Las Vegas, NV—
In decades past, the concept of the 21st century home conjured up images of instantly prepared food, robots doing household chores and wide screen televisions providing two-way communication. Amazingly, those images of 50 years ago ring truer than imagined, as demonstrated in the NextGen Design Idea Home, the first Design Idea Home of its kind to be displayed at the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, held here in May.
While the 2,050-sq.-ft. Idea Home showcased new trends in home design for the entire house, it offered a special focus on the kitchen and bath areas.
"We had this house at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association had an interesting idea about showcasing how technology is evolving into the kitchen and bath," comments Paul Barnett, president, iShow, which produces the NextGen Home Experience. "As a result of their interest, we pulled together a more elaborate kitchen and bath than we were planning."
Indeed, state-of-the-art electronics, technologically advanced products and innovative design ideas were all part of the offering. "There's a lot of connectivity in the home," Barnett continues. "You can control the house from your cell phone or an Internet browser from your desktop at the office. You can cook, check security, adjust heating and ventilating - there's even a water shut-off valve in the event that a pipe breaks – all from [another location]."
The Center of It All
"We wanted the project to have a pretty broad appeal–a home that would seem appropriate for a professional couple or even a small family," reports Mark T. White, CKD, owner and chief designer, Kitchen Encounters. The 14'x20' kitchen, which was designed by White, featured a contemporary aesthetic, acting as the center of the home's activity - a place to cook, eat, relax and entertain.
The open floor plan helped create the relationship between the kitchen and the dining room, White reports. "There was a half-wall with a ledge, which fits in with the open plan philosophy while still giving the dining room its own identity," he says. "The design also meant that guests in the dining room wouldn't be able to look into the kitchen and see a mess on the counter."
Miele's new CVA 2660 built-in capsule coffee system, which uses Nespresso capsules to brew fresh coffee, was built onto the countertop at the end of the peninsula that divides the kitchen and the dining room. "We located it there so that it would be accessible and convenient from the other parts of the house without getting into the cook's space," offers White. He notes that the center became a nice design element because of the way it was enclosed. “It was in something like a cabinet box, and it sat up higher on the counter, so not only was it conveniently located, it became a bit of a centerpiece.
You could place a vase or something similar on top, adding some interest to the plan," he explains.
Located along that same wall was the kitchen sink, which was paired with the new electronic kitchen faucet from Brizo. The faucet design incorporates hands-free technology and touch control, featuring the ability to turn water flow on and off by tapping or by the traditional hands-free method.
On the opposite side of the room along the back wall, White incorporated what he believes was one of the major visual elements –- the built-in cabinets. The set of cabinets goes almost floor to ceiling, yet the units were only 12 inches deep. This was done for a few reasons, according to White.
"We wanted to have an island in the kitchen, and to have the proper clearance around the island, we couldn't have had full-depth cabinets on that side," he explains. "Still, we wanted to have cabinets that would provide pantry-type storage. So, we took advantage of that space with this wall full of cabinets."