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Kitchen Trends Study Reveals the Trends Most Popular with HomeownersBy Chelsie Butler, Kitchen and Bath Business,
October 17, 2013
Houzz has released the results of its first "Kitchen Trends Study," which is based on responses from more than 7,500 homeowners who are currently undergoing a renovation or are planning a remodel. Some of the main trends gleaned from the survey are that the open-concept kitchen is still widely popular, granite and quartz are the materials of choice when it comes to countertops, mixing appliance materials is considered, and conservative colors schemes dominate the market. The study also found that 49 percent of the responders believe in completely gutting the existing kitchen, while 42 percent prefer to update their existing space. In terms of finishes and colors, 65 percent of responders are incorporating stainless steel appliances into their kitchen design, while many are also combining stainless with white or color appliances or integrating appliances into the cabinetry. Soft and neutral tones were most popular with responders, and topping the list of must-have appliances are a chef’s stove, double ovens and induction cooktops. Half of the responders chose stone as the preferred material for countertops, with quartz coming in as a close second with 36 percent. Top backsplash choices include tile and glass, and top flooring choices include hardwood and tile. The study also found that homeowners under the age of 45 prefer a contemporary design in their kitchens, while the traditional look is most popular with those over the age of 45. Seventy-nine percent of the responders said they chose to or are choosing to renovate their kitchens to improve the look and feel of the space, and 59 percent want to improve the kitchen’s function. Other motivators include appliance upgrades, improved storage and increasing the home’s value. Only half of the responders were concerned with creating an eco-friendly kitchen in terms of appliance and material selection. Out of the 7,812 homeowners who were surveyed, 32 percent have already begun construction on their kitchens, and 68 percent have yet to start, although it seems likely they know where they want to go once they get there.
New from Silestone
The Evolution of the Kitchen BacksplashBacksplashes used to be a standard 4 inches high and were used primarily behind the stove and sink for protection from moisture and grease. Now they are used anywhere there is a counter and have become an important design feature.
A variety of materials can be used for backsplashes: concrete, natural stone, metals, mosaics, glass and ceramics. Kitchen expert Joan Kohn visits with Peter Lawton of Design Plus Kitchen and Bath to learn about the latest trends for kitchen backsplashes.
The most durable natural stone for backsplashes is granite. However, it should be resealed twice a year to maintain protection from moisture.
Marble is a beautiful, low-maintenance material, but it is very porous and absorbs grease and dirt.
A look that is resurfacing from the 1950s is the textured glass backsplash.
Ceramic tiles offer a huge variety of design possibilities. They come in a vast array of colors, textures and finishes. They give the budget-conscious the opportunity to create a custom look and save on installation. The grout, however, must be cleaned and resealed regularly.
Kitchen Colors that stand the Test of TimeFrom ruby-red refrigerators to handpainted tile murals, colors in the kitchen can range from kitschy to classic. How do you know which colors will outlast trends? "A classic color is timeless, associated with elements of nature that we think of as ever-present: rock, stone, pebbles, marble and granite," says Leatrice Eiseman, author of Color Messages and Meanings and director of the Pantone Color Institute. "There is an implied quality to anything so long-lasting, which would certainly translate into appliances, cabinets and other kitchen areas you hope would have longevity."
But choosing colors that will stand the test of time doesn't mean sacrificing style. "Neutrals aren't the only classic colors. Color can be rich and intense, like terra cotta or bright red, and still be classic," says Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD, principal of Mary Jo Peterson, Inc. and a columnist for Kitchen & Bath Design News. "You can create interest in a timeless design by taking color inspiration from an Oriental rug or a bright fabric, and using intense colors in small, replaceable amounts."
Here are classic color ideas for five areas of your kitchen.
You can't go wrong with wood — or can you? Even wood shades and types go in and out of style, says Paul Dybdahl, CKD, president of Dybdahl's Classic Kitchen in Middleton, Wis. "Light maples have run their course. People are asking for darker stained woods right now," he says.
Your best bet is to choose a finish somewhere between blonde and brunette, Peterson says. "Well-built cabinetry will last much longer than the finish will stay in style," she says. "Pick a simple door style and a medium finish, and if you want a new look just change the hardware every five years."
Considering painted cabinets? A shade of white is always classic, Dybdahl says.
If you're pining for a specific shade: Just go for it, Peterson says. You can always paint the cabinets white if you have to sell. "At some point you have to give up on a color staying in style and choose it because you love it. I did my kitchen in a dark mahogany stained cherry. I still love it, because it matches my personality."
Bright custom countertop colors — such as red, yellow, turquoise and plum — are hot today, Dybdahl says, but the bold look may not wow you tomorrow. Instead, look to the classic color trio of white, green or black for lasting color if you're choosing laminate, solid surface, tile or marble. "Laminates and solid surface aren't considered classic materials, but they can be very durable and, if you choose your color well, will last quite some time," he says.
Materials such as granite, quartz, ceramic tile and butcher-block-style wood come in naturally enduring colors, even though some choices are dramatic (think Zebrawood's exotic stripes or blue-and–green patterned granite). "Colors found in natural materials never go out of style, because we see them in nature and are comfortable with them," Peterson says.
Still stumped? Try looking around the rest of your house for inspiration, suggests Peggy Deras, CKD, CID, owner of Kitchen Artworks in San Francisco. "My inclination is to take cues from the rest of the house. The kitchen should not look like it dropped in from Mars." In other words, a deep brick shade that complements your Victorian decor is bound to stay in style longer than a random manufactured pattern released as fad of the year.
If you're set on a trendy countertop: Cover the island in boldly patterned granite, Peterson says. "It can become the piece of art in the room."
"Backsplashes are all over the board, as unique as each homeowner," Dybdahl says. Lately he's been using wood that matches the cabinetry, while Peterson has seen backsplashes used as intense splashes of color in the room.
White subway tiles are the go-to classic backsplash, Deras says. She often uses them in small kitchens, since light colors recede and make the space look bigger. Other time-tested options include a custom-made mosaic reflecting other colors in the room, and organic, natural choices such as the muted, neutral colors in tumbled marble or limestone.
If you want to make a big splash: Install the backsplash on a removable board instead of directly onto the wall, Peterson says. "You'll have something that says 'This is a really sharp kitchen,' but is easily replaceable."
Burnt orange, fire-engine red and eggplant are just a few shades you could select for your stove and fridge, but even more popular is stainless steel. "Stainless steel has always been around, but we don't think of it as timeless since it's taken over the market and we'll likely see a resistance to it in the future," Peterson says.
Instead, think monochrome when it comes to appliances. "I have never seen a white appliance date anything," Dybdahl says. Peterson favors black, since it blends well with wood. Even better than white or black is letting the appliances recede and disappear with panels that match the cabinetry.
If the kitchen is your stage: "A cobalt-blue commercial range is entirely appropriate as a focal point," Peterson says.
Ceramic tile and wood are the go-to floors for kitchens. "A few years ago, light maple wood floors were very popular, but they've given way to warmer tones," Dybdahl says. "Colors are in for hard-surface, natural stone. I haven't seen a white-tiled floor for years."
Dybdahl recommends medium-dark wood flooring paired with slightly lighter cabinets to give the whole room a classic look. For tile floors, any earthy, natural color is a good choice. Just make sure you stick with one color. "You can get into trouble if you use a tile pattern on the floor, because it might date itself, though an all-over pattern is more timeless than one with focal points," Peterson says.
If you're going for drama: "I love hardwood floors in a medium- to light-golden tone that run diagonal toward a view or focal point," Deras says.
Choosing Countertops with ConfidenceYour countertops play a starring role in your kitchen design, helping set the style and tone for the heart of your home. There are so many options, from granite to wood to glass. You're afraid of making a bad decision — and who wouldn't be? But choosing your kitchen countertops doesn't have to be difficult. By determining your design profile, you'll learn what works for you, making choosing countertops easy and fun.
The first step in finding your design profile is to ask some simple questions. Start by asking, "How much can I spend?" If you're on a budget, laminate, tile and stainless steel offer great looks at wallet-friendly prices. For folks with more resources, granite, natural stone and glass are excellent choices.
Next, ask yourself, "What's my lifestyle?" Different circumstances will rate different materials. For example, families with children will want something durable and stain-resistant; gourmet cooks will prefer hard-working materials and avid entertainers will like a marriage of high style and convenience.
Now that you've got a handle on the types of countertop materials that might work for you, it's time to start focusing on the last piece of the puzzle: your personal style preference. Think about your clothes and accessories. Ask yourself, "What do I like to wear in colors, styles and textures?" Now take this quiz:
When you look into your closet, you see:
A. An abundance of colors and patterns
B. Mostly neutral clothing; comfort is key
C. Classic pieces with colorful accents
When you look into your jewelry box, you see:
A. Lots of modern, trendy pieces you love and wear often
B. Jewelry box? What jewelry box? Your focus isn't on accessories
C. A few good pieces that are worn all the time. You do own a few "fun" earrings
When it comes to perfume, you:
A. Have all the latest fragrances and rotate your scent selection often
B. Have one scent for special occasions
C. Have a few favorites and enjoy them
When it comes to clothes shopping, you:
A. Enjoy the latest trends and update your wardrobe regularly
B. Prefer comfortable clothing and aren't interested in trends
C. Combine classic pieces with a few trends; you only need a few fun pieces
If you chose mostly As, your style preference is Style A: Bold. You prefer strong colors, unusual materials and bold contrasts. You follow the trends and love clothes with visual interest.
Descriptive Words: edgy, dynamic, unusual and cutting edge
Suggested Materials: Wilsonart Barcoo Brush $, Wilsonart Deepstar Slate $$, Granite in Tan Brown by DuPont $$$
If you chose mostly Bs, your style preference is Style B: Conservative. You prefer monochromatic color schemes with a unified material distribution. You enjoy classic details and avoid strong colors. Trends may be interesting but are not your focus. You feel comfortable with subtle accents.
Descriptive Words: classic, traditional, clean and unobtrusive
Suggested Materials: Wilsonart Natural Roca $, Wilsonart Deepstar Bronze $$, Granite in Kashmir Gold by DuPont $$$
If you chose mostly Cs, your style preference is Style C: Contemporary. You prefer contemporary and traditional elements. You enjoy carefully distributing strong accent colors like mixing different materials throughout your space. You feel comfortable in a visually engaging space that is grounded with clean lines.
Descriptive Words: unique, traditional, contemporary and balanced
Suggested Materials: Wilsonart Jade Fusion $, Wilsonart Bella Venito $$, Granite in Blue Pearl by DuPont $$$
Now that you've determined your design profile — your budget, lifestyle and style preferences — you can shop with confidence. Your detailed design profile will let you navigate countertop options with ease.
$ = $25-$60/lin ft, installed
$$ = $75-$150/lin ft, installed
$$$ = $75-$200/lin ft, installed
The Modern Kitchen
Seven Must-Have RenovationsThink your tired kitchen is ready for a new look? Consider these modern kitchen must-haves when you plan your remodel.
How long have you been suffering with an outdated kitchen, dreaming of giving it a fresh look? Are you finally ready to tackle a remodel?
Great! But don't rush into your remodel plan just yet. You'll want to give yourself some space - literally.
"Space planning is key," says Kevin Scalir, general contractor and CEO of Stonebrook Design Build. "A beautiful but poorly thought out kitchen will be completely dysfunctional."
So while you're thinking about all the modern finishes and must-have touches you want, make sure to think about how you like to use your kitchen, too.
If you let your personality and preferences guide you when designing your new kitchen, you could end up with a space that's both beautiful and functional - two qualities of great design. And if you don't know yet what the kitchen of your dreams looks like, consult a contractor or designer to help you with the planning phase.
Ready to start upgrading your kitchen? Read on to find out about some great modern kitchen must-haves to put on your remodel wish list.
Must-Have #1: Solid Surface Countertops
Chances are if your kitchen counters are covered with tile, laminate - or something worse - you're itching to rip them out.
For a sleek and modern upgrade, consider solid surface countertops. According to Scalir, this is the number one "must-have" requested in the kitchen remodels his company handles.
And it's easy to see why: Beyond giving a clean look to kitchens, solid surface countertops come in a wide variety of colors and materials. No matter what look you're going for, chances are there's a solid surface countertop that will deliver it.
So what's popular these days? "Caesarstone (a man-made stone consisting mostly of quartz), granite, and marble," Scalir says.
He offers one word of warning, however: "Be careful with marble. While it's beautiful, it's also very soft and permeable and will stain when you drop your wine or drip some oil."
If you're worried about spills, you might want to go with quartz or granite.
Must-Have #2: European-Style Cabinets
Ironically, today's kitchens are going modern by taking cues from the old world. But there's nothing old about the sleek new look of European-style cabinets. So what exactly are they?
According to Scalir, European-style cabinets usually have the following characteristics: "Hidden hinges, soft-close doors and drawers, frameless cabinet construction, and full-overlay doors and drawer-fronts."
These kitchen cabinet must-haves contribute to a kitchen's modern design.
Hidden hinges keep things looking sleek with no hardware visible to disrupt the clean lines of your cabinet doors. The soft-close doors and drawers prevent slamming, saving both your cabinet finishes and your nerves. And the frameless cabinet construction and full-overlay doors give you the look of "just doors" without the older style face-frame behind the doors.
If you're looking to take a kitchen from ho-hum to "Oh, yum!" take a look at the cabinet options out there. You might be surprised at the difference some European-style cabinets could make in your home.
Don't have the money to replace your cabinets? You may be able to achieve a similar look by refacing your cabinet boxes and replacing the doors or hardware.
Must-Have #3: Stainless Steel Appliances
If you're going for "sleek and modern" in your kitchen remodel, stainless steel appliances are a definite must-have.
"If we're doing a kitchen remodel, 99 percent of the time the appliances will be stainless steel," Scalir says.
What's all the fuss about, you ask? Stainless steel has a neutral finish that looks good with most modern kitchen design schemes. But the benefits of stainless steel go way beyond its modern look. It's durable, easy to clean, stainless (surprise!), and close to rust-proof.
In fact, it's such a smart choice that you'll find stainless steel appliances in most commercial kitchens. If it's good enough for professional chefs, don't you want it in your kitchen, too?
Must-Have #4: Tile Backsplash
Tile backsplashes serve a useful purpose: They keep splatters and spills from staining walls and make post-cooking clean up a whole lot easier. But backsplashes are also a great place to throw some visual interest into your modern kitchen remodel.
"Gone are the days of granite all the way up the wall," Scalir says. "The new style is complimentary or contrasting tile with an interesting pattern on the backsplash."
And you don't have to worry about limiting your options if you choose to go with a tile backsplash. Sure, you could choose a nice safe white subway tile - but there are choices available for people who like to walk on the wild side, too.
"My more adventurous clients have used glass tile, stainless steel tile, and hand-painted accents," Scalir says.
Who knew your mess-containing backsplash might also provide the visual "Wow!" you've been looking for in your dream kitchen.
Must-Have #5: Open Floor Plan
If you've got the money and guts to tackle reconstructive surgery on your house, an open floor plan is probably on your must-have list already. And what better way to modernize your kitchen than by opening it up to your entire living area?
"If we can remove a wall and open up the kitchen we usually do," Scalir says. Sounds simple enough, but this one change can revolutionize the way you experience your kitchen - and your dinner parties.
"Often the open floor plan will allow us to use either an island or a peninsula that allows friends and family to sit in the adjoining space (usually a family room or great room) and converse with whoever is working in the kitchen," explains Scalir. That's one change that might really reflect the way we live.
These days, it feels like people congregate in the kitchen while the food is being prepared, talking and socializing with the chef. As Scalir notes, opening that area up makes it easier to share these kitchen moments with family and friends.
Must-Have #6: Under-Cabinet Lighting
Take a page out of any Hollywood filmmaker's book and you'll know that lighting is crucial to defining the look of a space. Sure, harsh overhead fluorescent lights will illuminate the space, but is that the kind of lighting you want to live with night after night?
If you're looking for a softer, warmer use of light, under-cabinet lighting is one way to make the most out of your kitchen remodel.
"The simplest light under the cabinet adds a tremendous amount of useful light," Scalir says. "It also adds a nice warm texture to the kitchen."
This is a must-have feature of most modern designer kitchens for good reason. The softer task-lighting under the cabinets can give your kitchen the warm glow you'll never get with glaring overhead lights.
If that doesn't convince you to add under-cabinet lighting to your remodel plan, consider this: If you're already planning to spend the time and money on lovely new cabinets, counters, or tile backsplashes, why not invest a little more and light them well?
Must-Have #7: A Garbage and Recycling Center
Do you separate your garbage from your recycling in the kitchen, but find yourself tripping over bins? If so, you might love this kitchen remodel must-have: a built-in garbage and recycling center.
"This sounds like an odd must-have," Scalir admits. "But almost all of my clients ask for it."
So what goes into a garbage and recycling center?
"It's a cabinet that we usually place next to the sink with two bins," Scalir says. "One bin is used for trash and the other is used for recyclables. The bins are hidden unless the drawer is opened. It's a great alternative to shoving a garbage bag under the sink."
Now you can do your part for the environment without having to stash an unsightly recycling bin next to the fridge. Tucked out of sight, a garbage and recycling center makes it easy for your kitchen to be both green and, more importantly, gorgeous.
Kitchen and Bath Business
Formica CorporationLooking toward exotic granites and bold quartzites, Formica Corp.'s five new full-scale 180fx laminate patterns offer lighter, more neutral options. The patterns include Dolce Vita, which melds shades of off-white, gray and charcoal with a hint of gray-based rose and dusky violet; Bianca Luna, modeled after white quartzite with large and small white particulates and gray veining throughout; Crema Mascarello, which includes soft tones of white, off-white, taupe and warm gray; Travertine Gold, reminiscent of a vein-cut travertine with alternating layers of cream and caramel with gray details; and Nacarado, which takes inspiration from Brazilian quartzite, with a base of cream swirled with veins of gold, rust and gray, and white veining.
Small Space Kitchen Design SuggestionsFind hints and tricks for making a small kitchen feel open, efficient and comfortable.
By Rebecca Orlov
The kitchen is definitely the heart of the house - playing host to family meals, casual conversations with friends and family, a quiet afternoon tea for one, storage space for décor and accents, art studio for the kids, business center for a burgeoning idea, you name it. In recent years and with the economic shift, many people have downsized and smaller kitchen areas are now a way of life. But don't fret. There are tons of small space kitchen design ideas and practical solutions to make the most of your kitchen square footage.
Today people are spending valuable time at home and are making it a priority to create comfort spaces that truly suit their lives. Creating a welcome and efficient kitchen space paired with lifestyle comfort that maximizes the entire room is often a priority.
Look and Learn
One great tip to start with when embracing your kitchen space is to simply observe and understand how you and your family really use the space. Some families spend most of their dining and casual time in their kitchen while other families may just eat meals at the kitchen table and use the family room for social gatherings. By evaluating your use of the space, you will get a better idea of how to plan the layout to make the most of the space. Write down your daily kitchen routine for a month. Seeing the day-to-day activities on paper will give you an honest snapshot of how the family uses the kitchen space and how you need it to function - what's working and what's not. And while you're at it, make note of favorite design styles and what makes you feel good when it comes to color, texture and style. These design accents can ultimately add layers to your kitchen space.
Your Kitchen, Your Focal Point
Take a look around your home at the focal points in each room to see how it balances the space. A focal point is the center of the space, the key item that the room works around. For living rooms, it could be the fireplace, for bedrooms it could be a canopy bed. For small kitchens, it's the typically the entire space. So how do you deal with this - an entire space? Look at your kitchen as one solid unit. Use either a neutral palette or one color throughout your space to keep the eye moving and for the kitchen to feel like one complete unit. One easy solution for creating this look is to make sure your backsplash pattern is uninterrupted and even the outlets fit into the design aesthetic. Make sure they are part of the pattern or color palette and that they fit in rather than stand out and fore the eye to stop on them. Take a look around and make sure the room fits together.
Open Shelving Works
Super-small kitchens can benefit from floating or open shelves. Typically free of hardware and heavy structure - open shelving provides a clean and contemporary look. It encourages the eye to continue all the way to the wall, allowing the space to appear bigger. Of course keeping your dishware and glassware nice and tidy is something you will have to maintain, but this can be considered a positive since an organized and clutter-free kitchen is a small-space tip in its own right. Use one color of dishware and stack them for cohesive look. Add personal items in your kitchen by leaning a frame or signature plate behind the stack of everyday plates or row of glasses.
From glass to wood to cork, there really are a variety of affordable, eco-friendly options for shelving. Solid color and clean lines, like Ikea's "Lack" shelf are very popular. The Ikea shelf comes in a range of colors and lengths and has a simple yet modern shape. Or try acrylic shelving, it provides floating look that lends to the illusion of a bigger space.
A Kitchen Cabinet Palette
For color, use one neutral hue for the entire space - the cabinets, hardware, appliances, floor coverings. This creates the appearance of a fluid and balanced space that allows the eye to continue to move around the entire space. Use simple flat cabinets without a lot of detail or replace solid cabinet doors with glass ones - just make sure the inside of the cabinets are painted the same color as the trim and cabinet exterior. If you are building or renovating, consider adding a soffit or trim and then hanging your cabinets flush so they appear to be receding into the wall instead of sticking out of the wall. When planning vertical space, remember base cabinets are normally 36 inches tall, countertops are normally 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick and the standard height between the countertop and upper cabinets is 18 inches. If you plan on taking your cabinets up to the ceiling, double check the contour of your ceiling to make sure it is level.
Color can emotionally and physically extend the look of a space. Using color in a kitchen is a perfect way to make you feel a certain way while visually increasing the appearance. Try this color rule - cooler colors, like blues, tend to recede and make a space appear bigger. Warm colors, like deep reds, tend to close in a space and make it feel more intimate. So in the case of the small kitchen, cool tones will automatically open up the space and make it feel light and airy.
The Accent Wall
Use one neutral color option for your cabinets, hardware and appliances - continue the look by painting the walls the same color for a complete cohesive look. But, if you are going with open shelves, consider making the wall behind the shelf the accent wall while leaving the rest of the kitchen neutral. This will provide balance in the space and a color pop. Or try wallpaper to create a single accent wall. In the last few years, wallpaper has made a serious comeback and is available in many colors, patterns and styles. And for eco-friendly, zero or low VOC paint for your kitchen, consider using Sherwin-Williams Harmony, Yolo Colorhouse, Benjamin Moore Aura or Home Depot's Freshaire Choice.
Kitchen Ceilings and Floors
Don't forget the ceiling and floor when planning your space. Small kitchens can really benefit from adding a few extra touches up high or down low. Keep the floor in your design aesthetic by adding a rug or floor covering to provide texture and color. Add dimension to the ceiling with lighting. Besides adding style and personality, it will draw the eye up adding vertical depth. Keep the ceiling white or a light color so the eye will continue moving up.
Kitchen Design Statement - Your Luxury Item
Add a splash of luxury or shine. While many homeowners are being thoughtful about saving money these days, it's definitely possible to add a little bit of affordable luxury into your kitchen. Instead of planning for an often-expensive marble countertop, go with a more affordable natural stone and draw the eye up with a sparkling vintage chandelier. If you love the look of a stamped copper sink but don't love the price tag, add a copper-tile backsplash. Small, yet affordable, details work big in small spaces.
Kitchen and Bath Business
Honorable Mention: Opposites Attract
An inspired showhouse kitchen tackles dichotomies
By Alice Liao
October 23, 2012
For the 2011 edition of DreamHome, an annual showhouse in The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, designer Shawna Dillon, of Snaidero Chicago, responded to the challenge of developing a fresh, compelling kitchen concept with a meditation on opposites: masculine and feminine, smooth and rough, refined and industrial and old and new.
Throughout, textured, dark-wood slab-door cabinets—visually lightened with slim recessed channels—are juxtaposed with weighty stainless-steel cabinetry and appliances. Counterbalancing the contemporary pieces are vintage elements, such as a traditional painted breakfront and twin chandeliers suspended over a central island. Multileveled, the oversized island comprises a table with chairs for family meals, as well as a counter-height work surface and seating to allow users to socialize with the cook or grab a quick bite.
Keeping the aesthetic clean and easy, white Calcutta Gold marble tops and contrasts the espresso-toned island and base cabinetry along the kitchen perimeter. Wall cabinets are few, further enhancing the kitchen’s open feel.
See our showrooms for up to date kitchen styles!! As well as traditional kitchen styles!
Don't Miss Kitchen & Bath Project Management Starting August 8Starting August 8, Kitchen & Bath Project Management with Jeffrey Holloway, CKD, CBD will review project management practices from design concept to finished installation. Participants will learn the skills needed to accurately estimate costs, list product installation and construction details, and manage client expectations. This course is ideal for design firm owners, practicing designers, project managers, and installation specialists.
At the end of this course, learners will be able to evaluate current project management and planning skills, identify industry standards for project documentation, manage client expectations to create positive customer experiences, and more.
If you're an NKBA member, register today for just $179; $215 if you're a non-member. .8 CEUs/8 NKBA hours will be awarded for completing this course.
Inaugural Baird- NKBA Remodeling Market Report AvailableConducted jointly by Baird and the NKBA, the Baird-NKBA remodeling Market Report examines kitchen & bath demand trends, as well as timely issues relevant to the industry. This report is comprised of input from over 500 kitchen & bath professionals reporting aggregated annualized sales in excess of $18 billion.
Become a National Leader - Apply by August 1Don't miss your opportunity to join the NKBA's volunteer network! Apply by August 1 to join an NKBA advisory council or committee.
As a national NKBA leader, you'll participate in the decision-making process for the association, helping to define and influence strategies, programs, and services for members in your segment. Serving as a national leader makes a big impact on the industry, but requires little time away from your business.
NKBA volunteer leaders can also attend most in-person NKBA education courses at no charge and many online courses at discounted rates.
In addition to your segment's council, the certification Test Board, Exam Subcommittee, and finance Committee are also in great need of volunteers.
Six-Second SurveyPreviously, we asked:
If you're planning to attend KBIS 2013 in New Orleans (April 19-21), what are you most interested in participating in or seeing?
Seeing the latest products >> 51.1%
NKBA aducational courses >> 14.2%
Experiencing New Orleans >> 11.3%
Job Hunting >> 10.2%
Conference sessions >> 7.6%
Connecting with industry friends >> 5.6%
Remodeling Activity Poised for strong Growth
With home sales picking up and contractors seeing more postive business conditions in the future, remodeling activity in the U.S. is in a postion to see accelerated growth by the end of this year and into 2013, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA suggests that annual homeowner improvment spending may reach double-digit growth by the first quarter of 2013.
"Warm weather in the first quarter temporarily bumped up remodeling activity in many areas," says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the joint Center. "By the end of the year, however, positive market fundamentals are expected to kick in, moving the industry out of this ebb and flow period and into a new growth phase."
Homeowners want to add style to a kitchen, on a budget
Linda Roth Conte wanted to expand her home to create a dream kitchen, but she didn't have the money. But she was desperate to do something.
"I jury-rigged the place," Conte says, recounting how she had used thick tape to bridge the sizable gaps between her countertops and the appliances. But sometimes when she cooked, the tape melted and only glue remained. And she got bruises from pots and pans sticking out at odd angles.
Last year, without adding an inch of space or new appliances, she transformed her kitchen with a better floor plan, taller cabinets, sleek lighting and countertops that synched up to her existing appliances.
"I have the same exact space but so much more room to work," says Conte, a Washington, D.C., resident who works in public relations and spent about $25,000 on the remodel.
As the economy improves, many homeowners are showing a renewed interest in renovating their kitchens without breaking the bank.
"This space is once again the real heartbeat of a home, with open design and integration with other living space," Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects, said in releasing AIA's most recent survey on kitchen and bath trends. He said kitchens fell as a design priority during the nadir of the housing downturn but have since taken on new functions "with dedicated computer areas and recharging stations."
The AIA survey, which covered the fourth quarter of 2011, also found customers want — in descending order — renewable flooring materials, a recycling center, universal design, larger pantry space, renewable countertop materials, drinking water filtration systems and natural wood cabinets.
"They all want the kitchen to be the focal point," says Richard Loosle of Washington, D.C.-based Kube Architecture — even clients who don't cook. He says they no longer ask for a formal dining room, preferring instead to entertain friends in a kitchen that offers comfortable seating and opens to a living area, as well as the outdoors.
Tight budgets are driving decisions, says Debra Toney of Three Week Kitchens/Baths In A Week, a remodeling firm with offices in Denver and North Richland Hills, Texas. She says customers eschew bells and whistles for simpler appliances and cabinets without moldings.
Completely gone is the kitchen desk, giving way to a spot to recharge and use computers, she says. Also, as kitchens merge into living areas, she sees fewer upper cabinets and more integrated appliances, as well as open shelving.
Five other trends:
•Greening. Toney sees a push toward more efficient lighting, such as LEDs (light-emitting diodes), induction cooktops that use less power, paint with fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds), products with recycled content and motion/touch-control water use.
"There's a lot of recycling going on," says architect and author Sarah Susanka, both for economic and environmental reasons. "People are going the extra mile to get recycled items. It's trendy right now."
•Comfy seating. As they try to make their kitchens more livable, Susanka says "people have gotten over the memory of the ugly 1950s built-in" banquette, which she's long touted. She says homeowners are embracing them as a space-saving design that's casual and fun.
Counter seating has also become the norm, Susanka says. "That's where life is happening," she says, especially as portable devices such as laptops allow people to hang out anywhere.
•Shaker-like cabinetry. Toney says styles are more contemporary, with straight lines and cleaner details. She says dark woods and soft white are preferred, as well as a mix of wood and color.
•Backsplash stands out. She sees the backsplash as the design detail of the year, serving as the unifying element for the kitchen. She says glass, tile and stone remain popular, and new options include lighted glass tiles or patterned carved wood.
•Countertop options expand. Despite budget concerns, many homeowners splurge on countertops, so manufacturers have responded with a dizzying array of low-maintenance options, including quartz, such as Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone or DuPont's Zodiaq, solid surface such as DuPont's Corian and recycled content such as Eco by Cosentino or IceStone.
"There's still a great love of granite," Susanka says, adding customers would never have spent so much money on countertops decades ago.
Because granite's price has dropped in recent decades and even warehouse Costco sells it, Toney says many customers have come to expect granite — an expectation that she says can still be difficult to meet on a tight budget.
Nestled in the woods of northwest Austin, TX, this home by architect Alan Taniguichi was a contemporary marvel in the 1980s. But when it was purchased by its current owner, the kitchen was compressed in the corner, completely separate from the dining area and closed off from the other living spaces. Longing for a kitchen that would serve as the home’s social center, the owner contacted designers Tamie Glass and Ulrich Dangel, both professors in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, who assembled a team of professionals to transform the boxed-in kitchen and living and dining areas into an open floor plan, all while respecting the overall design vision of the original architect.
“The client came to us with a desire for more openness, which reflects today’s contemporary approach to entertaining,” said Dangel. “Our challenge was to accomplish this while retaining the intimacy of the original spaces.” He and Glass worked with Branson Fustes and Curtis Eppley, of Pilgrim Building Co., to relocate the kitchen to the center of the main-level living area. The team removed walls that had been separating the kitchen, dining and living areas to create a social atmosphere where everyone can be a part of the action.
The centerpiece of the new space is a dramatic island, which features a cantilevered cementitious countertop. “Since this is such an open plan kitchen, immediately adjacent to the living area, we wanted to approach the design of the island as we would the design of a piece of furniture,” Glass said. “The island becomes not only a major visual focal point, but also an anchor within the space—a social hub.” In addition to the two-toned custom cabinetry, the island features a pullout with glass sides and a stainless-steel bottom. “We liked how the subtraction of this corner enhanced the floating nature of the countertop—plus, it’s a great place to display large serving items,” Glass noted. Striking custom bar stools reflect the cantilevered countertop, and a streamlined stainless-steel range hood complements the horizontal metal cabinet pulls.
Although the kitchen’s footprint is rather compact, there is no shortage of storage. In addition to the island and a wall of cabinets, which feature a sprayed paint finish and conversion varnish topcoat, full-height storage is located to the sides of the kitchen in the dining and living rooms. A series of lower cabinets in the dining area feature the same millwork, unifying the living areas into one seamless space.
Flanking the back row of cabinetry are two stainless-steel “pillars.” Glass and Dangle incorporated a stainless-steel panel above the refrigerator and stainless cabinet doors above and below the dual ovens to create an efficient work area with visual balance. The team placed LED covelighting above and below the upper cabinets, as well as in a soffit, to help define the kitchen area and provide mood lighting for entertaining. A plug-and-switch mold, along with LED lighting, is tucked into a recess on the underside of the upper cabinets for task lighting, thus avoiding the need for switch and electrical outlet cutouts in the back-painted glass backsplash.
The team enhanced the home’s connection to the outdoors by replacing a band of windows with full-height glazing and double sliding glass doors, which allow immediate access to the swimming pool deck. The flooring—mill-select white oak solid wood planks in a rich brown finish—offers a nod to nature with its natural imperfections. Continuing through the dining room to the open living area, it also unifies the spaces. Staying true to the original vision of the home, Dangel, Glass and their team crafted new spaces that flow harmoniously and easily from interior to exterior, resulting in a considerably more desirable contemporary home. Opening the kitchen to the surrounding rooms not only offers visual relief from previously darkened spaces, but also transformed the home into the social hub the owner desired.
Cambria has launched two designs, Laneshaw (right) and Armitage (left), which capture the natural veining of marble and granite while offering the strength of quartz. Both materials continue the company's tradition of being named after a location in Wales or England. Like the centuries-old village in northwest England, Laneshaw embraces brown tones, tan and black with subtle hints of white and a touch of gold shimmer. Armitage, named after a canal in ENgland's West Midlands region, blends black and gray, providing a neutral canvas for random flecks of copper and orange.
CaesarStone USA channels the diversity of nature with its latest collection, Supremo. Featuring a flow of color and pattern, the company uses a proprietary new technology to fabricate the material, which ensures that no two surfaces are created alike. Offered in eight colors with names inspired by aristocracy and fantasy worlds, including Swan Lake, Queen of Sheba, Fair Lady and Ocean Palace, the material can be used for countertops, vanities, wall paneling and custom-made furniture. Available in March 2012.
As Remodeling Rebounds, Caveats for the Homeowner
ONE part of the housing market is experiencing a rebound that will probably continue even if the rest of the market remains sluggish: remodeling.
A recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University predicted that remodeling would rebound strongly this year after a three-year downturn. The center estimated growth of 9.1 percent for the first quarter and 12.1 percent for the second quarter. The predicted rate drops for the end of the year, but annual growth in remodeling is expected to be around 8 percent. In fact, the study found, the remodeling market held up far better than housing construction during the recession, with annual spending still close to $300 billion.
Kermit Baker, director of the remodeling futures program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, said that remodeling nationwide was likely to remain strong as homeowners who put off maintenance and improvement projects began to spend more freely again. The study also found that the industry was beginning to benefit from the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.
But as the market for renovations picks up, it may be a good time to consider the problems that could arise — beyond the obvious ones of cost overruns and bathroom vanities that do not fit.
A group of leading insurers said renovations are a constant source of large claims on homeowners' policies. And among claims, fire is the most common cause.
Don Soss, vice president for underwriting at the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, said one of the larger recent claims was for $2.55 million on a house in New York. Either the electrician or the plumber started a fire in a second-floor bathroom that spread throughout the house. He recalled another claim for $1.51 million in California that involved a subcontractor using a torch during demolition that set the roof on fire.
While these claims were paid, the homeowners' losses went beyond the financial. Not only were they out of their house for an additional six months or more, but they also lost personal items. So with the spring renovation season beginning in the Northeast — identified in the housing study as one of the areas of the country where remodeling spending is highest — what should prospective renovators keep in mind?
WHY THE REBOUND? It may seem counterintuitive that even as the housing market continues to suffer and the economic recovery feels tentative, the renovation market is picking up. But Mr. Baker pointed out that while home sales and construction were linked to mortgage rates, renovations were determined more by income levels and job security.
"Remodeling is not heavily financed," he said. Instead, people are willing to spend cash, Mr. Baker said, because they have "a comfort level that the value of my home isn't depreciating."
He said during the peak years of 2006 and 2007, only 30 to 35 percent of renovations were financed through home equity loans or second mortgages. Last year, that number dropped to 15 to 20 percent.
He said there was more growth in smaller projects — energy-efficient windows and heating and air-conditioning systems — than in full-scale additions. Yet he said he expected continued growth across all types of renovations.
Historically, the Northeast and the Midwest have driven renovations because of older homes and higher personal income rates. That is happening this time around as well. But one difference is that the South and the West, where the house-building boom was centered, now have more homes that will need improvements. Foreclosures in these areas are also a factor in this.
"Houses are staying in the foreclosure process now for up to 500 days," Mr. Baker said. "Owners are not putting money into maintaining the home because they're ultimately going to be out on the street. A buyer who buys that home for 30 to 50 cents on the dollar or an investor who wants to flip it in nine months is going to have to put money in."
PRECAUTIONS AND RISKS Whether the homeowner wants to add a new kitchen or repair years of neglect, the cause of renovation problems is the same. Homeowners are concentrating on the outcome, not on managing the process.
"They're so focused on what their house is ultimately going to look like, particularly in larger projects, that they don't pause to think about some of this stuff," said Gary Raphael, senior vice president of claims and risk consulting at ACE private risk services. The solutions are "pragmatic, and grounded in our claim experience."
So what should you consider before starting? Any homeowner planning a sizable renovation should hire a contractor, for efficiency and safety, insurers say. "We've seen construction projects that have outlasted marriages," said Scott Spencer, worldwide appraisal and loss prevention manager for Chubb Personal Insurance.
Beyond promoting marital harmony, a contractor could help move the project along. He should bring his own liability coverage and enough insurance to rebuild your house in case of fire.
"Homeowners acting as their own general contractor — that's the biggest mistake they can make," said Rich Standring, regional manager for risk services at Fireman's Fund. "You need someone who is fully versed in bringing on subs, who can read plans, who understands the licensing process."
The other conversation to have with a contractor is about how he will dispose of flammable liquids and manage the use of tools like blow torches.
Insurers also feel more comfortable when the owner is living in the home during the renovation. "Renovations where people are doing tear-outs and can't live there are long, hard exposures, not just from fire and damage but vandalism and theft," Mr. Soss said.
THE RAG THREAT The one constant bit of advice from insurers is to tell them about your renovation before you begin it so they can tell you what to look out for and, of course, increase your coverage.
Fireman's Fund has a provision in some of its policies that says it will not cover any renovation above $25,000 if the homeowner does not notify them about it. And Mr. Spencer of Chubb uses a joke to remind homeowners of the need to insure what is about to be installed.
"We suggest you increase the coverage on your home the minute the granite countertops arrive," he said.
But the best policy is still vigilance. The top thing to monitor is oily rags, which strike fear into the hearts of risk assessors. These rags catch fire easily if they are not disposed of properly.
"It's the accumulation of the fumes from stain, varnish, even some of the paints," Mr. Standring said. "Anything could set them off — a spark, a pilot light. We see a lot of spontaneous combustion."
The solution is to make sure the rags are put in a locked, fireproof box at the end of each day.
Second on the risk list is the debris from the welding and soldering equipment used on roofs or for installing plumbing and electrical wiring. A common disaster, Mr. Raphael said, happens when a pipe is welded but no one checks to see if any solder has fallen onto the debris below. It can smolder for hours and catch fire later that night.
Thinking about the disasters that can befall your home for the sake of a nicer, updated bathroom may put a damper on some people's enthusiasm. "It can be scary, but if certain things are done, it can be fun and successful," Mr. Raphael said. He speaks from experience: he has survived two renovations.
Countertop Materials Articles: Hard Rock
Granite is the headliner in most kitchen remodels. Should quartz get more than second billing?
Whether homeowners work on it before a meal or gather around it afterward, the countertop is arguably the most visible item in a kitchen. And according to a 2010 REMODELING Reader Panel survey, homeowners are choosing granite countertops by a margin of about 3 to 1 over the next most popular materials (see chart).
But why does granite get all the attention? Manufacturers and installers of granite and quartz weigh in on the benefits of each type of stone.
Beauty & Movement
"The customers we see that are looking at granite really are looking for that beauty and movement in the stone," says Troy Roering, sales and marketing manager for Stone Holding Co., in Waite Park, Minn. "With granite, it's like choosing a piece of art, whereas customers who want a more consistent look will choose quartz."
Remodeler Ben Thompson agrees. "Both granite and quartz are premium products, but it comes down to aesthetics," says the co-owner of Thompson Remodeling, in Grand Rapids, Mich., noting granite's impact during the sales process. "We can take our clients shopping, pull out a big slab and show them that it's the most dramatic and substantial item they're getting for their new kitchen."
At the same time, Cambria PR director Stacia Smith says quartz is one of the fastest growing surfacing categories in the industry. "Granite is a mix of quartz, filament, and mica, and it's the quartz component that gives the stone its strength," she says. "While some granites can have as little as 20% or 30% quartz, a quartz countertop can have as much as 93% quartz and only 7% coloring and binding."
Porous granite also requires sealing against moisture, adds Hanwha Surfaces product designer Lisa Herreth, and the consistency of quartz means the material can be seamed more easily than granite where fabricators may need to work with or around veining and inclusions in the stone. To that end, Thompson says he often finds that quartz installations require more seaming, while granite installations result in more waste.
For customers concerned about cost, Roering says that quartz does tend to cost more than base-level granite. However, "granite price has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with availability of that stone in the world," he says. "If they're quarrying 10 blocks and nine of them are usable, we would put that granite at a level-one or -two price point. But if only one of the 10 is usable, it would likely come in at a premium pricing category."
Herreth adds that most quartz is cost-competitive with granite, particularly since the price of some stones has dropped dramatically in recent years, and can include green elements such as recycled content (usually glass), which might interest some homeowners. "Stone materials are going to last a lifetime," she says, "so homeowners should consider choosing colors and patterns that will stay in style for the duration."