Softening up kitchens

You  may well have to excuse the sporadic postings this week – Melbourne bound at the end of the week and it’s turning into a frantic one. Talking of which whilst I’m travelling there will be no blog I hate to say but will be updating facebook regularly as well as twitter. I’m often asked as a designer how to soften kitchens – by that I mean  how to warmth  add depth, intrigue, pizzazz and so on  to counterbalance the rather practical , harsh feel so many kitchen shave . Its actually pretty easy – I’m fancying removing some of my cupboards (don’t ask me what I am going to do with all the stuff) and tiling the large wall area above.  Tiles are a fab backdrop and add another layer of intrigue – opt for plain ones then you may as well just paint – no what I am going on about is Moroccan inspired ones. A number of years ago Eileen Elliot made the most I mean the most amazing tiles I  have ever seen – concrete  rug tiles. Almost like a painting beautiful tribal rugs were transposed onto the concrete almost like a painting. Haven’t been able to locate Eileen but as sadly as it sounds think about these tiles all the time. Shelves v verses cupboards are all very well except you’ve got to be tidy and the vessels on the shelves fabulous otherwise – yuk. I guess the key to softening the space is to eliminate or hide as many appliances as possible, particularly if your kitchen is like mine – open plan. Plonk table lights on centre islands and counters , add big blousy blooms and wham bam you are almost there. I’m quite obsessed with oversized sparkly chandeliers to soften all the hard edges of the units. I want vintage though as nothing I’ve seen to date quite cuts the mustard. Apart from one in I spied in Paris which I think came in at 25K – there is no way on earth I could sneak that one in,  but it remains like those tiles in my head continually taunting me. And here they are below from years ago in an old Elle Dec magazine - love love love. The Americans are pretty into putting sofas around kitchen tables  and I like the idea– it totally softens the look you might just have to add a few inches to the overall height  of the sofa in question but its interesting way of combining dining with kitchen and makes the whole look feel less leggy.  Add some super cool ceramics in sludgy hues to your work surfaces, heaps of little stacks of recipe books – the odd scented candle and then all you need is some bread baking in the oven and either  NPR or Radio 4 on the wireless. Heaven. Cute little breakfast nook designed by Nate Burkus, talking of which I'm starving - coffee, dates, bananas and raspberries for me. I'm officially off the detox (one week early, one stone lighter  which is fab news) and now can eat all the fruit i so desire and have coffee - yay. Its the small things that make you happy as they say

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