Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Handy Kitchen Style Primer

In the kitchen remodeling industry, we talk about design in terms of certain "styles." Although these styles are not clearly defined by the industry itself, we nevertheless associate loose themes with each respective style.

Traditionally, kitchens were separated from the rest of the home. The room's purpose was explicit: a place to cook and clean. In today's homes, the kitchen is not merely a place to cook and clean: it is a meeting space, too, an entertainment venue, the center of the action.

To speak about a specific kitchen "style" in this context is to also admit that the kitchen itself can (and often should) simply match the style of the home. That said, it does help to understand a few industry-specific terms.

A Handy Kitchen Style Primer

Traditional styles do not necessarily equate to a country or Old World theme. Instead, a traditional kitchen will likely emphasize warm, down-to-earth elements.

A traditional kitchen design creates a cozy ambiance with ornamentation and detail. Think decorative design and vintage-inspired elements. A traditional kitchen is not necessarily "simple"; on the contrary, a traditional kitchen often utilizes elaborate design features.

In this kitchen, a fireplace is merely one element of a cozy, traditional design. 
Note the warm cabinet color; the ornate woodwork; the vintage pieces (like the copper kettle and vintage plates): all hallmarks of the traditional style.

If the traditional style is not your thing, you might be a candidate for a contemporary style. While a traditional style populates a kitchen with elaborate details, a contemporary kitchen strips away all but the most essential elements.

Think light and airy, like a spa. Think clean lines, a simple color palette. If you prefer a minimalist design, you would do best with a contemporary kitchen. In a contemporary kitchen, uncluttered simplicity is the name of the game.

Clean lines and a simple, two-tone color palette make this Shaker-inspired kitchen "contemporary," although our clients simply desired, "a simple, streamlined space."

As the project above proves, a style can borrow elements from any time period to achieve the desired effect. Shaker-inspired cabinets are anything but "contemporary," yet their simple, timeless appeal works well with the contemporary style. That said, the contemporary style only borrows from elements that match the aesthetic.

If you like to mix and match aesthetics, you might prefer the transitional style, which combines both traditional and contemporary elements. A transitional kitchen streamlines the traditional style. Put another way: it "complicates" the contemporary style with a few, carefully-selected traditional elements.

Most transitional kitchens maintain the clean lines of the contemporary kitchen, yet add certain details to create a more "homey" feel.

In this transitional kitchen, the contemporary elements (the clean lines are black and white palette) are softened by the green accent wall and the traditional elements: the pendant light and glass-paneled cabinets.

The most common kitchen styles are traditional, contemporary, and transitional, but you're also bound to hear any number of other "styles," most notably the modern style which is defined by the hallmarks of modern art: geometric shapes or patterns and neutral colors. A modern design will also take advantage of any number of eclectic fixtures. Modern styles might include artistic elements, like sculptures or paintings, or glass tables, or intriguing cabinetry.

A modern style kitchen can celebrate unique or quirky design--like this custom backsplash.

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If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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