Modern kitchens may be efficiently kitted out and look seamlessly well designed with nice materials fixtures and finishes – but lack any personality, and thus don’t fulfill their new role as the epicenter of socialising in the home.
Whatever the style – Gothic, Punk, Eclectic, 50’s American retro, Victoriana or Bauhaus – design influences of the recent and more distant past are the ultimate source for inspiration in giving your home and kitchen design that memorable touch, whether you are refitting or accessorising.
I recently visited a successful designer friend’s home recently, who has a very impressive kitchen extension on an equally impressive 19th century house.
It wasn’t the scale and the impressive skylights that gave made the space memorable and individual, but the clever selected touches from the past both classic and quirky; the 1970s ceiling light tracking system, the 1960s influenced furniture, the 1800’s kitchen enamel pots, and the 1980’s wall graphics.
Here are six tips to help you give you a flavour of the possibilities to achieve your own equally individual, memorable look and feel.
Make your walls talk.
Wall graphics are the easiest way to bring life to and unify a space, especially if you have large white or light coloured wall areas. It is good to move and re hang the pictures every so often to re energise the space.
Image content can enhance your design theme, a modern kitchen can have abstract paintings a traditional one antique food engravings or maps, or be in direct contrast – gothic frames and imagery can look good in a slick white environment. It is always best to get original content by artist where possible or print it out and frame it yourself.
The Victorian era is one of my favourite periods, where decorative influences came from far and wide, Chinese willow pattern plates and prints, Middle Eastern rugs, glam lamps and chandeliers -a great source for your inspiration and also the unexpected. Combine the decadent with the functional.
The Appliance of Science.
Retro design influenced kitchen appliances -from American style fridge freezers to the humble toaster are now big business, as tastes becomes more eclectic.
Kitchen ware product design and gadgetry has become as sophisticated as car design and similarly uses upgraded and hybrid versions of retro forms and styles.
The use of colour and materials are constantly being reinvented and becoming ever more exciting, with Scandinavian designers taking over from the Italian classics of yesteryear.
– so it’s worth investing some time, effort in getting the look of your appliances right.
Illuminate your approach.
Kitchen are leaving behind the old look of fixed ceiling mounted spotlights. Candelabras, hanging lights, lamp shades are all making a comeback, and all add theatre and flexibility to the lighting mood and level of the space.
At the other extreme, a custom built neon sign, hand made to suit -whether a word or motif – can add real excitement and expression to a room.
Ideas in store.
Original old enamel storage bins, old branded tins, sweet jars and anything glass are all great touches to add to your work surface of shelves. Good flea markets are full of interesting branded ephemera.
Time to make a statement.
No self respecting kitchen should be without a good wall clock, as mobile phones have replaced the need for clocks in public places, they are becoming ever more a rarity.
You can either make it a focal statement or use one to enliven a ‘quiet area’ we have an old railway station clock in our utility room.
My favourite though, is the cuckoo clock, you can either get an Alpine original or one of the fabulous new versions now on the market.
So remember to avoid the overly bespoke look and discover your design passions from the past.