Home+Garden: Six Trends One Direction

New kitchen design concepts for 2018 point to a desire for simpler living.

The kitchen has always been the heart of the home—that hasn’t changed. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t constant developments in how we design and experience them. At the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and adjacent Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando this past January, six trends stood out as more than just chic. They were functional, practical, and beautiful, all at the same time. Homeowners want kitchens that are clean and uncluttered on the surface, while still being multi-functional spaces and storage powerhouses.

This recently remodeled kitchen and adjacent family room in Baldwin Park bear all the marks of the trends we saw at IBS and KBIS. Designed by C3 Studio for their clients Vivian and Daniel Padilla, the rooms show how living spaces have evolved. Kitchens have moved beyond prepping and cooking and now meet a family’s needs for entertaining, eating, more storage, doing homework, and hanging out. All that action tumbles out of the kitchen and into an open, connected family room—a natural extension of the kitchen.

Fill The Room

Kitchen islands have gotten much bigger. The guiding wisdom seems to be “make it as big as you possibly can, and then, make it bigger.” Rachael Celinski, principal designer at C3 Studio, incorporated a farmhouse sink, statement faucet, pop-up countertop outlets, dishwasher and a trash pull-out in a single large island, though she notes that at times her clients want as many as three islands.

“Everything about the design of the main living spaces translates to easy living.”

“On the back side of the Padilla’s island, we designed additional storage space for entertaining platters, placemats, and other dinnerware,” she says.

Picture yourself right here in the morning before school. This island gives the Padilla children a place to perch for breakfast and to make their lunches. Vivian and Daniel drink their coffee and rinse out cereal bowls without taking two steps.

Kitchen islands are what make the space truly multi-functional. In the case of double or triple islands, the additional islands are typically used as more of a furniture piece for serving or dining. Seating along one or two sides of an island makes your kitchen versatile and welcoming.

There’s no style deficit in the island scene. Designers usually keep the perimeter of the kitchen simple and clean, while the island is an opportunity for a pop. The cabinetry hugging the walls in this kitchen fades to white, while the island is an eye-catching matte charcoal (look for shades of black to be en vogue all year).

Keep It Natural

Wood has never gone out of fashion, and we’ll be seeing more of it this year. Natural materials soften a space when they’re neutral and become a focal point when they are high contrast, like the custom wood and concrete table Celinski designed and had made to perfectly suit the built-in upholstered banquette.

The banquette, which has a storage drawer, and the custom concrete and wood table are smart and stylish additions to this space.

“Sometimes you need a custom piece of furniture because the available tables out there are too small, too large, too heavy, not kid-friendly, or not the right material for the kitchen,” Celinski explains. “The wood table base connected with the floors and other wood in the kitchen, and made a strong visual foundation for the concrete tabletop, which is totally kid-friendly since it’s virtually indestructible.”

Light it Up

Great kitchen lighting can be the difference between slicing a tomato and slicing your finger. To accomplish full illumination, layered lighting gives the dimension, mood, and control you want. Layered lighting is a mixture of recessed, under-cabinet, accent, overhead, and wall lighting. The wall sconces that were hallmarks of Classic Revival are showing up in kitchens across America.

Sconces by the stove and beverage station boost the watts where it counts: in places where you do detail work like sautéing shallots or mixing your favorite  cocktails.

C3 Studio incorporated hidden tape lighting in the new open pantry area, where the functionality of the space was doubled by adding additional countertop space and transforming it into a beverage center. The open pantry—or Blantry, as it has been named after designer Blair Fredrickson of Landforms Design in Bountiful, Utah—blends seamlessly into the kitchen.

“I really wanted it to feel like an extension of the kitchen, rather than a large drywalled pantry closet,” says Celinski. She turned to Restoration Hardware for the kitchen sconces. “The iron color is very industrial and contrasted well against the white subway tile and shiplap. I also wanted to make sure the color of the lighting fixtures complimented the black cabinet hardware.”

Depending on how your cabinetry is arranged, there are many options for multi-dimensional lighting. If your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, consider low voltage tape lighting (on a dimmer for brightening up the room and for flexibility with day to night) for above the cabinets and at the toe kick for a modern look. If your cabinets go to the ceiling, incorporate under-counter lighting with diffuser strips so you don’t see the diodes reflecting off the countertop.

Open Expression

We’re glad to say that the sleek, minimal look of open shelving is being widely embraced by homeowners.

“Let’s talk about ease and function here,” Celinski says. “Everyone is always on the move, so  ‘grab and go’ makes things easier. Just be sure not to clutter the shelves too much. Open shelves allow you to keep glassware and dinnerware within reach. Changing storage design can also change the way the room looks and feels.”

“Open shelves require less materials
and can cut down on the cost of remodeling.”

In this project, Celinski included lots of open shelves instead of cabinets along the back wall behind the stove and beverage station. “I didn’t want it to feel crowded by upper cabinets. Instead, the open shelves give a sense of practicality and ease in the kitchen,” she says.

She noted that forgoing upper cabinets makes the kitchen appear larger and less crowded than it would if there were cabinets on the highest level of the room.

People aren’t shy about everyday dishes and kitchen items being out on display. The beauty of many of these pieces, especially as great design becomes more and more accessible, is something many homeowners are proud to show, as if these pieces are part of their collection.

Expand Your Horizons

Backsplashes have gone large scale. While once contained directly behind the stove or covering up the wall to a certain height, they now cover the entire wall, which creates a wonderful consistency in design and is easy to clean. Extending the backsplash to the ceiling, plus the addition of floating shelves, gives the kitchen work space more openness and visibility.

Even statement hoods like this one in the Padilla’s kitchen blend in better when the backsplash extends all the way to the ceiling, covering the entire wall.

“With the amazing tile selections out there these days, the possibilities are endless,” says Celinski. “Having an easy-to-wipe surface is mandatory in a kitchen. If the kitchen is simple, and your countertops are simple and you want a bold statement, use a porcelain graphic tile.”

If you want to go quiet on the backsplash because your countertops have a lot of movement, opt for a subway tile or simple glass tile. You can apply it all the way to the ceiling for a more complete look. “Anytime you see it go just to the top of the hood, it looks unfinished,” says Celinski.

Accessible, Not Visible

A clean look in the kitchen is easily achieved with hidden hardware, “push-to-close” cabinetry, and touch latches that eliminate the need for decorative cabinet hardware.

The mantle in the family room secretly does double duty. It opens to reveal a storage area for entertainment equipment and accessories.

While C3 Studio used traditional hardware in the Padilla’s kitchen, scan the adjacent family room and there’s none to be found. The more gear we have infiltrating our homes, the more cluttered it becomes. Designers have ways of cleaning it all up, tucking storage spaces into uncanny places and eliminating the need for knobs and pulls.

“A lot of homeowners look for ways to hide their entertainment equipment, like remotes and gaming systems. The mantle below the television opens to reveal an inset space where those things can easily  be stored,” says Celinski.

Think about these rooms and their functionality in the context of an active family life. Parents navigate I-4 to get to the office. They drive kids to and from school and all kinds of activities. Kids’ days are just as full with learning, sports, and play dates. On the weekends, the energy output is dialed back a smidge, but not by much. The home is a safe haven from the chaos of life, now more than ever. Every aspect of the Padilla family’s time spent indoors connects to the elements of design incorporated into their home. It all translates into easy living.

A great design only comes to life if the builder shares the same vision. That's what happened here. "Because of Regis Custom Homes' expertise, weekly walk-throughs, and great communication, this project is a success," says designer Celinski. Plus, it didn't hurt that she provided the builder with a spec book prior to the demo.

Solid as a Rock

Quartz was the hot topic at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show this past  January. At a press conference during the show, we learned that 94 percent of kitchen designers specified quartz countertops in 2017. The trend will stay solid through 2018, and the Padilla’s Baldwin Park house is one more piece of anecdotal evidence in quartz’s corner. C3 Studio chose to use Dakota Calcutta Quartz sourced from ADP Surfaces in Orlando.

Categories: Home Improvement