Arts and Crafts Kitchens
Bring Craftsman-style elements into your cooking space with a nature-inspired Arts and Crafts kitchen.
The Arts and Crafts (also known as Craftsman) kitchen was originally designed around simple aspects of nature, incorporating natural lighting as well as wood floors and countertops. These days, a kitchen designed in an Arts and Crafts style might not use a wood-burning stove, but the minimalist design principles still apply.
Style That Lasts
The Arts and Crafts Movement is more than 100 years old, but its appeal has stood the test of time. Originally a protest of mass-produced items and stuffy, ornate Victorian design, its call to heed a simpler aesthetic and fine craftsmanship still resonates with homeowners today. Common items that reflect an Arts and Crafts heritage are handcrafted furniture, simple trims, ceramic tiles, earthenware, metalworks and stained glass.
The movement's wholesome feel is a natural fit for a kitchen that's warm, casual and refined. "Nature is the one overarching influence for this design style," says Mary Broerman, CCIDC, of MDB Design Group. "The color palette is muted, medium tones: the browns, taupes, greens, oranges, reds and blues you'd see in nature." Tiles or stained-glass panels that depict items from the outdoors such as grapevines, flowers, fruits, leaves, insects and butterflies are beautiful and keep with the fundamentals of the style.
Wood, preferably wide trim in medium to dark tones, stands out as the most basic element you can include to give your kitchen an Arts and Crafts vibe. "Oak, mahogany and teak were the most popular kinds used in the original movement," Broerman says. If your kitchen is on the small side and will be overpowered by such a bold statement, she adds, wood painted white or off-white may be a better choice.
Keep in mind that natural light remains the best way to play up the tonal mood you create with an Arts and Crafts kitchen and bring out subtle colors, patterns and textures. It also lightens the effect of broad swaths of dark wood. If your current kitchen is on the dark side, consider budgeting for a broad bank of windows over the sink or even a skylight.
Install tiles with character. Try a backsplash of subway tiles, either painted with a natural motif or plain and bordered with a series of unique accent tiles. Also look for tiles reminiscent of the prominent artisans of the period: Ernest Batchelder's earth-toned designs from the early 20th century are some of the most coveted ceramic tiles around. You can still buy originals, but reproductions are also widely available.
Flooring and Counters
Choose natural flooring and countertops. For flooring, consider limestone, slate, travertine or marble; on counters, think slate, soapstone or granite. "If money permits, the best countertop surface in any kitchen is granite," Broerman says. Look for a horizontal, flowing pattern reminiscent of water rather than speckles or flecks. If you're a pastry chef or baking buff, a countertop panel of marble is nice because it stays cold for rolling out dough; marble is too soft, however, for use throughout the kitchen. "The only problem with natural stones is that you have to keep them sealed and you can't cut right on them," Broerman says. "When I install a natural countertop for somebody, I always give them a cutting board as a gift."
Wrought iron and copper are signature metals for the Arts and Crafts look. Possibilities include a hand-forged sink, wall sconces, cabinet pulls, or, for a showstopper, a large oven hood.
Upper cabinets with leaded or stained-glass doors are popular for this style, as are clear doors designed to show off a collection of items such as teapots, salt-and-pepper shakers or bowls. Use decorative accessories with an Arts and Crafts inspiration. For accent pieces, use artisanal items in subtle, rich tones; stained glass and pottery make great choices.
Arts and Crafts kitchens typically feature cabinetry that extends as high as the ceiling, leaving room for plenty of storage and eliminating clutter. Open shelving might give a kitchen an updated Craftsman feel, while polished oak floors can complement an Arts and Crafts kitchen's timeless charm.
Choose earthy tones for the walls, including beige, taupe and mint green. Paint baseboards and other trim with a creamy white color. Kitchen counter choices are often muted colors, but the materials range from tiles to hard wood styles.
Accessories are kept to a minimum in a Craftsman kitchen, but when they are included, they are often deliberately placed to create a specific effect. For example, an otherwise neutral wood island might be accented by an overhead light made from tinted orange glass to give the room a pop of color. It's also not uncommon for shelving units to be added to a Craftsman kitchen and reserved especially for showcasing a collection of cookbooks.
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