29 July 2009

Guest Post: Kitchen and Residential Design Blog

Gold Notes continues its first anniversary celebration with a guest post from another of my favorite designers and bloggers, Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design. Paul offers his perspective on trends, as Amir Ilin of European-Kitchen-Design did in this spot yesterday, and I think you'll enjoy reading it, as I did. Paul is not only a terrific talent; he has also become a terrific friend.

Thanks for contributing! I'm honored and touched.

Paul prognosticates...

The last year featured a tremendous upheaval in the way the entire financial sector works. People seem genuinely concerned about the near term, but still pretty confident in the prospects for the long term. Predictably, all of this uncertainty has a lot of people turning inward and seeking comfort in their routines and in their lives at home.

And predicts...

So generally, I'm predicting a continued march toward home as things kind of recover, but not really. I see it every day as a kitchen and bath designer. I'm fielding calls from people who want to increase their comfort as much as increase their equity, and I'm noticing a reticence when it comes to paying top dollar for luxury goods that were a standard item a year-and-a-half ago.

With that said, I see the high end of the market moving away from obvious consumption. There seems to be a conscientious attempt to pull back from the appearance of wealth. So far as kitchen and bath design goes, I see a continued move away from the "Tuscan" styles that have dominated new home styles and interiors for the last ten years. Truly modern styles were beginning to make some inroads before the economic trouble started, but I see them making another retreat as people seek comfort and familiarity.

Paul takes on Peacock

There was a third big direction out there -- but in a nascent form -- when all the trouble started. I see it becoming the de facto look of this decade. For lack of a better term, I call it Peacock-light, so named for the kitchen designer and cabinetry manufacturer Christopher Peacock.

Here's a Peacock original.
This kitchen would cost well into the six figures.

Peacock's original designs are strictly high end, but his signature aesthetic, (sort of an early 20th century manor house crossed with an East Hampton casual flair), is trickling down all over the place. Peacock's aesthetic is pure nostalgia and represents a longing for a time in the past when life was simpler. Like all nostalgic movements, it's not based on a real time, but a dream time.

This neo-manor house aesthetic allows for an ability to hide modern kitchen technology inside the trappings of tradition. What it does, too, is seek to recreate the service kitchens of old. In that regard, it's a perfect disguise for ambitious consumption.

And tweaks it for the new economy

This is Peacock-light, shown here in mid-market Medallion Cabinetry.
This kitchen would cost between a third to half of what a Peacock original would cost.

Expect to see more of this style in the coming year and in the years to follow. Wood stains will remain dark and will be broken up with light painted finishes. I don't see a move away from brushed nickel finishes on cabinetry hardware or plumbing fixtures any time soon. Glossy finishes on counters will start to fade as people strive to emulate the matte and honed finishes available on natural stone surfaces like marble and soapstone.

Here, a honed finish is achieved with Silestone's Leather series countertops.
Butler's pantry designed by Roos Kitchens & Bath Design Studio in Ellicot, Md.

Paul concludes...

So there's my prediction. I see an embrace of an aesthetic sensibility that conjures images of solid tradition... while still leaving room for a 60" Wolf range.

Many thanks to Jamie for allowing me the use of her forum, and many congratulations on the anniversary of Gold Notes.


  1. Paul, great read! You are so good at expression! Jamie, congrats on the anniversary of your Gold Notes. It is quite an accomplishment! Jean

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  3. An excellent post, as always Paul! I have never thought of or seen anyone describe the relationship between nostalgia & design as eloquently as you just did! Gives me many things to ponder ...

    It's so interesting to see what designers in different parts of the country have to say about future trends - can't wait for the next post! Thanks Jamie, and again, congratulations on your anniversary!

  4. I wouldn't think of incorporating the black and white flooring in that kind of countertop but your description made me think again. great job!:)

  5. I love the last kitchen design with the black and white checkered tiles. Though the space is limited, it has been totally utilized and came up with a very awesome composition..this should fit my house since the area of it is same as this


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