A New Hallmark of Originality: Art on Cabinet

by WOHe

In recent years, the overriding trend in kitchen
design has been toward individual expression. Consumers have
abandoned the “keeping up with the Joneses” conformist mentality
and replaced it with a constant drive toward finding the coolest,
newest, most unusual thing that no one else has.

As a result of this trend, the neutral countertop has
increasingly been replaced in today’s kitchens by custom-designed
concrete, a hand-picked granite slab or pick-your-own-design
custom-printed laminate.

On the high end, consumers started abandoning satin nickel
faucets the minute an affordable mass market version appeared at
home centers. Hardware knobs for kitchen cabinets are available in
about 37,962 different styles, just so the upscale customers can
find one that no one else in their greater metropolitan area
already has. Cabinet manufacturers are spending their time racking
their brains to find ever and ever more exotic woods to utilize for
a unique look.

Artful creations

Well, what could be more unique than a piece of original

With that in mind, on October 7, Mike Nazer, president of
Garnerville, New York-based Rockland Kitchens, displayed the
stunning results of a competition his company held among 54 New
York area artists. Each artist created his or her own vision on an
18″x30″ solid maple door for the “Art Meets Industry”

The cabinet doors submitted by the artists (which can be viewed
at the Web site www.rocklandkitchens.com) ranged from folk-art
inspired designs that would make a perfect complement for a homey,
country kitchen, to whimsical, impressionistic cityscapes. The
artists came up with everything from a cartoon-ish design perfect
for Modern Retro to traditional leaded and stained glass and
carvings, which would enhance a rustic or Old World style.
Materials utilized included lead glass, metals, tile and glass

Artist Anne Gayler took top honors in the “Art Meets Industry”
competition with her subtle, fusion-style decoupage of swimming
trout against a rustic red antiqued painted treatment, overlaid
with a gold leaf-like metallic paint and shellac finish.

“The combination and treatment of brilliant gold and rustic red
with the colorful trout immediately caught our attention,”
commented competition judge Sima Zisman of Piermont, NY, who has
been an artist as well as in the interior design business.

Jennie Chien won second place with a beautifully hand-carved
pattern that evokes the spirit of African art. Noted Nyack artist
Paul Tappenden took third place in the competition for his cabinet
door painted in his signature style of swirl patterns, which
depicts a softly abstract landscape.

Consumers can purchase any of the original artwork cabinet doors
for an estimated $500-$2,500 each from the Rockland Kitchens
Garnerville showroom or via its Web site, according to Nazer.
Rockland Kitchens will also refer customers directly to an artist
whose artwork the customer wishes to commission for other work in
their home, the firm notes.

The Main Attraction

Nazer explains that his inspiration for the competition came
during a visit to Israel.

“I went into one of the kitchen showrooms there, and I saw these
beautiful doors painted as an art piece,” he recalls. The idea
immediately struck him as a perfect complement to today’s trend
toward bigger, more luxurious, Great Room kitchens.

“The kitchen today is not what it used to be 25 years ago,” he
notes. While function is still important, even a given, the
upgrading of the surroundings to a certain level of comfort has
opened the kitchen up to include works of art and unique elements
of design.

“Art Meets Industry” judge Faye Hauser of Hauser Associates, a
Monroe, NY-based sales consultancy representing Masterbrand
Cabinets, said the trend today is to decorate kitchens as
comfortable living spaces rather than just areas in which to cook
and eat.

“The concept of original art on cabinet doors is certainly new,
and provides an intriguing element in designing kitchens,” adds
judge Igal Toledano, a prominent Westchester Country-based interior

Nazer emphasizes that the idea is not to produce an entire row
of hand-painted doors, which might be a bit overwhelming as a
design element, even when backed with the most neutral and
minimalist of kitchen design. Rather, one or two “art piece” doors
can serve as a focal point in a room, much the same way that glass
accent doors or a furniture-style hutch might.

“This is a piece of art, [but also] a functional cabinet door,”
he stresses, “and one that’s customizable to fit any kitchen style
by commissioning an artist [to create something uniquely personal
to the client that will fit with the theme of the kitchen].”

In terms of functionality, an art door that is designed to be a
working part of a kitchen is generally coated with lacquer or other
clear coating as a final step to make it cleanable. However, this
door would not be recommended for a high-traffic, high-dirt area
such as near the cooktop, where it could routinely be splattered
and require frequent cleaning.

Overall, the individually painted door perfectly dovetails the
desires of today’s consumers. “Art Meets Industry” judge Hauser
cites a recent survey that revealed that the number one cabinet
option today’s kitchen buyer is looking for is the ability to
modify cabinet doors to better reflect their personality and

“The concept of original art on cabinet doors plays right into
what consumers want,” she concludes.


Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More