These days, the old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses” is hardly the case, as homeowners are seeking ways to do exactly the opposite — differentiate themselves from the Joneses. Not only are homeowners asking for unique, individual designs, but they are personalizing their spaces to better suit their needs. Unlike the cookie-cutter world of building, remodelers are faced with a different set of challenges and must be flexible, creative and always on top of the next “It” thing in design.
Kitchen and bath remodels are still the top contenders in terms of what homeowners are requesting and continue to produce a favorable ROI in a slower housing market. With those encouraging facts, the following showcase of 2006 Master Design Award winners represents the latest trends popping up in homes across America.
Layouts that incorporate multiple zones within the kitchen are still gaining ground in the kitchen. These zones are designed to meet the needs of each family member. For instance, cooking stations are being designed for multiple users, including space for entire families to cook together. These cooking stations can include a baking zone, food prep zone, etc. In addition, homeowners are requesting nontraditional zones that truly represent the technology-savvy era that we now live. These include specific areas for charging cellular phones, MP3 docking stations and laptop plug-ins.
Many times, older homes don’t have the footprint that is required for these additional amenities. Remodelers such as Grossmueller’s Design Consultants, Inc. of Washington, D.C., however, made the difficult look easy. They took an impossibly small 83-sq.-ft. space in a Silver Spring, Md. home and, by redoing the configuration of the first floor, expanded it to 120 sq. ft. Then they loaded the space with lots of thoughtful detail that met the clients’ goals, namely to update the kitchen, include a dishwasher and gain a bit more space. The kitchen floor plan allows both homeowners to cook together comfortably.
Adding to the trend of multiple cooks in the kitchen - dual appliances, placed at the point of use are also gaining traction. These appliances include dual cooktops, sinks, ovens, etc. Many of these products now include drawer appliances — warming drawers, refrigerator drawers, microwaves hidden in a drawer in the oven. This design element is a way to streamline the appearance of the space and provide point-of-use function.
The designers at Arclinea Boston used dual units in their Weston kitchen project, a Silver winner in the Master Design Awards (photo on cover). The owners of this traditional home sought a minimal and sleek space that would complement, yet expand, the home’s traditional design. Originally conceived as a closed and contained space, the kitchen evolved through the design process, first developing as an accent and ultimately becoming the home’s protagonist. The end result is a uniquely integrated kitchen that flows seamlessly with the home’s dining and living spaces.
Great consideration was given to the home’s existing architecture in the design of the kitchen. Perspectives as seen from the home’s entrance as well as from the living area were carefully considered. Materials chosen for the kitchen — lacquer and stainless steel — provide elegant simplicity and are respectful to the monochromatic white and hardwood floors that are consistent throughout the home.
The unifying linearity in the design of the kitchen elements carries the views directly toward the strong professional statement offered by the cooking area’s two 36-in. ovens, six professional Wolf Appliance burners and a 60-in. hood. The island plays a critical role, accommodating both a work/prep and dining area. The prep station on one side of the island features two Sub-Zero drawers for immediate support and ample storage. The length of the island reinforces the lines of movement and views within the space. The cleanup area faces the window, standing independent from the prep and cooking stations so as not to interfere with the ritual of cooking.