Monday, August 6, 2012

Sometimes Pretty Can be like Functionals Third Cousin Once Removed

My last blog post discussing HouseBeautiful's Kitchen of the Year has sparked several conversations with people both in and out of the industry regarding functional vs. pretty. Show homes, magazines and displays go above and beyond to create breathtaking spaces, but, like the Kitchen of the Year a lot of times beautiful does not translate into functional or realistic options for everyday life.

Publications and show houses are to interiors what fashion week is to fashion.

Fashion Show - Alexander McQueen
Most of us take ques from what we see walking down the cat-walk but few people take the exact looks to the street. Fashion shows are meant to spark interest and convey styles and trends, but it is the discretion of each viewer as to how they are going to translate these looks into their own wardrobe.

Interiors are no different. For most, when they decide it's time for a kitchen or bath remodel it's because something in their current space is not working and probably hasn't been for sometime. As important as it is to make the new space beautiful, the goal is also to increase the functionality as much as possible.

One of the main topics of conversation from last weeks post came from this shot featuring the polished stainless steel open shelving.

This look definitely makes an attractive statement, but most would agree it is not the most functional for everyday use. While the dishes, bowls and glasses have been arranged on the shelves as if this is where you would actually store these items, I'm not sure that's realistic for most. Picture yourself preparing dinner for your family or having guests over for a get together; if the items stored on these open shelves were actually used during your preparation, there is no way the shelves would always look like this. Is this a problem? No, but, it is something to keep in mind. Efforts would have to be made daily to keep everything looking neat and orderly.

Let me start by saying that I really like this kitchen. I love the pops of yellow against the white and of course I'm loving the brass hardware. But, all of those thoughts are for another day, another blog. Today, let's focus on the entire wall of open shelves. Again, this creates a beautiful focal wall, but offers very little in terms of storage. Unless you have a very large kitchen with an abundance of storage on other walls, dedicating one whole wall to open shelving could be limiting.

This butler's pantry is another Mick De Giuilio creation. Notice the wall cabinets all have glass fronts while the base cabinets are solid. I feel about glass front cabinets as I do about open shelving - less is more. Even though this shot showcases a good amount of glass front cabinetry I believe it is balanced by equally as many solid door cabinets, so as to give the option for both showcasing and storing various items.

White marble countertops are so elegant, so timeless and so very popular right now. Open any magazine on the rack today and you are going to be bombarded by pictures of kitchens and baths with white marble countertops. It's beautiful. It's popular. It's a beast to maintain. One spill can be the demise of these beautiful, expensive pieces of stone. In previous posts we have discussed alternative options to marble, but let me be clear I'm not against using marble, in fact I have used it in one of my own bathrooms. I'm simply saying knowledge is power. If your kitchen is truly the heart of your home and everything from cooking and drinking to coloring and bill paying are happening upon your countertops, white marble may be a risky choice for you. Understand that marble is a natural stone from the earth and very porous. While you can seal your tops to prevent staining, eventually the newness of your tops wear off and life happens.

Show houses, magazines and showroom displays all focus on the pretty, out of the box, inspiring looks. While these are all good places to gather ideas and inspirations, you really need to think about these looks working in your real life, you know, the life where you cook, you spill, you're sometimes in a hurry and don't feel like organizing your cupboards life.

All photos are from google search.

4 Appreciated Comments :

stainless steel shelf said...

Very nice and beautiful!

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