This article was originally posted in the Poughkeepsie Journal on July 25th, 2010
No matter what the economy, kitchen remodeling seems to be unaffected.
Floors and appliances wear out and need replacing, cabinets get old, paint fades and the family cook suddenly finds the whole room unworkable.
That’s when it’s time to renovate, and designers say this year’s trends are pleasing both to the eye and the environment.
“We’re noticing less new construction and more renovation. More clients are staying put, and want their current space to function properly and look great,” said Kati Curtis, an interior designer with Nirmada Interior Architecture and Design in Manhattan and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. “They are more willing to spend on top-quality, energy-efficient appliances and materials that look great, perform well and will last.”
Kate Talbott, a kitchen and bath designer at Millbrook Cabinetry and Design on Route 44 in Millbrook, said this year’s trends lean toward big open rooms for dining and seating — the great room concept.
Perhaps because of that, furniture styling is also of interest to homeowners.
“Making things look like furniture … furniture legs on islands, furniture details on bases, making islands look like tables, things like that. It’s definitely a popular look,” she said.
In cabinets, people are opting for painted wood rather than a natural oak or cherry wood stain.
“White is incredibly popular for anyone doing paint,” said Talbott, adding that a glaze on top of the standard white is a great look for kitchen cabinets. “We’re also seeing a lot of soft colors, yellows, soft blues and soft greens,” she said.
On the counter
Quartz surfaces on countertops are definitely low maintenance and come in neutral shades as well as fun colors such as red, blue and green, Talbott said. “But granite countertops are still super popular and we’re doing more unusual granites. Granite doesn’t have to look like what most people think of … there are so many different colors and veining patterns,” she said. “Soapstone is also very popular. People are always asking about soapstone and that look of older soapstone.”
What about flooring?
“I think hardwoods are popular right now in kitchens,” Talbott said. “A lot of people are looking for continuing the same wood floor that they have through the rest of their house in their kitchen.”
In general, she said, softer materials on the floor are a current trend, adding that she hadn’t done a tile floor in the kitchen for quite some time.
“We just recently did linoleum. It’s environmentally friendly. The new linoleums are lower maintenance and there are great colors available,” she said.
Cork, bamboo and reclaimed wood are also popular choices for flooring, Talbott said, adding, “Incorporating reclaimed elements has been something we’ve seen people interested in, especially for flooring.”
Designer Kati Curtis agreed, saying performance is key when it comes to determining if a material is truly eco friendly. “Engineered quartz countertops are virtually maintenance free, heat resistant and antimicrobial. We’re using a lot of cork floors in kitchens, particularly for its ergonomic and acoustical properties, and the fact that it’s a rapidly renewable resource is an added plus,” she said.
As for appliances, “Stainless steel, professional appliances … that’s been a trend for a while now,” Talbott said.
By professional appliances, Talbott means big stainless steel professional-style ranges such as those from Viking and Five Star, 48 inches wide with grills and griddles, two ovens and warming drawers.
“All those sort of bells and whistles are definitely a trend,” she said.
When it comes to stoves and ovens, the granddaddy of them all is a cast iron cooker called the Aga, which was recently given a best in show award at the Architectural Digest Home Show in March by the American Society of Interior Designers New York Metro Chapter, Curtis said.
“The Aga stove was given the award for its unique technology, flexibility, efficiency and, of course, the fantastic look. Aga’s process is unique in that there are no switches and dials (because once it’s installed and turned on, it’s always on) and the way the heat is transferred through the stove is gentle and consistent. This allows the user to cook and broil at the same time, while the thermostatic control maintains consistent temperatures,” she explained.
“Due to the cast iron construction, high levels of insulation within the outer casing ensure that fuel is used economically, whether it be gas or electric. Its unique look and quality is suitable in both contemporary and traditional environments,” she said.
Millbrook Cabinetry and Design carries the Aga, which is set up and working in its showroom.
Jeanne Campbell, who works in the family-run business owned by her husband, Robert, and sons, Robert and Sean, has learned to cook on the Aga and says the things she bakes and roasts in the Aga come out very moist.
“They don’t come out like they do in a typical oven. I think the cast iron seals the moisture in so that things don’t dry out,” she said.
The Aga stove has four ovens — one for roasting, one for baking, another for simmering and a fourth for warming, Campbell said. “They all run at a different temperature, so depending on what you’re cooking, you use a different oven.”
“It’s a different way of cooking than what we’re used to,” Talbott said. “But people who grew up with it, anybody who has lived abroad — once you have one, you love them. So people really seek them out. Once you go Aga, you never go back.”
Jennifer Clair of Home Cooking New York in Beacon, who teaches private cooking classes, said the Aga stove is a major purchase. “It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s not for the average person. You need to love cooking and be very devoted to it,” she said.
Clair prefers a dual fuel stove, which Millbrook Cabinetry and Design also carries.
“Dual fuel means the stovetop is gas and the oven is electric. Electric ovens are much more efficient and cook things more evenly. They’re much better for baking and making brownies. The heat source is more even,” she said, adding that they cost a couple hundred dollars more than an all-gas or all-electric stove.
“But they’ll give you the benefit of both things,” she said. “Such as having the gas on the stovetop so you can regulate it much more easily, and then having an electric oven, which is more accurate.”
Jackie DiMarzo is a freelance writer.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the following websites:
• Millbrook Cabinetry and Design, www.millbrookcabinetryanddesign.com
• Nirmada Interior Architecture and Design, www.nirmada.com
• American Society of Interior Designers New York Metro Chapter, www.asidnymetro.org
• Home Cooking New York, www.homecookingny.com