Thursday, May 5, 2011

50 Kitchen Ideas from Barefoot Contessa

I have always loved Ina Garten's kitchen, which was featured in House Beautiful a few years ago. I really enjoyed this article, 50 Kitchen Ideas from the Barefoot Contessa, and learned some things I had never even thought of! Hope you enjoy...

Put table lamps on the island to make your kitchen feel like a room, not a laboratory. Visual Comfort's Column lamp in Sheffield silver.   
2. Ina likes gutsy countertops, super-thick and dark. Ultra-durable CaesarStone in Raven adds a nice contrast to KraftMaid's Brookfield Maple cabinets in Dove White.  
3. Keep the fridge close by. Here, the work space is bookended with Viking's Quiet Cool all-refrigerator and all-freezer (No. 10).
4. Ina likes to chop vegetables on an extra-large and thick Maple R-Board by John Boos.
5. Put a shelf over the range for things used all the time — kosher salt, utensils.  
6. Double your storage with cabinets on the stool side of the island for special-occasion items like Thanksgiving platters.  
7. Long handles are easier to grab than small knobs.  
8. Have enough stools so a whole group can sit at the counter. Buell stools by Robert Stilin.  
9. Flour and sugar are always within reach in Crate and Barrel's two-gallon glass jars, next to the Cuisinart. 
10. Add more warmth with custom wood panels.  
11. Control the lighting with dimmers. Ina can also direct it just where she wants it with Thomas P. Richmond's flexible lighting system.  
12. Large-scale objects have more impact. Hurricanes from Bloom.

13. Ina prefers a wide, deep sink with no partitions, like Kohler's 8 Degree sink.
Clever use of space, and sponges dry out of sight.
15. Consider sink inserts like Kohler's drying rack and cutting board.
16. Even the tallest pasta pot can fit under Kohler's HiRise faucet.
17. Invest in two dishwashers, so you can wash a party's worth of dishes in one load. 24-inch Viking dishwasher with custom front.
18. Organize wood and stainless-steel utensils into separate crocks.

Timers times three, because Ina is always cooking several dishes at once.
20. Always have lemons and limes — just the thing to perk up a recipe.
21. Ina's favorite combination — electric ovens for baking and gas burners for cooking — in two 30-inch Viking Professional Custom Series Dual-Fuel ranges finished in Stone Gray.
22. No more crouching to see what's in lower cupboards when you have pull-out drawers.  
23. And they're deep enough to store the All-Clad stainless-steel pots and Le Creuset French Oven with their lids on, so you never have to search for the right top.
24. Breakfast essentials — Dualit toaster and Braun juicer — are all in one spot.
25. Ina's workbook. Put your own favorite recipes into a notebook with clear sleeves so you can wipe off spills.
26. Open shelves make everything visible and accessible. 
27. The secret of display is to group like objects, such as these Hôtel silver coffeepots and teapots.

28. Ina decants her spices into uniform jars. (I would love this!)
29. A big basket holds large items that don't easily fit into cabinets.
30. You don't need a garden to have fresh herbs.
31. Get a super-quick boil, while Viking's Professional Series All-Induction cooktop stays cool to the touch.
32. Keep serving spoons on the counter, so if something needs a stir you don't have to open a drawer.
33. Buy good bread, and keep it fresh and crusty with KraftMaid's bread bin.

34. Add warmth and depth with soft gray paint on the walls — Glidden's Wood Smoke, with White on White trim.  
35. Convey a feeling of age by randomly laying the wood planks. Solid hand-scraped maple flooring in Pacific by Shaw
36. Bring a little history into a new kitchen with antiques, like this Belgian worktable.  
37. Slipcover the furniture for a casual look. One of Ina's favorite fabrics is Rogers & Goffigon's Shaker linen, and they made that lavender color just for her, named it Ina, and put it in their line. Chair from Lucca & Co.
38. Forget fancy centerpieces. Keep it simple and monochromatic — the drama is in the abundance.
39. No need for a formal tablecloth. Take a piece of fabric and cut and fold it to fit. Use iron-on tape to make the hem. Place settings and stemware from Crate and Barrel.
40. Ina does not go for precious finishes. Trestle table from Restoration Hardware is made from old wood, which just gets better the more it is used.  
41. No worries about spills when dining chairs, by Lee Industries, are slipcovered in washable Vintage Sugar linen.

42. While you cook, tune in to your favorite show on Toshiba's LCD/DVD combo TV.  
43. Every kitchen needs a desk. Bluestone-and-steel demilune table by Lucca & Co.
44. Blend new and old. New table is paired with an 18th-century Flemish armchair.

45. Multiples make a statement. Layer collections, like photographs and Ted Muehling candlesticks, on the mantel.
46. Always have a place to put your feet up. Ottoman by Lucca & Co.
47. Make it easy to dine outdoors. Crate and Barrel's Captiva wicker chairs in Java, around the classic teak Trovata table, can stand up to the elements.
Outdoor seating should be as comfortable as your living room. Robert Stilin's Skylar sofa is covered in Sunbrella fabric in Natural.  
49. Accents decking in Winchester Grey by Trex has the look of wood — but no splinters.
50. And Finally, fill a big bowl with ice and Champagne and it will immediately feel like a party.
Thanks, Ina! I couldn't have said it better myself. I might have 5/50 of her ideas down, but there's always room for improvement! :)


  1. LOVE this post! And I love the details of her kitchen. It's been one of my favorites, but I didn't see this article on it. Thanks for the post!

  2. So glad you enjoyed it Leighton! I love the resources she provides. We're in no position to remodel our kitchen, but sometimes I like to pretend we are! :)

  3. now, just to get some sponsors to pay for it...

  4. Helpful :) and we can always be hopeful !


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