I DON’T KNOW IF THIS WILL TAKE OFF: The New Style: Black Kitchens.
Why black? I’m reading between the lines here, but the consensus of designers seems to be that “all the other colors were taken.” Glowing natural wood has been done. Bright primary colors? HGTV seems to have cycled through all of them over the last decade. White? Every 30-something family in every detergent commercial seems to be glowing in a dazzling white kitchen mysteriously unmarred by the cherubic toddlers dashing around its oversized island. What’s left is black, color of death, funerals and, apparently, Cameron Diaz’s kitchen floor. . . .
The last time black cabinets were in vogue, in my formative years, all of these disadvantages rapidly became obvious, and black kitchens fell out of fashion as quickly and thoroughly as they had come in. So as soon as you walked into an apartment and saw all that black enamel, you could practically pinpoint the month of the renovation. As “fashion forward” rapidly downshifted into “Pity they can’t afford to do something about that eyesore,” people became frantic to get rid of the stuff. You can walk into probably millions of kitchens in the greater New York City area and still find the pebbly white melamine that was fashionable around the time of the Great Glossy Black Craze of 1985. But the black is practically a collector’s item, because most of it was ripped out scant years after it was put in.
Truly, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But it’s hard to see why, in this case. “People don’t like dark, enclosed spaces” is not the kind of insight that should require a trained archivist to ferret out.
Well, stainless steel, granite, and natural wood have been the style for a long time now. Planned obsolescence isn’t working, so we need to give people a reason to redecorate, or move. They’ve tried this on several fronts with no success over the past few years — getting rid of granite, getting rid of stainless steel for “polar white” — but nothing’s budged people much. Money remains tight, and the old kitchens still look good.