Kitchens for the Rest of Us & Dwellings

Kitchens for the Rest of Us: From the Kitchen You Have To the Kitchen You Love
Peter Lemos
Taunton Press, Newtown, CT

Written by Peter Lemos and available from Newtown, CT-based Taunton Press, Kitchens for the Rest of Us: From the Kitchen You Have to the Kitchen You Love offers designers and consumers a practical and inspiring guide for transforming any ordinary kitchen into a new, stunning space.

Using over 20 different kitchen remodels as guides, the book offers a user-friendly format that leads the reader through various styles, from modern bungalows and colonial revival design to mid-century chic.

The book begins with a prologue titled "The Hardest-Working Room in the House," which offers insight into the role of kitchen as well as the remodeling process - while dispelling myths along the way. For instance, a colorful "Five Essential Tips" box quickly breaks the entire process down into smaller, manageable steps, including taking stock, finding your style, working with pros, defining your space and making it happen.

The book - which features 27 chapters in total - showcases a wide variety of projects, including "A Colonial Revival for a 21st Century Family," "The Heart of the Home and Sunlight, Too," and "Opening Walls Created a Charming Cooking Center," among others.

Each chapter is uniquely styled, with inviting pale colors and a plethora of boxed information.

For example, the chapter titled "A Bright Kitchen that Looks Bigger Than It Is," retells the updating of a previously cramped, dingy kitchen to include more work space in the cooking area. An "Our Problem" box as well as a "Solution" box clearly define the challenges of each space, as well.

For instance, one project features the unique use of mirrors to visually expand the space, and the technique is given due process, with its own separate box, offering a deeper glimpse into the approach used.

The chapter concludes with a section called "Up Close," which points out other project elements, such as the use of skylights or storage suggestions.

Dispersed throughout the book as well are purchasing guides, such as the sections called "Counter Choices," and "Cabinet Council," which introduce and define the most common surfacing selections - and cabinet choices - available on the market.

Also offered are some 250 color images, including before-and-after photographs, which are accompanied by informative captions that describe the techniques used.

Concluding the book is a "Resources," section, which includes contact information for the architects, designers and manufacturers whose work appears in the book.

Dwellings: Living With Great Style
Stephen Sills and James Huniford
Bulfinch Press, New York, NY

Meant as a design and decoration resource, Dwellings: Living with Great Style, offers designers information about the proportion, creativity, design details and even fabrics needed to create a variety of inspired spaces - including kitchens and the baths.

Written by Stephen Sills and James Huniford, and available from New York, NY-based Bulfinch Press, the book features 10 chapters, ranging in topic from "Finding Your Personal Style" to "Finishing Details."

The chapter titled "Planning a Room" offers further insight into the design process, while giving useful tips and discussing the changing way spaces, such as the master bath, are currently being utilized.

Hand-written design tips are found throughout each chapter, creating an air of elegance to the text, while providing practical suggestions to unleash design creativity or overcome particular design challenges.

Plenty of project examples are provided throughout this chapter as well, and are featured in full-color photographs that showcase the design styles discussed.

Each photo is accompanied by generous caption information that not only describes the geographic location of the kitchen or bath, but pinpoints the distinct elements of each that make it a noteworthy design space.

The chapter titled "Finishing Touches," offers insight into the "little things" that can add freshness and vitality to any design, such as perfectly placed sponges in a Manhattan bath or the ornate effects of a neo-classical bust.

The book concludes with a chapter titled "Change," that simply, yet effectively, inspires readers to reconsider how their own designs can be improved - and think about the most efficient ways for those changes to be implemented and achieved.