Blacked-Out Kitchens are the New Trend

Photo courtesy of Alexander Jospeph

It seemed as if the interior designing industry has exhausted all of the various designs used in kitchens — until the new trend of all-black kitchens became the new fad and shifted the paradigm. Here’s how designers are getting into the trend and making blacked-out kitchens feel warm and inviting at the same time.

Dark cabinets and countertops not only add a beautiful composition to the space, but they actually make the room feel less blank and minimalistic. Ironically, the dark colors add a certain vibrance and texture to the space rather than washing it out. Utilize natural light with large floor-to-ceiling windows to give the black cabinets a hint of blue dark blue for a more colorful style. The sunlight on these cabinets keep they style modern and sleek without making it bland and boring.

Photo courtesy of Original BTC

Photo courtesy of Viva Lagoon

Another perfect way of styling blacked-out kitchens is adding gold accents. Not only do they add the perfect contrast, but they vary the textures used, making a refined and finished look. The reflective material of the gold cabinets create an open and war atmosphere.

Regardless, if a completely blacked-out kitchen isn’t your style, then look toward making a stark contrast between black and white. Not only does it create a striking composition, but it brings a unique flair that’s sure to be a conversation piece. The blacked-out island at the forefront of this otherwise white kitchen is a perfect example, and will make sure to invite people in.

Photo courtesy of PullCast

Colors, materials and the overall aesthetics often take the spot-light, while functionality takes a back seat. But storage, organization and tech-enabled appliances are as much the heart of kitchens today as cabinets and hardware. 

As the overall look for kitchens becomes more cohesive, functionality might be even more important, as maintaining a sleek aesthetic requires a subtle integration of storage and dedicated zones for everything from baking to beverages. Equally transformative is a growing array of tech enhancements that promise real value for consumers. All of which ensure the most beautiful kitchen also will be up to the tasks required of the hardest-working room in the home.

“Regardless of the size of the kitchen, the main design challenge is to balance space given to appliances, storage and work surfaces,” says Mary Jo Peterson, an award-winning author, educator and designer and president of Mary Jo Peter-son Inc.

More windows and fewer walls moved storage to base cabinets. Interior storage solutions tailor a kitchen for an individual’s lifestyle and preferences. Photo courtesy of Masterbrand Cabinets. 

“It’s a functional area and how your work in the kitchen is an important consideration,” says Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. Especially with high-end clients, she says, designers’ conversations have evolved to be more about lifestyle than appearance and style preferences. This all ties into the shift toward personalization of both aesthetics and function in homes.

In the last 10 years, she says, the industry as a whole has tripled the storage solutions offered to consumers. Additionally, there is a much greater focus on customization and adaptation for specific uses, which enables consumers to create the amount and the type of storage uniquely geared toward their use of the kitchen and their lifestyle. As an example, Pierce points to a cabinet designed specifically for dry goods. “That’s not something we would have seen five or six years ago. We would have tried to do something that was much more versatile and generic that could work with anyone’s objective.”

Amping up the need for enhanced storage and organization is an ongoing change in kitchen design. Several years ago, Pierce says, they identified an emerging trend of adding add light to kitchens with more windows and fewer walls. The end result? Storage moved to base cabinetry and, more recently, to floor to ceiling cabinets. Pull-out drawers offer the most versatility, according to Pierce, and recent research shows 79 percent of designers identified wide drawers as the top kitchen feature.

Kitchens have not only become a main place to entertain, but also a hub for a range of activities from charging devices to home-work to functioning as a home office. This is not a new trend, but Annelle Gandelman of A-List Interiors says, “lately, more peo-ple have been asking for dedicated spaces within the kitchen that cater to guests specifically. We get a lot of requests for coffee bars, butler’s pantries, and even breakfast bars filled with specialty appliances integrated into the cabinetry.”

Phil Kean sees a bar for liquor and wine gaining interest among consumers, which also moves some entertaining into areas adjacent to the kitchen. The New American Home 2019, a concept house designed and built for the home builders’ annual trade show, featured a large bar situated between the kitchen and great room that functioned both inside and outside the home. This year, Thermador introduced a dishwasher just for glasses. Kean says it’s interesting to see an appliance with such a specific function. “I think we’re going to see that more often. People might want to have a second dish-washer in their bar.”

Other specialty appliances requested for bars and beverage centers include refrigeration drawers, ice makers, instant hot faucets, drawer microwaves, convection ovens and wine refrigerators, according to Gendelman. Interestingly, one appliance that’s become a “must have” for upscale kitchens is a built-in coffee and espresso maker. Introduced at the kitchen and bath show (KBIS) this year was a faucet that delivers filtered boiling water as well as sparkling water and normal filtered water.

For high-end kitchens, the big story currently revolves around butler’s pantries and second kitchens. “We find that even people who don’t cook will invest heavily in their kitchens because it’s not just about function and food prep but also where people spend most of their time. As a result, the messier, uglier parts of a working kitchen are being moved into pantries and smaller back kitchens. These spaces are where the toaster ovens, slow cookers and ugly appliances are being hidden,” says Gendelman.

Pierce agrees. “We’re seeing fewer countertop appliances being visible,” she says. Another emerging addition to the kitchen is something Pierce calls the “walk-through pantry,” which essentially looks like a traditional cabinet door to a pantry. But open the door, and it takes you to an entire secondary kitchen that she says can be “massive.” Often it will have a sink and a second refrigerator. “It’s basically a prep kitchen that is also designed toward food storage.”

Dedicated spaces for entertaining, such as this wine cabinet, please both hosts and guests, easing congestion in the main kitchen. Photo courtesy of Masterbrand Cabinets. 

“Convenience is luxury,” observes Gendelman. Motorization is a convenience, particularly in contemporary kitchens, where cabinet doors, even some appliances, open in response to a slight push. Additionally, manufacturers have introduced a range of ways to open cabinets, including doors that tilt upwards, allowing users to leave cabinets open without interfering with traffic patterns.

Consumers also see the value of technology as a way to create convenience. In research from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, 72 percent of consumers believe technology “adds market value to my home.” “Saves me time and steps” was perceived as a main benefit of kitchen technology by 70 percent of those surveyed. A majority also said kitchen tech is important because “it makes my life easier.”

In this research, consumers outpaced designers in their enthusiasm for and understanding of technology. There was strong approval and interest in smart appliances and tech solutions that enable consumers to control various aspects of the home from the kitchen, as well as solutions that make meal ideas/preparation easier and more enjoyable. Very appealing tech features for a large majority of consumers include appliances/faucets that send remote failure/leak alerts; cooking appliances that sense over-cooking or being left on; hands-free faucets with Wi-Fi interconnectivity; appliances that can be activated remotely; and sensors that can monitor/communicate food inventories in your cabinets.

 

Now you see it, now you don’t. It’s the messy kitchen. Cabinet doors open to a second space for prep, storage and even cooking. Photos courtesy of Masterbrand Cabinets.

For consumers, the timing might be right. Smart-home technology has changed in only a few years, moving from a nice-but-quirky gadget to something worthwhile. “Smart is the new green” was the consensus of a trio of kitchen design exerts speaking at KBIS.

Ryan Herd is a tech veteran, NKBA industry insider and author of Join the Smart Home Revolution. He sees technology finally turning the corner, moving from a nice-to-have gadget to something offering real value to consumers. “Things are knitted together better” is his take on the cur-rent state of technology for the home and also for kitchens. Knitting together refers to ways different applications, devices and even appliances work together to produce outcomes consumers find beneficial. Some, such as the number of cooking apps integrated into appliances (highlighted at KIBS this year), are already in the marketplace. Others are on the cusp of being introduced. Appliance manufacturer Miele introduced Con@ctivity 2.0, which connects an induction cooktop with a ventilation hood. When the cooktop is turned on, the information is transmitted to the hood, which turns on. It continues to run for a few minutes after cooking is completed and then automatically turns off.

Bosch, along with Thermador and Gaggenau, introduced a line-up of voice assistants, all part of their smart, open-platform Home Connect. “All within one app, Home Connect empowers consumers to personalize the way they interact with appliances through any number of our partners and services, such as waking up to a fresh cup of coffee each day when the alarm goes off, setting the lights to flash when the washing machine cycle is finished, or selecting a recipe that will communicate with the oven to ensure it’s utilizing the right program and temperature for optimal results,” said Patrick Palacio, director of innovations for Home Connect. Partners includer Kitchen Stories, Drop and Innit. Chefling is the first AI powered kitchen assistant that provides pantry management, online shopping and recipe instruction.

Photo courtesy of Whirlpool.

Photo courtesy fo Thermador. 

Whirlpool won innovation awards at CES this year, including an innovation award in the Smart Home category for Kitchen Aid’s Smart Oven+, which includes grilling, baking and steaming within one appliance. The KitchenAid App gives status updates, and through the Yummly app users can send cooking instructions directly to the appliance. Voice control via Alexa or Google Home is another innovation.

Designers and manufacturers are look-ing for ways to remove the tangle of cords when multiple devices are being charged. Look for more ways to plug-in, with sockets and charging areas that pop up from countertops or can be installed in drawers. And also to not plug-in, using materials that charge wirelessly, such as a countertop material recently introduced by Corian.

Connectivity also means a manufacturer can detect a problem with an appliance, sometimes even before the consumer does. Herd uses the example of a wine refrigerator that has all the functions one would expect but also includes an app to scan the bottles and maintain an inventory. It has social aspects to facilitate collaboration with friends. The app also enables the manufacturer to monitor the compressor and other mechanical elements and alert consumers (along with scheduling service) if there is a problem, which Herd says is particularly valuable if you are storing $100 bottles of wine.

Winning a top award from NKBA was Flo by Moen, which detects and stops leaks from toilets, showers and faucets, to the pipes in the foundation and behind the walls. Not only does the device alert consumers to leaks, but it can then also turn off the water remotely.

In the not-too-distant future, a smart refrigerator will not only allow you to remotely see what’s inside, it will also keep an inventory that is updated every time something is added or removed. Eventually, cabinets will have a similar capability. “That’s where you get the stitching together,” says Herd. In the next step, the entire kitchen knows everything. Apps will not only keep track of what’s on hand, but they will also make meal suggestions and possibly tailor those suggestions to any specific preferences or even the allergies of guests.

Kitchens and appliances are long-term investments, and some might be reluctant to invest in technology. However, for upscale consumers it’s easy to envision a time when the convenience afforded by technology will far outweigh the cost.

While kitchen backsplashes are known to be composed of simple tiles that blend into the background, interior designers are diversifying them with different materials and bold color palettes. Instead of overlooking backsplashes, the forerunners of the industry are bringing them in the spotlight. Here’s how:

Using bold colors and a unique design makes the backsplash of your kitchen pop, highlighting a beautiful statement area that might otherwise go unnoticed. This whimsical pattern offers can showcase bold colors for an eye-catching design. Mosaic tiles allow for a detailed and one-of-a-kind design. Pair the backsplash with more subtle, neutral-colored cabinets and countertops for a perfect balance between the two styles. 

Photo courtesy of Lime Lace

Photo courtesy of Lime Lace

For a less busy design, look toward simple, geometric tiles with a dash of color. These blue tiles create a beautiful backsplash for a more relaxed style. Simple countertops and cabinets also won’t wash it out, as the bold color adds a subtle yet effective contrast. Both offer a charming addition to the kitchen.

Horizontal slabs are breaking through as one of the latest trends in the industry. Whether the idea is to go more natural looking with a three-dimensional design or the traditional sleek and modern method, this style of backsplash will always be the finishing touch to a room. One color with different shades or multiple colors can change the style it offers. For a more retro look, multiple colors — such as blue, tan and grey — provide a very specific style to the space.

Photo courtesy of Original Style

Photo courtesy of Original Style

For a more Modern Farmhouse design, look toward subway tiles with an intricate yet subtle design. These light blue tiles add a bright color to the room, while incorporating small, intricate design that makes it appear more unique overall. Each tile brings a more comfortable and warm atmosphere to the room. Pair tiles like these with a finished wooden countertop for an even warmer and chic composition.

 

 

One of the biggest debates in kitchen and home design is this: should granite be replaced by marble, or quartz? While more developers are looking toward quartz as an alternative to marble, neither one clearly outweighs the other. But there are four different categories that compare the two materials, and can help both developers and homeowners decide which one best suits them. Their appearance, durability, maintenance and overall cost can play a part in choosing which one is better to replace granite.

For appearance, it is largely a matter of preference. According to MSI Surfaces, while Quartz is more uniform in its design and color, it can also mimic the look of natural stone as well. Meanwhile, with marble, each slab is one-of-a-kind. If you have marble as your kitchen countertop, no other counter will be the same as that one. The uniqueness adds a classic beauty to any room. 

Renderings courtesy of KAR Properties (Marble)

Marble

Quartz

Appearance

  • One-of-a-kind
  • Natural stone rather than man-made
  • Uniform in design and color
  • Man-made, but mimics natural stone

Durability

  • Can get stained or discolored more easily
  • Overall, durable and dependable
  • Direct sunlight or UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring
  • Overall, durable and dependable

Maintenance

  • Sitting water can cause discoloration or stains
  • Overall, more maintenance is required
  • Hot pots or pans sitting on it can scorch the stone
  • Overall, less maintenance is required

Price

  • More expensive per square foot
  • $50-150 per square foot
  • Less expensive per square foot
  • $40-100 per square foot

 

 

 

In terms of durability, both are great options. Quartz is man-made, but is increasing in popularity because of the material’s durability. Marble is from many different countries around the world, and is also a durable but natural material as well. With quartz, however, any direct sunlight or high UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring, according to Polycor. Although both can gain chips on their edges and other minor damages, neither are fragile or impractical for everyday use. For durability, both quartz and marble are great options.

Marble requires more maintenance since it is natural stone. Sitting water on a marble countertop can cause discoloration and stains. For individuals with a busy lifestyle, quartz would be much easier to manage. But with quartz, make sure not to place any hot pots or pans on the counter — doing so could scorch the material. In terms of overall maintenance, however, quartz is generally a better fit. 

Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)

Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)

Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, marble is usually more expensive than quartz. MSI Surfaces explains that while each square foot of marble is only slightly more expensive than quartz, that price tag can quickly add up when designing a whole room. Despite the overall added price, however, marble can add to a home’s value, so it might be worth it in the long run for some homeowners and designers.

While quartz is more practical in terms of durability and maintenance, nothing is like the one-of-a-kind material found with marble. In the end, knowing both materials’ advantages and setbacks can help determine which one works best.

Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)                                   Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)

Interior design experts predict that more dramatic kitchens — featuring darker wall colors, cabinets and countertops — will take over 2018.

Photo courtesy of Volley

Each year marks a new design trend, especially in kitchens. Dark kitchens are now the luxury seal of approval for home design. Interior design experts quoted in Vogue and ELLE Décor predicted that white kitchens have reached the peak of popularity, and to look for darker, more dramatic kitchens — whether it be the wall color, cabinets and/or countertops.

Below is a list of luxury developments that are already taking note of these dark, moody kitchen design trends:

1. 62-66 North Third Street

Interior Designer, Kimberly Peck, masterfully included Italian composite matte black cabinets for the grand, open kitchens at 62-66 North Third Street, a luxury condominium in the heart of Williamsburg. This modern and sleek design element offers residents a moodier industrial living space, which reflects the neighborhood’s ambience.

2. Three Hundred Collins

This is a 19-unit boutique property nestled within Miami Beach’s exclusive South of Fifth neighborhood, featuring spectacular interiors by Thomas Juul-Hansen that are guaranteed to inspire. Each residence is equipped with custom kitchen cabinets and Miele appliances that add a touch of dark contrast to the overly used stark white kitchen palate in Miami Beach. Other features include a built-in bottom mount fridge/freezer, fully integrated dishwasher, espresso machine, convection oven, undercounter wine storage and designer fixtures from Vola and Hansgrohe.

3. L ‘Atelier Residences

Internationally acclaimed furniture designer Holly Hunt’s first-ever residential development, L ‘Atelier is a 24-residence boutique oceanfront luxury high-rise in Miami Beach. Beautifully crafted Luxury Poliform Italian Kitchens, featuring World-Class Gaggenau Appliances with exquisite dark-colored finishes, L’ Atelier’s kitchens are a modern work of art which showcase this new design trend. Residences will be priced from $3.5 million to $25 million and are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

4. 1 Flatbush

Whitehall Interiors added a dark accent wall to the kitchens in this Downtown Brooklyn apartment to complement the lighter cabinets and countertops, as well as add a bit of drama to the rooms.

5. North Park Tower

The spacious kitchens at this Whitehall Interiors-designed luxury condo in Harlem feature darker gray custom oak wood cabinetry to balance the natural light shining in from the floor-to-ceiling windows and the Athens Silver Cream marble backsplash and countertops.

Photo courtesy of MNS

Photo courtesy of MAQE

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