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All the Right Components

The Island: “Oh look! There’s a kitchen in my living room!”

Kitchens are rapidly becoming more and more a part of the family living space, with floor plans opening up and a functional “island” serving as the only separation between living/dining and the kitchen.

With that evolution, the kitchen island is now being treated as a piece of furniture and is often done in a color that coordinates, yet contrasts, with the perimeter kitchen cabinets. Beadboard, paneling, or doors are applied to the back and possibly sides of the island, with baseboard molding applied to finish the bottom. Sometimes the ends are left open with decorative legs supporting the countertop for casual seating. Although designers do not see many actual desks in the kitchen anymore, clients do want a place where they can use a laptop or tablet. A charging station is required, even if it is just a multipurpose plug in the island. Open cabinetry, wine storage, or a pet-feeding station may also be incorporated into the island, making it both an entertainment and serving center.

Cabinets: What’s in “storage” for the future?

In LBI’s shore-home environment, painted whites with or without accent glazing are the overwhelming color of choice. About 80% of orders have a paint finish and 90% of those are in white or off-white. Considered by some as the “new white,” gray tones via paint or stain finishes are also coming into vogue.

Cabinet styles tend toward the simpler, more contemporary, including flat panel, with or without accent beading along the inside edge of the stiles and rails. Traditional raised panels without applied molding or heavily detailed edges can make for a strong contender, especially in homes that are being built as a permanent residence for either now or in the future.

LED under-cabinet lighting adds a nice finishing touch to any kitchen, whether in the form of puck or strip lighting; LED lighting does not generate the heat that the older halogen puck lighting produces, and also emits a cleaner color than the fluorescent strips.

Large drawer-base cabinets are increasingly popular for pots and pans—no more down on your knees pulling out everything in the cabinet to get to that seldom-used cookware! Internal cabinet features are included in even the smallest kitchen to make the room function at its best, with options including pull-out wastebasket and recycle bins, pull-out spice and dry storage, roll-out shelving, multi-tiered cutlery dividers, in-drawer knife blocks, and corner cabinet lazy-susans™. In addition to style and color, our designers are getting more requests for frameless construction and a plethora of drawers in the base cabinets. A serious cook’s kitchen can be easily identified by the number of base cabinets dedicated to drawer storage!

The stacked wall cabinet of 48" to 54" or taller is a feature in many of the new homes with ceilings heights of 10' or more. The upper cabinet often includes glass doors and lighting where decorative pieces are on display.

Surface Envy: Countertops

With quartz surface manufacturers developing new colors and patterns that more closely replicate granite, this material is gaining in popularity. However, granite is still a widely-used option, especially since fabricators now offer a lifetime sealer that protects the granite from staining.

Appliance Trends: Fridges & Ranges

The French Door refrigerator style is very popular and the side-by-side less so. More counter-depth refrigerator options are available, with or without appliance panels. At their shore homes, many families forgo cabinetry appliance panels. Stainless steel remains the finish of choice for most kitchens, although some families opt for the new slate color introduced last year by GE.

With manufacturers recognizing the demand for professional­‑style ranges, the more commercial appearance is now available in ranges as small as 30" in width. The introduction of the drawer microwave allows it to be placed in a base cabinet, making it a statement piece. In smaller kitchens, the microwave hood remains a good option.

Flooring Flow

Wood floors that run throughout the living/dining area into the kitchen are seen consistently in new homes, whether they are real wood, laminate, or even simulated-wood tile. Again, the kitchen is now serving as part of a family’s living space, where gathering and entertaining means a flow of guests wherever food and beverages are offered.

Putting it all together

Whether it be large or small, new or remodel, the designers at Kitchen & Bath with TLC welcome the opportunity to work with you to design a space that meets your needs as well as your budget.

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