When it comes to kitchen design, finding the perfect balance between old and new elements can create a dynamic and ageless space. In this kitchen tour, we explore a blue Scandi-style kitchen expertly crafted by designer and shop owner MK Quinlan. Located in a 1959 midcentury rambler in Birmingham, AL, this kitchen seamlessly blends the homeowner’s love for color and antiques with a fresh and crisp foundation.
MK Quinlan had a vision of furnishing the adjacent rooms with antique rugs and classic brown furniture. To complement this aesthetic, she wanted the kitchen to have a Scandi-leaning style, ensuring the house didn’t feel too period or old. MK also believed that anything built into the kitchen should support the house’s architecture and era.
The kitchen features slab-front cabinets, stacked appliances, and a table instead of an island, which are hallmarks of kitchens from the midcentury era. However, what sets this kitchen apart is the fresh blue hue, specifically Farrow & Ball Blue Ground, chosen for the cabinets. MK’s initial choice of color came off as a powder blue more suited for a nursery, so she made the wise decision to scrap it. The vibrant blue color adds a cheerful touch to the space, serving as a striking contrast to the pecan table, the rug, and the antique rack holding copper pots and baskets.
One of the standout design choices in this kitchen is the absence of an island. MK opted for a large pecan table instead, which provides ample counter space and serves multiple functions. MK emphasizes that the fear of not having enough counter space without an island is overhyped. In reality, you don’t need as much counter space as you might think. The pecan table, purchased by MK’s mom at a local estate sale, has become the most-loved piece in the house. It serves as a space for reading, taking breaks, doing homework and art projects, and, of course, dining. When friends come over for dinner, they gather around the table, creating a more intimate and personal dining experience compared to the formal dining room.
The table is accompanied by bentwood dining chairs, which were bought without seats and then covered with leftover pink fabric from MK’s daughter’s room. MK’s resourceful approach to using what’s on hand not only adds a unique touch to the chairs but also saves time and money. To ensure durability and easy cleaning, a layer of vinyl was added on top of the fabric, making it suitable for kitchen spills.
Storage solutions play a crucial role in this kitchen design. All the dishes are stored in deep drawers, making it easier to lift out a stack of plates compared to balancing them in high cabinets. An appliance garage keeps bulky equipment, such as a stand mixer, blender, and coffee bean grinder, easily accessible without the need for bending or lifting. Separating the oven from the stovetop opens up additional countertop space and provides flexibility in cooking options. MK explains that a big statement range didn’t make sense for this house, as the five burners and a griddle are more than ample for their family meals.
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MK also considered the needs of her children when designing the kitchen. She designated pantry drawers specifically for her kids to use—one for snacks and another for art supplies. The snacks are kept low for easy access, encouraging their independence. However, it’s worth noting that this strategy wasn’t foolproof, as kids will be kids.
In conclusion, the blue Scandi-style kitchen designed by MK Quinlan showcases how blending old and new elements can create a captivating and timeless space. By incorporating antique elements alongside contemporary cabinets in an on-trend hue, MK has achieved a harmonious balance. The absence of an island in favor of a large pecan table demonstrates that ample counter space is often overhyped. With thoughtful storage solutions and a focus on functionality, this kitchen serves as a gathering place for family and friends, reflecting the homeowner’s unique personality and style.
Published on May 30, 2023
Source: BHG’s Editorial Process