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Old World Style Kitchen Redesign

Host Joan Kohn visits with design experts Dalia Tamari and Mari F. Woods of Dalia Kitchen Design, Inc., for tips and ideas for incorporating the Old World look into any kitchen.

The old-fashioned look of Old World style is tremendously popular in kitchen design for new and remodeled kitchens.

  • The hallmark of Old World design is a comfortable, broken-in look that shows the wear and tear of usage. This is a popular look for growing families, who can expect to add a "patina of age" quickly to their kitchen.

    Old World design in kitchens starts with natural materials like wood and stone and finishes with the details, like reproduction lighting and faucets.
    Graceful arches and curves, like this curved molding above the cabinets, impart an Old World look to cabinetry.
    This honed granite counter and integral farm sink will show the wear and tear of time, part of the comfortable look in Old World design.

  • Choice of materials is critical to achieve an Old World look. The idea is to use materials that look as if they existed for decades or longer. Slick modern synthetics are out; natural materials like stone, wood and metal, are in.
  • The finish of the materials is also important. Rough and worn edges are preferable to stylized design. Distressed, battered wood is used for furniture and cabinetry, tumbled marble for back splashes. Matte, honed finishes are preferable to highly polished, reflective surfaces.
  • Cabinetry doors have a simple style, often distinguished by curves and arches over opening shelving or hearth-style cook surfaces. Molding and corners of cabinets might be curved. Cabinet doors are recessed and hinges are visible; hardware might be over-sized. Drawers have wooden interiors and dove-tail joints.
  • The look of furniture – mismatched pieces – is commonly used in Old World style. This can be achieved with separate pieces like a hutch or baker’s table, or by using different styles (color, wood, finish, pattern) of cabinets throughout the room.
  • The island is an important feature. Used as much for gathering as for a work surface, it might look more like a table – with legs, for example – than a simple work surface. It usually looks significantly different from the rest of the cabinetry as well.
  • Modern appliances should be hidden: microwaves are tucked behind doors; refrigerators and dishwashers have panels that let them blend in with the rest of the cabinetry.
  • Finishing details are important – refurbished light fixtures, period-look faucets, reproduction hardware, antique towels, jars and baskets - all contribute to the look and feel of a comfortable, broken-in kitchen.
  • Visit showrooms to get ideas for Old World kitchen design and to see how different materials and elements look used in an Old World setting.

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