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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2004 called and wants its kitchen back

House Beautiful's 2010 Kitchen of the Year debuted yesterday and, Dumplings, it's ugly with a capital UGH! Someone thought it a brilliant idea to hire that collagen-lipped asshat from "Flipping Out" to design it. FYI, for those of you unaware of Jeff Lewis' existence, he's a realtor not a kitchen designer.

Now, I'm not going to blame HB's new editor-in-chief, Newell Turner. This project was greenlit ages ago by Stephen Drucker, who conveniently skipped off to helm Town & Cuntry (typo, I'm keeping it) before having to answer for this hot mess. Newell Honey, you have my deepest sympathies and I hope you enjoyed some heavy prescription medication before yesterday's unveiling.

First of all, may I say that I'm introducing legislation to outlaw the "espresso" finish. We've left the Aughts behind and that's where brown-black wood finishes should remain. Even Christian Liaigre, who started the trend back in the mid-1990s with his massive blocks of wenge, has abandoned the look.

I'm hella confused as to what is going on with that backsplash. It looks like pressed tin ceiling panels, but I'm guessing it's some sort of porcelain tile. *In a Chandler Bing voice* - could it be any more boring? Even white subway tile would look like Heidi Klum next to this blandness with its worn-out mod organic design. Another trend best left in the past decade.

Also, this kitchen is making me hate open shelving and I don't hate open shelving. A few sad-looking succulents and stacks and stacks of plain white dishes gathering dust - YAWN.

The dining table is bar height. WHY? I can't imagine a more uncomfortable dinner experience than trying to balance on a near-backless bar stool after a few glasses of vino. And did he hire Nina from "Design Star" to paint a couple of mural panels? AWFUL!

This looks like the lounge area of strip mall bar named "Whispers."

Dumplings, let's rest our seared eyeballs for a sec on something much more beautiful and comforting - the 2009 Kitchen of the Year by Ina Garten and Robert Stilin.

AHHHHHH...

This is not my personal decorating style but I will be the first to say it is a gorgeous kitchen. Traditional with contemporary clean lines, vaguely East Coast, vaguely Californian, very warm, and very yummy!

Mmmm...much better.

So, Dumplings, what are your thoughts?

[House Beautiful's 2010 Kitchen of the Year]
[House Beautiful's 2009 Kitchen of the Year]

43 comments:

only a movie said...

Love the typo, and the strip mall bar named 'Whispers'. Fantastic.

(I have no business commenting on the design, though I agree with your critique. Second set of photos much easier on the eyes.)

Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation said...

Your blog post title is hilarious. As for the kitchen, I saw the pictures yesterday and my mind immediately thought, "WEIRD" really loudly in my head.

Belly said...

Feewww, so glad I'm not the only one.

Topaz said...

Totally agree about bar-height dining. And it is made 10X worse when there's no back rest on the stools.

Speaking of which, backless anything around the dining table has to be the worst designer decision ever, yet you see it so often. Can't imagine anything more uncomfortable than not being able to sit back and enjoy a good dinner and good company because you're stuck on a hard wooden bench. And then you have to move anytime one of your benchmates wants to get up from or sit down at the table.

Rant over. You called this one, Raina. Atrocious design.

Alexandra Rae said...

The biggest offense is the datedness of it all. I'm so glad someone else called it. It's very "late 90's LA." A strip mall bar named "Whispers!" I love that. Thanks for the palette cleanse at the end!

hmstrjam said...

hey Raina- I guess I don't get it anymore ?!

Robin said...

Who wants to place bets that Jeff was late on the project, HB was disappointed, and there was no time, no funds, and possibly a contract clause that prevented any changes?

erin@designcrisis said...

Whispers... HA.

It's ugly, but I still love me some Jeff Lewis. He a funny bitch. Ina's kitchen is much more homey, and undoubtedly more functional. I don't think Jeff Lewis has ever even made his own coffee, much less cooked a meal.

susieq said...

Hate the kitchen; love me some Jeff Lewis. Everything you said was EXACTLY right and I couldn't agree more. But, Flipping Out is one of my favorites!

phillip said...

AMEN sister!!!!!

Naomi@ThirteenandSouth said...

as someone who designs kitchens day in and day out, espresso bothers me a whole lot less than some of the other wood tones my clients are fixated on.

That being said this kitchen needs some color and softness added into the mix.

Oh and I had a good chuckle over the Nina comment. So true!

Alexis L., The Studioist said...

The cabinetry of the wenge kitchen looks like upcycled West Elm headboards in the still-signature espresso finish. And that pendant light? No words. The Ina Garten space isn't quite my cup of tea (I don't care if I never see a kitchen stool again) but it has a lyrical, warm quality that I appreciate.

Linda in AZ * said...

*** THANKS RAINA~~~~ At FIRST I thought you kmust've awakened on on the wrong side of the paint can, then I just got SUUUUCH a chuckle out of your "reaction/opinions"... I actually chuckled OUT LOUD for once, & THAT is RARE!!!~~~~~ (Annnd, I still have a smile on my face!!!)...Yer spot-on, mate!

* IMHO, Ina can NEVER do any wrong I A*DO*R*E her own kitchen/house!)... EXCEPPPPT that I would NEVER have backless stools/seating ANYwhere where people EAT... period!!! (Our kitchen stools are custom made of iron (, w/ a back, arms, 3" cushions and they swivel~~~ now THAT'S comfort ANYtime)...

Thanks for putting THE WIDE-TOOTHED smile on my face just now!!!

Best,
Linda in AZ *
bellesmom1234@comcast.net

hush said...

Spot on, as usual.

Both looks are totally date-stamped. If Lewis ever had a baby he would call it Braedyn or Jayden for sure.

Teri said...

I haven't been able to grasp the whole dinning table at bar height thing since I first saw it several years ago.

As the mom of children- I see broken arms. As someone who doesn't like spending a lot of money on trends you don't love- I see the need for a new table and chairs as soon as the wind blows.

The kitchen scares me.

Liz, Viive and Benji said...

I love love your commentary! And I agree, this kitchen does not make me happy, nor does it make me want to cook.
And as a side note, I dont think cacti make for the best centerpieces at the dinner table. Its like: "Please pass the broccoli" "Oh sure, here you go - OOOOWWWWW #*@&%!!"

Sketch42 said...

The kitchen is so cold, so lifeless and so dated. We've seen this shit a hundred times. Not kitchen of the year worthy.

I still cant figure out what kitchen trends ARENT dated, because almost every kitchen I go into somehow feels tied to a time period.

David said...

More than anything there appear to be some lighting issues, as in not enough. If there aren't some spots concealed under that bottom shelf it's going to be very difficult to cook or serve there in anything but the brightest part of the day. I can see some overhead cable fixtures, but they don't look large enough to do much.

There's one well-placed light in our entire kitchen, and the fixture shot craps, so I'm probably hypersensitive, but bad lighting can render nearly any kitchen unusable.

babyfishmouth said...

The both have ginormous plants/floral arrangements in the middle of the kitchen island, which is totally impractical. And a lamp on the island - ha!! ESPECIALLY if you actually cook like Ina Garten. (I get that you would maybe put a floral arrangement in the mix if you were setting up a buffet on the kitchen island for a party, but that particular island is staged for food prep, not service). I'm all for staging that makes it look lived-in, but it would be nice if it was believable.

Mrs Woog said...

Isn't that the kitchen from Demi Moore's place in St Elmos Fire?

xxx said...

Agree with you - also think David made a valid point re the lack of lighting. Only point of difference, I don't mind wenge kitchens, when done right. This kitchen is plain ugly.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I had my doubts when they announced 'ol sugar lips Jeff would be designing what I feel should be a "dream" kitchen - something to inspire the masses.
After seeing this year's, I barely have a pulse.

Lee said...

Raina, that certainly is one ugly kitchen. Now, what I'd really like to see is your pick for kitchen of the year - that would make a great post!

Jane said...

Gee your post made me feel better. You are right it is Ugly, Pointless and Dated.

Habitually Chic just did a post gushing about it and I was going to leave a comment that I HATED it (in CAPITALS too) and then I thought that might make me some enemies because HC is not really a negative comment kind of place is it.

xoxo

Raina Cox said...

Lee - I thought HB's Kitchen of the Month in the newest issue was intriguing:

http://tinyurl.com/32z3dfs

The idea of kitchen in two connected spaces seems very fresh and very old-fashioned at the same time.

Jane - I'm not trying to curry shelter magazine favor here. ;)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Yup. In total lockstep with you on this one.

Verification word 'auntie'

Acanthus and Acorn said...

What timing! By chance I saw this guy on The Today Show I think Monday? I found him to be quite glib and enamoured with himself. Poor Al Roker, whom I adore, had to do the "walk-through".

I couldn't even focus on whether or not the design was good beceause I was so bothered by this guy.

And, the word "espresso" finish...I catch myself saying it once in awhile and it drives me nuts too!

Sol Kawage said...

what David said.

Naz said...

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who is not impressed with JL. Great post.

Raina Cox said...

Naz- Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation said...

I keep thinking about this kitchen. (Yes I know there are more important things in the world I should be thinking about, but I'm not.) WHY would HB choose someone to design the kitchen that 1) doesn't cook 2) isn't a designer? Is this some kind of really obvious magazine / Bravo channel lets-be-everywhere-and-advertise-together kind of thing? What do you think?

Raina Cox said...

Sharon - I think you nailed it with the advertising angle. I can't think of a single kitchen designer who is well-known to the American public.

I would like to see another celebrity chef/kitchen designer combo next year like 2009's pairing. Or a Top Chef tie-in. Any excuse to see more of Tom Colicchio.

Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation said...

You said the magic work or name .... Tom Colicchio.

David said...

It KILLS me that Chef Tom was unable to ride on the bear float at this years LA Pride. You know he looks amazing in a harness.

Raina Cox said...

David - !!!!

That's so naughty.

LUVZ it!

littlebeachbum said...

ooh I love Ina Garten's kitchen! That other one...ick, not so much. It feels kind of cold and incongruent, doesn't it?

Raina Cox said...

littlebeachbum - Agreed. Also, hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Michelle said...

I hadn't realized that I was hardly breathing, or scrunching my face up like a badger util I got the pretty kitchen relief face splash. Oh yuch, that kitchen screeeems HGTV, gross!

Mrs. Limestone said...

I agree with a lot of what you said but I heart that atlas like light fixture. Its the only thing that jumps out at me.

home before dark said...

I'm right you on this one. This is butt ugly and I wonder what it would be like to cook in since it was designed by someone who doesn't know how to turn on an oven. I liked Ina's kitchen very much because it is a cook's kitchen. This one is a cook's nightmare.

Designers' Brew said...

I totally agree with you on all points, but damn, "collagen-lipped asshat" is the best thing I've heard all week.

The Matters of Style Girls said...

Totally agree. And you are hilarious- glad to find your blog!

Raina Cox said...

The Matters of Style Girls - Thanks so much and welcome to this deliciousness!