While I am pretty much sold out for scandi-influenced minimalism in most of our home (clutter makes me feel anxious!), the kitchen is one place where I dream of bringing in bucket loads of character and history. I guess that's the beauty of having several rooms - each one can embody a different style, should you wish. So, reading Kitchenalia by Vinny Lee filled me with ideas for the future, as well as quite a healthy dose of kitchen envy!
With the kitchen commonly regarded as one of the most important rooms in the home, this book seeks to bring fresh inspiration for those wanting to create a space which has both personality and character. And, rather than filling the heart of the home with all sorts of modern gadgetry, this book demonstrates that vintage treasures and period pieces can bring a sense of style which will have that all-important timeless quality. The best thing about this, I think, is that so often it's those bargain flea market finds which end up becoming much-loved and timeless treasures.
Beginning by laying the ground work as to what exactly kitchenalia is, Lee then discusses sourcing these vintage pieces and how best to blend old and new. One section of the book which particularly caught my attention was 'four ways to transform a kitchen'. Using the same dreamy Martin Moore & Company 'English kitchen' as a base (an off-white beauty complete with a Purbeck stone floor and belfast sink), it was transformed into four different kitchens by bringing in different colours and accessories. While the bold and eclectic colour in the Summerill & Bishop kitchen certainly made me look twice, it was the Mini Moderns kitchen which won me over. The mix of 1950s-inspired pattern and colour, layered with vintage china and prints was just perfect. The result is a bright and cheering room, which doesn't take itself too seriously.
The wonderful thing about a kitchenalia kitchen is that it is all about personal style and preference. So, while each kitchen theme employs similar tactics when it comes to sourcing and collecting items, they differ from one another in their individual looks. The result of course is that there should be a theme for every taste. The themes identified in the book are: retro, reclaimed, white, painted, country, collector's and utilitarian kitchens. Instantly, I was drawn to the simplicity and practicality of the country kitchen, which surprised me. But then, reading Lee's summary of the style, it all made sense...
While this evocative passage could not be further from my current kitchen, it does sum up my dream kitchen quite beautifully. I'm nowhere near ready to bid farewell to the big city, but I definitely crave a kitchen space which is the hub of the home, filled with chatting family and delicious food. The focus too, on relaxed and subtle colours and natural materials also appeals. There's nothing I love more than finding gorgeous stoneware pots, vintage enamel jugs and copper kitchen trinkets.
The rest of the book focuses on the elements which make up the kitchenalia kitchen. Everything is covered off from furniture, lighting and storage to pots & pans, gadgets and containers. Even the kitchen sink is included! The information in each section is detailed and informative, arming the reader with everything they need to make informed and inspired choices. Along with the main text and many photo captions, the elements section also features handy bullet points, which are replete with practical tips for achieving a characterful kitchen.
The photo below is hands down one of my favourites in the book - just look at that reclaimed sink. Love. The wooden floor, white wooden wall panels and the mix and matched enamel pots, pans and colanders look fresh, while the sweet bowl light pendant and flower painting add charm and interest. Washing up here definitely wouldn't be a chore!
Kitchenalia by Vinny Lee is out now, published by Jacqui Small.
Photo credits // All photos by me, except the last one which is credited to William Waldron at the Interior Archives.