In the dream kitchens of today, cooking has returned to center stage, and the kitchen island is nurturing family togetherness and reviving casual entertaining.
In kitchens with a small footprint, glass tiles, quartz counters and dish drawers are adding sparkle and practicality. The kitchen of 2013 has soul.
“That industrial, commercial style was looking a little cold,” says Samantha Emmerling, kitchen editor at Hearst Design Group. “People are spending all their time in there, and they want it warm and inviting as well as low-maintenance.”
A kitchen renovation is still costly. The average 2013 kitchen remodeling job costs $47,308, down $3,742 from last year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Designers say the look today is less tradition, more transition. Clients are choosing more modern touches such as white or gray cabinets, gray walls and neutral quartz counters, individualized with different textures and touches of color.
“People are much more creative,” says Paul Lobkovich, an architect and kitchen designer at Lobkovich Kitchen Designs in Virginia. “They’ve seen plenty of HGTV shows and scoured Houzz and other websites. They have a Pinterest board full of stuff they like. This gives people a wide range of unique looks. And it makes it more exciting for us designers.”
Nadia Subaran, senior designer at Aidan Design, calls the design direction “modern cottage.”
“It’s not stark modern design,” Subaran says. “It has natural materials, textures and layering, with lots of whites and grays. There is nothing fussy or frou-frou about it.”
Although stainless still reigns, there is growing interest in white ranges and refrigerators in a new glossy finish, as well as soapstone countertops and floating shelves.
The 2013 member survey by the National Kitchen & Bath Association identified a menu of some of today’s top style choices in kitchens. Here is insider information on seven of them:
“It’s a pretty honest material, and it functions so nicely,” says Washington designer Paul Sherrill of Solis Betancourt & Sherrill. “If you don’t have a tolerance for natural stone and what it’s going to do over time, go for it.”
Color consultant Jean Molesworth Kee of the Painted Room says, “I’m seeing a lot of quick redos where they are painting old wood cabinets a light gray and totally getting rid of anything Tuscan red or yellow.” But she cautions against gray overload. “If there is too much gray, it can look really chilly and depressing. You’ll think you are stirring your pot in an operating room. You need a lot of white to balance it out.” Her favorite gray paints for kitchen walls: Sherwin-Williams Collonade Gray, Benjamin Moore Ozark Shadows and Benjamin Moore Storm.
The survey found that polished nickel and polished chrome were less requested than last year, and the duller finish was growing in popularity. Some designers feel that this finish best complements stainless steel appliances; others say the gray metal color sets off gray cabinets, counters and walls.
With neutral colors ruling in cabinets and counters, glass tile is one way to add color and personality. “Reds, greens and blues, vibrant colors are trending right now, as is iridescent glass,” says DeeDee Gundberg, an Ann Sacks Tile product development manager. Instead of using the ubiquitous white subway tile backsplash, she suggests substituting new large-format glass tile in a similar shape. “Light blue glass tiles are still very traditional with white cabinets but look very fresh,” Gundberg says.