Kitchen Design Secrets 101: The Banquette

I’m currently in the middle of three kitchen renovations.  Not personally (thank goodness!) but I am vicariously experiencing the pain and inconvenience that goes along with such projects. While function is important to any room, it is especially important when designing a kitchen.  In this case, form should definitely follow function and the design should be well thought out before any work begins.

One piece worth considering when doing a kitchen design is the uber functional banquette.  It’s a space-saver while also adding softness to a room full of hard surfaces and finishes.  Kitchens are often begging for a little pattern and color to break-up the monotony of all those cabinets and appliances.  A banquette can be one-sided, two or even three, depending on your needs and space.

And best of all, the banquette is an equal opportunity seater — it works regardless of your personal style.  Modern, traditional, eclectic, heck it can work with any style de jour — a hollywood regency kitchen anyone?  So, find a corner or a little nook and settle right in, a banquette may be just what you’re looking for.


Why This Room Works: Design Secrets 101

In praise of the “just right” room

Pictured above is a living room designed by Lynn Morgan and featured in the April issue of House Beautiful.  It is undeniably fresh and pretty with its crisp white walls and pastel blues. Perhaps a tad too traditional for my preferred taste, I am highlighting it because it exemplifies what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of successful design.  Yes it is functional, yes it is aesthetically pleasing, yes it appears to feature a nice mix of old and new — all important elements of good design.

But I’m focusing on this room because of what it isn’t — over-designed.  There is something very pleasing about its simplicity. It’s a little breath of fresh air.  No window treatments, a simple sisal on the floor,  there’s a minimum of pattern and even color.  But this room isn’t cold or sterile.  Indeed, it strikes me as someplace that I’d like to spend an afternoon.

Not over-designed, not under-designed, it is a “just right” room.

Given my love of graphic patterns and layers of color, it’s refreshing to take a step back and admire the charms of a lovely, simple room.