By Barbara Ballinger, Architecture Coach columnist
After being much more cautious about selling, buying, building, and remodeling, home owners are eager now to dip their toes into the residential market. A host of new design trends await them, which could be seen in exhibitions at this year’s National Kitchen & Bath Association industry show, held in Chicago.
What’s cooking? Seven favorites to follow:
1. More “jewelry” for the home. A decorative faucet or handle can easily—and affordably–add a fashionable touch to a room, the design impetus for Brizo’s “Virage” line with its sleek, arching twist, inspired by old wrought-iron European gates. Daltile’s “Stone a la Mod” tiles offer a similar decorative accent with a mix of depths—from recessed to raised—in one tile pattern.
2. Light, action, cameras! Light equals drama, and it showed up in Toto’s “Luminist” integrated vessel sinks made from a proprietary epoxy resin that appears translucent and is integrated with LED lighting. Robern’s vanities come with an illuminated light rim, handy for a night visit.
3. Faster meals. Instant gratification doesn’t mean just fast food outside the home. Home cooks, too, look for ways to speed the process and enjoy other pursuits. TurboChef, which introduced super-speed cooking to get a 22-pound turkey done in 1 hour and 7 minutes, has improved on the oven’s consistency and quality through updated software and additional cook settings. Its 30” double wall oven design now also features a bottom convection oven cavity and top speedy cooker.
Tob Knob’s Ultra Contemporary Collection.
4. Asian influence. Though traditional styles may still reflect the biggest share of the design market, the Asian look is making inroads in every category, from cabinetry to toilets, sinks, knobs and handles, says Chicago designer Leslie Markman-Stern. Top Knobs’ Eastern-style knobs and handles come in a range of sizes and finishes and mix well with contemporary and traditional designs.
5. Glamorous metalics. Corian, known for offering solid, dependable solid-colored surfaces or those with a few colorful flecks, debuted a line of 10 boldly fashionable metallic colors such as striking turquoise blue Azurite.
6. Universally appealing. Good design can be used by all, whether an aging Baby Boomer, homeowner with a disability, or young child not tall enough to reach a high-up cabinet. In Jenn-Air’s kitchen vignette, designed for multiple cooks, designer Ellen Cheever placed wall ovens side by side rather than on top of one another, so they’re easier for everyone at any stage of life to reach.
7. Smaller equipment. With more homeowners rethinking the amount of square footage they need, manufacturers are offering efficient, smaller, and less expensive product options. GE’s new Café line, its first new brand in 17 years, has the design look of a commercial, chef’s line yet it’s been slimmed down to fit smaller spaces and appeal to shoppers with smaller budgets. Bathroom manufacturers offered comparable small-scaled toilets and vanities. In contrast, some tubs looked like they were on steroids, much bigger in size and shape.