Dream Kitchens

Of all the rooms in a house, I tend to be drawn to kitchens the most. A beautiful kitchen sings to me. I love to daydream about the type of kitchen I hope to have in my dream home someday.

Overall, I tend to like what could be described as a modern vintage look. A new kitchen with classic features which make it seem like it could easily fit in another place and time. I want a kitchen that is elegant and modern all at once. For me, this means somewhat plain cabinetry (I’m mostly drawn to white), honed surfaces like carrara marble, subway tile, and beautiful wide-planked, dark wood floors.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t made these types of changes to my own kitchen. I liked my kitchen when we bought our house in March of 2006. It had pretty 42″ maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances, neutral tile, and salmon colored laminate counters. What was that, you ask? Yes, you read that correctly! Salmon colored laminate. The very bane of my existence. The very reason I haven’t invited certain people (Kym, I might be referring to you) over for dinner after they so graciously fed us a beautiful meal in their stunning home. These damn counters are like a horrible blemish on the face of my home.

We tried to get the builder to upgrade them to granite, but they wouldn’t. The house was already built when we found it, and they wouldn’t take out the counters they had already installed. Alas, I was only 24 and Fabian was 25 when we bought the house. We didn’t know any better. If I knew then what I know now, I would have played hard ball and I wouldn’t have had to live with those nasty counters. Upgrading our counters is number one on my home improvement to-do list, though I won’t give the kitchen a complete over-haul since we don’t plan to be in this house forever. He’ll kill me for writing this, but my husband is a bit, umm, frugal. I don’t think he cares about the counters, so changing them isn’t a priority to him which is why we still have them. Mark my words: Those ugly counters will be gone by the end of 2008!

My kitchen, ugly counters and all

Let’s get back to a nicer topic, shall we? Beautiful, dream kitchens. As I was saying before our detour through ugly-ville, I like a kitchen with modern conveniences and classic design elements. Something that looks like it belongs in a massive penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in a building with a notorious co-op board, or better yet, a kitchen suited for a mansion in The Hamptons.

Kitchen #1
This is the kitchen from the 2008 San Francisco Decorators Showcase House. It was designed by Shelley Gordon who described the kitchen as “a reflection of the past and the present.” According to Shelley, “the detailing of the cabinets honors the age of the house, but the larger open plan responds to the way we live today”. The cabinetry is a creamy color and the countertops and subway tile back splash are both honed carrara marble.

The massive 16,000 square foot home does not have a proper breakfast room (only a formal dining room, grand salon, and outdoor dining terrace) so the owner has to make due with a small table in the kitchen.

The kitchen is truly massive and unfortunately, I think it’s impossible to get a sense for how big it really is through photographs alone. I’ll take you through a mental tour of the space. If you were taking the picture above, you could take a right at the table and there would be a good fifteen feet of cabinets lining both sides of the room and a door leading to a terrace.If you return to the original place where you started (near the range) and turn around, you’ll end up in the next picture.

You can’t see it here, but if I recall correctly, there is a large island between this picture and the previous one. You are now looking at the butler’s pantry. To the right, you have the kitchen powder room. Stunning, isn’t it?

Kitchen #2

This kitchen is from one of my favorite houses ever. It’s The Wheat House in Houston, which was featured on Cote de Texas. The kitchen has honed marble counters, a functional island, lovely hardware, antique light fixtures, white subway tile, and beautiful greenish-taupe cabinetry. Joni, please correct me if I’m wrong. Is that what the color looks like in person?

The cabinets do not have doors. This concept seems to be increasing in popularity. I know that Ryan Brown uses it in most of his gorgeous kitchens. So long as one is organized, it shouldn’t be an issue. You can see the subway tile and cabinet color a little better here.

Close-up of the beautiful farm sink and faucet

Kitchen #3

Continuing with the Houston theme, this kitchen is from an old real estate listing in the Afton Oaks neighborhood. I really like the color of the cabinetry, tall ceilings, the big drawers in the island, and the abundance of storage space.

Kitchen #4

This kitchen is also from an old real estate listing in Houston. Although it is somewhat small, I like the cabinetry, tiny subway tile back splash, and schoolhouse pendant.

Kitchen #5

Decidedly more modern than the others, I love the contrast of dark wood lower cabinets and white upper cabinets which plays on the flood of light that washes into the room. Again, you have several of my favorite elements: subway tile, and industrial range, farmhouse sink, and dark wood floors. This is also from an expired Houston real estate listing.

The last few kitchens I am featuring are from Christopher Peacock’s collection. Peacock’s kitchens have become somewhat of a status symbol as they can easily cost well into the six figure range. The New York Times featured an article on Mr.Peacock and his gorgeous, high-end kitchens. In it, he lists 10 items that people think they want, but seldom actually use and 10 items which are very good to have in one’s kitchen.


Pot-filling faucet, Pantry dishwasher or refrigerator, Kitchen desk, Trash compactor, Large microwave, Rangetop grill, Two-tier island countertops, Large island, Appliance garage


Refrigerator and freezer drawers, Two dishwashers,Warming drawers, Small microwave, Bookshelves, Tray storage, Roll-out drawers, Message center, Marble countertops, Wood countertops”

My favorite Christopher Peacock Kitchens

Kitchen #6

This kitchen looks cozy and classic. I love the ledge on the hood.

Kitchen #7

I love the simple cabinetry, though the mouldings make the kitchen look more ornate. The marble back splash and wooden island make the kitchen interesting.

Kitchen #8

This is quite possibly my favorite Peacock kitchen. It has white cabinetry, gorgeous hardware, carrara counters, a large island in a different color for contrast, and hardwood floors.

This is another view of the same kitchen. Notice the carrara backsplash and amazing cook’s station. I love the industrial range and stainless steel backsplash.

Kitchen #9

Refined and elegant, I love the cabinets on either side of the range. The lighting is beautiful.

Kitchen #10

This kitchen is more modern than the other Peacock kitchens I included in my list. It also has the pretty taupe / grey cabinetry we’ve seen in some of the other kitchens in this post. I love the industrial pendants hanging over the island. The chalkboard feature adds a bit of charm and functionality.

Well, there you have it. I didn’t count the number of kitchens I was going to write about, but I ended up with ten. So, I guess these are my Top 10 Favorite Kitchens (in no particular order). Someday, one of these babies will go from dream to reality. In the meantime, please, do tell. What is your dream kitchen like?

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  1. awesome post!! But I must say, don’t hate on your counters too much. When we moved into this house, I did a happy dance that we had laminate (although mine is beige). I am a big cook and seriously you can put a boiling pot of water on the counters and they’re not affected. I love it!

  2. P: you know – you obviously like painted cabinets – not one kitchen you showed had wood cabinets – why don’t you paint the cabinets a color that would blend or highlight the laminate? or just paint the cabinets white or cream? I think if the cabinets were cream – you wouldn’t even notice the countertops at all and it would be alot cheaper to just paint and take off a few cabinet doors – that’s all you need to do – come on! do it!!! Sally’s ktichen is gray – not green at all – pure gray!!!


  3. Courtney- You’re so right about how durable those counters are. I also cook quite a bit and they stand right up to anything (but mine are still ugly)!

    Joni- I don’t really think I want to paint the cabinets. I don’t see us staying here forever and I have to think about what would attract buyers in my market. Thanks for the clarification on Sally’s cabinets. They don’t look completely grey in the first picture.

  4. I was thinking about doing a kitchen post too because I am SO into kitchens right now…probably because I am tired of my kitchen. My house was built in the late 80s, and the people who built it did a pretty good job in general of not doing dated things, but the kitchen is a bit dated…black appliances, white corian countertops. I keep waiting for something to break so I can redo the kitchen! I must admit, even though my counters are not in style, I love corian so much. It is smooth and warm (not shiny and glassy like unhoned granite), and it sure can take a beating.

    Anyway, my favorite kitchen is the San Fran showhouse (I saved that one for the files), and like you, I adore painted cabinets. My next house will definitely have painted cabinets.

    I think you are wise to think about the market and what people will want, and if people in your area like the darker stained cabinets, keep them that way. I think many of the design bloggers are more ‘aware’ of design than the average home buyer. However, if you can get a good deal, granite will certainly help sell a house, particularly if that is what most of the competition has.

    I read an article in the Times about renovating with a sale in mind, and some of the NYC realtors said that they specifically renovated with kitchen ‘buzzwords’ in mind: granite, subzero, bosch, marble, viking.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. oh what gorgeous kitchens! thanks for compiling them all together for us to see! I would be more than happy with any of those – and subway tiles are most favourite tiles ever!

  6. Love all these! Thanks for sharing your favorite kitchens! Good luck on yours- at least you have a house kitchen- I have an apartment kitchen and the countertops are grosss

  7. I think you should paint your cupboards , from exprience as I have done it twice in both kitchens I have had, and it did not deter my first house from being sold, and I enjoy my own kitchen so much with its painted doors ,I can’t imagine hating the kitchen I am in while I live in it , wouldn’t happen, you can’t keep your surrounding for resale , that is my two cents, go for it .
    I think with white or cream cupboards the salmon counters might look ok , with the right accessories, you know Sarah Richardson says the new coming color is apricot, call those counters apricot.
    Your cabinets are a wonderful clean shape do a great backsplash or subway tile and it will sing.

  8. A farmhouse sink is definitely on the top of my list. I especially love how it’s mixed with very modern elements in kitchen #5. Unfortunately we’re not too pleased with our beige laminate counters either but they really do stand up to everything. Lovely post, Paloma. Any chance you’d like to feature your favorite bedrooms? 🙂

  9. I feel your pain. My kitchen looks a lot like yours (I do have granite instead of laminant though) and I hate how cookie cutter/suburbia it is. I would love to paint the cabinents cream but my fiance would freak out! lol, the house is BRAND new so he doesn’t want to change a thing! We’ll see!

  10. I’ve just been catching up on your darling blog and I was so flattered to see my kitchen on your list of favorites! And yes, they are just gray. And I agree with Joni, I think your kitchen would look great with painted cabinets! I can’t imagine it would hurt your resale at all. Whatever you decide to do, please show us your pictures! Love your blog!
    Sally Wheat