The European Kitchen

Sleek, chic and streamlined – words that describe the European kitchen. What differentiates a European kitchen from a North American one you might ask? One can argue lifestyle and taste, which we cannot disagree with. Who needs to cook or stock-up on a week’s worth of groceries in an enormous fridge when the market, bakery and a plethora of cafes and restaurants just steps away? Ultimately, the European Kitchen boils down to functionality. It also screams style. The European kitchen often looks more like a beautiful piece of furniture rather than utilitarian cabinetry. Real estate is precious in large European cities and dedicating a chunk of square footage to the kitchen just does not make sense. This sounds almost familiar to the real estate market in Vancouver where living space is paid for at a premium. What can we learn from and borrow from European kitchens? Keep reading to find out!

Functionality

If you have ever stayed in a studio apartment in Paris, you will know just how tiny they can be?  The kitchen here might be compared to the size of a mini-bar in North America. I had the pleasure of staying in a hotel in Italy and the galley style kitchen had a folding screen door which conceals the cabinets. Only to be exposed when necessary. Don’t judge the sleek band of cabinetry by its cover though – all the essentials are expertly tucked away, but still easily accessible. The key to making these micro-kitchens work? Great organization. There is a spot for everything and not an inch is unused. Drawers and shelves have organizers so there is little mess. Perhaps it’s the European adoption of “less is more,” but there is nothing frivolous to be found. Are you downsizing and a smaller kitchen is on the horizon? Take inventory of what you have and pair it down to what you frequently use!

Details

The character of a Euro kitchen is definitely in the details. We have all seen those Pinterest photos of kitchens that completely disappear – the perfectly streamlined and minimalist ones. You can just imagine opening up one of the cabinets to see what’s behind! The answer? Everything of course! What we appreciate the most about European kitchens is the craft and detail that goes into the millwork. From integral channels, gently eased cabinet corners and soft-close hardware, metal drawer boxes to sinks that are molded into the countertops – every detail is well integrated. We are inspired by companies such as Valcucine which use innovative, pure and eco-compatible materials. Grab a friend and head down to Gastown for a little lunch and then pay a visit to Inform. Here you will find the dreamy Poliform line (as pictured below) which is designed for Contemporary living and open spaces. For our Vancouverite friends here is a list of a few amazing showrooms with various European lines sure to inspire you! Bulthaup, Room8, and Habitat by Aeon to name just a few.

Appliances

It is impossible to discuss the kitchen without mentioning appliances! Before we completely geek out on you about the latest and greatest, do remember that it is not necessary to splurge on every appliance for your kitchen. We would suggest spending a bit more on the ones you use the most such as the fridge and cooking elements. Some appliance brands we really like and tend to specify are Miele. Blomberg, Bosch, Liebherr, Sub-zero Wolf and Gaggenau. We love that these brands incorporate options for Integral panels and can be built-in to create the seamless look! They are also compatible with most European kitchen brands which often have a taller kick (baseboard).

What do you love about European kitchens? Let us know with the hashtag #area3designeurokitchen