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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• The Details: Fluorescent ceilings were replaced with rows of can light or track systems. Under-cabinet "Flo" fluores- cent lights were featured in better kitchens. • Surfaces: Corian become the countertop of choice. This ex- tremely durable and easily machined "solid surface" mate- rial revolutionized the countertop business. A much wider variety of laminate colors and patterns become available as well. While vinyl flooring continued to be popular, the first patterned offerings were replaced with reproductions of natural materials: brick, wood and stone. • Appliances/Fixtures: Appliance categories improved in basic operation and several new and innovative cooking appliances were launched to satisfy the "gourmet cook." Manufacturers specialized in one type of appliance, with few offering "suites." Kitchen sink design expanded with offerings featuring different sized compartments. Ken Rohl, the founder of Rohl Company, introduced a European faucet with a pull-out spout in 1983 that would become the standard for luxury. INSPIRATION FROM THE 1980S Today our industry is an international community of professionals and manufacturers. The transition to a more global industry began in the '80s. Previously, American and European kitchens espoused a decidedly different sense of style. Cabinet construction methods were different. No-nonsense laminate cabinet fronts were the standard in Europe on frameless boxes built in an assembly line facility. Each EU manufacturer retained professional industry or fashion designers to create a "look" expressing the cabinet brand. U.S. kitchens only featured American appliances, which were much bigger than those used around the world. Global design took root when European cabinet compa- nies exhibited at KBIS in the mid-1980s. Wow! We'd never seen such "cutting edge" contemporary design before! Sophisticated designers and forward-thinking U.S. cabinet company engineers began to travel to Europe to attend kitchen-focused exhibitions. Design Highlights from the '80s • The Look: Clients became more interested in a stylish looking kitchen. A more casual, country style featuring lighter stained oak replaced Mediterranean-style cabi- nets. Inspired by European cabinetry, a new, modified U.S. contemporary look was introduced: almond lam- inate cabinetry with a horizontal strip of stained oak serving as the finger grip hardware. This finger pull ergonomic design transitioned into the J- or C-shaped aluminum pull we're familiar with today. Later in the '80s, high-gloss laminate finishes were offered by upscale cabinet companies. American cabinet compa- nies invested in new equipment to produce frameless cabinetry with full-overlay doors featuring German- engineered hardware. A more typical '80s kitchen: Lighter oak cabinets replaced the dark Mediterranean look of the last decade. Boxing in those big microwave ovens was a challenge. Oak has always been a beautiful and available wood in the U.S.; today, it's a standard, although tight, straight grains have replaced the cathedral pattern of yesteryear. Pictured is one of my first great room designs; I was asked to open up the kitchen to the adjacent family room addition and given the budget to re-imagine the powder room and laundry room to re- organize the floor space. With upgraded appliances, a change in the cabinet wood, C-shaped pulls and a switch to quartz tops to replace the wood-edged laminate top, I think this space works for 2019! Photo: Courtesy of Ellen Cheever Photo: Courtesy of Ellen Cheever December 2018 • 45

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