March 12, 2010

What I'm Seeing in New Home Trends - Part 1: Kitchens

One of my favorite people in the world is designing a new home, and I thought I might give her some ideas of the trends I'm noticing in both new construction and remodels.

1.  Butler pantry as a working kitchen.  I'm seeing butler's pantries getting larger, with more appliances included, and I see kitchens getting smaller (and by smaller I mean just not as gigantic as they've been in the mcmansions of the past few years).  The idea of big meal prep and cleanup being done in a separate room is appealing.  You can just close off the mess for later, and enjoy time with family and friends in your main kitchen. 


2.  Prep sink.  An island prep sink has almost become a must-have in many kitchens.  It makes sense - the prep sink is used for chopping and peeling and getting ready for meals, and the main sink can be dedicated to clean-up, meaning you can throw all your dirty dishes in that general direction and deal with them later because they're out of the way. 


3.  2 Dishwashers.  I'm seeing this in larger homes with larger kitchens, but people love the idea of not having to wait for a full load to run before putting more dirty dishes into the dishwasher.  (Notice how many of my posts are based on making clean-up easier and more convenient for people?)

4.  "Command Centers" in the Kitchen area.  These work well for families with young kids and hectic schedules.  From bulletin boards to clip boards to chalkboard paint and calendars, to cubbies and mail slots and anything else to try to keep life organized and under control.  These spaces take a lot of thought to be functional, rather than just a dumping ground for everything.  But they're a great concept and can make a soccer mom's life much easier!


5.  European simplicity.  In a very different direction, I'm also seeing a trend toward the simplicity of European style.  Smaller kitchens, with just the basic necessities.  And no clutter.  In this kitchen style it is more important than ever to have a good design, because EVERYTHING needs to have its place.  These kitchens take advantage of every inch of space, including the backsplash area between the countertop and wall cabinets.


6.  Fewer wall cabinets.  Kitchens feel more spacious and open without wall cabinets.  By adding a full wall of tall cabinets or more functional base cabinet storage, you can often eliminate many if not all of the wall cabinets. 


7.  Eclectic Looks.  I'm seeing a lot of mixing and matching within cabinetry and furniture.  I love the look of an eclectic kitchen full of mixed and matched pieces that seem to have come from an antique store or consignment shop.  These kitchens have so much more warmth and personality than your standard kitchen full of boring monotone cabinets. 



8.  Center kitchen design.  I recently read this article from Kitchen & Bath Design News and found it very interesting.  Rarely do I get the chance to get involved that early on in the planning phases of kitchen location, but I think it's a great concept that makes a lot of sense.