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The Arts and Crafts Styled Kitchen

Kitchens today are more than form and function. A properly designed kitchen can add great style to your whole home. But what style to go with may be your question. While there are a handful of styles to choose from, one that has remained popular through the decades is the Arts and Crafts styled kitchen.

What would you expect to see in an Arts and Crafts kitchen? The Arts and Crafts movement was based on form and function, therefore such kitchens emphasize natural colors, rich woods, clean strong lines and light. For a kitchen to appear Arts and Crafts it may have recessed panel doors with thick frames, contrast in finishes of wood, stained glass windows and lighting fixtures, and mullioned glass doors.

Arts and Crafts kitchens look similar to Shaker, Prairie or Mission style kitchens. Woods used for both include maple, birch, beech or oak. Most important is the use of wood. Rich dark woods, distinctive styles utilized from wood along with styled cabinets is important.

To understand the Arts and Crafts look is to understand the style. Arts and Crafts has also been called Mission, Stickley, Prairie or even Frank Lloyd Wright. The design started around 1900 as a backlash against the ornate style prior to 1900. People wanted a design that was more functional and furnishings that were better built. An emphasis on quality craftsmanship was important. Cabinetry was constructed with mortise and tenon, dovetail joinery, and of solid hardwoods.

The movement of Arts and Crafts was not limited to the United States, matter-of-fact it was quite international and is said to have started in England. Artists and craftsmen such as William Morris and Gustav Stickley became notorious with the movement. The Arts and Crafts style spread from England to Europe and then North America. The writings of John Ruskin influenced the movement. Ruskin emphasized the belief that art communicated an understanding of nature and rejected mechanization and standardization. He advocated the value of an organic relationship between worker and his natural environment. At this time, industrialization was destroying the world of craft labor.

With this, style became more simple and straightforward. Decoration was limited, especially if it was superfluous. Patterns imitated British flora and fauna. Architects drew on the vernacular of an area for design. Many architects were influenced by traditions of the British countryside. Designers stepped up to meet the demand and began hosting workshops reviving old craftsmanship techniques.

The Arts and Crafts style also stemmed from a reaction of style against things shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851. This exhibition took place in The Crystal Palace in England and was to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. The Great Exhibition of 1851 had more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world. Artists, philosophers and writers alike critiqued the styles shown stating it was too ornamental. Art historian Nikolaus Pevsner even stated, the Great Exhibition showed ‘vulgarity in detail.’

With all of this combined, it wasn’t long before the Arts and Crafts ideals were influencing architecture, sculpture, paintings, illustration, book making, photography, domestic design and decorative arts Decorative arts included furniture, woodwork, stained glass, leatherwork, lacemaking, embroidery, rug making, jewelry and metalwork, enameling and ceramics.

The Arts and Crafts kitchen, even of today, still reflects these ideals. If you are somebody who enjoys the practicality of craftsmanship and the look of straight-lines, this style of kitchen may be for you.

Bathroom Remodeling Guide – DIY Tips

Kitchen Remodeling – Don’t Overlook the Finishing Touch

Most people want their home to be beautiful, but sometimes improvements can seem too costly or overwhelming. We have all heard that improving the kitchen and bathroom are the most important if you want to increase the value of your home. It is easy to understand why these rooms are targeted. We spend a lot of time in each of these rooms and they have specific functions with more areas to improve. When these rooms are pleasant and functional it can make a difference on your day to day life.

These rooms have things like running water, cabinets and needed storage areas. Whereas in many homes rooms like the living room or bedroom don’t have as much to them except for a closet so there isn’t quite as much to renovate outside of furnishings.

One of the most noticeable things you can do to renovate your kitchen is to update the kitchen cabinets. Depending on the shape of your existing cabinets and your budget you have a few different options. You can replace the cabinets completely, reface the cabinets, paint them or you can simply add new kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls.

Big Investment

If you make the investment to replace your kitchen cabinets you definitely need to spend some time finding the right kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls. After all they provide the finishing touch. They help protect the cabinets from the dirt and oils on your hands, they make the doors and drawers easier to open but most of all they can help provide a distinct look to the room. They provide the opportunity to really personalize your kitchen.

Small Investment

Even if you are on a tight budget and you are just adding or replacing cabinet knobs to your existing kitchen cabinets you may be surprised by the way this can help add new flavor to your existing decor. This can be an inexpensive and easy way to update the look of your kitchen. Adding knobs and pulls if you didn’t have them already can actually make the cabinets look quite a bit different. As does replacing old outdated ones.

Regardless of which renovation option you choose buying just the right cabinet knobs can make a big difference, bigger than you may expect. You may choose to buy simple, functional cabinet hardware as it is often times has a classic appeal and may be the best fit for the style of your kitchen. But this is an area where you can create a distinct look and feel with a seemingly simple, small item.