January 28, 2011 10:13 pm

Free range

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The kitchen of designer Charlotte Crosland, where her family often eats, has open dish storage and an old fashioned, walk-in larder

Every pot has its particular shape and function. Their forms are so beautiful, why hide them in a cupboard?” asked Davide Rampello, president of the Triennale contemporary art and design museum in Milan.

An avid cook and devotee of Italian culinary history, Rampello has a professional kitchen in his country villa about an hour east of Milan. In addition to heavy-duty appliances and a restaurant-grade range, he keeps 18th-century pudding moulds, a 19th-century meat braising pot, and a vast collection of other specialised and antique tools out where he can admire – and grab – them while inventing elaborate meals for intimates.

“I like to eat where I cook,” Rampello says, “the kitchen fire is symbolic.”

For all the clever kitchen cabinetry available to tuck wares behind tidy doors, serious cooks and interior design aficionados often prefer to leave theirs on view. Gleaming copper pots, crockery stacked on open shelves, and mighty appliances make aesthetic statements of their own. They also speak of a deep affinity between old style, family-friendly hearths and high performance meal preparation.

cooking pans

Enclume DR1 Décor Oval Pot Rack, $210: This pot rack is made from a light, durable metal and comes in a traditional hammered steel finish. It is designed to hang above an island or stove and includes a grid, four grid brackets, two lengths of 6-inch chain, and two “S” hooks. It also includes 12 pot hooks made for easy access. This rack is made in the US and arrives fully assembled. www.hayneedle.com

“I think that kitchen appliances, kitchen tools, and ... dishes, cups, saucers, etc. are actually beautiful objects and don’t need to be hidden away,” remarked Martha Stewart, doyenne of US homemaking and head of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. “It saves a lot of time to use open storage, and it forces the homemaker to be a little more creative and definitely more organised in his or her display.”

London-based interior designer Charlotte Crosland, whose family often cooks, eats and hangs out in the kitchen, opted for a design with retro touches, open dish storage and an old fashioned, walk-in larder.

“Large kitchens with endless cupboards can make the room cold and uninviting,” she says. “Having open shelves makes it easier to grab things and gives a cosier look.”

Kitchens of celebrity chefs like Julia Child and Mario Batali also share nearly nothing with minimalist chic. Child’s kitchen, now property of the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC, features peg-board walls lined with dozens of pots, rustic cabinetry, and a restaurant gas range that served as her workhorse for 45 years.


Smeg FAB28, Union Jack motif, £900: Smeg’s 1950s-style refrigerators and freezers are made to meet a growing demand for large scale, bold, free-standing appliances. Customers increasingly use these appliances to accessorise spaces, especially the kitchen, reports Cally Elston, marketing manager for Smeg. The FAB28 comes in 14 shades and patterns. It has a gross capacity of 256 litres. www.smeg.com

Serious chefs show a penchant for old, heavy-duty technology, says Edward Semmelroth, owner of a Michigan store called Antique Stoves. “The older stoves were built before planned obsolescence,” he says. “A revamped antique stove is good to go for another 50 years.”

An old Chambers gas range, long out of production, inspired Fred Carl Jr to found the Viking Range Corporation in 1980. Viking’s rustic, professional grade appliances have since found their way into premium kitchen interiors, including many by Los Angeles-based interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard.

Bullard’s designs, which have appeared in over 70 publications and in the homes of Elton John and Cher, among others, juxtapose big steel appliances with visible crockery, cookware and ethnic architectural details.

His design for the kitchen of TV star Ellen Pompeo is in the contemporary Tuscan style, with open shelves and terracotta floors. “Her home was built in the 1920s in the Mediterranean style, and we wanted it to flow with the original architecture yet be updated and easy to use,” says Bullard. Most of Pompeo’s cabinetry is stainless steel to complement the open appliances and cookware.

However beautiful putting it all on show can be, it does require self-awareness, designers warn. Using pots as tools, not trophies, wards off dust. Ruthless, regular editing avoids the creep of clutter. The high-performance hearth requires a relentless taskmaster at the helm.

Kitchen mixer

Kenwood’s K-Mix Stand Mixer, from £350 Available in raspberry, almond and pepper (black), the K-Mix Stand Mixer features a 500W motor, a 4.6 litre stainless steel bowl, balloon whisk, K-beater, and dough hook. Other attachments are available. Matching blender, hand mixer and hand blenders are also available to create a coordinated set. www.kenwoodworld.com

Red gas range

Chambers 90C range, $6,500 This mid-1950s Model 90C Chambers gas powered “fireless” cooking range is available from US based Antique Stoves, which ships worldwide. Chambers ranges enjoy a cult following for high performance, flexible functions and durability. www.antiquestoves.com

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