Get inspired to make your kitchen work smarter – and look fabulous.
The kitchen is the gathering spot. It’s the room everyone migrates to when you entertain or are just having the family over for a special occasion. Functionality is something people always want out of their kitchen.
For Sherry Fine, functionality was essential to her dream for a new kitchen.
“The original design was not very conducive to cooking,” she explains. “I didn’t have a large workspace in the kitchen, and it didn’t have a good flow. That’s what pushed us to go ahead and remodel it.”
Roger Shollmier, owner of Kitchen Ideas, says the process to create Fine’s kitchen was simple.
“We consulted with the client, we used our design and color team here at Kitchen Ideas, we assisted her in selecting the color of the cabinets and everything down to the countertops,” he says.
The counter tops are made of onyx, and glass tile was used on the backsplash to complete the kitchen’s sleek, modern look. For the pantry, obscure frosted glass was used to create greater ambiance. Two televisions have also been incorporated into the kitchen.
Shollmier and Fine both say the highlight of the kitchen is the Galley sink, a spin-off of older, large sinks and the work triangle, which enabled you to get to the refrigerator, the sink and cooktop stove without taking more than three steps.
The sink is a little more than five feet long and is attached to the island in the middle of the kitchen with an induction cooktop to make cooking easier.
“It makes cooking more of a family affair because everyone can be in the kitchen,” Fine says. “I had no idea that when I first heard about the Galley sink that we would enjoy it so much.”
“We used to know a kitchen as prepping at a sink and going to a cooking area, but now we’re prepping, cooking, cleaning up and serving from an area no longer than 10 feet long to accommodate all the accessories and things you would use to perform,” Shollmier explains.
While Fine says her kitchen isn’t large, it is everything she could have dreamed of for her home.
“I don’t have a huge kitchen, but it’s so functional,” she says. “It’s easy to go in there and whip something up. The clean up is easier. It’s nice to have a functional kitchen.”
Cooking in the laundry room for two solid months while the kitchen was renovated was worth it for Fine and her family. “It makes a huge difference when it functions and flows right in a kitchen,” she adds.
Fine advises anyone who wants to redesign their kitchen to take their time.
“It is so easy to feel rushed, but the kitchen is a vital part of your home and it should be something you’re comfortable with, so take your time.”
Functionality Is Key
When planning a new kitchen, the choice of cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances are key decisions.
Personalizing your kitchen is the most important aspect of redesigning or remodeling, but there are some trends to keep in mind if you’re looking for a modern kitchen.
“We are seeing more clean lines and honest surfaces,” says Linda French, a designer at Kitchen Ideas.
“No more glazing or faux finishes. The strong trend now is toward function. I don’t see that ever going out of style.”
Scott Pohlenz, president of Pohlenz Cucine Moderne, says the current economic environment has accelerated people’s needs to modify their lifestyle choices. People instinctively turn to their homes to rest and enjoy life more fully, so there is a need for a functional kitchen, he says.
“There has been a welcomed return to utilizing the work triangle,” Pohlenz says. “This important planning concept addresses fundamental efficiencies in the kitchen.”
A sustainable lifestyle is what is in, especially when the kitchen is involved. Think renewable, recycled, environmentally safe and energy-efficient products in the kitchen.
While going green is a trend that is sparking in business and schools, it is also reaching into the home. With people seeking to lower their carbon footprint, appliances are more eco-friendly.
“Green technology is very important to a lot of our clients in appliances,” explains Wanda Killgo, showroom sales consultant at Morrison Supply Company.
“Some of our builders in Oklahoma are totally going green, and everything they put in is energy rated, and they have said it is a great selling feature.”
Builders and designers are also masking appliances in the kitchen. Cabinet manufacturers have made it easy to conceal dishwashers, trash compactors, and icemakers behind panels that match adjacent cabinet doors.
Killgo advises that there are a few other trends besides the eco-friendly appliances and kitchen technology.
“The latest trends we are seeing include more ranges instead of built-in units, French-door styled refrigeration instead of side by side units, quiet dishwashers, microwave drawers and also more panel-ready units to blend in with the cabinets,” she says.
French says induction cookers are the trend in modern kitchens.
“It’s the next big wave to hit the kitchen,” French adds.
An induction cooker is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric stove top. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners. Space-saving and energy efficiency remain top concerns for homeowners everywhere, especially with the anticipated price hikes in gas and electricity.
Wall To Wall
Want a wine rack on one wall and open shelves on another? No problem.
Regardless of the market or home design, there is a wide range of options available to consider when choosing cabinetry for your kitchen.
The latest style is a mix-and-match approach, which offers new creativity and visual interest. The look of furniture is not something new, but rather a fashion that is coming back into style. That means doing the refrigerator in an armoire-style cabinetry with a contemporary look. Cabinets no longer have to be set in the locker style.
“People are now seeking increased efficiency, without losing storage or function, while occupying a smaller footprint,” says Pohlenz. “This results is a kitchen that is more like furniture and is an extension of the adjacent living spaces.”
While our purchasing habits have led to buying smaller quantity with more frequency and the need for a large pantry or overabundance of cabinet space is gone people still want efficient storage, Pohlenz adds.
Today’s kitchens are about function and multitasking. Kitchen sinks are not any different. Kitchens today have taken on a more multi-functional roll with separate work zones. Popular materials used for kitchen sinks today include fire clay, copper, titanium, as well as stainless steel. There are so many different and basic sink styles now available including: under mount, drop in, counter top, square, round, vessel, wall mount and freestanding.
“Fashion has exploded in the plumbing world,” says Roland Rice, owner of Heatwave Supply. “If you can dream it, it almost can be done. We have so many styles to choose from, but try to stay true to your house. If you are contemporary in the style of your house follow the flow of your house to your kitchen.”
Backsplashes were traditionally used to protect the wall from moisture and grease from the sink and stove, but now it is an essential part of a kitchen design and can be featured anywhere there is a counter. A variety of materials can be used for backsplashes: concrete, natural stone, metals, mosaics, glass and stoneware. Textured glass, a look that is resurfacing from the 1950s, is another backsplash option.
Under Your Feet
People are looking for flooring that is durable and eco-friendly. Popular styles usually are made of wood, stone or tile. Sheron Gearhardt, builder sales division manager at Millcreek Carpet, says today, with busy lifestyles, people want flooring that is easy to clean.
“In flooring, we’re seeing rich, darker colors with rustic finishes that work well for any decor or style but lend themselves to easy care,” she explains.