The Joy of Thoughtful
Kitchen Design

Good Housekeeping magazine published its first issue in May 1885. The tag line read “A family journal conducted in the interests of the higher life of the household”.

Kitchen Design History

Antique newspaper

In its early issues, the essential message was simple. The kitchen served as a purely functional space, separate from the rest of the home. It was to be organized in a way that would assist the woman of the house to more efficiently perform her duties as dictated by society at the time.

Open concept kitchen

Needless to say, society has evolved quite a bit since then. Women are no longer the sole curators of the kitchen. These rooms are now an integral part of the overall feel and function of the home. Especially with the emergence of the open-concept design aesthetic. An aesthetic that would also come to include what I call “The Pretty Factor.”

Modern Design Evolution

Gaudy kitchen design

Modern kitchen design, in my observation, began to tip the scales in the opposite direction of its origins a couple of decades ago, focusing more on adding bling and shine. The design market pushed for the consumption of higher-end finishes and appliances. As if to transform the kitchen, and subsequently the bathroom, into a sort of garish status symbol. Implying that a living space that brings one joy to gaze upon, was only for those who could afford the lavish price tag.

Farmhouse kitchen design

In recent years, the modern farmhouse design esthetic has come more into the mainstream. Actually, now waning toward a more transitional look. This new ‘combination’ aesthetic seems to land right in the middle of the two previously mentioned. An aesthetic that highlights both form and function. A pleasant balance of things, just the way it should be.

My Take On It

Of course, the market will always support more high-end materials in design. But what I’ve always loved about the transitional style, before it was ever trendy, is that it can be achieved so beautifully, with a clean and curated look, without the high-end price tag.  Allowing anyone… who appreciates this type of design style… no matter where on the economic scale one might be…to walk into any room in their home and experience that joy.

Because that, my friends, is what life is all about. Not money, not social standing, its about what makes us feel safe and comfortable, content and happy. Its about what makes us feel….joy.

And we ALL deserve that.

Kitchen Design Joy

What makes me feel joy in design? Achieving the perfect balance of form and function, especially in our kitchen. (I tend to spend quite a lot of time in there, creating and testing recipes and such.) All while doing it on as modest a budget as we can possibly muster.  Darren and I both like to cook and bake. But our kitchen, being in an older home, does not include a lot of storage or counter space. Taking a cue from kitchens way back in the day, we got our creative juices flowing. Starting with organizational ideas that support our modern-day storage needs.

But, naturally, in addition to optimum function, I also need that ‘Pretty Factor’. I want to walk into our kitchen every morning and smile with glee at the sight of it. What a fantastic way to start the day!

The Olenick House Kitchen, So Far…

I chose to incorporate pretty form with practical function in our humble kitchen. I’m achieving this by utilizing organization and merchandising techniques that I’ve learned along my journey. Here are some visual examples. Feel free to steal any that appeal to you!

I don’t think we’ve even invested $100 in this kitchen yet. Score! Mostly because I was able to upcycle things like soup containers from the grocery store for pantry storage and parts of black storage racks that were no longer used, for punches of industrial form around the room. Putting our various dish soaps in vintage glassware was also a Jen-must! Lol

There are many more ideas to implement going forward which I promise to share in a later post. Like painting and staining the cabinetry and doing something with all that faux brick, which I actually like, but it’s not yet pretty.

Creating organization out of chaos and making that organization pleasing to the eye is one of my favorite things to do. I think I’m on the right track with this room.

Organized kitchen shelf

Feel free to let us know about any reno projects or nesting activities you’ve done, we’d love to hear from you! Any home design or DIY projects you like to read about? Drop us a note in the comments below. Thank you!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Emily Suess

    I love how neatly organized your kitchen is. Ours will never be. I am resigned. lol

    1. Jen Olenick

      Thank you! I call this type of organization “Kitchen OCD”. 😂

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