A couple of months ago I had a rather interesting kitchen design challenge, with a capital C. I was hired by LG to promote their new Black Stainless Steel series at an editors event in New York – that wasn’t the challenging part. The challenging part came later (keep reading). The ask: Design a kitchen on Pinterest then, weeks later, install said kitchen in one day/night in an event space, in New York (with lots of help from a strong design/build team). It was insane, and was full of fixable bumps and exciting problems to solve.
I pinned two different styles of kitchens – Traditional:
We decided to implement the “beach” themed kitchen, build it out, and install it in an event space.
The design/build team sent back renderings for approval:
Originally they had combined both, which wasn’t my intent, so I asked them to change the following and they happily did.
1.) Paint the cabinets a light gray/green, 2.) change the wood to light wood, 3.) change out pendants for woven pendants, 4.) change out generic stools for pretty white stools, 5.) reduce the cobalt blue.
Renderings can be tricky because it’s nice to see it all together but they also look so cold, so technical, and you aren’t really able to relate any soul or anything vintage. So you have to really use your imagination.
The second rendering came back much better after the revisions and suggestions.
I liked the color of the cabinets and the shelving, but there was clearly a scale issue with that teeny tiny island. My original intent was to find something vintage – a big pretty table, display case, or butcher that was vintage/antique. Like so:
I wasn’t in New York for the prep (I had just had Elliot) so I hired a stylist, the lovely Cat Dash, to help me source any vintage pieces and all the accessories. The piece in the renderings was our backup island (from Ikea), which we thought could work if we were desperate, but once they sent through the renderings I was like “uh oh . . . we need to find a better piece.”
That was the first piece of bad news. The second was that only 2 of the 4 stools arrived. So we were without an island and were 2 stools short the day before the event, and I was a bit worried to say the least. Also to compound the situation our event space was One World Trade Center, on the 144th floor (the Observatory deck) and security getting in and out was a massive disaster. We had to have 2 days notice to bring anything in. So last minute changes weren’t really welcome.
Around 5pm I came to set to check things out and while I loved what was happening to the kitchen I was pretty stressed about the island/stool situation. Thoughts in my head: “What were we going to do … We needed a bigger island but if we got bigger island then we wouldn’t have enough stools. Maybe we should get a table like an in kitchen dining room, with casual chairs around it? But then the pendants will be too high? Well, that times 25 and add in a heavy dose of panicking.
On our way out we saw one of the catering tables, an old door on top of four turned legs, waist high. I thought to myself … now THAT is what we need.
That night we went shopping from 5pm – 10pm, desperate for anything that would work that was available that we could carry in (not be picked up by a messenger). We found a few options, enough that I could sleep but I went to bed that night super stressed, more than I had been in years. I don’t say that lightly.
The next morning I came to set and was ready to solve problems. Luckily, right when I got there the catering was finished and there was an extra table. I snatched that thing up like it was the last table on earth. While it wasn’t perfect, it was the right scale, height, size, finish and style. I only wish that it had more drawers or heft to it. But, otherwise it was by far the best option with the time that we had. Then we had the two stool situation … so last minute we found 2 extra vintage stools that worked with the other two stools we already had. These were rented from a prop house for i’m sure like $100 each. I wish they were all four white stools but given the situation at hand, I was happy that we found two more that were fine.
There were no editorial photos taken (something that I pushed for intensely) so unfortunately I only have these high flash set photos for you all. So PLEASE look beyond the photo and see the kitchen for what it is: A modern beach kitchen with vintage casual love.
We used ikea cabinets but painted the bottom half in Farrow and Ball ‘Feathery Blue’ which was a very pretty green/gray. We used Fireclay Tile for the backsplash which was so pretty and gave it a global bent.
I did a combination of open shelving, glass cabinetry and closed shelving. Glass cabinets make your kitchen look bigger, but you better have pretty things to fill those glass cabinets up with because mismatched sippy cups aren’t going to get you into the lifestyle mafia.
The pendants had to be hung from this ceiling beam that ran at a diagonal on the set so that is why they aren’t on the same plane or directly above the island.
We propped it out with vintage seascapes, organic wood and lots of wicker. I really wish that these photos reflected how pretty it was in person because it actually was.
The black stainless steel looked actually really great in this beach kitchen. And a quick plug for it, (this is not a sponsored post by the way) it is VERY smudge resistant. That’s always been my beef with stainless – so hard to clean. But this has a certain technology that makes it extremely hard to smudge.
The rug is actually so pretty but it didn’t photograph too well here. It was a better scale for the island that we almost put in there but is a bit small for this one. We went back to take more photos the next morning with my iphone and natural light but alas they had already demo’d. All for just one night. So crazy, right? They threw this big party with a ton of editors, with huge ice sculptures, lobster, and a live jazz band. David Bromstad (who designed the other kitchen) spoke about both of our kitchens and then spoke on a panel with a few more experts on home/real estate. Designing the kitchen, styling the space, prepping my talk and being in New York with both kids was total insanity. You can see how they had the space laid out in the pic. A kitchen on each side with a presentation area in the center.
Despite said insanity I loved how the kitchen turned out although there were a few things I would change: I want a chunkier island, 4 matching stools, and better photos :). Otherwise I would live in that kitchen in a second.
What do you think?
1. Wire Paper Towel Rack | 2. Moroccan Tile | 3. Woven Pendent Light | 4. Blue Monday by Studio Singhi | 5. Marble & Brass Orb Lamp | 6. Brass Bar Pull | 7. Rattan Bar Cart | 8. White Serving Set | 9. Brass Pot | 10. White Bar Stools | 11. Copper Cake Server | 12. Wandering by Stacy Kron | 13. Gold Dish Rack | 14. White Dutch Oven | 15. Walnut Cutting Board | 16. Marble & Wood Cutting Board | 17. Navy Rug | 18. Paint in Feathery Blue | 19. Copper Pitcher | 20. Geometric Wood Rolling Pin | 21. Faceted Gold & Glass Candle Holder