by KELSEY CIPOLLA | Portfolio photos by DAWN CONNERS | Roth photos courtesy of ROTH LIVING
With a bevy of state-of-the-art appliances and customizable storage solutions becoming kitchen stars, the current look is less about bowing to what is of the moment and more a reflection how we live, cook, and gather with family and friends — with an eye toward beautiful design, of course.
“It’s all about embracing lifestyle,” says Geri Higgins, owner of Portfolio Kitchen & Home. “It’s not just the aesthetics, it’s the ritual of how we go about things in the most elevated way.”
TECHNOLOGY MEETS DESIGN
Higgins distinguishes between trends that are purely of the moment and those that are inspired by a true shift in how people are living and using their homes.
One of those shifts we’re currently experiencing is a renewed interest in cooking, which is in part motivated by a desire to eat healthier, Higgins says
— look no further than the popularity of meal kits like Blue Apron for proof cooking in your home is cool again. As a result, people want their kitchens to deliver the best possible culinary experience.
Denise Manu, vice president of marketing for Roth Living, echoes that sentiment.
“Consumers want quality appliances that are approachable,” she says. “Cooking with precision and confidence is extremely important. Clients demand products that are easy to use with optimal results.”
Roth carries a range of hand-selected appli- ances from brands including Sub-Zero and Wolf. The former offers elegantly crafted refrigerators, freezers, and wine storage units, including highly sought after point-of-use solutions, like refrigera- tor or freezer drawers that can be built into an is- land. Also hot? Wolf’s convection steam ovens that can do everything from bake bread to roast meat to steam veggies perfectly by using digital technology to adjust cooking details.
In short, if you can think up a way to make your day- to-day life easier in the kitchen, there’s now a solution that makes it a reality. All that innovation means your appliances don’t just work differently, they boast an upgraded look, too.
“Technology has changed how function meets aesthetics,” Manu explains, pointing to features like sleek control panels, intuitive interfaces, and smaller appliances with a greater number of capabilities.
Best of all, the current crop of appliances is meant to be incorporated into your design rather than designed around. Manu notes that appliances can now be completely concealed.
As a result, today’s look is clean, Manu says — think long lines and clutter-free spaces inspired by European design. If that feels a little too modern, never fear. She points out that combining sleek materials with vintage pieces is currently trending, just one of many ways to get the technology and feel that’s right for you.
“People are more informed than ever before — clients and design professionals — and the internet provides endless possibilities to find inspiration and a source for materials,” she says. “You can maximize your opportunity to combine a beautiful space with function.”
STYLE MEETS FUNCTION
The function aspect is key, says Higgins, who emphasizes your kitchen should take into consideration your routine, whether that means adding USB ports so you can charge your devices while sipping coffee or embracing an open concept design so guests can mix and mingle over canapes.
That philosophy has homeowners gravitating toward large islands because they can be used for so many purposes, from food preparation to serving to socializing, Higgins says. Range hoods also remain popular because they provide critical ventilation as well as visual impact.
“It becomes an opportunity to make a style statement, be it traditional, modern, contemporary, or even transitional,” she explains.
The designer is also seeing the vast majority of clients opt for easy quartz countertops over marble and granite.
“Marble is always going to be stunning and stately, but now there are so many designs and styles of quartz products that mimic or even look like marble that they’re using those quartz products because marble is so porous and high maintenance,” she says. “They want to have the look without the maintenance issues.”
Marble still has a place in design, but perhaps not where you might expect. In a recent project, Higgins used it to create a focal wall. Although the home is fully equipped with the latest appliances, including a built-in coffee machine that remembers just how you like your java, it feels at once modern and classic because the familiar material is being used in a fresh way. In fact, ensuring classic design elements are represented is part of what allows you to incorporate of-the-moment trends while safeguarding your kitchen’s longevity.
“Good design will nod to or wink at the moment and how people are expressing themselves, but excellent design has a foundation that’s built on not only strong, classic aesthetics, but also good space planning, functionality, and organization,” Higgins says.
Take, for example, the popular farmhouse aesthetic. Rather than covering your kitchen in shiplap, she suggests opting for a reclaimed wood island in a refined white kitchen.
“It’s better to be eclectic and bring in these trends in pieces throughout than go 100 percent in,” the designer says.
As for what’s on the horizon when it comes to kitchen design, “Everyone is becoming more refined and edited right now,” Higgins says.
Expect a continued move toward cleaner, more intentional spaces that focus on a few key design.points and items important in your life — after all, your home should be all about you, not just the latest trends.
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