Posh and practical. Flashy and functional. Today’s luxury kitchens are closing the gap between aesthetic beauty and pragmatic functionality. Last week, we gave a brief overview of the emerging streamlined aesthetic that is transforming the modern kitchen into a multipurpose, highly-customizable powerhouse. In this article, we’ll take a look at several of the most sought-after features our clients have been requesting, and offer some actionable tips to help you choose the features that will maximize your new kitchen’s contemporary presence without compromising it’s staying power.
In case you missed it: Guide to Luxury Kitchens [Part 1: Intro to Luxury Kitchen Design]
Custom Storage Options
Perhaps the hottest trend we’ve seen this year has been the moving away from single-purpose storage units to more flexible, personalized solutions. From the blending of appliances into cabinetry to the creative utilization of under-cabinet and island spaces, the emerging vision is one of compact elegance, with sleek profiles and symmetrical layouts adding depth to the surrounding room, and maximizing both the volume and efficiency of containment space within. The three options topping the list are:
1. The Appliance Garage
These fold out drawers and cabinets may appear outwardly identical to their traditional counterparts, but inside they contain dedicated spaces to house any combination of appliances. One popular combination includes a built-in toaster with a divider marking the other side for bread storage. Another option allows for concealment of the microwave behind an inset, sliding cabinet door.
2. The Multipurpose Under-counter Storage System
While the concept itself may not seem new, the degree of versatility embodied by today’s storage systems belies a sophistication that speaks to the needs of the busy modern family. The large central island has become an ideal space to include everything from built-in micro refrigerators to stationary and junk drawers and to electronically activated slide out trash and recycling bins. As the trend towards larger and more communally and functional islands continues, we fully expect to see even greater diversification in this area.
3. The Walk-in Pantry
Supplying further variation to this theme is the emerging interest in carving out a separate, adjoining space for the pantry. Immediately accessible from the kitchen, it functions just like a walk in closet, and is ideal for storing bulk food and purchases or supplies set aside for parties and other social gatherings. Increasingly, a second refrigerator is also included in the Space to store bulk meets, drinks and other overflow items.
On the purely visual front, clean, unglazed white is still the prevailing colored tone but we are beginning to see a reemergence of neutral colors into the marketplace. On the functional level, inset doors flush close to the frame with Standard or full overlay are in highest demand. However, the real telltale sign of a high-end cabinet array is that it will be built to fit, rather than selected from prefab measurements presented in the limited offerings of the average local retail store.
The best-fitted cabinets are built to the ceiling. This not only prevents dust bunnies and eschews the need for filler slits, but moreover creates the visual illusion of a higher ceiling. This fact is accented further with the inclusion of decorative lighting spanning the length of the cabinets perimeter.
Shelves and Drawers
Open shelving, especially when illuminated with ambient backlighting, provides facial depth and helps to establish the kitchens secondary function as a living space.
Improved outside access
In keeping with the growing demand for natural and effortless transitions from room to room, it is becoming increasingly prevalent among custom kitchen designers to envision the indoor kitchen and its adjoining outdoor space as two parts of a single room unified by their mutual function. Nothing says ease and comfort like having all of your cooking appliances within easy reach, and that is enhanced even further when The outdoor space is the porch or deck with an awning to shield the family chef from the elements on those inevitable inclement weather days. This further level of consolidation establishes in turn yet another dimension to the emerging streamlined aesthetic.
The unity of style and access is increasingly reflected in the growing preference for slide-in range stoves over freestanding models. With their burner and oven controls placed prominently upfront, they eliminate the hassle (not to mention the danger) of reaching over a hot surface to make heating adjustments. Designed to accommodate built to fit cabinets and countertops, they leave it 2 inch space in the back that is filled with countertop material for a built-in look and feel. Their unfinished sides perfect for establishing a seamless fit between side-flanking cabinets and allow the stove to glide out effortlessly for an easy clean. Gas cooktops are usually preferred, with surfaces averaging 2″ wider than the stove’s body on both sides, creating the visual effect of being built into the countertop while assuring stray crumbs and grease can’t slip between the open cracks as often happens with freestanding ranges.
Perhaps the most variable of this year’s trending kitchen features, choice of oven still comes down to preference for cooking, and how much food the house chef plans to prepare. Where quantity is desired, we find double and even triple stoves in high demand. If versatility is the aim, arrays featuring a single full-sized oven beside two stacked half-ovens to be a great option for cooking more food in less time.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, a greater number of clients are switching over to using LED lights, both because of their superior power efficiency and because of the greater clarity they provide. Dovetailing this trend is the growing preference for task lighting. No longer limited to stove space, modern task lighting is installed wherever any type of visually intensive work is to be done. We personally recommend under/counter xenon lights for their brilliance and Low heat expenditure. In a later article, we will discuss how combinations of different types of task lighting can do wonders for creating ambiance, showcasing your finest appliances, or anything else you want to catch the eye.
Large Central Islands
The island has long replaced the traditional table and chairs as the central hub of the modern kitchen. Today’s islands are larger than in years past, partly to account for their improved storage capabilities, but also to facilitate its other uses as primary food preparation station and main eating area. Modern islands have flat countertops, usually carved from a single slab of polished granite. Other materials, particularly marble, are also on the rise in higher-end models.
Modern islands may feature a small sink and even a garbage disposal. Multiple under-counter trash disposal units with slide-out functionality can be accessed with the push of a button.
Island countertops are also an ideal place to situate a small bookshelf dedicated to favorite recipe books.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Thanks again for choosing Bromwell Construction as your go-to source for all things construction-related in Delaware. Please join us next time as we move deep into the world of technology and highlight the breakthrough innovations that can make your new luxury kitchen just a little bit smarter!