When The Beatles wrote “Can’t Buy Me Love”, they didn’t have access to our project quote page.
In mid-April, the Wall Street Journal featured Cabinet Joint cabinets in a Design & Decorating article on how to achieve the dream English kitchen. (That’s right, we were mentioned in the WSJ weekend edition. We’re kind of a big deal.) The article by Sarah Karnasiewicz attempts to tackle the ever-desirable design challenge– how to accomplish elegance in kitchen decor while still having money left over to stock food in those beautiful shelves. Specifically, the English kitchen reflects an understated English sensibility wherein high-quality but muted, naturalistic pieces are essential. Cabinet Joint is innately a match for British-style kitchens built in the context of the United States. Domestically crafted, all hardwood, and especially considering the American heritage behind the English-adored Shaker style cabinets, there is nothing ironic about sourcing cabinets stateside for your Brit-inspired kitchen.
The Kitchen As A Central Space
The concept of having a kitchen as a central space in the home is relatively new and has really only taken root in the past 100 years. Before that, fine manors and estates that could afford kitchens and planned, regular meals could also afford staff to cook in them, and consequently, many kitchens were in servants’ quarters and invisible to the manor’s residents. Many apartments didn’t have a kitchen at all but maybe a few kitchen essentials here and there– think like a college dorm, but worse– which you can read all about in this article about the woman who invented the kitchen as we know it today. However, even in the well-to-do manors or castles or abbeys, kitchens didn’t look as they do today. They relied predominantly on free-standing furniture for storage and prep. In super wealthy servants’ kitchens, there were likely state-of-the-art appliances to ensure the kitchen would run in the orderliest way available to the age, but still the atmosphere would lack the flashiness and fancifulness that you’d find upstairs in the main parts of the manor. Many modest homes in a country area also incorporated natural and understated materials, but more out of necessity and availability than anything.
What is an English Kitchen?
Even if you are unfamiliar with the concept of an explicitly English kitchen, the separate components were, at the start of 2023, projected as up-and-coming kitchen trends for the year to come. This is to say, the general idea should resonate with most as the individual characteristics that come together to comprise the British style have been growing in popularity. The callback Karnasiewicz notes to the freestanding kitchen furniture of yore adopts the trends of lessening the cabinetry in your kitchen as well as adding decorative feet to base cabinets to give the impression of furniture. Another idea– what Karnasiewicz calls “Revel in Muddy Colors”– matches up with this year’s draw towards muted greens and tans. With so many features of an English kitchen lining up with what many Americans crave to have in their homes in 2023, it’s no wonder that this style is garnering so much attention.
Other characteristics and tips this WSJ article posits align nicely with the projected kitchen trends for this year, but take them one step further. Whereas pendant fixtures and recessed lighting are generally the desired look this year, British kitchens swap brightness and utility for warm and dimmed lighting in order to establish the kitchen as personality-rich as any other space in the house. Karnasiewicz’ writing poses the question of why our kitchens need to be as bright as operating rooms, especially since they are now a social space as well as a utilitarian one. The English kitchen channels a time before kitchens were modeled after those in train cars, hospitals, and military-run spaces, taking this year’s trend of recessed lighting and interesting pendant fixtures to an extreme. The author’s inclusion of aged metal hardware somewhat overlaps with the 2023 call for oversized hardware, but redirects the metallic accent to other places such as the hinges and not only cabinet knobs.
A few features of the English kitchen are somewhat of a departure from the wholly trendy American cooking space of 2023. Ultra-simplicity in the form of muted backsplashes and all-natural surfaces are a few things the collective “we” are no longer married to this year, but complement an Anglican space. Sometimes, though, rules are meant to be broken. In fact, since an authentic English kitchen wouldn’t even have built-in cabinets, the British concept is a testament to the versatility of CJ inset cabinetry and how useful they are to be employed in spaces that historically wouldn’t rely on them. There’s no better way to encapsulate the spirit of elegance while making whatever statement you please, whether it’s a subtle one or a maximalist shout-out– and to root the sentiments of a British kitchen style in American heritage– than by centering your kitchen around Cabinet Joint cabinets.