Slab cabinets in a traditional/transitional kitchen?

eleenaSeptember 13, 2012

Is that a contradiction?

The house is sort of transitional. It has 9'-10' ceilings (depending on the room) and three arched door-ways from the living room to other parts of the house. The thing that makes it "traditional" is six-panel doors and the trim work more elaborate than in contemporary/modern houses.

The kitchen has an "Italian" flavor due to a brick cove around the cooktop area. The kitchen will be gutted except for that enclosure.

The problem is that I am retro-modern addict and love contemporary style. :-) I have tried really hard, but the only door style I like is slabs. :-(

I have been thinking of going with slab doors for upper drawers on base cabinets and some version of shaker style for larger drawers and cabinet doors.

But I keep hoping that it might be possible to do all slabs. Would that clash with the "traditional" feel of the kitchen?

(BTW, the bottom part of the built-in armoire in the bedroom has all slab drawers with rounded edges and it looks "just fine".)

I don't want to post pix b/c the kitchen is too recognizable and it is a more "theoretical question" anyway. If you know of/have seen traditional kitchens with slab cabinets, please let me know. I have searched and couldn't find anything meaningful.


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I forgot to add that I want to paint them.

I have seen stained wood slab cabs in a traditional setting on the Internet.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:04PM
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It wouldn't bother me, but DH said no slab cabs this time, so we've compromised on "Shaker" style. He hasn't seen the backsplash yet....

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:16PM
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A lot of homes built in the mid-century period were pretty traditional, but they pretty much all had slab cabinets. I'm attaching a link to a gallery of pics of 1940s kitchens and you can see the range.

Even in the 20s and earlier, a lot of drawers had slab fronts (partial overlay; usually paired with inset doors). My 1911 cabinets have slab front drawers with rounded edges. So does my Mom's 1960 kitchen, come to think of it. I think that frameless cabinets would be harder to pull off with a traditional look.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1940s homes

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Oh, how wish I didn't have that rich trim-work! Then the slab cabinets would be perfect. But replacing all the trims and baseboards would be too much trouble and might impact the re-sale b/c it would not go with the style of the subdivision.

My trims and baseboards look like on this picture (see link).

Should I just "forget it"?

Here is a link that might be useful: Trimwork similar to my house

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I did slabs in a traditional room in order to let the other architectural detail take precedence.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:20PM
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This picture shows a nice mix of modern slab front cabinets with others in the shaker style and very rich trim. A well-balanced mix can really work.

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Kitchen And Bath Venegas and Company

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Our house is mid 80's traditional and we did a fairly modern remodel with mostly slabs. We did shakers in the dining room built in, but made the outside panel a little wider to make it look more modern. We kept our six panel doors and standard trim because it just didn't make fiscal sense to replace them. We painted the doors and trim white which looks nice with the white quartz. I think it turned out great. Honestly - several contractors we interviewed were super negative about my vision to go with modern slabs and quartz. I'm sure glad I didn't listen. If it's the look you love that's not going to change. You can make it work! Planning to post pics next week once backsplash goes up so you can see what I mean.

Good luck! I would totally encourage you to go for it!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:45PM
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Shaker cabs can be a pain to clean, and they will require cleaning. Ask rhome410. I had slabs pre-reno and got slabs in my new kitchen, but then I love modern. I think slab cabs can work well in a traditional or transitional room, aesthetically. And as a practical matter, they are so easy to clean-no q tips in the corners, etc.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:47PM
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That is a great design but my kitchen is very different, unfortunately.


I actually really wanted cabinetry like that and had the Hansen blocks priced but they are unfortunately out of my current budget. If I were sure I'll be staying in the house for 10-15 years, I'd probably find the funds but if we end up selling, that investment won't be worth it.


I don't like shakers! I currently have very "elaborate" raised panel cabinets that came with the house, so I know what "pain to clean" means, LOL.

I have tried and tried to like something other than slabs and I keep going back to them. :-(

But the kitchen is not only "traditional" but also has some "old Italian" flavor. IDK what we were thinking when buying this house. But there was nothing "modern" in the neighborhoods we were interested in and this house was very unique compared to all others.

Could you post pix of your kitchen?


I am very much looking forward your pix! And, btw, I don't mind seeing them w/o the backsplash, wink-wink.

Thank you everyone for your responses.

I'll try to find more pix resembling my kitchen and what I actually want.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:46AM
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Here is a great picture of slab drawers mixed with shakers (?)

I "borrowed" it from an earlier thread.

These cabinets are painted, aren't they?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:59AM
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You mentioned that you are worried about the brick alcove giving your kitchen an italian feel- I don't think that has to be the case. Brick can go modern. Brick is a classic with modern industrial style. Why don't you post a picture of your actual brick. Here are some kitchens with brickwork. The first one could easily work with painted slab doors and drawers. The second one doesnt have a brick alcove, but it has lots of brick and is very modern.

Contemporary Kitchen design by

by href=''>Other Metros Interior Designer In Detail Interiors
Personally, I am doing slab front doors and drawers, both stained and painted in what I think of as a modern farm kitchen. My house has its own architectural issues as it is very open and post and beam. Don't give up on what you want- you can usually make it work at least to some extent.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 7:05AM
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