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Room of the Month : Luxury Kitchen

Here at the Sheffield School of Interior Design, we have a tool for looking at the design of any given room. We look at the room in terms of three qualities, the Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony.

Let's apply this method to this luxury kitchen. And let's look first at function.

While the basic function of a kitchen is the same for everyone, providing a place to prepare food — the particulars differ enormously depending on the family or individual who lives in the home. Here, we see a kitchen that serves the purpose of food preparation at a nearly professional level.

Look at the photo to the right. The gas stove allows the cook the ultimate in temperature control. The rugged six-burner stovetop can take a beating when the pans are flying fast and furious. And the sliding pan holder allows the cook to add a saucepan in a second.

The pull-out cutting board gives the cook immediate extra chopping space, and the silverware drawer is convenient to the stove.

But this kitchen serves another function as well. It's also the center for entertainment, as a kitchen often is. See the next photo, and you'll see that there are four seats at the counter, allowing family or guests to have a seat while talking to the cook as she works. Often a kitchen becomes the gathering spot at a party or for the family just before a meal, but too many times the kitchen isn't built to accommodate this need. Here, we see this function acknowledged, and space is created to make everyone comfortable.

The counter also serves an additional function, of being a spot for a quick sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Sheffield Top Tip: In terms of the mood, this kitchen has a casual feeling created by the open plan; allowing people to watch the cook as she works makes this kitchen feel a little informal. However, this is undercut by the high-end materials used — the granite countertop, the pendant lamps, the over-sized vase with the lemon arrangement — all lend a more formal feeling. This is also emphasized by the formal backs of the stools at the counter.

In terms of the harmony, everything in this kitchen works together. The off-white cabinets pull out the off-white tones in the counter, and the wood chair backs and cabinets bring out the darker tones, as does the hammered copper sink. The swirl in the backs of the stools echoes the swirling pattern in the granite, and the wood floor echoes the lines of the cutting board.

This kitchen — elegant yet informal — is a great example of how function, mood and harmony can all be brought together to make a room really sing.

-Sarah Van Arsdale

Source: Sheffield School of Interior Design
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Kitchen wallpaper can also create an atmosphere for appetite. Dramatic faux finish prints with border treatments featuring colorful teacups, flower baskets, grape bunches and wine goblets will all invite guests to your table.

Kitchen window treatments like tiered curtains are an attractive way to let light in while still maintaining a degree of privacy. Turn any kitchen into a French bistro with fruit and floral motifs, or a country inn decorated with gingham, plaids and stripes.

Faux wood blinds are the perfect choice for kitchens, or for any window where moisture is a concern. An economical alternative to wood blinds, they’re designed for durability and available in simulated stained and painted finishes.

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