The Boomer Kitchen Trend That’s Officially Out (And What to Do Instead)

Mob wife, meet the Mediterranean

Storytime: I grew up in Northern New Jersey, where my first introduction to the term Mob Wife was in sixth grade (after a classmate’s father “went away” for a while…). His house, along with many early 2000s homes, carried a signature, Sopranos-inspired aesthetic: brick floors, deep-brown paneled cabinetry, granite and beige-veined marble counters and lots of iron and copper. (For those who don’t know, the formal design term for this is Tuscan style, and it was huge with Boomers of a certain suburban ilk.) “Mark my words, that kitchen will be outdated in the next two years,” I remember my Mom, an interior designer, remarking at the time. And she was right. It wasn’t long before the Tuscan look was replaced with white quartzite countertops and grouted subway tile during the modern farmhouse craze. 

Now, however, something interesting is happening with kitchen design. The mass exodus of modern farmhouse in 2020 has unequivocally ignited the return to traditional, nostalgic interiors (read: coastal grandmother and New England eclectic). So much so, that designers are taking the mob wife trend and spinning it on its head with a 2024 twist: Modern Mediterranean

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Modern Mediterranean is 2024’s Tuscan Kitchen

First, you should know that all Tuscan kitchens have three design elements: 1) brick, 2) dark wood and 3) granite. The color palette involves lots of brown and terracotta tones with honeyed/copper accents—mostly to replicate the sunshine and soil in Tuscan wineries. To that end, the thing to remember about Tuscan is that it’s mainly rooted in European craftsmanship (hence why it’s named after a region in Italy). The look emphasizes intricate woodwork, like corbels and reclaimed beams on the ceiling, and it plays off of ornate details in traditional interiors.

Now for modern Mediterranean kitchens. Basically, this is just a coastal version of Tuscan kitchens with an emphasis on the lighter, more airy Mediterranean Sea (as opposed to the deep and vibrant colors of the rolling hills). It uses the same foundational design as Tuscan—just with lighter, sleeker materials.

Instead of brick backsplashes and granite countertops, modern Med uses limestone on the walls and classic Calcutta marble or travertine on the surfaces. This makes it feel current without sacrificing rustic charm, perfectly in line with the Newstalgia theme we’re seeing in interiors right now.

Aside from stone, however, there’s one architectural detail that ties everything together: reclaimed wood. More specifically, wooden beams and light oak cabinets, which instantly make the space feel warm and lived-in. The texture of the beams creates interesting detail—without overpowering the kitchen—and the light oak cabinets keep it from feeling too traditional; it’s modern without being too sleek. And of course, if you don’t have the budget to gut your entire kitchen, you can customize how rustic you want the tone to be with wooden furniture and decor.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be Mediterranean style if you didn’t have a few coastal undertones. This is probably the main difference—Modern Mediterranean kitchens feature taupe or ecru undertones instead of ocher, caramel instead of burnt orange and honey instead of terracotta. Plus, you can add a few soothing pops of blue in your decor—or muted green on your island—so long as you remember the look is more about rustic coastal textures (instead of bold color).

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the trend skews closer to modern when it comes to the range and stove. While Tuscan kitchens feature corbels and ornate gas stoves, Modern Mediterranean is all about clean-lined hoods and sleek induction stovetops. Many of the iterations we’re seeing don’t have a range hood at all, in fact, they’re usually carved out and complimented with stone as the main design element.

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...