“We do a lot of tile backsplashes where we can play with color,” comments Hall, “glass tiles, metal tiles, things like that to kind of personalize the space and make it different from the next one.” Glass tiles are hot, she states, along with metals and textures – rough looks and a lot of tumbled marble.
“We’re seeing a lot more interest in glass tile – really individual design, including geometric shapes,” agrees Rigby-Fisher. In the Pacific Northwest, however, the tile takes on a more neutral tone, because everything has an earthier feel.
“Tile backsplashes really add warmth to the room and can personalize the space,” comments Stoner. She notes that one client asked the tile artisan to create a backsplash that reflected her backyard. “It was a relief tile with depth and texture to it, and she wanted the scene to include all of the animals in the backyard – such as the local crane and the fox that would run through every once in a while, as well as her pets – and all of the different things from nature, such as the pond and trees.
“So, I think we are finding a lot of clients who are going more artistic within the tile backsplashes, and sometimes that can lend to whatever region you are in,” she continues. “In a coastal region such as Florida or California, you might choose brighter colors of blue and turquoise. Here in Pennsylvania, we’re seeing a lot of jewel tones and Tuscan warm colors, tone-on-tone browns, colors that blend and complement the rest of the home and its furnishings.”
While personal style is important, most designers believe that people still choose kitchens and baths that blend with the overall style of their homes.
“For the most part, once clients have selected a home, they want to stay true to the architecture. When people come in and start describing their homes’ style as one of their first sentences, I know that the architecture is important to them,” Stoner comments.
Schwartzman says that she always asks what the house is supposed to be. “I try to design for the house, and it seems like that’s what people really want to do,” she states.
Krengel notes that older home- owners are more likely to have an appreciation of the home’s architecture, often because they’ve lived in a home previously that didn’t have that kind of detail, “or they lived in a home that had that kind of detail, and they may have messed it up.”
Huddleston notes that, though her clients may want to do something a little bit outside of the norm, they are often working with historic properties, and people are trying to maintain the architectural integrity of their home. “A lot of the national publications feature kitchens that are much larger, with much larger ceilings than we have in our homes,” she explains. “We’re often limited by ceiling height, lots of doors and windows and things like that.”
Gomes notes that her firm looks to incorporate things that make the design blend with the home’s architecture as well as incorporate things that make it stand out. “So, it might be a traditional house, but then you use a natural stone backsplash that has a glass insert in it – kind of an interesting contrast of the traditional with something a little more up to date and unexpected,” she comments. “It’s kind of that happy mix of making the room look like it belongs in the house, but it looks different from your neighbor’s house.”
“We start with the home’s architecture and blend the cabinetry to fit with that architecture and the home’s furnishings, so that it’s one complete look,” says Bart. But, she does note that consumers’ attitudes are changing. “Most people today are designing the kitchen for themselves. Years ago, it was always for resale, but resale never comes up anymore,” Bart observes. “Today, my clients are building their kitchens for themselves and their families, and the time they’re going to spend there.” The result is a lot more individuality in the design.