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palimpsest

Are kitchens headed in this direction?

palimpsest
10 years ago

There has been a trend toward more active granites, multiple finishes on cabinets, multiple countertop materials, backsplashes with accent rows and picture-like or medallion like "features" over sink or range, etc. Add to this recessed or close to ceiling lighting, mixed with pendants and a chandelier.

I think the combination of pattern and variety in kitchens is surpassing that of living rooms, where people still seem to be afraid of pattern, and to some extent color. But a living space, once decorated, has all the layers contents with the exception of magazines and some of the detritus of daily life perhaps.

In a kitchen however, I think these layers are composed as if the kitchen and the countertops are going to remain empty, and in most cases this isn't true. Start adding the countertop appliances, containers, canisters, food, lists and other objects of daily living and there is a lot of stuff piled onto or in front of these ornamental surfaces.

So I wonder, if on some level, we are headed into a phase of "aesthetic movement" -style layering: (and layering is something people seem to be really afraid of in other areas of home decor) Do you think we "see" or "not see" these two parts of the house differently?

{{!gwi}}

Comments (138)

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Sure changing your mind about a color scheme is not fickle, particularly, I'll buy that. But going totally non-committal with anything grouted in place, screwed to the wall, or stuck on top of the cabinets because you predict *even before you've ordered it* that you will possibly want to go in such a different direction in few years is fickle.

    Pretty soon, houses will come with snap on trim and "wraps" like they put on buses because people will be so concerned that the exterior is "dated".

    These are durable goods, interior architecture, not a pair of shoes. Sure you want staying power, but then don't make your selections like you would for a pair of shoes.

    Marcolo, I do think people tire of the more interesting faster than they do the boring when it comes to design, perhaps it is over-stimulation or something like that.

  • BalTra
    10 years ago

    As a non-designer (with a completely stunted artistic sense), I find this conversation fascinating.

    I know I am attracted to the clean and open feel and "neutral" colors precisely because there is so much *noise* in my daily life. Sensory overload.

    That said, I abhor a colorless, personalityless vacuum sort of space, which is why the above marcolo post with turquoise and red is so exciting. And the recent post of the all-torquoise over the top NYC kitchen (the woman in the matching outrageous heels and dress) too.

    So, I'm going to post again to ask for your H E L P in keeping me from going down the drab path and instead through the fabulous rabbithole!

    -BT

    The

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  • mpagmom (SW Ohio)
    10 years ago

    I like the turquoise and red post above, too, and the colors are very similar to my daughter's bedroom. I'll commit to those colors for bedspreads and paint, but not for cabinets and countertops. If we were better at painting or tiling or anything handy, I'd have a different opinion I'm sure.

    Palimpsest, fantastic idea about the snap on trim for the house! I'll have to ask my builder to get me some.

  • cawaps
    10 years ago

    Marcolo's turquoise dining room is exactly what I was thinking, although I was half joking when I posted that link (tweaking Palimpsest about pairing the tile with neutrals, given the theme of the thread). I like the turquoise and red together, but it is a color combination that could easily go wrong if the proportions and intensities were wrong. I like the mostly blue with a few pops of red. I don't think I would like the opposite as well, and I think more equal proportions would make me want to claw my eyes out. Maybe not.

  • GreenDesigns
    10 years ago

    Design by popularity poll---the least offensive choice---even in a forum as good as this one---is no substitute for a clear design vision guiding the process. It's an abdication of the intent of design which is about clarity of choices. And filling a room with hodge podge without a clear design vision behind it is design schizophrenia. Those are two mistakes that are easy to slip into if you are not very experienced, knowledgeable, and careful. "Serene Modern" done correctly isn't blah or boring. And "Layered Patterns" doesn't have to feel like a dissonant competition for center stage. Design is the difference.

  • gr8daygw
    10 years ago

    Ladies please feel free to come and do that gold kitchen plan at my house : )))

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    Marcolo, I do think people tire of the more interesting faster than they do the boring when it comes to design,

    I don't think this is necessarily true with respect to fixed elements. The older the building, the more ornament, more or less, and people do love old buildings.

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    10 years ago

    There is not a single piece of aesthetic movement anything in that room. Sorry. I "majored" in aesthetic/eastlake design, and that room is null. Aesthetes adhered to Willaim Morris's maxim "Have nothing in your home you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".
    Casey

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    10 years ago

    Earlier in the thread there was some discussion about subjective perception and how the quotidian clutter can undermine kitchen decor.

    As to the aesthetic damage that everyday living can inflict on a carefully composed neutral kitchen, I have a few strategies for that.

    One, just like nutritionists would tell you, be careful when you shop. If you need to frequent a grocers, "stick to the perimeters". Crisp macintosh apples, a sheaf of kale, a basket of eggs (you can get those pretty pale green ones now) ... all great for you and your kitchen. A neon blue bag of double-stuffs? Pass.

    Be careful where you shop, too. The artisinal baker's organic boules in paper bags will look great on your soapstone counter, especially when the loaf peaks out of the bag. You can just hear the price quoted in centimes! Best of all, join a CSA. Nothing will impress guests more then a muddy crate of root crops casually "left" on the counter.

    Of course, you can go even further with this. Junk mail can add a pleasing je ne sais quoi if it's just brokerage statements, the berkeley wellness letter, and the New Yorker. Just edit, edit (and get a po box to hide things like the RH catalogues and joke AARP subscription.)

    If company is coming, don't forget the kids. If they will be in the room, they need to be responsible. No tie dyes or logo wear. Almost all natural fibers in a solid color will work. There's no need to go crazy about it.

  • breezygirl
    10 years ago

    Has anybody heard of the concept of color fatigue?

    I hired a color consultant to help with paint for almost every room in the house as I was floating around liking too many colors and not knowing how to narrow my choices and make them all go together. In discussing color, I mentioned the same thing a couple of you did about needing serene surroundings. My life has become stressful, busy, and chaotic. I've now come to see that I have some sensory issues when too much is going on visually. My brain NEEDS some place to rest or I get freaked out.

    Also during this conversation, I mentioned that I used to have a house full of colors. The DR was pumpkin orange for several years, then deep olive. The office had been deep red for more than a decade. The master bedroom had been yellow. I did color. I'm over it, plus now I see I have the sensory issue.

    Anyway....the consultant said I was color fatigued. She had been to a design workshop recently where she was introduced to the term. I've been meaning to do some research on the idea, but it resonated with me.

    As an aside, I'm sure I'm creating one of those boring, neutral kitchens to which you refer. AND, I haven't chosen my tile yet. ;)

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    You're right Casey, the room is mislabeled. But that's not really the point of the discussion. Sorry, it's some kind of Victorian mash-up.

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    I notice there's always a moralistic tone to the defense of neutrals. People's lives are too busy, implying that colorful rooms are for bon-bon eaters and coupon clippers. Or serene, monochromatic rooms are the ones that are "timeless," shame on the Vatican, Notre Dame cathedral, and the Blue Room of the White House, which all looked tired and dated just a few years after they were built. OK, sure.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago




  • breezygirl
    10 years ago

    Am I moralistic for recognizing that a dark olive DR and LR and a red office are too much for me? Too dark? My sensory issues are moralistic? I've heard them called different things, but never moralistic.

    One thing I didn't mention is how my DM's extreme hoarding affects my life. Her house is as bad as as the very worst houses you see on the hoarder shows. I grew up with too much "stuff". Stuff everywhere. Stuff so you couldn't walk through a room without navigating a treacherous narrow path through the garbage. Living that way affects the rest of your life. No wonder I like things simple and uncluttered. Does his make me moralistic? Ok then. I'm moralistic.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago




    Ignore the pink in the wallcovering, I tweaked the ground color and it made the arabesques, which matched the backsplash pink.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago





  • mtnrdredux_gw
    10 years ago

    Well, if i ever do another house, I am hiring Palimpsest. Or someone vetted by Pal.

    The second kitchen i can actually see, probably because the distressed cabs and floors are familiar enough to make experimentation feel safe.

    I wonder how much of this red dahlia Ann Sacks and all her saxonians will ever sell. It's like a couture house showing off crazy clothes and making all their revenue on sunglasses.

    My fave tile, which if i recall is $1,000 a square foot, is their cloisonne... the vermicelli pattern in the softest of greens. Of course the individual tiles are like 2" sq if i recall, and I doubt people would use a solid wall. So if you pair it with a great field tile, it is less absurd then it sounds.

    It did not fit my kitchen (or any?) at all, and I could not figure out how to use it in a bath either. But I think it is incredibly beautiful. I could not put it down when i saw it, and I felt like a seventh grader wanting to slide it into my pocket.

    Here is a link that might be useful: I see your tile and raise you

  • jterrilynn
    10 years ago

    Pal its funny how some of your color combos actually hurt my head lol. What I find interesting is what a few wrote above about their lives being hectic and wanting calm combinations. I'm the opposite and like little unexpected pops (yes I said it, POPs) because due to my aliments I'm often fatigued. I think this is also why I prefer mello yellow on my walls. Yellow helps me get going in the mornings. I guess maybe we can contribute some kitchen selections to ones life outside the kitchen and home. However, I'm seeing a little more of the baby boomers getting braver or at least wanting to but not sure how.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    I think color fatigue is a valid phenomenon, but I think people relate color fatigue to saturation, and also mix up visual clutter and disturbance with color fatigue.

    A true monomchromatic palette or simple dichromatic palette in saturated color can be *MUCH more restful than 20 different shades of beige and brown. I don't think a lot of people distinguish between the two situations and head for the 20 random shades of beige rather than three of french blue.

    At the bottom of all this is that I l-o-o-v-e-s me a white kitchen. I may even be living in a museum white house next time around, dunno. Without understanding color you can't create a good white box, though, let alone a satisfying palette of all neutrals.

  • sochi
    10 years ago

    I would do the red dahlia in a flash.

    Of your combinations pal, I like them all, but I might choose your 20:58 combo over the others. Or maybe I prefer 11:43. I'd do either if I could.

    But my next kitchen will be in a small lakeside cottage, might not work there. And I can't afford the tile anyway. But I'm surprising loving the gold Karbon.

  • breezygirl
    10 years ago

    Palimpsest,
    Is this a satisfying palette of neutrals? Better be because all of these rooms open up to each other in some way.

    My DR is BM Indian River.

    My FR open to kitchen is BM Nimbus.

    My LR next to DR is BM Thunder.

    And my kitchen looks like this.

    Sorry to have gotten OT.

  • plllog
    10 years ago

    I'm enjoying your foils to the red tiles. :)

    In thinking about all the tension between lovers of neutral and lovers of visual pow, it occurs to me that a large component is expectation. What do you expect to see when you look at a room. Most people's foundational experience of a kitchen still harkens back to the kitchen was a simple, unadorned workroom, even if it's layered over with a clutter of tchotchkes, fluffy valences, and trendy wall paper. It's really very hard to evaluate living with something you haven't lived with if it's still within the spectrum of pleasing to look at. There are some designs, of course, which make you feel like your eyes are bleeding. Those probably never feel "normal". But you see things differently when your brain first has to sort through everything it's taking in than when most of the details are known items and in their correct places. It's the blow your mind syndrome, and can affect any of your senses (think totally new to you flavor, different music, touching one of those slime toys for the first time, smelling a new perfume). Now multiply that by the number of different items in a kitchen that doesn't even have anything in it yet.

    As to the direction we're heading, I think it's one of those pendulum things. The whole folk music/guitar rock/glam rock continuum started as a rebellion against the overworked and overwrought big band sound. The new bands were a couple of guitars, a bass and a drum. Simple. Simple melodies, simple arrangements. After getting progressively fancier, it couldn't hold, and disco became popular in a vacuum. The punks tried to bring back a mannered simplicity, but the jump shift to rap, being more relevant and more different, won out, also with increasing layers and heavy production, where live performances often require playback tracks. The pendulum swings from easy and simple to complex and layered and back again. And all along the way there are other paths and other styles that buck the current trends.

    Same with kitchens. I don't know that they'll ever go to Victorian mishmash, but just with some of the very popular decor now, we can see the pendulum starting to swing back. Example: Instead of loving the "clean" look of overhead cans, people are looking for the complex, non-kitcheny swagged chandeliers. Instead of the white on white kitchens, we're starting to see more with colored cabinets. Indeed, we are beginning to see the swing back to more decoration. What Palimpsest is seeing is more in the high design community (or maybe it's just East Coast) so ahead of the curve.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    I love your kitchen. I was really having a hard time putting this together with olive, red, yellow.

    You aren't off topic at all.

  • breezygirl
    10 years ago

    Sorry for the confusion. My OLD DR and LR were deep olive. Old office was red. Old master was yellow. The colors above are the new ones. I'm hoping others think these neutrals go together as DH painted already. :)

  • mpagmom (SW Ohio)
    10 years ago

    Palimpsest, I think you are exactly right about visual clutter. It's another form of noise, and I don't need any more noise. When I say I want a calm, quiet kitchen, I don't mean neutrals. Here are a couple that I like and they aren't a collection of beige:

    I love a well-done white kitchen, too, but I don't want to live in one just yet.

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Yes, I understood. I think all that variation could cause color fatigue. I meant I almost forgot this was your kitchen because it is so different from what you had before. Anyway, you are doing tight palette in the right way, imo, not random neutrals. But I thought I would play anyway:
    {{!gwi}}
    {{!gwi}}
    {{!gwi}}

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    Wow. That Ann Sacks tile is truly insane.

    {{!gwi}}

    In the right color it would really fit my fantasy chinoiserie kitchen.

    {{!gwi}}

    And if you really need marble tiles, you use this:
    {{!gwi}}

    I'm really getting to the point where I just can't keep pretending to keep my eyes open for yet another One True Kitchen. There are so many other directions possible.

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    Sorry, forgot this:

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    With the right budget, the same designer could probably do some repousse doors for you, like his buffet:

  • jterrilynn
    10 years ago

    I would love to use this tile combo somewhere one of these days. I have had this saved for a while and now I can not remember who or what it is.

  • enduring
    10 years ago

    Marcolo, those tiles are wonderful. True art! I like the fabric too. Have you ever gone on Ebay and looked at the Japanese fabric that is sold? I have this love for Asian design. The fabrics are often lengths from old kimonos or new 14" wide lengths.

  • mindstorm
    10 years ago

    Well, paint me firmly and squarely in the neutrals camp. My favorite kitchen hands down on this or most any other thread are the two "Plain and Simple" (I believe) uniformly grey-and-wood kitchens in Palimpsest's post with the timestamp Nov 4, 2011, 20:44.

    Well, those and the tea room at the very top of this thread. That shot is arterial defibrillation on the cheap.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    10 years ago

    enduring --- i found those tiles!! i want my props

    i still love them --- i would use them if i could think of how. maybe i will make coaster from therm : )

  • kitschykitch
    10 years ago

    Mtntredux, at 18:37 Nov 4 ..... LOL, i think. Right ...

    Pal, the blue kitchen at 20:44 Nov 4 is great. I think I would need to wear a bonnet in there, though. I like the openness of the island/table. That does mean foregoing power and water there, though, which might hinder some.
    I am so tired of crown painted white to pop, this monochromatic scheme is a nice departure. Thanks for posting.

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    Hmm. My post disappeared. Anyway:

    I wonder if this should become an ongoing feature. Pick something unusual to base a kitchen around, and then try to make it work in "mood boards."

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    That would be fun. Pick something, and make it work in different schemes.

  • breezygirl
    10 years ago

    I like that idea. It would help those of us design challenged learn something.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    10 years ago

    a design challenge!

  • Circus Peanut
    10 years ago

    A challenge!

    Marcolo or Pal, you go first. Maybe start a new thread for each new challenge? As long as we don't overdo it, the forum should respond well to it.

    ps: Kitschykitch, you said the word "pop." Go sit in the corner.

  • nancybee_2010
    10 years ago

    Or, go ahead an overdo it! It's very entertaining!

  • marcolo
    10 years ago

    Yes, one thread for each concept. We shouldn't have more than one or two on the front page at any one time so it's not irritating.

    What should we do first? Some thoughts:

    - A transitional pseudo colonial kitchen. I suggest this partly because a lot of people live in transitional phony-colonie houses, but also because I'd like to see a kitchen with raised panels vs shakers and all of the woodwork and trim painted the same color as the walls--that's both very authentic and currently trendy. Also gives the option to use Delft tile in an interesting way.

    - A Florida kitchen, or other warm-weather climate area that usually references Spanish cliches, but do it in a different way

    Or just an object or really unusual tile or color that strikes someone's fancy.

    Thoughts?

  • lakeaffect
    10 years ago

    Thank you, kitchenkrazed09, even tho it's not a typical kitchen, it works for us.

    There's a lot to digest on this thread, thanks to all for the great contributions and observations.

    circuspeanut, you posted a pic of possibly the only colorful granite I actually like, I saw a large slab at a stone yard once and while we didn't consider it for a counter, too much care and too spendy, I would love to have a piece mounted as wall art, maybe in a stairwell.

    I love all the funky tiles posted, especially the red, orange and yellow one (first posting), it reminds me of nasturtiums, and I think you could build a great kitchen around that tile; reds, browns, yellows, oranges, creamy white, with a soupcon of a green on the spring/acid spectrum.

    live wire oak, your point about people who need professional help vs. those who just need a push in the right direction is well taken and should be heeded. I see so many posts here of the former, yet is seen as heresy (by some) to suggest or use a professional ID or KD, I guess because many posters here have a strong bias against professional help.

    A design challenge would be very instructional and just might inspire some folks to veer off the well trodden kitchen design path. And if overly sensitive types get their knickers in a knot, so be it.

    sandyponder

  • marquest
    10 years ago

    WOW did this post go off topic. LOL

    Yes I think the original poster was right Kitchens are headed in a crazy direction. Why??? Because everyone will follow the trend.

    Granite is the trend. Most think they have not arrived unless they have a Granite counter in their kitchen remodel. Forget the warning that Granite emitted radon at levels that may be over those considered safe.. You say "But everybody has granite I have to have it in my kitchen to feel I have arrived to upper class or all my neighbors have granite counters." LOL

    50s it was Harvest Gold.- Father Know Best

    Pink and Baby Blue Tile in the Bathrooms.

    It is all about trend and what your neighbor or what the market leads people to believe is the MUST HAVE kind of kitchen.

    So.....If people see a picture of the original poster starts to pop up in everybody's neighborhood. The sheep will follow and the kitchens will be torn out and decorated as they feel will make them have the perfect new kitchen of today.

  • enduring
    10 years ago

    Mtnrdredux, Props are yours! those tiles are gorgeous!

  • jenny_from_the_block
    10 years ago

    I am a long-time lurker here. I'll be re-doing my 1960 and then remuddled kitchen fairly soon. I felt the need to chime in on the 'neutrals' sentiment. There seems to be a few strong opinions on the idea that if you choose 'neutrals' for your kitchen you are a boring lemming (eye roll). I am a scientist that spent many years of my life outdoors. Most of what humans see outdoors at eye level is very 'neutral' - mottled brown and gray tree trunks, brown soil, bright green or greenish yellow brown gray. Living in the forested eastern US you only really see "pops" of color naturally - thinking of red, a sprinkling of cardinal flower in the woods. The woods are vibrant in the fall yes, but only if you are laying on your back looking up or driving along a manmade highway through the mountains. For me, neutral colors are soothing and invigorating, and 'pops of color' make sense in the landscape. Big swaths of intense color like that red and black tile at eye level - it seems intuitive to me why most people aren't drawn to that as a permanent fixture in their house.

  • plllog
    10 years ago

    Pardon me if I don't join the busman's holiday. :)

  • aliris19
    10 years ago

    marquest - just fyi all granite does not inherently emit radiation. (In fact most has trivial amounts (fortunately)). I mean this just as a point-of-order; no commentary on your comment.

    This thread is way out of my league!

  • palimpsest
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Neutrals are fine. As long as they are correlated to each other (which they often aren't: people mix neutrals with different undertones indiscriminately). And because its "neutral" don't use it as an excuse to allow a lot of visual clutter because there is no "color".

  • function_first
    10 years ago

    Interesting observations, Jenny. I don't see nature colors as neutral -- but then I'm from the prairie where there's a lot of blue sky and golden (or green) fields.

    Guess the colors of nature depend on what your "natural" surroundings are. Now living in the n.e. woodlands, the lack of light (and seeing with your "rods" vs. your "cones" probably contributes to the perception of being surrounded by neutrals. The woods have a lot of vibrant color going on in them, but without light that's not immediately visible.

    IMO, what're viewed as neutrals on this forum are the black/gray and white/off-white-- I don't think of kitchens done in browns, grays, greens and golds (the colors you mentioned) as neutral. Maybe others would disagree.

  • marquest
    10 years ago

    "marquest - just fyi all granite does not inherently emit radiation. (In fact most has trivial amounts (fortunately)). "

    Aliris you say "Most have trivial amounts" I guess my thought is trivial amounts is too much to submit a child to just to have what the Jones have or what is the flavor of the day.

    We seem to think in trivial amounts of an avoidable poison is acceptable these days. I question the reason for this model of thinking.

    I am just saying,,,,I just wish people would think health first. I do not want to be one of those people that try to tell everyone their choice should be what I think I just do not think everyone is aware of the trace amount of radiation in granite and what it can do over the long term.