Unconventional Kitchen and the battle of Form vs Function

Photo Caption: Crockery all unpacked and stacked 

I liken the Kitchen to decorative painting a lot because in many ways there's a lot of similarities... it's the heart of the home, where you come up with meals to nourish your family, an end result based on a combination of recipes and ingredients, some go by the book when it comes to cooking with exact measures and others like myself prefer to free-style it. Going by a recipe means there's less mistakes and you will by the end of it reach somewhere close to what it's mean to be. "Free-styling" allows for innovation, it means there's a lot trial and errors but if you do it enough, you get to master it. Going off the smell, consistency, look and feel, you learn more how to adjust and tweak until it's perfect. It's very similar to decorative painting which is why we decided to start "Paint Recipes" based off our years of trial and error in decorative painting, a paint recipe is a sure thing and if you follow it, you will get to your own version of it without having to go through the pain of making mistakes and starting again. 

Photo caption: Lunch plates from CC Interiors 

The kitchen can be one of the most creative spaces, I use to love cooking, and before going into business and becoming a Mum, somewhere in my early to mid twenties, I loved watching and obsessed over cooking shows,  spent my pay packet on purchasing pretty crockery and utensils, exploring and discovering new ingredients,  there was  something satisfying about starting off with some key ingredients and putting it together as one meal, its creativity that applies to all the senses, visual, taste, texture, smell,  but the part I enjoyed the most was the creative plating...that "cooking creativity" over the years was diminished and replaced by decorative painting which has some very similar elements to it, and fulfilled that feel good factor I would get at the end of turning nothing into something.. but with this lifestyle change I'm looking forward to re-visiting my love for cooking. "Cooking" these days to me is a luxury...you know, the type of cooking when you have the time to pour yourself a glass of wine, put the music on and just meander in your kitchen creating something with no time pressure, it becomes creative.

Photo Caption: All the senses, fresh basil from the local markets $6 for a healthy bunch creating a strong basil fragrance through the kitchen, use fresh herbs to awaken all the senses.

For the most part and for many of us cooking is more about function, it's dinner time, you're hungry, you need to feed the kids in 20 minutes before they have a major meltdown and just need to throw something together super quick and get it done.  Trust me, I have had my fair share of  being home late from work, boiling some pasta and dumping a warmed up can of tomatoes mixed in with some herbs and calling it spaghetti. When you're busy anything goes, and that's just life, there's nothing to be ashamed of, I call it being efficient and many of us are super efficient in the kitchen so "cooking" in my books is definitely a rare luxury that I plan to revisit more frequently in this next chapter of our lives.

Photo Caption: Micro greens and fresh herbs on the stainless,
for a creative pick and cook method, no more forgetting about the herbs and garnishes. Mico-green's are super quick to grow & adds beautiful colour to the kitchen

Photo Caption: Darrells breads, nothing better than the smell of fresh bread on a weekend... looking forward to getting back to this! 

Darrell is an amazing baker, he use to love making bread for us once upon a time when we had time, he's a lot more structured and loves precision, measurements, and the technical aspect of baking, yeast, rising, binding all  that sort of stuff I'm not, but I admire it. I'm more of a pinch of this and that,  I will read a recipe to understand the structure of how to make it and how it works but 9 times out of 10 will free style it, so together we do okay in the kitchen and as corny as it sounds it's where we have a lot of creative fun outside of decorative painting as a couple. 

Photo Caption: S Hooks the most versatile little things from hanging macrame's, lighting, hung off a rail or used in the kitchen like this. The hook onto pretty much anything and we always have a good stash of these around in the house all the time.

One of things I really liked about this place when we were viewing it was that the main Kitchen is almost in a room of it's own,  we're so use to open plan everything in NZ... and I always said to Darrell that my dream kitchen would be in a seperate room away from everything else, ideally I don't want to have to sit in the lounge or dining and look at the mess I made, plates and cups waiting to be done throughout the day and that pressure of keeping things clean and sterile with it being connected to the rest of the home. I can be slightly OCD with some things, so sitting in the lounge watching a show whilst seeing a stack of dishes through the corner of my eye can give me a slight eye tick. 

Now we didn't build this house, so it's not my dream Kitchen but it's almost there with it being an "almost" seperate room, 3 and a half (almost 4 walls, bar an open doorway) surrounding it.  With all this in mind we've decided to "set the kitchen up" differently this time based on the space we have, and the thoughts I listed above, a balance of form and function with it weighing more on function.

Photo caption: Use contrasting textures and materials on bench tops  to define spaces/areas and keep it organised. This benchtop will be painted but for now our marble tray from Maytime Living is used to hold these little goodies by the cook top.
We're so use to looking through glossy magazines where the Kitchen is minimal, pristine, sterile, everything behind glossy closed doors, packed and hidden away, often the less you can show the better and including myself (until now) many of us aspire to have our Kitchens look like this.  I don't know about you, but to me and our lifestyle it's always been an unreachable goal "A beautiful magazine worthy kitchen" feels like when you've had a massive spring clean, a huge wipe down in your kitchen, went away on holiday with no one in it, arrived back weeks later to that pristine look with no sign of frying, boiling, steaming evident, no sign of any cooking utensils or  kids. Maybe when it's just Darrell and I and we're retired we may go back to aspiring to this. If you have a huge butlers kitchen to keep your mess in, you're lucky and we explored this idea ourselves for this new place but it didn't make sense to me to  hide away in what often is set up like a walk in wardrobe to do your creative cooking and not use the large "kitchen that would merely be a display" 

The kitchen for us at this place anyhow is  a gentle balance of form versus function, and we've always been big with our clients on making your home beautiful but functional in a way that it suits your family and the lifestyle you live or want to live.  This time around I want to walk in and feel inspired by it all, much like a chefs kitchen in a restaurant or like my paint studio,  I want to walk in and feel a little excited, reboot my love for cooking and feel like I can make a mess, explore and create, I want to see all my tools and  I want to see all of my ingredients, seeds, herbs, carbs and protein. I want visual inspiration in the kitchen, a place where I can hideaway and create.  So we've gone against the grain with this one and everything is out on display, the appliances, the jars of seeds, herbs and spices, the potatoes, onions, the micro-greens we're growing,  fresh and dried herbs, the whisk the spatula, the juicer, coffee machine, chopping boards and knives... but with form...organised. Using a series of different and odd  style jars for storage, adding a bit of informality, creating visual depth. I felt if I used all the same jars it made it too uniform and "stiff", and I also love the idea of not having to rummage through the corner of pantry to find a box of paprika, its all colourful ready and waiting patiently to be chosen...A stainless steel bench to frame off all the appliances, spatulas and tools (there are some great stainless benches available over at trademe by the way, just search it)  when it comes to wear and tear they're awesome, you can be as hard as you like on it's surface, roll your dough straight over, hot pots, plates and at the end a good creative session just scrub down and you're good. It's no surprise why these are in commercial kitchens... and also always used in our paint studios and even in our paint manufacturing.

It's a concept that works for this space and us, it feels creative and real,  it's organised and disorganised, and when you walk in, you know it's all about making food and I hope that when we have our nieces and nephews come over they will all be inspired to spend time in this space making cookies and muffins and feel like they can. We've certainly noticed our daughter being more comfortable in this kind of layout and as a result more involved with helping out in the kitchen and making dinner.  I would not be me though if I did not plan to paint it. I do plan to paint the legs of the stainless steel bench and the poles around the shelving in Velvet Luxe to match the Kitchen cupboards (also going to be painted),  mainly because I want to make it ours, and it will help to create continuation around the room even though the stainless steel bench was added into the room and was not part of it, but by painting it to match the kitchen it will flow and  seem as if was  part of the original plan rather than added in as an after thought and this is the power of colour and paint finishes, being able to combine various odds and make them cohesive as one.

Photo caption: Everything is out plugged in ready to go, from the food processor, juicer to air fryer, a lot of this has been gifted to us over the years,  and we've always had them behind cupboard doors collecting dust (not the coffee machine that's always been out and a must) the more that's out and visible, the more you you'll utilise it, the more creative you get... 

Photo caption: Imperfectly, perfect organic fruit from the markets, trying to change and explain to our daughter that bad looking fruit is actually better for you, which really makes you think, those tomatoes you get in the supermarket stay perfect for a really really long time... Our Kitchen theory is much like this fruit bowl, if it's full visible, it gets eaten/ used, and so far it rings true

So one side of the main Kitchen is all unpacked, the crockery is organised and the other side of the Kitchen is just about to be unpacked, and then theres two more to do.. it's far from being completely done. At the moment we're all about getting a rough lay out down and things to a functional point with this whole moving thing. We'll show you more when we're getting ready to paint this room so you get a better idea of the space, but for now sharing our thoughts over this unconventional layout of "everything out"  the balance of form &  function to induce creativity in the Kitchen. Having a semi separate room for the Kitchen is nothing new and is often done and found through Europe and many places overseas. Open plan kitchens are huge here in NZ and in particular, in new builds, you do find Kitchens in older bungalows and Villas disconnected from the other areas. To be fair we're not sure if we would lay things out like this in an open plan, having just gone through this exercise, I think we would certainly add aspects of this in as there are so many things functionally and visually that we love about it, but it does raise the question of whether our modern designs of pristine open plan kitchens is designed for use and the creativity of cooking  or whether cooking is a dying thing taken over by all the convenience of takeaways, fast foods and that in this modern age it's a space that is less used therefore is more about design aesthetics, but I suppose that is all reliant on the family living there, their lifestyle and everyone of us is different....  




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