Monday, January 26, 2015

The White Kitchen

For those of you who were a little anxious and short of breath contemplating a black kitchen last week, here is something to calm your color nerves... the good ol' classic white kitchen!

There is something comforting about the brightness and cleanliness of a white kitchen. The absence of color lends itself to a super-modern approach:

As we have discussed in past posts, modern elements can be set off by placing them in a traditional context, as seen in the kitchen below. Remember Design Mantra #1, at right: Contrast brings interest!

But of course white looks great in a more traditional setting as well.

And if you want something with a little more kick than white but not as adventurous as black, an accent color like yellow or blue, or a natural texture like brick or wood goes a long way to adding some interest and life to a space.

This kitchen below has always fascinated me. I love how it feels more like a lounge or living room than a kitchen...a fact that is helped by the presence of a few beautiful table lamps!

Whether black, white, or in between on the color spectrum, there are wondrous kitchens out there, waiting to be born. Perhaps one is in your house this very moment. Give me a call...

Happy designing!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Black Kitchen

It seems like an unlikely color for a kitchen, but black can add a sense of sleek glamour or, surprisingly, a sense of traditional history. I know the idea of a black kitchen may make you a tad nervous, but bear with me as we journey through the following spaces...

Black seems an easy choice for modern or minimalist kitchens. The flush black cabinetry in the photos below seem to be part of a sci-fi film. But in the third photo, the infusion of black comes from the shiny black penny round tiles on the wall and the fantastic black granite island and counter tops.

This ├╝ber-glamorous, metropolitan kitchen by Miles Redd makes every culinary moment there a black-tie event.

Black plays well in more traditional kitchens too!

This black kitchen by Elizabeth Roberts, below, is not entirely black thanks to the play of warm wood tones and aged brick. In this context, the sense of New England history is present in this four-square house with the whimsical addition of a canoe frame suspended from the ceiling.

Black can be tempered further as seen in this very traditional kitchen by Patricia Stewart who used an under-color of midnight blue or purple on the island to give the black units some extra depth.

I was fortunate enough to see Steven Miller's stunning black kitchen, named House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year for 2014, at the San Francisco Decorator's Showcase this past May (which I wrote about here). The end result, full of light, was a space of stately elegance but also, interestingly, of a sense of restraint.

If the thought of all black kitchen cabinetry makes you nervous, how about just the base units? It grounds the space and lends an air of sophistication...

And if that thought still makes you nervous, do what food celebrity Tyler Florence did in his own home and put black subway tile on a single backsplash wall. You still get a dramatic statement without committing to too much black...

Happy designing!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Zen Bathroom by Fiorito Interior Design

As I have mentioned in past posts, inspiration can come from many sources. And sometimes the inspiration for a style direction is simply to move away from what is currently there!

After my clients purchased a new home, they came to me for help with a whole-house renovation in order to get rid of the style (and a few odd, ill-conceived choices) of the previous owners. In the renovation, we knocked down some walls to add another bedroom, an office, and a laundry room to the east wing of the house, and consequently we were able to completely re-think this guest bathroom. It suffered from a very 90s tan and brown faux-"Tuscan" facelift with heavy, thick tan granite counters, heavy brown cabinetry from a big box store, and tan walls. Oh, and did I mention everything was tan and brown? With so little definition, the room felt sort of invisible... and sad.

My clients did not like the window in the bathroom which was unfortunately placed, as seen from the outside of the home, next to the front door (Ding-dong! "Just a sec," your visitors hear you yell from right next to them, while seeing your shadow on the john). And they felt that a tub was not needed in the guest bathroom. We also took the opportunity to remove the large--and I mean very large--niche in the tub which literally pushed into a closet in the room on the other side. It was a very odd sight to open the closet doors in the next room and see a big looming box extending out from the back of the closet wall, effectively rendering any hanging space in that portion unusable.

In an effort to give my clients, who lean toward minimalism, something completely different, my vision for this room was light and fresh, streamlined but organic, with a Zen influence. During construction, we removed the large tub and very awkward niche to make room for a shower and enclosed water closet. Since we lost a window, we created privacy (much welcomed by my clients) but added light with a skylight placed over the new shower as well as a wonderful trough skylight placed over the length of the vanity. And we did all this without changing the footprint of the original space.

In the images below, you can see that the floor and shower enclosure are tiled in a weathered blue-grey porcelain that looks like patinated metal. A glass mosaic strip of blue, grey green, copper and bronze was placed as an accent in the shower and in a border to create a “rug” on the floor. A double sconce with a gentle, organic curve graces the mirror and doubles the light. The warm cherry tones of the wood on the custom vanity and mirror grounds the space while the simple brushed steel of the hardware and square shape of the faucets lends a tranquil, Zen feeling. Finally, the walls were painted a very light sky blue to finish off the organic, calm feeling.

If you have a bath that lacks style or definition, do not despair: please give me a call!
Happy designing!