It’s that special time of year when family and out-of-town guests converge upon your home to share good times, joyous memories and tasty treats. Gatherings will focus on the kitchen as typically that is the heart of any home. Unfortunately, the season may bring the realization that your kitchen is in dire need of a makeover.
No matter its size, the kitchen is a big part of today’s household. As you contemplate visions of renovation, here are a few ideas to make your kitchen more inviting and functional, whether you’re hosting a holiday feast or a casual Sunday brunch.
Trending high on today’s kitchen remodeling designs is a butler’s pantry. Functioning as a bridge between the kitchen and dining room, the butler’s pantry helps with staging large parties with a serving counter and cabinetry on one or both sides. Often used to display fine china and crystal, the area may also incorporate a sink to facilitate ease of entertaining.
Gone are the days of wall-to-wall cabinets, according to Nancy Braamse with Olde World Cabinetry. “Homeowners are opting for an array of open shelves that enable quick access to dinnerware and glassware. ” says Nancy. Storage is now contained under the counter with the use of large drawers and base cabinets. “I see a lot of clients wanting two islands now one with a prep sink and work area plus another outer island for guest seating.”
Color selections in cabinetry today are primarily white, gray or blue punctuated with brushed brass and gold hardware. Thanks to the popularity of Mediterranean and Spanish influences, Nancy projects the color of the year for 2018 will be caliente, a shade similar to that of a chili pepper.
Counters are topped with quartz, a material held in high demand because of its durability and style. “Everybody loves the look of marble but it’s not as user friendly as quartz,” says Nancy. Quartz resembles marble, is super durable, easier to clean and resists stains and scratches. Available in a wide range of colors, quartz is similar in cost to granite.
Spend less time cooking and cleaning and more time socializing with ovens, ranges and cooktops that incorporate connected technology. “The built-in presets and monitoring features on connected appliances take the guesswork and constant monitoring out of the cooking process, allowing more time to interact with family and friends,” says Jennifer Hettich, showroom manager at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Tampa.
Large commercial-sized ranges are ideal for preparing large quantities of food more efficiently. “Today’s offerings are more elegant and understated, but still provide high-powered performance and hard-working functionality,” Jennifer says. Add a warming drawer which maintains food temperature and freshness for up to six hours.
Cut cooking time and enjoy foolproof recipes with a convection steam oven. Cooking with steam keeps food tender inside and maintains its nutritional value, while the circulating convection heat speeds up the oven time without overcooking. “A convection steam oven gives you the best of both worlds and is especially popular because of the emphasis on healthy eating,” says Jason Horst, director of marketing, Famous Tate Appliance & Bedding Center. Because of their smaller size, convection steam ovens preheat faster and are designed to bring out the best flavors from casseroles to standing rib roasts and even leftovers.
Clean-up is next on the list. Dishwashers today operate more efficiently utilizing less water and electricity and with much less noise. Thankfully, pre-washing dishes prior to loading is no longer necessary. Some models also feature a quick wash cycle which enables you to provide clean glasses throughout the duration of your party.
Toast the holidays in style with a wine chiller. A wine chiller frees up valuable refrigerator space and can be placed under the counter. Smaller attractively priced versions are also available which sit easily on countertops and have only a 10 inch footprint. These models can accommodate up to 18 bottles and feature dual zone temperatures for red and white wine storage.
When choosing an appliance package as part of your remodeling efforts be sure to consider finishes. “The current trend is fingerprint resistant finishes for a maintenance free, updated look,” says Jason. Black stainless is especially popular as are dark gray and slate tones, which complement today’s favorite cabinet and flooring materials.
Cabinetry and appliances that reflect form as well as function are key elements to an inviting kitchen. Besides creating a more welcoming space, kitchen remodeling makes financial sense. According to Remodeling Magazine, a major kitchen renovation can result in a return on investment of between 61 and 70 percent of the cost. Clearly, that’s a recipe for success.
By Linde Hyder