In Kitchen Design Challenges – Part 1, I gave a couple of examples of situations that required some careful editing and compromises to make the kitchen space look harmonious while integrating multiple design ideas.
Here are a few more case studies on how eclectic elements can find their place in a design, without losing compositional balance.
FITTING AN AQUARIUM INTO THE KITCHEN
I once worked with a couple who wanted to design a large aquarium into their kitchen island. Aquariums can be very colorful and therefore spike up the cool factor, but they also come with a lot of apparatus that looks cluttered and messy, if not concealed.
First, I designed the cabinetry around the trims and machinery so all that was visible was the glass and the fish. Then I simplified the cabinetry and countertops along the perimeter of the room to make them blend in with the architecture, rather than standing apart from it. I selected a dark finish for the cabinetry that I designed around the aquarium, which provided a nice positive/negative contrast against the clear water and glass of the aquarium tank. This turned the water and the fish into nice accents. Finally, we accessorized with bright bowls and glass to complement whatever the dominant color was in the aquarium at the time. Since the pops of color were not fixed items, the clients had the freedom to alternate color as the fish changed.
If you have a cool, important, or prominent piece that you want to showcase, don’t be afraid of making it the focus of the design. To make it shine, you are going to have to tone down all the other elements so that they don’t steal attention or create visual cacophony. Use the main piece for inspirations on other accents that may be incorporated.
SYNCHING DIFFERENT SURFACE PATTERNS
Bathroom designs can require editing too. For example, I worked on a bathroom with a client who had been planning the remodel for years. After a lot of research, she had grown fond of a specific tile and a specific wall covering and wanted to include both in the design. However, the two did not necessarily go together as they were. They needed to be “brought closer”, visually.
So, I tried to select a cabinet style that would help marry these two drastically different styles. Ultimately, I think the strength of the cabinet door style took the focus off the wall covering and became the element that tied everything together. Once this component grounded the space, the competing finishes did not fight as hard to blend.
When you are trying to combine wildly different surface patterns, look to bring in a unifying design component that goes well with both styles and make it the bridge between the two.
IS THAT A FERRARI IN YOUR KITCHEN?!
Currently, I am working with a car collector who wants to design one of his Ferraris into his kitchen space. Talk about making a bold statement! The car will end up dividing the kitchen from the dining room, and of course, complement the Pininfarina designed OLA cabinetry in Racing Red High Gloss. Stay tuned for pictures!!