“Tailored Simplicity” vs. Minimalism

By Bill Ohs – March 12, 2012 –

In the last Journal Entry, I explained that complexity may mask the beauty and refinement of a kitchen feature or elevation. Meaning that the character of the kitchen actually may be made more appealing to the eye because of restraint and purity and the paring down of detail.

Minimalism, at least as originally postulated, emphasizes a hard-edged purity which seems to me too conspicuously austere and denies normal expression of personality. Purist minimalists restrict cabinet colors to whites and shades of grey or specify wood tones from blonds to neutrals. They also widely incorporate metallic surface finishes, especially stainless steel. In this scheme, color is reasoned to be a distraction. The goal seems to be a sort of industrial cleanliness.

(Interestingly, Asian Zen interiors are also decidedly spare, even austere, but make use of bold and conspicuous splashes of color which are intended to captivate the viewer by inducing an off-kilter feeling of surprise and pleasure.)

In “tailored simplicity” the kitchen user’s personality is calmly revealed as an enviable sophistication. One sees the kitchen and is quietly attracted and enchanted by its simplicity and gracious elegance.

Achieving such a result is not effortless and generally requires a balance intention of talent and practice.

(For great examples of “tailored simplicity”, I call your attention to the book by Mick DeGuilio, “Kitchen Centric”, Balcony Press, 2010.)

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