Remember the Jetsons cartoon show? Robotic housekeepers and flying saucer mobiles were a dime a dozen in their world. But the best part of the show was when they would get ready to eat a meal. How cool was it that they could type in a dinner request, push a button, and PRESTO — piping hot spaghetti ready! While technology has not caught up to the Jetsons’ “whatever you want” food machine quite yet, kitchens today have certainly become more aesthetically and functionally modern. So what are designers choosing for more contemporary paint colors, countertops and gadgets in this day and age? Talented San Antonio designer, Galeana Younger, shares some of the latest -and coolest- modern trends she’s seeing for the kitchen in 2013.
BACKGROUND: Galeana Younger is a San Antonio-based designer. She specializes in residential projects, including space planning and the selection of color, materials and products. Her favorite jobs, though, are those that require remodeling, in particular those projects that need a really good overhaul. (Her motto: The stranger, the better.)
Galeana is Allied American Society of Interior Designers (pending) and is also a member of National Kitchen and Bath Association and National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Trends for Modern Kitchens
I’m a product of the 1980s. Big hair, blue eyeliner, acid washed jeans and Cyndi Lauper.
It was during this time that my family moved into a new house (well, it wasn’t “new” – it was a two-story Tudor built in the 1920s – but it was new to us). My mother, a woman with a gifted eye, did some extensive remodeling on the house and one of the areas that was completely overhauled was the kitchen. Picture this: custom cabinets and storage closets made of pine planks; a large commercial, see-through fridge with stringed lights inside (that was my Mom’s personal touch); a 6-burner, gas, stainless steel Wolf oven; and an island covered in red granite. This design was very on trend, as this was a time when the kitchen in American suburbia was really becoming the center of the house.
I have a lot of memories of times in that kitchen. I can still envision my Mom talking on the phone and drinking Tab while she smoked a cigarette (that she lit on the gas stove, mind you).* I can see my friends and I gathering around the island for lunch to discuss the goings-ons of our adolescent youth. And how could I forget the time when my friend threw the glass blender onto the floor during a casual “get together” that I had while my parents were out of town? The small wood chunk that went flying from the floor ensured that I was going to get caught. (And, boy, did I get caught!)
As was the case back then, so is the case now. Kitchens are still the heart of the home and their uses go far beyond just peeling the potatoes. One could argue that the kitchen is the most important room in the house (though the woman’s closet runs a close second).
Today’s kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. Despite these differences, there are definitely some trends that continue to pave the way for more modern looks. And I’m delighted to be able to share with you some real life examples of how I’ve incorporated some of these trends into kitchens that I’ve designed.
Transitional Style. It’s not modern, it’s not traditional, but it’s somewhere in between. Transitional style kitchens are really hot right now. Gone are all the bows and baubles of 20th century style kitchens. (Thank goodness!) Straight lines and clean angles have replaced them. This is perhaps most evident in the European style cabinets that have full overlay doors and drawer fronts, hidden hinges and sleek hardware. (Full overlays mean that there is very little frame showing around each door or drawer.)
Here I used KraftMaid’s white thermofoil cabinets that have a flawless, silky smooth finish. The slab doors hide most of the frame thereby creating a straight, clean look. Their finish also ensures that they are extremely durable and easy to maintain, a benefit that all modern families can appreciate.
50 Shades of Gray. A muted color scheme in a gray shade is what many designers are recommending for their clients. Gray walls and white cabinets work well together as it can create a contemporary look without feeling sterile.
Here I used Benjamin Moore’s 1604 Silvery Moon. In addition to feeling more modern, the lighter hue helps make this galley kitchen appear larger than it actually is.
A number of gray paint swatches. Make sure and find the right shade. You don’t want to use anything that’s going to dull out and/or darken the space. Also note that grays can lean towards blue, green or brown. It’s always important to test your colors in the space where it’s going to go.
Top This. While granite is still the number one select for kitchen countertops by many homeowners, countertop materials continue to evolve. Gaining popularity are countertops made of quartz. Quartz is a hard crystalline mineral. When ground and mixed with resin, it produces an extremely hard material that closely resembles the way natural granite looks and feels. What’s the difference between the two? Quartz is actually more durable, comes in more colors and is less likely to crack during installation.
You can find your selections from companies like Silestone, Ceasarstone and Cambria. Because these materials are engineered, you can also have a sink made out of the same material thereby creating a seamless and integrated look.
The left side of this picture shows the most popular selections in Silestone’s collection. But why not spice it up a bit? The right side shows the more playful side of engineered quartz.
Also beautiful are quartzites. One of my favorites is Taj Mahal, a select I’m using for a client’s upcoming remodel (see picture below). It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like a cloudy piece of candy. It’s gorgeous.
Espresso Yourself. As we all know, Starbucks is to coffee what white is to rice. These days, you can have the taste of Starbucks without leaving your home. Built-in espresso machines have hit the market and now lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolate are at your fingertips with the push of a few buttons. Now, if only you could find someone to bring you that coffee!
As far as I know, Miele was the first company to actually market these machines. It’s also the only one I’ve had any experience with, but Bosch, Thermador and Dacor also sell them. I like the idea of having one in the Master Suite.
And while you’re at it, why not incorporate a separate custom cabinet unit in or near the kitchen that serves a dual purpose: 1) it adds storage space and 2) creates the availability of a full beverage bar. Small beverage and wine fridges are freeing up space in the larger refrigerator and are less expensive than running a second, full size refrigerator.
True Wine Fridge. Photo courtesy of Houzz.
If the built in coffee machine isn’t in your budget, a self-made coffee bar works just as well on your counter. Keep yummy coffee additions in small containers on a beautiful tray so guests can serve themselves. Feel free to switch it up throughout the year. Here I did hot chocolate and coffee goodies in the winter and lemonade fixings in the summer!
Hide and Seek. In keeping with a clean, non-fussy look, it’s important to keep the clutter hidden. That includes pots and pans (a hanging pot rack is oh so 80′s) and your trash and recycling receptacles (keep ‘em behind the cabinet doors and outta sight). In order to help access some of the things you might be tempted to keep out, make sure and incorporate smart storage solutions. There are plenty of cabinet inserts that make things come to you instead of you having to find them, reach for them, lift them or rearrange them. Take advantage of those add-ons. They add a bit of expense initially, but the payoff is well worth it.
Pull out shelves ease accessibility. In some cases, the inserts can virtually double your storage (as seen in the second and third images).
And why stop with your trash and storage? Whereas the large, stainless steel refrigerator used to take the center stage, people are now opting for an integrated refrigerators and dishwasher drawers. This maintains a streamlined look while keeping the bling hidden.
You Light Up My Life. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are lighting the way in the building and remodeling industry. You can count on these staying around for a while for a number of reasons. First and foremost, governments across the globe, including in the United States, have passed measures to phase out the production of incandescent bulbs in the next few years. This is because LEDs are more energy efficient and don’t contain harmful materials such as mercury.
A really cool application is an LED tape light. It’s – literally – like a piece of tape. It’s small and inconspicuous design is not only more energy efficient, but it also allows you to light the cabinets, floors and countertops up. (I actually used this in a home office setting, but I plan to use it in a kitchen as undercounter lighting or inside cabinets with glass doors. It comes in colors, too!) – (Image Courtesy of Kichler)
I Can See Clearly Now. We’ve talked about countertops, but what about backsplashes? I’m not a huge fan of the travertine tile installations. It feels outdated. However, a new product that is gaining popularity has peaked my interest: glass. I’ve done a bit of research on GlassKote and I really like their product. According to their website, it’s durable, easy to clean and eliminates the need for grout. No grout lines?! Now that’s modern!
Courtesy of GlassKote
In closing, here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about building or remodeling your kitchen. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average 2013 kitchen costs $47,308. Of course, this varies tremendously based on selections and size, but this is a good place to start. Secondly, remember that a bigger kitchen isn’t always a better kitchen, especially in this day in age where space can be harder to come by.
Thanks for letting me share and good luck with all of your design projects!
*This depiction of my mother paints her in a horrible light. Though the memory is honest, she certainly wasn’t the smokey, wrinkly, overtanned mom that might be portrayed in a bad movie. She was (and still is) a darling, intelligent, good mother. Plus she’s got great taste!
Galeana Younger / Galeana Interiors
126 E. Agarita Avenue / San Antonio, Texas 78212
Phone: (210) 473-2028
(Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy of Galeana Younger)
San Antonio Interior Design Blog