Kamala Harris's kitchen cabinets revive a functional trend designers want us to take into 2024

The Number One Observatory Circle kitchen reminds us that, when it comes to handles, minimalism reigns supreme

Kamala Harris
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris, like many of us, spent time preparing for Thanksgiving in her kitchen. However, unlike the rest of us, she lives in The Number One Observatory Circle, one of the most famous homes in the country, that has served Vice Presidents since 1977. 

As we might expect, insights into such a residence are few and far between, but there are some exceptions, beginning with the aforementioned room where Kamala and Douglas Emhoff spent time this weekend. 

The space is sleek and modern, exhibiting a light gray and white color scheme and top appliances, such as our favorite KitchenAid stand mixer (more on that later). However, it is Kamala's kitchen cabinets, or rather, the recessed pull handles, that have sparked the biggest discussion among designers.  

Kamala Harris

(Image credit: @vp)

Recessed pull handles may seem like a small detail, but as Samantha Pratt, lead designer at Samantha Ashley Designs, explains, they're more impactful than we might initially expect.  

'We find that they are a functional integration and don't distract from the beauty of the cabinetry like a pull or knob can do. The kitchen trend is sleek and discrete,' she comments. 

As Samantha mentions, recessed pull handles are on the rise, mainly because they allow us to tap into a minimalist kitchen aesthetic without sacrificing functionality.

'People are removing extra layers and looking at design as more minimal but intentional,' she says. 'They want to see fewer pieces to their spaces with the same functionality. Homeowners would rather have natural elements of wood grain or trim details stand out as opposed to hardware.' However, this isn't the only factor behind their increasing popularity. 

Samantha Pratt
Samantha Pratt

Samantha is an experienced interior designer with a history of working in textiles and ceramics industry, having started her career in set design for theatre. She started her design company nearly four years ago, with a goal of carrying the skills she had learned in the past to her own business and developing her style. 

'Recessed pull handles are less likely to snag clothing or disrupt the workflow, making them a practical choice for busy cooking spaces,' adds kitchen expert Steven Perez

'In terms of safety, recessed handles reduce the risk of accidents, as there are no protruding parts to bump into. They also contribute to a more streamlined cleaning process, with fewer crevices where dirt and grime can accumulate.'

Plus, cabinets aside, we're also taking note of Kamala's appliances, many of which are in a gray and silver colorway to match the hues in her kitchen. It would be impossible not to note the best stand mixer in the world (in our opinion), her KitchenAid, as seen atop her white countertops. It's still on sale right now for Black Friday, so there's no better time to make the investment. 

Artisan® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer | Was $449.99, now $349.99 on KitchenAid

Artisan® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer | Was $449.99, now $349.99 on KitchenAid

From the #1 Mixer Brand in the World, this stand mixer has the capacity for every kind of recipe and every kind of occasion. It has 10 speeds to gently knead, thoroughly mix, and whip ingredients and comes in 20 colors  – but we spotted Contour Silver in Kamala's kitchen.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.