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New Trends in Kitchens & Baths

We Talked to local experts about what’s new, how they temper trendy with practical for their clients and how they’ve navigated the economic storm that has made homeowners take a step back from putting more money into their home.
more than basics

Kitchen design doesn’t stop with cabinets and hardware. Appliances are a big part of the newest trends and help drive home that sense of practicality, according to Mark Plush, of Plush Designs. “Costs are coming down on induction cooking appliances,” he says. “They are the most efficient method of cooking, and the latest designs that lean toward a contemporary, less fussy look are making them more desirable.” Combination induction and gas appliances as well as steam ovens are also making the list.

In addition, touchless faucets that turn on with the wave of a hand or the touch of an elbow so dirty hands don’t spread messes and germs also appear on the list of much-sought-after finds for the kitchen.

PLEASING TO THE EYE

Color tends to be a driver when discussing trends and gray and taupe color schemes are hot right now, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Plush agrees. “In Colorado, we tend to go toward softer colors and warmer woods because of our natural environment,” he says, noting that wood tops are also popular because they’re warm to the touch.

And speaking of touch, surfaces in both kitchens and baths continue to find themselves in a constant state of flux. Ceramic tile was in until granite came on the scene in its myriad of color combinations and movement within the grain. But as granite has become more ordinary and expected, quartz is the standout among surfaces. Andrew Kranz of Aspen Kitchens Inc. highly recommends quartz to his clients. “It’s a manmade product that is non-porous so there is no worry of bacteria,” he says. “Quartz comes in consistent slab sizes with non-directional finishes so you can get the look and feel of granite with more durability.”

Cabinetry tends to reflect personal choice and preferences but Kranz agrees with Plush that our natural surroundings drive local design trends. “The rustic look and feel will always be strong here in Colorado,” he says, adding that painted cabinets in off-white with different rubs or finishes are also popular. “Because of our mountain setting, we lean toward traditional but when you combine a traditional component with something contemporary we call that transitional.”

FUNCTION FIRST

Kranz says clients rely on his designers to blend trendy with traditional to ensure the project reflects the client’s taste without risk of the room looking like something from outer space. “We combine function with design but we always try to meet the function because in the end that’s what will make the customer happy,” Kranz says.

From floating vanities to vessel sinks, showers heads to medicine cabinets, form definitely meets function in the bathroom. Floating vanities not only create a sleek look with lighting underneath, they make it easy to clean the floor; and the new medicine cabinets that contain special lighting, hide away a television and even sport heated mirrors.

Vessel sinks that sit atop a vanity come in a variety of materials including pricey copper and add an element of  design to the room. And reminiscent of the claw-foot bathtub, freestanding tubs with floor-mounted faucets are making their way back into the bathroom.

But it’s the fixtures in the shower that really get complex. “There is so much flexibility in finish and in spray,” Plush says. “There are a myriad of beautiful faucets, massaging shower heads, even beautiful drains that provide flexibility in finish and spray.”

So how have local companies fared over the past few years with home building on the decline? Both Plush and Kranz agree that remodeling has been a larger part of their business but they are seeing a resurgence of new construction.

PRICED TO FIT

Nancy Moon of Beckony Kitchens & Baths created a special approach for her clients allowing them to continue with their projects by choosing a good, better or best plan. “We realized we needed to offer a higher sense of quality at a lower price point without skimping on the quality of installation and execution,” she says. For instance, customers can choose a less expensive cabinet with the same finish as a more expensive cabinet and granite that has less movement as a more expensive piece making the entire project more affordable.

“We are paying more attention to stronger, cleaner simpler designs at a more affordable price point,” Moon says. “If it’s installed with attention to detail, no one will ever know it was less expensive.”