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Kitchen Love

Topex cabinet hardware with Swarovski crystals

This sparkling hardware from Topex-featuring Swarovski crystal-will add brilliance to even the most timeworn cabinets.

Have you fallen out of love with your kitchen over the years? Does it now seem cramped and dull? This edition of Sensible Style, right in time for Valentine's Day, can rekindle your passion for the hardest-working space in your home. Doesn't yours deserve some new love?


Cabinet Jewelry

Dress up your cabinets with rich, elegant hardware for a completely new look. Just as the right bracelet and necklace can take a work suit from day into evening, the right knobs and pulls for your kitchen can take them from so-so to sensational. If your budget won't handle replacing all of your hardware, choose a single focal point piece — like an island or hutch — and just decorate it. To really set off its new jewelry, paint this piece a different color than the rest of your cabinets.


Eye Candy

Several of my clients over the years have hesitated to change their tired, old, kitchen tile floors because they extended all the way throughout the first floor of their homes, and they weren't ready for that level of change. For anyone who wants to add some visual impact to your kitchen without a full-scale flooring change, consider adding a tile "rug" to your kitchen. This can give your space an updated look without remodeling the entire space. There are two key considerations in making this work well: 1) You're going to need a skilled, experienced tile setter to handle the job. 2) You're going to have to coordinate the tile rug pattern, colors and scale to work with your existing space. I suggest bringing in a professional designer to help you pull this off.


Crossville tile floor in black and white.

Create a fresh, new kitchen floor with a coordinating tile rug like this one from Crossville.



Flower Power

Fresh flowers bring softness and life to an overworked kitchen. They can add a touch of elegance or whimsy. They can also add a desired accent color. Best of all, they can make you smile whenever you walk into the room. If fresh flowers are too extravagant on a regular basis, find quality silks to create the look on a lasting basis. Something to keep in mind as you imagine a vase of peonies or tulips on your island: Kitchens are very busy places. Choose a container for your florals that isn't easily broken if slammed by a wayward elbow or skillet.


Match pewter vase with pink roses.

I love the muted richness of pewter, shown here in a vase from Match, in a kitchen. It will compliment and soften your stainless.



Romance Enhancer

Remember those honeymoon moments on the Left Bank, or in the Piazza San Marco...…You and your beloved savored endless cappuccinos at a sidewalk café, drinking in the romance of the encounter. You can enjoy those moments again in your very own kitchen with the creation of a coffee station. This could include a built-in coffeemaker, a companion accessory drawer to hold your espresso service and adjacent cabinetry for your coffee, filters and the like. Built-ins usually entail professional planning and installation, but if you live for the bean, this could be well worth the investment.


Miele built-in coffemaker.

A coffee zone with a built-in coffee maker, like this one from Miele, can add real enjoyment to your kitchen.



Island Staycation

An island for your kitchen won't carry you to far-off fantasy lands, but it can carry essential daily or entertaining items that your current, already-crammed cabinets won't hold. It can also provide landing space for additional prep tasks, or even umbrella drinks! Choose one whose door style and finish will coordinate attractively with your current cabinets. It will become a new focal point for your kitchen, and can instantly update it without a major remodel. Be sure that there are at least 42 inches between this new island and your existing cabinets and appliances for it to be a welcome addition, not a space-hogging intrusion, to your kitchen.


Ballard Designs kitchen island

An island can add valuable real estate to your kitchen. Some, like this Bedford model from Ballard Designs, are portable and can go along with you if you move.



Visit my blog for more ways to fall in love with your kitchen again.


Kitchen and bath designer Jamie Goldberg

© 2011, Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS. Excerpted from Gold Notes: Nuggets from the World of Residential Design. Jamie is an NKBA-certified designer of kitchens and baths in San Diego, CA, and offers Sensible Style for Home Seller consultations around the country. She can be reached at (619) 796-2217 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.








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