13 March 2013

From Classic to Country: Finding the Kitchen That’s Right For You

Courtesy of Tarallo: The Kitchen Source

3/12/2013 -- 2012 was a big year for appliances, but the real news is how they all fit together. This year, AJ Madison takes a look back at the best in kitchen design from 2012, what to anticipate in 2013, and the best design for any homeowner, from the romantic to the no-nonsense professional.

The Classic: A Kitchen in a Portrait

Classic kitchens are for the romantic. Maybe this is your first home, or maybe there's always been a bit of the Victorian in you. Maybe you've just always wanted a kitchen that looks something like this:

   The Classic Kitchen 

Classic kitchens are ornate and elaborate and, in years gone past, ways to break the bank. In 2013, the cabinetry in custom-design, classic kitchens is increasingly made in America. This means cheaper manufacturing and transportation costs for the same Jane Austen kitchen.

A Kitchen from the Country: Rustic, Warm, and Full of Apple Pie

A Country Kitchen Design
Courtesy of Tarallo, The Kitchen Source

"Country is a lot of different things," says Lee Taylor, director of the showroom at Tarallo, The Kitchen Source. A country-style, custom kitchen usually includes cabinets made from a rustic wood, like birch, hickory, or even maple. There's a certain warmth that is characteristic of country-style kitchens. Sometimes it shows up in pastel finishes or a light stain on the wood. Sometimes the warmth is in the sturdy wood table at the center of the kitchen. Always, though, a country kitchen is home to no-nonsense appliances.

  Country-Style Kitchen
Courtesy of Tarallo, The Kitchen Source

In fact, a country kitchen revolves around its appliances, like the kitchen above that really centers around its range hood. If you live it loud, live it proud, and then eat some soup next to your fireplace, the country kitchen is for you.

The Ultra-Modern: For the Sleek, Chic, and European in You

The Modern Kitchen
Courtesy of Tarallo: The Kitchen Source

"I'm an ultra-modern queen," says Lee. And no wonder -- a modern kitchen design prides minimalism above all else, and appliances that virtually melt into the walls. Interestingly, the high-gloss, ultramodern kitchen evolved out of necessity. Because wood is less available in Europe than it is the United States, European designers and cabinet manufacturers were forced to forego the niceties and embellishments of classic because they simply took up too much wood. Now modern kitchens are known internationally for a sleek look borne out of frameless cabinets and built-in appliances.

Built-In Refrigerator from Liebherr
A built-in, almost undetectable modern refrigerator

However, and unfortunately for Lee, 2013 is ushering in an end to modern and a return to classic. "The modern, laminate time is over," she says. Instead, expect a kitchen design that lands somewhere in between classic and ultramodern: the so-called "transitional" kitchen.

The Transitional Kitchen: Not Quite Modern, Not Quite Classic, but the Best of Both

"Transitional is probably the biggest style right now, and it’s been that for the past three or four years," Lee continues. A new generation of homeowners, she says, is afraid to go too modern. Today, first-time buyers or older re-modelers are looking for a kitchen that combines all the design elements of the past hundred years. It's a daunting task for any designer, to be sure, but that's where the transitional kitchen comes in.

  A Transitional Kitchen
Courtesy of Tarallo, The Kitchen Source

A transitional kitchen like the one above will combine the gloss of a modern kitchen with the embellishments of a classical kitchen. The results are kitchens palatable to any homemaker -- which comes in especially handy should the owners ever wish to sell. A transitional style will use metal in new and interesting ways, but will turn the frameless cabinetry of a modern kitchen to a more classic applied molding. The transitional kitchen holds a bit for everybody -- a kitchen, in a way, of opportunity.

  Transitional Kitchen Style
Courtesy of Tarallo, The Kitchen Source

Whichever kitchen design you choose, remember that the designer is just as important along the process. "There are a lot of designers," says Lee, "who do it for selfish reasons. That’s not where we come from here. When we do our job right, we design a space that the customer wants."

Similarly, some appliances work better than others for specific designs, and some have appliances that fit every style. Lee recommends Subzero Wolf for its versatility. Electrolux and KitchenAid have extensive built-in appliance lines, perfect for any modern or transitional kitchen, and Fisher & Paykel have gorgeous appliances that are built-in to drawers that fit every style.

The same Subzero Wolf wall oven in a transitional, country, and modern kitchen

In the end, the right design is not about sticking a bunch of boxes in the house and calling it a kitchen. It's about making sure that everything fits properly, according to a design that you envision.


  1. I've really missed this blog!

    I live in England & in a cottage built in 1820 & 18 months ago this blog helped me be brave enough to totally demolish my brick-built kitchen & totally gut it - even pulling down the laith & plaster ceilings. I now have a fantastic 'transitional' kitchen.

    I've now just purchased a Georgian town house with a kitchen from hell. You name it - it's got it - beige tiled floor, mock teak cupboards, crazy-paved tiling, cheap built-in appliances - etc. I cannot wait to drop some walls & bring some light into the spaces... but I need inspiration again!

    Please start blogging again, you have been missed!

  2. Thank you! I've been at this for five years and am taking a bit of a break. What sorts of things would you like me to write about? I need an excuse to get back into it.


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