7 Essentials for a Kitchen Banquette

Today is dedicated to one of my favorite tricks in the kitchen- the banquette.  I’ve talked about this before.  We know it’s a great space saver, plus a way to add style and comfort to the kitchen.  But do you know the right depth, or fabric, or shape that could work in your space?  Read on!

1. A corner banquette is the ideal space saver.  The table can tuck much closer to the corner than it could with chairs.  
Since two sides of seating are so cozy, you can have a little fun with the loose chairs.

Windsor Smith
2. A round table is best with corner banquettes for easier maneuvering in and out of seating area


Better Homes and Gardens

3. Don’t skimp on seat-depth.  Do a full 24-30” for maximum comfort.  You will not be able to sink into an 18” deep banquette.
4. Banquettes are great in spots where the windows are too low to accommodate kitchen cabinets.


Kate Spade
5. Choose the right material- Many fabrics can be laminated for easy wipeability.  Sunbrellla/Outdoor fabrics are another smart way to go.  
If you go for a standard fabric and there is a stain, don’t fret, and don’t clean it!  
Call a professional service- they can get most stains out as long as you haven’t messed with it first.


Mona Ross Berman/Trad Home


6.  Play up the drama!  If there is room for a back to the banquette, make it a little higher than standard or introduce an interesting shape.  
The banquette is sure to be a focal point in the room, so make it really special.




7.  Attach your banquette to your kitchen island.  Some kitchen layouts do not have room for both an island and a kitchen table. 
By attaching a bench to your island, you are eliminating an aisle for traffic flow (and no seats will be pulled out, obstructing traffic either.)

Brynn Duggan
Tobi Fairley

10 Tips for a gorgeous Transitional Kitchen

This month’s Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles features a gorgeous transitional kitchen by Matthew Quinn of Design GalleriaKitchen & Bath Studio.  I have to say that Design Galleria is my favorite kitchen design firm in the country right now.  They are classical, stylish, modern yet timeless and great at mixing finishes and styles in a work space. I’ve culled 10 tips from the kitchen below that you should consider for your dream kitchen.



1    1.  A statement Hood is essential.  I’m just mad for curvy hoods with strapping right now, so this number by Francois & Co is right up my alley.


2    2.     The sink does NOT need to be under the window.  Note how here the second sink is in between two windows and the range is in between the other two.  This creates a sense of symmetry, allowing both the hood and the shelves above the sink to be a focal point in the kitchen.


3    3.    Two islands are better than one in a large kitchen.  Quinn says the original single island “split the room in half.”  If you have the space for it you should consider a work island and eating island with plenty of room to navigate in between.

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      4.  Mirrors aren’t just for wall cabinets.  Decorative mirrored doors on the island dress up the end that faces the family room.  I love mirrors in a kitchen- they visually expand a room of any size!


5    5.   Extend short windows with mirrors.  I love this trick: Quinn extended the casing of the windows and created “mirrored transoms.”  This makes the windows feel much more proportional in the room.

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.     6.  A large single light fixture over the island makes much more of an impact than two (or three) small fixtures.  How chic are these chandeliers from Urban Electric Company?

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      7.  Turn an island into a furniture piece.  How divine are these custom island legs with brass ball detail?  Going custom on key pieces takes the whole kitchen to a higher bespoke level.  You could even mix stock cabinetry with custom legs- just make sure to match the finish!

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      8.  Mix hardware.  Quinn mixed brass and stainless and matte black hardware and fixtures.  I love the pulls he used on the refrigerator.  They look like big knobs and make the piece feel more like an armoire.

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      9.  Make a statement with shelf brackets.  These custom brass shelf brackets just may be my favorite detail in the kitchen.  They are a little industrial and a great unexpected touch.

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      10.  Use sconces over windows.  I love that they placed sconces in the mirrored transoms over the windows.  All kitchens should have a mixture of task and ambient lighting.

And I can’t sign off without saying THANK YOU.  What thoughtful, kind, compassionate and wise readers I have.  All of your comments really warmed my heart and reminded me that I’m not alone in my feelings.  It’s my goal to write a personal post every month.  Perhaps not always as gut-wrenchingly personal as Friday’s post, but a bit more about Nay.  So thanks again.

Kitchen Style- Wood Bottoms, White Tops

We just designed a kitchen with stained wood base cabinets and white wall cabinets.  My clients favored the look of a craftsman-style wood kitchen, but were concerned about light preservation- they didn’t want the room to feel too heavy and dark.  I suggested open shelves or white cabinets and they chose the latter.  We are also doing lighter countertops and backsplash to keep the kitchen clean and crisp.  I can’t wait to see this one come to life!

Living Etc

Susie Sarlo

I’m a big fan of this look.  Wood base cabinets bring a nice organic look to the kitchen plus they are super kid friendly.  (Stained wood takes dings and beatings better than white cabinets.)  The white on top feels fresh, open and stylish.  It’s the best of both worlds.  As I always say- You don’t match your shirts to your pants, so why match your walls cabinets to your base cabinets.  Think outside the box when it comes to your kitchen finishes.  You just may love the result!

House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year

House Beautiful‘s Kitchen of the Year just debuted in New York’s Rockefeller Center.  Designed by Mick De Giulio, its 1000 square feet jammed packed with interesting details.  I haven’t seen it in person, so I’m reviewing the photos found on HB’s website.

The first things that strikes me is that it’s not a symmetrical kitchen; the hood is not centered nor flanked by matching cabinets.  That being said, this is not a bad thing in my mind.  The space looks balanced to me and I imagine it functions well.  I mention this, because I think a lot of people get really stuck on symmetry when it comes to kitchen design and I don’t think they need to.

At first glance, I thought the tall cabinet to the left of the range hood was a mirrored refrigerator!  (I got really excited about that.)  Turns out it’s a “Metal Boy” custom designed by De Giulio to display pots and pans.  I like that this is both functional -everything is easily in view- yet also allows for an open design and mix of materials.  Why hide everything away?




I was intrigued by the lights over the island.  They are Ralph Lauren’s Andover Pendant available through Circa Lighting.  Here is a closer look at the pendant.



Another design element that sticks out to me is the lack of wall cabinets.  We see high wall cabinets above the refrigerator and oven wall in the first image, but the rest of the main kitchen has other forms of storage.  Above the sink wall is an open metal shelf.  This reminds me of the post I did on etageres in the kitchen.  LOVE this look.  Question: Why do people spend big bucks to remodel kitchens and insist on keeping ugly plates and hiding them away?  Upgrade your dishes and display!


The Davlin subway tile by Ann Sacks is to die for.  Probably my favorite element of the kitchen.  The cobalt sink (Jonathan Adler for Kohler) is pretty fun too, though.


The butler’s pantry wasn’t a hit for me.  I usually like painted ceilings, but something about the blue mixed with the gold Apollo flush mount pendant seems really random.  I’m sure some people will love this space and some will feel like me and that’s OK.  Also, what do we think about glass fronts for the wall cabinets in the pantry?  That’s the one place I WOULD like to hide stuff away.  I’d do mirrored doors instead- feels open like glass but conceals the Cheerios.  I DO think the sink tres fun.  Wish I had information on that.

I enjoy the niches next to the range hood, though I’m wondering why one wasn’t done on the right side. (This is where my symmetry-loving brain kicks in.)  What do you guys think of the hood?  It’s kinda MEH for me.  Wish there was a detail shot.  It looks like its trimmed in metal, which I appreciate.  The planked hood is interesting, but not particularly memorable.  I’m curious to know what others think about it.  So often the range hood is the focal point of the kitchen.


The last thing I’ll mention is the countertops- they are not marble… SHOCKING!  It’s nice to see another material.  The main counters are Caesarstone Fair Lady Supremo 1650, which is an extremely durable, family friendly counter.  He mixed it up on the island, adding an L portion in walnut.  I’m kinda weird about islands- I prefer one height, one material.  Call me a minimalist.

And that is the 2012 kitchen of the year.  You can learn more about it HERE.  Is/Has anyone planning on making the trip to see it?

Declaring Independence from Boring Kitchens

Happy 4th of July!  What are you doing reading blogs right now?  Are you Canadian or something?  (Just kidding, I big-time heart my Canuck readers and blog friends.)  For me, Independence Day is all about BBQ’s, outdoor living and time with friends and family.  I very much appreciate that my forefathers fought for my freedom to sit in a lounge chair while eating ribs and watching fireworks.

Other than us take-out types, prepping for a good 4th of July party means time in the kitchen.  What better way to declare independence than being bold and free in the kitchen?  Here’s a little red, white and blue inspiration for you.  I love colorful cabinets and when done in classic colors like red or blue, spaces look so vibrant and timeless to me.  Could you embrace a colorful kitchen?  Or are you not ready to live so free?


Hotel Pulitzer Bar via La Dolce Vita


Does anyone know the source of this one?