Remodeling trends rethink traditional kitchen layouts

The Orange County RegisterNovember 15, 2013 

Michelle Christy’s recently remodeled kitchen in North Tustin, Calif., features a large island and new appliances plus three sinks.

H. LORREN AU JR./ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA, Calif. — When Michelle and Jon Christy bought their 1980s-era home in North Tustin, Calif., much of the residence already was remodeled. Except for the kitchen. And it was olive green.

“I wanted to lighten up the kitchen, because the kitchen had been dark,” Michelle Christy said. “I thought white cabinets would give it a nice, clean, crisp look.”

They didn’t stop there. Today, with a demolition behind them, and new Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances along with a spacious island, the couple’s kitchen is not just brighter; it also reflects several current trends in culinary design. Nearly half of new homeowners undertaking a home improvement project within three months of buying a residence set their sights on a kitchen overhaul, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors. Even a minor remodel can recoup most of the cost when the owners resell, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value report.

The list below includes top trends from Houzz, a popular home design and remodeling website based in Palo Alto, Calif. The site’s Fall Kitchen Trends study gathered responses from 7,812 homeowners. Here’s what’s hot:

1. Chef’s stoves. A professional-grade range — a stove with options such as a flat griddle or a cooktop to accommodate a searing pan or a wok — topped kitchen wish lists in the Houzz survey; 32 percent of respondents selected them as their dream appliance.

“What a consumer looks at, even if they don’t cook, is it looks cool,” Nassetta said.

Double ovens garnered 18 percent. Other high-end features such as induction cooktops, wine refrigerators and convection ovens seemed to matter far less. Only 4 percent of respondents considered warming drawers a priority.

2. Eco-friendly features. Nearly half of those surveyed — 49 percent — said using eco-friendly appliances and materials in their kitchens is important.

3. Granite and quartz countertops. Most respondents — 94 percent — said they’re changing their countertops. Granite still rocks, topping the list at 50 percent, but quartz is a rising star, coming in at 36 percent. Marble only drew 10 percent. Tile got a paltry 2 percent.

Quartz countertops are resistant to stains and scratches and are easy to take care of, kitchen designers say. “They’re pretty bulletproof,” said Mike Close, president of Spinnaker Development in Newport Beach, which designs, builds and remodels custom homes.

Michelle Christy, however, chose marble for her island top when she remodeled her kitchen this summer. “I like the veining in the marble,” she said. “I just love the clean look. It’s a little care. I had a couple of people say, ‘Don’t do it!’ But I did it and I love it.”

4. Tile backsplashes. Tile, however, was the top choice for backsplash accents. Half of respondents preferred it, with marble, stone slab and other materials trailing far behind. “A lot of people are using the backsplash as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen,” said Sheila Schmitz, Houzz. com editor. “That’s where they’ll put that splash of color, because it won’t be overwhelming.”

5. Floors. Hardwood floors led the list of choices, but here’s another area where tiles made a strong showing, coming in second. Remember linoleum? It garnered only 3 percent. Concrete did worse — 2 percent.

6. Stainless steel. A majority of respondents — 65 percent — favor stainless steel appliances. Some homeowners are combining appliance finishes or integrating stainless steel into cabinetry, and 12 percent are choosing white or color appliances.

7. Islands. While 61 percent said they’re incorporating an island, for some others, it would be the wrong choice, either because the room is too small or the configuration wouldn’t work.

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