Extreme Kitchens

By Colleen Kane, CNBC.com

To hear them tell it in home renovation programs and publications, every kitchen should look like it's starring in a cooking show or else be dismissed as subpar, even when the existing older components are still perfectly functional. The critics are harsh. There is no room for an avocado laminate countertop.

This kitchen-shaming has proven most beneficial to contractors, to makers of granite and marble countertops, and to manufacturers of stainless steel appliances. Yet, as much as the tastemakers tout the latest "classic" or "neutral" ideal, one day these, too, shall look dated.

See the Slideshow: Extreme Kitchens

Extreme KitchensExtreme Kitchens

So homeowners can either plan to periodically overhaul their kitchens to reflect what's in vogue, or they can flout the conventions, go with personal taste and choose a look that no one else has.

Many homeowners, builders and designers have done the latter. In the spectrum of unusual kitchens, there are automated kitchen islands with adjustable heights and motorized panels, there are appliances that come in vibrant colors and retro styles, and fridges can be printed with custom designs and images. There are many fetching modern modular kitchens on the market, and kitchens from designers and brands such as Fendi, Armani, Ferrari and Philippe Starck.

We're also used to kitchens being made from a mix of materials such as tile, wood, steel and marble. Some of the kitchens in the following collection are made primarily from one material. One is high concept, one uses a common material uncommonly, and others showcase unique looks.

Wherever your tastes lie, though, it's practically guaranteed that at least one of the following 10 kitchens will not be your cup of tea.


Origami KitchenOrigami KitchenOrigami Kitchen
Who says a kitchen island must be monolithic rectangle topped with a slab of stone? Certainly not the industrial designer Karim Rashid who designed this for Amr Helmy Designs. The sculptural multi-purpose island features asymmetrical triangular Glacier White Corian surfaces styled to look like a folded paper object.

The Origami Island debuted in 2011 as a companion to the Origami Kitchen Rashid designed for the Egyptian kitchen company, whose tagline is "7 years ahead."


Swarovski Crystal KitchenSwarovski Crystal KitchenSwarovski Crystal Kitchen
Throughout history, many items have been "blinged" with Swarovski crystals: pianos, swimming pools, cars, fingernails, cellphones and toilets. Covering items in Swarovski crystals is a sparkling way of announcing that you are attracted to shiny objects.

The INO Meuble Crystal kitchen from Japanese kitchen designers Toyo features handles studded with Swarovski Crystal rhinestones. It was made in a limited edition of 20.


Argento VivoArgento VivoArgento Vivo
With this minimalist setup from the Italian line GED Cucine, orange makes a bold and much more modern kitchen statement. The Argento Vivo ("quicksilver") kitchen sprung from the mind of the award-winning industrial designer Roberto Pezzetta.

The counter ends in a futuristic breakfast bar, a light-up circular element evoking the Starship Enterprise. The Argento Vivo also comes in white, silver, yellow, royal blue and green.


Concrete KitchenConcrete KitchenConcrete Kitchen
This kitchen from the German firm Steininger is made of sturdy, heat-resistant 8-millimeter concrete and is available in gray beige, nature gray and anthracite. The fresh herb drawer livens up the design that might otherwise feel cold.

If you like the all-one-material kitchen style but prefer something more organic, modular wood kitchens are available from designers including the Danish firm We Do Wood.

Illuminated IslandIlluminated IslandIlluminated Island
With the Argento Vivo, we already saw one island that was semi-illuminated from within.

But with this light-up marble kitchen island, made by the Australian high-end kitchen and bathroom designers Impala, everything is illuminated. Lest the cook get distracted by the glow, it's topped with an onyx bar.



Stainless KitchenStainless KitchenStainless Kitchen
You knew this was coming: an all-stainless steel kitchen. This kitchen is in a circa- 2006 architectural home in San Francisco that's on the market for just under $9 million. The residence is made from concrete steel and glass, and has an oversized anodized aluminum door and a 66-foot stainless steel counter running from the living room to the kitchen.

For those living on a smaller scale, the Dutch company Vipp, known for its dustbins, also makes a line of industrial stainless modular kitchens.


See the full slideshow: Extreme Kitchens



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