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There are numerous kitchen types and sub-types, offering a broad range of possibilities for the homemaker. These types span hundreds of centuries of architectural movements, design approaches, and cooking methodologies. It bears noting that we use kitchen "types" as separate and distinct from kitchen "layouts". By types, we refer to the overall look and feel of the kitchen, meaning the design theme and everything that falls under that design theme. By layouts, we refer specifically to the floor plan associated with the kitchen. It is important that the two concepts not be confused. 
While certain layouts, or floor plans, are more typical with particular kitchen types, it is almost always possible to mix and match types and layouts. While this section deals with types, the "Layouts" section addresses the equally important question of floor plans, including common kinds, key considerations, and the various benefits and drawbacks of each.

The kitchen type is, first and foremost, a reflection of personal preferences. It speaks to aesthetics rather than function. A traditional kitchen can contain the same appliances, the same floor area, and the same amount of cabinet space as a contemporary kitchen. Both allow the same sorts of food preparation and cooking processes to take place. However, the two have an entirely different look and feel. Consequently, in selecting a kitchen type, the question for the household is not: "will this allow us to cook the way we want to cook?" Rather the question is: "will this provide the ambience and the environment in which we feel most comfortable?"

Given the importance of the kitchen as a working space and a social space, coupled with the amount of time spent by various members of the household in the kitchen, it is imperative to devote time to considering and selecting a kitchen type that best reflects the aesthetic preferences of the members of the household. The process begins by overviewing the different kitchen types that are available and understanding the component parts which comprise those types.

The traditional kitchen type is an admixture of architectural and design elements associated with elegant European and American homes of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Traditional kitchens typically feature ornate molding or trim, raised cabinet fronts, warm wood surfaces, and antique elements, such as throwback light fixtures. Within the category of traditional kitchens, there are a number of subcategories, including Victorian, Italiante, Edwardian, Queen Anne, Georgian, Colonial, Federal, Neoclassical, Cape Cod, Shaker, Cottage, Estate, and Manor.

The Victorian style utilizes a light color palette, basic woods, a classic cabinet design, crown moldings, and rounded floor corners. Light drapes can be added to the windows. The overall look is one of understated elegance and warmth. Cabinets do not look built in, but often feature legs, creating a furniture effect. Countertops should be made of marble, wood, granite, soapstone, or plated steel.
The Edwardian style takes a somewhat more utilitarian approach, eliminating the rounded corners and maximizing the floor space relative to the Victorian style. Although Edwardian still emphasizes the use of woods and raised panel cabinets, often with a bolder color palette, the overall look of Edwardian is more pared down and functional than Victorian, with less emphasis on moldings and trim. By contrast, Italiante goes in the other direction, placing greater emphasis on moldings, trims, and carved reliefs, along with a wider variety of colors. Queen Anne goes even farther than Italiante, adding a lot of elaborate design elements, almost excessive ornamentation, and a combination of multiple materials and colors.

The Georgian style emphasizes symmetry, with square raised panel doors and cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Georgian is a stately, imposing design, with substantial moldings and reliefs, dramatic draperies, and chandelier lighting. Colonial and Federal styles are both close derivations of the Georgian style.
Colonial has less ornamentation than the Georgian style and often uses a darker color palette and places greater reliance on intermixing glass cabinet doors with traditional panel doors. Cherry, hickory, maple, and oak are common materials for the cabinets, while countertops are usually made of soapstone, granite, or laminate that resembles either of the former two materials. Federal is a more austere style, with basic designs and a quiet emphasis on functionality. There is a reduced use of moldings or trim and a lighter feel to the furniture. The Georgian, Colonial, and Federal styles also all lend themselves to a more contemporary look which is known as Neoclassical. The Neoclassical kitchen uses such traditional elements as raised panel cabinet doors, basic molding, and pilasters, but combines them with a more contemporary, pared down and functional look seamlessly incorporating modern appliances.

The Cape Cod style is a frugal and pared down approach to kitchen design, featuring a built-in look with basic cabinets, most commonly painted either white or off-white. Compared to Victorian, or even Federal, the Cape Cod kitchen looks simplified and minimalist, emphasizing space and light. The Shaker style is even more functional and basic than the Cape Cod, offering simple lines, no-frills designs, and knobs in place of handles on cabinet doors, while favoring natural wood colors, particularly in shades of tan. The Cottage style borrows elements from both the Cape Cod and the Shaker, recreating the light and spare feel of a summer cottage, with light colors and basic wood cabinets and countertops. Cottage can have a rustic feel to it, with the use of such design elements as faded tiling, exposed frames, trough sinks, and open shelving.

Where Cape Cod, Shaker, and Cottage offer progressively simplified styles, Estate and Manor go in the opposite direction, combining Victorian ornamental elements in an expansive utilization of space which typically includes a recessed hearth surrounding the rangetop and a long center island. Carved doors and moldings are coupled with a combination of painted, glazed, and stained cabinets to create a feel of old world luxury.
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The country kitchen style focuses on creating a warm, cozy, and uplifting atmosphere through the use of bright colors and earthy materials coupled with beadboard paneling, botanical motifs, decorative shelves, and handcrafted elements. Country style kitchens often feature floral, checkered, striped and plaid patterns; glazed, painted, pickled, or distressed cabinets; chicken wire or metal cabinet door inserts; tiled wall or countertop sections; and woven basketry and handmade cutlery. Within the category of country kitchens there are several additional subcategories which include French, English, Tuscan, Swedish, Farmhouse, and Garden.

The French Country kitchen design utilizes framed cherry or oak cabinets with either raised or recessed panel doors and wrought iron handles, decorative open shelves containing multicolored dishware, pot and plate racks, beadboard and tiling on the walls, a hearth shaped range top, a center island, and a butler's pantry.
The English Country kitchen design has many similar characteristics, but is a bit more dressy than the French Country style, utilizing more Victorian and Edwardian elements such as crown and rope moldings, carved cabinet doors, and soapstone, granite, or marble countertops. A typical touch is a racked display of condiments and sets of flower vases.

The Tuscan Country kitchen design places much greater focus on creating a rustic feel than either the French or the English styles. The cabinets are heavy wooden types with a weathered or distressed look and ponderous wrought iron handles. There is a higher proportion of open, doorless cabinets to cabinets with doors than in most other kitchen designs. The countertops typically use stone, slate, granite, marble, or limestone. Walls are often textured in aged, faded motifs such as rough plaster or, alternatively, use colored tiling or mosaics. The typical color scheme is very grounded and earthy, utilizing terracotas, slates, burnt umbers, burgundies, taupes, olives, chestnuts, and teals. Decorative jars are a common design addition to help create an authentic Tuscan feel

The Swedish Country kitchen is a more austere and basic design than the French, English, or Tuscan. It uses the open shelving and antique elements of the country kitchen style, but combines them with basic, no-nonsense cabinets and a functional layout. There is a much greater emphasis on white and off-white cabinet colors coupled with natural wood countertops and floors. Condiment displays and decorative jars are eschewed in favor of open shelves and racks with basic plates and dishware. The emphasis is on simple, strong lines and maximizing the available light.

The Farmhouse style kitchen is even more rustic than the Tuscan Country kitchen, utilizing pine or oak cabinets coupled with checkered designs and sections of unfinished wood, metal, or even brick. Vintage placemats and antique cutlery add to the overall feel of a Farmhouse kitchen. Dark woods, bronzes, and plaids are common motifs. The Garden kitchen is similar to the Farmhouse kitchen, but places greater emphasis on pastoral themes such as glazed pottery and floral arrangements.

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The contemporary kitchen style is a minimalist approach that replaces ornamentation with function. Basic lines, geometric shapes, curves, and arcs are coupled with such materials as glass, stainless steel, chrome, lacquer, and laminate. Trim and moldings are avoided. Cabinets are typically frameless with glass, frosted glass, or slab doors. Metallic accents are common, often in the form of sleek handles. The contemporary kitchen provides a polished, futuristic look with excellent lighting and open space.

The subcategories which comprise the contemporary kitchen style are not well defined. However, there are several general influences which can affect the look of the contemporary kitchen. These can be broadly related to the architectural styles of Art Deco, Modernism, Postmodernism, and Futurism.

Art Deco and the accompanying Art Moderne are design styles which emphasize geometric shapes, aerodynamic appearances, metallic materials, and exotic color palettes. The Art Deco kitchen typically utilizes glass cabinets, halogen lighting, and laminate countertops. Splashes of color are often evident in the walls and flooring, with designs echoing cubist or abstract motifs. Curvature is often worked into the lines of the cabinets and the center island.

Modernism is a movement in architecture which stresses clean, straight lines and emphasizes the importance of form fitting function. Unlike Art Deco, a Modern kitchen will generally have a more narrow color palette, a smaller amount of glass, and less emphasis on curves. Instead, there is a greater emphasis on boxy shapes and an efficient utilization of space, with slab-doored, spacious cabinets, large, comfortable countertops, and monochromatic floors and walls. Gaudy colors and ornamentation are entirely eschewed in the modern style, with functional designs representing their own spare aesthetic.

Postmodernism was a reaction to the extreme utilitarianism of modernism and, as such, represents an amalgamation of both functional and ornamental design elements. The Postmodern kitchen is an eclectic mix of styles, combining modern and art deco elements with traditional and rustic touches. Often, a Postmodern kitchen will offer an interesting amalgamation of colors, lighting sources, and furniture styles. Such a kitchen may push both artistic and functional boundaries for the sake of certain thematic elements. At times, unusual materials and color schemes are used, such as, for example, bamboo or leopard prints. The Postmodern kitchen is perhaps the strongest expression of individuality possible with regard to this room.

The Futurist kitchen takes its inspiration from space exploration and technological innovation, featuring striking shapes, dynamic lines, striking contrasts, and advanced materials. A Futurist kitchen maximizes sleekness and automation, seeking to conceal functionality behind a stripped down exterior that belies the possibilities that lie beneath. Appliances are often integrated into the furniture, with operational controls hidden from view. Recessed and base lighting combined with back-lit glass cabinets provide a radiance that basks the kitchen space in a warm glow. Plastic laminates in shades of silver, gold, and chrome are common color themes.

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The transitional kitchen style combines elements of the traditional style with elements of the contemporary style, creating a coupling of the old and the new. The transitional style is often characterized by a mix of natural and man-made materials and a combination of sleek surfaces and functional lines with displays and ornamental touches. It is an eclectic approach to kitchen design which places greater emphasis on individual preference than thematic consistency.

One common type of transitional kitchen is a design that incorporates traditional cabinets with contemporary surfaces, such as Victorian cabinets with laminate countertops and a tiled backsplash, or Shaker cabinets with stainless steel countertops and bamboo floors. Alternatively, glass cabinet doors can be intermixed with traditional raised panel doors, giving the traditional kitchen a more open look. Ornamental components from different eras can be mixed together, such as corbels and brackets, or moldings and mosaics.

Another common type of transitional kitchen is based on bringing modern colors, finishes, materials, and lighting to traditional designs. Examples include painting the cabinets with vibrant blues, yellows, greens, or reds in a Victorian style kitchen; utilizing concrete or pebble for the backsplash in an Estate style kitchen; installing recessed lighting in a Federal style kitchen; using blacks, grays, and silvers in a Cape Cod style kitchen; or installing stainless steel sinks and matte granite countertops in an Italiante style kitchen.

The greatest benefit of the transitional kitchen design is its flexibility. It allows household residents to fully explore their creative side and to be adventurous in the design process. A transitional kitchen is defined not so much by what it is, but rather what it is not. Consequently, there is no need to follow a specific set of design criteria or to be limited by a particular range of materials. Rather, there are virtually endless opportunities to mix, match, and innovate.
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The Old World kitchen style looks to pre-industrial Europe for its inspiration. Where the transitional style takes elements from the Victorian era and moves forward into modernity, the Old World style harks back to pre-17th century Europe, utilizing the heavy, dark wood furniture cabinetry, large cooking hearths, rough hewn stone or brick walls, and pewter and copper accents of that era. The Old World style can be further categorized as Italian Villa, French Chateau, Normandy/Dutch Cottage, or Medieval/Gothic/Castle.

The Italian Villa kitchen features aged wood cabinets made of pine or a similar wood, terra cotta stones or tiles in an uneven sized pattern, open-faced brickwork, and styled ironwork ornamentation. A set of ivies or a similarly appointed plants are often placed in pots atop the cabinetry, creating a natural feel and adding a refreshing scent. The sink is apron-styled and may be made of a range of materials, although the most traditional would be metal such as nickel, brass, or copper. The refrigerator should be paneled with the same wood as the cabinets and modern appliances should be concealed behind cabinets and partitions in order to preserve the overall aesthetic.

The French Chateau kitchen is typically an elegant design of wood and stone which utilizes both functional and decorative archways, chandelier lighting, oversized cabinets, and French windows. There are typically multiple workstations, with a separate area for food preparation, cleaning, and storage. A butler's pantry is built as a separate space either within the kitchen or immediately adjacent to the kitchen. A French Chateau kitchen will also often feature such touches as herbs in pots, pot racks, dish cupboards, and a traditional wall clock. Different stone types can be combined with great effect, such as granite countertops with a limestone backsplash, or marble countertops with travertine floors.

The Normandy or Dutch Cottage kitchen is simpler, smaller, and more functional than the French Chateau kitchen, with more emphasis on effective utilization of space and wrought iron touches in place of ornamental arches and moldings. Cabinets are made of aged wood and generally smaller than the French Chateau cabinets, with whites and lighter colors most common. Beams may be run along the ceiling and painted to match the trim of the cabinetry.

The Medieval, Gothic, or Castle style kitchen is the most antique design which recreates the rough hewn, warm, and sturdy feel of a cooking space from the Middle Ages. Such a kitchen uses dark woods, or even timber slabs, and large stones in strongly articulated patterns. The cabinetry has weight and heft, with staunch wrought iron handles and thick doors. There is typically a walk-in sized hearth over the cooktop, its frame laid out in uneven stone. Space permitting, a walk-in pantry should be built in and hidden behind a heavy hinged door. Iron nails on the cabinets, lantern sconces along the walls, copper pots on bronze racks, and thick stone countertops made of slate or limestone complete the design with great effect.
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The Arts & Crafts kitchen style is the antithesis of the polished, mass-produced, post-industrial look. Eschewing both Victorian excess and modern sleekness, Arts & Crafts celebrates the wholesome aesthetic of small town craftsmanship. Emphasizing form and function and striving for a natural look, the Arts & Crafts kitchen uses dark woods, simple cabinet designs, basic trims, and clean lines to create a cozy and homespun atmosphere. Earthenware, ceramics, metalware, and stained glass are common elements. Within Arts & Crafts, the most recognized sub-types are Craftsman, Mission, Prairie, and Foursquare. However, these styles are all so similar and interrelated - particularly with respect to kitchen design - that their names are often used interchangeably. For this reason, the subsequent description of a Craftsman style kitchen can really describe any one of these four styles.

A Craftsman kitchen features recessed square panel cabinets made of cherry, maple, birch, or oak, basic countertops made of laminate, soapstone, or granite, and simple floors made of wood, slate, or linoleum. Unlike an Old World kitchen, the cooktop and the sink have a low profile, blending into the countertop. The color scheme should be earthen or neutral colors such as rusty reds, soft browns, creams, and off-whites. Lights are never recessed, but made of basic drop fixtures utilizing wood and stained glass with touches of bronze. Large windows in simple frames flood the kitchen with natural light during the day. Overall, the Craftsman kitchen has a spare, spartan look to it, with most of the emphasis being placed on the fine woodworking and superb joinery associated with the cabinetry. At the same time, there is a wholesome and comfortable feel to the space. Space, subtlety, and serenity are the themes which tie the Craftsman kitchen together and provide for its unique feel.

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The rustic kitchen style echoes elements of the country kitchen and the Arts & Crafts kitchen, but with a far stronger woodland, northern feel reminiscent of a lodge or a log cabin. The style utilizes robust cabinetry made from strong, dark woods, well-lit open spaces, and wooden flooring to mirror the hearty coziness and groundedness of a rural home. The themes associated with rustic kitchens are typically regional in nature and can be roughly designated as Southwestern, Adirondack, Adobe, or Pacific Northwest. However, as with Arts & Crafts kitchens, the majority of rustic kitchens amalgamate multiple influences and tend not to strictly adhere to a single regional theme.

Cabinets in rustic kitchens are often made of such hardy materials are pine, cedar, hickory, spruce, fir or alder. The woodworking seeks to celebrate these materials as they existed in their natural state, at times using whole logs or branches and leaving natural markings such as knots, burls, and rings in place. Similarly, countertops are often made in butcher block style, with thick wooden slabs showcasing the grain. Alternatively, stone or metal countertops with a matte finish can also complement a rustic kitchen design. Example materials and finishes that would accomplish this task include flamed granite, honed limestone, and hammered copper.

Architecturally and ornamentally, wooden beams along the ceiling and stonework along the walls are a frequent element in rustic kitchens. They add a rugged yet secure feel to the space. As with the cabinetry, the beams and stonework should have a worn and weathered look best attained through a natural, aged, or distressed finish typically associated with well constructed mountain lodges and forest cabins. The same goes for the floors, which are typically wide planks made out of hardwood.

While wood and stone are the primary themes of a rustic kitchen, wrought iron and ceramic elements can also be incorporated with great effect. Wrought iron works well for pot racks, cabinet handles, basket stands, cookbook holders, bar lights, and simple chandeliers. Meanwhile, earthenware such as clay pottery, terra cotta urns, and glazed ceramic vases provide the perfect dishware to fill the space and bring it to life. A farmhouse or apron sink made of granite, iron, or copper offers sufficient room to house the oversized rustic pots and dishes and is the most appropriate sink design for a rustic kitchen.

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