The Future Of Kitchens – Will They Be Open Or Closed?

We know some things in kitchens never change. Appliances may be sleeker, materials improved and color palettes may be broader. But let’s face it, the kitchen continues to be the heart of the home where most of the hard work takes place. Probably the biggest change we’ve seen over the years is to open the kitchen up to the rest of the house. And for good reason… After all, who wants to be isolated from company or the rest of the family while preparing food? Now the question is whether or not open kitchens are here to stay. According to Sam Cochran of Architectural Digest, “Kitchens will continue to be the gathering spaces, with dining nooks and multipurpose work surfaces where you can both roll your dough or type on your laptop. But it’s no longer a universal truth that a dream kitchen must be an open kitchen. “ In fact, many high-end homeowners are adding a second kitchen to serve as a working kitchen. It’s especially popular with those who entertain a lot. Second kitchens or “backstage workhorse kitchens” allow the “social” kitchen to serve as the gathering space.  This way the kitchen continues to be the place to hang out without getting in the way of food preparation. For those who have the space, two kitchens provide room for unhindered food preparation while maintaining the social kitchen we’ve come to...

The Smart Kitchen Trend – What Will Your Dream Look Like?

With the trend in adding a “work” kitchen to the “social” kitchen, let’s look at where kitchen appearance and function is headed. Last February, the Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas showcased a plethora of new views. Many kitchen designers now incorporate fashion-forward features like glass fronts and LED lights on refrigerators. Appliances and cabinetry have chic leather and metal hardware. Back-splashes now feature unusual finishes like shagreen, metal, raw wood and artful murals. Tech is also the buzz and smart kitchens are definitely going digital. Currently Smart-touch faucets turn on and off with just a tap. Refrigerators feature integrated cameras that allow people to check their groceries from both inside and outside the home. Induction cook tops save energy with technology that changes heat settings instantaneously. Now think of dishwashers responding to voice commands and appliances that could communicate with each other to create shopping lists, meal recommendations and cooking instructions. Not only futuristic, these features dovetail with the trend towards Universal Design – the approach that makes living at home easier for everyone at every age. This is why experts believe innovations for the sake of technology alone will be weeded out. They see the market moving towards technology that not only looks sexy, but improves kitchen function and ease of food...

Great Kitchen Cabinet Design Hacks

When building your dream kitchen, first consider your storage needs, kitchen size and shape, and your family’s personal style. Then, keep the following cabinet design hacks in mind: Craft an eclectic look by combining a variety of cabinets such as natural wood, gray and white. Different cabinet sizes and door styles create depth in the room. With a two-toned kitchen, paint the inside shelves of the upper kitchen cabinets to match the cabinets under your counter-top. This contrast will create a cohesive space. Combine cabinets and open shelving to make the most of a small kitchen. Also use sliding doors to help your small kitchen feel less congested. Consider lining only one wall with cabinets. This should provide enough storage while keeping the rest of the room open and uncluttered. If you have a dark wood floor, use light colored cabinets and counter-tops to avoid the kitchen looking too dreary. Choose cabinets that have a red tint to add color to the room while still giving it a natural feel. Contrast glass cabinet doors with solid black cabinets to make a bold statement. White cabinets will reflect natural light and brighten up the space but be sure to spice up bland white cabinets by adding texture. For more storage in your kitchen, install shallow cabinets or modify the inside of the cabinet doors to stash thin items like condiments and paper products. If you plan on entertaining guests, wrap your cabinets around a corner and have the lower set double as a bar. Plan ahead for easy access by installing a cabinet directly above the dishwasher to make it...

The Sophisticated Country-Style Kitchen

“Rustic” is a beautiful combination of country cottage and farmhouse decor. Rustic kitchens add instant warmth and charm to a home, and are equally appropriate for both large and small spaces. To create a contemporary cozy look, check out these decorating ideas… No ceramic roosters or toile fabric doilies here! Start with exposed wood beams on the ceiling and a muted color scheme where natural materials will dominate. Salvaged wood with imperfections like knots, weathering, and grooves make the kitchen more appealing. Add a rough-hewn plank, tumbled stone or polished concrete floor. Consider an artisan stone oven or a wood-burning stove in addition to modern appliances. Dark wood can be too imposing for smaller kitchens so choose bleached or primitive painted light wood (oak or pine) cabinetry instead. When combining wood finishes, make sure they are complementary to each other. If you paint, stick with country colors like blues, browns, greens or muted reds. Distressing is optional since Type A personalities may not be able to tolerate intentionally chipped paint. Custom cabinets can also be created to mimic barn doors and a vibrant Shaker-style island can become the room’s focal point. Matte metal and industrial hardware are most appropriate for rustic kitchens because bright and shiny would clash badly. Exposed brick can be a great backsplash or accent wall. Install open shelving to display baskets and kerosene lamps as well as a hanging pot rack for showing off period copper or iron cookware. Add a farmhouse table, metal bar stools or a rag rug to complete the look. Be sure to blend old with new for a rustic space that...

Laundry Room Ideas That Aren’t “All Wet”

The laundry room is often small and supposed to be entirely functional, but doing laundry doesn’t have to feel like a chore in a beautiful, organized space. Laundry rooms are now an extension of a home’s living area, so they often have windows, furniture, and pendant lighting to make them more appealing. Cabinetry is more thoughtful as well. Laundry sinks differ from other sinks due to their wide, deep basins that are perfect for hand-washing delicate clothing, bathing small pets, and cleaning large household tools. Around them, it’s best to have a combination of closed cabinets and open shelving… and maybe a few long bars for hanging wet items. Open shelving over the sink, with or without trendy storage baskets, are great for easy access to soaps, disinfectants, sponges, and containers. Closed overhead cabinets work well for keeping cleaning agents out of the reach of children. Long storage cabinets near the room’s corner can hold brooms, vacuums, and an ironing board. Open shelving underneath the sink can accommodate laundry baskets and buckets. Some laundry rooms also have built-in pet stations with a low pull out drawer for food and water bowls, higher cabinets for pet food storage, and shelving for pet toys (A countertop can even be extended to make room for a cozy pet bed or crate underneath). For all cabinetry, choose simple, functional hardware. Whether you prefer cups, knobs, or handles- larger, easy-to-grasp hardware makes tasks faster when your hands are wet or soapy. Any style of cabinetry can work well in the laundry room and be sure to consider bold colors for a fresh look. Cornerstone...

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Increase your home’s value and make your bathroom a stylish sanctuary with some easy updates. Bright, open spaces make your bathroom look larger so be sure to add windows for a natural glow. Add LED lighting to cabinets and vanity mirrors for task lighting. Choose white or neutral finishes on walls and cabinets that reflect the light. For a more fashion-forward option, metallic wall tiles or paint also give the illusion of more room thanks to their eye-catching and refractive qualities. The indoor/outdoor bathroom is the bravest trend to open up a bathroom. A large glass wall with privacy glass, the coverage of plants and trees outside or retractable shades can allow you to bathe at one with nature! Boxy angles are out while beautiful curvy shapes are becoming more popular. You don’t have to add curves to the entire bathroom — pick two or three elements for balance. Faucets and fixtures that are more rounded are on trend. Your main vanity can have a curved countertop or be half-moon style. Skip floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and opt for open shelving or a floating vanity to maximize the bathroom space. Integrated (the same material as the bathroom counter) or undermount sinks add minimalist clean lines. A free-standing tub and glass shower doors are both luxurious and contribute to the light, airy concept. Consider bringing your favorite music into your bathroom with waterproof built-in speakers and Bluetooth technology. An Amazon Echo Dot or other SmartSpeaker can allow you to control the music and lighting level with your voice for a true spa experience. Lastly, to keep your renovated bathroom looking great longer,...