Beyond the Kitchen: Living Areas to Love

The ideal kitchen is much more than just a place to cook; it’s where people really live day to day. That’s why we incorporated places to eat, watch TV, do homework, catch up on household paperwork, and catch up with family in our Innovation Kitchen. And, like the kitchen itself, these adjoining spaces were designed to be equal parts pretty and practical. Here’s a look at how we put the fun in functional.

The dining room connected to our Innovation Kitchen works extra hard, serving as a home office when it’s not hosting a meal. But what really makes this spot special is how it veers from conventional dining room design. Instead of a long table and matching chairs, we chose a table that expands from a cozy 6 feet to more than 8 welcoming feet. Seating is a combo of vivid blue chairs and a built-in storage bench topped with a colorful cushion and pillows. Instead of a china hutch we used a tall cabinet in a lively green (SW 6432 Garden Spot from Sherwin-Williams) and filled it with books and accessories. Even the lighting offers a fresh take: Good-bye, formal chandelier; hello, playful pendant!

The dining room hutch is a storage workhorse without feeling like an office supply store. Decorative bins, boxes, and caddies get the credit by holding pens, pencils, pads of paper, and even an iPad. Pretty accessories make getting down to business a lot more fun.

In the nearby family room, the fireplace wall gets an unexpected treatment. Painted 1-foot-high stripes could be overpowering, but because they’re neutral and limited to a small area, they pack just the right amount of punch. Notice the other twist? There’s no mantel above the electric, wall-mount fireplace. Instead, two antique wooden beams are mounted to the adjacent wall. They’re useful shelves, but they also team up with the TV to create one large decorative display.

Here’s one of my favorite features: a large message board for back-door convenience. It’s made from a piece of glass so you can write a note using a dry-erase marker and just wipe it off later. So practical! Painting the back of the glass (it’s the same green as the dining room cabinet) and framing it to look like a window—well, that’s what makes practical perfect.
Have a little fun with your next project!

The BHG Innovation Kitchen, created for the May 2014 issue, is filled with fresh ideas and cool products. Here, senior editor Kit Selzer highlights a few of our favorites. See more of the BHG Innovation Kitchen we created in collaboration with designers Jen Ziemer and Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group