SPECIAL REPORT: Designers Dish on Hot Kitchen Trends at Builders Show

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorOrlando, Fla.–With kitchens more open to other living spaces, there is a trend to darker, richer wood tones for cabinetry, reported Connie Edwards (pictured), CKD, CBD, and director of design for Timberlake Cabinetry, during a seminar here at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center as part of the multi-faceted 64th annual International Builders Show (IBS), sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders.”Maple is still far and away the most popular wood species for kitchen cabinets, while oak continues to decline and cherry gives oak a run for its money,” Edwards told the nearly 200 attendees at this afternoon’s seminar, entitled, “Upscale Kitchen Design Tips to Win Hearts and Sell Homes.” However, in the Midwest, oak is still popular, she reported.”Cabinetry sets the tone,” Edwards reminded attendees.At the same time, decorative cabinet hardware has gotten larger and textural, Edwards pointed out. For more of a furniture look, Edwards suggested using wider door stiles (the vertical trim sections) and wider door rails (the horizonal sections). “Don’t forget to add personality with the details,” she recommended.Texture on backsplashes is another hot kitchen trend, according to Mary Jo Peterson, who owns her own design firm in Brookfield, Conn. She believes that contemporary has become mainstream in higher-end residences, partly due to Asian influences.Color is the simplest, easiest way to make a strong design statement, Peterson noted. And by using low-VOC paint, she noted, you can enhance the kitchen’s green nature. Providing handy, clever places for people to recharge their cell phones and iPods, such as in pull-down cabinets located near an entry door, is another way to set apart a design, suggested Mary Jo Camp, a designer with Standards of Excellence in Rohnert Park, Calif.Appliance options have mushroomed, all the designers noted, with more now also available in bright colors, or with colored glass doors or alternative finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze. And the range of high-tech cooking features, such as induction, steam and pre-programmed heating modes, also continues to evolve.