Trends WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT
WOOD SPECIES: Exotic veneers continue to be popular in kitchen and bath designs. Rift cut woods of all species have come on very strong —- White Oak, Maple, Cherry and Walnut are the most popular of the rift cuts. We expect to see an increased demand for rift cut Red Oak as this is what has been popular in Europe recently and popular European cabinetry designs come across the Atlantic within about a year or two. Flat cut Maple is still the most popular of all species but clients are beginning to look at both Alder and Birch as alternatives to Maple. The graining is similar to Maple, but the coloring is different enough to give a stain a new look. Cherry is a distant 2nd to Maple, but only in light to medium stains or a natural finish. Very few clients ask for Oak, Hickory, Ash or Pine.
EuroTech’s custom furniture line continues to see an increase in the use of exotic veneers. Wenge is very popular for the contemporary as are Sapeli, Afromosia, English Sycamore (highly figured) and Anegre. Traditional or transitional furniture is still utilizing mostly Maple and some Cherry (both of these do well with stains and glazes, distressing, wear-through,etc.).
STYLE AND DESIGN: Contemporary kitchens and baths continue to increase in popularity. We are seeing a healthy mix of wood (including the exotics), laminates (mostly simulating wood) in both gloss and matte finishes, glass and metal. Clients are looking for clean lines, light and airy designs, floating base units and floating shelves. While the European
influence is evident, the kitchen with just open shelving (no or very few doors), which is so popular in Europe, does not seem to be catching on here. While we like European styling, there appears to be too much of a difference in life styles for us to “go all the way” in emulating the European kitchen. Zen design is still influencing contemporary design in both kitchen and furniture design. The simple, clean lines, the natural materials, the bringing indoors of what is outside the home has a great deal of appeal to
today’s contemporary-minded client. Gen-Xers, who seem to favor contemporary furnishings, are looking at utilizing blocks of bolder colors to add interest and liven up their spaces. They are behind the resurgence of a “Classic Fifties Look”. This generation is fearless when it comes to trying what they see as new and interesting ideas.
Traditional and Transitional design continues to be the most popular in kitchens, baths and built-ins. Five-piece panel doors with and without applied moldings, large crown molding, trim moldings, decorative columns and multi-step finishes will continue to be popular here in our region. Look for some new finishes and finishing techniques to develop
over the next year or so. We will be looking for some new trends and ideas in finishes from Europe in addition to the bold and colorful stains we are already seeing.
Hardware choices and selections continue to increase as they have in the past few years. A multitude of styles in both Traditional and Contemporary designs are available. In addition to new designs for knobs and pulls, we are still seeing lots of different materials and finishes. Stone, glass, wood, metal…you name it, it’s becoming available.
b>BATHS: Baths, in particular the Master Bath, have become a much more important part of the home. It is a 2nd retreat (after the kitchen), but more private. Master Baths are larger, incorporating walk-in showers, accommodations for in-home spa treatments and Saunas. Tubs have become smaller with the emphasis on therapeutic functions. Look for this trend to continue and grow in the coming years.
COUNTERTOPS: Granite maintains it’s # 1 position in popularity for our clients’ work tops. However, in our constant search for new and unusual products, we’ve been specifying Granite tops that aren’t polished, but honed or sandblasted. These processes give a whole new look to Granite tops. The 2nd most popular material for counter tops is Quartz surfacing such as “Caesarstone” , “Cambria” and “Zodiac” (95% stone and 5% pigment and epoxy). Color and pattern choices have increased substantially making Quartz surfaces more appealing than before. Wood tops are also gaining in popularity as new finishes have been developed to make the Wood tops more durable and safe to use as a food preparation surface. We have been providing some Concrete countertops as well. Being able to customize colors and patterns make Concrete tops very appealing in both Contemporary and Traditional designs. Stainless Steel counters are still considered, particularly by those who use their kitchens a lot or by the gourmet cooks among us. Solid surfacing (Corian, Avonite, etc.) is still requested as well. It’s a good option for those who feel that stone is “too cold”, but for whom plastic laminate is not acceptable.
APPLIANCES: Kitchen appliances are no longer limited to dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, etc. Today’s kitchen is “teched-up”. Look for electronic “plug-in posts” in work spaces, not just desks. Plugging in your lap top or flat screen TV and DVD player at the kitchen island or other prep areas is a lot more convenient than running
back and forth to your desk. Look for continued integration of typical kitchen appliances with your home computer.