Kitchen Clarity Adventures in Kitchen and Bath Design

Palatial premises – some dream kitchens

10.24.2011 · Posted in Kitchens

I’m indulging my soft spot for modern design in ancient spaces today.  It’s been quite a while since I added to my I need an Italian Palazzo now collection. Here’s a perfect candidate:

Casa Orlandi, near Prato - design Sabrina Bignami, via Yatzer

The mirror behind the cook top is protecting the frescoed walls – although they’ve been painted over, the owner/architect Sabrina Bignami is in the process of uncovering works by 18th century Tuscan artist Luigi Catana. Now won’t that be a unique kitchen backsplash?

Casa Orlandi - ancient and modern, mixed

I’m only showing the kitchen here – that’s quite enviable enough. If you need more to convince you that this is a perfect palazzo, be sure to check the original article at  Yatzer for even more jealousy inducing inspiring photos. If the envy becomes overwhelming, scroll down to the end of the original article to find how you too could stay at Casa Orlandi. I’m wondering if there’s an opening for a willing, if unskilled, fresco restoration assistant?

Now, I am prepared to accept that there may not be sufficient empty palazzi in Italy to accommodate all of us. But if you’re willing to move elsewhere in Europe, and to trade an actual palace for an apartment conversion in a grand 19th century building, there are more opportunities.  And more than one way to convert a casa or mansion flat too – see how this island kitchen (from Denmark’s Bolig) leaves the original architecture untouched? All mod cons, and not a mark on your grand moldings and paneling:

Clean contemporary kitchen in an elegant Danish space - Bolig Magasinet

But wait – where’s the ventilation for the cooktop? It would be a real shame to get a greasy spot on that ceiling. You’ll notice there’s no visible lighting either, except the windows.  I’ll sadly have to assume this is just a publicity shot, not an operational kitchen I could aspire to ownership of.

The reality of converting ancient spaces for modern living is usually a little more messy. Here’s a bold example from Barcelona, squeezing a little contemporary kitchen into the corner of a grand room:

Bold adaptation - kitchen corner in Barcelona apartment - MiCasaRevista

Definitely not a conversion for the faint of heart – check out all the wonderful images at MiCasaRevista for more views. And maybe there’s a bit of a lighting issue here too? Peppering old lathe and plaster ceilings with holes for contemporary lighting is not an easy thing to do:

A little kitchen in a big Barcelona space

But you know, if I could live here I’d even be willing to compromise my designerly principles, and put up with a desk lamp on the kitchen counter. In fact, candlelight would be perfectly acceptable for me – how about you?

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6 Responses to “Palatial premises – some dream kitchens”

  1. I love Casa Orlandi! Vintage looks yet it looks classy and comfortable to work on!

  2. Candlelight and a Spritz – that’d do it for me. Ciao bella..

  3. Hi Colin, yes, I thought the gold “wire hider” was pretty cool, too – talk about virtue from necessity! Ah now, Johnny Grey, that would be a whole different story, putting an heirloom kitchen in your heirloom habitation makes perfect sense to me.

  4. I saw something like the Danish kitchen in a condo once — it was an old mansion hacked into 3 or 4 units, and so there were these complete little kitchens awkwardly parked in much larger rooms. It seems to me that Johnny Grey is really the route to go with big old rooms, if you are lucky enough to have one, rather than those sleek uniform cabinets.

    Interesting in the last linked renovation the “gold guides that camouflage the electrical installations” — they probably couldn’t open the walls or fish wiring through them. But they do turn those guides into a nice design element. That’s one of the biggest obstacles I’ve noticed with old building renovation — you often have to just start fresh with the electrical because updating has been haphazard, and that means pulling out a lot of wall.

    And sorry, no to candlelight — I need to see when I’m chopping.

  5. Yes, candlelight. More than acceptable!