What the Pros Know: Kitchen Design
Interior design tricks and tips borrowed from the Kohler Design Center
One of the best parts of covering the world of home renovation is getting a peek at The Goods—the huge array of kitchen, bath, and finish products that architects and designers use to transform an interior space. During my recent visit to the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin—design central for the all-American maker of toilets, tubs, sinks and the likes—I got a chance to wander the huge space filled with a vast variety of Kohler wares.
This is fun in and of itself, but Kohler goes one better. Each year the company asks a handful of big-name designers to create a space using their products. The result is several dozen high-concept bath and kitchen mock-ups, realistic down to the dishtowels and toothbrush holders. With no client to rein in their creativity, the designers get to use the space as an idea laboratory—one that's open to the public.
Can't make the trip just now? We brought back some of the clever tricks designers employ to give the rooms they create a little something extra: a little more space, a little more decorative interest, a little more originality.
by Kathryn Keller
What a bright idea: Install a chalkboard message center and cookbook holder with reading light right in front of the exhaust hood—it's spatterproof and right in your line of sight.
For a sink wall with no view, try a decorative mirror to create a focal point (it'll enable you to monitor what's happening behind you, too). It'll also brighten the room by reflecting the available light.
Another tactic for a windowless wall: Dress the opening you wish were there. Here, a pair of closed shutters with a decorative clasp finishes the above-sink area. Trim out the space with window casing that matches the rest of your rooms for the most authentic effect.
Replacing one or more panels on cabinet doors with metal mesh—whether fine screening or heavier metal grills—adds another texture to a room. It's also great for areas that benefit from air, such as where you store root vegetables or under-the-sink cleaning supplies.
Got a cramped city kitchen? Expand the view. This packed pocket kitchen has storage cabinets above and below—but the panels are mirrored to multiply the space visually.
Beveled mirror tiles installed as a backsplash make for even more reflected light and an even greater feeling of expansiveness.
Another space-expanding trick: Inset a full-length mirror at one end of the kitchen. Frame it with flush-mounted molding for a built-in look that blends with the other millwork.
Especially when you're talking kitchen and bath lighting. Let a hanging fixture be a dramatic focal point—just be sure to put it on a dimmer for maximum lighting control.