TREND WATCH

dles to further carry the sleek design through every element. Glass cabinet doors are being replaced with either frosted panels or the total removal of some or all top cabinets in favor of open, floating shelves attached to the wall. Countertops are trending toward more durable, simple surface designs using quartz and concrete. Utilizing the same flooring in the kitchen and living area provides another element of simple, elegant design.

4. Islands

Since the kitchen is still the hub of the house, it has to be livable. To be practical, it needs ample chair space and countertop surface larger than a plate of food. Why? So kids may eat a quick breakfast while packing lunch or complete their evening homework while dinner is being prepared, so the retired client can read the morning paper while drinking his coffee, or so the grandmother has room to give a cooking lesson to an eager grandchild. Some kitchen designs now employ two islands—one for food prep complete with its own sink and another island for family and friends to gather around. If the kitchen is, indeed, the hub of a home, then the island is its center while life happens on and around it.

5. Seamless Open Kitchen To Main Living And Dining Areas

Since so much time is spent in the kitchen, it is nice for those preparing meals to still be able to engage in what is going on in the living or dining areas. Gone is the word “room,” which connotes separation and isolation. Instead young families and empty nesters alike want a warm, inviting space where the entire family can gather in every season of life. A floorplan with open areas just makes sense no matter the client.

6. Hidden Lighting

Under cabinet lighting is more affordable than ever, so it’s an easy upsale to a kitchen design. It illuminates countertops so the workspace is not in the shadows. It brings warmth to countertops while entertaining or in the early morning or late evening. Hidden lighting is also showing up inside cabinets so contents can be better seen. Hidden

lighting features are also showing up in crown molding to give an ethereal glow to a room when it’s dark outside.
7. Abundant storage

To get the mixer and toaster oven off the kitchen counter, large, deep storage areas are a new “must” to keep the kitchen countertops clutter-free. Many new home plans now call for a butler’s pantry complete with its own sink to put dirty dishes in while entertaining. Drawer and cabinet organization options are endless, so every cabinet can be put to good, organized use. With the removal of wall cabinetry in many new construction homes in 2017, creative ample storage is a necessity.

8. Technology integration

Families are busy no matter the generation. Offering technology-saving space for clients can make a great kitchen spectacular. Hidden docking stations to power phones and tablets overnight are a new trend that fits the technology most families now have. A centralized location to house a family tablet that controls security systems, outdoor lighting, thermostats, and pool pumps is an added bonus—as long as it can fit into the decluttered design without drawing unnecessary attention.

9. A Pop Of Wow
Creating a timeless, neutral kitchen allows for a dramatic or subtle statement

of color in items like barstools, upholstered dining chairs, the island cabinet, a backsplash design feature, or a strategically placed vase of flowers or wall art. Another “wow” is the use of a complementary cluster or light fixtures over an island or dining table. Fixtures themselves are art and add a “wow” that enhances the beauty of timeless design.

10. Floors

Warm, rich floor tones in dark wood stain liven up a muted kitchen color and flow seamlessly into the other living areas of the home. Tile that looks like wood is showing up due to its durability and easy upkeep. Outdoor tile is making its way inside the kitchen in large, rectangular pieces of slate, porcelain, and other hard surfaces. When entertaining, clients can simply open up doors from the main living areas and have floors that connect from outside to inside, resulting in another feature of seamless design.

No matter the project--a Savannah waterfront home, a Decatur ranch fixer-upper, or a newly-built home in a suburban mega neighborhood--these kitchen trends weave seamlessly into the architecture and style of the home. Accent pieces or a few eye-popping kitchen features (backsplash, dramatic light fixture, or contrasting kitchen island paint), allow the homeowner to truly personalize the space while maintaining functionality yet not getting too caught up in decisions they’ll soon regret.