Ten hot trends in contemporary kitchen design

SANTA ANA, Calif. — When Michelle and Jon Christy bought their 1980s-era home in North Tustin, Calif., much of the residence already was remodeled.

Except for the kitchen. It was dated. And it was olive green.

“I wanted to lighten up the kitchen, because the kitchen had been dark,” Michelle Christy said. “I thought white cabinets would give it a nice, clean, crisp look.”

They didn’t stop there. Today, with a demolition behind them, and new Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances along with a spacious island, the couple’s kitchen is not just brighter; it also reflects several current trends in culinary design.

So what’s trendy, but at the same time, has some staying power?

A survey by Houzz, a popular home design and remodeling website based in Palo Alto, Calif., gathered responses from 7,812 homeowners either planning renovations or in the midst of them.

The National Kitchen &Bath Association also came out with survey results from 300 of its member-designers.

Here’s what’s hot:

1. Chef’s stoves. A professional-grade range — a stove with options such as a flat griddle or a cooktop to accommodate a searing pan or a wok — topped kitchen wish lists.

2. Eco-friendly features. Nearly half of those surveyed said using eco-friendly appliances and materials in their kitchens is important.

3. Granite and quartz countertops. Granite still rocks, and quartz is a rising star.

Quartz countertops are resistant to stains and scratches and are easy to take care of, kitchen designers say.

4. Tile backsplashes. Tile was the top choice for backsplash accents. “A lot of people are using the backsplash as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen,” said Sheila Schmitz, Houzz.com editor. “That’s where they’ll put that splash of color, because it won’t be overwhelming.”

5. Floors. Hardwood floors led the list of choices, but here’s another area where tiles made a strong showing, coming in second.

6. Stainless steel. A majority of respondents favored stainless steel appliances. Some homeowners are combining appliance finishes or integrating stainless steel into cabinetry.

7. Islands. They’re popular but not a must. Some homeowners felt it would be the wrong choice because the room is too small or the configuration wouldn’t work.

8. Transitional style. This look — a blend of traditional and contemporary — has grown in popularity.

9. White cabinets. Whites and off-whites are the top choice for color schemes,

10. Gray color schemes. Grays are coming on strong, according to the survey and local designers.

The takeaway from all this?

“People really want easy, clean, unfussy kitchens,” Schmitz said.

And remember, don’t get carried away.

“Always try to keep in mind you’re doing the work for yourself, but at some point, somebody else will be in the house,” Close said. “Don’t do something so radical, so edgy, that in five years you’ll look at each other and say, ‘What were we thinking?’”

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