The kitchen is a place often filled with head and the hard work of chopping and cooking, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be stylish and well-designed. Lidia Bastianich, the New York – based restaurateur, cookbook author and TV personality, believes that a visually appealing kitchen can inspire creativity in her cooking and engage her dinner guests. “I want the kitchen to be joyous,” she says.
The kitchen in Ms. Bastianich’s Manhattan apartment spans about 7-feet by 12-feet. To open up the space, she renovated her kitchen last year and took part of a wall out. When hosting a party, she likes to interact with her guests as she cooks. “I’m in the kitchen a lot, and it’s important to connect with people and be a part of their conversation.”
Practically is important in kitchen style, says Ms. Bastianich. She uses speckled granite surfaces for her kitchen counters. “It is the hardest surface, it doesn’t scratch and it doesn’t show dirt,” she says. For the floor, she likes wood or terra cotta surfaces. “You want to give yourself a break. If I drop tomato sauce, I don’t want to have to put everything down in order to clean it right away.” She also notes that rough materials with “some traction” won’t get slippery.
Ms. Bastianich keeps the general palette unfussy. Her Manhattan kitchen has white cabinets, complementing the white and gray of her granite counters, and most of her appliances are in stainless steel. She does, however, perk up the look with accents such as an oven and a blender in Ferrari red.
She tries to keep surface clutter to a minimum. She keeps often-used appliances – a juicer, toaster, food processor, espresso machine and blender – on her counter, as well as two wood cutting boards. But she limits spices and condiments to olive oil, a pepper mill, a salt mill and red pepper flakes on a tray by her stove.
Besides her red blender, Ms. Bastianich has added decorative touches to give her kitchen counter some pop. Next to her stove, she keeps a container of spatulas and other cooking utensils in a variety of colors. “It’s like a vase of flowers,” she says, noting that this “rainbow of colors” perks up the room. Ms. Bastianich doesn’t like to have actual flowers in the kitchen, preferring to buy colorful fruit such as persimmons or pomegranates and set them out in a ceramic or wooden bowl.
To reflect her personality, Ms. Bastianich sometimes lays a new or antique Italian table linen from her collection on her counter to give her counter to give her modern kitchen “a piece of heritage.” Also, next to her espresso machine, she sets out a small tray with sugar, small spoons and espresso cups of different colors and patterns. “I’ve collected espresso cups for 20 or 30 years,” says Ms. Bastianich, who has pieces from her travels to Russia, China, Italy and Bulgaria over the years. “These are the elements of my life.”
Transcribed from the WSJ.com by Cheryl Lu Lien-Tan