Notes from the Field: Standout Kitchens

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

I have had the good fortune to style hundreds of stunning kitchens. Because I am enthralled by the incredible diversity of kitchen styles and designs that I encounter, my job never grows old. I am always reminded that the world of designing kitchens requires great skill and creativity.

Kitchen trends emerge. They come and go, but there are those kitchens that follow no lead. It may be a dramatic color scheme, a unique material or an architectural concept that inspires individuality.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Tulip Tree Collection of Washington, Connecticut, designed this stunning space. The room supports designer John David Hunter’s philosophy that a kitchen should feel more like a living space than a kitchen. It is, after all, where we live and breathe most of our time. The handsome, custom-designed, furniture-like look of the kitchen cabinetry brings this remarkable space together.

Photo by Michael Partenio; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photo by Michael Partenio; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photo by Michael Partenio; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Designed with an Old World sensibility but with a fresh and modern eye, this kitchen grabs and invites you in. It takes guts to design a kitchen with a dramatic color scheme like this, and the contribution of the murals is lively. The integration of the twig details on the cabinets is a perfect embellishment for this northern New England mountain home. Design by Beverly Ellsley

Photo by Jim Westphalen; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photo by Jim Westphalen; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photo by Jim Westphalen; styling by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Working with one-of-a-kind materials in a kitchen design is bound to create personality. My friend, author Joanne Palmisano, included this fabulous kitchen in her new book, Salvage Secrets: Transforming Reclaimed Materials into Design Concepts.

The inventive use of salvaged materials creates a wonderful effect: decking for the drawers, repurposed sheet metal for the pulls and countertop and the reuse of the vintage cast-iron sink. All get accolades from me.

Photo by Susan Teare

Photo by Susan Teare

The elegance of this kitchen, inspired by stately European homes, is so well achieved, I simply cannot leave it out. Design by Beverly Ellsley

Photo by Michael Partenio; styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photo by Michael Partenio; styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent

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