I like to think of kitchens as aspirational spaces. We ascribe to them our domestic desires, fantasizing about the meals and the conversations that will take place in our ideal world. Of course reality can be far from our dreams, as those with professional Viking ovens now used to reheat their take-out can attest, but today's kitchen is a vast improvement from the past. The 18th C. finally brought an end to the walk-in fireplaces, where hoop skirts often made for dangerous situations, while the 19th C. relegated food preparation to the least sociable areas of the home. The 20th C. gave us refrigerators, microwaves, and TV dinners. Amenities not withstanding, the modern kitchen, now a public realm, often sets the tone for the entire house. Is it cozy or spacious, cluttered or sleek? Living Etc, the British decor magazine, got me thinking about the Oak Beach kitchen. The top kitchen struck me as a perfect mix of textures and functions, without being fussy, perfect for a beach house lifestyle. The one below, however, serves as my aspirational kitchen-- bohemian, comfortable, colorful. In my mind, I'm sitting at the table having a cup of tea with a Russian novel.
In contrast to the usual stainless ranges, I also found a couple of really interesting British range ovens. The first one, Leisure Range 90, has the most functional interior, with many short racks along one side and a larger space on the other. This enamel range has a 1930's modern feel to it that also appeals to me. The other one, a Range Master Classic 90, was similar, but provided more options in color-- from green to black to blue to red, and could serve as an incredible accent to an all-neutral kitchen. Both remind me of an enamel oven James and I saw in a house for sale in upstate NY. It was all I could do not to bid on the house simply for the fantasy of cooking on that range. Fortunately I came to my senses right about the time the firehouse across the street set off the 12 o'clock whistle, which I had not included in my reverie.