Kitchen Clarity Adventures in Kitchen and Bath Design

Virtue from necessity – range under the kitchen window

10.19.2011 · Posted in Kitchens, Oh, really?

One of the things I collect is images of kitchens that break the “rules” – and I’m especially happy if the outcome looks like a successful one:

Still looking good - kitchen by designer Tricia Foley, Elle Decor, December 1991

Successful, that is, from a purely aesthetic point of view. This must have been a very small and very constrained kitchen in the first place – surely otherwise no one would choose to line all the appliances up next to each other. A dishwasher right in the corner is never ideal (you really want enough space for someone to stand between the open dishwasher door and the cabinets). And while I  don’t object on principle to the range beneath the window, this looks like an operable sash window with a combustible sill just a few inches from the gas burners – no local inspector is going to let that pass!

But I do admire the designer’s decision to stick with under-counter refrigeration, and to forgo wall cabinets entirely. It makes the kitchen so much more open and airy than its tiny footprint would predict. Even more amazing that this was published in 1991 – if it wasn’t for the dated appliances, it could have been hot off the presses just yesterday. Although in that case, I’d be willing to bet the skinny little island would have a white marble top instead…

I can’t see any lighting at all -  I wonder if that’s photoshop wizardry, or is there a giant flush fluorescent fixture just out of the frame?

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14 Responses to “Virtue from necessity – range under the kitchen window”

  1. For me, I preferred the larger kitchen for it is my best place next to my bedroom. I love cooking and I made sure I have overhead cupboards for the utensils and things for my baking and cooking. I have my dish washer in one corner.
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  2. Too true, Colin, it is impractical, especially as styled. That’s why I’m thinking “beach house”, or maybe “order-in”. But sometimes I have to admit, I just like pretty.

  3. Hi Julie – yes, and we think kitchen design has moved on from 20 years ago?? (Well in dishwashers it has)

  4. Airiness is good. And I realize this has been staged for a photograph, and they probably don’t normally have a potted plant on the kitchen island. But that wall shelf is designed for aesthetics rather than practicality: it’s too narrow and high. And what is up with that back corner? It looks like a thrift shop. (Thrift shops are great, but you wouldn’t cook in one.)

    Notice that no actual cooking equipment is visible — there’s just a surfeit of rustic bowls.

    Anyway, another example of kitchen photography that’s ashamed of cooking.

  5. A very neat kitchen.. I really love kitchen like this.. It looks so alive. Thanks for this post!
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  6. Everyone take things keeping in mind his/her requirements. I like your kitchen, it’s pretty well organized. It’s simple but good. I love these kind of simple things.
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  7. Oh my Sarah, it does look ripped from the pages of today’s magazines — save for that horrible dishwasher.

    I personally would love to have a view while stirring the pots :)

    Great example of successful rule-breaking.
    Julie Warner recently posted..Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher drying tipsMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Hi Joseph, how are you? – Yes, ours is in the corner too – we have to reach across the open door to put the dishes away. Like I said, not ideal, but when space is tight you have to make compromises. I’m always interested to see how other designers resolve these issues too. Luckily we’re a tall family so it works OK for us. I wonder if this is a vacation home?

  9. Actually, we have a kitchen that is about this size, or if bigger, only slightly bigger. We have our dishwasher in the corner because there is noplace else for it. And when we finally do remodel, it will still be right in the blessed corner! I do agree that it would be better if it were not in that place, but it’s all what you get used to, I suppose. Next month we shall have been in this house 19 years, and we are used to it being where it is. We’re also used to an absolutely terrible kitchen, but I have hopes of changing that soon!
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