Making cabinet-level decisions Design: Choose lasting elements like kitchen cabinets for their own qualities, not to match something less long-lived, like fabric.

September 22, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We're about to remodel our large family room, which also encompasses the kitchen area. The floor plan we've devised seems fine in most respects, but it has one major missing piece: kitchen cabinetry. Nothing that we've seen has been suitable to the room's transitional styling. The cabinetry also has to blend with the mellow finishes of the cherrywood furniture in the living area. The chairs, by the way, are covered with blue or natural-color fabrics. What do you think would be our best choice?

I'd probably simplify the situation by choosing cherrywood cabinets. It will certainly go with your current furniture, and it will also allow a wide choice of color schemes for your remodeling project.

Since the blue and natural-colored seat covers won't last nearly as long as the wood cabinetwork, I wouldn't be too concerned about matching something as durable as a large storage piece with something as changeable as wallpaper or fabrics. You may well wish to redo the room's colors at some point in the not-so-distant future -- many people grow tired of the same look after a few years.

The general principle here is that long-lasting elements should be selected for their indigenous qualities, not because they happen to match a particular fabric. For these pieces, I've found that it's best to choose a neutral color, or at least one that %J doesn't require anything too specific or unusual as an accompaniment.

I would also pay close attention to the detailing as well as the finish of something as fixed in place as kitchen cabinetwork.

The photograph presents an example of a piece that can stand up to such scrutiny. It was designed especially for the so-called great room, which is the term now commonly applied to spaces like the one you've described.

Merillat Industries added traditional details, such as a plate rack and rope moldings below the counter top, to this Forrister cherrywood cabinet by Amera. This kind of detailing, which in this instance also includes cornices and pilaster-type uprights, gives the piece the look of fine built-in furniture. Many buyers may prefer a natural finish, but a variety of spicy alternatives -- nutmeg, paprika and cinnamon -- are available too.

The manufacturer also gives customers the choice of adding or deleting the various embellishments. A person living in a comparatively conservative setting may favor one set of styling possibilities, while someone with a simpler sensibility verging on the Shakeresque will likely disdain such additions as mere dust-catchers. A pared-down version of cabinetwork also allows it to serve as a backdrop for a truly dramatic overall design statement.

Should you opt for this sort of solution, the choice of detailing would be entirely your own. And that, to my mind, is certainly a most attractive attribute for any large piece of furniture.

Pub Date: 9/22/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.