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Tips and Trends

Planning Your Project: The clearer you are on your priorities and goals, the smoother and shorter the design process will be. The better the planning is, the more efficient the implementation. Following are a few tips for getting started.


•Gather information about styles and products you find appealing.

•Use kitchen and bath design magazines, remodeling magazines & online sources to find pictures of what you like (as well as what you don't). Think about your priorities. Start this process about 6 to 8 months before you want the installation to begin.

•Consult with your family for their input.


•Establish a budget range so your designer can steer you toward products and options that will allow you to stay within it. A good starting point for budget costs can be found in Remodeling Magazine’s Annual Report.

Important Note: If you have a home built before 1978, you should be aware of potential additional expense due to new EPA requirements for lead removal.


•Sketch out your design plan ideas, using graph paper can be helpful.

•Please complete our Kitchen Planning Guide or Bathroom Planning Guide.

General Design Trends:

Clever storage ideas: Baskets and shelves that pull out also pull down and turn to increase accessibility & organization.

Electronics: Lighting systems that allow for multiple lighting scenes. These can be wireless, which allows for easy installation. Sound systems can be wired throughout the house. Wall mounted televisions are increasingly popular.

Green Design/Eco-friendly: An evolving area as new products, codes and standards are developed, prices drop and options increase. There are many shades of green including: low toxic emissions; recycled content; raw materials used; replenishment; transportation methods; installation methods; cleanability and recyclability. Particular attention is being paid to energy savings & water conservation.

Plumbing: Low flow and touchless faucets. New technologies that deliver water savings without sacrificing performance.

Cabinets: Bamboo; lyptus; Kirei board and composite veneers for doors. Wheat board and plywood with no formaldehyde (and therefore no out-gassing) for cabinet boxes and under veneers.

Flooring: Linoleum, Bamboo, Reclaimed Wood and Cork

Countertops: Recycled glass, Granite, Paper, Quartz & Concrete

LED & CFL Lighting: LED lights are improving rapidly & new options for undercabinet, accent & general lighting are gaining popularity. CFLs have decreased in popularity despite their greater energy efficiency due to concerns about mercury and light quality.

Universal Design: These practices are being increasingly adopted – not just for aging in place or to accommodate a disability, but also to be prepared for injuries, and to protect visiting elderly relatives and children. Attractive new products make this easier to do. A few examples: Lever handles on doors;pulls instead of knobs on cabinets; hands-free faucets; toekick drawer to store a step stool; space under the sink for wheelchair users, cabinets that open & close with one touch.

Kitchen Design Trends:

Finishes: Cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and plumbing fixtures mixed in new and unexpected ways.

Appliances: Popular options: Commercial type ranges; built in refrigerators; warming drawers; microwave drawers and convection microwave ovens. Steam ovens and speed cook ovens are gaining popularity. Induction cooktops & ranges are also growing in popularity due to their energy efficiency & ease of cleaning. Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important. Other appliance trends: under counter refrigerator & dishwasher drawers; multi-function appliances; electronic controls with LED lights; fingerprint resistant stainless steel; smart technology (see below).

Cabinets: Wood cabinets remain popular, with dark finishes as one newer option, although white is still popular. Soft-close doors and drawers are becoming standard.

Countertops: Natural stone is still the #1 countertop material. Most in demand is granite, followed by limestone. Mixed materials are being done more often, with stone on some counters, wood, glass, stainless steel or concrete on others. There is a trend toward green/sustainable countertops such as Fireslate Richlite, Vetrazzo, Icestone, Caesarstone and other quartz products. These products vary in properties and I recommend you review the latest comparisons and try spilling various substances you use on a sample before finalizing your choice.

Smart Technology: Internet and cable service to allow integration with computers; video; smart phones; tablets and appliances via WIFI. This integration is being used to pay bills; do homework; access email and recipes; play music; get service center alerts; start dinner and see who is at the front door.

Space Planning: Along with the work triangle, which is concerned with the proximity of the range, refrigerator and sink, workstations such as a baking center; recycling/composting center; electronics charging station and coffee bar are being employed. If a desk area is included, it increasingly will be planned for a laptop rather than a desktop computer. Fresh storage considerations are also being given to the primary zones in the kitchen: consumables; non-consumables; cleaning; prep and cooking.

Universal Design: Counters of different heights, including a lower counter that could accommodate a stool, wheel chair, baking, a shorter adult and children. Wall cabinets that come down to the counter; appliance garages; front controls on ranges or cook tops; raised dishwasher 6” – 18” and a lower microwave or microwave drawer.

Bathroom Design Trends:

• Hotel/spa style – sleek and sophisticated

• Natural materials like limestone

• Freestanding bathtubs or other soaking tubs along with a large shower. Space is being borrowed from neighboring rooms or closets, or people are opting for just a large shower.

• Toilet privacy wall or a separate toilet room • Radient heated floors

• Wall mounted faucets; floating cabinets and vessel bowls

• Radiant heated floors; towel warmers; warming drawers for towels

• Low flow faucets and toilets; dual flush toilets; tankless hot water heaters

• Mini Kitchens: Small under counter refrigerators; microwave ovens and coffee makers.

• Furniture-style cabinetry.

Universal Design: Larger doorways; wider baths; showers with no threshold or door; higher toilets; thermostatic shower valves; grab bars; shower benches; hand showers; lower tubs in tub/shower combinations. ×


    One definition of a trend is something new, something that may be a passing fad. But a trend can also be a more long-term general movement. Among this second type of trend are green, eco-friendly products; universal design; clever storage ideas; electronics such as lighting systems and smart technology.

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