Joan Kohn's It's Your Kitchen: Over 100 Inspirational Kitchens
Bulfinch, 2003 (2003)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
aving both a small galley kitchen renovation and a new cottage kitchen in the works over the next year or so, I looked for inspiration in
Joan Kohn's It's Your Kitchen
. I found everything I need and more. On first paging through the book, I was taken by examples that show stainless steel appliances fitting well in both modern and old-style settings, and by unusual features like curved countertops and islands, clerestory windows, and open cabinets.
he author begins by talking about the ability of a beautiful environment to inspire and empower us. She also speaks of the importance of a well-designed kitchen to family life, and emphasizes the need to customize it to a particular family lifestyle. She advises having a clear vision of the design up front to guide choices and '
sustain you when you're ankle deep in plaster dust
', and encourages pushing the limits.
wo main sections in the book cover '
' (vision and basics) and '
Five Building Blocks of Kitchen Design
' - function, space, floor plan, style, and you. Interspersed throughout are practical lists of questions to consider, such as impact on resale value, and on assessing needs for kitchen traffic patterns and storage. '
Joan's Tool Kit
' lists tools '
to harness your creativity
' and problem solve, of use in any design project, not only for kitchens. She even gives ideas for tradeoffs that will let you stay on budget.
ut of course, it's the glorious photographs, showing a wide variety of styles and settings, that truly inspire. I love to look at them, even the attractive outdoor kitchen that is clearly beyond my lifestyle aspirations. I liked the warmth of yellow tones on kitchen walls, and appreciated insights into the use of light (including reflective surfaces) to create the illusion of more space than is there. I found the discussion of uses for a pantry to be helpful, and love the idea of a '
' pantry with pocket door to hide messes away.
here is a myriad of useful advice, some of which resonated with my needs - like suggestions to think contextually and look at adjoining spaces, to locate recycling bins conveniently, and to learn from professional chefs to position '
so that they can pivot rather than walk
' - and others which may resonate more with yours. Kohn says in her final thoughts that '
Our kitchens tell the stories of who we are ... they remain, as ever, the best possible place to share the best of times with the people we love.
learned a lot from my first perusal of
Joan Kohn's It's Your Kitchen
, and expect to learn a lot more over time. I recommend it highly as a design book that impressively presents both the pragmatics of the process and the beauty of the end result.
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