I received an email from one of my fave clients the other day. She is contemplating a dream kitchen for 2011 (Maybe you should too!) Anyway she sent me some of these amazing photos. Check out this dreamy spiral-trapdoor-otherworldly-cool wine cellar! Was this an internet hoax, an urban legend, I wondered?
NO! It’s for real and you can check out the UK firm that builds them here. The appeal is not only novelty but efficient design. The concept was designed in 1978 by a Frenchman (of course). It’s not a basement, as I first thought, but an actual hole in the ground!
It’s not only space efficient but it’s Green as well. They claim the temperature stays constant at 55 degrees. Ok, so it’s probably still only a dream for us in Florida. If you dug that deep under my kitchen you’d have an undersea wine cellar. Now there’s an idea!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of sipping a Starbucks pumpkin spice soy latte while chatting with my favorite local lighting expert Marcia (that’s MAR-see-uh) Exelrud . (Click here for previous guest post by Marcia.) As we discussed how to save the world from poor kitchen design and bad lighting , I asked her to come up with a list of the TOP 5 Lighting Fixes for your kitchen. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Replace trims and bulbs in existing recessed fixtures. New trim will give you a fresh updated look. Replace bulbs so that they are all the same type for uniform and even lighting. Remember that the most up to date fixtures and bulbs will usually also be more energy efficient. The initial investment is greater but they more than pay for themselves and save you time and aggravation in the long run.
2. Move or add fixtures to add direct light where you need it. Take a moment to study your kitchen both during the day and at night with the lights on. Does your current arrangement work or do you need to make some changes?
3. Add cove lighting with an LED or xenon strip light fixture. Do you have space above your cabinets? This is a perfect opportunity for cove lighting. LED or Xenon strips are perfect for this area.
4. Remove unsightly dropped ceilings. You know what I’m talking about, those plastic squares set into a metal grid concealing fluorescent tubes. Yeah that’s them. Remove them and you instantly create an open feeling! Replace those tube lights with some recessed high hats for better light. Welcome to 2010! A word of caution, if you have a concrete ceiling you may have to lower it just enough to recess lights. If that’s not in the budget consider a surface mounted fixture.
5. Install lighting under the upper cabinets and above islands.. Never install open fixtures such as pendants, spot lights or recessed lights witout lenses directly over cooking areas.
If you have questions about any type of lighting you can contact Marcia at
I live in a hectic family household but Sundays are sacred. Joe is off at work and kids sleep late, sometimes really late. That is when I am blessedly alone. That is when my spirit flies. I catch up with all the blogs I haven’t been able to read during the busy week, maybe I do a little art and I dream. Despite all my financial responsibilities, my parenting realities and my work I get into a place where, for a moment, I think just because I’m alive I can do ANYTHING. Here are some things I become capable of on Sunday morning:
1. Going back to India to take up where I left off.
2. Buy and decorate a hip Mid-Century modern apartment in Miami
3.Become a full time artist exploring and developing my many ideas and musings at my leisure. This is one of my collages. If you want to see more visit www.papermoongoddess.blogspot.com
4. Go back to California to study more art
Ok, you get the picture. When you want to create or remodel your own kitchen or design a kitchen for a client this is a very good space to be in. Get in the mood and the ideas will come. This is truly the first step in the Intuitive Kitchen process. When you have returned to earth you can edit. Trust me it works. Now tell me, don’t be shy (that’s counter intuitive). How do you get in the zone?
Look at any design magazine and you’ll discover that the west is looking to the east for design inspiration. Kitchens and baths have found new expression and streamlined function through the clean lines of Zen design. (Think sushi bar?). the simplicity and organic features of zen design are at the forefront of kitchen design today. The newest appliances are integrated in dark rich woods and exotic wood veneers such as Wenge and Zebra Wood.with Asian details including metal and shapes reminiscent of the pagoda. An emphasis on natural materials such as stone and bamboo, exotic woods and simple symmetry are the order of the day.
Ken Charbonneau, a color marketing consultant whose clients include Benjamin Moore Paint says, “More people are looking to create Zen-like spaces. To achieve this means to use carefully edited color palettes, pare down the excess and use the color to bring out the true essence of a room instead of letting it dominate a space.” There is another added benefit to paring down and that is saving money. If you have a place for everything it’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable to leave a little open space.
The Japanese architectural aesthetic is one of straight lines, no muss, no fuss. It’s pure, simple and elegant. But can a zen kitchen work in your Mediterranean-style home or a Lake Worth cottage-style? The good news is no matter what your style you can incorporate the simplicity, organization and organic finishes that make zen design so appealing today. If your house is a Mizner showpiece you can still pare down in the kitchen. The trick to making it work is to include a common element. For example you could keep the same palette but just simplify the details for a more uncluttered feeling of simplicity. De-cluttering is something we can all do to reap the benefits of the Zen aesthetic in the kitchen. Organize it. Put it away with state of the art cabinet accessories that pull out divide and categorize for convenience and high function.