During any remodeling project, gathering inspiration is an important step. Otherwise, how would we ever go from the existing mess (My Current Kitchen) to the space of our dreams? It’s one thing to drool over gorgeous multi-million dollar spaces splayed out in magazines and quite another to draw meaningful guidance for your own renovation. That is, assuming you’re not one of the lucky few with a palatial space and limitless budget. If so, then please, drool away and stuff as many gorgeous photos into your designer’s hand as possible and they’ll be able to do this for you. Inspiration abounds these days, from the cornucopia of TV design shows to online resources like Houzz. Gathering ideas isn’t difficult – figuring out how to use them can be. One of the things I’ve worked hardest at during the past few years is paring down my inspiration to elements that can be replicated; analyzing what I like at a fundamental level. Too often, homeowners lament the fact that they’ll never have X, Y, Z because of budget, space, whatever.
But, we CAN have the elements from our inspiration. And sometimes, we have to acknowledge what we can’t have in order to accept what we can. So, no, maybe I can’t have a beautiful 10 foot long marble island with glimmering pendants shining from the lofty ceiling (at least, not right now). For starters, my kitchen is barely 10 feet long and there is NO room for an island of any kind! I dwelled on this sad fact for months before moving on to open myself to the possibilities that do exist. I can incorporate some things I can like – light, natural stone counters, a sense of airiness and openness, a little bit of sparkle via some metallic shine… Catch my drift?
For me, the translation from grand inspiration to doable reality flows through 2 phases. 1.) Acceptance of the possible. My kitchen is small. The eat-in space off of it is small. My budget is equally… small. 2.) Identifying themes that I can incorporate into my design. For me, this includes:
- Warm wood
- Polished silver – in the form of cabinet hardware, appliances, and accessories
- Creamy stone
- Painted white cabinets
- Cool grey walls
- Lots of light
- Streamlined design
- Glass – maybe in the form of cabinet fronts
- Single bowl sink
- A bit of dark to balance the light
I’d like to share some photos that inspired me during this process. Now, by the time I arrived at this point, I had already evaluated different styles. I tend to like more modern designs, but that simply would look out of place with the style of our home. So, I’d already narrowed down my style to a very classic but clean inspiration, relying on timeless elements that would mesh with the odd contemporary/traditional look of our house.
I distilled these elements to form the parameters of a rocking kitchen design. Some choices flow easily from inspiration to reality:
- Paint walls throughout main living area grey
- Wood floors throughout the main floor
- Replace kitchen sink with stainless steel, single-bowl model
- Replace kitchen faucet with something clean-lined and shiny!
- Paint cabinets white
- Add polished nickel hardware for bling
- Replace black appliances with stainless
Reaching other goals requires more thought. How can I make the space feel open, bright, airy?
- Replace sliding doors and curtains with simple, 1-lite french doors
- Downsize dining table
- Replace two-level counter with single level to open the area visually and add workspace
- Replace refrigerator with counter-depth model to save space
- Reconfigure cabinets to use vertical space and brighten through use of white
- Replace visually obstructive pendants with recessed lights (sad, because the gleaming pendants are one of my favorite things in my inspiration photos!)
- Add under-cabinet and in-cabinet lighting
How do you use inspiration photos to guide you?