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Newest Kitchen Remodeling Trends
No other part of the home gets so much attention as the kitchen. This is because no other area in the home provides so many important functions while carrying a lot of social activities as well. Besides food preparation, cooking and utensil cleaning much of the family meeting time takes place in the kitchen. In the 1980’s it was the breakfast nook and now the kitchen layout includes a cooking island with stools and a side desk with computer.
So what has changed in the overall style? Kitchen plans are more á la carte with mismatched cabinetry. However, kitchen showrooms also show a uniform space with a broad expanse of stainless-steel and dark cabinets. In other words, kitchens are becoming more personal and if that means wooden countertops so be it.
No other feature defines a kitchen more than cabinets but they have taken on completely different tone. Gone from cabinet designs are the busy grains of natural woods or other light tones. Black, a once forbidden tone, is now a preferred finish on cabinets. On the other side of the scale is rich, Tuscan cabinetry with mismatching islands. This styling can be colored with a washed-out green trimmed in a distressed-brown.
If the cabinets have changed in color and material so have the countertops. Granite, the stalwart material of new kitchens, is being pushed aside by marble, travertine and soapstone. Although these materials need maintenance, like frequent cleaning and sealing, many homeowners don’t mind it because each slab as a distinct color and toning like no other. In addition, hardwood, an old friend of the kitchen from early part of 1900’s, is roaring back with rich walnut and ironwood counters that also mold into the drain board and sink. A quick oiling once a month and these surfaces will last a lifetime.
Polished concrete is another beautiful addition to the kitchen. This time the homeowner gets to decide the composition from inlaid fossils to acid stains and dyes. And if that’s to artsy there is always granite, quartz or marble engineered stone or solid acrylics to match the cabinets. Or you can go commercial with stainless-steel counters and butcher block for the working surfaces.
If the cabinets and countertops are the style and design of the kitchen the backsplash is the trim. Even here stainless is popular but large tile or a material matching the countertop is also stylish. For example, travertine can be the countertop, sink and backsplash. As well, the fine art of tinsmithing shows up in pewter, copper or brushed-brass.
Not so long ago hardwood in the kitchen was a taboo subject. There was no way anyone wanted wood near water as moisture would always find its way between the cracks, or underneath the planks. The new hardwoods are sealed and so having a sweeping expanse of hardwood from the livingroom through the dining room and into the kitchen is a desirable effect. However, there are new products like cork and bamboo that add an exotic underlay to the kitchen.
Tile is still the perennial favorite especially with in-floor radiant heat. The squares are larger and can be arranged in diamond-shaped patterns with rounded bands for decoration.
The illumination of a kitchen is the icing on the cake. Once there was only a fixture on the ceiling but now there is a layered effect. The ceiling fixture is great for a washed look but a kitchen is a working place and close-in lighting is needed. Under-the-cabinet, recessed lights are very popular because they don’t interfere with the ambiance of the overhead fixture or the medium lighting of sconces. In addition, inside–the-cabinet lighting is also becoming popular making every utensil and jar accessible.
One of the most distinct features in the kitchen is now the range hood, whether over the island or on the wall. Stainless steel is still a preferred material for range hoods and other appliances although new, under-the cabinet fridge and freezer drawers are becoming very popular. These conveniences put the food close to the preparation area and may send the tall refrigerator to the obsolete department.
Inside the cabinets, the old idea of the lazy susan is gone in favor of ingenious storage racks, ones that retract behind corner cabinets. Cabinet hardware is either missing or toned down to slim silhouettes.
The kitchen will continue to evolve as homeowners’ taste change but it will always be first, and foremost, a food preparation and storage space.
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