Breakfast Room — An Afterthought No More

By Angela Min

Today our new Kitchen and Bath Design Expert and Contributor—Angela Min—joins us! Happily, the pencil is being tossed only over the kitchen island, as Angela is taking over writing duties for her design co-conspirator at The Kitchen Designer, Susan Serra, CKD.

Breakfast rooms are often the afterthought of the kitchen, a “leftover” space often neglected by both homeowners and designers alike. But what a sad and sorry fate for a room that boasts the most charming and inviting name of all the rooms in the house (though I suspect, it’s a name that was coined by a clever real estate agent who needed to give a name to a space that otherwise seemed … well, neglected!).

Luckily, all of that is changing. As the kitchen has taken on a greater role of importance in the home, so too has the breakfast room. And indeed, the breakfast room has become a breakfast/lunch/dinner room too, replacing the dining room of yore. So when a client approached our firm to have an overhaul of not only the kitchen, but the adjacent breakfast room as well, we were more than delighted to help make that happen.

Kitchen Before Renovation

The client’s home had last been decorated in the early 1980s, when the couple had first married. And in the passing time since, the kitchen/breakfast area had been the stage upon which many stages of life had happened — of children growing from one year to the next, of changes in jobs and careers, of evolving roles as parents and caretakers, of new technologies, of parties, gatherings, holidays and everyday life — indeed, of all of life.

But now the kitchen/breakfast area — well-used and well-loved as it was — was well-worn and in need of a bit of love itself. It was time for an overhaul, and to bring some life back into a space that had paid its dues, in time and … style.

Breakfast Room Before

And so it began. The client was clear about one thing: her favorite color was blue. She had already imagined that the kitchen would be done in classic blue and white. She also wished to display her collection of colored glass in the kitchen, in which the blue and white palette would serve as a clean backdrop to her collection. Discussions naturally turned to what the color of the breakfast room would be, and again, the client requested a palette of blue and white.

But my thoughts kept turning back to the collection of colored glass, which sparkled brightly in bold hues of color. My sense was that the client had a love for more than just the color blue, but I needed further confirmation. Walking around her house (painted/carpeted/upholstered all in a uniform cloudy-blue), I noticed small bursts of color — shots of yellow here, peeps of red there … like the sun trying to peep out of the clouds! I knew I was on to something, because isn’t that what decorating all about — bringing some sunshine into our lives?

So I asked the client if we could truly showcase these yellows and reds in the breakfast room, and the client instantly beamed with delight. Why hadn’t she thought of that before, she exclaimed. The breakfast room would be created to be as welcoming as a warm summer day, and the primarily color would be golden yellow. And of course, we would have blue —the color of the sky on a sunshine-filled (and cloudless!) summer day — with accents of robust red.

Nobilis Golden Cotton Check BroderieNobilis Blue Cotton Dotted Upholstery

Our first stop was Nobilis, the famed French fabric house, and like any self-respecting maison française (and my reason for bringing the client here), unequivocal purveyors of all things red, yellow and blue, the classic colors of the French countryside. We selected a thick, golden yellow cotton covered in a red and green check “broderie” (embroidery). We also selected a thick blue cotton with playful dots of yellow and red yarn for the chair upholstery, cozy and fun to the touch. And indeed, after years of sheet laminate blanketing the cabinets, countertops – and even the breakfast room table – it was undoubtedly time for a bit of texture:

Years of eating on a laminate table also drove the decision to bring in the warmth and grounding quality of wood. The custom, handpainted table was an incredibly fun piece to design. Summoning the childhood “artist” in me (think Crayola!), I broke out the colored pencils to create a design that would depict the colors of a summery countryside. And with that as our primary inspiration, naturally the client and I imagined a country picnic! Here is the completed piece — and an indoor picnic for a family of 6 waiting to happen!

Stunning Handpainted Table in the Breakfast New Breakfast Area

And here is the final breakfast room, no longer the neglected after-thought of the kitchen, but a golden, sunny spot in the home for breakfast, lunch or dinner … and any time in between!

Breakfast Room After - An Afterthought No More

And here is the completed kitchen –  now, a warm, welcoming center of the home, a bright, cheerful gathering spot, 365 days a year, and many more years to come.

Kitchen After - Warm Welcoming Center of the Home

The Kitchen After Renovations - The Ultimate Gathering Place

Angela Min has a Master’s degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute of Design. She comes to the kitchen table at classically trained in many disciplines of the design arts. Angela’s experience as an interior designer in a top New York City architectural firm, and in her own Long Island architectural/design firm has further honed her vision and philosophy of interior design. “Having had such a wide range of design projects has been the best of challenges, as each client’s needs are unique and fascinating,” notes Angela.

Today Angela has joined design forces with our occasional Kitchen Design Contributor, Susan Serra, CKD (aka The Kitchen Designer, the most widely-read blog authored by a professional kitchen designer). “Susan and I have collaborated on kitchens and other rooms as separate design professionals for the past 7 years. I am thrilled to combine my two loves, kitchen and interior design, to become Susan’s Design Director for, a Scandinavian-inspired line of kitchens, islands, and furniture, to be launched in summer of 2010.


Do you eat breakfast (or lunch or dinner for that matter) in your kitchen?

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