lofty heights and chalkboard paint

hey everyone!! tonight i'm going to write a little bit about a style i've never really lived in, but have always enjoyed - rough industrial. i've eaten my own weight in chorizo pizza tonight and something in it must have a good effect, because i'm feeling pretty inspired (although that might be because manboy and i have made exciting plans involving chalkboard paint - more to come on that one later!)

when i first discovered apartment therapy, it was their house tours that reeled me in. the first one to catch my eye was that of a one mr. james wurm, who, as far as i can deduce, feeds hungry bellies and builds shelves with serious style. the man appears to be a real enigma. 

but props to him regardless of mystique - his storefront is one of the finest examples of 'rough industrial' interior design. a lot of the time i see this particular style feature in loft apartments that cost too much to heat and is paired with fashionable minimalism - in other words, sharp lines and too much white.

(yes, even i think there can be such a thing as too much white!!)

what really strikes me about mr. wurm's storefront though, is that industrial here doesn't mean cold, or impersonal. it might be because i'm developing an unhealthy crush on that spice collection or that i have a real thing for fairy lights, but this kitchen, though a myriad of glass and wood and metal, still seems to say "welcome home".

in fact, a lot of the colour in the kitchen comes from the food stored there. the red of the chilli, the yellow bananas, those golden onions that look larger than my head... it's a refreshing break from the cool chrome and sleek glass that could otherwise feel cold and unfriendly. 

one white thing you can never have enough of though, and that's crockery. it should feel utilitarian, right? and perhaps it does, but everything so openly displayed instead soothes the eye away from all those wild hues on the shelves. almost minimalist, the vast collection of very basic white crockery is a design statement in itself - and indeed, a useful decoration too. 

if you haven't seen this house tour yet (and you should have!!) go and have a gander here. it's a little old in terms of the ever-updating content of the internet, but as mr. yves saint laurent said - "fashion fades: style is eternal."

all this industrialism then got me thinking about lovely exposed spaces and brick walls and lofty lofts and too much minimalism, and i began to wonder - how else could mr. wurm's rough industrial be interpreted? his storefront is very light and airy and spacious, but what if rough industrial was right up your street and you just didn't have the property to match?

i discovered a somewhat stylised solution over at livet hemma, the IKEA design blog. it has only been in recent years that i've truly come to appreciate IKEA (before i got my own place the only things i found interesting were the swedish meatballs and wriggly snakes) - and it's easy to forget the fantastic work that goes on behind the scenes. 

indeed, these kitchens all have a very streamlined, minimalist feel, but just unfinished enough to feel industrial. they look sturdy, and solid - not unappealingly so, but enough to endure. and really, that's what you should want out of your cupboards and countertops, no? 

the solution to the 'space' problem, should there be one, lies in clever storage, and in selecting utensils that work with your industrial tastes and can be displayed to pleasing effect. don't buy a load of useless objects just to hide them away in your cupboards (likewise for food packaging - recycle it and put your dry goods away in humble mason jars). select your accessories with care - you're going to want to see what you use, and if it's your money, you should take your time with every purchase. common sense 101!

spot the recurring glass jar theme! there is something about openly displaying your utensils and crockery that quietly beckons. "hey, i'm gonna last, but i'm also kinda pretty too." admittedly, these kitchens styled by hans blomquist are a little on the glam side - but i really can't see anything wrong with that! 

even if lofty lofts are out of your budget, you can certainly still recreate an industrial attic feel with some solid hardware, exposed beams or wooden floors, and a whole ton of cleverly displayed crockery.

now - quick question, blogosphere!! does anyone know where i can pick up some good cheap chalkboard paint? the boy has exciting plans for painting a section of his own kitchen with blackboard paint and fixing wire baskets for fruit/spices/recipe books to one corner, and writing his shopping list on the other. it might not sound like much, but we're stoked about this project (especially as i like cooking with lots of counter space and his flat ain't got much of that!)

all suggestions gratefully received!! 

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