tag : Design, kitchen, materials, Renovation Bootcamp, Robin Siegerman, smart homes, Technology, trends
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What are the top 10 kitchen trends for 2014, you ask?
Well, I’d be ever so happy to tell you!
10. Countertop Options: More than just laminate or granite
Back in the day, 90% of the countertops that I installed in kitchen remodels were granite. Depending on the species, it’s a material I still use and admire for its natural variations, character and durability.
The conventional wisdom in the kitchen business was and to some extent still is, is that no kitchen company in their right MIND would agree to installing a marble, limestone, slate or any other kind of stone top that wasn’t granite. But, if the crowd says, “don’t do it”, guess what I’m most likely to do?! This is what leads to some unexpectedly wonderful results, but some failures too. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.
Contrary to what you may think, there is no counter top that is indestructible and the number #1 NONONONONONO: DO NOT put a hot pot down on ANY of them or you may cause a stress crack, which is not repairable.
Some of the brands of man-made quartz countertop materials are:
Another counter top material that’s making a big comeback is butcher block. But beware of putting a wood insert between two runs of stone. The wood will expand and contract and can cause the stone on either side to crack unless there is some breathing room allowed. The best installation is at the end of a counter top run where it has free room to breathe.
9. Luxury is simplified
As has always been the case, the most obvious sign of luxury, is an abundance of empty space. This is something the average home doesn’t have, so function is the next most important must-have.
Luxury kitchen style is much cleaner with pure lines and color, than in decades past. No goo-gahs, doodads or heavy paste!
Luxury is increasingly found in the kitchen’s function rather than the aesthetic details. Functional accessories like pull out shelves, toe kick step ladders, specialized storage options and top-notch appliances are at the top of most luxury kitchen wish-lists.
8. Lighting is LED
With the laws of most lands changing to outlaw the familiar but wildly inefficient incandescent light bulb, the race is on to improve LED technology so that it will be a viable option for ambient lighting in the kitchen.
Teeny, tiny halogen recessed lighting is a terrible way to light your kitchen. Too many hot and cool spots leading to eye strain.
LED doesn’t emit nearly as much heat as incandescent and has a more even distribution of light rather than the focused, intense beam of halogen, and it doesn’t have the mercury content of compact fluorescent and lasts many times longer.
7. Aging in Place: accessibility
In North America, Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group. This trend is expected to continue for the next several decades due mainly to a below replacement fertility rate (i.e. average number of children per woman), an increase in life expectancy, and the aging of the baby boom generation.
The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. Being able to age in place is facilitated by accessibility to things that most people take for granted. In a kitchen, specifically, it means easy access to the interior of cabinets to minimize the need for mobility. Fitting the interior of cabinets with accessories like pull out waste bins, shelves and pantries, toe kick step ladders, and upper cabinet shelves that can be pulled down for easy reach.
6. Aging in Place: materials
Among the greatest threats to this ability to age in place is falling. Common features in an everyday kitchen setting is a glossy floor that is slippery when wet.
Flooring materials like cork and linoleum are practical choices for kitchens for every age, but will last and continue to be desirable for seniors. Both materials are resilient, so easier than hard surfaces to stand on, they’re low maintenance, come in a wide variety of colors which expands the design possibilities and are recyclable.
5. Subway and straight mosaic tile patterns on the backsplash are out.
Subway tile is a rectangular shaped tile that is installed in a brick pattern as in the kitchen above, where the tiles are glass. Mosaics are typically a 1″ x 1″ tile either in stone, glass or a combination of the two and are best used to create interesting patterns. As is typical of a trend, these types of tile patterns have been over-used to the point that they will soon start to look dated. This can be an advantage if you’re doing a kitchen in a retro 1930’s style, in which case subway tile may look right at home. But there are so many incredible varieties of tiles and patterns, there is no excuse for falling back on the same-old-same-old, like this amazing mosaic back splash below from New Ravenna Mosaics.
4. Copper is hot
In everything from sinks, faucets, decorative light fixtures to decorative appliance panels and backsplash tiles, copper is a material that ages gracefully and conveys a low key luxury in smooth or hammered finishes, from bright to dark in color. It’s never going to be the mainstream replacement for chrome or even stainless steel since it’s a lot more expensive, so plumbing fixtures will still be predominantly silver in color. But for a real stand-out feature, copper is your man. For a selection of copper sinks, have a look at some of these. See my article on kitchen sinks here.
3. Brass is Back
This time around, brass isn’t the perpetually tacky shiny or fake, tacky antiqued. The versions of brass that are turning up now are true to its warm nature with less artificial finishing. But to my mind, the most successful version is actually a cool brass, that incorporates some silvery undertones so it’s warmer than stainless and cooler than brass. I find this particularly appealing in faucets and art frames. For more information on faucets, see my article here.
2. Wood islands with white perimeter cabinets? Be Gone.
A kitchen style trend tends to have a life of 15-20 years, after which time it starts to look dowdy and tired. That’s where we are with wood islands and white perimeter cabinets. There is still a quest to have an island that contrasts the perimeter cabinets, but this is being satisfied with color, since kitchens are becoming more colorful than they’ve been for decades. Island colors of blue, green, black and grey are the top picks and will be easiest to live with over the long term and decorate around. But for people who love color, a red island could look smashing!
1. Smart Homes
Homes are getting smarter. In fact, this has the potential of being so big, that Google just bought a company called Nest which developed and manufactures smart thermostats and fire alarm systems for $3.2 billion. Yes, that’s a “B”. They will be on the cutting edge of developing smart systems for the home. Some refrigerators are connected to the internet and have sensors that can automatically create a shopping list for you and send it to your smart phone.
The modern kitchen is command central in every home, and every person in the household will use an electronic gadget in the kitchen at some point during the day. This means we’ll need more options for charging and comfortable locations for using them. We’ll see more receptacles that have USB ports
multi-receptacles that expand the charging capability
and storage options that keep the gadgets off the counter to reduce clutter.
So there you have it! What’s hot and what’s not for kitchens. If you know anyone who might be thinking of remodeling their kitchen, please share this post with them so they won’t inadvertently be lusting after something that’s already out of style!
And if you, or someone you know, needs just a little help with kitchen project planning, have a look at and share my Online Design program. Tailored to every room in the home for people who live far and wide, it allows me to work at a distance to help you create a house you’ll love to come home to!
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