Well known for its ‘Old World’ styles, Wm Ohs taps into the growing popularity of contemporary looks by designing a new cabinet line.

This display of Wm Ohs’ new Simplicité line, the company’s first contemporary design, features riftsawn beech with a “Cashew” finish.

After spending 35 years designing and building beautiful, high-end kitchen cabinetry in classic “Old World” styles, Denver, CO-based Wm Ohs celebrated its anniversary by unveiling its first contemporary line, “Simplicité.” Designed by company founder Bill Ohs, the new line departs radically from the company’s traditional cabinetry stylings, which have included the popular Tuscan and Country French designs.

Ohs says that he began his design work for Simplicité a year and a half ago, inspired in part by an Italian line of contemporary furniture he saw at the 2006 Furniture Fair in Milan. Ohs says he wanted to develop a similar, but modular system.

“I went through three iterations in order to develop something that would work in our manufacturing system and could be done affordably using a reasonable amount of material,” he says. “The Italian furniture used a lot of wood.

“In my final iteration, I brought things narrower than in the first version,” he adds. “For example, elements like the stiles and rails are more narrow.”

Although the products are modular, they do not look modular, Ohs says. They follow the recent “kitchens-as-furniture” trend. And while the style is contemporary, it is designed to be classic, in that it will never become out of date. “I don’t like trendy,” Ohs adds.

In the Simplicité line, the emphasis is on horizontal lines, and it is low. “Nothing is higher than 84 inches,” Ohs says, adding, “It works well with the Sub-Zero refrigerator.”

There are no pulls or handles; cabinets and drawers feature finger recesses instead. The cabinets are frameless construction, but all doors and drawer fronts are surrounded with applied moulding “frames.” Doors are recessed 1/4 inch, so there is a strong definition between the frames and doors.

A close-up view of a drawer in the new Simplicité line from Wm Ohs shows some of the detailing. There is a dust seal in all cabinets. Wm Ohs also makes its own wood interior accessories.

Even though the line’s name, “Simplicité,” is French for “simple,” there was some joking in the shop that engineering the line was a little complex, requiring the company’s craftsmen to call upon their skills to create Ohs’ design in a manner that is efficient for them to produce. In addition, the line features Wm Ohs’ high-quality finishes, which also are far from simple; in fact, Ohs estimates that 60 percent of labor hours for any of his lines is devoted to the finish. So the resulting “simple” cabinetry is actually the result of considerable planning and effort.

Initially the line is being offered in riftsawn white oak, riftsawn beech and riftsawn mahogany. But Ohs says he expects to be asked for it in bamboo as well. The initial finishes are in dark and light colors only, but Ohs says he expects those choices to be expanded, too. Stainless clad toekicks are standard; wood will be offered as a custom option. Stainless steel fronts also can be mixed with the veneers.

Simplicité was officially unveiled to the press and Wm Ohs dealers at an event held in September at the company’s headquarters. The company’s 35th anniversary also was celebrated.

“We are thrilled to unveil this innovative and visually exciting cabinetry line,” says Robert Cilli, president. “Wm Ohs has pioneered a number of unique styles over the years, but Simplicité is very special. With its classic lines and modern look, it is much different from anything we have previously designed.”

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