I came across the ridiculously good-looking kitchen (and home) above while doing my usual rounds on the internet, and the light bulb in my head sparked. A kitchen with little to no built-ins, a perfectly curated combination of creative storage, and it doesn’t feel like a flea market exploded in the space…how dare they? And where can I get more!
Kitchens have started to become my design nemesis. They seem to be growing larger everyday, filled with so many tools and gadgets that most normal cooks will never use, and the kitchen island has become a monstrosity. Sometimes the size of a walk-in closet. If you can’t fit all of your stuff in a decent size kitchen then you don’t need a bigger kitchen, you need to get rid of stuff (says the girl who would give her left arm for a luxuriously big dressing room). I think people seem to forget that just because it’s the norm doesn’t mean it is the only way or even necessary. I already want to bring back the kitchen table instead of a huge island and formal dining room, so why not take it to the next step and do away with built-in cabinets.
I’m sure most people won’t be giving up there overhead storage anytime soon, but to prove my point I’ve compiled some photos of beautiful kitchens made from individual freestanding furniture (two are in New Orleans). They each feel warm, inviting, and unique. No white panel doors, subway tile, and marble countertops. By mixing up the furniture it feels thoughtful and collected, displaying what I assume to be the personality of the owner. You can tell by the dish collections on display that the owners spend a good amount of time scoring flea markets and antique shops for the perfect pieces.
Cost is another factor that comes to mind. Although some of the appliances shown cost more than a car, this method of configuring your kitchen has got to be more budget friendly than long runs of custom cabinetry. The cost of custom stone countertops alone would probably pay for most of the storage pieces. It would also allow the owner some room in the budget to use high-end floor and wall finishes, or to afford a coveted hutch or table to become the centerpiece of the space. Either way, this style would require a bit more creativity, but many people have that to spare. Money, not so much.
Even if you can’t fully commit to a completely freestanding kitchen, there are ways to incorporate interesting pieces into your home. Retro refrigerators, open shelving, freestanding islands are all ways to break the mold of typical kitchens. Sourcing vintage or used pieces is ideal, but there are lots of products on the market that would work. I’ll take a Smeg fridge, that barrister bookcase, and a side of marble-topped table. Oh and don’t forget a funky light fixture to top it all off.