As I was designing the mountain house kitchen, something I seriously considered before we landed on Shaker cabinets (which might STILL change, folks) was nixing the hardware altogether. Nothing is more minimal than, well, having nothing. We found so many examples of beautiful kitchens without their jewelry, and while I obviously love what the perfect hardware does to cabinetry, I wanted to explore this clean look further.
First up is probably my favorite of all the “no hardware” versions—something with a lip or a pull out of the same material as the doors and drawers. I love what that simple line does to the look and in the same material, it still looks minimal. I can’t tell what they did (above) for the fridge pull as I don’t think just a wood lip would function as well. I also don’t know if any of the lips are as easy to pull as knobs and pulls, but likely these people care about how things look and might have sacrificed a bit of ease for that.
This one above is ALSO so beautiful. One of the reasons it works is that the marble is the big moment, while the cabinets just support the link, so you can go minimal if you have a statement backsplash. The interesting line work makes it look really interesting and not basic, but it is still just so simple and graphic and something that your eye can easily figure out. I also love that you can see the wood grain through the paint which adds warmth. That blue striped wood on the right is also inspiring. I wish I could see more of that…
To get a closer look, we pulled some zoomed in details and put them together so you could get a better sense for what these look like on different materials and in different colors. So effortlessly minimal yet impactful.
Now for the flat panel, which has literally nothing on the face…
This treatment looks the best, in my opinion, when the cabinet door is made of wood, or at least you can see the wood grain through a finish or paint. I don’t think I can ever be minimal enough (especially not at the cabin) to do a flat panel that is just painted a color…give me some texture at least.
Well, I say that and then I see this next photo that makes a convincing argument. It’s probably too cold for Brian, but at an office or retail space, this is a STATEMENT I can get behind (but mostly because the lighting and the table and chairs are the stars here).
But if you are a serious minimalist and like your kitchen space sparse and clean-cut (and you pair it with those lights and that faucet like below), then I can see it looking awesome.
But for me and this house, I would want the wood grain but love it without hardware.
I’m assuming a lot of these function by pushing them in a bit (then they spring out a little so you can actually open), although I do caution about this. My friend did this and if it’s at hip level and the countertop doesn’t protrude enough then every time you lean to do anything, it opens. They had to pay to have it fixed.
I’ve pinned the below photo from Studio McGee so many times but now I’m realizing that I don’t know how they open. Maybe the top portion cuts back at an angle so it’s easy enough to grab the door and pull it open, but the bottom cabinets…another case of push and pop open maybe? Or maybe there’s hardware there I’m not seeing because of the angle of the photo? Not sure, but so beautiful.
It seems like there is a tiny white pull on the bottom right cupboard and a little brass thing on the other cabinet. How do these actually function?
Next, we are noticing a lot of circle finger pulls and we like them, for the right spaces.
deVOL does them a lot. As we were designing this house, I realized why—you can make them very small and thus they don’t crowd your paneling. It’s like a tiny knob but different and less expected.
I’m assuming they have to be deep enough to tuck your sausage finger in there, but those above look pretty shallow so…not sure how functional that is.
I think they look great in the right style and space. I wouldn’t do this in a traditional house especially if you are going for something timeless. This isn’t timeless, but it’s cool and fun and adds interest in a fairly simple way.
We have seen these a lot lately, though, so we’re kind of looking for what the next circle hole is, and we found a ton that are pretty awesome:
That wood behind that blue is pretty beautiful, especially with the wood stile (the vertical space between the cabinets and drawers). That right there is BEAUTIFUL.
Some can get more basic, like a simple rectangle but I like the look and I think it works in something mid-century, contemporary, industrial or new build (AKA, be careful if you have an older style of house).
So we’ve got circles and rectangles…why not explore the rest of the shapes and do a triangle?
It’s cool and weird, and not for every project but again could be great in a restaurant or some sort of commercial space.
I love this oblong inset handle; it’s totally unexpected and in the wood, it’s not loud. It’s simple and quiet but throws you a little bit.
We found so many pretty cabinet details, little cutouts, niches and architectural moments that help things function but also create some custom interest:
What was a flat-front, plain cabinet is all of a sudden interesting and less basic. It’s those little details that kick things up a notch in a way that’s still subdued and sophisticated. Plus, it’s nice that your hand can actually open your kitchen cabinetry.
So what do you think? I know that all of these options are only for custom cabinetry and likely only by higher end brands or very well skilled furniture makers. It’s not that many couldn’t do them, but they probably haven’t before. It’s obviously for a particular look, one that favors architecture over style and while it this “no hardware” hardware adds style, I guess it’s less “decorative” because it’s integrated into the piece itself and not applied.
My question is, do these work even half as well as a traditional pull, knob or handle? Are they secretly a little bit annoying but you don’t care because you have stunning cabinetry? Are they better for vanities that you use less than kitchens? I really love the look of the wood pulls out of the same material and finish as the fronts and now I’m sold. It’s interesting without the business of traditional metal hardware and it doesn’t feel too trendy since its just a piece of wood that is acting like a pull. But what say you?