Decorating & Design

October 26, 2009

Designer Kitchen For Less

If you’re like me, you probably find yourself hunting around for design inspiration and coming up with lots of eye candy that represents HUGE budgets. Honestly, it’s even worse when you’re in a line of work like mine and you realize how much those dream rooms really cost!

But I like to think good design isn’t about money, but rather ideas. Even though high-end designers may have access to the best finishes and fixtures, it’s really the creative solutions that make us fall in love with their work. Trust me — a big budget does not a pretty room make — I see it every day.

Here’s a covet-worthy kitchen we can all aspire to. Sure it’s by big-budget Steven Gambrel himself, but what are the elements that make this room so great regardless of the budget? I’d say it’s the soothing putty colour on the cabinets, the subway tile that runs up the entire wall and the mixture of mod and rustic furnishings. Plus I’m loving the utilitarian, warm brass hardware, aren’t you?

Photo: Steven Gambrel Champagne Kitchen

So can we get the look for less?

Photo: Ikea Lidingo cabinets - warm/greyed tone

Let’s start with those cabinets. Maybe it’s my computer monitor, but these Ikea Lidingö cabinets have a similar warm/greyed tone. The simple, no-nonsense panel keeps things classic and elegant. These puppies start at $45.

Photo: Ikea range

While we’re at Ikea, why not stop off at the appliance department and check out this show-stopping range? Okay it’s not cheap, but trust me people when I say that it is a fraction of the price of Steven Gambrel’s little number above. This version is just as good-looking and brings serious restaurant flair to a residential kitchen, and with no back plate it allows for that handsome tile to shine. Plus, then you can’t rest your spice rack on it, which I’m thankful for.

Photo: Industrial looking pulls

I’m telling you — brass is back, and it’s going to stick around for a while. That’s what happens any time we see one material or look for too long: the pendulum swings. These industrial looking pulls are from affordable — and Canadian — Lee Valley and would customize those Ikea cabinets perfectly.

Photo: West Elm dining table

Our rustic vibe continues with this simple dining table from West Elm, $599 USD. Again, no nonsense = perfect.

Photo: Old vintage chairs, Arcadia Antiques

And if it were me, I’d pair the spankin’ new table with these old chairs I saw last week at one of my favourite vintage haunts, Arcadia Antiques on Queen Street in Toronto. These were only $60 a pop!

Photo: breakfast bar stools - West Elm

But for the breakfast bar, slickness is in order. We need white mid-century and thank goodness for West Elm’s ant chair-esque stools. They’ll freshen up the putty cabinets and balance off the vintage chairs around the dining table.

Photo: Graphite grey dishes from Crate & Barrel

Finally, fill up your cabinets with bistro-style white dishes and mix in some graphite grey pieces like these from Crate & Barrel. I especially love some of the larger serving bowls in this line, which would look smashing with a small plant plunked right in the bowl.

Photo: table size clipped topiary

Like the planted vessels on the table in the inspiration room, a tropical plant or a table-sized clipped topiary will add life and freshness day in and day out.

Now what to make for dinner? Sigh, can’t help you there.

Photo credits:
Steven Gambrel
2. Ikea,
Lidingö door
3. Ikea,
Praktfull Pro gas range
Lee Valley
West Elm
Michael Penney
West Elm
Crate & Barrel
Myrtle Topiary