Tailored Simplicity

By Bill Ohs – February 23, 2012 –

Tailored Simplicity

In my last journal entry I concentrated on the “wow” factor in great-appearing kitchens.  Merely the mention of “wow” implies that something is obviously there, upon which to focus attention.

A natural tendency is to imagine an intricate and detailed design, something extraordinary and exquisite to behold.

However, might not one also be equally captivated by spaces that are wonderfully simple in which the expectation is jolted but strangely delighted by the absence of complexity?  Not that a space is empty, but rather that its character is appealing to the eye because of restraint, purity, and singleness.

Leonardo DiVinci is reported to have marked that, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  I think he meant to infer that it is inherently more straightforward to pair things down to their essential essence – that added detail and complexity may mask the beauty and refinement of a feature itself. I call this pairing-down “tailored simplicity”.

Therefore, regarding design of sophisticated kitchen spaces, one should employ large-scale blocks of areas that, in themselves, have an essential unity of appearance.  For example, one might design a large stainless or stone hood that dominates the range elevation and might even extend from sidewall to sidewall. 

Applying the same aesthetic, an entire elevation may be devoted to tall storage or armoire cabinetry; or be devoted to whole walls of open storage shelves that create bold horizontal lines and are stocked with plain, contemporary, single-colored dishware.  Here, simplicity once again creates the “wow”.

I have also been captivated by large center islands, many of them actually expansive specialty tables with shelf-surfaces or hanging drawers below a stone or wood countertop.

Try thinking about an approach to kitchen design that uses less to create more and showcases your own tailored simplicity.

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