Your kitchen's soul, revealed

Your kitchen's soul, revealed

Sometimes a design trend looks attractive as heck on the surface—and then when you start to consider actually implementing it in your house, problems arise. We’ve noticed open kitchen cabinets everywhere from design rags to the chic-er local kitchens we’ve visited: simple shelving with no doors, showcasing rather than hiding cabinet contents. There’s no denying it looks great, at least when professionally styled: It has retro-utilitarian appeal and is completely modern all at once. But does the look come with any practical pickles?

What are cabinets with no doors? Trendy? Yes. Practical? Depends.

Barry Easter, owner of Cabinet Solutions, put a cheerful face on one big concern: "It makes you keep your stuff straight and neat." Another way to put that is if you aren’t a total neatnik, open cabinets may become the décor equivalent of a much-too-small bikini. Easter says that often clients who are interested in forgoing doors have special dishes they want to show off, which are certainly easier to keep in order than those wispy plastic bags of rice from the bulk bins. "I don’t think it’s practical for everything," Easter concurs.

Another worry: Won’t grease from cooking coat everything in sight? Easter says that with the powerful range hoods available these days, a film of oil should not be a problem, though "You might consider not [putting open cabinets] right up against your cooking area," he says. And you have to actually use that fan.

Bottom line? "I think it’s a good look," says Easter, especially in contemporary-style kitchens—but "you should have a point or a purpose for it." Which, presumably, should not be merely to prove your awareness of a trend.