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DECOR SCORE- No Kitchen (Should Be Without) An Island PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 11 October 2012 03:22


Many cooks — and kibitzers — won’t spoil the broth in a l9th-century kitchen space expanded for 21st-century living.

Q: We really love our old house (circa l891), but we're realizing that, more than a century later, maybe it's not the right place for three children, two dogs and lots of friends.

We added a Great Room three years ago, and are planning a kitchen makeover (when the economy allows). My question is about the old butler's pantry — charming, but we'd rather have room for a work island.

Will taking the pantry out decrease the resale value of the house? Also, should the new island match the cabinets (dark cherry)? The floor is oak in a lighter finish. Confused by so many woods!

A: Houses are for living now, not for re-selling whenever. And the more a house can be adapted to changing needs through the years, the better every family lives, and the more you will cherish your old home while you are its caretaker.

In short, if you don't have a butler, you don't need a pantry for him. A center island works much better in many ways.

Not only does it give the cook(s) more elbow room, an island organizes both the space in the kitchen and the family, friends and kibitzers who gather around it.

Designer Jeannie Fulton ( didn't hesitate to rip out the "casually used" butler's pantry in the l898 traditional home we show here.

"By removing the wall between these two rooms (kitchen and pantry), the cooking/eating area was expanded so that the cooks could always be in touch with both the family room and the eating area," she reports. In one well-placed stroke, she created "a kitchen that really works for today's energetic and busy lifestyle!

"It is comfortable, warm, and inviting, in addition to having a great work-flow and open space for socializing," she said. Much of the new room's appeal comes from the designer's use of various woods — in different finishes, please note — on the wall and floor cabinets (painted), and the island (custom-crafted of cherry with a black glaze). Both are from Wood-Mode Cabinetry (woodmode. com).

Neither matches the color of the hardwood flooring, so you can see for yourself that variety is the spice of kitchens, as well as of life.

Q: Fall just fell and already you're longing for next summer? A: Me, too — mainly because I just spent four days covering the Casual Furnishings Show at Chicago's huge Merchandise Mart. I was dazzled by an unexpected irony: "casual" furniture is mostly about the Great Outdoors, about living and relaxing in the bosom of Mother Nature. Yet — here's the dichotomy — livin' easy with nature in the summertime doesn't always come naturally; some of the most interesting new outdoor furniture of the 21st century owes a big debt to manmade technology.

Take fire pits, for instance. A new obsession gaining momentum, fire pits come built into cocktail, dining and free-standing tables, fed by hidden propane tanks (like your barbecue) and ready to extend outdoor living well into the early winter months. One hot lead, pun intended: Agiousa. com.

Never mind that Telescope Casual Furniture has been around in New York State since l903. It, too, has gone high-tech, the better and easier to offer outdoor living. Have a look at their "Terra Stone" tables, a mix of fiberglass, cement, and small particles of stone that looks like the real thing and lasts like, forever, they promise. At Telescope ( the future comes in three patterns we hope your great-grandchildren will appreciate.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 03:25