What makes a warm and welcoming kitchen?

When it comes to the kitchen I prefer a more traditional look with modern appliances. I like the warm, worn-in look of exposed beams, bricks, and hardwood floors. I like warm woods, cool colors, deep coppers and heavy steel. I love large windows where the sun can burst through, and illuminate everything within. I like a kitchen that has a sense of history - one that tells a story of a generation, or several, past, filled with shelves or bookcases filled with books that have been splattered on, with dog-eared pages... copper pots, iron skillets hanging overhead... baskets piled neatly, tucked away. There must be a large table where family and friends can congregate, chat and prepare food. A kitchen must be warm, beautiful and utilitarian. It must be utilitarian. Lighting and layout are key. So is storage and counter space for prepping. I'd love a fireplace in mine one day. That would be the ultimate touch for me. I tend to think that a kitchen that is more modern in feel - both in structure and design is often sterile and lacks the welcoming warmth a kitchen ought to have. 

I love to entertain and so my kitchen must accommodate and reflect this. There must be a place where friends and family can gather to chat, eat, even to help cook. My kitchen mustn't ever feel cold and sterile, but used and well lived-in. I don't want my counter-tops bare. I want them filled with baskets of fruit, maybe a plate of something freshly baked and just out of the oven... and yet I do not want them cluttered.

There's something about a fireplace in the kitchen that just adds the perfect touch, making it that much more welcoming. Or maybe a wood burning stove in which to cook a pizza for those impromptu get togethers? Many kitchens have stools at the counter. My children prefer them to the kitchen table - it makes them feel as though they are part of the action even when they're not. But what I love best in a kitchen is a couch or two if the space can accommodate such which can make a hard space seem softer and more inviting. 

A little old and a little new work wonderfully together giving a space an historic, nostalgic feel while lending itself perfectly for the busy, modern lifestyle of today. The clean lines marry well with the rustic charm.

There's nothing quite like stepping into a cook's kitchen - filled with books and all sorts of cooking devices. A kitchen that is well used and well lived in offers something for all the senses - the sights, colors, sounds, smells... 

I love color and detail and textures in my kitchens. I happen to adore this look of the mismatched tiles and the patterns created and the old brass fixture. 

All of my favorites in one place - the warmth of the wood, brick, steel and copper with the large bright windows and the clean, sleek lines. Now we need to toss a few pots on to the stove-top, add some music, a bottle of wine and a few glasses!

And splash of color brightens up any space... And a touch of rustic is always charming!