Article written by Becky Dumais
It’s where the party congregates, where we share experiences around the table and where homework often gets done. The kitchen is the hub of the house. We spoke with two local experts, Isabelle Beattie from K Design Ltd, and Valerie Thompson from Top Notch Cabinets, to get the scoop on what’s trending in kitchen design today.
Win with White
Today’s kitchens are being designed with a clean transitional look, with neutral colours and convenient built-ins to make our lives easier and more organized. Whites and off-white cabinets are in demand most, although Thompson says they continue to have customers requesting two-tone kitchens, with white upper cabinetry and darker painted islands or base cabinets. Beattie agrees, and says that the high contrast design can extend to your kitchen counter tops too. It’s becoming more and more common to have a light kitchen counter top paired with a dark island counter, or vice versa.
Taste for Transition
Transitional is the buzzword for current style. “People want simplicity, both in style and function,” states Thompson. Customers are looking for simple lines, such as shaker-style doors. “Our lives are busy, so when we come into the heart of our home – the kitchen – we want it to feel visually calming. Clients want a designated place for everything too, so counters don’t become cluttered.” Beattie advises clients to opt for a little detail too, such as crown molding above the cabinets, or around the baseboard, “but for the most part, most of the lines are very clean,” she adds.
If new appliances aren’t in the budget, choose to conceal them: panels on the fridge and dishwasher will give the entire kitchen a clean, uniform look. Beattie also recommends a pull-out garbage. “It’s a must-have,” she states. “Also, when you’re stuck with smaller cabinets (due to space constraints) always go with a pullout spice rack.” And not just for spices, these drawers come in different widths to store Tupperware, pots and pans neatly.
Technology centres are a must for our modern lifestyles, says Thompson. It doesn’t have to be a desk, but you need somewhere to put phones, iPads or a laptop for sending emails or researching recipes.
Quartz – such as Caeserstone and Cambria – is rivaling granite for kitchen counters these days. “Clients want the ease of care and durability that quartz offers,” explains Thompson. Beattie is still a big fan of granite. “I find that in terms of a transitional design, nothing beats what the texture of granite brings to the overall look,” she says. For the backsplash, simple white subway tiles are very popular, along with marble mosaics. Both designers are also seeing a resurgence in the popularity of glass tiles.
Hardware is somewhat open season with a selection of warm metals to choose from, such as polished and brushed nickels and oil-rubbed bronze. “We’re seeing antiqued and burnished brass and gold,” comments Thompson. Beattie says that chrome is really picking up too. “With the proper lighting, it really makes them shine,” she says. “It becomes a sparkly jewel in the kitchen and another source of contrast.”
Finish from Floor to Ceiling
LED lighting is recommended for both under cabinet and pot lights. LED lighting is now offered in a warm hue that looks like halogen but is extremely energy efficient. “Pendant lighting, over islands and peninsulas is one of the best places to add some wow and personality, as well as creating some great additional light where we work the most,” says Thompson.
For flooring, both designers adore the look of hardwood. “Wood is warmer on your feet than tile, and easier on your back,” says Thompson. “Hardwood against a painted off-white and espresso kitchen looks very sharp,” says Beattie.
Lastly, add a personal stamp to your kitchen with a bit of art, a saying or unique lighting. Thompson has a large sign in her kitchen that says ‘work hard, and be nice’. “That’s the first thing you see when you walk in!”
Top Notch Cabinets