Kitchen design must be flexible, simplify life for the user and pay attention to detail. And nothing adds to the detail of a kitchen like highly functional and aesthetically pleasing interior fittings.
Additionally, kitchen accessories such as radiant floor heating can add a touch of warmth and luxury to a space, making it a more upscale and enjoyable place to spend time.
Although the oversized “trophy kitchens” of yesteryear are on the wane, manufacturers and designers agree that homeowners still want quality products that enhance their kitchen, both functionally and aesthetically. For kitchen accessories, that means upscale amenities that make the kitchen more enjoyable to use. For interior fittings, it’s all about greater accessibility.
Doug Mockett & Co. design consultant Peter Stathis of Virtual Studio in San Francisco notes, “Designers are focusing on solutions that will simplify life for their increasingly busy clients. The biggest trend relates to improving functionality of interior fittings and accessories toward improved ease of use.”
When it comes to interior fittings, there also seems to be a greater expectation of quality than in years past.
Daniel Tripp, product marketing manager at Hafele America Co. in Archdale, NC says, “Many manufacturers are offering more and more accessories as standard options rather than only as an upgrade. As a result, many showrooms are now updating their displays and loading them up with accessories rather than simply showing them from a catalog. They are differentiating themselves from their competition by offering a more thought out and more functional kitchen that provides easier access to the items that are stored for all users.”
With the demand for better functionality and ease of use, soft-close features seem to be gaining ground.
Dennis Poteat, marketing communications manager for Stanley, NC based Blum, Inc. sees a growing demand for hinges that offer the firm’s soft-close feature. “The ease of installation and functionality are also pushing more manufacturers and cabinetmakers to make soft closing their standard,” he says.
Jan Fitzpatrick, customer & market relations manager for Grass America, in Kernersville, NC, affirms that soft-close drawers and hinges are becoming a standard. “Drawers, especially, have redefined their closing action with the soft-close action, and you find this in undermount slides, double wall slides and in some ball bearing slides.”
In a well-designed kitchen, everything has a place. Selecting the appropriate storage solutions allows designers to ensure that this happens, and allows consumers to customize their space to their specific needs. Shari McPeek, marketing manager for Rev-a-Shelf in Louisville, KY notes that designers are looking for functional, stylish products that can answer several client demands.
Designers need to maximize storage space for their clients, notes Tripp, adding, “Many homes are getting smaller and more and more of the family activities are taking place in the kitchen.”
Manufacturers agree that both drawer and corner storage remain hot trends. Doug Mockett, CEO of Doug Mockett & Company, Inc., in Manhattan Beach, CA, sees evidence of this fact in the increased sales of wide bar pull styles. “Sales of knobs have dropped as buyers move to large drawer storage in lieu of cabinets.”
Poteat doesn’t think the drawer trend is slowing either. “Drawers bring the contents of the cabinet out to you, rather than you having to squat down and dig into the cabinet. In addition to the ergonomic benefits, full-extension drawers give you a good overview of what is in the drawer so it is easy to find what you need,” he says.
McPeek points out that drawer storage serves many purposes, including bringing items within reach of children and those who have limited reach. Drawers are also easy to customize, based on changing needs. “Take our peg board systems. They can be installed easily and have both press-in pegs and now press-in accessories for holding pans, lids, canisters, etc.,” she says.