Color and texture can link kitchen design to living space


March 06, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: We're planning to refurbish the kitchen area in a recently purchased pied-a-terre. The kitchen isn't large, but it does open out to the rest of the space. How should this area be designed so that it blends with the other sections of the apartment, which will be furnished in a traditional but non-stodgy manner?

A: Start with the surfacing, and try to use the same materials and colors throughout the apartment. This is especially important in regard to the floor treatment.

Don't assume, for example, that there's no alternative but to cover the kitchen segment of an all-over hardwood floor. Proper sealers and polyurethane can ensure that such surfacing is practical for both the kitchen and the living space.

The use of the same wall covering in each section of the apartment will further help in unifying the space. That was the approach taken in the Manhattan studio shown in the photo. Designer Naancy D. Mullan of NDM Kitchens chose durable color-washed canvas for this setting, which was part of the 1992 Kips Bay Showhouse.

Your choice of lighting can also play a major role in integrating the kitchen with the rest of the apartment. I would definitely advise against fluorescent fixtures in the kitchen since they emit a noticeably different quality of light than do incandescent lamps, which you'll certainly be using in the living area. In the model seen here, incandescent outlets were installed underneath the cabinet, thus properly illuminating the kitchen counter top.

Cabinetry or shelving, by the way, should be consistent in color and material if used elsewhere than the kitchen. You might also consider making the wood or wood-toned counter tops in the kitchen blend with the color of your furniture. That will make the kitchen look less like a separate work area and more like an integral segment of the apartment. Placing the refrigerator behind cabinet doors will make this effect even more pronounced.

You'd also do well to avoid open shelving or glass-doored storage compartments in the kitchen. An exception can surely be made, however, for display items such as colorful serving pieces or a china collection that will enhance the appearance of the entire apartment.

Allot a niche somewhere in the kitchen for a step stool, broom, mop and other cleaning equipment. It sometimes happens in situations like your own that so much attention is given to pure design matters that mundane, but indispensable, equipment gets overlooked.

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