Now more than ever, during these unprecedented times, the heart of the home is where we congregate: the kitchen—especially the eat-in kitchen.

A guide by Shanti Crawford, Principal of Indigo & Ochre Design.

I always try in my designs to infuse the eat-in areas with as much warmth, personal history and idiosyncrasy as other areas of our homes. These storied layers are achieved, more often than not, by the inclusion of vintage and antique pieces of furniture, pottery and the like to offset the metals, stones, tiles and painted finishes that otherwise are ubiquitous in kitchen design.

The images below are all from one eat-in kitchen space we designed at Indigo & Ochre Design. It incorporates vintage and antique Asian furniture, pottery, carpets and artifacts (mixed with Mid-Century Modern, European and current pieces) to bring about that warmth.

Photo by Kismet Jewell Nakai

For me, it’s always about creating a balance and the tension between different eras and cultures, and finally keeping these disparate elements within a cohesive palette so that the end result feels un-precious but also intentional. I love that antique and vintage pieces bring stories to the table, too…

If I were designing an eat-in kitchen from Sotheby’s Home, I’d probably start with a carpet to ground the space.

Photo by Kismet Jewell Nakai

This low-pile khotan is perfect to ground a long and narrow kitchen table—which is often all we have space for in Brooklyn townhomes. The light blue field and neutral borders make it easy to pivot from but also add warmth and texture, and the allover pattern is forgiving of the occasional smudge left by a dropped morsel.

This Indian openwork backrest teak bench is crying out for a slim custom seat cushion—which I’d fabricate out of some soft camel leather, and then create some long and narrow lumbar cushions from this obi (perhaps piped in camel leather) to pick up on the khotan blues.

I always like to use vintage and antique pottery in the kitchen, but now more than ever, the lessons of kintsugi (that breakage is inevitable and repair to be celebrated) are a hopeful reminder.
19th Century Japanese Kintsugi Tea Bowl

And finally, the inclusion of a kitchen desk nook—whether used ordinarily for recipe searches and homework, or currently used as another base from which to work from home and distance-learn—is made beautiful and functional if it incorporates an antique Chinese scholar’s desk.

Mid-19th Century Chinese Polished Scholar’s Desk

Shanti Crawford is the Principal of Indigo & Ochre Design, an interior design firm based in Brooklyn. From their studio in Prospect Heights, Indigo & Ochre Design sources ethically produced goods, and vintage and antique finds, to craft enduring and individualized interiors for their clients. Shanti’s background in design, global sourcing, international development and human rights makes for an outside-the-lines sensibility that informs every interior designed and the collaborations that make them possible.

Keep up with Shanti: Site | Instagram

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