- Calgary East:
- Fort McMurray:
- Calgary West:
- Behind the Design:
Modern European Kitchens - 3 Part Series
Part 1: Fad or Future?
European kitchen design is slowly gaining a presence in the North American market. While it fights resistance from our traditional Canadian culture, many of today's home buyers are desperate to break away from the norm. They want something different... something "cool".
But is this design trend going to last? Is it a fad or is it the future?
I am not an expert on European lifestyle, however, during my time in a product research position at Superior Cabinets, I was given the task of developing a product set mimicking that modern European look but accomodating the Canadian lifestyle. We have called it the "Urban Line". I began researching the culture, values and daily lifestyle of Europeans. Here are a few key things I learned:
- A large number of the population in Europe resides in condo or apartment style buildings creating a need for a highly functional kitchen in a smaller space.
- They go grocery shopping every day and as a result, their storage needs are much less.
- Their appliances are typically smaller as well. Refrigerators & Ovens are most commonly 24" or 30" wide.
- They have respect for the environment and have very little space for landfills. Appliances are built to last a lifetime and kitchen cabinet products are built like a piece of furniture so that when the home owner moves, the kitchen cabinets can potentially go with them.
While their lifestyle may be quite different from the North American way, there is no questioning that Europe is the leader in technology, fashion and design. They are the best in the world at simply making things look good. Europe consistently sets the trends and what is popular there eventually becomes popular around the world.
In spite of the cultural differences, we all share the desire to have pretty things. The look that Europe has established is very attractive to many of us westerners. If there is any questioning that, one only has to acknowledge the success of a certain well-known European furniture company that has been making huge profits selling in North America for years (we all know the one). Why is it so successful? It is affordable, it is different and it has been viewed as a niche market that no one else has targeted.
With a growing population, many large centers are opening their minds to the European strategy. Cities like Vancouver do not have any more land to build upon. They are now building up with mega-structure condo buildings. Even in Saskatoon, a debate has begun on whether to build out or build up in an effort to keep infrastructure costs down. With people's lives becoming increasingly busier, more and more people are moving into condos in an effort to minimize the daily chores that come with owning a house. It also enables a person flexibility to travel without having to find a way to keep a house maintained in their absence.
In my time in the kitchen industry, many people have expressed admiration for this design style but fear that it may not be a timeless look. There may be a day when a new trend is created but don't expect this European look to go away anytime soon, especially with the new generation of home buyers.
The modern European kitchen can meet the needs of the person that wants the freshest look in a new house or the most functional application for a minimalistic lifestyle. In my personal opinion, this look is just beginning to be accepted in Canada and has a long life ahead of it.