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More consumers choose contemporary kitchens

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    Today we start a new weekly feature by Charlotte’s Vicki Payne, a nationally recognized authority on home decorating and design. Got a topic you’d like her to address? Email home@charlotteobserver.com. Got a room you’re not sure how to update? Send a photo and she may be able to offer some advice.



Consumers are starting to embrace contemporary kitchens. They’re realizing this style is more than just a clean, uncomplicated look. It also can be functional and easy to live with.

It’s been a decades-long crawl to move this approach to design out of trendsetting hubs such as New York and Los Angeles and into Charlotte and similar locations where traditional home decor has been the top choice.

A change of heart is creeping in with our growing affection for open floor plans and uncluttered spaces – both bedrocks of this style.

You’ll also recognize contemporary design by its strong linear look, open shelving, smooth surfaces and, for a counterbalance, touches of wood.

White kitchens are still No. 1 with consumers, but gray hues ranging from platinum to steel gray are making a forceful move for first place.

Poggen Pohl – long known for chic, European styling – is right in the heart of this contemporary movement. Its interpretations include the use of warm taupe and gray finishes as well as wood accents with well-defined veining and grain.

Kitchen cabinets are becoming more like furniture these days. Sleek wooden doors with a horizontal grain are fundamental for this style. Large and small appliances can be covered with the same finish to keep the sense of order.

Less-fussy door styles, a mirrored-glass-tile backsplash and smooth, solid-colored countertops are a good fit with this style. Adding open shelving to a kitchen makes it possible to store and display items in high style. Dark hardwood floors help tie it all together.

Double-wide lower drawers can offer easy access to stacks of dishes or pots and pans. Long stainless and chrome pull bars that run the width of the drawer add a touch of simple sophistication, and that’s really what contemporary design is all about.

Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV, and in national and international syndication. Email: vpayne@cutterstv.com
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