What’s Hot in America’s Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home and today’s designers are offering open space with areas designated for specific uses such as cooking, dining, conversation and relaxation. Adjacent areas to the kitchen such as the garage, pantry and laundry are also important to the flow of the house.

During a Jan. 22 seminar at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Mike Hetherman of Willis Corp., based in Burlington, Ontario and MaryJo Camp of DesignCamp RLLP in Denver, N.C. outlined the latest trends in kitchen design:

ID.ology Interior Design


  • Single or multi-purpose
  • Multi-level
  • Multi-purpose

“It’s not your grandmother’s island anymore,” said Camp. “Today’s kitchens come with multiple islands with different surfaces and different shapes, such as L-shaped, as well as multi-levels. There is no set answer. The set answer is the needs of the client.”

Indoor/Outdoor Relationship
Many kitchens are opening up to the outdoors. This extends the square footage of living space. Private outdoor space is preferred, such as connecting a kitchen to an open outdoor porch.

Reflectivity and Acoustics
Matte finishes minimize glare, and stainless steel and high polish surfaces should be used selectively, the panelists said. Hard surfaces increase noise levels while materials with texture absorb errant noise.

Allard & Roberts/ Osada Construction

Hidden pantries conceal large storage areas. Touch control uplift doors offer easy convenience and interior cabinet organization maximizes storage. Consider open shelving to lighten a visually heavy wall.

Consider connectivity and charging needs. Kitchen desks are being replaced with charging stations. New materials allow for cord-free charging.

Allard & Roberts Interior Design

People need more light as they get older: Layer lighting on separate controls is the way to go. Ambient light is for the ceiling, task lighting illuminates areas under the cabinets and accent lighting is for underneath shelves. A color temperature of 2,800-3,200 degrees Kelvin is ideal for kitchen, said the panelists.

Advance Cabinetry

Cabinets are getting sleeker and flatter. Slab and modified shaker door styles are very popular. Wood tones, walnuts and cherry are back. “Dark, java color is going out,” said Camp, adding that “white never goes out of style.” Mid-height cabinets offer ergonomic use and balanced scale while drawers are dominant in base cabinets.


Counters and Backsplashes
Counters have varied thickness. Waterfall edges and thick back-beveled edges are in style. Material combinations can add interest and practicality to a kitchen, while backsplashes add texture and contrast. Materials can extend to the ceiling and backsplashes come in solids and a mosaic of mixed materials.

Wood floors are still the No. 1 choice of consumers, while porcelain tile has come a long way. In large scale or planks, it imitates wood and stone. Luxury vinyl tile offers good imitations with ease of use and maintenance.

Flush built-in units are being used in combination with or instead of professional style. Cabinet panes are used to enhance the design or disguise the appliances. Drawer units for dishwashers and refrigerators offer the same ease as base drawer cabinets.

“Kitchens will cost more and show off less,” said Hetherman. “Form follows function. Consumers want an island and more counter space.”

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Article reprinted with permission from NAHB

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