Advice for people thinking of doing the same: Be prepared for weirdness in the house. Our floor was not level by 1.5″, which wreaked havoc with a design that had no trim to hide uneven lines. Our contractor, Dave Rannala, actually jacked up one corner of the kitchen from the basement below in order to even things out. All the counters and shelves are totally level, but then there are all sorts of little things they did, like tapering the ceiling beams to hide the house irregularity. They did an amazing job. It is really important to have an experienced builder. Also, plan the layout beforehand and test lots of ideas. We did five different kitchen layouts before we settled on the final one. Doing that forced us to answer all the questions about the type and size of appliances and where the work stations would be. Those questions have to be answered at some point, but planning first meant that the actual reno was way less stressful. One final thing: Use simple, good quality materials that are timeless and bridge the modern and historic influences
Image above: I was chef in residence at Leighton House a couple of years ago during the Nour festival and one of the workshops was on spice mixtures and I took the opportunity to reorganize my spice cupboard and bought a whole lot of Weck jars. Even though they don’t all stack up perfectly, I love them and I love the fact that they are completely hermetically sealed preserving the spices in perfect condition. They also look great.
I know that all-white interiors are a bit polarizing — some people find them calming, peaceful or energizing, while others feel oppressed or bored by the lack of color and contrast. I can see both sides of the coin, but there’s just no denying that white brings in the light, and that’s a good thing. This beautiful kitchen makeover in Seattle, created by Portland-based interior designer Casey Keasler, is a great example of how to harness white’s light-gathering properties. Though this redesign includes more industrial elements, lighter wood floors, lovely minimalist wood counters and steel shelving, the open walkway and gleaming white surfaces work together to create a warmer, more welcoming space that could comfortably accommodate a decent-sized gathering of cooks and diners. Nicely done, Casey!