DENVER, CO – As custom home builders, Chase Custom Homes is intimately involved in every detail of every project, from the roofing materials to the basement flooring options. One of the more interesting aspects of working with homeowners on their new dream home is kitchen design, as the kitchen has become the centerpiece of every modern home, not only for everyday living but for entertaining as well.
Kitchen design preferences are rapidly changing, but in our experience the key to the most desired kitchen these days is size: these rooms are bigger than before to accommodate the expected throng of people who tend to congregate there at the holidays and during parties. Sure, there is more counter space, strategically located to make for easy access to the refrigerator, utensils, preparation sinks, cook tops and ovens, but also for casual dining options and just “mingling” areas.
Every homeowner has their own perfect kitchen in mind, and custom details abound, but what follows are some that Chase Custom Homes has noted seem to be in the mix when looking at kitchen design options these days.
Trends in Kitchen Design
• Anything “green.” There is a lot of talk about kitchen appliances that are rated “green” for energy efficiencies, of course, and many of the newer models of dishwashers, laundry equipment, ovens, cooktops and other appliances not only use less energy, but include handy, programmable settings to maximize efficiencies in certain conditions. For instance, some of the new drawer dishwashers that are gaining in popularity include a smaller drawer that can do a load of glasses quickly, like in a restaurant. In the “green” movement you’ll also find formaldehyde-free, food-safe bamboo parquet butcher block cutting boards, and the use of less-toxic adhesives in the installation of countertops, cupboards and floorings.
• Cherry is in. The most popular wood in kitchens these days, for cabinetry and flooring alike, is definitely cherry, with maple coming in a close second. As such it should be noted that since beautiful woods are desired for kitchen cabinetry, painting the cabinets is definitely out.
• Tile, stone and wood floorings. While natural hardwood flooring remains high on the desired kitchen flooring option list, what is surging in popularity are kitchen floors made from ceramics, porcelain tile and natural stone tile.
• Concrete countertops. Granite countertops have been all the rage for kitchens for some time now, and still sell well. However, the latest trend in countertops is, believe it or not, concrete. Actually, concrete countertops have been available for 20 years or so, but lately designers are beginning to fully appreciate the material’s versatility. First, it doesn’t look like a sidewalk, of course, and in fact can be rendered to look like polished or unpolished stone, can be colored in an infinite array of hues, and decorative materials like pebbles or seashells can be easily for a very custom look. Concrete doesn’t start out as stone hard, but rather as a slurry, so it is also very customizable; think built-in slots for cutlery, cutting boards and drain boards.
• Cabinetry appliance. There for a while it seemed as if the whole world of kitchens would be stainless forever, but the bloom seems to have fallen off the stainless steel rose. These days the hot treatment for kitchen appliances – with the refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher leading the pack – is to have covers for them match the kitchen cabinetry, the so-called “hidden” or “blend-in” appliance technique.
• Traditional design. While stainless ruled in kitchens, the chief kitchen design looks were “modern” and what people tend to call “new contemporary.” These were characterized by sleek, shiny designs and lines with very modern lighting choices. What seems to be back is what is called “traditional” kitchen design, with natural woods and such flourishes as brick accents taking center stage. Of course, as part of this movement the trend for more color in a kitchen appears to be on the wane, with wood tones, whites, brown, beige and bone hues gaining in popularity.
• Flexible faucets. There are an infinite number of choices in kitchen faucets, but the design style that appears to be taking charge are the pull-out, flexible variety that can act both as a faucet and a sprayer, with several settings available. Also, as the rush for stainless abates, nickel finishes for faucets seem to be the popular choice.
• Dishwasher-in-a-Drawer. As mentioned earlier, the hot new thing in dishwashers are the newer drawer designs. These usually come with multiple drawers, stacked, that can be used together for a full load of dishes, or to wash small loads in smaller drawers.
• Thirst stations. Many newer kitchens come with a butler’s pantry or counter away from the main kitchen where there is generally a sink. One of the newest trends is to incorporate under-counter, smaller refrigerators for wine and beverages and make the whole thing a “thirst station” where everyone in the family can meet their libation needs. Some people add in a beer cooler with a tap, any many feature an ice maker to complete the concept.
These are the main trends in kitchen design we at Chase Custom Homes have seen of late. In another posting soon we will deal with another huge trend in the modern kitchen: technology. Think integrated TV screens for recipes and entertainment, remote (say, through an iPhone) operation of appliances, gas cooktops that retract into the counter and become hidden, warming drawers. Check back soon.