October Is National Kitchen & Bath Month

Local Professionals Share Their Take on What’s Hot.

Whether it’s new construction or remodeling, kitchens and baths are the rooms that can often make or break a sale. So it’s appropriate that during National Kitchen & Bath Month, several local kitchen and bath professionals give their perspectives on what’s hot and trending in kitchen and bath design.

Julia Stier, Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company

Stier says anything technology- or gadget-oriented is very hot right now, from built-in charging stations to hidden storage options that provide accessibility without the clutter.

“Clean lines are definitely the trend,” she says. “We aren’t seeing ultramodern necessarily, but clean, unfussy lines are popular.”

She says color is back now, too, with more homeowners opting for painted cabinetry in at least one area of the kitchen.

The Starbucks craze has crossed over to the home as well. “Anything espresso-related is very trendy, like built-in espresso makers and brewing stations,” she says.

Danielle Krafcsik, Moehl Millwork

“I’m excited about the direction most cabinet manufacturers are going with shades of gray,” says Danielle Krafcsik of Moehl Millwork. “We’re seeing gray stains and paints both, and we’ve even seen some applications blending grays with brown tones for a two-tone look.”

Krafcsik says the two-tone concept is big now, whether it’s in paint and stain selections or other materials. “Sometimes we’ll see island cabinetry finished in a darker color than the wall cabinetry, or we’ll see a mix of glazes and stains or paint colors.”

Like many design professionals, Krafcsik sees painted finishes gaining in popularity. “New finishing processes for paint give the consumer a durable finish and help prevent scuffs and scratches,” she says.

Terry Doling, Showplace Kitchens

Showplace Kitchens’ Terry Doling agrees that contrasting stains and painted finishes are particularly hot trends right now.

“We’re seeing not only a lot of gray and off-white tones but also splashes of bolder colors to create accents and points of emphasis,” he says. To accommodate that trend, Showplace offers the entire Sherwin-Williams color palette and numerous finishes to create anything from distressed looks to mixed textures and more.

In addition to contrasting stain and paint selections, Doling says designers are also implementing creative choices in materials. “Many clients are choosing woods such as hickory, alder, and eucalyptus to differentiate from the more common oak, cherry, and maple that have dominated Midwest kitchens for so long.”

Doling has noticed another trend in kitchen design–drawers, drawers, drawers.

“People like the accessibility of drawers,” he says, “and some people just organize better with drawers than cabinets.”

Because of this, designers are finding new ways to create storage and functionality with drawer systems instead of traditional cabinets, lazy Susans, and shelving.

Designing as large a kitchen as possible used to be the goal. Not anymore, Doling says.

“The emphasis is on designing kitchens that are functional,” he explains. If it’s done well, Doling believes, you can sacrifice space and still increase accessibility.

Dave McGrath, Fine Line Woodworks

No matter where the cabinetry is located in the home, Dave McGrath of Fine Line Woodworks says designers and homeowners are recognizing that quality matters. “They want good-quality hardware and workmanship, whether it’s the centerpiece of the kitchen or the master closet, because everything is so much more open now and a change in quality or design from one room to the next is more noticeable,” he says.

McGrath, like other area professionals, has noticed the trend toward a European style, with cleaner lines and more space-saving construction to keep the feel of the home more open.

“And it seems like everything is solid colors more and more and more,” he adds. Designers are focusing on quality materials and using color rather than decorative frills for drama.

One element that has truly become a focal point is the kitchen island. “They’re not the old chopping block work station they used to be,” McGrath notes. “They’re a centerpiece of the room, often with everything from dining and prep sinks to appliances and storage.”

Because of this, islands are much larger than they used to be, and lighting is crucial to the design as well. “Islands have become the design opportunity, really, in the kitchen because they’re the bridge between functionality and workspace in the kitchen and living space in the family room or dining area and the rest of the home.”

In the master bath, McGrath says contemporary styling is very popular, with features like furniture-style vanities or vanities hung from the wall to keep the floor open and make the room feel larger. “We still see his and hers sinks and vanities,” McGrath says. “But they’re much more custom than they used to be, with space designed for specific tasks like makeup and shaving.”

McGrath says closets are key in bedroom designs these days. “Built-ins, rather than furniture, have become necessary to fit people’s lives and possessions. We have everything from task lighting and mirrors to custom storage and laundry facilities.”

Barb Hyde, Beisser Lumber & Design

According to Barb Hyde of Beisser Lumber & Design, “Glazes with visible brush strokes are becoming popular. And white kitchens are back in a strong way,” along with gray tones and anything painted.

In fact, color of all kinds and other decorative techniques are growing trends right now. “I’ve seen custom applique techniques on cabinet doors or trim, like plaid interiors or personalized pictures in the cabinetry,” she says.

Hyde says subway tile remains popular, especially in backsplash applications.

One design feature Hyde is seeing moving here from other parts of the country is inset cabinetry. “We’re accustomed to an overlay style, where the door overlays the cabinet frame. But with inset cabinetry, the door fits inside the frame,” she explains. Homeowners going for a vintage look often choose this style.

In the bath, Hyde is seeing a trend toward storage towers to maximize storage and maintain a spacious feel, primarily in master baths.