Monday, March 7, 2011

it's all tranny nowadays: transitional 101



I am working with several families now in search of the perfect transitional kitchen space. Not to get existential about it - but a transitional kitchen is neither here, no there. It is in a mode that straddles modern, traditional and has license to cherry pick from either side to achieve a balance that makes it impossible to really label it in any other way. When you can't pick a side? Transitional. When you don't know what you want? Transitional. When you are modern and your house is not? Transitional. When you have Victorian fantasies and a mobile home budget? Transitional.




The great thing about this transitional mode is that the rules are breakable and what's important to the owner, reigns. Designers are forced to allow people to actually inject what they want into what would naturally be a modern space, adding the feminine, the whimsical, the decorative - typically reserved for traditional kitchens. And designers are stripped of every trick in their fussy playbooks when a homeowner says, "I need to inject modern. But I still want white paneled cabinetry."




So I love it. I love design that break rules and is hard to pin down. Anything that says, "we're making it up as we go along, and it's mostly up to you, dear homeowner." I'm on board.


So what do you think about when you create a transitional space? Let's be honest, transitional spaces really begin in the land of the traditional. They begin with traditional shapes, that are tweaked or morphed or adapted with hardware and other tricks. You start with the basics of your kitchen - cabinetry that is simple, but probably still has panels, flooring, which is likely wood, and counters which seem to have a pretty neutral impact on where your kitchen lives in the mod-trad contiuum. From there, you can really switch things up with your choices of:




1) Lighting. Makes a real statement. Are you trying to mimic the French countryside, or are you bringing a little light industrial chic into your kitchen - say it with lighting. Regardless of the cabinets or the appliances, lighting sets a big tone- both in the shape, and how the light fills the space. Playing with chrome, glass and scale, can morph a traditional space into a more streamlined one. I also love lighting that uses traditional patterns or motifs in a modern shape, or vice versa, like the delicious Butterscotch Pendant from Euro lighting, below.




2) Hardware. Instant game-changer. These seem inconsequential and are a very annoying choice to make for renovation-weary clients, but knobs and pulls that simply enable you to open the door, speak LOUDLY when it comes to kitchens. In fact, if you have just $100 to update your kitchen, a can of paint anid new knobs will go a really long way.


3) To panel or not to panel. Cabinetry people LOVE to splash their panels all over the place - onto the range hood, the appliances, onto doors that aren't really doors. Heaven for bid we should have a flat surface in a kitchen! Breaking out of this -letting your stainless or black-glassed appliances show their faces is a big way to push the envelope, and your kitchen, into modern territory. Fewer panels skews modern.


4) Accessories - Believe it or not - I may notice your teapot before I notice what your countertop is made up of. Our kitchens tell people how we eat and live - and the accessories we use tell a lot about what kind of space we're creating. A sleek set of counter appliances and accessories can again, steer the ship to modern.


5) Color - I hate to say it - but color does play favorites. Cooler colors seem to spell more modern spaces - warmer colors have been hijacked by more traditional looks - probably thanks to our overinterpretation of Tuscany and Provence - we imagine anything from Europe dripping in yellow and sienna. We should all take a trip to Stockholm and the Swedish country side and take a look at all the fabulous transitional Scandi spaces. The scandinavians invented transitional. The colors are almost always light and bright - the colors slight and typically cool. These shades really do inhabit an ethereal in-between existence. If your walls are grey-green, you aren't really beholden to anything.
So go forth, break the rules - incorporate what you love and take advantage of the explosion of offerings from manufacturers who want to please all of us out there who like it both ways.








1 comment:

Nick @ Cupboards said...

Some good thoughts, Paige- Thanks for sharing.