Ahead of the Curve: Latest Kitchen and Bath Trends




We asked local New Hampshire designers to share current kitchen and bath trends so you can create the latest looks. A blank slate can be a great thing. After all, there aren't many times where you're free to create whatever you can dream up - but it can be daunting, too. Sometimes when faced with limitless options things can get a bit overwhelming.To help you avoid drifting aimlessly in a sea of lighting fixtures, color swatches and cabinet handles we asked a few local designers to clue us in to some current trends for two important areas of the house - the kitchen and master bath.Kitchens - Think BigThe kitchen is no longer just a place for a stove and oven. Kitchens, says Sue Cannon of Granite State Cabinetry, have evolved into centers of the home where family and friends can gather to play games, do homework, catch up and, of course, enjoy meals together.As such, they've begun to expand to accommodate these new needs. Though center islands with extra seating are ever popular, kitchens are starting to become hybrids."The kitchen space is now extending to include the former dining room or formal living room," explains Cannon.The kitchen shown on the top of page 35 is an example of just such a combined space. Not only is the kitchen near the entrance of the house, it has seating at the large island and flows into a more formal dining space off to the right.As kitchens are becoming a combined social and work space, new solutions for concealing everyday appliances and items are starting to gain popularity. Things like spices or bulky appliances like the stand mixer on the opposite page need to be close at hand, but can also take up valuable space when other activities besides cooking are taking place.Cannon and Granite State Cabinetry have come up with numerous ways to efficiently tuck away everything from televisions to pots and pans. They've built mixer lifts, cookbook holders, swing-out systems for pots and pans, message centers and more, all cleverly hidden in cabinet storage without sacrificing easy access or looks.Light it upA new trend, says Nina Hackel of Dream Kitchens, isn't a color or type of counter - it's light. Like in the photo above, lighting countertops and backsplashes is becoming more popular.Lighting inside cabinets is also an option, like in the kitchen pictured on page 32. Lighting has always been a way designers manipulate the ambiance of a room, and lighting inside cabinets or in backsplashes is a new, creative way to add to the desired mood.Old and the newSome looks have always been in style and will remain in style for years to come. As Hackel points out, we live in New England and our tastes run a bit more traditional - but that doesn't mean traditional can't be tweaked to fit in the modern age. The Shaker-style kitchen pictured above is a great example of an updated classic style."Shaker was in style 50 years ago and will be in style 50 years from now," says Hackel. The Shaker look is updated with interesting light fixtures, a trendy iridescent glass backsplash, wider rails and extra seating at the island. "This look is classic but new and interesting at the same time," she adds.If you're looking to take a bigger step into modern style without getting too carried away, the kitchen pictured on the opposite page is a good example. The kitchen, explains Hackel, mixes a spa look - dark chocolate-brown cabinets - with a little bit of shiny contemporary elements to brighten it up and add a modern touch. The overall look is what Hackel calls the transitional effect - not too modern but not completely traditional either.As for cabinets, says Cannon, sophisticated and classic cabinets - in both the kitchen and bath - are always in style. You can't go wrong with the clean, sleek lines of classic styles.In addition, cherry and painted cabinet finishes are still the most popular. Cannon explains that these types of finishes create a neutral setting for the addition of more modern and bold paints and accessories that can be changed in the years to come.Flooring and countersHardwood floors and granite counters continue to enjoy popularity, says Hackel, but she's noticed that the often more affordable bamboo floors and quartz counters are becoming excellent options. The new and improved process for bamboo floors, explains Hackel, means that you can have a more durable and environmentally friendly floor that looks almost exactly like a type of hardwood.Quartz counters, which could be used in either the kitchen or the bath, are also becoming better made and now come in a large range of colors and patterns that closely mimic granite. Plus, they require less maintenance.Forget the whirlpoolWhirlpool tubs were once synonymous with luxury, but those days are gone. Now, says Tufts, it's all about large showers, often with multiple shower heads and even technological elements you might not expect to find.In-home luxury, adds Tufts, is lately far more important to many homeowners than designing with resale in mind, and the master bath is a great place to incorporate luxury.With technologies such as Kohler's panel-controlled showers (with a touch of a button you can change the water streams, lighting and even ambient sound) becoming less expensive and easier for plumbers to install, she's seeing more homeowners choose to indulge in something you once only found in spas."Master bathrooms," adds Hackel, "are becoming a work of art." As kitchens become the center and heart of the home, master baths are becoming sanctuaries for relaxation. NHSue Cannon Granite State Cabinetry 384 Rte. 101, Bedford (603) 472-4080 www.gscabinetry.comNina Hackel Dream Kitchens 139 DW Hwy., Nashua (603) 891-2916 www.adreamkitchen.comCheryl Tufts 3W Design 7 Henniker St., Concord (603) 226-3399 www.3wdesigninc.com

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