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May 12, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2013 issue

Classic kitchens

Words: James Dimech – Interior designer

Timeless but fresh, a classic kitchen can be the perfect starting point for your own, individual look.

Many people are at a loss when it comes to defining their style. Some know what they like but are afraid of getting the terms wrong, while others are afraid of being pigeon-holed into one style when they feel like they’re in between a few different ones. The truth is, most spaces have elements of different styles and aren’t all one way.

In the sphere of the most elegant furniture pieces, traditional furniture is one of the best in merging these multiple styles into one. One of the greater aspects of traditional furniture is that it can be put into rooms with many different themes to produce unique timeless effects. Many different room themes can work with a piece of traditional furniture. The visual aspects of traditional furniture are very multifaceted; because the basics are so defined in a piece of traditional furniture, greater detail can be produced.

Classic kitchens are therefore timeless, fresh yet flexible. It’s a style that almost everyone feels comfortable in, even some of the modernists among us. Sure, a classic kitchen can be deemed too safe for the individualist and too ornate for the purist, but you can easily adapt it to your own style. It can become eclectic by adding modern tile and mixing it with a vintage-style table and chairs, or it can go more traditional by mixing it with an ornate hood, traditional chandelier and turned legs for instance.

Marble countertops are often the focal point of a classic kitchen, and go the timeless route with blacks or whites, whether it’s honed absolute black granite, soapstone, or cast quartz material worktops. Black and white is about as timeless and classic as it gets. However, they don’t have to be all black and white. A mix of stained and painted cabinetry, glazed cabinets and simple shaker door styles with a bead moulding keep it from going too traditional. Alternative palettes like brown and white also find their way into classic kitchen design. Walnut cabinets, white marble and classic door style for instance, have all the elements of a classic kitchen.

What I love about classic kitchens is that they’re chameleons: You can take the same kitchen and completely change its look by mixing in modern bar stools or lighting. Sometimes it’s the architecture alone that influences a classic kitchen in one direction or another.

Whether you need a second work station, a space from which to serve an informal buffet, or just a place to toss the day’s mail, kitchen islands are currently a popular solution to the lack of kitchen work space. Such work stations can be easily incorporated to traditional kitchens.

In a classic kitchen, you may add legs on islands, feet or furniture-style toe kicks, crown molding and even a paneled hood, but these details are often restrained in a classic kitchen rather than being over the top and ornate.

Classic-style kitchens blend the old with the new and add a touch of creativity to create a flexible gathering place. They are limited only by your imagination - or the imagination of thousands of designers since it’s a design that allows you to mix and match the layers of detail, color, texture and most importantly, personality.

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