Design Details: Kitchen Cabinets

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    Martin Peters Photography

    Sleek dark cabinets with modern hardware keep time with this Chicago apartment building’s glass and steel aesthetic. Project: 1615 North Wolcott, Chicago; Builder/Developer: Ranquist Development, Chicago; Architect: The Miller| Hull Partnership, Seattle

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    Gregory Christman

    In the remodel of this 1960s post-and-beam house originally designed by Cliff May, the goal was to preserve May’s original vision. “His focus was always on light and air,” says Barry Berkus, who led the remodel. To that end, the kitchen was outfitted with glossy white cabinets that reflect and amplify the natural lighting and add an airy feel. Project: Oxbow Residence, Solvang, Calif.; Builder: Randy Barnes, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Architect: B3 Architects, a Berkus Design Studio, Santa Barbara

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    Matching Douglas fir doors, windows, millwork, and cabinetry give this home a cohesive aesthetic, while exposed beams provide texture and stave off monotony. Project: Suncrest, San Juan Island, Wash.; Builder: Ravenhill Construction, San Juan Island; Architect: Heliotrope Architects, Seattle

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    Bruce Damonte

    Wood cabinets work together with steel drawers to provide warmth while maintaining a modernist feel in this contemporary family home. Project: Laidley Street Residence, San Francisco; Builder: Built Form Construction, San Francisco; Developer/Architect: Zack|de Vito Architecture, San Francisco

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    Brian Vanden Brink

    This Martha’s Vineyard home’s kitchen stays true to the design’s ethereal palette with frameless White Oak rift cabinetry that stays low to allow for plenty of windows above the countertop. Project: Lagoon Pond Pavilion, Vineyard Haven, Mass.; Builder: Rosbeck Builders Corp., Edgartown, Mass.; Architect: Hutker Architects, Vineyard Haven; Kitchen Designer: Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath, Chevy Chase, Md.

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    William Helsel Architectural Photography

    Red-stained plywood cabinetry helps reflect light, making the most of the natural lighting afforded this compact kitchen, which earned a 2009 Custom Home Design Award. Project: Eichler Kitchen, Palo Alto, Calif; Architect: Anne Phillips Architecture, Berkeley, Calif.

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    Michael Burns Photography

    Horizontal hardware allows cabinetry to complement this kitchen’s long, narrow layout. Project: Papali Wailea, Wailea, Hawaii; Builder: Absher Construction Co., Puyallup, Wash.; Architect: Weinstein A|U Architects + Urban Designers, Seattle

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    Asa Gilmore

    Positioned snugly beneath a steel staircase, this clever kitchen uses beech cabinets to contrast with the space's heavier elements, including its hot-rolled steel backsplash and concrete countertops. The project won a 2009 Residential Architect Design Award. Project: Live, Dine, Sleep, Reno, Nev.; Architect: Hawkins & Associates, Reno

Kitchen cabinets sit in that design sweet spot where utility converges with the opportunity to make a big visual impact. And given the selling power a beautiful kitchen can wield, carefully curating your cabinets can have a big payoff.

As our slideshow illustrates, the design possibilities are many (one configuration places most of a kitchen beneath a staircase); from the materials used to where they’re mounted, there’s no need to feel confined by tradition. So whether your homes are classic or contemporary, here are some examples of beautiful cabinetry in styles of all kinds.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.