spinoff to the 'dated' thread. What's 'in' and 'out'?

illinigirlMay 26, 2013

what's 'in' and 'out' with kitchens right now? What's considered 'classic', if anything?

so many white cabinet kitchens makes me wonder if stained or natural wood is out? Or is that classic?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know, people keep commenting that most kitchens are white, or they're tired of seeing nothing but white kitchens, but I've never seen that anywhere any time, except maybe a few magazines of certain type, like Coastal Living.

In our current area every lower-to-middle-market cabinet display is at least 85% wood finishes. Move up the price chain a bit and more painted finishes are on display, but you still won't be walking around looking at a dozen variations on white with some brown in the corner. They're all mostly variations on brown, reflecting what their customers are looking for.

My observations over the past few decades is that both brown and white are always in, never out, but that brown is always far more common.

What is very out is people grabbing a paintbrush and breaking out of the limitations of convention and mass production marketing. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the very significant improvements in lower cabinet design and function, making replacement with ready-mades a desirable option.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's difficult to answer this question because the answer will be different depending upon the population answering the question.

I think the white kitchen has made a big hit in a number of design publications and in Gardenweb. But in my geographic location (and I look at a LOT of real estate), I have seen two white kitchens that I can remember, and I designed one of them. This excluding white melamine, very basic kitchens.

In my area medium to dark stained, contemporary slab or raised panel doors are the most common. Granite countertops in dark earthtones are more common than anything else.

I see Corian fairly regularly and in GW it is so unpopular that if people like it they have to apologize for it.

What I see starting to appear more and more in the magazines I read are kitchen cabinets that are an actual painted color, and Grey kitchens.

Grey Oak or pickled oak. People are still taking Out oak kitchens and I am starting to see it in magazines.

I still think the most important thing to try and accomplish is to have a kitchen that looks like it belongs in your house. I don't think this means a slavish recreation of a 1970s kitchen if you live in a 1970s house, but whatever you DO put in should look natural, Not like you are walking from Black and White to Technicolor when Dorothy walks out of her house an into Oz.

If you do put in something that is very trendy but does Not play well with the rest of the house you are destined to repeat the cycle over and over.

A dated kitchen that looks "normal" in the house is generally not as glaring as one that is both dated and sticks out like a sore thumb on top of it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Circus Peanut

Rosie, it's all regional. I'm in Maine, and up this far north, and certainly along the New England coast, white kitchens are always somewhat more common, regardless of current trends. Darker winter days, Puritan aesthetic, seashore are all part of that combination.

A dated kitchen that looks "normal" in the house is generally not as glaring as one that is both dated and sticks out like a sore thumb on top of it.

So true. I'm helping redo my mother's 1981 kitchen in her 1961 ranch house, and this is bang on the problem. She wants what's "new", whereas I'm pulling to go back to 1961. Either way, painted white is not on the board, nor indeed have I seen much of that in her part of the upper Midwest.

This post was edited by circuspeanut on Tue, May 28, 13 at 13:38

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in the SF Bay Area where we have good weather and fairly current ideas about things. I know one other person with a white kitchen, a circa 2000 variety that looks dated to me, very white, raised door panels, brass pulls (not the cool, newly emerging brass). Their house is much higher-end than mine, but has more of a Tuscan vibe, where mine is just a small box that doesn't really lean in any direction. My neighbors (with a house similar to mine) just "redid" their kitchen and left the old golden oak cabs the same, including no drawer/door hardware. They spent plenty replacing the tile counters with busy granite, but seem fine with their old cabs. Different strokes.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Where I live white kitchens are not the norm. I did put one in but it rains a lot where I live and it's pretty grey from November-May. I just like the brightness that they bring to a space.

We were actually going to go with stained wood cabinets because here it is what you are "supposed" to do. I'm bucking the trend.

As to what is in or out I have no idea. In my area, again, Ceasarstone is big, I put in granite because it fits with my house and it's environs. It was important to me to not make my house look like a downtown loft apt because it wouldn't have worked. I paid attention to the construction of my house and its surrounding area.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Brass is "in", or should I say "coming back in". When I started renovating my old house 12 years ago I couldn't find brass anywhere except the salvage yard! Now, plain old unlacquered brass is available at most higher end places.

Also, brass finishes are getting more sophisticated. Some manufacturers are offering a hand applied antique finish which looks really good. I love burnished brass the best.

I have a very expensive Kohler faucet in my bathroom with their lifetime brass finish, circa 1995. It is terrible! It's peeling off in a sheet, to reveal regular old brass underneath.

Shiny one dimensional finish brass: no.

Natural brass with patina: yes!!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How much value does your neighbor place on utility or durability vs. esthetics?

In other words, if your neighbor was not changing the layout of the kitchen, it may be reasonable to maintain the cabinets but put in a solid monolithic countertop like graninte to improve the function over tile. Replacing the cabinets may not have crossed your neighbor's mind.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pal, I think you're talking about my neighbors. :) The cabinets are cheap golden oak as were mine, actually the boxes still are. Neither of us changed our layouts, which are good, although we both suffer the shame of lower cabinets instead of drawers and blind corners. I think they were mostly going for an updated look (counters) but didn't think the golden oak needed to be changed. I suggested that adding pulls would look good, but they didn't seem to think they were needed. Just an example how we live in the same area with the same cookie cutter houses, but have way different ideas of what looks up/dated.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting, linelle, about your SF Bay Area observations. I have a mix of original inset Shaker cabs (currently white, not sure what they were originally) and replacement (4 or 5 years old)white Shaker full overlay cabs. Upstairs, there are original inset Shaker cabs in yellow (interiors are red, and that paint is very old). I have a friend in San Leandro with adorable original Art Deco cabs, currently painted white. I have another friend in a Tudor with original cabs, painted white. I have another friend in a Tudor who recently remodeled and they had Douglas fir cabs made to match the originals.

With real estate prices here what there are, full kitchen remodels are few and far between. I see a lot of original kitchens, and many of those are painted white. Whether they were painted originally, I don't know, but once someone along the way over 70 or 100 years paints them, they stay painted. And white is a common, safe, choice to paint them.

My former in-laws remodeled their old white kitchen (1920 Spanish Colonial) and put in light-colored wood raised panel cabs with Uba Tuba granite. I don't know if that's on-trend for the area or not.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cawaps, I think we're looking at different era homes. Most of my friends have kitchens from the 80s and newer and have stained oak of varied quality. I have a friend in a cute little craftsman with original painted cabs, but I don't believe they're white. I guess my statement about only knowing one other person with white cabs really should have been qualified. I don't know anyone with new construction who put in white cabs or anyone with an older home who remodeled and chose white. Or maybe it's just the people I know. :) Stained wood is quite prevalent.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Bay Area is a pretty diverse area in terms of housing types -- at the suburban fringes it is much different than in "original burbs" and then again different from SF itself. Within SF, you get the range from the uber-modern bent of SOMA/South Beach to the Victorian range in the older neighborhoods. I've seen plenty of white kitchens in Noe Valley and plenty of wood stained, veneered and lacquered modern cabinets in SOMA (new build)

Back to the original topic, I still think the design fashionistas are foisting "the next big thing" onto us, and yet it takes a while for a trend to stick. By the time it gets to the builder's design center offering in the most recent suburban, it has achieved mass appeal and adoption. So, it likely depends on how "in" you mean, and where you mean it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cawaps and Circuspeanut (probably) made me think of a likely factor in paint/white versus wood finish, regionally and otherwise. That's whether the cabinets were originally built in by carpenters or the kitchen was remodeled to look like it. In both bases, painting the built-ins is a part of that old look. Not all that long ago, poor people might not be able to afford to paint the wood their homes were built with, but people of more means certainly could and adopted its brighter and, as they saw it, more refined look for their own.

This was before the era of mass production of cabinets, of course. Well before mass production, paint had become so commonplace that people developed a new appreciation for natural wood (Victorian and Craftsman eras, with newly indignant cries at the very thought of painting it.:)

With mass production, shellacking and then polying wood was significantly less expensive, so another new era of wood-finish cabinets was born, but now in an applied look of cabinets mounted on painted/papered walls, rather than built-in.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Linelle, I can understand your neighbors' choice. We, too have, oak cabinets (not cheap---they are very solid wood ), and, with a bit of refurbishng, they look good. We chose to replace our laminate counter top with granite, and we will soon be putting in a tile backsplash. We stuck with the oak for 3 reasons: (1) The cabinets are in great shape, and it just seems wasteful to get rid of perfectly good cabinets. (2) Closely related to #1, we are doing a budget reno and the cost of new cabinets would be prohibitive. (3) DH really, really likes the oak. I am a little less thrilled with how busy the grain makes the wood look, but otherwise I think it's fine. I just felt I had to be careful to choose a more quiet granite (Black Pearl) and a subtle, neutral backsplash so that they wouldn't clash with the busy wood grain. My next choice is turning out to be the most difficult--hardware for the cabinets. I thought I would like black hardware, but looking at pictures with black hardware it seems a bit busier than I wanted. I also originally wanted all pulls, but I'm now leaning toward knobs (even though I like the function of pulls better) because I think the overall look might seem less busy with the knobs. I really don't now what I'm going to do.

Anyway, to get back on subject, bottom line is that personal taste is subjective and, outside of some outlandish examples of garrish taste and lack of functionality, I think there is wide latitude for what can be done for a given space. Take one kitchen and let ten different people update it according to their taste. You could easily end up with ten totally different styles--all of which may have merit.

I tend to agree most with the comment about making sure the kitchen complements the overall style of your home/decor.

This post was edited by sail-away on Tue, May 28, 13 at 17:04

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DC area: Definitely white/off white kitchens with granite or quartzite, SS appliances, island maybe in darker wood, hardwood floors. Pretty much all the new builds have white kitchens. Those who are "updating" for sale paint the cabinets white. Chatted with the KD at HD, who said that about 60-70% of all kitchens are now white.
Just looked at the upper bracket homes (4 mio and higher), and again: white or off-white.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 5:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sail-away, you bet. My neighbors like their oak cabs just fine. I originally just wanted my fluorescent light box gone, and maybe a granite counter. So one thing led to another, I decided how much I could spend and what I could get for that amount. Neither my neighbor nor I are planning to sell our houses any time soon, if at all, so we're pleasing ourselves with our decisions and that's the way it should be.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 5:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What's in is what you like. Don't get so caught up in a material or color. If everyone had the same kitchen it wouldn't be any fun.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's difficult to keep the kitchen looking like it belongs to the rest of the house when the house doesn't have any particular style, and you don't know enough about architecture to know what kind of style it should have!

We bought this house which was moved in to town in the 1950s (built earlier) and then the kitchen addition was added on. Cabinets were built in place - to the ceiling (8'5") - lots of drawers, painted white slab doors. (Although by looking at the inside of some of the cabinets you could see they had been painted at least 2 other colors earlier!) Old sheet vinyl floors and light colored laminate speckled countertops. Peninsula with overhead cabinets in your face.
This is what I would call a ranch house, 2 story or maybe it would be called a 1 1/2 story house with old cement basement. (Located in rural Montana.) There is no crown molding or other details in any of the rooms. Any of the original molding has been replaced (I think) with the 2 1/4" rounded ranch trim. Not necessarily ugly, but very boring. The front lean to porch was full of windows. Wood lap siding.

The point is, I don't know what would be "true" to this house. Because I lived here with white cabinets for 19 years (and liked the brightness of them) I was leaning towards getting them again, although I don't like the look of the new slab cabinets. However, my husband wants dark stained wood raised panel cabinets. I love the richness of the brown color, but I also worried about it being too dark.

Before I found this site I had no idea of all the options out there. Or that houses should have certain looks. And kitchens should match that look. So now the brown cherry cabinets seem wrong, or too formal for my house. And even a small crown molding seems like a pretense.

I guess what I am saying is that to the masses of "uninformed" like myself, we don't have anything to go by except what we've always known or what the media shows us. So it's no wonder we follow the trends and try to have the latest and greatest. Dated, in or out. We don't know.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm no designer or expert by any means, but I am a firm believer in decorating how you like, regardless of the period or style of your home or what's "in." I live in the DC area where at least 80% of (tract) homes are "colonial." Well, I do not like colonial or traditional furnishings at all. So, I should live with, say, 18th c style cherry furniture because it goes more with my colonial-style house? I couldnt do it! I think the only exception to this is if you live in a true, historic home...but if you buy a historic home, chances are you like the style to begin with it and will keep any updates "period."

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do think it varies quite a bit by location. When we relocated from the Bay Area, we found very little variation in kitchen styles by comparison. Here (outer suburb of Sacramento), all but the historic district homes are newish---my 12 year old home is considered "older." Not much difference between the mass produced, tract home kitchens and those in the higher end custom built neighborhoods. All have maple or espresso stained cabinets, ss appliances, and doors rather than drawers. Just toured the latest new home neighborhood and it was more of the same.

If your home was built at the beginning of the cycle, you might have been stuck with white tile countertops and pinky beige floor tile; at the later end of the cycle, or if you opted to upgrade the basic builder package, a brownish granite, laminate or engineered floors and a Tuscany look overall. Never have I seen a white kitchen here, even in the most exclusive neighborhoods. Perhaps a nicer cook top and larger or custom vent hood, but certainly no modern kitchens with slab front doors and quartz counters, or styles that incorporate marble, soapstone, etc.

People are just now beginning to change out some elements of their "dated" kitchens here, but few total overhauls that I'm aware of. Many are having the countertops and appliances swapped out for quartz and the newest Ss models, or in relatively rare cases having the cabinets painted white.

I In my case, I couldn't see ripping out 10 year old cabinets that, while never high end, were still functional and worked for us. Replaced the white tile nightmare counters with a nice grayish white granite and updated the appliances, painted the cabs a light gray. Perhaps some would see this this is a case of the dreaded updating without regard to the overall style of the home, but I think it's often overlooked here on GW that for those living in the homes during their awkward 'tween eras, full gut remodels can be unnecessary (provided good functional layout) and tough to justify. Nothing is so awful and horribly "outdated" that a relatively small fix cannot rectify, it's just that we're all so tired of looking at the same old thing. It's already happening elsewhere with the white kitchen backlash, which I personally like, and it will surely happen with the next few trends. We all say "get what you love and it won't matter anyway," but I fear that in another 10 years all will decry their subway tile back splashes and kitchen chandeliers:)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

joanie, there's a difference, though, between what is attached to the house as part of the architecture (albeit interior architecture) vs. what it is furnished with.

I lived in an 1840 house and did not have 1840 period furniture. Furnishings can really be anything--they are not attached to the house

Also kitchens don't have to necessarily "match" the style house, it just needs to be compatible. There are a lot of houses in my neighborhood that predate kitchens or had kitchen fireplaces, and I don't think most people would want to be down in the basement cooking over a fire or a woodfired range.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the trigger for a kitchen remodel is often appliances dying and new ones not fitting in the space or a layout that is really bad or some other remodel that is "touching" the kitchen and therefore the kitchen remodel comes into play. I am in SF bay area as well (peninsula) and I still mostly see either the 90s oak kitchens, or builder grade maple upgrade or european slab/ IKEA look. I know that my painted vintage green kitchen is an anomaly among the people I know as well as my cabinet maker. At least in CA, I am learning too late that the painted finish may not have been the best option as the finish has some wearability issues that are limited due to environmental laws affecting paint types in CA.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:36PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Kohler Whitehaven Sink - 33 or 36"?
Does anyone have the 33" Whitehaven single bowl?...
Melissa Silva
Old, Deep Cast Iron Sink or New Sink? I can't decide
Hello, would love to hear from those of you who have...
Cindy McMahon
Strategies for washing dishes in a large single sink vs double sink
Hi all, We have in our plans to get a large (33 inch)...
Week 45: He'p me!
He'p me! I have no idea what to ask about this week,...
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™