8 Interior Design Ideas to Update Your Kitchen
Architects and other design pros share new kitchen trends.
Architects and other design pros share new kitchen trends.
IF EVERYTHING wants to stand out, nothing will,” said Kelsey Hills, a Dallas homeowner who hired a local pro to quiet the centre of her house, the kitchen. Architect and designer Eddie Maestri infused the room with white oak—on the floor, flat-front cabinets and island. “Having a kitchen without a lot of competing design elements calms me,” said Mrs. Hills.
Enter the era of seamless kitchens. “Visual cues are changing,” said Mr. Maestri. Gone are look-at-me hoods and, for some, hulking marble islands. Panelled cabinets bejewelled with pulls are giving way to overlay fronts and hidden hardware. The visual cacophony of open shelves is history.
When Ferguson Kitchen, Bath & Lighting Gallery—a showroom retailer based in Newport News, Va.—recently surveyed homeowners on which room they wished to redesign, 47% replied “the kitchen,” more than chose any other room in the house. If you share that impulse, here are five ideas to update your kitchen, plus the trends designers consider passé.
IN: Woody Kitchens
“Ninety per cent of our clients are doing all wood, compared to only 30% to 40% of clients who wanted all wood a year or two ago,” said Candace Matlock, senior designer at Italkraft, a design consulting firm in Miami. The grainy finishes conjure a “relaxing feeling, like a spa,” she said. A recent Miami Beach kitchen combines tropical and minimalist design, using floor-to-ceiling teak veneer and white oak flooring. “The wood millwork gives warmth to the barefoot elegance of the home,” said Kobi Karp, the Miami architect on the project.
OUT: The stark contrast of coal grey cabinets and white counters is the antithesis of warmth.
IN: Hidden Hoods
Designers are tucking stove vents behind cabinets or drywall both to save money and to shift the emphasis to less-prosaic features. “[A kitchen’s] visual statement should be more than an appliance,” said Mr. Maestri, who hid a vent behind a false cabinet front so a brass-inlaid backsplash of black marble could shine.
OUT: Ostentatious hoods
In the New York City kitchen above, design gallery and consulting firm Colony opted for the airiness and simplicity of a Parson’s-inspired white oak table instead of a voluminous island. In Chicago, interior designer Claire Staszak worked with a maker on Etsy to transform a pine table into a vintage-tinged country-style piece that suited a tight kitchen space. “The table brought character to the white kitchen, and unlike a solid island, created a feeling of circulation,” she said. Another perk: Portability offers more layout flexibility.
OUT: Islands with two levels—one counter height, the second raised to accommodate bar stools—skew commercial. Plus, “it cuts usable food-prep surface in half,” Ms. Staszak said.
IN: Glass Cabinets
See-through storage is clearly back but not in a traditional “grandma’s china cabinet” way, observed Mr. Maestri, who opted for reeded-glass panels set in black steel to complement a noir-and-brass backsplash behind the cooktop (shown left). The groovy glass not only adds texture but camouflages storage so “you see a ghost of what’s there,” he said. Ms. Staszak invigorates more-traditional, bevelled-glass cabinets by lining the interior with peek-a-boo Schumacher wallpaper.
OUT: Open shelving is left in the greasy dust.
IN: Integrated Stove Tops
Rather than installing range-oven units, some designers are opting for the cleaner look of a stove top only, set into counter material, with ovens installed elsewhere. The range’s control knobs can then be integrated into material that matches the lower cabinets or counter material. In an East Hampton, N.Y., cottage, architect and designer Noam Dvir fused the range components into terrazzo-like Ceppo di Gré stone, using “the heavy marble like wrapping paper.” A polished stretch of stone flows seamlessly from a backsplash into a counter (into which the stove top is sunk) and then to a fascia for the knobs.
OUT: A standard range that disrupts visual continuity.
IN: Brass and Blue
The subtle wink of colour in a kitchen bathed in blue can ease you out of sterile, snow-white cabinetry. “Calming, subtle and versatile, soft blues can make spaces feel more open and airier,” said Arianna Cesa, colour marketing and development specialist at Benjamin Moore. Dallas interior designer Gaia Guidi Filippi woke up these original Shaker cabinets with Benjamin Moore’s Van Courtland Blue, then added hardware in brass, a “sunnier, softer” metal. Bonus: Homes whose real-estate listings mention brass can sell for almost 2% more than expected, according to recent research by real estate website Zillow.
OUT: White cabinets outfitted with chrome details can look lab-like and dated.
IN: Sky-High Backsplashes
“The backsplash has evolved from an accent to a feature,” said New York designer Elena Frampton, who used blue-grey, floral tile on kitchen walls that she had liberated from upper cabinets. “Taking the tile from counter to ceiling and flanking the windows packs a punch,” and proves much more stylish than a stack of appliances or cabinets, she said.
OUT: Solid tiles in a smooth finish relegated to a strip between countertop and cabinet.
IN: Custom Pet Stations
“Your pets are members of your family, why not give them a beautiful space to enjoy their food and water?” said Jen Samson, an interior designer in Laguna Beach, Calif. For her canine-loving clients, Ms. Samson added a pot filler—a faucet on an extendable arm, easily plumbed from an existing island sink—and lined the puppy oasis with Calatorao marble to match the countertops. Brass fixtures kept the station in-line with the rest of the kitchen’s hardware. “It’s definitely a space saver,” Ms. Samson noted.
OUT: Pet water bowls skidding along the kitchen floor like hockey pucks, spilling contents on their way.
Reprinted by permission of WSJ. Magazine. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: November 2, 2021
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Vacationers scratching their travel itch this season are sending prices through the roof. Here’s how some are making trade-offs.
Capri Coffer socks away $600 a month to help fund her travels. The Atlanta health-insurance account executive and her husband couldn’t justify a family vacation to the Dominican Republic this summer, though, given what she calls “astronomical” plane ticket prices of $800 each.
The price was too high for younger family members, even with Coffer defraying some of the costs.
Instead, the family of six will pile into a rented minivan come August and drive to Hilton Head Island, S.C., where Coffer booked a beach house for $650 a night. Her budget excluding food for the two-night trip is about $1,600, compared with the $6,000 price she was quoted for a three-night trip to Punta Cana.
“That way, everyone can still be together and we can still have that family time,” she says.
With hotel prices and airfares stubbornly high as the 2023 travel rush continues—and overall inflation squeezing household budgets—this summer is shaping up as the season of travel trade-offs for many of us.
Average daily hotel rates in the top 25 U.S. markets topped $180 year-to-date through April, increasing 9.9% from a year ago and 15.6% from 2019, according to hospitality-data firm STR.
Online travel sites report more steep increases for summer ticket prices, with Kayak pegging the increase at 35% based on traveler searches. (Perhaps there is no more solid evidence of higher ticket prices than airline executives’ repeated gushing about strong demand, which gives them pricing power.)
The high prices and economic concerns don’t mean we’ll all be bunking in hostels and flying Spirit Airlines with no luggage. Travellers who aren’t going all-out are compromising in a variety of ways to keep the summer vacation tradition alive, travel agents and analysts say.
“They’re still out there and traveling despite some pretty real economic headwinds,” says Mike Daher, Deloitte’s U.S. transportation, hospitality and services leader. “They’re just being more creative in how they spend their limited dollars.”
For some, that means a cheaper hotel. Hotels.com says global search interest in three-star hotels is up more than 20% globally. Booking app HotelTonight says nearly one in three bookings in the first quarter were for “basic” hotels, compared with 27% in the same period in 2019.
For other travellers, the trade-offs include a shorter trip, a different destination, passing on premium seat upgrades on full-service airlines or switching to no-frills airlines. Budget-airline executives have said on earnings calls that they see evidence of travellers trading down.
Deloitte’s 2023 summer travel survey, released Tuesday, found that average spending on “marquee” trips this year is expected to decline to $2,930 from $3,320 a year ago. Tighter budgets are a factor, he says.
Wendy Marley is no economics teacher, but says she’s spent a lot of time this year refreshing clients on the basics of supply and demand.
The AAA travel adviser, who works in the Boston area, says the lesson comes up every time a traveler with a set budget requests help planning a dreamy summer vacation in Europe.
“They’re just having complete sticker shock,” she says.
Marley has become a pro at Plan B destinations for this summer.
For one client celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary with a budget of $10,000 to $12,000 for a five-star June trip, she switched their attention from the pricey French Riviera or Amalfi Coast to a luxury resort on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.
To Yellowstone fans dismayed at ticket prices into Jackson, Wyo., and three-star lodges going for six-star prices, she recommends other national parks within driving distance of Massachusetts, including Acadia National Park in Maine.
For clients who love the all-inclusive nature of cruising but don’t want to shell out for plane tickets to Florida, she’s been booking cruises out of New York and New Jersey.
Not all of Marley’s clients are tweaking their plans this summer.
Michael McParland, a 78-year-old consultant in Needham, Mass., and his wife are treating their family to a luxury three-week Ireland getaway. They are flying business class on Aer Lingus and touring with Adventures by Disney. They initially booked the trip for 2020, so nothing was going to stand in the way this year.
McParland is most excited to take his teen grandsons up the mountain in Northern Ireland where his father tended sheep.
“We decided a number of years ago to give our grandsons memories,” he says. “Money is money. They don’t remember you for that.”
Chima Enwere, a 28-year old piano teacher in Fayetteville, N.C., is also headed to the U.K., but not by design.
Enwere, who fell in love with Europe on trips the past few years, let airline ticket prices dictate his destination this summer to save money.
He was having a hard time finding reasonable flights out of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., so he asked for ideas in a Facebook travel group. One traveler found a round-trip flight on Delta to Scotland for $900 in late July with reasonable connections.
He was budgeting $1,500 for the entire trip—he stays in hostels to save money—but says he will have to spend more given the pricier-than-expected plane ticket.
“I saw that it was less than four digits and I just immediately booked it without even asking questions,” he says.
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