20 Timeless Kitchens – eh?
Nothing like going out on a tree trunk to say that a room which could very well cost you 10s of thousands; if not 100s of thousands of dollars is going to be to your liking for the rest of your life.
After all, tastes change.
Well, they might, but I think that it depends where one’s taste started out as.
For instance a reader, we’ll call her “Mary,” might have a kitchen that looks something like this.
Mary’s kitchen looks like this, because that’s how her mother’s kitchen looks.
And, Mary’s mother-in-law’s kitchen, her four aunt’s kitchens, 11 cousins, two sisters, 18 BFFs and Mary’s husband’s three ex-wives’ kitchens.
All of them, have THIS kitchen. This is not a timeless kitchens. I would call it the generic late 20th century kitchen.
And, since Mary’s been a tad busy taking care of her quintuplets for nearly 18 years; spending most of her free-time gathering sucking-up gifts for 438 teachers for 13 years of five concurrent teachers’ conferences…
Well, she’s barely had time to pick the fluff out of her navel, much less keep up with what’s going on in the outside world of classic kitchen design.
And because, their basic expenses have driven her and her loving husband who’s barely ever home, to the brink of bankruptcy, the last thought on her mind is decorating.
But, then, one evening, while the quints now, nearly 18, are out doing a drunken five-hour joy-ride on prom night, while waiting up for them, Mary surfs the internet. She
stumbles upon, gets sucked into Laurel Bern’s decorating blog.
Before she knows it, she’s so immersed in beauty, that she fails to notice three of the quints sneaking in the back door because they lost their shoes (and one, her dress) at some point.
Then, Mary happens upon an interesting word she’s never heard before.
And then Mary sees something that speaks to her like nothing ever has before, except for the time, she nearly choked on a ring in her mashed potatoes, while her then boyfriend proposed marriage swearing his undying love to her.
Mary swooned and sighed over the timeless kitchens of her dreams, as they appeared one after another, after another on Laurel’s blog.
So, now, Mary having her mind awakened in a come-to-Jesus-moment, decides to ditch her lame hubby. Apparently, he was not where he was supposed to be on prom night. However, Mary soon met a handsome well-off man who genuinely adores her. And, since he has no problem paying for five college educations (at five private east coast universities), they get married and are very happy.
Fast forward, 15 years later…
For an anniversary present Mary’s husband buys her the house of her dreams. But, it has a kitchen that well, looks very much like the one above and that won’t do. Thus, Mary goes back to read all of the posts she had bookmarked for the last 15 years.
And, guess what? She loves each of those timeless kitchens the SAME as she did 15 years ago.
Only now, she has 22 grandchildren, including 6 sets of twins. So, she’s going to need to build an extra-large pantry. Click here to see 25 wonderful pantries.
Okay, haha! I hope you enjoyed that little story. Tastes CAN and do change. However, the moral of the story is: it depends where someone is starting from. And I don’t like to say that someone has bad taste to start; I prefer to say that they developed and honed it.
But, if you look at the masters of interior design who specialize in a timeless look and timeless kitchens, I think you’ll find that what they did 30 years ago is pretty much what they’re doing now.
A 128 year-old Furlow Gatewood will be doing the same thing 30 years from now.
Furlow Gatewood’s timeless kitchen (unkitchen) with blue and white Chinoiserie transferware.
It’s not a fancy kitchen, but it’s unpretentiously dramatic and beautiful. That to me, is one way a kitchen can be timeless..
Before we look at the rest of the timeless kitchens, we need to first discuss what goes into a timeless kitchen.
It’s not enough to just look at a bunch of pretty pics and say, here it is.
But, please know that there is no bible from up high that states THIS and only THIS is a timeless kitchen.
That’s because, above all ELSE, a timeless kitchen is personal. So, if you LOVE oak cabinets lining threes sides of your kitchen. That is YOUR timeless kitchen.
So, please know, this is only my opinion which you don’t have to agree with. In addition, because of time constraints, this is not the definitive list of timeless kitchens. Frankly, I strive with most kitchens I post, to put up those that I feel are timeless. That is, unless I’m trying to show what I think you shouldn’t do. Like in another favorite post about so-called French kitchens.
However, if you have a kitchen designer who presents to you, a design she’s done 500 times before and it’s the same kitchen that your closest 600 friends have, there’s a very good possibility that it’s not going to be a classic, timeless kitchen.
Now, for those of you who are groaning that you can’t afford new cabinets or to update your dated kitchen, here’s a good post that I think gives some good ideas about how to make it more timeless without spending a fortune.
Hmmm… More timeless doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Isn’t that like saying “more better?” ;]
Well, anyway, if you have a really old kitchen, you’re in luck, IMO
For a kitchen to be truly timeless, I feel that there needs to be some element(s) of history.
Does that mean that it has to be an old kitchen?
No, it doesn’t.
But, if it’s built in a classic way and there are things IN the kitchen that are old, that’s all that’s needed.
Above and below a perfect example in Nancy Keyes’ kitchen. I think that her vintage accents add so much. Although, it would be spectacular, in any case. For more of this kitchen and Nancy’s lovely home, click here.
A Timeless kitchen does not scream out KITCHEN!!!
What does that mean?
Well, Nancy says that when guests come over, they frequently don’t realize that they are standing in the kitchen. But, timeless kitchens, if large enough, are places for gathering. And, sometimes that can include comfortable chairs or even a sofa as we saw in Ben Pentreath’s charming kitchen that I was lucky enough to get to spend an hour in a year and a half ago.
And, there is often other beautiful furniture, like this dresser, above, on the right. Along, with the art and accessories that make this room feel home-y.
Along with all of this as discussed many times on this blog, there often are a lack of upper cabinets. That is, the ones that go over counters.
However, if upper cabinets, in some timeless kitchens, corbels are used to give a furniture feel to the cabinetry.
However, every time I write about “no uppers,” there’s always at least one reader who interprets “no uppers” as nothing above waist height. But, it depends upon the size of the kitchen, the availability of other storage, like a pantry. And always, floor to ceiling cabinets, I believe are timeless.
In a timeless kitchen, the cabinetry is usually painted.
Is it always painted?
No. But if it’s wood, it’s usually old wood or the entire home is wood. In other words, the wood cabinetry makes sense for the home, it’s in. If ALL of the woodwork is painted, then it makes no sense for all of the kitchen cabinets to be stained.
Here’s a good post that features kitchens with stained wood that look great and are appropriate for the homes they’re a part of.
What else goes on in timeless kitchens?
Timeless kitchens also have gorgeous high-end appliances. But either the fridge is out of sight, or is built-in sleekly. Or, if a retro style, it might be separate. But the most outstanding timeless kitchens have stunning ranges.
Although, if that’s not in the budget, the sleekest stainless steel range you can afford is a good alternative.
However, for those of you who can’t manage that either, if you really want to feel better, please know that I STILL have the cheapest un-timeless crap appliances that died nearly two years ago. (well, except for the dishwasher.)
Why, you ask? We can discuss it later.
Okaaaaaaaaay… Fine. We’ll discuss it now.
I think it boils down to this. While, I love my apartment, in reality, I’m not really settled here. Or rather, I don’t WANT to be settled here. And, without going into any details, I am working on changing that. Still, it could take a while and I really do need a new fridge. However, there are only about 3 different choices, all pretty bad, that will fit.
Anyway, we were discussing the gorgeous high-end ranges.
My favorite are the Lacanche ranges. But, the stainless Smegs are cool and of course, I’m not poopooing a La Cornue or an Aga, in the right kitchen.
And nobody is paying me to say that. ;]
But, I imagine they’re most likely paying this lovely woman, Mimi Thorisson. And, if not, they should be!
Do y’all know who she is? I’m sure that a good many of you do. She’s made quite a name for herself as a chef, blogger, restaurateur, and author (I understand that her cookbooks are terrific). And as if that’s not enough right there, she’s a wife and mother to EIGHT children and 14 dogs.
And she dares to look like that? haha I found an article where she shares her beauty and other secrets for dealing with her amazing life.
Mimi and her photographer-husband bought this 15-room antique beauty in the French country-side and then did a number on it. But, in the most authentic way possible. Extraordinary!
And, actually uncovered some gems like this amazing tile floor. Now, THAT is the unkitchen of all unkitchens! And yeah, there’s her stunning Lacanche range. Does she need one that large.
Yes, she does.
Photo by Mimi’s husband, Oddur Thorisson, showing part of the family hard at work at their stations. I’m amazed at how well they’ve hidden the chains. haha.
Those of you with less docile children than these appear to be, will understand perfectly.
A wonderful dresser in Mimi Thorisson’s kitchen, beautifully styled.
If you aren’t already, please follow Mimi Thorisson’s exquisite instagram feed.
Timeless kitchens have natural stone and especially marble.
It’s one of my favorites.
But, there’s something I’ve been dying to share with you about marble countertops.
I had heard about two years ago that “they,” but I didn’t know who, was working on developing a way so that marble would not etch or stain.
And, I recently discovered that “they” did it.
Now, here’s the cool thing. Remember nearly three years ago when I went to Italy and got to go see Antolini, one of the foremost sources of natural stone. You can read about it here.
Well, Antolini is the “they” who created something called Azerocare.
And, actually, it has been around for about two years, but I didn’t know that. With all of the crap people send me, why they didn’t send me anything about that, I can’t say.
Antolini’s website has a film that you are obliged to watch, so I’m sending you here for a good explanation of what it does.
Very important. You cannot apply azerocare to already installed stone. And, it’s only through Antolini and its sellers. I imagine that it’s costly, but for those who wish their marble to remain pristine, it might be just the thing.
Does anyone have any experience with it and can vouch one way or the other?
(Note: March 28, 2019) – total coincidence; I just read a fabulous review of Azerocare by kitchen designer Heather Hungeling. You can access her terrific blog post here which also includes ways to avoid getting ripped off!
Timeless kitchens frequently have instead of an island, a beautiful old table.
Another beauty by Gil Schafer
And yes, another Lacanche!
Above and below, the beautiful and timeless kitchen belonging to Natasha Habermann.
Her range is a smeg. And the color on the cabinetry is Farrow and Ball Purbeck Stone
Love the Gustavian cabinet!
This is a little interesting true story to share with you.
I first became aware of Natasha last summer when both of us were nominated for an Amara award in the same category. I was POSITIVE that Natasha was going to walk away with the top prize. Absolutely no doubt. And, I should not have been in that category in any case, but that’s another story.
As, it turned out, she wasn’t even a finalist, which just goes to show… Well, I guess I better keep my hand shut. haha. I still think she should’ve won.
But, what’s also funny, is that I used to live only three miles from Natasha (as the crow flies) in northern Westchester County.
She’s a very talented, young interior designer. I love her work, immensely. AND her charming home in North Salem, NY. Definitely “another one to follow” on instagram. Her photos are fabulous. So, please check her out and follow, if you’re not already.
Now, I see some of you looking very nervous and I don’t think it’s about following Natasha Habermann.
Are you saying that we have to rip out our kitchen islands, Laurel?
Oh, sorry. Gosh, no worries!
I am seeing a lot of tables, but I think that islands or counter-height work tables like Nancy Keyes have are absolutely fine and still very much a part of timeless kitchen design.
For instance, this stunner by Mark Maresca has set instagram (follow Mark here) and pinterest on fire with shares and repins. I love this antique work table. (and all the rest too!) I think it adds much in the way of warmth and charm to this timeless kitchen.
What about door styles, Laurel?
Oh yes! Thank you for reminding me!
Well, there can be a mix of styles.
For instance, I’ve long admired these antique glass doors for this built-in china cabinet.
Mostly for the regular doors, I prefer either a shaker style, or one with a simple bead.
And my preference is for an inset cabinet as shown above, if possible.
I believe this is the kitchen of Greg Irvine. He’s quite an interesting guy. Please check out more of his home here and a brief, charming video where he shares some of his collections, art and philosophy.
I realize that the one above is going to be a little too funky for many of you. But it is a type of classic timeless kitchen that embraces what was original to the home and then the owner has added his wonderful collections. But, notice the swanky fridge and that sliver of a professional range, it looks like. If they had appliances like mine, it wouldn’t work at all.
Another kitchen I’ve featured with a La Cornue range. Photo: Francesco-Lagnese-southern-living
You might also enjoy these posts featuring many classic and timeless kitchens.