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7 trends in kitchen design

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Cabinets, Countertops & Hardware

7 trends in kitchen design

The recession has had a major impact on kitchen design. Gone are the ornate and formal styles with travertine marble flooring and intricate decorative trim. Clients today are moving toward cleaner-looking cabinet faces and richer, more rural themes. These are among the latest trends in kitchen design.


By Custom Builder Editors January 3, 2011
7 trends in kitchen design
This article first appeared in the CB January 2011 issue of Custom Builder.

Photo: Bold colors that exude emotion can bring life to a kitchen through lighting, wall colors, and wood tones (see trend #2).

            

         

      

It goes without saying that no room in a custom home holds more import and consideration than the kitchen. It is where families live and entertain their friends and family. And more than any other room in the house, the style, look and feel of a kitchen is reflective of the tenor, tone and tastes of the home’s owner.

The recession has indeed had an impact on design preferences. Nearly gone are the ornate and formal styles with travertine marble flooring and intricate decorative trim. Clients today are moving toward cleaner-looking cabinet faces and richer, more rural themes, says Sherman T. Jones, a design director at Robert Hidey Architects in Irvine, Calif.

“Most of the kitchens today are understated, rustic, bucolic,” says Jones. “It is  driven by the European countryside and farmhouse styles. This is reflected in streamlined cabinets and in paint color. There is an understated charm to them.”

To illustrate the point, we have collected eight projects that exemplify kitchen design trends spotted by NKBA design award judges in the association’s most recent design competition.

1. Concealed Kitchens

Kitchen design has reached a new level of integration. The quiet incorporation of the kitchen into the home’s primary living and entertaining rooms provides homeowners with far more flexibility in their lifestyles. The incorporation of integrated and concealed appliances allows the kitchen to enhance rather than intrude into other spaces. Clean structural lines coupled with sleek color palettes enable the space to establish a distinctive identity, without overpowering the surrounding rooms.

2. Color with Energy

Bold colors are creating a vibrant splash in room palettes for 2010, with rich blues, purples, greens, and citric yellow making their confident appearance in kitchens and baths. Colors exuding emotion, acting not merely as a passive backdrop for the room, but bringing life through lighting, wall colors, and wood tones, are profoundly impacting the most innovative designs. Colors from nature combined with others more synthetically blended, are inducing a feeling of movement and motion throughout the room through sharp contrasts.

3. Soft Geometry

Rounded organic shapes can be seen in the edge of a counter or island top, an arch over an entryway or cooking hearth, the curved lines of a light fixture, and well-placed, space-defining soffits. Softer geometry is showing up with fortitude in contemporary and traditional designs alike. The introduction of rounded islands and countertops carves a smooth-flowing traffic pattern throughout the room, while an appropriately placed arch will bring an overall softening to the more angular fixed features that are typical in kitchens and baths.

4. Space Subtleties

Fixtures once confined by location are now incorporated into kitchen and bath designs in almost limitless ways. This freedom in the use of space allows designers to create design-driven room plans rather than those driven by necessity and space solutions. Appliances that are stacked and positioned within islands are contributing to functionality in the kitchen by bringing together task space with the right appliances.

5. Design Framing

Designers are bringing artistic details to new heights. A seemingly simple detail, such as the use of a soffit along the ceiling or a width of wall space surrounding inset cabinetry, can call out the item being framed as a focal point while also providing visual balance to the room. The thickness of a countertop edge outlined by a higher countertop acts to highlight a unique material used in the surface. Balance in design is achieved not only by the use of simply symmetry. Portions of a room can be treated as a piece of art, with a frame indicating its presence.

6. Beverage Stations

A new element added to many kitchens is a beverage station. This area is usually comprised of an undercounter refrigerator and wine refrigeration, as well as a coffeemaker, which can be as varied as the homeowners using them, ranging from simple single-pot coffeemakers to larger units capable of espresso, latte, and cappuccino. This functional destination within the kitchen typically houses stemware, coffee cups, silverware, cream, sugar, tea and may sometimes have a smaller bar area.

7. Varying Heights

Island tops, countertops, and partial walls are being customized to the task performed there and to the needs of the homeowners. Pairing lower desk and prep areas with higher breakfast bar surfaces provides convenient task-specific spaces, which fosters a greater level of family interaction within the kitchen. In the bathroom, this design concept not only provides function, but balances the space. Varying heights seen in the edge of a wood bar top or granite countertop serve as a beautiful counterbalance.

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