By now, you’ve noticed that many, if not most, new home
designs and remodels feature the kitchen as the focal point of
a great room or open floor plan. Cabinet styles and finishes
have evolved to allow their integration into the general decor,
taking on the appearance of built-in, or not-so-built-in,
furniture. That’s great, because cabinets come in handy
in every other room, too.
While some clients demand efficient performance from their
cabinets, others will settle for a pretty face. Give them both
and they’ll never forget you. Today’s stock
cabinets offer plenty of function and face appeal for the
cost-conscious consumer. Semi-custom cabinets may push the
dollar envelope some but offer substitution of door and drawer
styles, a choice of finishes, interior storage options, and, in
some lines, even custom sizes. Go all custom and the
sky’s the limit, in both design and dollars.
Vince Achey, of Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry, says,
“Customers are emphasizing comfort over the ornate trend
we’ve seen in the recent past; traditional styling is
making a comeback, and people are going for less bold, more
subdued colors, like browns and yellows.... Glazing is a hot
What clean-happy housekeepers used to scrub off, cabinet makers
now rub on, and, apparently, it’s selling like hotcakes.
Glazing is a hand-rubbed colorized paste that’s applied
over a stain or pigmented clear tone base color. The paste
tends to fill, or “hang up” in detail profiles,
open grain, and recesses, imparting an aged
“patina” to the finish (see photo 1). One
manufacturer actually offers “fly speck highlights”
as a finishing touch.
Two-tone cabinets add a distinctive look to stock and
semi-custom cabinet lines; mixing tones can be accomplished in
many ways (see Kitchen & Bath,
Kitchen Design,” 2/02). Contrast a light-colored face
frame with darker doors and drawer fronts, or work with pale
cabinets on the wall and a darker base array (2). Any way you
work it, you’re riding the wave of current design, often
for the same money as a monotone layout.
Period and Furniture Style
If not for solid-surface countertops and high-tech appliances,
you’d almost think you’d died and gone to 1920 from
the look of many of today’s kitchens. Crown Point
Cabinetry’s Jeffrey Stowell notes that we’re
“experiencing an amazing upsurge, in the last five years,
of people who want to maintain the integrity of their period
homes.... The period style is very big right now” (3).
His company claims “historical accuracy” as a
A tall “armoire” cabinet can store the china or
serve as a pantry closet (4). A wall cabinet combined with an
open base unit suggests a stand-alone hutch (5). Glass-front
storage bins display goods like an old-time grocery (6).
It really doesn’t take much to suggest furniture in the
kitchen; a decorative corbel support under an island top,
spindles or a turned column to accent an outside corner, ball
feet to offset the toespace (7, 8, 9) all help to soften the
Cabinets can not only look like, but also serve as, furniture,
as in the case of these storage seat assemblies (10, 11).