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Robin's nest

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Delicate eggshell tones, traditional farmhouse detailing and touches of French Provincial give this family kitchen an individual air

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Creating a family-style kitchen goes beyond a practical, well thought out layout. Besides its culinary functions, it needs to have a light, welcoming air and provide a social hub for the home.

The owners of the kitchen featured on these pages wanted a traditional family-style kitchen with a touch of French flair, says designer Lisa Steinbach Schecter of Kitchens On Montana.

"The overall theme is of a classic Connecticut-style kitchen, complete with beaded inset distressed cabinetry and detailing such as turned posts on the island," says Schecter. "However, the kitchen also achieves an individual air through elements of French chic and a customized predominant color."

The designer created the Robin's egg color for the kitchen, which is glazed to add to the kitchen's classic styling. The delicate blue brings a sense of light and openness to the space, and provides an ideal contrast to the family's collection of deep red transferware china.

"Several elements in the room pick up this contrast – from the red knobs on the range to a red clock on the mantel," says Schecter. "Another counterpoint to the eggshell blue is found in the toile de joy material backing the chicken mesh wire under the farmhouse sink."

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This effect of fronting cabinetry with material and wire is a traditional French design element, and there are touches of this through the kitchen. The Herbeau sink is also French, countertops are honed Calcutta white marble, and the backsplash features Calcutta white honed tiles with a mosaic decorative frieze – other elements found in traditional French interiors.

"Walnut floors, stained chocolate brown, extend the classic Connecticut styling and provide another counterpoint to the light-toned walls," she says.

While the overall décor sets the scene for a family kitchen, practical elements were also addressed to ensure that the space also functions effectively.

"It was central to the family's needs to have a breakfast table within easy reach of the preparation areas," she says. "A round farmhouse table was in keeping with the classic styling. Chairs at the end of the island draw family members in and a walk in pantry provides easy access."

The kitchen's modern appliances are generally tucked away out of sight. To the left and right of the farmhouse sink are integrated dishwashers for example. On the other side of the room a large cork message board and a chalk board conceal an integrated freezer and the refrigerator.

"The boards act like a message center for the home, a place to leave notes or reminders," says the designer. "This sense of communication emphasizes the room as a meeting point within the home."

This emphasis is reinforced by the computer center adjacent to the corkboard. Close to the cooking area, it can be used by the chef or by children surfing the net under a protective parental eye.

First published date: 23 March 2004

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Lisa Steinbach Schecter, Kitchens On Montana (Santa Monica, CA)
Kitchen manufacturer Quality Custom Cabinetry
Floors Chocolate-stained walnut
Cabinetry Beaded, inset
Countertops Honed marble in Calcutta Gold
Sink Herbeau
Oven and cooktop Wolf
Microwave Sharp
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Miele, integrated
Faucets Waterworks