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Kitchens are where holiday memories are often made. Create one that serves up joy
Nov 16

Associated Press

As the holidays approach, there's one room in the home where the tantalizing aromas of good food and the chatter of good folk converge: the kitchen.

More than mere culinary spaces, kitchens tend to embody the heart of a home. There`s the messiness and mayhem of communal meal making. Perhaps some pre- bedtime snacks. It`s a place where many holiday memories are made.

Yet if you've scanned the pages of décor magazines and websites in recent years, you`ll have noted that the prime aspirational kitchen leans toward a serious and sleek vibe __ pro-level equipment; a super-functional layout; lots of neutral colors and clean lines.

"We've officially reached peak kitchen design. We know exactly how to make a beautiful, luxurious cooking space,`` Sophie Donelson writes in her new book, "Uncommon Kitchens" (Abrams, 2023).

``Many of us find ourselves reminiscing about a family kitchen from growing up; not a perfect one, not a new or luxurious one, but one in which conversations happened, food was made, life unfolded," she notes.

Donelson and other design experts say that with a measure of color, pattern and/or décor elements, we can all have a kitchen that serves up happy. A few ideas to sip and savor:

Whether our ideal kitchen is kitted out like Martha Stewart's or hasn't much
more than a humble cooktop, toaster oven and mélange of mugs, it's a space with
many functions and moods.

"Lighting that feels good in the morning while you're making coffee or preparing lunches for the day is different than how you might want to feel while you're making a late-night mug of ice cream or on a relaxed Sunday evening preparing dinner with a loved one," she says.

Have a variety __ an overhead light; warm-toned, under-the-counter LED task strips.

"And I always make the case for adding a petite table lamp at the counter,`` Donelson says. ``Mine's vintage, sits next to the toaster, doesn't take much room. But it's charming and cheerful, and it's the first thing I click on in the morning, the last to be turned off."

Researching her book, Donelson learned that many renovators were opting to add or restore windows when possible in place of tile backsplashes.

"Many, many people mentioned dancing in the kitchen by themselves or with their
family. It's fun, and a great way to exercise!" Donelson says.

Shift tables or even islands around if you can, so there's room for a twirl. And add a great wireless sound system.

And maybe you don't need a full-service island with a stool lineup; a table of any size with chairs can be a more convivial arrangement and still be a decent workspace.

Minneapolis-based designer Lucy Penfield has put frosting-pink paint on the door
of a baking area. Added snappy orange kitchen barstools. And in a family cabin,
there's now a fun, sunshine yellow Smeg retro fridge for beer storage.

Color "creates a mood for the space, and can invite conversation," she says.

Cortney Bishop, who runs a design studio in Charleston, South Carolina, also uses playful hues. A beach cottage got seafoam-blue Big Chill appliances, and a countertop is embedded with chunks that look like sea glass.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

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