New, Tried, and True
Kitchen designs for 2016 are an intriguing blend of classic styles and out-of-the-box contemporary ideas.
It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home and to interior designer Audrey Greenway that statement is true now more than ever.
“There’s a lot more thought that goes into designing kitchens [now],” says Greenway, owner of Audrey’s Interiors in Harwich. “It’s not just a cookie-cutter operation.”
What Greenway says she’s seeing everywhere today are open-concept kitchens. “People are getting rid of the dining room—even in new homes you’re not seeing a lot of dining rooms—and you’re seeing the open kitchen concept,” she says about incorporating the kitchen into the living area and making the space more of a great room. “When the cook is in the kitchen, everybody’s in there with her, basically, in an open concept. The cook’s not missing out on anything, and the people aren’t missing out on her.”
One of the hottest trends in kitchen design is the use of gray tones, which, Greenway says, add a level of sophistication to the kitchen. “It’s sort of the new neutral,” she says of the color. “Really any single color in the universe works with it, especially navy, yellow, peach, coral and teal.”
When it comes to countertops, granite is no longer all the rage. “You’re seeing man-made materials, like Silestone and Caesarstone and quartz materials,” Greenway says. These low-maintenance engineered stones are growing in popularity, according to interior designer Linda Merrill, because they offer the functionality of granite (like the ability to set hot plates on such a surface) and allow for customization. “You can tinge some of these counters any color you want,” she explains, “and have a very small amount of grain and movement in it.”
Merrill, who owns the South Shore-based design firm, Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings, also says the use of reclaimed materials, such as refinished old wood, in islands, countertops and even around the base of counters, is now popular and that there’s a trend in mixing rough and luxurious textures.
“It doesn’t mean the whole kitchen itself is necessarily rustic,” she explains, “but there may be elements of rusticity in the kitchen. So you might pair (a reclaimed countertop) with a crystal chandelier. It’s a mixture of materials; things aren’t quite so tied to ‘everything has to look exactly the same at all times.’”
Adding to the theme of old and new in the kitchen is the return of brass fixtures. “Everybody hated the material after the ‘80s, but what we’re tending to see is an un-lacquered brass. It’s not shiny, and it will patina over time,” Merrill says.
“Whatever’s old is new again but still in a modern way,” she adds. “We don’t want a grandma’s kitchen, but we wouldn’t mind some aspects of it.”
In terms of kitchen flooring, tile is out, according to Greenway. “We’re seeing much less tile these days and much more wood on the floors,” she says. “It’s just a much cleaner look, and because you have that great room, open-concept style, everything really flows nicely too. When you start chopping up the floor surfaces, then you’re losing the effect that you want of having one big space.”
But when it comes to kitchen backsplashes, Greenway says titles—especially glass—are still big, as well as natural stones.
Stainless steel appliances remain popular and have become part of the standard design in kitchens. Lately, Merrill says, she’s seen interest in European, mammouth size appliances like La Cornue and Aga. “Those stoves are just spectacular looking and become a focal point,” she says. But because of their high price tags (in the $10,000 to $20,000 range), Merrill notes that these appliances are only for an elite market.
Dual-fuel appliances, such as gas top/convection oven units, are popular as well, says Greenway. Wine coolers and an additional sink in the kitchen, she adds, are also on trend.
When looking specifically at Cape Cod kitchen design, designer Mark Dupont of Cape & Island Kitchens says the classic Shaker style is most prominent.
“It’s funny,” Dupont says, “a lot of people come in and they’re asking for ‘that new Shaker style.’ Shaker is an old style that’s really come back.” Marked by clean lines and minimalistic design, the Shaker style—with origins dating back to the 1770s—offers a simple yet sleek look.
And when it comes to color, Dupont says white is the way to go in Cape kitchens. “Everybody’s going for the easy clean-ability and cleaner-line looks,” he says, adding that white provides a lighter, more airy feel in the kitchen.
“Right now, we’re definitely more into the lighter end of the spectrum for the colorations,” Dupont says, “but the West Coast is definitely going a little darker, so the color wheel might be coming around now again,” noting that in the 70s, many cabinets were dark-hued.
“I don’t know if we’ll get back to avocado appliances and harvest gold,” he continues, “but who knows where the styles trends are going to