Many of us have spent a lot of time in our kitchens since March 2020. This period perhaps has caused some of us to look at these spaces for cooking and gathering with new eyes… and has probably prompted more one of us thinking about ways to make our kitchens more welcoming, functional and beautiful.
I’m certainly not immune, even though I completely renovated the kitchen in my own house just a few years ago. So when I had the chance to join the US delegation at an international ceramic tile fair in Bologna, Italy – an event of 600 exhibitors and 62,000 visitors called CERSAIE – in October, well, that was a yes easy (especially since I was already going to be on this side of the pond anyway!). Although I love everything about cooking in general, my ulterior motive was to seek inspiration for the kitchen of a Victorian house that I am renovating in Beechmont and the kitchenettes of some apartments that I turn into offerings. long-stay hospitality (Yes, when I’m not writing, I take care of renovations and accommodation!).
And… wow don’t begin to describe CERSAIE. There is a term called Stendhal Syndrome where the presence of too much beauty can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed by it all. It might sound melodramatic, but I can promise you it’s a real thing. I almost got the whiplash after three days of speechlessness in one breathtaking Italian-designed showroom after another at the massive event. (Side note: Can someone tell me how it is that such a small country can have such a disproportionate impact on the design world?)
While unfortunately I couldn’t exactly remove the stunning tiles from the walls and bring them back to the United States, my mission to find inspiration has paid off richly. Here are four kitchen remodeling ideas and where you can find some of the products – or pretty close knockoffs – right here in Louisville.
Make tiles fun with unexpected patterns and art-inspired colors
The refrain running through my mind when seeing the tile displays was that it transcends a functional floor or wall covering. Of course, technically it’s “just tiles”. But really? It’s art. The most sumptuous art, deliriously beautiful.
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It took a couple of times or more to discern whether we were looking at a large-scale art installation, or a tiled mural, in many showrooms. Honestly, it looked more like a museum or art gallery than a trade show. And how wonderful it is to think of surrounding yourself with art like that! It’s been a chore for a few years, and soaking up beauty like that was a form of personal grooming that I didn’t know I needed. You might not be ready for the panther mural that has fascinated many of us, but think about tiles – both its color and texture – because your backing can open up a world of possibilities when you rearrange your home. food. At a minimum, an unexpected pattern for your tile placement (diagonal or zigzag) can add a fun touch to a kitchen design.
Dreamy pastels are the kitchen colors of the year
When was the last time you thought of wispy pinks, sky blues and soothing greens? Sweet, warm and romantic was the name of the game when it came to the runaway winners on the color trend front. Even though the tile is technically a hard surface, the cheerful colors gave an organic, almost soft feel to the surfaces. Everywhere we looked there were hues of mint, sage and pink (which echoed trends across the world and at home with Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams announcing October Mist and Evergreen Fog as their colors of the l ‘year).
Between all those enticing colors and then soaking myself in pastel hues in a Wes Anderson-designed cafe at Fondazione Prada in Milan, I came home and went straight to Dages Paint Co., 1140 E. Oak St. , to choose a pale pink, light green and cheerful light yellow color to redo an apartment kitchen with.
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Add a touch of life to your kitchen with plants
I have a word for you: botany.
If there was a Monstera leaf pattern tile at CERSAIE, there were a hundred. The trend says a lot about what we’re all looking for right now: tranquil, comforting nature. If you’re not yet ready to commit to a multi-year relationship with a plant motif on your tile, there’s an easy place to start. Head to Mahonia, 822 E. Market St., or Forage, 1201 Goss Ave., for plants that will bring your kitchen to life.
I definitely came home looking for more greenery to flood my own kitchen. And really, it’s kind of a “doh” moment; most of what we eat comes from plants in one form or another. Why not surround ourselves with reminders of the natural world that sustains and nourishes us? Or maybe start with a lower engagement like a backsplash, or stick with green and blue jewelry tones that echo nature if you want to play it safe.
You can now cook directly on the worktop
Friends: I have seen the future and still lift my jaw off the ground. Everything I thought I knew about kitchens was turned upside down when I saw a chef prepare a gourmet meal – spectacularly cooking a dish and all – right on a counter.
Wait what? Yes.
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He wasn’t a wizard or a wizard, even if it looked like it. He was cooking on amazing technology that incorporates induction cooking right in a counter. Heat only transfers through kitchen utensils, so understand, the counter is cool to the touch. He cut the food, lit a sauce on fire, and when he wiped everything off, it turned into what looked like a kitchen counter that any of us would have. The product, ABKstone’s COOKING Surface Prime, is being rolled out in the US and its marketing team tells me distributors can request it, so we might see it in Kentucky in the not-so-distant future!
Where to find Italian-inspired tiles in Louisville
Okay, but what if you really want some of that luscious Italian tile? In my own research, I discovered that Louisville Tile offers some of the products like the ones I expect after CERSAIE. Florim, Ragno and Panaria are among the lines offered.
So if you need me you can probably find me there dreaming about Italian inspired kitchens.
Tell Dana! Send your “Dish” restaurant to Dana McMahan at [email protected] and follow @bourbonbarbarella on Instagram.