Make the kitchen the center of your MCM home with cabinetry offering a mid century inspired, clean and minimalist aesthetic.
Certain decorating trends have more staying power than others. Case in point: the sleek cabinetry of the Mid Century Modern kitchen. A classic feature that’s still in vogue, this cabinetry is typified by clean lines and a dollop of warmth expressed through the use of wood and dynamic color or playful patterns. With more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, the owners of Able and Baker, Josh and Jen Ganzhorn, know how to make cabinetry so beautiful it registers as both an enduring element of the kitchen and irresistible architectural eye candy you can’t help but stop to appreciate. These experts share their insights to help you create the cabinetry of your dreams.
Choose Cabinetry that Speaks to You
The kitchen usually takes center stage in an open-plan mid century home. Because the space is so visible, you’ll want to have a general sense of its design direction before approaching designers and craftsman. Citing the modern-day tendency to rely on ample Pinterest boards, Josh and Jen say that although this makes for a good start, remember to think critically about why each image captures your attention.
“Mid Century Modern expresses itself in a lot of different ways,” says Jen. Be sure to locate any unifying factors in all your pieces of inspiration. “Identify what you like, what speaks to you in each of the images,” she advises. “When you can be clear with yourself about what draws you in—whether it is the use of color or more contemporary appliances—then you can share that with your design team to make the design process more efficient.”
Mid Century Inspired Cabinetry: A Purposeful Minimalism
Lovers of the Mid Century Modern look themselves, Josh and Jen say clients seek them out because the pair understands that era of home and how to bring out its subtle details. “Knowing the language of that design matters,” says Josh. “The very nature of mid century millwork was that it was fairly simple at a glance. There’s virtually no ornamentation. It’s an intentionally simple style, a utilitarian design for the everyman. But you can take something simple in shape and design and dramatically change it through color.” Matte finishes on cabinets can significantly alter the feeling of warmth in the kitchen cabinetry, for example, and so Josh and Jen know when to use wood and what species, often relying on real maple for its richness of color. “There’s a warmth that comes with mid century millwork and cabinetry that is sometimes absent in contemporary cabinetry of a similar style,” Josh says.
When to Update Your Cabinetry
Remodeling a mid century abode can mean walking the line between honoring the home’s history and updating spaces. Josh and Jen approach every project with the same spirit of innovation that the era embraced. “We help clients figure out just how true they want to stay to the original, where they want to modernize and what that modernization means to them,” says Jen. “Does it mean a change to the visual aesthetic, such as incorporating pops of color or some other modern-day element like under-cabinet lighting? Or is it from a functional standpoint? What kind of improvements can we make to help in their present-day life?”
“There’s a warmth that comes with mid century millwork and cabinetry that is sometimes absent in contemporary cabinetry of a similar style.” —Josh Ganzhorn
The pair have applied cabinet doors that open in all kinds of directions, a feat not possible before with the technology of yesteryear. Other times, they add floating shelves or compost containers into countertops. “The way we use our kitchens has changed a lot in all these decades, and it’s really fun to present mid century in a new way that is unexpected,” says Jen. “We try to work with clients to help with their ease-of-use in their daily lives. The key to Mid Century Modern design is creating a home that has a sense of timelessness to it, even though it is very time specific.”
Design on a Budget
Get the look of Mid Century Modern inspired cabinetry without breaking the bank with this advice from the experts.
- Assign someone to help coordinate all the trades. “One of the things we always suggest is that people figure out who the project manager will be to coordinate the trades. The cabinetmaker needs to know and be in communication with the electrician if there’s under-cabinet lighting, for example,” says Josh. When there’s no one there to coordinate, Josh and Jen caution, things take longer than they should, raising costs.
- Spend time figuring out the project details early on during the design phase. “Sometimes people are so excited to be remodeling they just want to jump in and figure things out as they go along, but that can result in projects that take longer, added costs and missed opportunities,” says Jen.
- When getting quotes, specifically on cabinetry, Josh and Jen say, make sure your quotes are clearly spelled out and itemized so that you know exactly what’s included. Does your quote include a pull-out or a lazy Susan at your blind corner or simply an adjustable shelf? What materials are your cabinet boxes made from? To avoid amassing unnecessary costs, come up with a detailed cabinetry plan so cabinetmakers will not need to make assumptions to provide you with a quote.
Looking for more Mid Century Modern kitchen inspiration? Check out Vibrant Vibes in this Palm Springs Wexler Home’s Kitchen. And of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Atomic Ranch articles and ideas!