Click through to see what’s hot — and what’s not — in the wonderful world of kitchen design.
White’s hot — but let’s face it, it never really went out of style. And the color of the year, according to paint giant Sherwin-Williams, is “Alabaster,” a white that’s a bit warmer and not as beige, says Jackie Jordan, the company’s color marketing director. “It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality, and ‘less is more’ visual relief. It’s neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white,” she says. There are, of course, hundreds of shades of white, and Jordan suggests that you try a few on your wall. Study them by day and night; every color looks different when applied, in part because of the room’s natural and artificial light, and also because of the effect that nearby colors can have on it. Jordan recommends a satin or semigloss finish for cabinets, satin for walls, and satin or semigloss for trim. White offers another perk: You can accessorize your room with fun colors. And for those who don’t want all white, gray is still in fashion, too.
Photograph courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
The kitchen has long been the coolest room in the house; everybody wants to hang out there. So it’s no surprise that the kitchen is now extending beyond four walls. The open floor plan — with few or no walls between all parts of the kitchen; or an interflowing expanse of kitchen, living, and dining areas — is in, says architect Elizabeth Demetriades of Demetriades + Walker in Lakeville, CT. What’s also coming on strong, she says, is a separate walk-in pantry with smaller appliances; maybe a second sink, dishwasher, or freezer; and counters where parties can be staged and messiness kept out of view.
Photograph by Peter Piece for Demetriades + Walker
Tile and stone can be tough on feet when you’re standing and cooking for long stretches of time. Wood boards, whether reclaimed or new, can offer a warm, mellow aesthetic, says designer Laura Angelini. You don’t need to search out an old barn to find reclaimed boards; retailers such as the Hudson Company, with showrooms in Pine Plains and Brooklyn, stock them. Angelini suggests using a darker finish for greater warmth and richness, and darker hues hide stains better than light-colored planks. She also prefers boards of wider widths.
Photograph courtesy of The Hudson Company
Conserving energy continues to be a focus when remodeling. Kitchen designers report that more customers are opting for LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which are a more efficient choice than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. In the good news department: Their price has come down. Even better: They last almost forever, so one purchase and you’re done. Use them for both general and accent lighting.
Photograph courtesy of H.G. Page & Sons
It turns out that two is not always better than one. After decades of dominance, the double-bowl kitchen sink has given way to bigger one-bowl models from companies such as Blanco (above). Choose stainless steel if you have stainless appliances, or go with a white fireclay for that country farmhouse look. The goal is the same: to have an area large enough to soak big pots and lots of dishes. These days, many sinks come with accessories such as a place to hold knives, detergent, and even rest a cutting board. H.G. Page and Sons sells Blanco’s line, as well as many others.
Photograph courtesy of Waterworks
Induction cooking uses copper coils and electric current to heat the vessel that holds the food. It isn’t new, but recently it has caught on because it offers highly efficient cooking, easy-to-clean surfaces, and cool-to-the-touch heating zones for safety. Its prior downside was high prices, but many manufacturers of gas and electric ranges and cooktops are debuting more-affordable models. Bertazzoni, an Italian company, offers induction choices in an array of rainbow hues, which are available at area retailers. Be sure to use the right pots and pans; Chantal’s line features a copper plate fused into a carbon-steel core to allow the cookware to heat quickly and evenly without hot spots. All the pieces are dishwasher safe and work on the induction equipment and other models; they are available at bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy in Rhinebeck.
While granite remains an appealing choice for countertops because it’s durable and easy to clean, it has become so ubiquitous that renovators are now turning to the newest hot choice — quartz. Countertops made with this mineral have been improved over the years, incorporating larger aggregate pieces to look more natural. “It’s very hard, maintenance-free, easy to clean, doesn’t stain, and comes in less busy patterns than granite,” says William H. Schaefer, president of Rhinebeck Kitchen and Bath in Rhinebeck. Some quartzes even resemble fancy marble. Corian, made from a combination of acrylic and bauxite, is also returning to popularity because of its newer, fresher color choices, Schaefer says.
Photograph courtesy of Sharp Images Photographic for Rhinebeck Kitchen & Bath
The clean, crisp, contemporary style is still in — and luckily, there are two easy ways to achieve it, says architect Elizabeth Demetriades. Sleek cabinets that have few or no handles offer a seamless, “integrated” appearance. And open shelves can transform the entire look of a room; try to keep them neat, and refrain from displaying too many items — perhaps just an assortment of pretty bowls and glassware in cheerful colors and patterns. Think of it as a still-life vignette.
Photograph by Peter Piece for Demetriades + Walker
Available in an array of colors and patterns, backsplashes are a great way to add zing to a kitchen. Tiling even one area as an accent or border can keep the cost of expensive tiles down, says Tasha Berzal of Nelson Supply Company in Saugerties. Glass tiles are among the most chic because of the iridescence they add to a room; among the hottest patterns are those in one inch-by-one inch squares that combine with another material such as stone or metal, she says. The company carries several different styles from Glazzio Tiles in Brooklyn.
Flexibility is a hot trend in kitchen design, and that includes the choice of appliances. Wolf’s recently debuted countertop convection oven helps you save important wall space for other uses — an integrated refrigerator, a big hulking range, a door to a deck, or big picture window — and you can take it with you if you move. This model, which is available through MKS Industries, a works as well as a wall design, and allows you to cook everything from pastries and root vegetables to broiled salmon with its six cooking modes. Great features include a spring-loaded door to gently open the oven; LED display light; easy-glide rack; sleek measurements; and a choice of black, brushed stainless, or snazzy red knobs.