Thursday, May 12, 2016
There's a lot to love in today's new home kitchens. Here are some of our favorites!
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Most of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so we need them to be functional and we want them to look great. We want them to be a fun, welcoming, busy but peaceful space where we can get lots done and feel good about where we are. Plus, all of our guests end up in the kitchen sooner or later, right? The Wakefield, shown above, is one of our favorites for open design and colorful backsplash accents.
Today's kitchens have tons of personality in the color schemes available, particularly the backsplash designs. They are better than ever in terms of design functionality and use of space, especially for busy families. The general trend toward natural materials is key in the kitchen, with granite remaining the most popular countertop choice with new home buyers.
Organization continues to be a top priority for busy families who are multi-tasking, and the roles of technology and the home office continue to evolve. For those who need 'just a little' office to keep home paperwork handy and neat, the pocket office is a great option. Located adjacent to the kitchen, within a little nook for privacy, it blends seamlessly by using the same cabinet, tile, and countertop materials as the rest of the kitchen. Pocket offices are typically optional features, so if your lifestyle calls for a bigger pantry instead, that's probably possible, too. Floor plans with pocket office options include the Inglewood, Glenstone, Waverly, and Rutherford.
Another popular built-in feature in new home kitchens is the butler's pantry. Nothing adds an upscale touch to a kitchen like a butler's pantry, which can be furnished as a china cabinet like the one below, with solid cabinet doors for storage, or with as a wine center, complete with wine rack and wine fridge. The extra space it provides when entertaining or feeding a crowd makes it a winner.
In many floorplans, like the Hartford II and the Waverly, the butler's pantry functions as a transition from kitchen to formal dining room, making it even more useful as a serving station. Again, the kitchen's color scheme, countertops, and backsplash pattern are repeated in the butler's pantry.
Notice the role that undercabinet lighting plays in adding interest in both of these butler's pantries.
Islands are still a favorite feature in new home kitchens, adding work space, storage, and a feeling of substance to a kitchen. There's going to be some serious cooking going on in a kitchen with an island, right?
This Arlington II Expanded plan features a traditional rectangular island, with wine storage and lots of work space, ideal for families and friends who like to cook together without getting in one another's way. Matching the cabinets and countertop to the rest of the kitchen is a popular choice, but contrasting countertops and cabinets are also on the wish list of some homebuyers. Pendant lights over the bar add both task lighting and aesthetic effect.
Notice the taller wall cabinets and glass doors shown above. Opting for the 42" height wall cabinets gives this kitchen extra storage space and makes good use of the nine-foot ceilings that are so popular in today's designs, especially with buyers looking to add volume without loss of energy efficiency. Glass doors in key locations let you showcase some favorite dishes, without revealing too much.
The gold-toned backsplash (this one is glass block lucente honey, 3X6, in a running bond with cornsilk grout) is a perfect companion to the gold tones in the Venetian Ice granite countertops. A backsplash is a great way to add intensity to the color scheme in the kitchen, while still getting the soft, subtle effect of the pale cabinets, like these Classic 2 Maple Cabinets in Cashmere with an Auburn glaze.
Busy families, especially those who sometimes can't sit down meals together at the same time, enjoy the convenience and closeness of a breakfast bar. Island style can be traditional rectangles, or feature barrel-style curves that seat more people at the bar while taking up less floor space. Curved island layouts also add visual appeal.
Above, this Inglewood plan's optional elliptical island throws us a visual curve and softens the angle of the bar as it opens to the breakfast area and family room. We love the extra, casual seating and the pendant lights, and the view of the back yard and the bay window option. But our favorite thing about the Inglewood kitchen is the flexible layout choices: it comes with a walk-in pantry that can be optioned as a pocket office and smaller pantry, or even with a pocket office, pantry, and drop zone with built in storage in the adjacent hall to the garage, as shown in the Paynes Landing model home. Who says you can't have it all?
The Talbot plan shown below has room for a curved island with eating counter, plus a breakfast area table and chairs. This Talbot uses variable height wall cabinets (notice the stair step effect of the top cabinets) to create visual interest and add storage space. Glass doors on selected cabinets create a showcase for dishes.
This Livingston plan, below, also offers a curved island counter, and generous space for casual dining in addition to the home's formal dining room. The built-in buffet at the left of the photos is a plan option that replaces a large pantry. Again, the built in kitchen features add convenience and a custom feel to these spacious kitchens, tying together all the color and material selections in a unified and pleasing way.
The Livingston kitchen is also a great example of an open layout design. Extra guests are no problem with a dining area this large and open. The Hartford II is also popular with homebuyers in search of an open layout, as the kitchen and breakfast area open to the family room.
Conventional wisdom says that kitchen design should have a window over the kitchen sink, but a beautiful view like this one in the Hartford II plan, with its two story family room and stone fireplace, is hard to resist.
Whether your kitchen must-haves list includes granite, stone, colorful backsplash designs, glass door cabinets, dining counters, a pocket office, or butler's pantry, we invite you to check out our photo galleries on houzz, and to visit some of these floor plans during open house.