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  • Mixing Fun Materials For A Modern Kitchen Design

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    Modern kitchen design with plywood

    The kitchen is no longer the most basic and purely functional room of the house. Through the use of fun, new materials and combining lots of different textures, the kitchen is quickly becoming the statement room of the house!

    The kitchen above mixes simple materials to create its unique look. The clean white countertop paired with the raw plywood and simple glass storage are a perfect combination! Like these cute glass mason jars, be sure to make the home decor selections just as important as the larger furniture and built-ins choices.

    Modern kitchen design with concrete

    The kitchen above is more bold in its design aesthetic. Concrete surfaces are a trendy alternative to the typical tile or granite options.

    Modern kitchen design with brass

    Talk about making a statement.... this kitchen veers away from the typical stainless steel look for a handsome brassy alternative. Paired with the pale concrete floors and gray brick walls, this kitchen is a show stopper! The oversized modern pendants give the space its shiny element, while the spotted countertop gives it a nice contrast.

    Hopefully we've given you some fun ideas for a modern kitchen. Don't be shy to mix and match materials as long as you have a cohesive design goal in mind.

    Images: Augenpralinen, Style Files, Sold Frog

  • Minimalism Al Fresco

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    Modern Outdoor Fireplace

    On the surface, minimalism and the great outdoors don't seem to have much in common. However, upon closer examination, minimalist design's unapologetic shedding of extraneous elements closely echoes the process of natural selection - a process whereby plants and animals that have survived through the ages have done so by casting off all traits deemed unnecessary for survival. A clean focus on the essentials.  

    It's only fitting then that when cooking and eating in nature, one does so with a minimalist flair.

    minimalist outdoor decor

    Dining al fresco is an opportunity to return to basics. Simple ingredients are the key, be they what's on the table or the table itself. The Itauba table (pictured below) is an all-in-one outdoor kitchen solution. An unlikely design from outdoor gear manufacturer Snowpeak, this Japanese-inspired table features a stove and grill in the center. The camp lanterns are optional of course.

    contemporary outdoor kitchen

    In fact, there's much more to outdoor lighting than camp lanterns. The al fresco kitchen should invite starlight in and keep light pollution out. For that purpose, dark sky lighting provides light where it's needed (for pathways, stairs and such) without destroying the natural ambience.

    Outdoor Lighting

    Hinkley Atlantis Bronze High Dark Sky Outdoor Wall Light (left), Vertical Dark Sky High Outdoor Wall Light (right)

    Fire can be central to the outdoor experience. Heat source. Light source. Marshmallow roaster. New Zealand based Escea makes a stunning line of modernist outdoor fireplaces.  

    contemporary outdoor fireplace

    Sleek, stark modernist lines are seemingly incongruous with nature, yet anyone who has seen Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater or John Lautner's Desert Hot Springs Motel (recently renovated by interior designer Tracy Beckmann) will speak of the sublime attention to the land that both of these monuments exhibit. The open-air folly pictured below, by New Zealand based Herbst Architects, is constructed mostly of natural materials to provide a minimalist respite that blends into the surroundings yet keeps the rain out. It includes a simple kitchen and dining table.  

    contemporary folly design

    Less is more. Such has been the modernist doctrine for nearly a century now and such has been the doctrine of nature for eons, proof that good design never goes out of style.  

    Images: The Outdoor Stylist, MoCo Loco, Urban Gardens, Escea, Architechnophilia

  • The Materials of EuroCucina 2012

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    Marble countertops black porcelain bar top and cutting board.

    It's been an amazing week in Milan. Still jet lagged and trying to get this electrical situation straight, but it's all OK. Because I was not able to charge my battery on my camera, I'm delivering you some shots of the fabulous products at EuroCucina via my not so fabulous camera phone! There were some amazing new materials introduced this year and I'm extremely excited about them! Also, the combination of materials was stunning and created so much dimension. The kitchens really became one with nature without having that reclaimed feeling we've been seeing for the past few years. The above kitchen mixed thin black porcelain tile, marble slabs, and butcher block to create this piece of art, standardly called an island. The porcelain tile wraps the modern faucet, the marble caps the downdraft, and the cutting board rests and slides along the length of the island. It is pure genius!

    Concrete cabinetry with concrete countertops

    This concrete kitchen was one of my absolute favorites from the shows. You may think that the doors are going to weigh a ton, but not with the new technology! The concrete material is basically veneered on a solid panel. This gives you the complete look of concrete, but without the weight. The drawers operate smoothly and the look is something that is so unique! The contemporary lighting options for the concrete are endless, but personally I love it with modern industrial floor lamps. Big things to come with concrete cabinetry and concrete furniture.    

    Stone Veneer Cabinetry and Wall Panel with Oak Cabinetry

    The thin stone veneer panels make beautiful drawer fronts! The mitered edges on this cabinet work so perfectly with the clean and perfectly straight edges of the stone veneer. The drawer fronts are durable and one of the most amazing parts is that it can also be used as the countertop which creates, in this case, an island that is a solid volume within the space. The material is then used again on the wall and allows the natural wood veneer to contrast with such elegance.  

    Thick marble countertop laquer island and smoked oak tabletop

    Porcelanosa did a great job of combing materials to create a sculptural look that breaks up the length of the island. It's a genius selection of marble countertops, white laquer cabinetry, and a smoky oak wood veneer table that is combined with impeccable detail.  

    Natural Stone Countertop with Rough Edges with Steel Cabinetry

    Another one of my all time favorites was the use of corten steel on cabinet drawer fronts. This application is such a great alternative to your standard stainless drawers and you don't have to worry about fingerprints! It mixes great with a sleek clean edge of natural stone or like as it was displayed at this booth. The thick raw edge of the natural stone is an incredible look.

    Image Source: Annie May

  • Modern Kitchen Design Done Artfully

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    Art in kitchen

    Who says you can't put art in the kitchen? No room should be forgotten when it comes to adding art on the walls. It's a beautiful way to add color, personality, and in this case... vegetation!

    Framed art in the kitchen

    The placement of home decor accessories in the kitchen, like art doesn't have to be dominating or a major statement piece, it can be subtle. Adding just a few pieces alongside some glass and ceramic containers on open shelving is a nice addition to any kitchen.

    Gold finish framed art in the kitchen

    The use of mixed materials is a statement in itself, but this art piece flanked by two modern pendant lights really makes this kitchen stand out.

    Images: Drago Capital, The Marion House Book, Home Sweetness

  • Best Kitchen of EuroCucina 2012

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    Black metal kitchen

    My choice for the Best Kitchen at EuroCucina 2012 was the debut of Natural Skin and Mina from Minacciolo. The lines explored a range of finishes and details that were incredibly classic in style, but extremely innovative in function and use of materials. I expected that I just might see more of this style of kitchen at the show, but I did not! And this is why Minacciolo gets my vote for best in show! Oh and by the way, their booth was incredible as well! Imagine about 20' high walls of deliciously red fresh tomatoes in beautiful natural wood crates with black steel frames. A perfect blend with the lines introduced!

    Black metal kitchen with knobs

    "Once upon a time there was a stove... Mina, the new concept of multifunctional composition: the taste of tradition is dressed by new technologies, refined details, and Italian craftsmanship. The purity of black metal and the essence of shape become absolute and timeless, giving rise to the new object of desire for any type of environment: minimalist, traditional, classic."

    Red Knobs in the Kitchen

    The red knobs against the matte black surface were a stunning detail!  

    Red Knobs and Modern Kitchens

    Red accents are always powerful accessories whether it be red lighting or hardware.

    Metal rail on top of cabinetry

    The steel rail wraps the island and is the perfect functional detail in any kitchen!

    Hand sawn knotty pine cabinetry

    "A warm, natural skin that covers a totally black structure... Natural Skin gives the possibility to create new surfaces puncuated by minimal plate inserts. A kitchen to live, synthesis and perfect combination of nature and modern technology, to serve also the most demanding chef. Wood and metal merge and become harmonious contrasts."

    Rough Sawn Knotty Pine Pantry with integrated appliances

    The hand sawn knotty pine with the slab front doors and modern integrated handles was an incredible look. The knotty pine adds so much character and still remains very modern in aesthetic.

    Knotty Pine Pantry with integrated appliances

    The cabinet interiors are decked to the nines! 

    Rough Sawn Knotty Pine Detail

    Take a close up look at the hand sawn knotty pine. This is all the rage right now in hardwood floors and contemporary lighting, but the use of this material on the cabinet doors is really interesting to me.   

    Tomato crate walls at Best of EuroCucina 2012

    Look at those tomato crates!! 

    Black Stained Rough Sawn Knotty Pine cabinets with metal cabinets

    Oh and do you see those vent hoods! You can see my photos of the black version of the knotty pine, which was my all time favorite. I thought that I would've seen way more of this at the show, but I didn't. Which is somewhat exciting because I really hope I continue to see more!

    Images: Minacciolo, DesainerAnnie May

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