Keeping It Modern

If clutter makes you crazy and carved cabinetry gives you agida, consider creating a Contemporary Kitchen for your home. Think minimalist, geometric, modern and clear of ornamentation.


Design follows function


“Whatever makes the cook’s life easier” is the credo of the Contemporary Kitchen. Everything has its place and efficiency reigns supreme. From the layout of the appliances (usually the classic triangle of refrigerator, sink and stove is used to increase efficiency) to what type of cabinetry is used, all are designed to bring speed and ease of use to the chef (the smooth surfaces have the benefit of making cleanup a breeze, too).

courtesy of c. ricci

Strip it down


In a Contemporary Kitchen, less is more with the very design purposefully stripping a kitchen down to its function. Sleek is the order of the day, with lines being either horizontal or asymmetrical. Appliances (sometimes industrial strength) are often stainless steel and other materials used in the kitchen are mostly man-made like chrome, laminate, frosted glass, polished concrete or even linoleum. Surfaces are often reflective. Gone are mouldings and unnecessary ornamentation.


Flat, sleek and clean


The bare bones approach has been perfected by European designers, particularly those in Scandinavia, Germany and Italy, who have been in the vanguard of Contemporary Design. Cabinetry may be minimal with no visible hardware, but will be of the finest quality with flat surfaces (sliding cabinets sometimes play a big part in Contemporary Kitchens.) Spaces are open and every part of the design is clean. Even window coverings are often reduced to functional blinds to keep the sun’s glare down or the window glass itself is treated to shade the room without the need of window coverings all together.


Color and light reimagined


Recessed lighting is often found in Contemporary Kitchens (sometimes miniature spotlights are used in cabinet interiors if the cabinets are glass-faced.) Pendants can light a kitchen island. Halogen lights are used to radiate on the countertop or workspace to give the cook the proper light. What you rarely see in a Contemporary Kitchen is a chandelier.


Contemporary Kitchens, for all their lack of ornamentation, are far from dull. Italian cabinet makers are famous for their daring use of color—like tomato red cabinetry and appliances or walls painted in glossy hot colors–which can add warmth to the industrial look created by stainless steel appliances and the minimalistic design.


Making use of such materials as specialty metals, high-gloss laminates and reflective surfaces, Contemporary Kitchen Design serves the cook’s practical needs while emphasizing the stark beauty of ultra-modern design. As one proponent put it, “Why drive a Prius, when you can drive a Lamborghini?”

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