How to Upgrade Your Kitchen and Bathrooms in the Hudson Valley

Bath | Photo by Frank Webb Home

After nearly two years of spending more time at home than you probably wanted to, you may be thinking about upgrading your kitchen or a bathroom (or two). Before you dive into a refresh (or all-out overhaul), check out these trends and tips from the pros.

What’s Cooking

Our experts agreed that while classic white walls and cabinetry remain popular, homeowners are gravitating toward incorporating more warmth into their kitchens with natural materials. According to Meg Lavalette, founder of LAVA Interiors in Catskill, “More and more people are once again choosing unpainted woods for their cabinets and real stone such as granite and marble (versus easy-care synthetic surfaces) for countertops.”

Even all-white kitchens can be warmed up easily by swapping out hardware, says Marianne Riviere, showroom consultant for Frank Webb Home’s Newburgh location. The hot new finish for faucets and drawer pulls? Black stainless. “It was introduced to consumers through large appliances and it’s made its way into plumbing and hardware. Black stainless (like the faucet at right) is a nice alternative to chrome—the nearly-black matte finish warms up the space.”

Bathroom interior
Some of the hottest bathrooms have an open layout and wet floor; shower tile will often continue into the rest of the space, like this dreamy bathroom from BRIZO’s Frank Lloyd Wright bath collection. | Photo by Frank Webb Home

Another simple upgrade is to switch your island lighting. “The look for the past few years has been two or three small pendants over the island. Now, designers are opting for one oversize statement fixture instead,” says Paul Fehling, showroom manager of Frank Webb Home. Lavalette concurs, stating that while pendants are expected, she encourages her clients to make bolder choices. She saw this trend on the rise over a year ago, when she installed a large, sculptural iron fixture over the kitchen dining table in the 2020 Kingston Design Showhouse.

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Finally, a great new way to add personality to your kitchen is through tile. Fehling and Riviere say consumers are straying from the 3” by 6” white subway tile backsplash and opting instead for varying sizes with colorful prints or geometric patterns. Lavalette says local, handmade tiles are becoming popular choices, too.

Making a Splash

If your bathroom has seen better days, consider how you use the space and if it’s small, whether there are any elements that can be pared down. Lavalette says that fewer of her clients are requesting vanities with double sinks, preferring the extra counter space and a cleaner, more minimal look. Speaking of vanities, Fehling says they are increasingly being thought of as furniture (versus a built in) and like in the kitchen, customers are requesting natural wood.

Bathtubs are getting their turn in the spotlight (perhaps because we have more time to enjoy them?) and according to Kymberly Glazer, director of marketing and sales for the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA), they’re becoming important accent pieces. “Customers are looking for unique shapes and textures such as the stucco-like, Jackson Pollock-inspired finishes that adorn the exterior of tubs manufactured last year by Americh.”

Glazer adds that even as homeowners seek individuality and minimalist design, tech remains important. DPHA’s tech product of the year is the Airmata Dry, a shower device that utilizes little air jets to thoroughly dry the shower after each use to reduce mildew growth. “It’s a byproduct of the Covid-born ideal to design your bathroom as a wellness haven,” says Glazer.

Sink closeup
Photo by Adobe Stock | Navintar

No matter which new trends you decide to incorporate, Fehling recommends following these steps from Frank Webb Home’s planning guide: Start by defining your goals for the space (a visual representation of the area on paper is helpful); then gather ideas and set a budget before making an appointment with a designer or showroom consultant. Due to the current supply chain issues, all the pros urge consumers to purchase products made in the U.S. or Canada—and be patient. “It’s a tough time to renovate right now with the supply chain, which probably won’t correct itself until well into 2022,” Glazer says.

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That said, Lavalette advises that since kitchen and bath renos can be quite pricey and time-consuming, “if there’s an item that you really want, you should purchase it and wait for it, because in the end, you’ll be happier. Designers talk a lot about trends but what really matters is buying things you love, because they’ll never go out of style for you, they’ll be timeless.”

Kitchen design
A kitchen designed by Meg Lavalette features two trends—warm wood and a structural light fixture. | Photo by Ariel Camilo

Related: Upgrade Your Chicken Dinner With This Highly Addictive Recipe

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