A kitchen remodel in Lucca: wood, brass and zellige tiles

Kitchen remodel Ikea, zellige, wood

I remember standing in a room in rumbles last winter, trying to convinced myself the ruins could be turned into a kitchen. I love watching American remodel shows. I am always envious of the wood framing and drywall they knock down on demo day. Now, Italian walls work a bit differently...

The pad hadn't has been touched since the seventies, to remodel the kitchen, we had to add all new electrics, tubing, etc. Step one. Then we had a leak upstairs. A terrace that was done without waterproofing it. It was a very long process to convince our neighbors to demolish the whole thing, let our team waterproof and retile it, and only after all that was finished, we could think about the design.

This wasn't the most oversized room; it is a rectangular room attached to a dining room, with an arch dividing the two. There's no window in the kitchen. 

This was the very dreary BEFORE:

The kitchen would be in U form. Whereas I like long, open kitchens. I'm not too fond of upper cabinets, find them too oppressive, and I would like to have added open shelving, but Marlon hates it. And he's right here, in a house you are going to rent out, it just adds extra dusting work.

The kitchen had to be as functional as possible, and we had to counteract the fact that there was no natural light. That is why I choose light wood on the cabinets. 

I love using color in a kitchen, but you need light for that, or it could fall flat very quickly. Now, you could still use color, but you would have to go a little bit too saturated for my taste. And I didn't think it would fit the style of the house. Wood looks good in any light. White was out of the question; for white, you need light. White/light is a motto to live by.

Another reason I wanted wood was that Marlon chooses this stainless steel farmhouse sink.  We both decide how the design will look, and I tend to get my way more often than he, so compromise is necessary. But I won't lie; it made me nervous. But I figured, if I make the rest of the kitchen warm, it will counteract the sink.

Here you can see the effect of the stainless steel with the wood. It does play nicely against each other.

You could imagine a sink like that in a professional kitchen; the washing up is easy; you don't have to be careful with it; it has that practical element that my husband loves. 

Strangely, now that the kitchen is done, it almost looks like an accent, a jewel, it looks fancy, and I love it.

I have never used an Ikea kitchen, but we wanted to do this ourselves; in Holland, we have the pleasure to work with Marlon's nephew, a cabinet maker, but here we haven't found one to work with yet, so Ikea it was. And I have to say, I'm impressed. Listen, there are some drawbacks, you won't get the precision in the cabinetry as in a custom kitchen, but the functionality is superb. The appliances are perfect, I always use induction plates, and the Ikea one is excellent. The oven, the washer, the fridge, all top-notch. 

We choose brass handles, and of course, Marlon wasn't sure, but I knew that the lack of light needed the warmth and shine of brass. 

I let Marlon choose the colors of the tiles. When sharing decisions on remodeling, when you are the one that pours over images for months, my advice is to show your partner the options you can live by. I saved a pictures of kitchens I loved, choose 4 to show him, and but instead of saying, this is what I want, I let him choose and then make it work. Never show something you don't love, though; your partner is bound to choose that option!

Anyway, the green tiles and wood combo is very mid-century, which goes nicely with many of the furniture we own. To add extra shine, some more light, and texture, I choose zellige tiles but kept the tiling only on one wall, not to overwhelm the space. 

We put the zellige up on the wall you see from the living room to add that interest. The nice thing is that the green tiles are out of sight when you are sitting down in the dining room; you only see the large white ones we used on the other walls, which enlarges the space. giving it depth. If we had used the darker tiles on the back wall, it would make the walls appear closer. 

Now I understand that people like to have lots of storage, and I would love to have a pantry here. But in Italy people don't use lots of big appliances, they need pots and pans, plates, cutlery, and fresh food, that's it. So I am glad to say the storage space, having the cabinets run down to the arch, and adding two rotating cabinets in both angles are more than enough.

Oh, and did I tell you how much I love them no touch faucet. It is just so handy when cooking. I never want another kind in my kitchen ever again.

Better pictures coming soon....