By Steven V. Philips –
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.
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.
And, 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.
- 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.