The Open Shelving Trend in Kitchens... Yea or Nay?

     Our new kitchen looks like something out of a magazine.  The plank ceiling, butcher block counters, farm sink... and that open shelving.  

It's not for everyone.

My friend, Sandy, was visiting the other night and looking around as we made a cup of tea.  She said,

"Do you realize this looks like a movie set?  How on earth are you going to keep it this way and really use it?"

I know Sandy, and I knew just what she meant.  The perfectly displayed and carefully chosen objects on the open shelving absolutely invite trouble.  Clutter.  Sandy is a collector of beautiful things, and if this were her kitchen, the shelving would soon be overflowing with things of beauty - that have no value in a working kitchen.

On the other hand, this is the first kitchen I've ever been able to set up from scratch.  My husband did the layout, then I got to tweak every detail, and it's perfect.  Functional, gorgeous.  I cook in this kitchen like I've never cooked before.

Why?

 Because it pleases me to BE in this kitchen, and I'm devoted to keeping it just like it is now - perfect in its user-friendly-but-looks-like-a-picture way.

Look at it with a skeptical eye.  Is it just for pictures? 

No way.

If I stand at the sink, my cutting board and knives are conveniently on my left.  Mixing bowls, measuring cups and some fresh herbs are all within reach at my "preparation" work station.  Utensils are in the drawer below, and once I've chopped, measured and mixed, the oven and stove are straight across from me, ready to cook the food.

Once it's all ready, plates, bowls, cups, etc are to the right of the sink, in easy reach, and I'm not bumping into anyone trying to serve as I clean the preparation area.

It's truly perfect.  

But care must be taken!  There's no room in this kitchen for unnecessary equipment.  A salad shooter has no place here - I'm using the shiny copper knives for chopping veggies - and that's all I need.

It's discipline that rules this kitchen.  I keep what I need within reach.  I choose tools I enjoy looking at and working with, and I keep it all to a bare minimum, or store it below.

And if it's stored below... I probably don't use it very often...

Which begs the question, "Why do I need this?"

So.  For me, keeping it simple and charming is what makes this kitchen a pleasure to work in - and a feast for the eye.