16 Traditional Kitchens With Timeless Appeal
Shaker cabinets, great moldings and charming details — what’s not to love about a traditional kitchen? Whether you have the space to recreate a Nora Ephron or Nancy Meyers set (hello, beautiful beach house in Something’s Gotta Give!), or you’re working with a more limited square footage — and budget, for that matter — here are 19 great spaces with classic good looks to inspire your decorating daydreams.
When space is limited, trad details can feel overwhelming. But in this West End Toronto home, classic details — recessed panel and glass-fronted cabinets, crown molding and wood floors — feel airy thanks to a mostly-white palette and a marble backsplash that stretches to the ceiling.
A coffered ceiling visually expands this entertaining-ready kitchen, the showpiece of an elegant country manor in Knowlton, Que. Raised diamond patterns lend a furniture-like feel to the cabinetry, while the french doors’ full-height drapes feel polished. A massive island does double-duty as a workspace, complete with farmhouse sink, dishwasher and tons of storage, and a spot to relax with a morning cuppa.
A historical hue — Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke (47) — and classic country style give the cabinets in this Halifax kitchen a distinctly furniture-like feel, a look that’s bolstered by decorative brackets and ample crown moldings. Homeowners Kenneth McRobbie and Colin Blanchard, designers and co-owners of home shop 31 Westgate, tucked the fridge into a cabinet (on the far wall), which was designed to look like an antique armoire.
A large-scale island and cozy banquette are the standout feature in this bistro-style kitchen. Taking inspiration from the homeowners’ favorite restaurants, designer Philippe Beauparlant enlarged the room’s south-facing window and added panelling for a more traditional feel. Its grey-green hue picks up on the warm olive tones of the banquette, which was upholstered in a practical waxed linen, and provides contrast for the rest of the space, which features subway tile and white cabinets. Chic Thonet-style chairs are the perfect finishing touch.
Though this kitchen is in a new-build cottage, designer Cameron MacNeil made sure to add elements that help it feel like it’s been in the family for generations. Oversized pendant lights accentuate the super-high ceilings, while a sash window has old-fashioned charm. Face-framed cabinetry and the island’s crisscross detailing are classic decorating moves.
There’s no rule that says traditional decorating has to be restrained — and this kitchen, in designer James Davie’s historic Toronto home, proves it. The cabinets and ceiling beams were painted Benjamin Moore’s James River Gray (AC-23), a pale blue hue with a historical vibe, while bold cement floor tiles, which James imported from Mexico, make a striking statement.
See the rest of designer James Davie’s home.
In designer Ingrid Oomen’s downtown Toronto kitchen, an imposing island with furniture-like detailing sets the tone for the space. Its marble top picks up on the white bistro tile walls and cabinetry, while the dark base has a grounding effect. Herringbone oak floors are another classic touch, while matching pendant lights extend the look overhead.
Traditional details shine in smaller spaces, too. Take this galley kitchen in Toronto designer Silvana D’addazio’s own 1880s semi; the coffered, panelled ceiling is a classic move scaled down for the space, while the contrast between glass-paned uppers and walnut-panelled lower cabinets lends an elegant and tailored feel to the room. Palissandro marble counters and a Moroccan-tile backsplash are luxe additions, while a pretty pendant light feels like jewelry overhead.
File this one under traditional with a modern exotic hit. Oversized schoolhouse lanterns draw the eye up to highlight the striking coffered ceiling. A zinc-topped island feels furniture like, and adds a French bistro feel to the space. Bold tilework is a global hit, while open shelving provides a place for the homeowner to display a collection of pretty ceramic pieces.
While the white kitchen is classic, traditional style doesn’t have to mean shying away from color. The beautiful grey-blue palette in designer Karen Cole’s own kitchen has a distinctly historical vibe that mixes well with polished nickel hardware and a mix of marble and granite countertops. A Persian rug is an unexpected exotic accent.
If storage is a concern, this kitchen, in designer Colette van den Thillart’s Toronto home, is a dream come true. The abundant cabinetry was in good shape when Colette and her family moved in, so all she had to do was give it a coat of Old White Farrow & Ball and swap out the laminate countertop for luxe marble — and install a corner cabinet with bed for the family’s Pekingese pups, of course.
This one-time galley kitchen in a downtown Toronto Edwardian has been completely reimagined as a spacious hub for designer Betty Theodoropoulos’ young family. Coffered ceilings, abundant paneling and herringbone floors strike an elegant, traditional note, as do the leaded-glass windows and arched doorways. The Statuario-topped island is a beautiful but hard-working addition to the space, providing storage, dedicated space for cookbooks and a spot to grab a quick breakfast or an after-school snack.
In this condo kitchen, designer Tommy Smythe pairs copper faucets, hardware and lighting with crisp white cabinetry for a trad look that veers slightly into modern country territory. Dark countertops feel classic, while a Persian runner offers a rich infusion of color.
In this cozy cottage kitchen, a mix of painted and wood cabinetry has traditional style but doesn’t feel too formal, which is fitting for a relaxed, family-oriented space. The oversized island is a workhorse, providing a place for meal prep and housing a sink, wine fridge and cooktop. It was designed to look like it was made from barn board, and is topped with a brushed stainless steel countertop, which adds a hit of industrial edge.
Traditional millwork, handsome black cabinetry and diamond-patterned black and white tiled floors lend a tailored, tuxedo-like feel to this classic kitchen. Open shelving and slatted built-ins do double duty as storage and space to display china, while closed lower cabinets wrangle less-pretty kitchen clutter. Unlacquered brass hardware feels glam now, and will develop a lovely patina over time, while a stainless steel backsplash adds an industrial note.
Crisp white cabinetry, classic subway tile and luxe marble countertops create a simply chic look in this bistro-style kitchen. A tall, slender fridge and upper cabinets that extend to the ceiling offer ample storage space.