In the article, Questions We All Ask: Is There a Difference Between Modern, Minimalist, and Contemporary Design?, modern is defined as "the precursor to both minimalist and contemporary design, and generally refers to pieces that are derived from the innovations of mid-century modern designers." While I agree, I think (colloquially at least), that modern can apply to sleek, bold spaces without a lot of frills but with a lot of style. Like these 21 beautiful kitchens below.
The custom kitchen feels like nothing I've ever seen in a Brooklyn apartment, or truly in any apartment: just two rows of cabinets in Harry's signature cobalt blue, floating serenely across from each other. Hanging above is a chandelier that, upon closer inspection, turns out to be made from BIC Pens, a testament to Harry's ability to see great possibility in ordinary things.
Biggest Challenge: Convincing our builders that we wanted black-stained cabinets, a black front door, and black countertops in the kitchen and our master bath. Everyone doubted us the whole way and then ended up loving the final product!
Alex used local architect McManus Lew Architects and local tradesmen for the house's renovation, and she feels that's why her interiors—while modern and personal—also represent an Australian aesthetic. The home's location also meant function was an important part of the renovation. "Melbourne can have some long dark winters so heating was a central consideration of the design, and that does inform the location of windows, and the height of the ceiling."
Biggest Challenge: Our house is the one where I was born and where I lived until I was 21 years old. It was not planned at all, nor a dream I had, but when my parents put the house up for sale (10 years later), and it was still on the market after a few months, we decided to buy it on a whim! As it was a house that I knew like the back of my hand, it was the vision that I had in thinking of what I could do that excited me. I saw all the potential the house had, and it helped a lot to make the right choices in my renovations. The challenge was that I did not want to feel at home with my parents. We had no choice but to transform it from A to Z! Removing the wall on the ground floor and painting the brick wall surrounding the fireplace in white immediately changed the look of the house.
Biggest Challenge: Balancing a love for interior decorating with a desire to live with less. After moving stuff in and out of storage to stage our previous place for sale and then all over again when we were renovating, I started to wonder: What is all of this stuff? I started to read a lot about minimalism and it really struck a chord. I immediately started to declutter. Detaching myself from my belongings has been empowering and wonderful, but it's also difficult when there are so many beautiful things out there I'd love to have in my home. To balance this, I've accepted that I can appreciate items without having to own them.
Located on one of the main canals of Utrecht, this building was once a warehouse and dates from the 15th century. The building is now home to a workshop for the Museum Speelklok, the Utrecht clock museum, and two other apartments. Repurposing old buildings is not uncommon in the Netherlands and in fact this building has undergone several lives, including being the former residence of the city's fire brigade.
Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen countertops, for sure. We thought about it for ages and cut the budget in a few other areas in order to make it happen—so the kitchen is a great example of combining both high (where you can) and low to get the final look you want.
Helga and her husband Kirill bought this Victorian terrace two years ago and completely renovated the whole place. This once typical two-up, two-down house has been flipped upside down, with the upstairs bedrooms transformed into one big open plan lounge/kitchen diner. They also opened up the loft adding in skylights to give it a more airy feel. "You know when the house is small, but you get the height, it doesn't feel as intimidating," Helga tells me. And indeed she's right; the skylight really opens up the space, making the loft the perfect hangout for the whole family.
Biggest Challenge: Remodeling/building our bathrooms and kitchen! We did most of the work ourselves, so it was a big accomplishment for us.
Eloise even went as far as designing and building the kitchen from scratch with the help of some friends. "The doors are in Birch plywood with finger pulls routed along the top edge; we kept the spacer sheets of ply between cupboards showing the cross section to make it look a bit more interesting." The worktop is Corian in Designer White, which was fitted professionally. The overall effect of this kitchen is absolutely stunning, but at a fraction of the cost of a standard shop-bought kitchen and is totally one-off.
Biggest Challenge: Avoiding clutter / letting go of pieces of furniture due to sentiments. We have a lot of art and prints that were previously hung around our house in the UK. Now that we are renting in Hong Kong, we needed to find inventive ways of displaying the art, without hanging directly on the walls.
Their home, which took them one and a half years to renovate, is a comfortable family space for this family of four. Set against a clean, minimalist backdrop, it is also the perfect showcase for much of their expansive art collection and creative endeavors.
Best Advice: If you have a neutral furniture palette, it's easy to layer and change objects and textiles to mix it up. We love color, but simplicity feels timeless and focused.
After buying this fixer-upper in a historic Indianapolis neighborhood, Brian's building skills were put to work. "All the rooms on the first floor were cut up due to years of bad remodeling and it just didn't flow. I wanted the house to serve us and how we live together so we opened it up as much as possible," Anissa writes.
The previous owners had furnished and decorated the apartment in a pristine, white, ultra-modern style which wasn't to Audrey's taste, so she enlisted Doris' help to create a softer, more lived-in vibe. They introduced lots of vintage furniture, lighting and accessories, and used reclaimed scaffolding boards to create shelves in the living area and a new table in the dining area.
Georgia may not look like the type of woman who gets dirty for a living, but the adventure tour host draws much of her inspiration from the outdoors. The "Modern Pioneering" author turned her white-walled, concrete-floored abode into a warm and inviting space with touches of the trail and bits of the outdoors.
Tim admits that there have been a few challenges living in what the architects agree was an experiment. He and his partner Jeff have had to block off a hallway with their refrigerator, as originally there was only space for an under-counter fridge. Tim has been considering modifying the countertop and cabinets to allow for a full size fridge, but he's still not convinced.
Michelle is a food blogger, specializing in desserts. Her blog Hummingbird High began in her college days and now reaches over 100,000 followers on social media. A major priority for the couple was finding a space where Michelle could comfortably bake and experiment with recipes. The couple and their cat Penny are happy to call this sunny space in Brooklyn their new home.
This mid-sized apartment merges Old World French and modern aesthetics perfectly. It's hard not to fall in love with this space, with its big French windows, marble fireplaces, and hard woods. Libby and Tim found a way to illuminate the magic of Parisian architecture while incorporating their modern, natural style.
Coming in at a whopping 575 square feet, this studio space is on the smaller side of the spectrum. However, stepping into a room flooded by natural light makes this modern apartment feel much larger than its measurements give it credit for. Sean completely embraced the opportunity in making an airy and open feel, with plenty of clean lines and touches of greenery.
When you walk into the open plan kitchen/dining area, you're met with a Carrara marble worktop, herringbone wall tiles and teal cabinets with brass accents. Next to the kitchen, a huge metal staircase—designed by the duo and made in Sheffield—brings you to the mezzanine level, which was converted from the loft.