Using Custom Kitchen Furniture (instead of Cabinets)
Sometimes using custom kitchen furniture instead of cabinets can be a viable option.
When CustomMade.com subscriber YesterTec first created their ‘unfitted’ line of Kitchen Workstation Furniture, their designers really didn’t think there was much of a difference between cabinetry and furniture. Not so as it turns out, the two concepts are as different as night and day. So, this is an article that outlines some of the differences between designing kitchens with standard Cabinetry and Unfitted Kitchen Furniture. (The term ‘unfitted kitchen’ meaning freestanding or independent is an English term that contrasts to the term ‘fitted kitchen’ which refers to creating kitchens with continuous bands of cabinetry and counter tops).
We all know that cabinetry can be used to create any shape kitchen that can be imagined. Crucial to its success typically requires the style, color and materials of each cabinet to be the same, so that the eye can be comfortable looking at an integrated composition. Too much diversity and the eye will become confused! Typically, these kitchens have continuous, horizontal bands of cabinets and counter tops.
This ‘unfitted’ kitchen was designed by the English designer Johnny Grey for Smallbone back in the 1980s. Unfitted kitchen furniture separates all the functions of the kitchen into separate ‘Workstations’. Each separate piece has exposed fronts, sides (and sometimes backs); they have a more 3-D, sculptural appearance, whereas cabinetry has more of a 2-D, repetitive appearance, like wallpaper.
Furniture divides the room vertically, allowing the floor, ceiling and wall surfaces to meander in between each separate piece. In fact, it is these ‘voids’ that keep the whole composition together and allows the eye to have a comfort level, allowing more diversity in the size, style, color, material and shapes of the individual pieces of furniture. The ‘voids’ can be occupied by doors, full height windows, fireplaces, or even other pieces of furniture, all features that make a furnished kitchen feel more like a comfortable room.
Designing an unfitted kitchen is more like designing all the other rooms of the house that don’t have any built-in cabinetry. You create a room… then furnish it. YesterTec beleives that the special furniture you use should be as beautiful as it is functional. That is why they decided to hide all the appliances, so that when the kitchen wasn’t being used, the furniture would look like real furniture, not furniture with exposed appliances. They developed U.L. Listed and patented workstations that would allow all the ‘hot’ appliances like ovens and cooktops to be safely concealed when they are not being used. This has enabled their clients to create beautiful furnished kitchens of all shapes and sizes.
Workstations also can have a ‘Green’ advantage over built-in cabinetry. They are movable! Therefore, just like the modular cabinetry that is prevalent in Europe, when you move to a new home, you can take the kitchen with you! Workstations can truly become a lifetime investment. Or, if you leave them in the home for the next owners and they want to update or replace one or two pieces, the ousted pieces can be sold separately, not trashed!
Perhaps the most ‘Green’ strategy of all is one that reduces floor space, thus reducing building materials while saving the energy that is needed for heating and cooling. For example, we all know that in recent years, the kitchen has become more of a living area than just a kitchen. We spend a lot of time there and we are not always cooking. This has created a new type of room, the rather informal family room / kitchen, because after all, you wouldn’t place a cooktop, oven or refrigerator in the middle of your more formal living room would you? But you could by using YesterTec’s appliance hiding furniture because it blends into any formal or informal setting by eliminating the more informal ‘laboratory look’ of a standard kitchen with its continuous countertops and exposed appliances.
Therefore, in both new construction and remodeling projects, beautiful, multi-task kitchen / living areas can be created that reduce floor space by eliminating the formal living room or dining room or even the informal family room!
Remember: create a beautiful room, then furnish it! It’s very simple really, after all, we’ve been doing it for years in all the other rooms of the house. Now, it’s a very good option for the kitchen as well!
If you would like to discover other differences that distinguish furnished kitchens from normal kitchens, please visit the link below that leads to an article on YesterTec’s website.