Designing With (or Around) Stainless Steel
Want the kinds of ovens, ranges, microwaves and even vent hoods that the pros use? Get ready to love stainless steel, because most commercial-grade "prosumer" appliances feature it.
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You don't have to endure a cold or industrial kitchen design for the sake of going pro. There are many design techniques that allow you to mesh stainless with any style kitchen: contemporary to country.
"I really like stainless; it's neutral color-wise and style-wise and really versatile," says Mark White, a certified kitchen designer for Kitchen Encounters in Annapolis, Md. "It even makes stuff that's not pro equipment look clean and professional, since that's what we're used to seeing in restaurant kitchens."
Mark and other top designers offer ideas for incorporating stainless steel without veering into sterile territory:
Designers agree that stainless steel is gorgeous as a focal point or a fine enhancement as an accent but should never be used in both capacities.
"A little goes a long way when you're designing with stainless steel," says Michael Schwartz of 2S Designs in Grayslake, Ill. "You have to develop a fear of too much metal."
One of Mark's favorite designs paired weathered, distressed cabinets with a tapered stainless stove hood, which served as the kitchen's focal point. "The hood helped create what I'd call a European country style, which is not country in the sense of being rural," he says.
Michael has used a bit of stainless steel in a backsplash for his home kitchen and says you could do the same with metallic tiles like the Metallismo collection by Walker Zanger.
"Stainless accents are beautiful, but less is more with metal in kitchen designs," Michael says. "You wouldn't want stainless counters or small appliances in the same design with large pro line stainless pieces, unless you were going for an over-the-top industrial design."
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