By Lisa Cregan
In her new book House Beautiful Kitchens: Creating a Beautiful Kitchen of Your Own, author Lisa Cregan showcases some of the most spectacular kitchens we've ever seen
1. Bold and Bright
In this kitchen, designed by Jonathan Adler for fashion designer Liz Lange, white Ikea cabinets and stainless-steel appliances -- a Viking stove and dishwasher -- provide a calm and neutral background for exuberant bursts of color to create the happiest room in the house. Carrara marble countertops are amply stocked with Adler's own pottery and a white vintage glass vase full of orange mums brightens the island. Ceiling fixtures from Rejuvenation take the place of recessed lights to lend a shot of warmth to the space. Walls sheathed in Carrara marble tile and open shelves are perfect for showing off bold blue-and-white dishes from Villeroy & Boch. Adler's giant stoneware horse bowl is both a lively focal point and a fun way to keep fruit and healthy snacks close at hand.
2. Snowy White Chic
Snowy white, alabaster white, blinding white -- this kitchen takes white-on-white to a level that's beyond chic. Designer Mick de Giulio kept building on his all-white theme -- over the stoves, under the shelves, across counters and cabinetry -- until white was wrapped around this kitchen like a col, crisp sheet. The island is topped with an extra-thick slab of Calacatta Gold marble, and for dramatic contrast back counters on either side of the stove are topped with Pietra Cardosa: a dark, slatelike stone. The ceiling is clad in beadboard, which helps this soaring space feel cozy. White subway tile on the backsplash, by Waterworks, adds a shot of texture. Polished nickel hardware from de Giulio is all about elegance. Mig & Tig barstools are exceptionally simple and windows are left bare.
3. One Wow Wall
Do you crave simplicity but still want pizazz? A colorful kitchen but not colorful cabinets? Designer Marshall Watson has a brilliantly simple solution to your conundrum. Make one wall -- just one -- an out-and-out scene stealer. In this kitchen, Veneto Glass Tiles from Stone Source cover an entire wall -- all the way to the ceiling. "It's a glass tile, in periwinkle verging on cobalt," says Watson. "It's the one big, bold stroke of color, but boy, is it big." Heavy-duty marine lights from Architrove above the island, and Deschutes sconces from Rejuvenation on the walls over the counters provide task lighting. The Pere Tranquille bistro stools from Annick de Lorme are made in France and can be customized in various colors and patterns; here they pick up on the blue-and-white theme. "The blue-and-white palette feels beach, summery, and clean clean clean."
4. Nantucket Charm
In this kitchen, designed by Sandi Holland and architect Ray Pohl, a classic earthy brown-and-white palette keeps the kitchen grounded, while brass accents and a vaulted wood ceiling conjure up Nantucket's seafaring past. "This is one of my favorite Nantucket kitchens. It has all the charm of an old house and all the light of a new house," Holland says. Navajo White paint on the walls has a hint of brown in it, which relates to the Tudor Brown on the cabinets; both paints by Benjamin Moore. Brass hardware, from Nantucket Housefitters feels very approachable for a boating family. Holland chose black for the 48 dual-fuel Viking range so that everything below the counters would stay dark. Provenance Woven Wood Rustica Shades from Hunter Douglas echo the texture of the owner's collection of Nantucket lightship baskets.
5. Farmhouse Feel
Colors taken right from the bucolic Provencal landscape put a gloriously Gallic spin on this new California kitchen. Designer Suzanne Tucker used sage green, mustard yellow, porridge beige, and rustic terra-cotta to create a kitchen with a distinctly French farmhouse feel. Integrally colored walls and a distressed finished on the tongue-and-groove cabinetry add the patina of age to this new kitchen. Beauharnais limestone was used for the countertop, backsplash, and floor as a quiet background for color. The island has a butcher block top in keeping with the farmhouse theme. Richard Mulligan's Mama Bear Chairs -- with cushions in Pineapple Plaid in Olive from Marvic Textiles -- "look so battered it feels like you've had them for 50 years," says Tucker. "The kitchen cabinets are new but made to look old with seeded glass in the doors and about six layers of paint, all worn back, to give it that nice aged quality."
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By Lisa Cregan