How does the saying go… new year, new kitchen? Probably not, but if you received any culinary gifts during the holiday season or go through a yearly ritual of purging out the old, why not update the room you spend the most amount of time in. The kitchen is filled with creative possibilities since it not only has to be pretty, but useful as well. Think about how many options your kitchen must cater to depending on you or your family’s diet. A smoothie in the morning? The blender needs adequate counter space. A family of 5? A large fridge is a must. Do a lot of stovetop cooking? Pans and pots need to be within reach. And if you made any New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, now’s the time to think about your kitchen.
What better way to get inspired than by taking a look at an actual chef’s kitchen? My favorite kitchen belongs to Chef Alice Waters. Noted chef-lebrity for her work in the organic foods movement, as an advocate for school lunch reform, and as the vice-president for the non-profit organization, Slow Food International, Alice Waters knows a thing or two about kitchens. Her home in Berkeley, California is a testament to her work on simplifying the food system to enjoy fresh, local, and sustainable produce. The kitchen is no exception.
Outfitted with a beautiful worn-in butcher block countertop island, Water’s kitchen is the perfect mix of farmhouse aesthetic, modern appliances and french influences. Hunter green cabinets with clear glass inserts show off her collection of french bowls. A vintage brass tea kettle sits on top of a modern 6 burner stove. A compost bucket stays parked on the granite countertop by the kitchen sink, ready to catch organic food scraps. Steps away is a fully operating garden that transforms the compost waste into delicious berries and herbs. And a large copper tray serves as the kitchen’s centerpiece displaying all the ingredients Water’s is using in her meals. Unlike the industrial kitchens most chef’s professionally work in, a home kitchen needs to be, well, homey. Water’s kitchen accomplishes this by using a color scheme of natural hues, e.g., greens, browns, and tans, and incorporating a mix of textures, e.g., wood, metals, stone. Maintaining the balance of useful and beautiful can be overwhelming, but with a few set rules you can update your kitchen too.
When it comes to thinking about a chef’s kitchen of your own, it’s important to assess the most important cooking needs to you. Once you have a list of non-negotiables, then it’s time to think about how you would like it to look. Even though Water’s kitchen is simple, the beauty comes down to subtleties in patterns and the array of colors. You’ll notice that besides the large appliances, most of Water’s kitchen is vintage or second-hand. That means your dream kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. You can scour Krrb for the perfect accent pieces for you kitchen at half the price as new.
The backsplash is a great starting point — you can easily find leftover tile or stone sheets at a low price that you can put up over a long weekend. Vintage cabinetry or islands can be re-finished or left distressed and added to your kitchen to showcase an eclectic taste. An upcycled lighting fixture can illuminate your workspace while bringing in the retro vibe. Smaller pieces like large glass jugs and antique bowls coupled with stainless steel utensils and cloth napkins can help balance the new with the old. If Alice Water’s kitchen isn’t your style, tell us which chef’s kitchen do you admire?