What distinguishes Arts and Crafts style kitchens?

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arts and crafts style kitchen
This Arts & Crafts style kitchen shows hand crafted woodwork illuminated by a skylight
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Arts and Crafts style kitchens have a rich history and unique characteristics

Arts and Crafts homes are a celebration of fine craftsmanship. The era was born over 100 years ago in response to mass-produced items and the elaborate excesses of Victorian homes. Arts and Crafts style kitchens are warm and casual, but what distinguishes them from other styles is the hand-crafted furniture and wide trim with dark wood tones.

As an architectural movement, Arts and Crafts lasted a mere fifty years, but the emphasis on craftsmanship with one-of-a-kind details still appeals to homeowners today. Distinctive for the simple elegance of muted colors, handmade cabinets and accessories with themes from nature, Arts and Crafts style speaks to people who want the design of their kitchen to evoke a sense of history and quality.

Features of an Arts and Crafts Kitchen

Medium to dark toned wood is most commonly used in Arts and Crafts kitchens; the most popular types are oak, teak and mahogany. Smaller kitchens are better suited for wood painted off-white.

Arts and Crafts kitchens often rely on the natural light from large windows or a skylight to brighten the dark wood furniture and trim. White or off-white walls provide a clean background and sharp contrast that emphasizes clean lines. If youíre looking to make a few alterations to give your kitchen an Arts and Crafts vibe, try adding bold crown molding or a wide plate rail.

Details and restoration hardware give an Arts and Crafts style kitchen character. Hand-painted tiles depicting elements from nature transform a backsplash into an amusing point of interest for the kitchen. Consider anything from butterflies and birds to flowers, fruits, grapevines and insects.

Stained glass with natural themes was common in many original Arts&Crafts style kitchens. From browns, and oranges, to greens, blues and yellows, simply look out your window to colors of nature when choosing a color scheme.

If youíre looking for a particular item for your kitchen, whether itís stained glass or a lighting fixture, many architectural salvage yards operate as walk-in retail shops. Let the people who work there know what youíre looking for Ė sometimes theyíll keep you in mind when new finds come in. Otherwise, consider wandering through the Arts&Crafts items - you may find the center piece you didnít know you were looking for.

If you donít have a local salvage yard, keep in mind that a number of architectural reproduction companies specialize in Arts and Crafts style cabinetry, faucets, glass and tiles.

More than anything, Arts and Crafts style homes humanize style and architecture in a way that no other design movement has. Cooking in an Arts and Crafts kitchen is special. Surrounded with items made with care by a woodworker or artist, inspires the home chef to do his or her best work.

Picture Credit: Custom Door Factory
Arts and Crafts Homes: Kitchens
Old House Journal: Architectural Salvage Directory

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