“There are very important details that must be addressed when it comes to designing a kitchen."
There is no room as nurturing, in function and atmosphere, as the kitchen. It is the hub of the home, the central gathering place, whether it’s to eat or cook or just hang out with family and friends.
Every homeowner has dreams of creating the perfect kitchen, and it can be done, but with a caveat: When it comes to making those dream designs come true, there is no room in the home that requires as much attention to both detail and layout as the kitchen.
Kitchens are our specialty, and we know that while the personality of each kitchen varies, there is one common ingredient: design consistency. Not only do kitchens generally fall under three design categories — contemporary (or modern), traditional and transitional — there is equipment to consider, and that equipment is intimately connected to how the room is both used and structured.
“There are very important details that must be addressed when it comes to designing a kitchen,” cautions Midland founder and CEO Rob Boynton. “And that’s why it’s also important to work with a professional from the beginning. If you don’t, any mistakes made early on will be expensive to fix down the road.”
The kitchen is a complex space and unifying all its elements takes knowledge and experience, adds Boynton.
In the parlance of the trade, the layout of the kitchen is based on a magical triangle — everything in the room is tied to that triangle, which in turn is specific to the room’s function and overall usage. The floor, cabinets, countertops, drawers, windows, molding, wall surfaces, ceiling, islands — you name it — all have to be considered and united or the kitchen “triangle” will fall apart, and so will your dream kitchen, not to mention your budget.
A Trio of Kitchen Styling: Transitional, Modern & Traditional
Traditional kitchens are the kitchens that most of us identify with, the tried-and-true, modified Shaker kitchen that pleases the eye for what it isn’t: ornate or overwhelming — which is far from implying that the traditional kitchen is dull or cookie-cutter in styling.
The traditional kitchen is a classic for what it is: a clean canvas for legacy detailing, from fine beaded molding and inset doors on the face-frame cabinets that dominate traditional-kitchen design, to crown molding atop the cabinets and the use of the footed base at floor level — a trick of the trade that gives built-in elements, such as sink cabinets and islands, a “furniture” look.
Most traditional kitchens are painted in shades of white. Oak is a popular traditional-kitchen wood — especially the use of quarter-sawn English oak on cabinetry, which provides both durability and visual character. As with the footed base, the use of quarter-sawn wood detailing creates a furniture quality appearance.
The transitional kitchen is, as its name suggests, a kitchen in transit between traditional and contemporary styling. The strict rules of ornamentation in the traditional kitchen are muted in the transitional kitchen — there is less detailing, with clean, straight lines taking precedence over beaded or raised bolection molding.
Transitional kitchens can also draw inspiration from contemporary, modern design elements.
In short, the transitional kitchen allows for more freedom to innovate and create, while still maintaining the basic transitional-kitchen tenet: to strike a balance between the traditional kitchen and the all-out contemporary one.
Modern, or Contemporary, Kitchens
Contemporary kitchens are modern kitchens, stylishly rendered to suit both the homeowner’s needs and aesthetics.
Cabinetry in the contemporary kitchen is sleek and unadorned, which means it does not rely on face-frame molding and paneling common in the traditional kitchen, or often included in transitional kitchen design. Contemporary kitchen cabinets are frameless, or European, in style. The lack of added wood detailing frees up interior storage space and maintains the room’s overall clean and open appearance.
Cabinet handles in the contemporary kitchen tend to be recessed within the wood, as opposed to the visible knobs and pulls used in the traditional kitchen. And the cabinets themselves are often designed to “float,” meaning they are not installed flush to the floor but can end upwards of 12 inches above it.
The traditional kitchen is a clean canvas for legacy detailing, such as elaborate molding.
Contemporary kitchen cabinets are frameless, or European, in style. The lack of wood detailing maintains the room’s overall clean and open appearance.