Must Haves For Today’s Ideal Kitchen

By Steven V. Philips –

Swiss Manufacturer - Laufen
Swiss Manufacturer – Laufen

According to industry insiders, kitchen trends are so 21st century they’ve caused me to stop calling the appliance that keeps food cold an ice-box.  In fact, just the other day I read that there’s a chance refrigerators in 2020 will allow you to use a Smartphone to find the Latin name of the mold growing on your left-overs.

The phrase “Water Station” popped up. Had to research that one and, no kidding, it’s the sink area. You’re sacrificing weekly pedicures to send your kid to college to think up stuff like this. Agreeing that the kitchen is the center of house operations and the sink is the-dead-center-point but a water station? Seriously?

Anyway, in this water-world what are actual sink trends? Disappointing to me, the stainless steel rectangle still rules as shiny number one. How so mid-20th Century! But other materials that can be shaped into more aesthetic forms are starting to show up, apron front sinks (aka farmhouse) being a prime example. Whatever the material, larger single-bowl sinks are more popular than the double-bowl though in the doubles, the divider has been lowered to make large items cleaning easier. And the garbage disposal is off center.

LED Cabinets
LED Cabinets

There is one really new technology: Swiss manufacturer Laufen’s ceramic material, called SaphirKeramik (containing an aluminum oxide found in sapphires), can be molded much thinner than traditional ceramic – 3mm to 4mm vs. 8 to 10mm. Now, to first figure out a millimeter and then a new shape.

Faucets advances are easier appreciated. Manufacturers continue to improve  looks and function. Faucets are more likely to be visible in an open-concept floor plan, so now they have to be considered jewelry for the room. Coming in colors and stainless, some pull-out of a base and some can be activated with with a touch. Italy’s Sovrappensiero designed faucet comes in several colors (like red chili and green sage) and flexes like your Yoga teacher. Among others, Grohe’s new offering has a water filter built in. And another shows the temperature of the outflow with colored LED lights. Yo! Disco returns. Price is proportional to glamour. Faucets are a big ticket item in today’s ideal kitchen.

Glamour kitchens keep growing (and also literally) in demand. Shaker style door/drawer fronts are holding their own, though since the economy has gotten better, more detailed (and more expensive) transitional fronts are returning. Bamboo, though technically not a wood, seems to be the material most mentioned in the wood finish area, although maple is still the most popular cabinet material. It takes stains and paints with ease. Cherry is often the preferred wood for more high-end kitchens. Textural surfaces and lighter colors rule.

Sept mag wallAnd, in an “I told you so” moment, lower cabinets are moving to drawers rather than doors. Upper drawers are obviously meant for utensils, but when used all the way down they can hold cooking vessels, dishes etc. OK, you rebellious thing, if you still want doors, those lower cabinets can be LED inner lit. These LEDs will show off your prized dust-bunny collection plus you can see the wedding presents you never use. Drawers can also be equipped with LEDs but with less fun results.

Another good idea comes from Rev-a-shelf. It’s a vertical magnetized panel that pulls out like a tray compartment. The interior stainless panel holds magnetic hooks, and bingo, your very own design layout makes all of your pans singularly accessible. No stacking! Noble Prize potential.

And, indicating a possible future trend, Remodeler magazine shows the wall of a kitchen with no counter. Drawers below and doors above. No counter at all. In the center, a big island. So, as kitchens morph into living/cooking/gathering places, the cabinetry really is trending towards looking like furniture and less utilitarian. Here are some other trends to consider when renovating your kitchen or picking out fixtures if you’re building a home.

Sept yoga faucett


  • White and various values of white still rule but IKEA, among others, has a wonderful gray.
  • Strips of LEDs running along the base cabinet kick panel to light the floor give cabinetry a neat floating look. However, this requires a daily, or more, crumb-buster for the floor. Live-in help is recommended.
  • Double-bowl sinks can be of two different sizes, or depths or shapes. Accessories of cutting and drain boards, drainers and strainers are available for some. And, as I said, look for lowered center dividers.
  • Alternative sink materials, along with timeless cast iron, are slate, quartz, and copper. And don’t forget that soon to be household term – four millimeter SaphirKeramik!
  • Guilt fact for today: Marble production generates just A BIT of waste between the time it’s quarried and the time you break your wine glass on it. Yes kiddies, 70 percent of the original slab cut at the quarry, ends up in dust from the cutting and polishing.


9 thoughts on “Must Haves For Today’s Ideal Kitchen”

  1. I appreciate the timing of this article 3 months after we just put in new kitchen cabinets. Sometimes I wonder if these articles purposely rub in my face all of the new designs we didn’t implement.

  2. Joseph:

    Thanks for being a loyal reader despite a touch of bitterness in your note. Once Google or Stem or little Sammy next door gets their drones perfected, through them, I will attempt to deliver you a copy of my stellar revelations a year before I know them so your face will be less rubbed.

  3. Referring to “water station” being a sink, isn’t it time to stop calling the room that contains the “water station” a kitchen? Come on you twenty first century yarn twisters, give us a word that is more appropriate to an area where creation flourishes. The outhouse in now a place where your 10 exotic cars are kept, with an Olympic pool on the upper level: your man cave…

  4. Mr Philips…Interesting article re: faucets !! When we did our kitchen over it was imperative that we have a Grohe faucet at the Water Station.I regret that decision to this day. It was probably the most expensive, roughly $500+, and as it turns out, the least effective. Because of the “EARTH-hugger”involvement,The stream of water from this stainless jewelery isn’t enough to knock a crumb off a plate. If I wasn’t still smarting from the sticker shock, that would be gone in a minute!!! Cheers

  5. Having just built a new house I put a lot of these extra touches – undercabinet lighting is a must have. A sink tilt to store a kitchen brush is also a requirement. Keep up the good work SVP!

  6. Amazing all the new inventions for new kitchens. Love the LED lighting for the bottom cabinets idea. I sort of agree with Joseph though, could have been a bit more useful a while back. Still an entertaining read!

  7. Interesting stuff ! Remodeling kitchens is definitely an expensive and sometimes extravagant undertaking.
    Thanks for keeping us up to date on the new features. Like many others, I will admire from afar.

  8. Wish I was in the market for a new kitchen. Your ideas always intrigue me enough that I look around and have second thoughts about my own kitchen. But alas, I have no energy for remodeling!

  9. All sorts of great ideas. I happen to have one of those new design facets that are touch, on/off. Not a fan.
    Just did a new outdoor grill area and love the bamboo cabinets. I would put them in a new kitchen in a heartbeat!
    Kitchen is a gathering place for the house. It can be fun and functional.
    Thanks for entertainment Mr P

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