been asking me to post pictures of of our house at its current stage. I have hesitated because I felt that if they saw it, they would not see past the chaos and mayhem that is characteristic of a work in progress. Without a clear vision of what we are trying to create, it's very hard to see beyond the dust and dirt, the unpainted walls and unfinished carpentry. Any pictures posted of the house up until this point would have utterly disappointed and underwhelmed. However, I think we have reached the stage wherein if given enough explanation and detailed description, one could easily visualize what we are trying to achieve.

Of the rooms in the house, the kitchen has been my baby since the moment we broke ground so I think this should be a fun place to start our tour. This room will ultimately define how we live and its design will be reflective of the mood of our home. But before I show you the actual pictures of the house, let me share with you the images that have inspired us.

This photo above is a kitchen by one of my favourite interior designers Ilse Crawford .The grey cabinets, the polished white marble countertops and back splash, the gold hardware,(the wheel of what appears to be parmigiano reggiano!)= pure perfection in my book. It achieves that delicate balance of traditional and modern. It remains elegant and refined while still being cozy and inviting. Although our interpretation of this design is not literal, the ambience that we wish to recreate is exact. Old world glam with modern nuances.

My search for the "ultimate "kitchen began as most searches often do, on the internet. I googled, took notes, landed on one site after another. I googled again.I chanced upon a website of Christopher Peacock , who at the time was an exclusive and predominantly east coast based kitchen cabinetry firm. Since then , his fame has reached international proportions, a buyout and then a buy back not withstanding .

Like many who had discovered his work before me, I fell in love.

Willow Decor chronicles her quest to discover and decipher everything Christopher Peacock, here, here, here and even here. Lucky for me and anyone else out there who is desperate to recreate a similar kitchen,this comprehensive and well thought out primer was an essential tool that I referred to over and over again.

Why the obsession you may ask? Well to begin with, the level of his craftsmanship is sublime. In a time where we can find some of the finest prefabricated kitchens, Christopher Peacock's work reminds us to appreciate the art of things that are handmade and custom , crafted by talented artists . His look is what I call artisanal yet organically modern.

Another influence that helped us shape the overall design direction for our kitchen, was The Beaux Arts collection by Siematic, I really love how they incorporated stainless steel in the cabinetry. Usually we see this material only introduced in more traditional kitchens by way of heavy appliances. Utilizing the stainless steel in a matte finish for drawers as seen in the kitchen below was pivotal in turning an otherwise country looking kitchen into something with a more urban and contemporary feel.

We contemplated purchasing this kitchen in its entirety, however, my heart was really set on something characteristic of a truly bespoke kitchen. So the search continued.

Of course any pursuit for the ultimate kitchen would have to include some research on those of the woman who practically coined the phrase, domestic goddess, Martha Stewart.

Above is Martha's main kitchen at her former residence, Turkey Hill in Westport , Connecticut. I think I prefer it to her new one at Cantitoe in Katonah, New York. shown here. And I'm sure you all notice the resemblance to Ilse Crawford's picture of perfection at the beginning of this post. Does anything say "gourmet kitchen" more than a row of hanging copper pots?

Another image below, this time from the set at the Martha Show, I love the clean lines of the drawer and cabinet faces, very traditional yet updated and fresh. Again , the copper pots to authenticate the look!

After reviewing these photos and hundreds more I didn't include in this post, I started to define the detail for our kitchen. First, I knew that the cabinets and drawer faces must were to be hand made and hand painted, not prefabricated.

Next they had to have very clean lines with minimum ornamentation like the ones below, again from Christopher Peacock.

Hardware would also be updated classic pulls in brushed nickel. And wherever possible, I would want to have solid wood drawers on state of the art gliders with the soft close feature.

Then came the decision of color. For a very long time I thought my kitchen would be white. I adore white kitchens, and black kitchens for that matter. But in the end, I decided on neither of the two. I followed in the footsteps of Ilse and Martha.

Our cabinets will be painted in the subtle neutral shade , Worldly Gray by Sherwin Williams, similar but not exact to the cabinets above.

We also decided to introduce stainless steel into the mix by way of a row of drawers and the appliances to impact our traditionally designed kitchen. The photo below is just breathtaking, love it!

A farmhouse kitchen sink would be essential in the organically modern design we craved, as would an updated classic for the faucet

Oh and polished white italian marble was one of my uncompromising positions despite protests and advice against it. In fact, I wrapped my entire kitchen with it!

After all those decisions, I was still desperate to use black after reviewing numerous photos of some of the most glamourous kitchens . And through a stroke of genius by my brilliant decorator, we finally decided to incorporate the color into my butler's pantry. The result of the black cabinetry against the white marble countertop and back splash is something so sophisticated, classic yet edgy .

Afterall, I needed a black background somewhere , because like Kelly Wearstler, I always wear a gown to put away my limoges!

A few more photos.

It appears Gwyneth is a fan of black too. Below her kitchen in the Hamptons.

Another image from House Beautiful, my decor porn of choice these days.

Windsor Smith is a fan too!

So this is where we began.

Next up, where we are now!


  1. Great article and photos
    I strongly believe kitchens are the new living rooms, at least interms of the time and money we invest in them. It is now the statement room we show off to visitors - and the one that clinches a house sale. The living room has been overtaken by the TV, so there is only one room left for people to congregate in, and that,s the kitchen (good luck on your search)

  2. Lovely! I'm liking farmhouse kitchen sinks too now. And I love the chandelier in the kitchen. Looking fwd to your finished kitchen. - Rina

  3. amadi_ construction, thank you for your kind words. I do agree with your views regarding te kitchen being the new living and entertaining space. I think the rise in popularity of THe Food Network and alike have also contributed to this. More people nowadays cook as recreation and are more willing to spend on the space where they play!

    ISQ- can't wait to ear your plans for your new kitchen as well!

  4. dOES anyone know the exact color of Gwyneth's kitchen cabinets?