Kitchen & Bath Design News

DEC 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Framed construction with lip doors was typical for wood American-made cabinets. • The Details: Dropped fluorescent ceilings or a big center dropped fluorescent lighted box was the norm. • Surfaces: While the rest of the country specified laminate tops with 4" backsplashes, California's best kitchens had tile countertops with full tile backsplashes. Wide, dark grout was considered stylish. Armstrong Solarium solid vinyl flooring in big geo- metric patterns was new and so much more durable than "cushioned" linoleum. Big, bold wallpaper finished off the soffits above the cabinets. • Appliances/Fixtures: The best kitchens included a double stainless steel sink and a built-in dishwasher. Side-by- side refrigerators were offered for the first time. Amana introduced the microwave oven in 1967, and 40,000 were sold in 1970. Designers had a hard time building these big, boxy microwaves into the cabinetry. Downdraft cooktops and ranges were very popular and appliances were colorful: Coppertone, Avocado Green and Harvest Gold. • Layout Preferences: Designers started opening up walls be- tween the kitchen and adjacent dining spaces with casual "family rooms" being planned in new home designs. The space was still planned for one cook: the wife! • Business Models: Most firms had male salespeople learning to be designers. They came from backgrounds in construction, appliance sales or cabinet making. A few "luxury" cabinet com- panies offered functional cabinet interior storage accessories, and showrooms featured displays of these "better" cabinets. 2. Repair cost concerns will develop as the current generation of sophisticated pre-programmed products age. 3. The current growing grocery delivery industry, as well as the "Blue Apron" approach to pre-measured dinners shipped in a box will be favored by younger clients who strive to simplify life. I look forward to sharing the future with all of you! But now, let's turn our attention to how the past has influ- enced us today. INSPIRATION FROM THE 1970S The open-room kitchen concept popular today grew out of a simple idea in the '70s: adding an opening in the wall between the kitchen and adjacent dining room or casual family room. First planned to facilitate passing serving dishes to the table or shortening the trip from table to sink after dinner was over, the cook found he or she loved being able to be part of pre-din- ner conversations. Risk-taking designers started taking down the entire wall. Because a three-sided, U-shaped arrangement was considered the most efficient plan, layouts kept the shape after eliminating one row of wall cabinets. The concept of a peninsula cabinet separating the kitchen from another living area was born. Design Highlights from the '70s • The Look: Kitchens were seen as functional workspac- es, so ease of maintenance was a priority. Cabinet door styles established a "mood" for the room. Modern wood veneer or laminate wood-grained, back-beveled, flat-panel doors with no visible hardware offered one choice. Other families asked for "Mediterranean" style: darkly finished cherry or oak fancy wood doors with elaborate hardware. JennAir downdraft modular cooktops were a standard spec in high-end kitchens in the '80s. Because of this ventilation invention, cooking appliances could move to new island locations, a key ele- ment for organizing an open kitchen plan. The value of adaptability in appliance function continues, and is a cornerstone of design today. When Ronald Reagan's term as CA governor ended in 1975, his Sacramento home became a Jr. League showhouse for a month. I got to design the kitchen! The renovated kitchen is typical of the '70s: Harvest Gold appliances, a boxed fluorescent ceiling fixture and tile countertops with dark grout. We added a surprise wood grained laminate island countertop with surface mounted stainless steel commercial containers to house an indoor garden that could be watered in place. In 2019 – and beyond – much is being predicted about indoor gardening. So maybe this idea stuck! Photo: Courtesy of Ellen Cheever Photo: Courtesy of Ellen Cheever 44 Kitchen & Bath Design News • December 2018 DESIGNER'S NOTEBOOK

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