Comfort and practicality
Of course everyone wants a kitchen that's beautiful, but comfort and practicality are also musts. Designer Joanne Hudson, who is responsible for kitchens for some of the most discriminating clientele in the world, offers her insight into some of the top trends.
"I'm currently working on a kitchen in the Hamptons," explains Hudson. "Many of these homes are second homes, so clients are having more fun playing with different textiles, marbles and materials than they otherwise would have — for example, butcher block countertops instead of luxurious custom marble. With that in mind, I think creating a more comfy, approachable space with uniquely bold details will surely be a kitchen trend for 2013."
Instead of just looking good, today's kitchens are more practical, too. "We do a lot of urban kitchens and try to get the most function per square inch but stay as married to the original design concept as we can in those situations — no matter how big the space," Hudson says. "For instance, using stained glass windows to mask an unsightly alley view, use all white cabinetry to open up a space as opposed to darker toned choices or utilize a backsplash with a stainless rod to hang your kitchen utensils as opposed to just having it be decorative. It can still look just as beautiful but also serve a purpose."
Flex entertaining spaces
Emmy-winning lifestyle host and best-selling author Christopher Lowell says that open-concept, flex spaces will continue to be one of the hottest kitchen trends throughout 2013.
"More then ever, homeowners are realizing that the kitchen is truly the hub of the house even beyond simply food prep," says Lowell. "Especially in older homes needing updating, the walls between rarely used formal dining rooms and kitchens are coming down in favor of more open lounge, family bistro-style flex spaces that we have enjoyed outside the home. While investments in the past years have been small upgrades to maintain the home, Americans are finally willing to do some serious remodeling now since it's quite obvious that people want to gather, hang out and casually entertain without having to go from room to room.
"The advent of a growing (if not booming) interest in food, food culture and cooking as a pastime by both sexes rises at the same time that the economic environment forces a return to in-home entertaining. So the size of center islands increase as not only prep areas but buffet and eat-at stations and bars as well. Once again people are taking their cues from their favorite, flexible public spaces — places they have already experienced firsthand."
We all know that it's a digital world these days, and that fact has definitely spilled over into interior design.
"The kitchen is without doubt the heart of the home. It always has been, but in a much different way than it is now. People gather in it, laugh, play, work and cook in it. The kitchen is not just a natural extension of the great room, it has become the great room," says Hudson. "My own kitchen houses many outlets so my husband can plug his laptop into the island and work, and my son can charge his cell while I boil a pot of water for pasta. I think technology will without doubt be a big part of kitchen design in 2013. When I started my business 25 years ago, clients didn't want more counter space for their televisions, appliances didn't have the ability to talk or shut themselves off, and the kitchen played a much different role."
Lowell agrees: "Wi-Fi is now built into these spaces deliberately, turning the open communal space into an internet cafe so family members can stay connected on smartphones and laptops."
When it comes to color, stark white kitchens and bold shades are out for 2013, according to Lowell.
"Because these areas are now co-mingling hubs, the high-energy color palettes of the past — yellow, chili red, etc. — give way to a more neutral, calming colors that were once reserved for places like bedrooms. The spa-influenced colors like shale, flannel gray, putty and deep tan now dominate."
More kitchen trends
Dixie Stark of Dixie Stark Interiors talks to us about some other kitchen design trends to keep an eye on in 2013.
- Chef's kitchens — Deep single basin sinks, tall professional faucets and every possible appliance one can incorporate to create the perfect clean workspace... including built-in espresso makers.
- Alternative countertops — "We are also aware of the shift from granite countertops to alternative choices like basalt, limestone, marble, glass, metal or anything reclaimed," explains Stark. "With the new sealers on the market, there is less concern for alternative choices of stone. However, when we do specify granite, we often recommend tumbled or textured finishes over the typical honed or polished. This changes the look, but maintains the durability of the granite."
- Contrast of color — Stark says, "Contrast of color is favored over monochromatic schemes in most cases. It makes the space more interesting and sharpens any special design elements. We are recommending both stained and painted cabinetry depending on the location and lifestyle of the project. For example, wood-stained cabinetry with lighter countertops or darker floors with lighter painted cabinetry."
- Eco-friendly options — Environmentally-friendly materials have been making their way into kitchens for the past few years, and, in 2013, kitchen design is getting even more eco-conscious. "In Seattle, we are required to compost, therefore we are integrating not only trash and recycle locations into our cabinetry, but also a compost container!"
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