Classic kitchens are inspired by tradition in their use of materials, but contemporary versions of these kitchens offer a crisp interpretation influenced by an updated use of materials and methods.

Before we look at some gorgeous kitchens with classic designs, if you want to update your traditional home, you might also want to read an article I wrote a while back for Houzz here.

There is nothing quite as classic as an all white kitchen with a black floor. Scullery cabinets with white subway tiles, marble countertops, and stainless steel fixtures and appliances all work together to create a classic look in this light and airy room. The ebony stained oak floor creates a dramatic contrast and draws the eye to the furniture leg detail on the lower cabinetry. If you want a custom look, the furniture leg base is a nice touch.

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Who wouldn’t want to linger over breakfast in this kitchen? I love how they have introduced some contemporary elements like the oversized light fixtures to keep the overall feel hip and casual. The mix of metals make it timeless. The oversized oven vent housing is a nice touch that visually anchors the entire wall of cabinetry as a focal point while concealing under-mounted lighting.

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Grey veined marble and a bridge faucet had me from the start, but paired with these unexpected sconces and you have a recipe for charisma. My heart floats away to breakfast in the south of France with this charmer.

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Crown molding millwork takes simple shaker cabinetry up a few notches. Paired with an arched window and a strikingly simple backsplash wall, it stands above the ordinary. I love a feature of glass front cabinetry to add a bit of sparkle and a place to display some favourite pieces. Glass can add a bit of prettiness, but pay careful consideration to what you will put inside this type of cabinet. It is a great way to display serving pieces or glassware – not such great storage for cornflakes ?. So carefully consider whether you like to keep things neat inside your cabinets. If not, you might not be happy with this look. We get into all kinds of questions like these with our clients before launching into a kitchen reno.

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Simple exposed shelves are jazzed up with decorative brackets. Repurposed corbels stand in well for this role. A clean edge to the countertop keeps it crisp, but I always love a pop of colour and vibrancy to add personality to a room.

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Prettiness overflows in this simple interpretation of a classic kitchen. A bridge faucet is a natural partner for an apron sink to give old world charm to a classic kitchen.  I find people tend to skip the cost of a separate filtered drink water faucet and the soap dispenser, but they are so much prettier than a plastic bottle of dish soap on the counter #petpeeve.

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What is it about an arched doorway when well executed that adds architectural interest? Nothing works as well to soften the hard lines of kitchen cabinetry. It creates such a sense of drama to the sightline.

Designed by Caden Design Group.
Designed by Caden Design Group.

Some elements that will give a kitchen that timeless look of a classic kitchen:   

  1. Countertop: natural stone countertop with clean edge – frequently marble, typically white or black. Soapstone can stand in to give an old-world feel, and an ogee (curved) edge will shift it in that direction too.
  2. Cabinetry: simple raised panels or shaker style cabinetry with a bit of detail.
  3. Lighting: simplified elegance to offer sparkle –  glass, metal, or a combination of glass and metal.
  4. Hardware: detailed, but not overly ornate.
  5. Colour: white is classic and timeless, or dark stained lowers with white uppers.
  6. Metal: polished nickel, brass, or copper – the timeless option with a touch of glamour.
  7. Backsplash: traditional patterns such as herringbone, basket weave, and subway tiles.
  8. Fixtures: Look for more traditional styling with detail – a simplified bridge faucet gives an old world feel, a gooseneck, or keep it a bit upbeat with a chef’s faucet.

I could see myself living a happily ever after with any of these kitchens. Couldn’t you?

For more ideas about how to work with the architecture of your home, here’s an article I wrote on just that here.