Terrie L. Buch, CMG, product design manager for the Odenton, MD-based Nevamar, explains, "While residential color and design trends for 2000-2001 will not shift dramatically from trends popularized in the late '90s, we are beginning to witness an evolution of change brought about by changing lifestyles. It is evident not only in the colors and materials used but in space planning, function and specifications.
Kitchens more than ever are the epicenter of the home, and the 'trophy' kitchen has become the new dream kitchen, [though it does not] necessarily resemble today's standard kitchen."
"Countertops, cook surfaces, ovens and shelving are getting taller or are adjustable in an effort to respond to consumer demands for ergonomically correct design," Buch reports.
"It is not about one or a few particular color/design trends, it is all about choices," believes Gin Guei Ebnesajjad, manager of product styling and development for DuPont Corian, in Wilmington, DE. "We continue to see expansion of color range and style diversification in product offerings, and the trend of material mixing will continue to gain strength."
According to Scott, there is a trend toward larger countertops
with extra-large island tops in the kitchen. "These island tops are
multi-functional, used both as a cooktop surface and food
preparation area. Full height backsplashes are also popular," he
The trend of mixing and matching materials in the kitchen continues to thrive, according to manufacturers, bringing design toward looks that are both more diverse and more personalized.
Notes Scott, "Eclectic mixing of materials, styles and finishes has made its way into kitchen design. It's the juxtaposition of hard-edged, high-tech finishes such as stainless with the soft-edged, natural texture of a stand-alone piece of fine wood furniture that represents a new look for the kitchen. The new rules for kitchen design include the notion that materials can be mixed to create a unique and personal statement.
There is growing interest in tile in all shapes and sizes, paired with either granite, marble, solid surface or laminate. A strong desire for translucent materials is fueling the demand for decorative glass used functionally as backsplashes [or in other applications]."
Scott also sees a marked interest in contrasting solid surfaces.
"Consumers are matching solid surface with tile backsplashes and
undermount kitchen sinks in stainless steel. Island tops of butcher
block or real hardwood are on the rise. There is also a mixture of
smooth and rough textures for backsplashes. [Additionally] metal
backsplashes, some with embossing, are becoming popular." He notes,
when it comes to mixing and matching in the kitchen, most
the same material throughout the surface.
Rutledge agrees that a wide diversity of materials adds uniqueness, and cites cement-based products, recycled glass, and quartz-y stones as materials with which Avonite has been "getting some pretty unique looks."
One of the most notable trends in kitchen countertops is the rise in quartz surfacing. "Quartz surfacing is a stone product produced by using a quartz base (93%) and pressurizing with binders to create 'stone' sheets," explains Cilio. "These sheets are then fabricated into kitchen countertops, bath vanities, showers, tile and other surfacing applications," she says, adding that this innovative countertop product is "an economical option for consumers because it costs less than granite and is competitively priced."
DuPont Corian, originator of solid surface material, recently introduced a Quartz surface as well, says Ebnesajjad. "You don't need a crystal ball to see the future of surfacing, but crystal, the quartz variety, is definitely on the horizon."
With regard to granite, Jim Janochoski, national product manager for Cold Spring, MN-based Cold Spring Granite, reports that there have been changes in recent years, including increases in the thickness of the stone. Polished finishes are also popular with granite. "The trend has focused on a honed or matte finish that is smooth yet not reflective," he states.
Laminates are borrowing looks from solid surface, moving away from one color in favor of patterned styles. "A lot of things we've introduced are micro texture, which almost appears as a solid from a distance. Up close, however, they are complex patterns," offers White, who adds that "Nature-inspired looks remain strong in laminates, with earth tones, stone and cement styles leading the way. People don't want an exact interpretation of nature, but something that suggests it."