Posted on February 12, 2013
Cabinets are, for all intents and purposes, the furniture of the kitchen. In fact, during the period of early American history (1700 – 1780) that’s precisely what they were. Pieces of furniture used to house dishes and eating utensils. Essentially, the function of cabinets has not changed in over three hundred years. Of course, there have been some deviations for the sake of style. We’ve fancied things up with moldings, sconces, granite, and stainless steel. But the idea of cabinets as furniture lends itself to creating its own style—The Colonial Kitchen.
Colonial kitchens are traditional in every sense. A simple, utilitarian design defined by clean lines and finishes. Colonial cabinets are sometimes just painted, rather than stained, and many times the color is white. This is also highly functional, as whitewashing is a much cheaper method. Sometimes the cabinets sport legs or feet on the bottom, enhancing that furniture look. The term “cupboard” comes to mind. A simple inlay gives just a hint of design.
If you’re planning on decorating your kitchen in the colonial fashion, it is important to remember three things: function, function, and function. Make use of the space that you have. This sometimes mean doubling up your purposes, like inserting a wine rack into an island. It’s also important to keep things looking natural inside and out. Absolutely no formica or corian countertops. Granite is okay; a nice butcher block top is better. You can get a little fancy with the hardware. Antique pewter, brushed nickel, and wrought iron are all very nice, but it’s best to avoid brass. External hinges can give your cabinets a more defined look, if that’s your thing.
Once you’ve selected the “furniture,” it’s time to think about appliances. Remember, the time period you are replicating was pre-Industrial Revolution and stainless steel did not yet exist. (Nor did appliances themselves for that matter.) Martha Stewart suggests choosing black appliances for a colonial kitchen as they blend in better with the surroundings. The next step is to accessorize. You can even do a little repurposing here. For example, the use of an old table as an island or extra countertop space. A wrought iron pot rack will look lovely and save on valuable real estate inside the cabinets. You may even be able to drum up an old butter churn or milk pail. The key to Colonial Kitchen design is to remain authentic without going overboard.
You can buy colonial cabinets and other styles at our cabinet store.