10 Ideas for a Breezy Coastal Kitchen

Article by: Laura Gaskill

Whether you live at the coast or just love beach style, this fresh-as-a-summer-breeze look can make just about any kitchen feel a bit closer to the sea. From remodeling projects (hello, aqua appliances!) to smaller accents (striped bar stools) see which of these 10 ideas would be at home in your kitchen.

1. Striped stools. You can’t get much more classic coastal than blue and white stripes — pull up to your island a set of bar stools upholstered in striped fabric for a quick kitchen update. If you’re worried about spills and stains in this high-traffic zone, choose a stain-resistant indoor-outdoor fabric for easier cleanup.

2. Aqua appliances. Who says appliances have to be boring? Colorful vintage-inspired new appliances make a bold (and very fun) statement. Aqua and turquoise are beachy hues that look great in a crisp white kitchen. 

3. Shiplap or tongue and groove paneling.Covering plain drywall with shiplap or tongue and groove paneling (either horizontal or vertical) is a clever way to bring character to a newer build that lacks architectural detail. Continue the shiplap on the ceiling and cabinetry, and paint it all fresh white for a seamless look.

4. Iridescent tile. The shimmer of an iridescent tile backsplash calls to mind the glint of sun on crystal-clear water and pearly shells beneath the waves. Even a small tiled area can make a big impact when it’s this gorgeous, so consider splurging on the tile you really want, even if it must be in a smaller area.

5. Painted floors. If the wood floors in your kitchen have seen better days, a painted finish can revive them and give your room a fresh beach-house look at the same time. If you’re concerned about wear and tear, consider using marine paint — the type made for boat decks. It’s designed to stand up to saltwater, so it can certainly handle a few cooking spills. 

6. Textured pendant lights. Using natural-fiber textiles in the kitchen brings an earthy, casual vibe perfect for a beach-style space. Using pendant lights, like the ones shown here, is more practical in the kitchen than using a natural-fiber rug, since crumbs and spills can be nearly impossible to completely remove from a textured rug. For the best ambience, choose pendants with a filter to diffuse the light on the bottom.

7. Bicolor stools. Color blocking brings to mind nautical flags — navy and white is a classic (and more subdued) combo, or go bolder with yellow or red. If you can’t find counter stools already painted, buy plain ones and paint just the upper (or lower) third yourself.

8. Bistro stools. For a French Riviera take on the coastal look, go for counter-height versions of classic navy and white bistro chairs. They are chic, comfortable, lightweight and easy to clean.

9. Navy island. White may be the standard for a beachy kitchen, but navy isn’t far behind. For a moderate kitchen makeover, consider painting just the base of your island a rich navy blue — it’s a small area, so it won’t take too long or cost too much, but the impact can be huge.

10. Yacht-inspired details. Inspired by the boats in the harbor outside their coastal Connecticut home, these homeowners went with holly and teak flooring reminiscent of a ship deck. The cabinet hardware is custom made from boat handrail stanchions and teak dowels, creating a designer look at a fraction of the cost. 

8 Kitchen Design Tips for Foodies

Article by:

I cut my culinary teeth in a tiny apartment where a janky oven meant that cookies took twice as long to bake, and seared scallops nearly sent dinner guests home with smoke inhalation.

The upside of all that making-do meant I knew exactly what I wanted when the time finally came to move to a larger space and remodel the kitchen. I spent hours poring over solutions for everything from pot storage to dishwasher space, and while not every idea worked for our space, the fixes I found heavily influenced the end result.

Here are eight great tips to help your dream kitchen work beautifully.

1. Buy the right vent hood. Vent hoods are rated by the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air they can suck from a room. While formulas for determining how much power you’ll need vary, you’ll want to start by acquainting yourself with the basics. 

  • There’s no point in buying a hood that’s larger than your range. It won’t really suck more smoke out, and it won’t look right either.
  • Gas ranges generate more heat than electric ones, and thus require more powerful vent hoods.
  • Maxxing out the CFMs isn’t always a good thing. For example, a 1,000-CFM vent hood will suck the air from a 10-by-10-by-10 room in about a minute, then will lose suction unless you have an HVAC system or an open window. So have your room dimensions handy to show the vendor when it’s time to buy.

2. Invest in proper knife storage. If you love to cook, chances are that you’ve spent a pretty penny on at least one good kitchen knife. But leaving it to rattle loosely in a cutlery drawer will dull and damage its blade – and pose a serious threat to your fingers.

Kitchen knives should be stored in a way that keeps them separate and organized, with their blades horizontally oriented so the knife never rests on its blade. 

While my knives are currently housed in the block they came in, I plan to commandeer a little-used drawer and add a knife block like this one.

3. Pull out your pans. This ingenious pullout eliminates messy stacks of pots.

4. Stash pot lids in a rollout. Pot lids can be the bane of any home chef’s existence, jamming drawers and preventing pots from stacking properly. To solve this problem, use a shallow rolling drawer to neatly stash lids for the pots below.

5. Keep cooking utensils off your countertop. Keeping spatulas and whisks in a countertop jar may make storing these awkwardly shaped utensils easy, but it also creates clutter. Consider replacing a narrow cabinet near your stove with a custom pullout to keep utensils close at hand.

6. Create extra prep space. This small San Francisco kitchen was in desperate need of extra prep space. The solution: a custom rolling cutting board and base cabinet that can be pulled out should the sous-chef need some extra elbow room.

7. Make your faucet a soaker. I was wary of a soaker hose’s high profile poking up above our breakfast bar, but my husband talked me into it. And boy, am I glad he did! It blasts water off dirty dishes, cools pasta in no time flat and ensures that every corner of our sink is sparkling clean.

8. Consider a dishwasher with a utensil drawer. The last thing I want to do when I entertain is to disturb guests with the clatter of hand washing dishes, but I don’t want to wake up to a mess either.

Choosing a dishwasher that can comfortably accommodate a heavy load was very important to me. The model I chose has a narrow utensil drawer that slides out above the top rack, freeing space below for unwieldy pots and large stacks of dishes. A year later I can definitely say this was one of the best decisions we made.

12 Ideas for a Knockout Kitchen

Article by:

Bored with plain white subway tile and “greige” walls? Tired of making design choices based on what you think a future buyer might want? These 12 ideas prove that kitchens don’t need to be cookie cutter — in fact, they’re a lot more fun when you personalize your space exactly the way you want it. Let them satisfy your craving for color and creativity. 

1. Geometric backsplash. Bright, bold and eye catching, a feature like this is sure to be a centerpiece. You can achieve a similar look with mosaic tile or by carefully applying paint. 

2. Bright color behind open shelves. Anyone can do this — just remove the doors from your upper cabinets and paint the backs a bright hue. Match the wall color, as shown here, for a seamless look. 

3. Chevron backsplash. A simple chevron pattern looks especially fresh and fun in vibrant turquoise and white. The yellow pots on the stove here really pop against the blue and white tile — and the palette would work equally well the opposite way, with turquoise pots against yellow and white tile.


Contemporary Kitchen by Other Metro Architects & Designers yellow office architecture 

4. Chic decals. White measurement decals on a black wall look refreshingly clean and simple … and they’re useful, too! You can easily find more decorative options too. 

5. Magnet wall. Stainless steel refrigerators are so common these days, we’ve lost the most convenient place for displaying notes, postcards and children’s art. Why not install a giant magnet board in the kitchen to take over? The sleek metal looks cool and just begs for creative personalization. 

6. Wallpaper. Wallpaper is so unexpected in the kitchen, and it’s a treat to see an interesting pattern on the walls instead of flat paint. Many wallpapers are not as delicate as you might think, but if you use one near the stove, it’s best to protect it with a sheet of Plexiglas or a specialty finish. Wallpaper is especially great in small kitchens  the pattern fools the eye into thinking the room extends farther than it actually does. 

7. Color and pattern mixed. Why stop with color orpattern when you can have both? This creative kitchen mixes it up with a warm pink hue applied behind half of the upper cabinets and the upper part of the wall, and a bold wallpaper design behind the bottom half of the upper cabinets.


8. Fridge matched to an accent wall. This petite kitchen is bursting with personality — a small pink Smeg fridge is tucked neatly into a nook in the buttery yellow cabinets, and there’s a fun scrap-wood backsplash. To get a similar look, track down a fridge or stove in a hue taken from your wallpaper, accent wall or backsplash. 

Contemporary Kitchen by Other Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Urban Home 

9. Chalked-up concrete. Take sidewalk chalk to the kitchen with a writable cement backsplash, and have fun creating a rotating display of sketches, doodles and lists. A concrete floor can be treated the same way, depending on the finish used — so you can let the kiddos draw on the floor! 

10. Zigzag linoleum. What a fun way to use plain, supercheap linoleum tiles. Simply apply tiles in two colors you like together in a zigzag pattern rather than in straight lines. 

11. Painted checkerboard floor. Like the classic black and white checkerboard floor, but updated in soft green and blue, this floor is lovely — and it’s a fairly easy DIY project. Mark the pattern carefully on a primed floor, paint in one color and allow it to dry fully before filling in the next. 

12. Pressed-tin ceiling tiles. This Florida cottage kitchen proves that big style doesn’t need to break the bank. Simple Ikea floating shelves, basic cabinets and a reclaimed-barn-wood island save cash and allow the amazing pressed-tin ceiling tiles and marble counters to take center stage. You can find new ceiling tiles in well-stocked home improvement stores, and vintage sets at salvage yards or on sites like eBay.