"The granite in this countertop was chosen specifically for the graining and movement of this particular slab. Its rose, charcoal and beige tones accent beautifully the white glazing on the hickory cabinets and help to establish the muted natural tones of this contemporary Southwest-style kitchen. The modern look is further enhanced by the use of sleek stainless steel appliances and American Indian forged hardware.
"The patterning of the granite is used to visually unify the broad expanse of counter space, while the colors in the slab reflect those found in the surrounding rugged Colorado mountain terrain. The owners of this kitchen love to cook and frequently entertain. The natural strength of granite provided them the most durable and aesthetically pleasing surface for this purpose. Granite is heatproof, waterproof and nearly impossible to stain or chip."
Designer: Marion Patterson
The Kitchen and Bath Center
"Germans call a similar look the 'New American style', but I like to think of this kitchen as Nouveau Americana. It's a contemporary room with some traditional elements. For instance, choosing framed flat panel cabinet doors but adding little inset corner details. The stylized lines of the cabinetry have a sleek appeal while integrating natural and handmade elements, like the hardware. We also combined natural woods instead of staying with one color, going for a more unfitted look which gives the kitchen a more natural feel, rather than keeping everything hard-edged."
"We wanted the room to be a phenomenal place for cooking and entertaining, so we went with fun materials. Most people think hickory is nothing but grainy mineral streaks, but it made an incredible artistic statement on the floor. The hand carved legs give the table an organic element, and we used a different combination of legs on the other pieces, like the pantry. A lot of kitchens put one element all over the place. Here, each piece has its own look without conflicting with the others."
Designer: Cheryl Daugvila
Cheryl D. & Company Ltd.
La Grange, Illinois
"This kitchen was designed to function well for an active family of five. The home is built on a series of hexagons, so there is not a right angle anywhere in the home-a serious design challenge! To minimize the angles in the kitchen, curves were incorporated in the countertops where the wood butcher block and granite counters join and on the back of the eating bar. To further incorporate the rounded look, the columns are rounded, as is the countertop edge. We also incorporated a river-like element in the floor by carving a riverbed out of the wood floor and installing granite rocks.
"This family entertains extensively, so the kitchen must function well for up to four cooks at any given time. Two built-in maple countertops alleviate the need for pull-out chopping blocks (which also take up additional space that the kitchen doesn't have). Knives are conveniently placed in the wood countertops at both locations. The kitchen is divided into work centers-baking center, cooking, salad prep and clean-up-to make the flow work better.
"The original kitchen did not take advantage of the view and could only comfortably seat eight-which didn't work well, considering they usually entertain in groups of 14 or more! By removing walls and repositioning the kitchen, there is now seating for 20 in the dining area (including the bar), and the first thing you see when entering the home is the view."
Designer: Robin Rigby-Fisher, CKD
"Although stainless materials introduce the contemporary feel, the angular lines of this kitchen are softened by the many curved edges. The rounded refrigerator front and curved shape of the island countertop relax the harder edges of the moldings and squareness of the cabinet doors. The island's countertop support incorporates both a stainless post at one end and a curved stainless panel on the island back. The arc of the metallic backsplash behind the cooktop brings the curve of the island across the room, emphasizing softness.
"Harsh lines are further broken by staggering the heights of the cabinets, whose recessed panel door style helps to maintain a simple line. The maple wood grain pattern adds to the contemporary feel, and we placed the radius stainless handles horizontally for a fresher, relaxed look."
Designer: Bill Tweten
Braaten Cabinets Inc.
Fargo, North Dakota
Big Family Kitchen
"The Abel family has 13 members, 8 of which are adopted. The kitchen had to work well for multiple cooks and fundraising events featuring guest chefs while not giving up its design qualities. With two cooking surfaces, two sinks, Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers and a large 48-inch model as well, we needed to use every inch of space.
"A lot of times you'll find form and function don't necessarily work well together; an appliance may look best somewhere other than where you would like it to be. We work hard to hide specific items that don't look good in a design. This kitchen features an appliance garage and hidden microwave. The bowed back island seats four but also has individual touch panels that maximize storage in an unlikely place. The corbels by the range are pullout spice racks. The four apothecary drawers generally look good but don't function well, so we hid additional storage behind the apothecary front-one pulls out to provide tray storage space while the others pull out into one silverware storage space."
Designer: Jerry Hoffsmith
Colonial Craft Kitchens
"This house is right on the ocean in Boston Harbor, so what we tried to do was emulate a wave in the kitchen's design. The rest of the home is fairly traditional, and the owner wanted the kitchen to make a statement. The 28' island's three distinct curves mimic a wave while also breaking up its length. We made a seaside green more contemporary by pairing the cabinet color with a flat door panel with a high gloss, accented by contemporary hardware. The curved cabinets, in addition to adding a softened contemporary feel, again recall the ocean."
Photo: Steve Rodgers
"The custom made Aga hood features the same soft contemporary curve. We tried to create the same effect with the glass doors, tying them into ocean glass. If broken bottle pieces wash up on shore, they're very soft and rounded. That's the look we were going for."
Designers: Kathy Marshall and Ed MacDonald
Quick and Easy Feng Shui Ideas
Feng shui masters spend their lives studying the discipline, aligning themselves with various approaches such as black hat sect, traditional, or intuitive feng shui. But you can make instant design improvements with our quick and easy feng shui tips for your kitchen:
The cook's back should never face the kitchen entrance. If the cook is unaware of who enters and exists, he or she could be startled, transferring negative Ch'i into the food. Place the cooktop on an island so the cook can face the door. If the cook's back must turn away from the entrance, hang a mirror on the backsplash or place a reflective object (like a tea kettle or a stainless steel utensil holder) on or beside the stove. This will allow the cook to remain aware of all activity.
The stove should not be placed under a window. Wind currents could pull the good Ch'i out of your food.
Elements of fire and water clash, leading to bad Ch'i. Design your kitchen with distance between the two-your stove should not be adjacent to your refriuigerator or sink. If such a placement is unavoidable, add a nourishing wood element-like a plant, butcher block, or wooden spoon-to turn the opposition into a cyclical relationship.
- Pay attention to your stove. Food nourishes you, affecting your ability to work and earn money, and the Ch'i of your cooking area will affect your meal. Keep the burners clean and use each one equally to illustrate the movement of good fortune in your life.
- Clutter crowds your kitchen's surfaces, causing frustration and inihibiting the cook's ability to prepare food. Keep all surfaces clear, storing all food and appliances not used on a daily basis out of sight.
- Apply the same order to your pantry and cabinets. Broken items, empty boxes and containers, and unused food should be donated or discarded.
- Keep trash and recycling centers out of sight. Garbage rarely signifies health and prosperity!
- Don't forget safety, an important component of feng shui. Knives should always be stored out of sight.
- Nourishment is as much a product of the cook as the food itself. The cook's focus and spirits are transferred to the food. Make every effort to structure your kitchen (and your life!) in a way that facilitates a relaxed, leisurely, and meditative cooking process.
- Plentiful food indicates prosperity. Hang pictures of fruits or vegetables on your kitchen's walls to increase the sensation of abundance. Mirrors by your eating area, stove, or preparation will "double" your food as well, increasing wealth and health.
- Surround yourself with meaningful things with positive Ch'i. Keep seashells gathered during a special family vacation on your windowsill, or display fresh flowers in an antique vase.
- Remember-negative feelings and events tarnish the quality of your life. As a "feng shui rule of thumb," surround yourself with whatever makes you comfortable and safe.
Sharp corners can be both unsafe and uncomfortable, Choose rounded corners over squared ones for tables, countertops, and chairs. Select wood over pointed glass tables. Hide and protect existing corners with plants and cushions.
When selecting your dining table, choose a softer, safer wood model over a pointed glass one. Oval and round tables are preferred over square and rectangular ones as they promote good Ch'i circulation.
Source: The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room By Room, by Terah Kathryn Collins
"The hand hewn beams with dovetail connections are the real architectural features that give this kitchen a Tuscan feel. The integral-color plaster walls further bring a Tuscan villa to mind. The earthiness of the concrete backsplash and honed Travertine counters is complemented by glazed finished cabinets. Hand painted ceramic knobs from Italy augment the cabinets. Although the room has a wall oven, warming drawer, two dishwashers, and cooktop, the warmth of the room's yellows and creamy tones overpower the stainless steel, maintaining an authentic look. The skylight further lightens the room, contributing to its inviting feel."
Photo: Lisa Knutson
Designer: Susan Lund
English Old World
"Casual elegance sets the mood for this 1800s English-style kitchen. Muted colors, matte finishes and natural stone are elements of the style. Still, when most people think Old World, they think furniture-looking cabinets. This kitchen follows suit. The two evergreen cupboards on either side of the breakfast room have pewter wire inserts and decorative feet for a stand-alone effect."
Photo: Greg Campbell Photography
"The knotty cypress island, housing an apron sink and fully-integrated dishwasher, has turned legs on the back to emphasize the unfitted look. The Vintage Chablis perimeter cabinets have a warm and used feel, accented by pewter pulls, a contrast to the iron pulls of the island. The combination of different finishes and woods strengthen the Old World feel and are pulled together in the pantry, whose doors are the same cypress wood of the island with a painted green interior. The tumbled stone backsplashes, squared-off edges of the limestone countertop, and plaster walls play off the Old World theme."
Designer: Mellany C. Kitchens, CKD
"This married couple retired from 30+ years of working and built their dream kitchen-with home around it! Cooking and entertaining is their passion, but they had struggled to pursue it in a townhouse kitchen for years. They cook together but have very different ways of cooking, so in essence we created two kitchens. The wife is all about baking-ovens, rolling dough-anything in the oven is her forte. She's short and never had a comfortable work surface, so we installed 31 ½ inch countertops suited to her height. Her area is complete with a mixer, access to all the ingredients she needs, a second sink, and disposal.
"The husband is primarily the cook. He loves a big griddle and is a whiz on his 48-inch Viking range top with copper hood. His area is closer to the refrigerator for easy access. Because the room is a very long rectangle, we had to come up with a creative solution for the island, as a traditional one would be too long and not something you could circulate around. We created a tapered island that was narrow on one end and had seating on the other. We cut the island and put 2 ½ feet between the sections. The smaller section is on rollers with a butcher block top; it can roll up to the baking island to become one work surface if they want that."
Designer: Duval Acker, CMKBD, ASID
Kitchens By Design
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina