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BellaOnline's Southwest USA Editor

Remodel Southwest Kitchen

In a Southwestern home, the kitchen is the center of the house. In Native American culture, the hearth was the heart of the home. When remodeling your kitchen to match the Southwestern style, remember these things to get it right.

As the center of the kitchen, the hearth was decorated more than the other areas. This extra attention to detail identified it as important. Traditionally the hearth was around a fireplace. In a Southwestern home, fireplaces can be found in many rooms including the kitchen. The style of fireplace was known as beehive due to its similarity in design. If you donít have a fireplace, put a chiminea in the corner as an accent decoration.

For us, the hearth would be the stove. Instead of just the painted wall acting as the backsplash, tile in Southwestern color is added. The range hood can be matched to the tile coloring in a blue, neutral, or red color. In fact, tile below and surrounding the cabinetry would be encouraged. Tile or dirt made up the flooring in Southwestern homes.

Tile is cooler and helps maintain body temperature when the weather is hot outside. We know the kitchen can get quite hot when someone is cooking. The use of time tempers that effect so people can continue to gather there.

In place of white or colored cabinetry, opt for natural wood surfaces. Wood is traditional in Southwestern kitchens and throughout the home. Kitchen accents like pot racks, cabinet and drawer handles can be wrought iron instead of another metal.

The appliances themselves can have wooden fronts (the refrigerator) or panel colors in black or neutral. The idea is to create a room that flows together. Donít detract from that with major color scheme changes.

The doorways and arches in a Southwestern home are rounded. Rounded edges are softer than squaring them off. Many people donít want to demolish a wall or redo a doorway. This effect can be achieved with paint and stencils. Fashion a rounded doorway with a Southwestern design that draws the eyes upward to the design and away from the permanent corners of the door. For a minute, you may forget that the doorway is not actually rounded.

Countertops can be decorated with flower pots in Southwestern colors, pottery, and artwork. Wooden chairs at the dining tables stand out with patterned cushions. Table and buffet runners can be hand-woven in traditional styles. As many native pieces as you can obtain will create the Southwestern atmosphere in this room.

The kitchen also remains cooler with a tile floor. Consider removing that linoleum and replacing it with ceramic tile. Use a simple one color design or create a pattern using several colors. Cover the tiles with throw rugs.

Remodeling a kitchen can be a big job so take it slow. Choose one change to concentrate on and finish that before moving on to something else.

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