Susanna Salk’s new book Be Your Own Decorator offers helpful advice to homeowners who long for beautiful kitchens.
Be Your Own Decorator assembles a matchless collection of work by some of the world’s top designers and offers helpful advice on how to apply these masters’ methods to your own home.
Given the essential functionality of kitchens in the life of the home, one can easily fall into design routines when approaching this important space. It is unsurprising then that Salk showcases several exemplary kitchens in her chapter titled “Rule Breaking.”
Two of these kitchens uniquely re-imagine the space, not only as a place to create culinary art, but one perfectly suited for displaying art, as well. Annie Brahler’s kitchen, with its flourishes of color, artwork and full range of material textures, seems equal parts salon and cuisine. Maxine Greenspan complements a fine arrangement of paintings and sculptures with a delightfully startling mounted surfboard—surely the standout piece in this gallery.
Diamond Baratta shows that you need not stop at flourishes of color in the kitchen, but can completely let loose. The vibrant colors and shapely glass pendants harken to the palm trees, sea and sky just outside the door.
In contrast, Vicente Wolf utilizes almost entirely muted, rich, wood tones to add warmth to what might be an otherwise intimidating spaciousness. Both he and Thomas Smythe have replaced the expected island with a table and chairs, further adding to the inviting coziness of their kitchens. Smythe expertly balances contemporary materials with old-fashioned style to create a room that is both familiar and fresh.
The kitchens in Be Your Own Decorator inspire the reader to question assumptions about what constitutes “design rules.” Rather than emulate any particular designer’s style, Salk suggests that you strive for a similar fearlessness and spontaneity that will allow your own style to naturally blossom.
By Matthew Perez
Photography by Kayleigh Jankowski