My 13 year old daughter loves to bake fun, whimsical cakes. She can whip up a buttercream frosting in no time, and be sure to check out her collection of decorating tools. She wields them like a French pastry chef! Your finished cakes will look polished and professional. Between sugar, butter, paint and flowers, you can imagine how, er, festive our kitchen looks when the last few petals are sprayed.
I suppose creativity runs in the family because we all love a good project. From watercolors and Play Doh to school projects and baking supplies, we need plenty of storage space for kitchen essentials that are fun and functional, but definitely not pretty.
Our secret creative mess is just one of the reasons I’m so excited about the space we call our “hidden kitchen.” This space separates the main kitchen and dining room and will serve several important functions: it will give us a workspace for baking and messy projects, help us prepare for parties, and keep the ugly stuff hidden.
I have to admit that the nickname “hidden kitchen” is a bit misleading. This space – with its double oven, fridge and freezer – connects two high traffic areas. A swinging door connects it to the dining room and an open door connects it to the main kitchen, giving our hidden kitchen plenty of views.
Here is my top 10 list for making this space functional and formal:
- Make a statement with devices. If you read my last post, you know that the piece of resistance The main kitchen is home to our bespoke La Cornue range. In our hideaway kitchen, I chose Blue Star appliances which I used and loved in our previous home’s kitchen renovation. They are great everyday gadgets and I feel good that my kids can use them. In addition, Blue Star offers a variety of beautiful colors. There are only so many places in a home that you can use something other than color to create a special moment, and in this hidden kitchen, I’m excited to use a unique, moody green as the appliance color.
- Get organized. I’ve been thinking a lot about our pantry organization. For example, I keep healthy snacks within reach so hungry little ones can exercise their autonomy. I also include bake drawers, my favorite kitchen organization tool of all time. Simple inserts can be easily installed in your drawers and you have all the necessary utensils such as flour and sugar at hand.
- Use a natural wood stain for the pantry. With five children, the pantry is destroyed. Rather than painting pantry cabinets, we minimize wear and tear with an oak finish. A natural finish hides dirty handprints and wipes clean easily.
- layer textures. Our main kitchen has large windows and space for a large banquet, so there are many obvious ways to incorporate beautiful fabrics. This smaller space calls for a little more creativity! I plan to use decorative elements like brass grilles in the cabinets. And there may not be much room for textiles, but I always find room for a covered bench.
- Exchange an island for a table. Here we only have room for an island 30 inches deep, so I decided to recreate the look of a French antique table. We make it at counter height and give it a stable base with a shelf. This is a versatile island alternative that meets our counter space needs now – and gives us the option for floor space in the future.
- Choose a glossy color. In addition to its durability, high gloss lacquer reflects more light, resulting in a vibrant, saturated finish.
- Choose warm lighting. To complement the glossy color, I use warm lighting that inspires me when I’m baking Christmas cookies or wrapping presents for friends and family.
- Create contrasts with floor coverings. The floors in the main kitchen and dining room are beautiful white oak. To connect these two spaces, I chose a checkerboard floor by Ann Sacks. Instead of the expected black and white tiles, we go with a warm cream and gray marble.
- Complete the look with hardware. It might seem cliche when people say that hardware is the adornment of the room, but it really is true. If you choose the right hardware, it can be sturdy and stylish without feeling fragile. Sherle Wagner is my favorite source for authentic hardware inspired by French antiquity.
- Don’t forget the art. My color palette is traditionally light, but I recently found a beautiful painting with moody French tones that are a little cozier and perfect for this space. Our lives are so busy right now that I’m drawn to quiet pieces of art that make the hidden kitchen look inviting and homely.
This story is part of ours Together for revival Series with Caitlin Wilson. Find out about the rest of the series here.