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The Artful Kitchen: Permission to Dream

Welcome to Artful Kitchens!  I have so much to share with you in the world of art and design and especially how you can successfully merge the two to find your own personal style in the kitchen. Thank you to Leslie Carothers of  The Kaleidescope Partnership and Brian McDaniel of bkmacdaddy designs for their excellent help! In the coming posts I will be writing about color, elements of design, the art and artists that inspire me and much more.  Please share, share, share and help me spread the word!  Oh, and I would love to collaborate with YOU!! Email me at:

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Hi there! I’m Joanna, a writer for Design Shuffle, an online portal for all things interior design from interior designer portfolios to engaging articles on the latest design trends. I am so lucky to be able to spend my days discovering the most beautiful interior design ideas on the web and bringing them to share on blogs such as this one. Thank you Kitchens for Living for allowing me to post today on kitchen islands.

The center of activity in the kitchen often centers around the kitchen island, especially if it is designed to accommodate chairs or stools. This gathering place keeps the family and guests together with the home chef while he or she is preparing the meal. Kitchen islands come in as many varieties as cabinets and counter tops—practically endless choices. Take a look at some of my favorite kitchens and islands. Which do you like the best?

Kitchen Island

A beautifully appointed kitchen boasts a lovely kitchen island paired with white leather and brad trimmed counter chairs. Wouldn’t it be so nice to take a seat and visit with the chef while he or she cooks?

Kitchen Island

This rustic, gray island is given an industrial feel by equipping it with rollers. Another industrial element can be found in the aluminum work stool pulled up to the island.

Kitchen Island

A massive kitchen island seats no less than six people. This is the perfect space for any meal. The woven chairs are so unusual and gorgeous. Getting any kitchen design ideas?

Kitchen Island

A Tuscan kitchen features an extra large island flanked on either end by a traditional style lamp. For its size, it could accommodate more seating than just the three counter stools shown here.

Kitchen Island

Love, love, love this style of kitchen island. It looks as if they took a small sideboard and just added an extended wood top to accommodate seating and an eating area. Lots of decorating ideas can be found here.

Kitchen Island

Count them, not one but two islands! I love this look and would be as happy as apple pie to be the home chef of this kitchen. Does this inspire any decorating ideas?

Kitchen Island

Wouldn’t you love to cook up your favorite recipe in this sleek and crisp white kitchen? The island and cabinetry feature the current design trend of brass hardware.

Kitchen Island

This ornate kitchen island is as gorgeous as it is useful. The carving and robin’s egg blue of the ‘legs” fits so nicely with the rest of the tile and cabinetry in the space. Many of my favorite kitchen designs include lovely chandeliers like this one.  Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Craving even more design inspiration? Then visit Design Shuffle! You can explore the history of interior design and browse through the portfolios of Boston interior designers and more!



Frida and Diego, nicknamed "The Elephant and the Dove". She was 98lbs to his 300lbs!

Happy Cinco de Mayo. Today, the 5th of May, is the day to celebrate  Mexican culture and heritage.  It marks the date of a Mexican victory in a regional battle with the French in 1862.  However when I think of Mexico I think of Frida, bright splashes of color and real Mexican food, not the goop of melted cheese you find so often in “Mexican” restaurants.  Frida, of course, is surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, one of the most well known artists of the twentieth century.  She was  married to the famous muralist Diego Rivera.

An ethereal painting by Frida Kahlo

This Diego Rivera mural was created in 1931. I had the pleasure of seeing it at the San Fransisco Art Institute on my honeymoon in 2009. The colors are still amazingly vibrant!


The movie Frida, starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina relates their tumultuous relationship as well as the revolutionary political climate and personal experiences that colored both their careers as artists. I love this movie because it is art. I doubt there is a single solitary frame in this film that cannot stand on its own as a work of art. The colors are amazing as are the scenes that morph from reality into artwork.

One of my favorite scenes is Frida’s tango portraying a seductive dance between Frida Kahlo and Tina Midotti (Italian photographer and fellow revolutionary) played in the movie by Salma and Ashley Judd. Watch the steamy scene here.


The sultry tango scene starring Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd as Frida and Tina Midotti

Frida’s kitchen was no less colorful than her life. Her house, La Casa Azul in Coyoacan Mexico, is open to the public. A visit is something I definitely need to add to the old bucket list.

Imagine making guacamole here!

If you find yourself craving some Mexican culinary magic check out this cookbook filled with authentic Mexican recipes.

A source for "the real deal" in Mexican cooking

I’m hoping you have Netflix so you can blend up some frozen margaritas, whip up some fresh guacamole,  sit back and enjoy Frida on this Cinco de Mayo. You’re in for a treat!



Thank you  for the out pouring of love and concern for our family.  No matter what happens the sun always rises again and we begin another day.

White cabinets and a shiny blue glass tile backsplash lend a coastal feel. Photo by Southern Accents

As you guys up in the northern regions are beginning to crank up the heat,  I thought I’d share a little warmth from down here in sunny Florida.  If you love warm tropical beaches, even when there’s snow (instead of sand) on the ground, here’s how you can bring this ambiance to your “anywhere” kitchen.

Blue & White will give you an instant feel of sun and surf.  White cabinets are hot!  Blue calls  to mind the ocean and may be added to your backsplash, walls or even used as  accent color for an island or hutch cabinet.

A modern version with Balthaup cabinets. Photo by Elle Decor

A sea view is a must and you can have one even if you don’t live by the sea.  Think art!  That way you can choose the sea view of your choice.  It can be a painting, a photograph or even something more abstract like a mixed media work of art.

I wish I was at the beach by ABSTRACTINC from

Gifts from the Sea are fun ways to add a beachy feel.  Shells, starfish or even bits of beach glass are great accents.  Try using a shiny glass tile backsplash for a watery feel or tiles with more of a honed finish look like glass that has been eroded by the sand over time.

seashells, starfish and beach glass tell the story of the sea

Burled Beach Corian countertop by Dupont

Throw some sand into the mix with solid surface counter tops in colors like Dijon from the Elements collection by Denova or Burled Beach by Dupont’s Corian.

Dijon from the Elements collection Denova Solid Surface Counters

The nice thing is you can add a little or you can pull out all the stops.  If you have “Floridified” your kitchen sent me pix.  I would love to show and tell.  Oh, and by the way, it’s nice to be back!

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