Monthly Archives: May 2014

5 Kitchen Trends on the Rise

In the past twenty years or so the kitchen has become the centre of the home. This room has grown from a perfunctory space to an all-out eating, cooking, dining and communication hub. It’s no wonder that Canadians spend more money on kitchen renovations than any other space in their home. If you’re planning to overhaul your kitchen this year, you might want to check out these five growing kitchen trends.

1. No Uppers


No upper cabinets, via Vosges Paris, A Paper Aeroplane

There is a growing trend in kitchens to forgo upper cabinets altogether. It keeps the kitchen looking light and airy and reduces the bulkiness or heaviness that traditional kitchens sometimes have. In its place are either empty walls or open shelving. Either way you will want to make sure you have enough room in your base cabinets to store all your kitchen needs.

2. Eat-In Kitchens


Eat-in kitchens, via Tommy Smythe via Rooms Bloom, Because I’m Addicted

The popular kitchen island of the 80s and 90s has made way for the sit down dining room table. More and more homes are forgoing another work surface for a place the whole family can sit down for a casual meal or do homework after school. Harvest tables or surfaces that can double as prep space are a practical choice if you choose to have a eat-in kitchen.

3. Dramatic Lighting


Dramatic kitchen lighting, via Interiors Digital, I am a Domestic Goddess

A kitchen isn’t complete these days without some bold pendant lights. Whether you place a pair of them over your island or eat-in table, or choose one to take centre stage, a dramatic lighting statement is de rigeur.

4. Tiled Walls


Tiled kitchen walls, via Big Shoes to Fill, La Maison d’Anna G

As more and more kitchens do away with their upper cabinets the trend to tile an entire wall is also gaining in popularity. Since you will need that much more square footage of tile, choose something that is budget-friendly like a basic white subway tile. Paired with a dark grey grout it looks classic and timeless.

5. Material Inspiration


Unique material choices, via Design Traveller, One Hour

If money is no object and you’re willing to take a few risks than the sky is the limit when it comes to material choices for your kitchen. We’re seeing everything from hammered metal cabinets to rough stone walls to sheets of marble. Paired with stunning hardware, beautiful chandeliers and amazing faucets your kitchen can be the jewel of your home.


Trendy & Timeless

It’s the gathering spot for many busy families and as such, the design of kitchens in the home is always evolving. Recent design trends are paying attention to the need for beauty as well as function. Here are six of the most prominent kitchen design trends, and we think they’ll be around for quite a while!

Move toward a furniture look

Whether you love a farmhouse style or want a very upscale look, using appliances that look like an actual piece of furniture is becoming popular. One reason for this is the fact that you aren’t locked into one style of plain, plastic front on the appliance. You can express your creative side and go for a more eclectic look.

With the furniture look, you can mix and match different finishes and styles. The refrigerator can be turned into a piece of furniture instead of a stainless steel hunk that just screams, Look at me – I’m here!

To pull off the furniture look, you use the same style principles that make decorating work in any other room.

Add An Island To “Beef-Up” The Kitchen

Ask most homeowners and they’ll tell you that there’s not enough counterspace in the kitchen, no matter how much or how little they have.

Whether you need a second work station, a space from which to serve an informal buffet, or just a place to toss the day’s mail, kitchen islands are a popular solution to the lack of kitchen space. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, over 50 percent of kitchens created include islands.

With the wide range of in-stock, ready-to-install cabinets, accessories and trim moldings available today, it’s possible to create an island that will be just right for your kitchen, at less cost than if you turned to a custom cabinetmaker.

If you are planning a kitchen remodel that will include an island, consider these tips:

  • Most importantly, there should be sufficient space between the island and other work surfaces to allow for opening cabinet and appliance doors, and for two people to work without jostling one another.
  • Depending on your specific needs, the island can be located so it functions as an integral part of the work area. It can also serve as a divider between the kitchen and the family room.
  • Adding an island permits a reconfiguration of the classic “work triangle” of refrigerator, cooktop and sink, because it is an ideal place to relocate either the cooktop or the main sink, or to install a second sink as the focal point of a second work triangle.
  • If the cooktop will be located in the island, with a wall oven elsewhere, consider pull-out trays or drawers below the cooktop to store pots and pans. If the island will be a second work station with a prep sink for cleaning veggies and the like, NKBA suggests including a pull-out wastebasket in the cabinet below.
  • Be sure to plan for the mechanicals necessary for locating the cooktop or sink in the center of the room. For the sink you’ll need supply and drain lines, and for the cooktop, a ventilation system-either an overhead unit or a downdraft model. Both the plumbing and downdraft unit will require breaking through the floor. That’s fine if you have a basement or a crawl space beneath, but could present problems if the room is on a slab.
  • If your island will separate the kitchen and family room, it can become a multi-purpose unit that shows a different face to the family room. The use of shallow, glass-fronted doors can be used as display space, while the kitchen side uses standard-depth base cabinets for no-nonsense storage. The generous countertop is ideal for staging a buffet.
  • And finally, don’t forget about adequate lighting. Without it, the island will lose much of its functional appeal.

Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertops

post-choosing-the-right-kitchen-countertops-01Searching for the perfect surface for doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some pointers about the most popular countertop materials.

Tempting though it is to choose a countertop based on looks alone, a material’s durability, maintenance and, of course, cost are also important factors to consider when making a selection for a kitchen remodel.

Find a good fit
Homeowners have to assess the way they live before settling on a countertop surface, says Jeff Cannata, past president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and president of Designer’s Showcase Kitchens & Baths Inc. in Carol Stream, Ill. “If they have three kids and they’re making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the countertops every day, they might not want to go with that white granite.”

Countertop choices
The good news is if homeowners have their hearts set on a certain look, but the material just doesn’t match with their lifestyle, odds are there’s another material that does.

Granite, the top choice in countertops, is available in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, greens, corals and beiges, and no two pieces are exactly the same. Granite is available in two finishes. A polished finish results in a shiny look and often darkens the appearance of the stone, while honing is soft and matte. Costs for granite depend on many variables, including color, finish and origin of the stone.

“If you pick a granite that’s relatively easy to get, it could be affordable. If you pick a granite that I have imported from Zimbabwe, and [it] only ships once a year, that can be pretty expensive,” Jeff says.

Other natural stone materials, like marble, limestone and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically.

Engineered stone countertops come in a wider variety of colors than natural stone countertops, are more durable and are a cinch to maintain. They’re “just bulletproof,” Jeff says. However, engineered stone won’t save any money over granite: the two materials cost roughly the same.

Solid surface countertops have a lot of appeal. They come in countless colors, are seamless, resist stains and scratches can be buffed out. One word of caution, though: Hot pans can damage solid-surface countertops.

Concrete countertops, which can be completely customized with pigments, are gaining popularity. Concrete is available in several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marblelike veining). Extreme or abrupt changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp or curl, damp sponges left on the counter can cause discoloration and acidic spills may etch the surface. To keep a concrete countertop looking its best, it’s advisable to seal them it to four times per year and wax with a paste every two to three months.

Wood countertops, like butcher block, instantly warm up a kitchen. They are easy to clean and any scratches can be sanded out. Water damages butcher block quite easily, though, so wood countertops must be oiled frequently to seal the surface.

Laminate is the most affordable countertop material on the market and comes in an array of colors and designs. Laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and has a reputation for scratching easily. However, the product has made strides in scratch-resistance in recent years, Jeff says.

On the edge
Square edges are standard on most countertops, but decorative edges like radius, bullnose, bevel, egg and ogee — while a bit more expensive — are another way to customize a kitchen. Availability of edges varies based on countertop materials.

Mix and match
Can’t decide on just one material? Then mix and match surfaces. In her designs, Sarah Ann Busby, owner of Sarah Busby Designs in Elk Rapids, Mich., often uses a different material on islands than the rest of the countertops to differentiate the space. Another option is to inset another material into a countertop for specific tasks. Butcher block is common for chopping as is marble for baking.

Before making a decision on countertop material, see the surface in person, whether that means visiting a showroom or viewing samples in-home.

Guide to Redesigning Your Kitchen

post-kitchen-redesign-01Good kitchen design starts early, even as early as locating the room within the house. If you’re lucky enough to be able to choose which direction your kitchen will face, consider orienting it toward the east or southeast, where morning sun will fill it with light. Unfortunately, in rehab, choosing the southeast orientation is not always possible, although we think it’s worth working hard to achieve.

If this simply can’t be done, orienting the kitchen to the south or southwest is a good choice. If you go this route, provide some means of shading the room from the hot summer sun, such as deciduous trees or shrubs, awnings or overhangs above windows or even with good window blinds.

Once you get the kitchen oriented, there are some basic design principles that will help you with the layout.

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