CONTEMPORARY DESIGN IS HOT (again), but this time around it is not the cold, machine-like look that some people usually associate with it. Today's modernism is more of a move toward simpler interiors and pared-down products. Cabinet manufacturers have picked up on this shift, and their new products reflect it.
Vince Achey, vice president of Schaefferstown, Pa.–based Plain & Fancy Cabinetry, says that the company “sees the desire to simplify to be key when [homeowners are] thinking about home lifestyle.” As a result, there has been an increase in demand for interiors designed with an organized, clutter-free aesthetic. To accommodate that demand, Plain & Fancy has introduced Practically Basic, a cabinet line that mixes clean design with the warmth of wood.
Although the pared-down, uncluttered look in cabinetry is relatively new to American manufacturers, European companies—including Snaidero, Bulthaup, and Siematic—have been doing it for years. American companies were doing intricate raised panel doors with fancy moldings while Europeans were offering full overlay doors and concealed hinges.
Euro-style products are identifiable by such trademark features as base cabinets on casters or stainless steel legs, colorful lacquers, and aluminum frame glass doors. High on style and long on price, Euro cabinets always have been popular with architects and high-end consumers who first saw the cabinets on their travels abroad. Today, however, Europeans aren't the only ones trafficking in the style. Domestic companies have learned a thing or two.
Middlefield, Ohio based Kraftmaid Cabinetry recently made a dramatic departure from its typical products to introduce Venicia, a line of frameless Euro-style cabinets that come in a wide variety of colors and materials. Design director Sarah Reep sums up the line this way: “The world is a smaller place, and there is more sharing of ideas more than ever before. The sleek, highly engineered appearance of Euro-style cabinetry represents an emerging design preference among American consumers.” And it's about time.