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European Style Kitchen Cabinets

Many of
today’s decorative styles, from Classical Revival to French Country to
Danish Modern, originated in Europe and can properly be called
“European.” But when the term is used in the context of
kitchen cabinets, it’s referring to a very particular 20th century
innovation that’s gone from cutting-edge to mainstream—what was
once the exclusive province of high-end designers and usually involved
importing cabinets from Italy or Scandinavia has migrated to the
mainstream and is now widely available at all price points from many
vendors.

The
innovation: frameless cabinets. Whereas traditional cabinets have
doors and drawers set into (or atop) the underlying “box”
such that they’re “framed” by the intervening space,
frameless cabinets have the doors and drawers set flush next to each
other for a seamless look
. These cabinets originally took advantage of
the development of the invisible hinge, and often used little or no
visible hardware, with the result that they presented a sleek,
uninterrupted surface. In the hands of clever designers, these
“Euro” cabinets took on a sculptural quality and were
sometimes used in curved lines or circular islands for a very
dramatic, modern look.

Simplicity was key, and finishes tended to accentuate the fact. When
wood was used, it was in clean, smooth, unadorned surfaces, but often
man-made surfaces from metal to melamine were preferred for their
uniform, modern, even techno look. A side benefit of the style and
finish was that these cabinets were much easier to clean and maintain
than their traditional counterparts, which made them a popular choice
in professional kitchens.

As the style
has taken hold, the benefits of frameless construction have caused it
to be adapted to other styles. These days, in addition to modern and
contemporary, more traditional styles like Mission, Shaker and Asian
take advantage of frameless construction, or at least some of its
elements, to make their own distinctive statement.

From Classical Revival to French Country to Danish Modern, many of today’s decorative styles originated in Europe and can properly be called “European.” But when the term is used to describe kitchen cabinets, it actually refers to one special innovation: frameless cabinets.

Here’s some more info about frameless or European kitchen cabinets, and what they can do for your own cook space.

Costs

The cost of European-style kitchen cabinets depends on the type and quality of materials used, size of the cabinets, and cost of labor in your area. Get a price quote to learn what this style of cabinets would cost you.

Pros

European-style kitchen cabinets have the doors and drawers set flush to each other for a seamless look.

Usually come with invisible hinges and little or no visible hardware.

European cabinets present a sleek and uninterrupted surface.

Cons

Not all homeowners like the simple look of European-style kitchen cabinets.

Offers less room for creative adornment (e.g. hardware).

Durability

The durability of European-style cabinets depends on the materials used to construct them. Hickory, maple and oak, for example, will surely outlast melamine and thermofoil kitchen cabinets, but maybe you prefer the look of stainless steel, another long-lasting contender. It really boils down to your preference in cabinet design, and from there you can find a durable material that works for your cooking style.

Maintenance

Cleaning European-style cabinets is the same as most other types of cabinets and tends to be relatively painless. Simply wipe the cabinets down with a soft, damp cloth, or for tougher stains, use a cleaning solution of dishwashing detergent and water. Always dry afterwards.

Common Questions and Answers

Why are frameless cabinets referred to as “European-style cabinets?”

These cabinets originally took advantage of the development of the invisible hinge, and often used little or no visible hardware, resulting in a sleek, uninterrupted surface. In the hands of clever designers, the cabinets were dubbed “Euro,” after the sur

Don’t other cabinet styles now utilize the same type of construction?

Yes, as the style has taken hold, the benefits of frameless construction have led to its popularity. These days, in addition to modern and contemporary, more traditional styles like

History

European-style kitchen cabinets refer to a 20th-century innovation in frameless cabinet design. Once the exclusive product of high-end designers, and usually only found in cabinets imported from Italy or Scandinavia, frameless or Euro cabinets have since evolved into a wide variety of kitchen design styles.

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