Home & Garden

Couture Kitchens

Customization is key

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The all-white kitchen craze is fading. “White granite stains,” says Katy Wolfington of Waterbury Kitchen & Bath in Kennett Square. “It isn’t practical for someone who really cooks or has children. People are abandoning granite and going back to more durable countertops like the new, manmade, quartz composites such as Zodiac and Ceasarstone. It’s timeless.”

But the biggest trend in countertops is wood says Wolfington, who recently designed a kitchen in mahogany. Wood is also making a comeback in kitchen flooring. “Seventy-five percent of the cost of tile floors is the labor,” she says. “If you have a pool or a dog, tile is still ideal. But if not, wood is the economical and aesthetic winner.”

“Maple and cherry cabinets are strong with our traditional customers,” says Terry Keenan, president of HP Builders in West Chester, Pa. and Greenville, Del. “There is a new triple process, stained cherry that gives the stressed look a new dimension.” Keenan personally goes shopping with his clients to a selective list of prestigious vendors. “For cabinetry, we use Thomasville, Craftman, and JT Limited Custom Cabinets.”

Using computer visualization, Keenan’s clients can compare cabinet, countertop and flooring options before making their final choices. Ceramic and porcelain tile, as well as natural stone tile, remain popular kitchen flooring options, but hardwood will dominate the kitchen landscape more than ever in 2010. Keenan is using a new Brazilian Tigerwood that has a pattern similar to the animal (not the golfer) for which it is named.

People once asked for particular styles such as French Country or Tuscan. Now my clients want kitchens that evoke a sense of who they are as individuals.

Barbara Bell, Senior Designer at Tague Design Showroom, has noticed a definite shift in the focus of kitchen designs. “When I started designing kitchens twenty-some years ago, people asked for particular styles such as French Country or Tuscan. That has changed drastically. Now my clients want kitchens that evoke a sense of who they are as individuals, how many children they have, whether they bake bread or how often they entertain.”

This process starts with a visit to Tague’s 10,000-square-foot showroom, displaying kitchen cabinetry by Plain & Fancy of Lancaster, Pa.; Bertch of Waterloo, Ia; and ArtCraft, a European line. A family business that dates back to 1908, Tague Design Showroom is located in Malvern, with lumber outlets in Phoenixville, Media, Downingtown, and Philadelphia.

Many kitchen builders offer computer visualization to preview the design possibilities for floors, cabinets, appliances, countertops, and even wall color. Troy Granite of Exton, Pa. and Newark, Del. offers what they call a Virtual Kitchen Tool on their website at www.TroyGranite.com. Just think, you can re-design your kitchen while your boss thinks you’re writing the annual report.

Standard dishwashers, with the traditional door that pulls from the top down, will once again be easily the most common type in 2010. However, an increasing number of dishwasher drawers will be installed in kitchens this year for their convenience and their ability to wash small loads, thereby saving water and electricity. Keenan gives a thumbs up to Bosch double-drawer dishwashers. He also likes Bosch’s roomy stainless steel combination fridge-freezer. He predicts an increase in single-handed faucets as well as deeper sinks with grates on the bottom to protect both the surface and that dish you accidentally drop. Because the party always ends up in the kitchen, under-counter wine storage units in the kitchen or butler pantry are increasingly popular.

The Hunt Summer 2010  Issue

This article was published in Home & Garden from the Summer 2010 issue.
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