Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kitchens: Decorating (and Photo Styling!) to Distract


Recently, I've been helping fellow design blogger and antique lover, Jacqueline from Tokyo Jinja to come up with some ideas for the dated kitchen in her recently purchased stateside beach house she visits from Tokyo each summer. 

Eventually it will be gutted, but in the meantime, the name of the game could be decorating to distract.

Here are a few plain or dated kitchens (some belonging to famous designers) that have been decorated to distract.  Let's take a look.


Sarah Tuttle's apartment kitchen.  With all that saturated blue and the strategically placed moss ball, mirror, and blue china lamp, you practically don't notice the faux wood laminate counters and plain cabinets. 


This kitchen has those oft-despised 70s era laminate cabinets with wood trim.  But when you are faced with a huge chalkboard wall, fork decal, and chandelier, it's easy to overlook them.



I spy more faux wood laminate and a sink and faucet reminiscent of my own.  But with the zebra pattern hallway and shiny black cabinetry, the counter tops and standard issue stove are easy to miss.


Same goes for Michael Penney's apartment kitchen. (Love him!)  There is lots of brilliant decorating to distract here, from the wallpapered wall, to the light fixture, to doors taken off the upper cabinets, to the baskets above the counter tops.  Even the dark trim on the window keeps your attention away from standard issue counter tops, appliances, and cabinets (which by the way were those 70s era wood trim cabinets before he painted them).


At first glance, you see this kitchen and think, Whoa!  Chic!  The Moroccan rugs, fancy stools, chandelier and counter top styling all say look at me!!  But again, this is a fairly standard kitchen with some upgrades. 

I recognize those cabinets, hinges and stove hood! They're the same as my own in my 80's era rental kitchen.  Here, a sweet little frame has been put directly onto a cabinet door, and most of the focus goes to the beautiful (and newly? installed) butcher block counters, sink, and window with glass shelves.  The hot pink flowers in the sink take it to the next level.  I love it when stylists put flowers in the sink.


In my kitchen, I chose cream paint for the upper cabinets to help hide the fact that the almond stove hood does not match other white appliances.  If I had chosen to do cream lower cabinets, the white appliances would have stuck out like a sore thumb.  The mix of finishes helps to distract too.

The above is no standard issue kitchen.  It is stunning.  But I think that mismatched stool has been intentionally placed in front of the dishwasher to distract from the black hole it creates in the photo.  We are meant to see the fireplace and beautiful windows instead.





Again, old-school cabinets (notice the painted over hinges) and laminate counter tops with standard over-mount sink.  But with all of the amazing decorating (picture frames and sconces) and styling (flowers, flowers, flowers), you'd never notice at all.  

Hear that, Jacqueline?  Just keep an abundance of flowers on your counter at all times.  No one will ever notice the rest!  ;)

{I'm trying something new today.  Click on photos for sources.}



Oh, and one last thing.  According to my sources (thanks, Rachel), this basket from my previous two posts has been marked down from $40 to $25. 


Go get you one.

24 comments:

  1. I love this post, Camille! I still say you have a future in photo styling :) I'm going to repost this link on my FB page. Great ideas (and lots of hope) for those with no budgets for kitchen renovations.

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  2. Love it Camille - I am already packing up my French copper pots and starting to buy some great japanese baskets to take back with me this summer - thinking texture and aged metals will be just what I need. Looking forward to it, but there is a lot of work ahead of us!!

    And I told you - you better buy up those baskets before they are out of stock!!!
    xoxo
    Jacqueline

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  3. I just found you through Emily Clark and love your blog! This is a great post! I am your newest follower and invite you to follow me back!

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  4. I love this post so much. What great ideas and resources for intermediate fixes to kitchen woes. I'm a friend of Jacqueline's and have been privy to many kitchen talks and love these ideas for her!

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  5. What a cool post. I love all the great ideas. You'll have to help me style my half finished kitchen remodel so that the temporary plywood countertops disapear. I think it would take more cut flowers than my budget allows. I am going to go pick up two of those baskets now.

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  6. Amazing post and perfect for me! I'm currently working/living in a 1972 house with literally no architectural detail. It's all about decorating! Your advice is right on point!

    www.chattafabulous.blogspot.com

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  7. Brilliant post Camille! Distraction is SO true and easy to forget when, like me, you are in a new house and want it all to be done to perfection TO-DAY. A great reminder to focus on a few key focal points and the flaws just fade away...

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  8. Fantastic post C! You know I am loving the kitchen with the high gloss black cabinets.
    These are all great examples of how good styling and elbow grease can change the whole look of an ordinary space. I actually prefer a kichen with character rather than all new surfaces.

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  9. Camille, great post!! BTW, the ED photo looks so similar to yours it is crazy....more evidence that yours should be in a shelter mag. I love the kitchen with the zebra paper & black cabinets!! V. cool!

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  10. Whoops, I always do that. KDM is me!

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  11. Wonderful post, Camille! It is so true that you really can often work with what you have ... and make it look amazing! xo!

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  12. Love this post (as always) Camille. Such great info! And thanks for the heads up on the baskets!

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  13. Any image with beautiful fresh flowers is bound to distract me. These are wonderful examples of great styling to deter the features that might not necessarily want to be highlighted. And thanks for the tip on the basket too.

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  14. Great job! So many of can't afford over the top kitchens, but you can add that decorator look with the styling!
    Happy Weekend!
    Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  15. So sad. The baskets might be marked down in California but in Nuevo Mexico they are still full priced. Bummer.

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  16. Fabulous post! You have such a good eye Camille. It is true with the right distraction you can turn a blah kitchen into something more hip! Not sure how I can turn oak cabinet kitchen into something more without paint all the cabinets, but will our time here limited I don't want to put in the effort. Just made a roman blind, which looks sooo much better that the ugly venetians!

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  17. I love all these kitchens, because I have one! I love an older "loved" kitchen. Give me one of "those" over glazed wood cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances...any day....great post...k

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  18. This is so great Camille! It's nice to remember that nothing is really hopeless.

    -Lane

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  19. In that first kitchen of Sarah Tuttles, I think the floor is painted over beige linoleum tile.

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  20. As usual....you nailed this subject. A great case for working with what you have....just like a cheap black dress with fabulous accessories!!!

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  21. Such a great post, Camille, for any renter or homeowner on a budget. These kitchens all have such personality. Their updates keep them from reading as old or dated at all.

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  22. Am following and enjoying your blog! Thanks for this post! I'm finding the pics so inspirational, looking at them over and over. Suddenly my dull Landlord-white walls, dark faux-woodgrain laminate cabinetry and 70's gold flecked laminate counter tops don't feel quite so hopeless.

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  23. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your composing photos of interiors series. So much so that I read all of them within the last 30 minutes! This one, however, would have to be my absolute fav. In a world where we easily get down and discouraged by the gajillions of imagaes of perfectly renovated spaces, its easy to fall out of love with our own lackluster interiors. I love that this post highlights working with what you've got. So what if you dont have those gleaming granite or indulgent marble countertops! These are great ways to incorporate wood laminate countertops and 80s cabinetry into fabulous rooms worthy of being in magazines! Again, Great Post!!

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I enjoy reading every comment.