- Decorating, Home Decorating & Interior Design

A Softer Side of Modern

(ARA) - What’s the home remedy for unsettling economic times, and fast and furious American lifestyles? Clean, more contemporary spaces, not edgy and cold, but gently curved and soft. Uncluttered rooms that are soothing to the eye are the trend. Americans are growing less intrigued by “stuff,” especially if it smacks of fad, and are no longer purchasing simply for status. Instead, we have a renewed commitment to living well and tastefully, while staying grounded and balanced.

Nesting, or “cocooning” as coined by Faith Popcorn, is in full swing. But how we’re nesting is interesting to observe. Certainly, Americans are investing in real estate, either by buying or remodeling. But, we’re leaving the “stuff,” status and stature behind, looking inward to influence the outward, visible extension of ourselves -- our homes.

Three socio-economic-political trends influence this softer side of modern home design.

First, Americans are smarter and more discerning about their purchases. More accessible information keeps all of us attuned to good design -- regardless of economic status. We’re deciding bigger isn’t better; away with yesterday’s McMansion and all the trappings that come with it. Bigger homes simply mean more space to fill and clean. Many are opting for more efficient, modern design and less cumbersome ostentation.

Second, we’re concerned and anxious, in light of more difficult economic conditions and threats to our security. We’re turning to safe places that we can control, creating orderly, warm spaces for spending time with those who count most -- friends and family.

Third, our “life-speed” often makes high-tech, “high-anxiety.” We crave soothing spaces, unfettered by “stuff.” But, it’s not minimalism. People aren’t tossing out grandmother’s collection of milk glass or the self-amassed anthology of jazz. That would be cold and impersonal. We’re talking about showcasing a collection simply, or storing it properly, to keep it organized and beautifully presented.

Witness the new Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry kitchen interpretation called Softer Spartan. No place in the home is more used and more loved than the kitchen, and quite often it’s the first room in line for remodeling. As this kitchen illustrates, homeowners are looking to create more comfortable, restful kitchen spaces in which to work and live.

Vince Achey, vice president of marketing for Plain & Fancy, says, “Home is where Americans want to be now -- and where they want to invest their hard-earned money. Though we are seeing a move toward more pared-down design, people aren’t sacrificing efficiency or quality. Consumers are smart enough to know that they’re searching for a kitchen that’s a joy to be in, one that also functions well and long.”

Softer Spartan sports Plain & Fancy’s new Madison door -- streamlined style, with a curved outer edge and set off with simple, brushed nickel pulls. The combination of “warm and cool” materials (wood and stainless) and colors (nutmeg and nickel) illustrates the growing interest in taking the cold out of contemporary in the kitchen, and everywhere else in the home.

Nor does this kitchen skimp on storage, providing hidden shelving, drawers aplenty and a pantry with a view. Highlights include full-extension pull-out drawers behind cabinetry, so everything tucked inside is easily visible and retrievable; a two-sided, pull-out rack to keep a prized set of All Clad cookware organized and ready for action; and a sizable Sub-Zero wine cooler trimmed in the same Madison door style, along with a matching sommelier nearby, giving a glimpse of the glassware for all that “grape.”

Another cool, efficient feature is the round, gurney-type table topped in oak butcher block. Its counter height is adjustable, hydraulically powered by a low-profile foot pedal, to suit any task, whether it’s used as a serving or preparation table.

Everything complements an oversized parquet-style floor, to complete the mix of geometry and curves.

To inquire about the Softer Spartan kitchen and Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry, call (800) 447-9006 or visit for an authorized Plain & Fancy showroom nearest you. Available east of the Mississippi.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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