Stainless steel is also getting a low-maintenance makeover from several major brands. KitchenAid’s black stainless steel resists fingerprints better than traditional stainless and it has a softer, warmer finish. GE’s new graphite finish for its Monogram Professional appliances is made through physical vapor deposition, or PVD, a process that promises exceptional strength and scratch resistance along with a rich luster.
Super-premium appliances are a hot new trend, including the debut of the Signature Kitchen Suite brand from LG. With refrigerator prices in the $5,000-$10,000 range and ranges averaging $5,000, it’s not for every client. It’s marketed separately from LG much like Lexus is kept apart from parent Toyota.
Bertazzoni, Italian maker of fabulous professional-style ranges, is trying something different—offering a suite of appliances for mid-market consumers. A cabinet-depth refrigerator sells for about $3,000, while a dishwasher is about $900.
Not all kitchen appliances are the usual refrigerator, range and dishwasher. Requests are increasing for undercounter smokers for outdoor kitchens, although they are reserved for high-end remodels. Costing between $10,000 and $12,000, the kitchen smoker measures 36 inches wide by 30 inches deep, making it compatible with most outdoor cabinetry systems. And its three large shelves should hold enough smoked meat for the largest barbecues. If pizza is more your style, GE has unveiled its Monogram Pizza Oven—an indoor oven that fits a standard 30-inch wall opening. It can reach the optimum pizza-baking temperature (750 degrees) in only 30 minutes. You’d better really love pizza because the $10,000 price tag might be a deal-breaker for some.
According to interior designer Jane Lockhart, kitchen color schemes are changing for 2016. Though white motifs still dominate, look for charcoal, gray, and even neutral pastels like pale blue or pale green. Lockhart predicts lighter wood tones, including, whitewashed woods. The bold primary colors of the past are strictly back burner this year. A range of blues are currently popular, however, with navy blue and lighter blues paired with white, gray or black.
Mirrored backsplashes, brass accessories and glossy surfaces are reminiscent of the ‘80s, but these touches are more elegant and refined now. Natural materials and metal finishes are more likely satin than shiny and reflective. Nothing is hotter right now than an eye-catching backsplash.
While tile is the most popular option, don’t overlook backsplashes made of natural stone, glass, antique or reclaimed wood—even wallpaper is enjoying a resurgence.
Kitchen flooring has moved from tile and linoleum to hardwood in recent years. That trend continues with the use of wider planks (6-inches or wider), reclaimed or antique wood, or the latest trend—light-colored hardwoods.
Enhancing the clean, uncluttered look of the 2016 kitchen is the use of cabinet lighting, including low-voltage light tape strips accenting the bottom of cabinets, the tops of cabinets—even inside cabinets and below countertop overhangs.
While no trend is more important than your clients’ vision for their new kitchen, think of these ideas as talking points—a great place to start the conversation that leads to the plan that results in a stunning new kitchen for your client.