While great rooms with exposed kitchens have become the norm, and loft living has it advantages, I can still see the need to shut the cooking area off from the dining area sometimes.  Designer Thomas Hamel has come up with one of the loveliest and most ingenious ways of doing this that I have seen in a while. Using lacy fretwork Indian style jalis – in this case laser cut stained oak panels – he has installed sliding doors that can be used to separate the two rooms, while allowing light and air to flow between them. Jalis are common in both Indian and Islamic architecture, and Hamel’s project has influences from all over the globe – he calls his style  “international eclecticism”.

This design is very reminiscent of Japanese architecture too – reminding me of the shoji screens used as room dividers in traditional Japanese houses. As space is at such a premium here, most rooms have multifunctional purposes, and space is highly configurable. Shoji screens are covered with rice paper, which also lets light and sound flow through. One of the “go to” books on everyone’s’ coffee tables here is Japan Style: Architecture Interiors Design by Geeta Mehta and Kimie Tada, with great photos by Noburo Murata. I highly recommend it!

For a look more like Hamel’s, this antique fretwork panel door with its “seven treasures” pattern featured in an earlier post would work perfectly.

Image credits: 1. House Beautiful December/January 2011, 2. Japan Style: Architecture Interiors Design photo credit: Noburo Murata, 3. courtesy of Kanarusha Antiques