The Treehouse: Kitchen Inspiration

We're moving to our new house in only 6 short days!! I wanted to show you what I'm planning on doing in the kitchen.

(The image above is a chandelier thought for the dining room. ) To give you an idea of what we're dealing with: Our budget is really tight right now & so we're doing things like temporarily painting over linoleum & using what we have until we can afford what we really want. Below are some photos of the kitchen now:

The beautiful flourescent light will be one of the first things to go (I might use this vintage chandlier I found with Eddie in NY-- It'll look much better once I clean it up!! :)
Below is another view of the kitchen into the living room/ dining room:

The cabinets are newly installed, but they aren't right for the house. The crown moulding & arched uppers don't suit the house, which is simple, and very contemporary & natural-feeling.

To give you an idea of my color scheme, I want to show you some of the fabrics we're using in the living room (below), since the kitchen is open to it.

The fabric below is a creamy-warm-beigey velvet with a hint of white sparkle to it. (Depending upon the way the light hits it, it can look cream, golden or white.) This image does simply not do it justice:

The fabric below is a simple, white linen: (haha, can you see it??)
This fabric is a oatmealy-gray super-nubby, burlappy linen:
The fabric below is an overscale linen toile that I'll be using on the reverse: (I tried to play with the image to give you an idea of what it looks like on the reverse) There are hues of all of the other fabrics we're using in this fabric & it was the inspiration fabric I started with.

(I'll be posting my living area plans later & will go into more detail about what each fabric will be used for, but hope you get the idea for now.) I'm going for old-fashioned meets simple-clean. (The image below is my Grandma Maestranzi's old platinum china that I have now & love. --Cannonsburg Wild Clover- I think it really embodies what I'm going for: simple, clean but with some intricate, old-fashioned detail.)

I want to have some beautiful florals & borderline "grandma" fabrics & antiques & accessories mixed in with clean-lined pieces and fresh, crisp natural fabrics. The overall look will be fresh & happy & light & airy.

At first glance the space should feel fairly transitional/ modern & very natural, but upon closer inspection, I hope people (ok, seriously probably only my design-loving friends) will notice that there is a real hommage to tradition & days gone by, but in a fun & playful way. I want to feel comforted & reminded of certain things & people from my childhood, but don't want my home in another era either.

SO- now that you get the feeling/ mood of what I'm going for, here are the details! To start with, we'll be painting the linoleum floors white. There's a breakfast nook in the kitchen: (scary in this pic, yes I know)

I'm ditching the cornice above the window, trimming out the window in simple square boards & lining the walls with paper. I'm leaning towards these finalists & would love your input:

1) Cowtan & Tout's Botanique Spectaculaire (Thank you Dana for finding out the name!!) and I just love the sunflowers- so happy & beautiful!! I also love how wild they are...

2) Studio Printworks' Pinapple paper. Again, I love it & I love how happy it is & pineapples are my favorite fruit & it's a kitchen... Yet I worry is it strange because I live in Virginia to have pineapples on my wall??? **** UPDATE: I FORGOT TO MENTION IN THE ORIGINAL POST: I would be using a smaller-scaled version of this pineapple (called "pineapple petite") but don't have photos of it in use********

so fun though!!
3) The paper below is a custom wallcovering from and I'm IN LOVE. I've emailed them as to price (I'm scurred!!) and haven't heard back yet. I might want it a hint warmer.

4) The image belown is from and its more of a mural. beautiful!!
--- hahaha, ok this is too funny!!! my husband just walked in & surprised me with a bouquet of sunflowers for my birthday!!! I think maybe Botanique Spectaculaire is meant to be!!----------------------- (ok, but I still need your opinions!! ;)

So for the window, we'll probably go with simple white linen roman shades & a window seat & cushion (in a fun white vinyl) underneath:
For the table, I'm seriously considering going for a Saarinen-type table.

It's totally Tom Scheerer's fault (see below.) When I saw this image for the first time in House Beautiful, it was the first time I actually like the tulip table. It was the combination of modern & traditional elements that did me in. Now, I'd also love some input here. I know we won't be buying the real thing. Andy thoughts on the knock-offs? I'm leaning towards a white marble top and would love to find a vintage knock-off, but what do you think?? Is it "go all the way or go home" in this case??

We already have the Swedish chairs below, and I think their simple clean lines will work:

We're ripping the doors off of the upper cabinets (hahaha love how I'm like "ripping"?!! Can you tell I want them OFF?!!) & will keep the shelves in place and paint them gray so it will look something like this: (both kitchens below are Martha Stewart's)

I have lots of white dishes, bowls etc & will stock up the shelves. (There should be room for more though!! ;)

For the cabinet paint, I'll pull a gray out from whichever paper we do settle on. If we go with the sunflowers, I think the Ralph Lauren color (below) looks perfect.

Above, it's Ralph lauren "Mountain Sage" (SF02A)--(and although it looks good on the screen, I think the actual color has more green & so we'll most likely be looking for a color that looks like this color does on the screen)
For the backsplash, I'm leaning towards white hexagonal tiles or some other white tiles. (If I go with the marble topped saarinen table, marble would be pretty, like below)

For an island, I found an antique walnut blanket chest a couple of years ago in Antioch, IL where my dad lives. I planned to use it in his kitchen but he really wasn't into it, so now it's mine! (It has better lines than the one pictured below-- not so much into the country legs at the bottom in the photo-- but is of similar shape & color)

Eventually, I'd like to top it with a thick slab of marble:

For the countertops, we've been going in a few different directions. Originally I was dying for soapstone (below), but now I'm also considering more white marble.

I'm still leaning towards soapstone because I think it would be beautiful with the black in the wallpaper and provide a nice contrast against all the white and I LOVE its look... NEED the laundry sink, below, in my kitchen, whether it be stainless, soapstone or porcelain:

BUT... If I went with soapstone, would I have too much going on with the gray cabinets, walnut island and 2 different counter colors? And would the kitchen be more pulled together if at least one of the 2 moveable pieces- either the table & island- had some connection to the grounded cabinets?? (I'd love to hear thoughts here!) I'll get an idea of the look because we already have black formica. yum yum!

We definitely want to go with stainless steel appliances... you would be surprised though how cheap some standard stainless fridges are now that there are bottom-freezer models!!

There's definitely more to come & I'll post fun details as we make more decisions. If you get the chance, can you let me know your thoughts - and especially on the wallpapers, countertops & saarinen table?? I really do value your opinions- you have no idea how much!! :)


Marge said...

Wow! I am having sensory overload from all of the beautiful textures, fabrics, and inspirations! What a beautiful concept. I can't wait to read along as you move in and make the house everything you've envisioned!

Meg Bennett said...

I do love all of your ideas and have been searching through past posts- love it all. I am adding a link to your blog from mine. Thanks,

Melissa said...

You have so many great ideas for this house, and congrats in advance for moving in!
As to the countertops, I also wanted soapstone - until I saw how easily scratched it is. I was actually able to scratch it with my fingernail at the showroom! I ended up with a matte black stone called Cambria Black Satin, which has tremendous texture and depth but is granite so it is much more sturdy. It has the look and texture of soapstone without the trouble. On my center island, I did honed Carerra marble, which is oh so beautiful but does stain easily. We've found that the Carerra, when sealed, is vulnerable to grease and oil - but not to stains like red wine. We also did a Carerra backsplash. I would have loved marble all over all of the counters but knew I was too Type A to endure visible stains and scratches. If you are more relaxed than me, I say go for it!
I'd be happy to email you a pick of the Cambria black satin for you to take a peak! : )

Ashley said...

I love the idea of the Saarinen-type table! It will look so beautiful in that nook, especially against the wall paper! I am so excited to see the final product - all your elements seem to fit together so well! Best of luck with the reno!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

I'm getting so excited for you. It makes me want to sell my house and start all over in a new one!

I love all your wallpaper picks and I adore toile so I approve of the fabric as well.

I love how you described the style as old fashioned meets clean and simple. So perfect. I tend to love grandma chic so I can't wait to see what this all looks like.

I love that the tulip table especially with the marble top. It's been on my wishlist for awhile. I also love marble for the countertops. That was so not in the budget so we had to laminate, but eventually I'll get my hands on some Marble!

Ok I can go on and on so I'll just stop now and we can discuss later on the phone.

Kisses and have the happiest of birthdays!

Jennifer said...

it all sounds beautiful! I just pulled off my upper cabinet doors and painted them all gray and I LOVE IT. (didn't pull them all off though, don't have enough closed storage for that)

I like the sunflower toile or the pineapple, I think. pineapple isn't weird in VA -- it's the symbol of hospitality so I think it's perfect in a kitchen.

from the right bank said...

Six days? It seems to have happened so fast! Anyway, so excited for you and even more excited to see so many great ideas. Seriously, you are just full of the best ideas.

I love the colors and wallpapers you've chosen. I love pineapples too - it's always a great motif, I think.

As for the tulip table, I'm personally against knock-off's but I've sure seen a lot of rooms looking fabulous using knock-off's. Quick story about the tulip table: we had an original marble top Saarinen tulip coffee table in our last apartment. I loved it to death. One day, my husband tripped, fell and landed on it in a way that caused the marble to crack. And I actually rushed to check on the table before checking on him(!) Well it didn't make it. (He was okay though.) That's when I learned marble is actually really fragile. Something to consider . . .

Phew. That wasn't so quick after all(!) Anyway, I can't wait to see everything come together. Have a great weekend.

Linda/"Mom" said...

* Am so thrilled for you on your new "adventures", Lauren!!! Looking forward to "checking in" to see what's new (or old-but-new to you!)~~~ Deliciously fun!!! Warmest, Linda *

Rae said...

I love your fabrics! I think that I'll have to stay away from your blog. Too much temptation for someone who won't be able to decorate for quite a while!

DesignTies said...

Tough call on the wallpaper, they're all nice. I was going with the sunflowers first, but I think I'm leaning towards the pineapples now.

I would go with the soapstone countertops. Then you could do something like white carera marble on top of the island and on the backsplash.

The tulip table could work. I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but if you like it, then go for it :-)

I'm sure whatever you decide to do will look great :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

jo said...

this is so exciting!!!
I can't wait to see it all come together. I like the sunflower paper and the tulip table but I don't really have an opinion on the countertops (sorry). I'm sure whatever you go with will look wonderful.


Carol Ann said...

Take a look at
for ideas for simple interesting kitchens.
I love each of your ideas (my opinion) together they might be a bit cupboards takes staff, and Marthas pictures are set up from her tv show, might be hard to live with day to day...the backsplash might be a bit to much with all that grout...the sun flower toile wallpaper is fab, love the color...pulling a color from that for the cupboard paint is the way to go...maybe the paint in the livingroom can be a hue of that, abit lighter hue...
I have been thinking and have me talking to myself...what you do in the kitchen must flow with the livingroom also and you have not mentioned what you have planned for that room...lay out all your ideas on a board and blend the two rooms...keep it simple.
I am an email away, let me know if Sarah's website helps... if I can help I will, just email me.
Regards, Carol Ann

Tiffany said...

Can't wait for you to get in there and get busy!! Looking forward to watching it progress from a house to a home!

kris said...

Love the Saarinen table and marble countertops. It's such an elegant but clean look. Timeless. I like the pineapples too--gives the room a little bit of whimsy.

Linn said...

Hi there...I came across your blog about the time you put in the first offer on your new house and I'm having so much fun watching the progress!

My vote for wallpaper is the sunflowers. I like the others too, but, because of the scale, I think the motifs will be lost once you cut around the window.

Open shelves for the china in the kitchen: I love them! I think the secret to it not getting too visually busy is too keep stuff off the counter and keep it in cabinets below. It's not as much trouble as it sounds.

I really like the idea of the island from the old chest and, no, I don't think it sounds too busy and I like the look of mixing styles.

One thing I've learned from moving house (7 times in 10 years, 5 houses, 3 countries--there's a lot of back and forth) is: live in the house for a while before doing anything major. The house has its own ideas of what it wants to do.

But do make the story boards to help organize your thoughts...and I hope you'll post them when you do.

Happy late birthday, by the way :)

DesignTies said...

Hi Lauren :-)

Thanks for dropping by DesignTies and sharing your opinion on the wallpaper choice for Kate's bedroom! I love the black & white flowers,too. If Kate doesn't choose it, I'm going to recommend it for another client's place!

So... it seems we're both looking at wallpaper choices! Of the ones you're considering, I like the sunflower toile the best. Lovely! The pineapples are great, but they're very large and the wall you're papering isn't. I'm worried that the pineapples would not be showcased properly - that particular paper should be on a larger wall (like in your inspiratio pics).

Counters - definitely love the idea of dark, and I'm crazy about soapstone!! I think the dark counters would ground the space, especially with everything in greys and whites. If you're concerned with scratches (I think that's the charm of soapstone) you could considered a granite that hasn't been polished. Another option... cement. This might be an affordable option considering that you're hoping to one day tear these cabinets out... your counter won't fit on your new kitchen cabinets/configuration! :-)

Loving the idea of marble on the table and island! Your chairs will look good with the tulip table, but have you considered re-painting them? It might be fun if you paint them a colour... you could do a cool grey that works with the room, or you could do them in a soft colour (thinking about your desk - a soft colour like that) pulled from the living room/dining room. I'm thinking your kitchen needs a hit or two of colour! Also... when thinking grey for your cabinets, take into consideration your burlap oatmeal/grey fabric as well as the wallpaper.

Finally... and off topic from your kitchen... I love the windows in your dining room/living room. I once mentioned that I think it would be FAB to put in longer windows along this wall since you have those wonderful trees behind your house... and if one or two of those longer windows were actually french doors to a deck... our of this world!! I know... I'm spending money you may not have... but consider it!!

You're going to have so much fun with this, Lauren!!
Victoria @ DesignTies

DesignTies said...

That was supposed to read "out of this world". Typing too fast ;-)

Maria Killam said...

Love all your plans! I think the bigger wallpaper pattern of pineapples. I'm wondering if the last one is too large scale for your nook. . . not sure since I'm not in the space.

I like the soapstone but I'd go with a 'revere pewter' or smoky taupe or ranchwood for your cabinets. I know you are leaning towards the green/gray and if you love it go for it but I think I've been specifying greeny grays for so long I'm just bored of them (don't tell anyone that though).

I want a Saarinen table as well and I would most definitely get a knock off. . . you have so many other things you need to spend your money on right now, I'd be all about the look, I think we upgrade all our lives so you can do that later when you are an internationally known designer :)

Love following your progress I love your design aesthetic.

Haven and Home said...

Hi Lauren! So exciting that you are about to move! I like both of your counter options (I know I am no help) and I am loving the fabrics! Can't wait to see it all finished!

LindsB said...

wow, you certainly have some great ideas for your house! It is going to be so much fun picking out everything and putting your dream house together, I’m so jealous!!

For the countertops, I love white marble, and think it would be so pretty in your place. But then again soapstone is great too...I don’t know, I have a hard time picking out just one. I also love the idea of the island not matching exactly- but I would have one element that ties it in with the rest of the cabinets like the hardware maybe.

I think whatever you go with will look amazing, I can’t wait to see your process along the way!

Love Where You Live said...

I can't wait to see your "new" home -- a la pure Lauren style! What fun! Thanks for sharing your treehouse. (I posted something earlier today about a different treehouse style!) ha. Weren't we posting something similar one other time?! best,

Love Where You Live said...

p.s. I have soapstone and love it. The people at Walker Zanger tried to talk me out of it, saying it chips easily. But we've had no problems. Knock on wood. Maybe we're careful??? Altho, we do use our kitchen!!! -s

kathleen said...

Amazing that your move is only days away. When you get time, can you post about what the linen/burlap fabric is? I like that very much.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for the pineapple wallpaper. -Noelle

Catherine@Simply Natural said...

You are absolutely brimming with ideas! I'm so excited for you. I can't wait to see you weave your magic.

Willow Decor: said...

Just beautiful - I it!! I am sure it will be fantastic when you are through

Terri said...

I am speechless with your amazing plans and talent. I think you are simply one of the absolute best-est unsung decorators on the internet and I know you will pull it all off. I wish I could afford to send you $50,000 as I know you would make it perfect. Insanely gifted you are!

Enjoy every minute - and I am so excited for you. I love your style - like you said clean and simple and fresh and yet nostalgic and olde world. Just a perfect, easy combo!

keep us posted! xo Terri

J.Covington*Design said...

Definately love the "Ripped" look! Hahaha. Looking forward to watching the progress on your new home.

Meade Design Group said...

The driftwood chandeliers are so unique! I really like them :)

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