There are a lot of new kitchen design trends over the last decade, many of which are here to stay. We are revisiting how we both use the space and how our investments can better be used to put our own unique stamp on it. While most introductions focus on new materials, integrated technology, efficiency, ornamental fixture lines and sustainability solutions, we are also seeing new ways of reinterpreting age old standards that, though minimal, can create maximal results.
We want to show you MODERN COUNTERTOPS!
Countertops are one area that can have the most impact on overall design. Depending on how you use your kitchen, how much or little torture you put countertops through, needs to be factored in at the begining of the design process. We use them as work horses, light reflectors and as large surface ‘art’ but they also define a space by the lines they draw and the weight they carry. These lines can be pumped up or chiseled down.
Boldly saying ‘look at me!’ or desiring a more subtle, supporting role that ties all elements together. Granite countertops, once the luxury standard, have given way to new composites and materials for durability, efficiency and personal style statement, and often at more budget friendly costs.
Steel countertops have been popular for some time, taken from the commercial and inustrial kitchen design industry, but we are seeing new interpretations with use of brass and other metals. The same goes for wood. The heavy butcherblock style has also been reimagined as a central design feature. We are seeing solid wood slabs vs. end block assembly. While some designs are clean cut as heavy block slabs, many waterfall and wrapped designs are extremely popular for both traditional and modern designs.
The ‘uni-sink’ is becoming more popular for streamlined designs. Carving or molding depressions for sinks in to stone slabs, cement or steel has led to further customizations, making something utilitarian now sculptural statements. Though more common for bath and wet bar areas, we are seeing it transition to kitchens primarily using marble or soapstone for drainage depressions, storage pockets and sink holes. If you seek something lighter, with the look of a solid slab, new stone composites, polymer composite laminates and surfacing panels can be pieced together and sanded for a seamless finish. Concrete can be formed in to any customized slab, on site. Add carvings, drainage slats or stencilling for one of a kind design. Pricing varies so research all attractive options or recruit an interior designer to evaluate costs of materials and construction in your area.
We love the new stone/polymer blend surfacing options. They look and feel like high quality stone slabs but are less expensive and offer more flexibility in design. With advances in digital printing technology, these composites look and feel like slabs from the quarry without the upkeep. Rather than adding hundreds of pounds in extra weight, and thousands of dollars, atop cabinetry, you can trick the eye by adding 4 inch strips on edging to give impression of a hefty slab. Add in easier maintence and it’s a hard to beat alternative. Ceramic counters are also trending right now for their smoothness, durability, lighter weight and cost, compared to quartz, mostly with the lighter weight modular cabinetry systems from both high-end designer kitchen lines and lower-end systems found at IKEA. If you are balancing a tight budget, you may want to shift dollars to your countertop if you do not have a strong desire for custom cabinetry or designer kitchen lines. Think of it as beautiful packaging, garnering the most interest.
Lastly, edging has long been a choice of about 12 different cut styles, from bullnose to ogee, and with a standard 2 inch overhang. Overhangs are being cut back to minimal or flush with cabinet face for cleaner sight lines and for less obstruction, physically and visually. The more recent shift works well for modern spaces and for spaces guiding the eye towards something at end of the line. Flush edging also allows for more freedom in weight and depth of design. Want a heftier butcher block surface design? Great, let’s balance it with heavier elements in surrounding space. Want to put emphasis on cabinetry, ornamental fixtures or outside space? Let’s streamline and shift the eye towards those. Options are endless but balance is key. Does 2” really prevent spills from hitting cabinets or floor? Maybe some of us are just not as graceful as others…
Minimal edging. Elle Decor
Mandayam-Vohra. Prospect Heights, NYC remodel. Dwell.
Butcher block. Elle Decor.
Stainless steel countertop. Contemporary Italian Kitchen Designs from Arclinea
‘Uni-sink’ concept. Joseph Dirand. Paris apartment.
Single concrete counter form.No photo credit.