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Risk Getting Burned By a Red-Hot Kitchen?


Q: Our beautiful "new" home is actually 78 years old. We have lived here for four years, long enough to know what changes we'd like to make. Mainly, I want to open the kitchen to the family room next door and add new cabinets — and I want them to be stained red! My husband is not on board with red. He says it will lower the resale value of the house. Is that true?

A: Let me answer your question with a question: how soon are you planning to sell? If you're going to flip the house in the next few years, hubby may have a point. Sad to say, but not everyone is as adventuresome as you.


But the real question: whose house is this now? Why not live with what you love now? And, besides, why would you presume to decorate for the next owner?

If you'd rather be red than deadly dull — the majority of kitchens in the U.S. are white or neutral — take inspiration from certified kitchen designer Sally Ann Sullivan, who created the red-hot and handsome kitchen we show here.

It, too, is a makeover of an older home whose owner, like you, had had it with being isolated from the rest of the family when it came time to cook. Sullivan (kitchenandbathshowcase.com) took a deep breath — one imagines — and agreed to open up 22 linear feet of wall space between this kitchen and the room next door — the family's "club room."

Just bringing in a support beam 22-feet long taxed Sullivan's imagination; she had to knock out the old arched windows over the sink, pull the beam inside and then add the single window that now frames the outside view.

Piece de resistance is the work island. Classic and traditional right down to the columns and paneling, it becomes an island of joy, thanks to the warm red wood stain — "cinnabar" with a black glaze — on the Wood-Mode cabinetry (wood-mode.com). Note how the red repeats ever so discreetly in the wallpaper that wraps the window.
The rest of the kitchen is calmed by neutral tones, making sure that center island remains the center of attention.
Q: Brad Pitt, furniture Design Star?
A: The New York design industry picked up its ears last month when word came down that Pitt was debuting a furniture collection of his own design.

No surprise that there was nothing down home about the star's designs. Collaborating with a well-respected luxury furniture manufacturer, Frank Pollaro of Union, N.J., Pitt went Hollywood glam, designing pieces that included a bathtub (honest), a bed, club chairs and a line of glass tables in silver, nickel, titanium, patinated bronze, and, oh yes, one with a 240-karat gold-plated base.

How did the design community rate Pitt's talents? Interesting, but not killer. As interior designer Sheila Bridges (who did Bill Clinton's office in Harlem) commented to design reporter Julie Lasky, "I'm not convinced ...that Brad Pitt should quit his day job..."

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design

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