Today’s cabinets are not the cabinets of your grandmother’s era. The choice of materials, technologies available, and design vernaculars has grown exponentially over the past few decades. Add to that the fact that the way we inhabit our houses has changed. With more open floor plans, having a consistent look for the cabinet work throughout your home is essential to creating a thoughtful design.
There are many ways to approach cabinets in your home—and most will start with the decision: do we go pre-fab or custom? If it is within your means, custom cabinetry is a no-brainer. You get the benefit of experienced and talented craftsmen taking into account your specific vision, needs, and situation.
Here’s a look at three different rooms and the cabinets dressing them up.
For most of us, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Not only do we gather there, and nourish our families there, but in today’s homes, the kitchen is more like a command center—it’s where we spend most of our time at home; kids do homework there, we keep our calendars there, charge our devices there, catch up on the day’s events over tea or coffee or cocktails.
Whatever your design aesthetic—classic or contemporary, high-tech or low, formal or casual, the kitchen grounds that aesthetic for the rest of your home and the cabinets are at the heart of it all.
While today’s kitchens tend toward welcoming and fun, they still need to be practical. The “work triangle,” a concept that grew in popularity in the 1950s advocates connecting the sink, refrigerator, and cooktop to allow for efficiencies while cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. And whether your kitchen is classic and homey or minimalist and tech-centered, the space layout is key.
One of the things to remember when designing a contemporary kitchen is that the space opens to the high-traffic living areas. Storage and work flow is still key, but so is providing for enough covered storage space so that the look is not cluttered, which is anathema to the modern movement.
The flush profile of this sleek wood cabinet door opens to reveal three drawers. Modern technology allows for quiet and controlled closure. The glossy dark wood finish features a linear element that appeals to the contemporary sensibility. But no matter the look, functionality in a kitchen is king. Blythe Beaubien of Earth Elements Design Center says, “Creating a well-organized kitchen, one that’s intuitive to use, is key in design. Drawers are great for pots and pans, cutlery, and spices. A trash bin close to the sink works well. A roll out shelf in the base cabinets in the main kitchen area and in the pantry area is good for easy access to the back of the shelf.”
Beaubien of Earth Elements says that many of their clients are looking for the clean look of contemporary. “The Shaker and Slab door styles are big now in whites and greys.” But kitchens are high-traffic and high-impact areas so durability is also a consideration for customers. “High-pressure laminates are popular for high wear and tear. But if you’re concerned with the ability of the material to stand up to shifting tastes and trends, woods are always in.”
[ CLASSIC CHARACTER ]
An “unfitted” kitchen is a kitchen designed to look more traditional and to play up the charm that a variety of pieces can bring to the space—without sacrificing functionality. Lynn Harker of Woodland Designs says, “An unfitted kitchen showcases the fine craftsmanship of handcrafted individual pieces of furniture. There’s nothing more custom than an unfitted kitchen. Each piece can speak to the individual homeowner, their aesthetic, and their needs.”
If you’ve remodeled a kitchen lately, “transitional” is a term you are sure to have run across. It’s an aesthetic realm for people ready to bring some of the contemporary leanings into a more traditional mix. It’s a look that bridges the two seemingly disparate design practices. If done well, a transitional look gets the best of both worlds.
THIS PAGE In a design age that is leaning ever more contemporary, it can be a challenge to find the clean lines and simplicity of a contemporary design with the character that traditional homes offer. This transitional kitchen offers handcrafted detailing in the refrigerator that gives it an “unfitted” look while blending that with simple and clean-lined white cabinets. The islands are a blend of the two looks as well. The impact is harmonious, full of character, and unique.
[ A CONTEMPORARY TAKE ]
The closet can often be the deal-breaker for a couple looking for a new home. All other considerations—kitchen, bedrooms, outdoor living space—may swing in favor of one home, but if the master closet isn’t up to
par, then good riddance. There’s just something about having a closet that allows you to kick off your day in the right way.
Woodland Furniture is known for going above and beyond, and they bring this dedication to every room in the home—even the smallest or most intimate. This closet is an example of a great collaboration between the homeowner, designer, architect, and Woodland. Not only is the craftsmanship beautiful and eye-catching but Woodland also created special details specific to the homeowner’s desires and collections (of shoes!).
Nothing says “You’re home” like a lovely entryway. But, as designer Lynn Harker of Harker Designs says, “Function is just as key as the look and feel. In this entry, we blend the natural stone of the walls and the classic color palette with this armoire that is at once beautiful but very useful.”
The mudroom or entryway should be functional, for sure, but why not beautiful as well? This mudroom by Heber City, Utah’s Mountain Cabinetry offers ample storage space with cleverly covered cubbies so everyone in the family will have their coats, bags, and shoes at hand whenever they need them.