27 Oct Custom Kitchen for your Custom Home
A kitchen is often the heart of your home. A place to gather, share a meal, and entertain friends and family. When building your custom home, think about the key features your kitchen needs. Here, we outline some top trends in kitchens to help guide you as you design your dream space.
It’s hard to believe that white kitchens could get any more popular. But the preference for white cabinets continues to soar. And layering white on white — white backsplashes beneath white cabinets on white countertops — was spotlighted in recent Best in American Living Awards presented by the National Association of Home Builders. Whirlpool’s White Ice collection, with its glass-like glossy sheen, is being hailed as the first appliance exterior to rival stainless steel. White appliances are so much easier to keep clean than stainless, which smudges if you as much as look at it. Plus, the new icy look is simple, cool, and able to blend into transitional and contemporary styles. And since stainless has filtered down to the masses, it no longer has that expensive and exclusive cache it once had. But white will always have staying power.
The popularity of sleek, sophisticated gray color schemes is soaring. But gray can be tricky. In cold, cloudy climates, gray can appear frozen unless you use it on warm materials like wood cabinets, or pair it with hot colors likes reds and yellows. On the other hand, gray can appear pleasantly cool in sunny, hot climates — a breath of fresh air in heat and humidity. So while white kitchens are a safe bet, gray is neutral enough — and close enough to white — to have staying power if you use it well.
Small is big these days. Micro-living is taking off for millennials and retirees. Owners of multigenerational homes are installing tiny, secondary kitchens for returning adult children and elderly parents. Typically, these micro-kitchens feature a two-burner cooktop, combo microwave/convection oven, 18-inch dishwasher, and 60-inch fridge or refrigerator drawer.
Quartz instead of Granite
In 2013, quartz and granite almost tied in countertop popularity. But in recent years, the trend is definitely toward quartz. “Consumers Reports” says quartz is the toughest countertop material, which resists scratches, burns, and chips. Crushed quartz stone is mixed with resin to produce countertops that range from solid colors to the look of real granite, but they’ll beat natural stone in toughness. It’s easy to maintain, and unlike granite, you don’t have to seal it annually to prevent stains.
LEDs are AWESOME!
Ribbons of LEDs are showing up in the weirdest — and most wonderful — kitchen places: Along toe kicks as nightlights; on the inside of cabinet doors to show off grandma’s china; concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light.
LED rope or cove lights are gaining in popularity because:
- LEDs come in a rainbow of colors, from bright to soft white, red, blue, and green.
- You can get creative about where you install them.
- LEDs emit virtually no heat, so you can keep them on forever without burning cabinets or walls.
- LEDs are energy efficient, lasting 50,000 hours on average — five times longer than CFLs.
- And they’re coming down in price, making them more affordable for the average homeowner than they were a few years ago.
Refrigeration is no longer limited to a single, hulking unit. Homeowners are customizing their cooling needs with “point of use” refrigeration, adding cool where they need it. That could mean adding a counter-height produce fridge in your prep island, next to a wine cooler for the adults, and a juice/soda fridge for the kids. Don’t think we’re talking about dorm-fridge quality and prices. U-Line point-of-use refrigerators, for example, offer (depending on the model) 11 shelf positions, full-extension slide-out bins, and five food and beverage settings labeled deli, market, pantry, root cellar and beverage.
Touch-activated faucets are bursting out the fad category into the kitchen must-have column. In fact, in 2013 their popularity jumped to 30% from 20% the year before. On the face of it, touch-activated seems a little gimmicky, and with prices starting around $350, it’s certainly a lot of money. But it’s great for those times when you’ve got dirty, chicken-goopy hands, and for those in your household who refuse to turn water on and off between tasks because it’s too much hassle. And as water becomes scarcer, anything that saves gallons will have value — and save you on your water bills. A reason we recommend touch free over hands-free: As you know from public bathrooms with hands-free activated faucets, they’ll often turn on when you don’t want them to and not turn on when you do.
These are just a few of the amazing trends happening in kitchens. Since you’re building a new, custom home, build a kitchen that works for you – and include some of these great ideas to truly make it your own.