Design trends: the art of stylish cupboards

From one-off designs to Habitat and Ikea staples, these cupboards are certain to make an impression.
Cupboards have come out of the closet. Now their doors flaunt lavish décor, becoming flat platforms for a gamut of clever effects, from traditional lacquers and veneers to new experiments with metal, leather, wood, mirrors, prints and even traditional French straw marquetry.

Push-open catches eliminate the "interference" of handles — in effect making the doors a blank canvas. The cost can be high for one-off pieces that are claimed to be art, but most of them will keep their value.

Meanwhile, other designers have fun "upcycling" old furniture with full-frontal makeovers...


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Bold and Gold: (left) the Barcelona mosaics of Art Nouveau architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 -1926) inspired this fab drinks cabinet costing £10,330. Portuguese brand Malabar has covered the hand-painted doors with ceramic fragments, lined with lashings of gold leaf. Available in London through thelongeststay.com (020 7349 9057).

Earn your stripes: (right) Suffolk based artist Kate Noakes re-veneers old furniture using her own process which inlays applied metal designs with gesso (a plaster/resin mix), that can be coloured to order. The result is durable, functional and decorative. The Stripes record cabinet, is W81cm x D42cm x H140cm and costs £850, call 01440 783076. See more of her work at The Old Cinema, 160 Chiswick High Road, W4 (020 8995 4166).
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Dramatic pieces: Ruffed-up and oozing period drama is Elizabeth's Cabinet, handmade in England by Mineheart of Cambridgeshire. A historic portrait with a surreal twist is printed on to lacquered, push-open handleless doors in a satin finish. Priced £2,660, it measures W120cm x D45cm x H82cm. Call 0845 467 4580, or visit mineheart.com. 


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Too hot for handles: (left) Ikea's Stockholm cabinet with two drawers costs £250, in a sleek new painted finish offset by walnut veneer and stained solid ash. No handles - push to open. It measures W90cm x D40cm x H107cm. Ikea has stores in Tottenham, Wembley, Lakeside and Croydon, or shop online at ikea.co.uk.

Fly in the face of convention: (right) Italian-born designer Andrea Felice, based in SE21, has applied a carved wooden fly to his copper-clad Beelzebub cabinet. Each piece of wood was individually selected for grain and colour, then turned, shaped and carved by hand to provide an accurate fit for the impressive 3D marquetry. A door at the side of the piece conceals a mirrored lining with glass shelves and a dovetailed drawer. Similar commissions would cost £20,000 (af-designs.co.uk; 07931 871 928).
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Calculated design: Architect Simon Moorhouse designed his Incunabular cupboards around the pleasing proportions of standard paper sizes - "with the square root of two maintaining the aspect ratio of each element". Even if you don't do the maths, they are very pretty. The Incunabular Wideboy in blue with oak carcass and steel legs costs £2,800 and measures W126cm x D35cm x H75cm. Call 020 7183 3062, or visit invisiblecity.co.uk.

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Squared away: (left) pop art gets an update, screen printed on to white lacquer for the Viola cabinet with three internal shelves, on a solid oak base. This will be at Habitat from next month at £395 and measures W66cm x D40cm x H134cm. Stores are at 196-199 Tottenham Court Road, W1 (08444 991122); 208 King's Road, SW3 (08444 991144), and 255 Finchley Road, NW3 (08444 991116).

On reflection: (right) the hand-made Pyramid mirror drinks cabinet has raised, faceted silver mirror pyramids sitting on MDF and measures W100cms x D60cms x H180cms. Inside is a single, central glass shelf and two LED lights which come on when the doors are opened. The cabinet can be made to a specified size and prices start at £2,995. The choice of finishes includes veneer, high gloss, spray paint, mirror, antique mirror, and gilt. Visit hydehouse.co. uk, call 01284 330 098 or email sales@hydehouse.co.uk. 

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Beauty is on the inside: Zoe Murphy handprints second-hand wooden furniture with zingy images inspired loosely by her home town of Margate. She also lines cupboards and drawers with colourful prints. Her pieces are made to order, with chests of drawers starting at £1,025 and sideboards from £1,595. Find her work at Liberty, W1, call 07780 574314, or visit zoemurphy.com.

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