House Beautiful editor-in-Chief Newell Turner and Flipping Out designerJeff Lewis give us the scoop on their Rockefeller Plaza dream kitchen.
House Beautiful has a thing for kitchens. Each issue has a curated page of kitchen products, each house-tour spread has at least one dreamy kitchen shot and they even have a designated “Kitchen of the Month”, playmate style (no, they’re not centerfolds but we kind of wish they were).
So it makes sense that their big event pays tribute to the busiest room in the house by building a kitchen in the busiest part of New York City: Welcome House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year 2010, live from Rockefeller Plaza. Today kicks off a week of cooking demos, tastings and naturally, serious kitchen envy for everyone involved.
“I’m most jealous of the fact that there are 44 doors that I can open all at the same time,” says Jeff Lewis, who took on this project in addition to his 18 clients and, oh yeah, his reality show Flipping Out. “I’m one of those people that loves the indoor-outdoor feel so much that if I didn’t have five pets that could escape, I’d have every door and window open all the time. I’d even live in a tent outside.” Really? “OK, it would be a designer tent.”
Newell Turner, House Beautiful’s new editor-in-chief, has his eye on the Walker Zanger tile (seen below). Used to create a blacksplash, these sculptural tiles caught Turner’s attention because while he’s seen them on the market, not many designers have actually used them. And it’s not just the fact that Jeff used them, it’s how he did it — in repetition. “I think it makes the wall very three-dimensional. And when you light it, the wall becomes very sculptural.”
Sculptural is a big word with this kitchen — after all, it’s the first time in Kitchen of the Year’s three-year history that the design has been so contemporary, and Turner tells us the bold look may be showing up more in the magazine as well. “We’re always exploring the definition of House Beautiful and we’re now asking: What is it about contemporary that’s House Beautiful? In the case of this kitchen, it’s the softer side.”
And who knew the softer side would be ushered in by a high-energy reality star with obsessive compulsive tendencies? “Jeff is really good at doing clean livable spaces that are not cold, hard or austere. There’s still a lot of warmth in the kitchen, especially in the materials,” Turner explains. “[Jeff] thinks the way a homeowner would think, about what works and what wouldn’t work in reality and he makes it beautiful and practical — never superfluous.”
Turner’s right: Lewis actually thinks so much like a homeowner, he thought of himself as the homeowner of the kitchen. “I designed this kitchen completely for myself,” Lewis told us when we asked about the inspiration. “And I don’t care if anyone else likes it. I like it.”
Both Lewis and Turner advised that we keep an eye out for the stunning CeasarStone island — Lewis has been dying to recreate one in his own home, and Turner already has the material in his upstate New York home. “It looks like natural stone, but is actually a new high-tech material that’s better than stone in so many ways. It’s so easy to take care of!” he said. “And for someone like Jeff, who loves a glass of wine, it doesn’t stain like marble.”
Wine, you say? Another one of the exciting features is the KraftMaid wine rack, which Turner thinks will be one of the major ideas viewers can take away from the kitchen. “It’s a rack, it’s a screen, it’s a wall; it gives you storage and organization but it’s transparent so it’s not a barrier.”
Lewis’ take: “It that were in my house, I’d drink the wine faster than I could buy it.”
The kitchen is open July 19-23 but if you don’t get to there in time, House Beautiful’s website has got you covered. It’s got photos, videos and lots of fun extras like interviews and a guide to their sponsors (Kate Spade. Toblerone. The list is a who’s-who of designer favorites) . After Friday, the kitchen turns into Bar 30 by House Beautiful, a place for sweaty midtowners and tourists alike to grab a drink al fresco. For the full experience, pick up the October issue of House Beautiful to see the big feature.
Want a taste of the fun atmosphere? We asked Turner and Lewis for a few favorite summer recipes. Enjoy!
Newell Turner’s Summer Gratin: “It’s a beautifully colored dish, so easy to make and it’s great as leftovers.” Start with cut-up eggplant: salt it, let it drain for 30 minutes, rinse it, then lightly fry in flour. Place the pieces at the bottom of a clear bowl or deep dish. Now cut up the following in equal-sized pieces and layer them row after row, alternating veggies: sqaush, zuchini, tomatoes. Bake it for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until it’s soft. Then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Bonus: It sits well in the fridge and makes for great leftovers.
Jeff Lewis’ Bloody Mary: “The size of the glass? That depends on how hard my day is.” Combine Grey Goose vodka and Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix. Always salt the rim with celery salt. Add in celery, green olives and Worcestershire sauce, then add limes and a little bit of lemon juice. “It’s a big production, but it’s amazing.”
I have an antique mirror collection in my dining room, and I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post on mirrors. Then I saw the cover of the July/August House Beautiful featuring “15 Great Tricks with Mirrors”. I flipped through the magazine several times looking for photos of mirrors before realizing this story was told in the magazine’s The Last Words section at the back of the book. The reason I missed it was because there is only one photo.
In addition to pulling my three favorite designer “tricks” from the article, I’ve selected a few Drexel Heritage product photos to feature. They include The Mirror of Enlightenment and the Reflective Mirror from the Philosophies collection, the Belemy Mirror which is upholstered and can be customized (LOVE that!) and the Tisbury Mirror, available in a variety of finishes.
I recently mirrored the ceiling of a powder room and put a small modern crystal chandelier in the center to obscure the mirror. the room is like a jewel box, with the light appearing to float above. – Thomas Pheasant
I’ll put an upholstered bench or a console against a mirrored wall. The table and its reflection read as one complete shape. It seems to double in size, and so does the room. The idea is to pretend the mirror isn’t there, so you want it to be as big as possible. Then it becomes a doorway into another space. – Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz
It looks like our favorite designer is turning up on the pages of all of our favorite shelter publications these days.
From the tropical outdoor cover story in the May/June issue of Veranda, to the botanical-inspired lamps that Sabine Rothman wrote about recently in Traditional Home and the lovely birdies on Anthrologie’s Vanuatu Twilight wallpaper featured in the same issue, to the lovely Magnolia (and wonderfully southern, in my opinion) wallpapers that Orli Ben-Dor chose to highlight in the June issue of House Beautiful and the Jack and Lulu seaside motif notecards in Elle Décor’s June what’s hot!, the always-classic designer, Mother Nature is on a roll!
Flowers, butterflies, swans, seashells, ferns… you name it… if it’s botanical, buy it! My hat is off to Melinda and Jim Story, the owners of a Key West cottage and the subjects of Candace Ord Manroe’s story Go Key West in the June/July issue of Traditional Home. They are adept at mixing and matching their botanicals and nature prints with an absolute stunning result. Pick up a copy of the magazine to see how they have used a variety of fabrics and prints that include florals, birds and fish.
The Drexel Heritage showroom for spring market also reflected a botanical theme. Like myself, our designers seem to be drawn to anything with birds on it or related to birds.
In addition to retro prints and throw pillows with birds, they used bird nests and bird cages in their displays. Perhaps my absolute favorite piece from market is the sofa covered in our birdie fabric – see photo above.
If you like the idea of allowing a little more Mother Nature in your rooms but an entire sofa is too much, try accent pieces such as a pillow or a framed print. Or, you can simply do what I do and begin making displays of all the rocks, acorns and sticks that my Earth-loving son brings to me as special gifts.
And maybe the birdie sofa is just the thing I need to bring it all together!