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Mission Kitchen Cabinets

The versatile and popular Mission style, often called the U.S. counterpart to the British Arts & Crafts movement, came into being in the early 20th century and has never entirely left the scene since.

This American artistic movement drew its influences from such eclectic sources as traditional Japanese prints and furniture, the British Arts & Crafts movement, Shaker furniture in the heartland, and much more. Just as the British movement had turned away from the Industrial Revolution’s mass production and the Victorian era’s decorative excess, the Mission style strove for simplicity, straight lines and natural, subdued materials. Some years later, Art Deco took a cue from Mission’s uncluttered look and came up with a sleek, streamlined look of its own.

And, as its heritage suggests, the Mission style has a simplicity that belies its sophistication, making it a harmonious fit with a surprising variety of decorative schemes.

The Mission style’s essential qualities: clean, square or rectangular lines, especially on door frames; medium to dark wood tones, often with wood specially chosen for beautiful effect (e.g. quarter-sawn oak); even in the most rustic setting, a simple elegance and fine craftsmanship that speaks for itself. Many Mission cabinets incorporate inlays or other subtle decorative treatment - leaded glass insets, hardware with a handcrafted look. When in doubt, with regard to these accessories, err on the side of simplicity.

Mission cabinets can be a great setting for dishes as diverse as Chinese porcelain, Fiestaware or handmade pottery, and they work well with a variety of appliance styles and finishes. It’s essential to choose their design with a view to the overall effect, of the whole kitchen and the adjacent areas. With the Mission style’s clean lines, there’s a lot of flexibility, but the whole look has to work.

When you’re discussing your plans with your building expert, make sure you mention any special pieces you want to showcase, and the surrounding furniture that should harmonize, not clash, with your new kitchen.

As its heritage suggests, the Mission style exudes a sophisticated simplicity, making it a great fit for a surprising number of decor styles. With clean lines and simple decorative touches, these cabinets blend right in while adding a hint of elegance. Here’s what you need to know.

Costs

As with any other type of kitchen cabinet, the total cost of installing Mission-style cabinets depends entirely on the size of the kitchen, cost of labor (or if you want to DIY), and the type and quality of materials used. Buying cabinets from your local hardware store will cost significantly less than having them custom-made for your space. As for labor, contact a professional in your area for specific cost estimates.

Pros

Great for displaying dishes, pottery or other kitchen-related keepsakes.

Made from high-quality wood with inlays and decorative touches, they add interest without being overpowering.

Can streamline your existing kitchen with a simple, clean aesthetic.

Cons

Seen by some as too modern for their liking.

Too many features (e.g. noticeable hardware, etc.) don’t bode well with this style.

Durability

Usually made from solid oak or other sturdy woods, the Mission-style kitchen cabinet is a very durable option. If you can, go with a wood specially chosen for its beauty and durability, such as quarter-sawn oak.

Maintenance

When it comes to cleaning wood cabinets, the process is generally an easy one—as long as it’s done regularly before grease and grime set in. Whatever you do, don’t use products with alcohol, as they can damage the wood finish.

Here are some basic steps to keep your cabinets looking great:

  1. Using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup mild soap, scrub the cabinets and pat them dry with a rag.
  2. To get rid of oil and grease buildup, try rubbing dirty spots with mineral spirits and #0000 steel wool.
  3. Protect cabinets from future stains by applying a light furniture wax (either liquid or paste).

Common Questions and Answers

Will Mission-style kitchen cabinets work well with any existing design scheme?

Generally, yes. Unlike country-style cabinets, Mission style cabinets are simple enough to blend in with any existing design scheme without being very predominant.

History

The versatile and popular Mission style, often called the U.S. counterpart to the British Arts & Crafts movement, came into being in the early 20th century and has never entirely left the scene. This artistic movement drew its influences from eclectic sources as well, such as traditional Japanese prints and furniture, Shaker furniture in the heartland, and much more.

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