'Living Large' Is Key in Latest Kitchen Design
Examining the latest trends in kitchen design, experts at an International Builders’ Show seminar in Orlando, Fla. agreed that builders should combine well-planned spaces with trendy products to create a room that will take the buyer’s breath away.
Designers must begin at the conceptual stage, taking into consideration the relationship of the space to adjacent rooms and traffic flow, and the locations and sizes of doors, windows and partial and full walls, according to Mary Jo Peterson, president of Mary Jo Peterson, Inc., a Connecticut-based design firm that focuses on residential projects.
Peterson recommended 42-inch-wide work islands for a single cook and a 48-inch width for two cooks. The landing areas on the primary sink should be at least 18 inches on one side and two feet on the other. Dishwashers should be placed next to the sink.
“Never place a range under a window. This creates a fire hazard,” she noted.
The latest look for cabinetry is moving to darker, richer and medium tones, said Connie Edwards, who has been involved in the cabinet industry for more than 25 years and serves as the director of design for Timberlake Cabinet Company.
“Maple and cherry are the dominant wood species,” said Edwards. “Decorative hardware helps to set a theme in the kitchen. Full overlay and frameless cabinetry require it for function as well as design impact.”
To make a kitchen visually appealing, Edwards offered the following tips: vary the depth and height of cabinets, both at the wall and the base; utilize decorative door inserts; incorporate open shelving; apply decorative moldings and accessories; and apply unique cabinet arrangements.
As for countertops, the choice is “anything that is solid,” according to Mary Jo Camp, an award-winning designer and 29-year veteran of the kitchen and bath industry who is currently the vice president of Marketing for Standards of Excellence, a premier appliance source for the construction industry located in Rohnert Park, Calif.
“Natural stone is still king,” Camp added, but concrete and ceramic are also very popular.
Natural Floor Materials Rule
There are several fashionable flooring materials, including hardwood, tile, engineered wood or vinyl. “When considering floors, natural materials rule,” Camp said. “Consider green sources and seek to strategically expand or delineate the space.”
As for design trends, Peterson said that the key is living large. “The latest innovations include open plans even in smaller homes, multiple work stations, higher ceilings and more windows.”
Work zones in the kitchen are growing in size and number. “We are moving from a single work triangle to multiple triangles,” said Peterson. “Some kitchens may have separate and multiple zones, sometimes including sinks, appliances and storage.”
And the newest kitchens are incorporating larger pantries, including walk-in, cabinet style and butlers that sometimes combine with a laundry or mud room.
One of the least expensive things that can be done to improve a room is to successfully use color, said Edwards.
“Color can entice the buyer, enhance the architecture, give a sense of comfort and punctuate a focal point,” she said.
She added that this can largely be done with accessories. Sticking with neutral floors and cabinets and adding colorful backdrops such as chairs, bar stools and other furniture can dramatize a space, Edwards said.
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“Design Ideas for Kitchens,” available through BuilderBooks.com, contains more than 500 color photographs of professionally-designed kitchens and is an unrivaled resource. Floor plans are included for kitchens of all shapes and sizes. This book also contains a complete reference for choosing sinks and faucets, flooring and countertop treatments. To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
Register for the Design Institute in Charlotte
Register for the NAHB/BALA Design Institute in Charlotte, N.C. from June 5-7. The conference offers residential design tips to boost bottom line profits. You’ll learn how to work with architects, landscape architect and interior designers from the start to the finish of the project and participate in design charettes that provide individual how-to and hands-on learning experience. For more information and to register, click here.