Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design
St. Petersburg, Florida based kitchen and bath designer, freelance writer and founder of the popular kitchen and bath design blog “Kitchen and Residential Design”, Paul Anater can be found designing exquisite kitchens without boundaries, as he commented to us, “I do design work locally, remotely and virtually.” Paul is also a regular contributor to a number of design websites and art publications.
Tell us a little about yourself and your design blog, Kitchen and Residential Design.
I suppose I’m two things in this regard. I am a busy and popular Kitchen and Bath Designer in St. Petersburg, FL and at the same time, I write a blog called Kitchen and Residential Design. The two ventures bleed into one another and overlap some times, but for the most part I keep them separate. In my design practice I specialize in renovations. I spend a lot of time figuring out how my clients can live more efficiently and in more attractive surroundings. Despite the national slowdown, I am running six constructions sites simultaneously right now, so I must be doing something right.
My blog is about whatever catches my eye as I go through my day. I write a new post every morning and it’s usually on the topic of Kitchen and Bath Design. However, I reserve the right to write about whatever I please when the mood strikes. It’s my blog after all, right? So in addition to writing about tile, sinks and furniture; from time to time I write about travel, or art, or recipes or just general observations about people and life. Sometimes too, I’ll write about specific projects I’m working on.
What inspired you to pursue kitchen and bath design, as well as your blog?
I have always been creative and after a ten-year stint in advertising, I stumbled across Kitchen Design. I have a split mind sometimes. I can be very creative and artistic, but at the same time I love analytical thinking. Kitchen Design was a perfect match because it combines my dual loves of art and science.
I have been a writer my whole life and I decided to start a blog a year-and-a-half ago to work as an online resource for my clients. After a few months it took off and has since taken on a life of its own. Writing it every day is one of my life’s great pleasures. Greater still is the chance I get to interact with my readers.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration all over the place. Sometimes it’s an actual design I see in a magazine, but more often my inspiration comes from a building I drove past, a painting I saw, or the layout of a website. I am forever alert to unusual shapes and lines, and things I see like that form the basis for a lot of my design work.
For the last couple of years I’ve been watching AMC’s Mad Men pretty religiously. I get a lot of inspiration from the sets on that show. It’s true that I find the show’s aesthetic sense appealing, what interests me more is how perfectly integrated set design is in the unfolding story. Conflict, triumph, joy and pain are written right into the sets. From it I see all over again that settings make the mood. What I take away from it is a better understanding of my role in the emotional lives of the people who end up living in my designs. Strange as it sounds, through watching Mad Men I’ve become a more conscientious designer.
Tell us about a favorite home decorating or remodeling project.
Well, it’s pretty clear that I like designing kitchens. There’s just something to the restrictions inherent in them that challenges me. It’s not just drawing pretty pictures. I have to guarantee that what I dream up will work. I always visualize myself in a room I’m working on. And I think about where I would want things such as dishwashers and ranges to be located. Once I hammer out the requirements, then I see how beautiful I can make it. My goal is to disguise the utility without compromising it [the design].
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
This days I’m embracing a warm modernism as people are calling it. I love a clean line but a the same time I want to design rooms where life can play out comfortably and casually.
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-”what was I thinking” - do you have one?
I went on a vintage Florida postcard kick around ten years ago and my walls are covered in individually framed, vintage post cards. I cringe when I notice them these days.
If you could design your dream room-what décor, what style, and what color palette would you use?
If I could design a room for myself and I had no budget considerations it would be a kitchen without a doubt. I would pare the function I needed to its barest essentials and then build up from there. Who says you needs walls covered in cabinetry? Providing yourself with places to hide things encourages you to accumulate more things. So I would take a good stock of what I want to keep in this dream kitchen and build space for just that. I’d leave wide swaths of it as open space. Open spaces allow for clearer thoughts, or so I say anyhow.
I like to cook, so my open spaces would allow there to be a lot of room to knead bread dough and roll out pastry. Despite all that openness, I’d want to avoid making this dream kitchen feel cold so I’d use cork on the floors, honed marble on the counters and my wooden base cabinetry would be mahogany. I’d have Tech Lighting do the lighting, Gaggenau provide my appliances and for interest I’d surround a huge island with vintage Tolix stools. I’d hang art on the walls and make good things to eat for my friends who would linger for hours. That would be perfect. I can’t think of a better way to decorate than to fill a room with the people I love.
What’s your favorite color or paint swatch?
Hands down, the color I return to again and again is Sherwin-Williams 7037, Balanced Beige. It’s my go-to neutral. It behaves the way a neutral color should while at the same time it still makes a statement. That’s a tough act to pull off. I’m enamored with Sherwin-Williams’ entire 6000 and 7000 series neutrals and near-neutrals. They allow me to put emphasis where I want it without drawing undue attention to themselves. They make a great back drop to the primary and secondary colors I like to play around with as accents as well.
What is your favorite piece of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
I love honed white marble; sometimes Carrera and sometimes Calacatta Gold. I hear people complain about marble’s supposedly temperamental nature all the time and I agree, it requires a whole new approach to household surfaces. But nearly every horizontal surface in Italy is made from ages-old white marble and it looks great, stains and all. 16 million Italian families can’t be wrong. Besides, anything that reminds me of Italy is OK in my book
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite room is my living room. I live in a small space and have since before it was cool to do so. My living room gets pressed into service as an office, a TV room, a hang out room and a place to entertain friends. Its multi purpose nature forces me to be efficient and find ways for that room to pull off being everything it needs to be without looking like it. I love the idea of hiding things in plain sight.
Who are your favorite designers?
My favorite designers are Philippe Starck for his embrace of whimsy, Frank Lloyd Wright for his ability to bring order from chaos, Barbara Barry for showing that a clean line isn’t necessarily a sterile one, Sarah Susanka for emphasizing the “home” in home design and Ingo Maurer for proving time and again that an everyday object can be made into art.
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites?
And about 30 more! Please don’t take offense if I left you off this terribly short list!
What are your favorite design television shows, magazines, and/or books?
- I love everything Sarah Susanka has ever written.
- I am still mourning the loss of Metropolitan Home.
- I read Dwell from cover to cover every month and save all of my back issues.
- I do the same thing with every issue of Fine Homebuilding by Taunton Press
- I watch Design Star religiously but mostly because it upsets me so much.
Do you have a decorating, design or remodeling tip you’d like to share with The Decorating Diva.com readers?
Yes, make your house look like you live in it. The furnishings and accessories you surround yourself with should tell the story of your life, not the life of a hotel or a magazine spread. When someone sits in your living room, let them see you through the object you own.
Resources for Paul Anater’s Favorite Things:
- Tolix chairs from Melissa Edelman’s Antiquaire in Chicago
- Stone and glass Mosaic’s from New Ravenna
- The Virage series of fixtures from Brizo
- The Jasper sofa from Room and Board
- The Wishbone Chair by Hans Wegner
- Murano glass pendants by Oggetti Luce
- Concrete counters, sinks and furniture by Gore Design in Phoenix
- Shower systems by La Cava
- Blog: Kitchen and Residential Design
- Twitter: Paul Anater on Twitter (@saintpetepaul)
- Facebook: Paul Anater on Facebook
All images copyright of respective owners.
We’d like to thank Paul Anater for sharing his enthusiasm, and deep love for the art and science of beautiful kitchen and bath design with The Decorating Diva.com readers.
The Decorating Diva is a luxury home design magazine and lifestyle journal dedicated to the concept of living a stylish and comfortably elegant life at home – joyfully surrounded by the beautiful things you love. Join, Carmen, The Decorating Diva’s founder, as she blogs about sophisticated, smart, stylish and beautiful decor for your home and shares her decorating and style advice with you. Follow her and several of our wonderful contributors on inspirational design trips as they explore enchanted lands both far and near – returning with a delightful treasure trove of design finds for your home.