Jim Bishop Cabinets is launching Blum’s Dynamic Space Concept for its products soon. “People see there is a way to organize and declutter their lives [and] they are excited about it,” he says.
Manufacturers say that traditional styling still prevails in many markets, but they are also seeing a shift toward a more transitional style, which incorporates elements more often seen in contemporary designs.
Nanji says, “We see many styles that are based on classic elements but simplified for today’s lifestyles. These clean, simple lines appeal to the growing number of younger consumers who are building, remodeling or renting.”
Angela O’Neill, director of marketing for Wellborn Cabinet in Ashland, AL says that her firm is still seeing movement toward a transitional design trend. This trend brings in the use of Shaker door styles, with warmer tones rather than the real contemporary colder designs.
While most manufacturers say they’ve seen increased interest in frameless cabinetry, those choosing frameless cabinetry are still in the minority. “Framed cabinetry still holds the lead in the U.S. market. There is a strong trend toward a ‘casual contemporary’ look, where the lines of the cabinetry are more simplistic, but the finish is still rich and visually interesting,” says Harvey.
WOOD SPECIES & FINISHES
Wood choice is one way that designers and consumers help to define and differentiate the look of a kitchen. Manufacturers agree that maple is still a frontrunner, while they are also seeing an increased interest in cherry and a variety of other woods. “Maple is still the trusted standby,” says Jeff Ptacek, CKD, product manager of Sioux Falls, SD-based Fieldstone Cabinetry and StarMark Cabinetry. “But alder is growing fast in popularity,” he adds.
Wistrom has also seen interest in bamboo, as well as Lyptus, a wood species that resembles mahogany but is a plantation-grown hybrid of eucalyptus. It reaches full maturity in 15 years, making it more environmentally sustainable.
Brewer says that closed grains are still by far the company’s most popular species, and he’s seeing an increase in oak, particularly with the introduction of darker stains, which highlight its grain. However, he adds, the firm has been surprised by how well painted finishes, which they introduced a year and a half ago, have done.
Ptacek has also seen an increase in demand for painted finishes. “Consumers are requesting specific hues that are just a few shades from standard offerings. Manufacturers are pushed to expand their standard colors to meet these various tones.” Additionally, he says, “There has been a flurry of interest in red cabinetry, both as an accent and for entire rooms.”
Patrick Byrne, executive v.p. for Custom Wood Products in Roanoke, VA sees a continued demand for specialty finishes as well. “We’re in the fashion business,” he says. “We’ve gone way beyond selling the cabinets to hold the dishes. We’re selling gracious living.” The use of glazes, distressing and crackling has been strong for a while, and continues to stay strong, Byrne says.
Harvey adds, “There still remains a need for furniture-like finishes and treatments. We are addressing this with more hand-detailing treatments like glazing, and physical and finish distressing.”
Bishop says his firm began offering glazes, distressing and crackle finishes because it was one way to give consumers the looks they desired at a price they could afford. “Our marketing vision all along has been to take things that homeowners saw that they thought they couldn’t afford, and take them down to where they would be within reach,” he says.
Environmental consciousness goes beyond being a “trend,” instead becoming a necessary consideration, manufacturers say.
“All manufacturers know they must use certified or compliant material, not just to meet new regulations, but because it’s the right thing to do. It’s becoming standard – a must – to belong to a certification program that validates green and environmental sustainability, such as KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program,” says Ptacek.