interiors & styling

Design Eye Training : 104

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

Our first female designer, and one of my personal favorites, we’ll be admiring today in the Design Eye series is a stunning kitchen by the talented Leanne Ford. It actually appeared on season one, episode two of her popular television series, Home Again With the Fords. I honestly have yet to watch her series because we don’t have HGTV, but I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it. Have you watched it? Ready to get inspired by a beautiful kitchen that was apart of the Bell Project? Click through and let’s have some fun!

Since you understand how the series and exercise goes at this point, I’m going to skip the intro and work in a different format this time! I was lucky to find lots of stunning images of this space, so I’m just going to share what I see as I’m scrolling for this one…. rather than in an itemized list format.

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

The first thing that struck me in this kitchen was the high contrast, neutral palette and use of materials. I immediately noticed many linear shapes jumping out, based on how the materials were paired. There are lots of hard edges in this kitchen, and I love the way the organic materials help to soften or offset them… like the unruly tree branches, the natural wood cabinetry, the use of wood and woven accessories, etc.

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

I also admire the juxtaposition between different surfaces. I’m normally not a polished marble type of gal, but it works really well against the soft wood cabinetry and island. In modern spaces especially, form plays a big part in the design, and this room is no exception. Do you spy lots of shapes? Circles, rectangles, ovals, triangles, and sculptural shapes (like the bar stools) really look striking against the minimal modern backdrop that is the cabinetry.

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

The monochromatic wood look (flooring that matches the tone of the cabinetry) really works well in here. It helps the room to feel bright, warm, and inviting. It also adds interest, since the space is architecturally minimal. What material do you think the island countertop is? Soapstone? Quartz? It’s so difficult for me to tell in the photos, but I want it to be soapstone that adds another layer of softness to the space. I also noted the hardware and mixed metals: antique brass with matte black for a streamlined, but warm look.

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

This little bar cabinet may be my favorite vignette in the room! I’m taking note of the antique gold shelf backing and the faucet installed to the side of the bar sink. It really adds some rustic charm to this modern space without feeling out of place. I also like that there is both traditional AND modern barware styled on the shelf… the tension or contrast is really good! Did you spy the tiny bulb at the top? I’m wondering how this looks lit up during the evening hours.

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

The last vignette is another minimal one: a single chair paired with a side table and modern art that perfectly fills the negative space, repeating the high contrast palette. Have you noticed these chairs everywhere lately? I have!! I’m going to go ahead and call it- these are going to be the next uber popular molded plastic chair… like the Eames style dining chairs that took the world by storm a few years ago. Too much of a good thing, my friends. I don’t think I’ll be hopping on that train. The shape is fun though!

Design Eye Training : 104 - roomfortuesday.com

design : leanne ford

If you’re interested in viewing the entire home makeover tour, click here! Are you still liking this series? Did you notice lots of fun details? I enjoy admiring and analyzing spaces from designers who are amazing at what they do. I feel like it makes me a better designer, shapes my thought process, and allows me to see things from a different perspective, looking in from an outsider. Happy Wednesday! I hope your day is off to a fabulous start.

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    February 24, 2021 at 4:44 am

    Yay! A design exercise! I definitely noticed the sleek, modern cabinets and high contrast palette. While I am actually a fan of the minimal, woodtone cabinets, I don’t favor the dots & dashes look of the hardware. It definitely contributes to all of the geometry happening in the space! I’m intrigued by the black wedge of a range hood. I’m not sure if it’s a function of the lighting because the tones appear different in some photos, but the floors and cabinets together are not my favorite. I appreciate the contrast between the more rustic floor texture and the smooth-grained cabinets, but an all wood kitchen doesn’t usually please my eye. I do love the black stained island and bar station. The sculptural bar stools are a “yes”, but the sculptural plastic chair is a “no” for me. I have questions about lighting. Some cans are visible, but not many. In some shots light seems to be streaming in from windows (the glare on the polished marble backsplash), but other shots make it seem like an enclosed space (2 steps up and little pony walls). I’ll have to go check out the entire tour. I have to say that I think a little Sarah styling could help warm up the overall feel, but the layout and material choices seem like it would be very functional.
    Thanks for another engaging post! Here’s to a smooth Wednesday!💜

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 8:02 am

      Woohoo!! Best way to kick off Wednesday morning. I’ve got my coffee and I’m ready to go. I’m trying to picture the cabinetry with different hardware and am wondering what I would’ve selected instead. I don’t mind the high contrast black, but now I’m seeing dots and dashes. Haha! I really like the modern wedge range hood. I’ve been noticing more of those large hood architectural moments in modern design that span much further than the cooktop itself. I think it’s a nice sculptural addition. For lighting, I’m really only noticing recessed cans. I would love to see some picture lights above the two pieces of modern art, maybe a sconce tucked somewhere or a fixture over the island (because you know I love lighting and am missing it). I also liked the island and bar cabinet, as well as the bar stools. I think those molded chairs are going to be EVERYWHERE. They’re not my favorite, but it’s definitely a trendy modern piece right now. I would love to get ahold of this space and style it for my aesthetic, but it would probably look much different. Hah! The layout does seem super functional and well done, and I also like the materials used. As for the windows and natural light, it seems they’re on the other side of the room. Check out the full tour! Thanks for a fun design chat and for making me think :) Happy Wednesday to you!! Hope it’s a good one. xo

  • Reply
    jp
    February 24, 2021 at 7:28 am

    I adore your blog! I find myself referencing your content frequently. It has been extremely useful as I begin our complete home renovation journey. Now, if I can only have your design eye and confidence to pull the trigger on decisions, I will be set to move forward on our renovation! Thank you for sharing all your valuable knowledge.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 7:48 am

      Thank you so much! I love hearing that. I’m happy it has been a helpful resource for you. It just takes practice (the design eye)! Congratulations on your upcoming renovation :)

  • Reply
    Colleen
    February 24, 2021 at 7:34 am

    While I’m more of a maximalist than a minimalist in the kitchen I appreciate the sleek, organic nature of this design. I do actually like the wood floors and cabinets as it warms up the space and adds to naturism vibe I’m feeling. I really like the second pic with the stairs leading to what I imagine is a dining or living room. It’s feels kind of grand in all it’s simplicity. I do like the sculptural objects kind of softening all the edges and straight lines. Though she has added texture I personally would like to see more woven items or wool to add even more organic elements. I will check out the full tour for sure to see what else is happening in the house. Leeanne Ford is one talented lady, we don’t have HGTV either but her design is everywhere and she is such a versatile designer. Thanks for the inspiration Sarah as I start my day 👍
    Ps. What minimalistic style is this? I’m hearing a lot about “Japandi” recently. I never really heard of that term before. Design certainly is ever evolving ☺️ Have a super terrific day!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 7:47 am

      Me too, Colleen! If it were MY kitchen, I’d add many more styling and functional objects to shelves, the counter, perhaps a vintage rug with a pop of color, etc. I’m guessing it was meant to be very high contrast and minimal. I also like the tone on tone cabinetry and naturalistic vibe. I’m with you on the textiles- I love seeing woven textures, too… whether it’s window treatments, rugs, kitchen towels, etc. Leanne is definitely doing something right- she is so talented and successful! Maybe one of these days, I’ll be able to catch her show. I actually feel like this kitchen could be classified as Japandi style. It’s a combination of minimal Scandinavian and Japanese rustic minimalism (with organic elements) to create a feeling of modern space that is inspired by nature or natural materials… at least that’s my take on it. It’s obviously not my personal aesthetic, but I’ve seen some beautifully done spaces! I hope you also have a super terrific day :) xox

  • Reply
    Jennifer Laura
    February 24, 2021 at 7:36 am

    What a beautiful space and I love training our design eye!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 8:06 am

      I think so too! Always a fun start to the morning :)

  • Reply
    Melissa
    February 24, 2021 at 7:38 am

    I love design eye training and love Leanne Ford! Sarah, you are missing out. I think you would like her show if you can find it on a streaming service. What I like is how varied her rooms are. If you could see what she did in episode 3 (old world, timeless English kitchen) you would never guess both here rooms are from the same designer. The gold backing of the bar is actually a mirror that was existing in the home that Leanne distressed the heck out of.

    Peggi, that hood is made from Pittsburgh steel as a nod to the homeowners family that were in the steel business going way back. This was his grandparents house that he bought and remodeled. Good eye on the lighting. I can’t remember from the episode if there was extra lighting but maybe she needed Sarah’s post from yesterday.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 8:09 am

      And I love hearing that, Melissa! We haven’t had much time for TV lately, but I’ll see if I can find it on a streaming service, since we don’t have HGTV. I’m heard nothing but wonderful things about it. I’ve seen the green English kitchen and it’s my favorite one she’s done! I think the best designers can really produce a well designed room in any given aesthetic. She’s one of those talented people! So good to know about the cabinet backing- I want to see how she did that because the end result is fantastic :) I also loved learning about the range hood. That was one thing in the space that really stood out to me and I liked how sculptural it was… very cool that it has sentimental value. It sounds like I need to watch the episode. Haha! Thanks for the great insight, Melissa. Have an awesome day!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    February 24, 2021 at 8:23 am

    I love Leanne Ford too! Just FYI, the countertops are both marble. One of the couple wanted light tops and the other wanted dark, so she did both. I was surprised she did the polished countertops because her style is generally worn and distressed, but I agree that it works here with the more organic wood. This whole house was super cool. Some of the spaces were not as functional for a family with small children (which this one was) in my opinion, but it made for a beautiful house. The fireplace tile was to die for…

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      I need to go watch this episode! Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. It’s really nice that she was able to appease both people living in the home with dark and light marble- that’s really fun! I think it makes me like it more.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    February 24, 2021 at 8:26 am

    The comments section is everything on these posts! The first thing that jumped out at me was all of the shapes you mentioned, Sarah, plus the minimalism in the decor. Immediately I got a sense of modern minimalism-a style I don’t usually gravitate towards. There are elements that I love though- the soft wood finish of the cabinetry against the high contrast surfaces; the abstract artwork, and the large vase full of unstructured greenery-the contrast of materials really does soften the space, and I think that’s what makes this room inviting. I love the structural barstools (although the chair gets a Macaulay Culkin “woof” from me). It doesn’t have the cold harsh vibe I usually get from a very modern and minimal room. Like Colleen, I imagine there is a dining room just down those steps, and the little pony walls do give a simplified sense of grandeur-very appealing!
    What doesn’t work for me is the monochromatic cabinets and floor-I tend to prefer a bit more dimension when it comes to wood tones, and especially when a kitchen features natural wood cabinetry-but I can see how this choice only deepens that minimalistic vibe, and for this space it definitely works! The bar is my favorite-I love that the mirror actually looks like an abstract art backdrop, and the moodiness draws me in…but what catches me most is the styling. I crave more styling in the kitchen, more textures, more lighting. It’s definitely a gorgeous space, just not my cup of maximal tea. Lol. I love the look of the marble here, but I don’t like seeing the reflections in the polished surface-my eyes caught them right off the bat. Perhaps the bank of windows opposite the wall is the reason for minimal lighting. All in all it’s a lovely space, and the use of materials is incredible. Have a wonderful Wednesday! Xo

  • Reply
    Julie Rossman
    February 24, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    What a fun exercise, I see everything that you mentioned but don’t always have the words to put with the images. That molded chair looks perfect for kids and gets a +1 in my kid book.
    I think I would have liked a black waterfall edge on the island countertop because I don’t like the monotone look with the floor. But maybe that heaviness would complete with the hood steel. I love the wide hood and the emphasis it carries. The on the inside of the island is fun and then complements the black hood but is on a different plane. The hardware selections are perfect.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2021 at 5:17 pm

      I bet the molded chair really is great for children (and probably easy to clean)! I love your idea of a black waterfall edge on the island! That would’ve provided some nice contrast. I’m also a big fan of the hood- it’s like a piece of art up there. Thanks for the great talking points, Julie! Hope you’re having a wonderful day :)

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