The heart of the home, the hardest working room in the house, party central: yes, we’re talking about the kitchen. It doesn’t seem to matter what size your living quarters are, or how cozy and inviting you make your family room, the kitchen is where family, friends and guests naturally tend to gravitate, no matter the occasion. We talked to two local kitchen design and renovation companies to find out what the current trends in kitchen design are.
This year it’s all about the light, bright and white. “White shaker cabinets are timeless,” says David Shaw, owner of The DAS Group in Newmarket. Grey-tones are popular too, and can be pulled into the colour scheme through the wall paint, the countertops, or even in the island cabinetry. The flat, grey cabinet door is also trending right now. It’s all about simplicity, and flat cabinets with no raised panels are easy to wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth – no furniture polish needed.
Those strong, crisp angles extend through to the countertops, too. Gone are the days of decorative edges. “Everything has gone back to the way countertops used to be – with that simple, squared-off look,” says Shaw.
And when it comes to countertops, quartz is leading the way. Unlike granite, which requires care, sealing and yearly upkeep, quartz is low-maintenance. “The quartz countertops are a lot more durable, and the designs they’re coming out with now are incredible,” says Tony Torelli, owner of Estate Kitchens at Avenue Décor Centre. “Years ago, older Italian homes always had white and grey marble or white and black marble in the kitchen. That look has come back in spades.”
When it comes to the layout, the “kitchen triangle” rule-of-thumb remains. “That has always been an imperative part of the kitchen design,” Shaw says. “You want to make sure you have access to the stove, the fridge and the sink all with relative ease and without too many obstacles in your way.” And there are endless features to help provide a functional, clutter-free space, including pullout cabinets for recycling and garbage, as well as spice pullouts and slide-out drawers in the pantry. “Lower cabinets are transitioning from doors to drawers, creating more functional space with slide-out storage,” says Shaw.
One of the top priorities for customers looking to renovate their kitchen is increasing the amount of usable space. “People are concentrating a lot on the internal components of the kitchen, in addition to the look,” Torelli says. Moving appliances off the counters, or at least having them hidden, is not only more appealing to the eye, but makes it easier to work in as well. “Typically, you’d see plugs on the backsplash, but we can hide those by burying them in the upper cabinets,” says Torelli. Microwaves are tucked away too – commonly built into the island cabinet, leaving room for a restaurant-style range hood above the stove. You can also add custom cabinet panels to cover the fridge and dishwasher, continuing that clean, consistent look.
Of course, a kitchen isn’t just a place to cook and clean in, it’s also a popular spot for entertaining. “Islands have become meeting places, so you have to temper functionality with the right look in order to achieve that social component,” says Torelli. Long islands in galley kitchens leave you plenty of space both for food prep and a comfortable seating area for your guests. Torelli explains that there are always options. “There’s also the possibility for walls to be moved to make the kitchen flow more efficiently,” he says.
Of course, it all comes down to the customer’s personal preference and lifestyle. “Most of us can’t afford to replace our kitchen every 10 years,” says Shaw. “We try to direct clients to consider a more timeless design, especially when it comes to the cabinets. This way, with some simple updates to the cabinet handles and paint colour, the kitchen can feel brand new again.”
by Allison Dempsey & Charlotte Ottaway
The DAS Group
Avenue Décor Centre