When Shelley Megathlin and her family first moved into their Palm Beach Gardens Alton home, she immediately knew the kitchen would have to change. "I told my husband that if he wants home-cooked meals, the dark brown cabinets, granite countertops, and microwave above the stove would have to go!" she laughs, adding, "my preference is light, white, and modern." Transforming her kitchen into a classic, contemporary design that reflects South Florida style was a top priority in renovating her home, because, like many homeowners, Shelley recognizes the kitchen is the epicenter of familial activity. "The kitchen is more than just a place for us to eat dinner; it's the primary gathering place for family conversations and homework sessions," notes Shelley. She loves the final product now, and the renovation process was easier because she knew exactly what she wanted.
If you want to create a kitchen that exemplifies your personal taste, have a clear vision, ballpark budget, practical plan, and general timeline before you begin the construction process. As you develop the plan, consider these tasteful 2019 kitchen design tips:
While you may be inclined to purchase prefabricated cabinets to save money, custom cabinets are worth the expense. Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, an established company based out of Ontario, Canada, manufacturers cabinets in one and half inch increments, which allows for more storage room, flush appliances, and an overall finished effect, according to in-house designers Pam and Gina. Moreover, floating shelves in light, natural wood as well as metal framed glass doors are also trendy choices for current kitchens.
Jaime Albert of Jaime Albert Designs in Charleston, SC, suggests keeping kitchen colors neutral and accenting with colorful throw rugs, tea towels, and accessories. "White kitchens, especially in coastal areas, are still very popular and create a clean, simple style," she says. "I prefer to keep the cabinetry neutral and add texture and pops of color." Pam of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets agrees: "White kitchens are classic, timeless, and great for resale." She also recommends adding personal style with a navy, black, or hunter green colored island, sleek appliances, and brushed gold (brass) hardware.
According to Jaime, an easy way to update a kitchen is by enhancing the light fixtures, updating paint colors, and exchanging chrome faucets for new taps and hardware. "Presently, the trend leans toward pendant lights or sconces over the island and replacing old hardware with brass for a more glamorous kitchen design," she states. As for paint colors, Gina notes that jewel tones are popular, but cautions against painting the base too masculine. "Interestingly, all black kitchens are quite the rage right now, but this trend won't stand the test of time. I recommend incorporating jewel tones, which are on the upswing." Designers are less likely to use cool colors in the kitchen, including the popular grey color, as trends shift warmer paint tones.
"Nothing dates a kitchen more than granite countertops," laughs Shelley, who was surprised that her newer construction home in Alton used the sturdy stone. "Granite is a carcinogenic, so for me, it had to go," she said. Apart from the environmental concerns, Jaime says "My first choice for clients is always marble. It's beautiful and classy." However, she recognizes that the porous stone is probably not the best option for families with young children because it can discolor and stain if not taken care of properly. "As an alternative, I recommend quartz. It has a similar look and is low-maintenance," she suggests.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the kitchen island is the main artery. Having an oversized island that can display delectable appetizers and accommodate chatty friends and family members is an anchor for everything else. The island is the gathering spot for girls' night in, the breakfast table for early morning rushes, and the rest area for conversations with coffee. Often, homeowners are opting to make the island a statement piece by painting it a fun color or adding end shelves to showcase their favorite cookbooks or collections. "With the right design, the oversized kitchen island will quickly become the most functional furniture in one's home," notes Jaime.
Hidden Appliances & Beverage Stations
Traditionally, homeowners held to the convention that all appliances must be the same brand. Consequently, many an argument ensued between spouses who could not decide between the better brands: kitchenaid stove top? General Electric refrigerator? And Bosch dishwasher? Jaime notes that for luxury kitchens, owners should pick the best brand for each appliance, yet smaller scale kitchens appear more uniform with the same brand for all appliances. Deslaurier Custom Cabinets provides the appealing advantage of hiding appliances, thus allowing owners to pick and chose at their hearts' desire. In addition to hidden appliances, many high end kitchens now include a beverage station, a small cooler that is ideal for wine, sparkling water, and gatorade.
Patience is a virtue, and when remodeling a kitchen, that virtue is tested time and time again. "Real life is not usually like HGTV," says Gina. "Even with the most respected experts, there will likely be setbacks and delays when remodeling a kitchen." To help alleviate the ailments, Pam recommends knowing the exact location of plumbing and electrical lines, setting up a temporary kitchen someplace else, and stocking up on paper products to use at home. "Of course, prepare to dine out quite a bit!" she jovially adds. Designers Pam, Gina, Jaimie and real estate professional Shelley all agree that the kitchen works best when its functional and minimal; therefore consider flow patterns for your family and aesthetics for resale.
Whether a total renovation, partial remodel, or budget-friendly upgrade, the short-term headache is well worth the long-term delight. After all, as celebrity chef Julia Child famously stated, "The more you know, the more you can create. There's no end to imagination in the kitchen."