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White subway backsplashes, light granite countertops, white Ikea cabinets and wood laminate flooring all added up to the modern kitchen that grace the pages of every kitchen design magazine. It is all eminently functional, long-lasting and practical – and it looked good, it was unoffensive, and it flowed well. Family and friends could be there when you cooked and the island was a perfect work space. It all added up to a great kitchen.”

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Somehow it didn’t have heart though. Somehow it felt workable and easy to care for, but it wasn’t something that inspired or tugged at our heart. There was certainly nothing funky, natural, inspirational or quirky; nothing originally us. Not the place to inspire creativity.

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When we take an Ikea cabinet and add an antique shelving unit, suddenly we have some charm. When we add a chippy-paint bookcase or a farmhouse pie cabinet next to the Caesarstone counter, suddenly we have character. An odd shaped, 100-year-old, glass door storage unit immediately makes our heart skip a beat and invites us to fill it with spices and memories. Open shelving lined with vintage St Uze French pottery allows us to marvel at its gentle, countryside beauty.

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Life can become utilitarian very easily when we are stressed and under endless time constraints. There’s little time to marvel at a craftsman’s workmanship from a century ago, little time to gasp at beauty or to arouse our heart. But isn’t that more critical than a composite surface that will never get a flaw in it? Yes, modern conveniences are wonderful and practical, but making room for our heart to rejoice might just be more important.

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