A story of cabinets, counters & remodels
There’s no question – kitchen cabinets are the focal point of any kitchen. It’s not to say that they are entirely necessary – many people get by with open shelving only – but the cabinets are definitely preferred overall. There are countless designs and styles, but ultimately they fall into one of two established categories – “Traditional” and “Modern”. In the kitchen, you have a myriad of choices, yet somethings are likely going to remain. The standards. The classics…
First, let’s look at the “Traditional” cabinet. It’s also referred to as “Old World Style”, hefty and large they are also generally dark in tone. They are often textured and rustic, the natural wear it endures is a welcome part of its slowly evolving appearance. It’s a warm, familiar vibe that is beloved by fans of the style.
Traditional cabinets can be fashioned from a variety of woods. Often they feature designs that are added for texture. They’re like doors, they open out with the use of doorknobs or handles. Mostly all wood, traditional cabinets may also be made with glass fronts.
Houses can be designed to appear old fashioned, and will utilize the traditional look in all of their rooms. Older houses are of traditional design because of their age. It’s what was standard for the most part. Country houses, cottages, and farm homes are typically traditional and the look extends to both the interior and exterior. They are beloved for their “hominess”. Any wear and tear that occurs (unless it’s severe damage in need of repair) is left untouched so that it may add character.
The traditional look is such a part of our architectural history it is still in use today. Interior designers choose to or are hired to build homes in the classic design. Many home owners just find the traditional look to be the most attractive, and traditional cabinets are essential to the overall design.
Old World Style rooms and furniture generally are of darker stature. Kitchen cabinets are finished in wood shades such as brown. Of course, the colors will range in dark and lightness, and signs of wear will vary. Some will appear very worn and others barely untouched. It’s not unheard of for cabinets to be relic’ed – made to imitate age and deterioration (also called distressed cabinets) so they look older than they actually are. They are usually finished in the matte style, but when intensity is preferred the deeper reds may be polished for a striking finish.
When folks want the traditional look to dominate and be truly effective, they make sure other elements reflect the style as well. For instance, arched doorways, wood floorboards, a stone fireplace and wood beams on the ceiling all contribute to the classic aged feel.
Modern cabinets are more compact and sleekly designed. They aren’t most often made of natural wood like their traditional counterparts but rather products of modern wood technology. Laminate materials, glues, glass or metal are some of the components that may be found in the modern cabinet.
Color-wise moderns tend to be the opposite of traditional, forging the dark colors for lighter shades like whites, greys, silvers, bronze, or combinations of these and lighter, or brighter colors. There is definitely a greater variety of color applicable to the modern style. Homeowners can range from plain, neutral to wild. The options are there to accommodate any whim, from a specific scheme or an array of colors.
Minimalism is key – light is designed to highlight open areas and make the rooms seem larger than they are. Modern homes actually feature greater space, and furniture is intentionally chosen for being of smaller stature and is spread out accordingly all in the service of creating space. You’ll most likely find granite counters and glass tables in a modern home, and as far as appliances the more compact the better. Tiled walls and solid floors are also components of the modern look.
Obviously, the choice between traditional or modern depends on personal preference. To say that one is better than the other would be entirely subjective. If you’re dealing with an older home it would make more sense to work with its traditional look. The kitchen cabinets ideally would be made with solid wood. On the other hand, a newer modern kitchen is likely to feature sleek cabinetry made of laminates, glass, metal or a combination of these. Let the design dictate its style and you’ll find working with either much easier to deal with.