Kitchen Styles for Timeless Decor

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Kitchen Styles for Timeless Decor

Q.I’m thrilled to be in the process of building a custom home that I have dreamed of for many years. I’ve had to make some style adjustments from my original plans, because styles have changed so much during the time I’ve been waiting and hoping. One of the most obvious changes is in wood finishes. It seems the dark cherry I planned is out. Can you give me some advice about kitchens? What is new?  We plan to keep this home until we retire and downsize in about 12 years. How do I do something that is fashionable now and still desirable when we are ready to sell?—JWB

A. Congratulations on your dream home! The strongest trend in home interiors, especially kitchens, is the use of upscale, casual materials combined in unique or artistic ways to create highly personalized spaces. I believe this trend is a reflection two significant factors.

Remodeling has surpassed new home construction in volume. Very little of the work is financed, so budgets are tighter.  The range of styles is greater than ever before, because design concepts and many materials are sourced internationally. In the future, we may see lavish spending return, but styles and style authorities are likely to be in rapid change for many years until world markets create global trends.

This is not to say anything goes! I would make some generalizations. Most suburban cabinets should be made of wood in traditional painted or stained finishes. Urban high rises are ideal for experimental materials and extremely modern fixtures. As with any design decision, if you keep the expressive elements to those that are decorative rather than structural, the cost of change can be minimized.

Within the traditional category, three looks are popular enough that I would expect them to last for your purposes. Craftsman is the hottest “new” look reviving hand cut simple shapes popular around 1880. A little Frank Lloyd Wright influence is evident in cabinet proportions and emphasis on rectangular shapes. However, rectangles are more likely vertical in new work. Organic materials are hot across all style themes.

High style European Manor is preferred in high end homes. The look can be tailored French, Italian, or English. Personal flair is seen in extravagant appliances, ornate faucets, and showy cabinets.

For a more middle of the road look, versions of American, English, and French Country style blend familiar, classic shapes featuring turned legs and simple cabinet doors. Variations on antiqued painted finishes and stains create intrigue.

Personally, I don’t think any fine material like cherry wood is ever out of style, but it can stand a fresh idea or two. I recommend you make two trial groupings of materials for your kitchen then choose which is the best overall look. For one, start with cherry wood and see how creative you can be with other elements. Try cork, glass, painted teal (or another color), and unique fixtures.

The second group should start from scratch with a basic look that appeals to you such as refined English. Work through the look with the best materials you can envision for each element. Through the two trials, you should become very comfortable with your decisions. In keeping all structural work within the range of the three style groups, resale should be a breeze! 

Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Answers provided by Tanna Espy Miller, who has operated her award winning interior design practice for 23 years. You may also contact Tanna at 615/ 601-0552.

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