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When clients express their desire for a “transitional” space, they often use the term because they want a change from what they are currently living with or because they are trying to compromise with another person’s style. I find the best way to determine what is “transitional” to them by determining what they see as contemporary or traditional. If they see a raised paneled door and oil rubbed bronze hardware as traditional, and a slab door with chrome hardware as contemporary; I suggest a recessed panel door and brushed nickel hardware as transitional. If traditional is detailed, decorated, and distressed, and contemporary is minimalistic, sleek, and linear; then transitional is simple and clean with subtle details.

There are endless ways to make a space transitional. One can use a combination of a contemporary door style with antique hardware, a traditional stain finish with contemporary countertop material, a contemporary textured, laminate cabinet door with a traditional travertine backsplash, or a traditional wood cabinet with stainless steel, professional appliances. Often times clients who say they want a traditional space or contemporary space realize they really fit into the broad transitional category. Maybe the better question is what isn’t transitional? Cabinets & Design

 

Transitional kitchens include elements of both traditional and contemporary design mixed together to form a balance of harmony and simplicity.
This Houston home, built for a couple from Spain is a traditional hacienda style but in the kitchen they have focused on the fundamentals of cooking and entertaining.

Highlighting the nature of the materials, a flat simple full overlay door that is unadorned with very sleek contemporary aluminum cabinet pulls, is more modern. The architecture of the home itself is more traditional and has beautiful details and exposed beams. For the cooking task the client chose the stainless range top and hood, although thought by many as being more modern, it feels traditional in this space due to their oversized commercial scale. Also kept simple are the countertops and backsplash. The island is more traditional due to the craftsman details in its design and construction.
(Marsh Oak Poggenpohl cabinets, range top and hood by Wolf)