Kitchens

FLOTUS in the kitchen

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5

Building on the theme from last week (House of Cards sets that I didn't care about last year when the show was boring), I have always been curious about this White House kitchen.  When I think "White House kitchen", a large industrial work space comes to mind.  

White House kitchen, 1890, with Dolly Johnson (recruited by President Harrison because her plain dishes were superior to those made by the fancy French chef)

White House kitchen, 1890, with Dolly Johnson (recruited by President Harrison because her plain dishes were superior to those made by the fancy French chef)

White House kitchen, current, located on the ground floor

White House kitchen, current, located on the ground floor

So what is this other kitchen that Claire Underwood is puttering around in (because we know she doesn't eat)?  

It turns out that when Jackie Kennedy moved into the White House in 1961, she thought the downstairs kitchen and dinning room were too impersonal for family life.  She had a bedroom and dressing room on the second floor converted into a family kitchen and dinning room (even though a chef was the person doing the cooking). 

Lady Bird Johnson in the family kitchen, 1966

Lady Bird Johnson in the family kitchen, 1966

Somewhere between the Kennedy and the Ford administration, someone decided to give the kitchen a touch of the 70's...

Gerald Ford making an english muffin, 1974

Gerald Ford making an english muffin, 1974

...and sometime post Ford, someone thought, let's keep the room dated by adding wallpaper that matches the drapes!  

White House Kitchen, 1992

White House Kitchen, 1992

White House Kitchen, 1992

White House Kitchen, 1992

Clinton erra, 1998

Clinton erra, 1998

In 1993, Bill Clinton and family moved in, and the kitchen was renovated, but from this picture, it looks like they just swapped out the wallpaper to something equally horrendous.  NOT AN UPGRADE! 

I'm not sure what it looks like now, but it must have been updated since the 90's.  I can't picture Michelle cracking eggs in a room this ugly.   

Subway Tile + Dark Grout

Victorian style  kitchen by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Victorian style kitchen by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

As soon as I get a chance to redo a bathroom or kitchen, I am going to work in subway tile and dark grout.  

This style is called "subway tile" because it was used in the New York City subway stations in the early twentieth century.  It is simple, classic, and inexpensive.  It does not have to be paired with dark grout, but I like the added geometry of it.  And I think it would be great for a bathroom because dark grout can hide a lot of scum.  

Note:  DIY sites say dark grout can highlight sloppy work, so don't phone it in.

Stoker (2013) - Surprisingly, the least creepy room in this house.

Anna Spiro

Anna Spiro

Steven Gambrel

Steven Gambrel

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Jeffrey Alan Marks used this look on the show Million Dollar Decorators when he redesigned the bathroom of his Crossfit gym.  He said he likes the look because it reminds him of a 50's locker room in a boys prep school.  

JAM  on Million Dollar Decorators

JAM on Million Dollar Decorators

Jazzing things up with tape

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It is a common occurrence for a friend of mine to move into an apartment with an unattractive kitchen/bathroom/etc.  They ask me how they can spice things up, and I throw a bunch of suggestions at them: paint/collage/drape/vinyl/etc.  More often than not, they end up learning to live with the eyesore because they are not ready to put in the work/money to try and solve the problem. 

Well, who ever asks me next is in luck, because I am going to suggest washi (after reading about it on Design Sponge) .  It seems like a much more user friendly alternative to vinyl, and a much easier solution than painting.  I am not sure if it ends up being cheap or pricey.  I guess it depends on the project.  

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I painted this wall in my dining room the old fashioned way, but I suppose I could have achieved a similar effect from using this tape.   

Speaking of my dining room, I should really write a post about how to paint stripes on a wall.  All in good time. 

Tile-o-Rama

I was reading Remodelista, when I stumbled on an article all about patchwork tile.  First of all, it's AWESOME!

Handmade  Purpura   tiles

Handmade Purpura  tiles

Made a Mano tiles made from their  Novecento  line 

Made a Mano tiles made from their Novecento line 

These kitchens immediately made me think of the kitchen set from The New Normal, which was going for a classic California Spanish Colonial feel.

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And just because they are so pretty, here are more pictures of tile:

Umbrian home designed by Paola Navone, a mix of Moroccan tiles of her own design, from Carocim .

Umbrian home designed by Paola Navone, a mix of Moroccan tiles of her own design, fromCarocim.

Stella McCartney Soho store staircase

Stella McCartney Soho store staircase

Frankfurt Kitchen

A few weeks ago I visited the MAK design museum in Vienna, and tucked away in a back corner was a Frankfurt Kitchen.  I had never heard of a Frankfurt Kitchen before, but it quickly became clear that it was a massively influential piece of design. 

The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed in 1926 by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to be used in a new housing development in Frankfurt, Germany.  Housing was in short supply after WWI, so the kitchen was designed to be highly efficient and space saving.  The design was so successful that 10,000 of these kitchens were built in the late 1920s.  

The kitchen incorporated modern technology so the user would find everything they need within arms reach.  For example, the over head light is on a track so it can be repositioned depending on need.     

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the  MAK

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the MAK

The Fallout: 

The kitchen went from being a multi-use room where people cooked, congregated, and even slept to a focused work space.  

It was optimal for one person, and cramped for two, so chores because the sole responsibility of the housewife.  Even though the kitchen was designed to help the housewife, it ended up isolating her.   

The Demise:  

Most of the kitchens were replaced in the 1960s and 1970s by "modern" kitchens.  There are very few originals that still exist.   

In 2005 a kitchen sold for 22,680 €, and another for 34,200€.  Even the aluminum drawers fetch a pretty penny.  My brief Etsy/Ebay search demonstrated that I can't afford them. 

Warming up to open cabinets

Smash - Season 1, Episode 9

Smash - Season 1, Episode 9

This kitchen is in a struggling-bohemian-bro-pad on the television show Smash.  Even though it is a curated wreck, I still find is charming.  I think the reasons it pulls it off, even though it is a houseware bramble, is the lack of branded logos (because showing that on tv is a nightmare).

I always thought that the only way open cabinets could work is if they were functionally useless or if the kitchen owner was a neat-freak.  Drew Barymore's Flower Films kitchen is an example of the neat-freak scenario.   It's immaculate and everything has a little basket or bin.  Bla bla bla yes I know that this picture is styled.

Kitchen at Flower Films

Kitchen at Flower Films

Even though these thee kitchens are more colorful, they are just as styled.  I am a pretty Type-A about kitchen disorganization, so I think I could live like this, but be honest with yourself.  Could you keep this up?  Could you make anything other than cereal and milk in these kitchens?  

But then I found this image on Southern Living , and it made me feel like real people could have open cabinets and they be both functional and lovely to behold.  True, they are still keeping their logos to a minimum, and this room is clearly styled, but it gives me hope.  

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Are 60's and 80's the same?

The Americans: Season 1, Episode 10

The Americans: Season 1, Episode 10

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I was watching The Americans and became intrigued by the kitchen set.  The show is about KGB agents undercover in the early 80's posing as the perfect American family.  

I was planning on writing about patterned back-splashes (because who doesn't love that), but then the next show I watched was an episode of Mad Men.  Low and behold, a very very similar wallpaper was used in Ted Chaough mid 60's office.  

 

Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 9

Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 9

The wallpaper in Mad Men is called Trippy by Graham & Brown.  It goes for $60/roll.  

Does it strike anyone as odd that virtually the same wall paper can define two stylistically different eras?   

Or maybe it makes perfect sense.  The sets of Mad Men are supposed to be sleek and modern.  The colors, and patters are were chosen because they were the most current and cutting edge design.   

Fast forward twenty years and we see a stereotypical suburban family kitchen with the same colors and patters.  As the cool slick design of the 60's gets mass produced, these average suburbanites purchase the status symbol decor items which have finally reached their local shops and catalogs.  But they are twenty years two late.  

What was actually on trend in the 80's was probably something that looked a little more like this: 

Panache Interiors

Panache Interiors

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