Monday, July 26, 2010

...cont'd -> white sans white

So now that you guys have had a couple of weeks to flip through magazines, I'm curious to know if what YOU are noticing is in line with what WE are actually doing (at least in terms of design aesthetic - primarily as it relates to cabinetry). Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe white kitchens are going anywhere... when done tastefully (and by that I mean simple and clean, with an understated elegance) white kitchens are both classic and timeless, and thus they are here to stay.

B-U-T (she says excitedly), we are finding that more and more people are wanting to keep that 'simple, light and clean' feel that is evoked in a white kitchen, but they are ready to change it up a bit. And so are we.

So question-of-the-day becomes: how do you keep the 'clean, simple, light' feel of a white kitchen sans the white kitchen?

Our solution has been to take a cue from Mother Nature. Picture yourself walking along a beach in whatever you consider to be the most beautiful weather imaginable. Feel the warm sun gently kissing your skin as you sip in the ocean breeze. How does that make you feel? If you are like most, it is delicious. So delicious you can literally almost taste it. Now let's bring that deliciousness into our homes.

We start by using a more rustic wood for our cabinetry. One where you can actually see some texture in the graining of the wood (note: we've been using a lot of grain-relieved oak lately). This helps give some movement and depth, but we must balance it out by choosing a really simple door style, otherwise it can become too complicated. Let me stop for a minute and clarify what I mean by 'rustic', since it could be interpreted in a number of ways. In this case, by 'rustic' I don't mean a dark-stained, knotty-butternut nor am I referring to an antiqued, distressed, chipped-paint look. What I am talking about is quite simply a white-washed or wax-finished, grain-relieved oak (note: this type of finish can also be achieved using butternut, but it is more often done with oak) that elicits an earthy feel somewhat reminiscent of driftwood.

To continue with the earthy feel, we've fallen in love with concrete counters. What's so cool about concrete is that you can actually personalize them by having things inlaid. Typically we like to inlay nautilus shells and trilobites, but you can get as creative as you like (we actually put rivets from the engine of a plane in one clients counter... he was an aeronautical engineer!). Plus you can customize the color to suit your home. Think of all the options you have with Benjamin Moore paint colors. Infinite. But I recommend sticking with something light in the gray/taupe/sand family if you are going for this particular look.

And the most important factor in keeping a kitchen feeling 'light and clean' is what???? Yep, you guessed it. Light (duh!).
So simple and obvious, yet so often overlooked. I recommend always getting as much natural light as possible, but regardless of the number of windows you have, make sure you have LOTS of recessed lights. Decorative lighting is great to make a design statement, but task lighting is SO crucial! Always err on the side of overkill when it comes to lighting (just make sure you opt for the newer recessed lights with the smaller aperture - fyi, they make conversion kits for the bigger ones these days if you are stuck with the old ones).

So that's our take on future trends. Is it on par with what you guys are seeing? As always, questions and comments are welcomed (and encouraged!!!).

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are white kitchens a thing of the past????

Let's talk design aesthetic (at least as it relates to kitchens)...

Over the past decade the focus has shifted away from the stained woods and detailed mouldings, and towards a much cleaner and simpler design aesthetic. The kitchen-of-the-moment (for the past four years or so) is what we are calling 'transitional' (meaning that it is a blend of 'classic' and 'modern' design) and has typically been white cabinets with white marble counters (either calacatta, carrara or occasionally danby) and dark-stained wood floors. White, white and more white. And while I absolutely love the look and feel of a white kitchen, and I agree that the look is timeless (at least when done in a way that balances the simplicity in form of modern design with the feeling of comfort evoked in more classic kitchens), I've got to say that I am ready for a change. 

So what's the new white?

Check back next week and I'll tell you what we've been seeing a lot of lately, but in the mean time we'd love to hear your thoughts...

What does your dream kitchen look like?

What do you think will be the next big thing (for kitchen cabinets/counters/backsplash)?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New trends in hardware…. are drawer pulls a thing of the past?

So, every year we go down to Pennsylvania for an Annual Design Seminar that is held by our family down at Premier Custom Built,, (fyi- they’re the best cabinet makers in the industry today) at which time we learn about all the exciting new products that we’ll be seeing in the coming year. Last year there was some talk about nixing hardware (drawer pulls/knobs), but the technology wasn’t quite there yet. The only options that were on the market that were even remotely acceptable (in terms of quality) required electricity – so not only were you outta luck if you lost power, but the drawer had to be constructed in a way that would allow for the system to be mounted onto the back/interior portion of the cabinet (which meant sacrificing drawer/storage space) and it could not be used in framed cabinetry (only available for frameless application). Anyway, word on the street is that this year there is a new product on the market that meets all of our [extremely high] quality standards, and allows us the flexibility to go sans hardware in virtually any application. We’re really excited (to say the least)!!!

What do you guys think? Any interest?