I’ve been composing posts in my head all day, but so far they’re not very willing to pop onto the page.
So be it. Grab a chair and we’ll just sit and chat.
This last week was a nice one; three of my clients reached that epiphany moment when they could finally see “the vision” or what we’re trying to achieve. That dawning light in their eyes, and the excitement that follows, never gets old.
What I hear more these days is a jokey accusation: “You knew it all along. It just took us some time to get it.”
That’s not entirely true. From the moment a client comes in, I ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. I'm looking at lifestyle, at color, at what makes a homeowner light up, and how to make everything as functional as possible. Yes, sometimes I do know exactly what someone will select.
However lately, I’m noticing a new pattern: what clients say they want when they first visit isn’t the same style for the final design. For example, a client wants a super contemporary kitchen. Over the course of 3-5 months of designing, they realize maybe they like more traditional elements mixed in. The chef’s kitchen of stainless steel wonders is morphing into integrated units covered by door panels, the Wonder Chef kitchen vision becomes softened to a warm inviting place for the family to gather.
The nearest theory I can come up with is thanks to all the photos on the internet, homeowners are diverted by ideas they hadn’t previously considered. And the photos are of high, high, high-end design. Hard to go back to the old designs when there is so much shiny vision out there! You plan a lovely kitchen with wall cabinets and bases and then see something like this with useable backsplash and unusual materials and fall in love:
But after the distractions comes the realization: maybe all that stainless and chrome won’t fit for that young, finger-print-y family member. Those cabinets aren’t standard, and the cost is high, and it’s all so…dark.
Budget rears its ugly head, and second-guessing comes in. However, it's not that the budget is being scaled back; it's turned into “we’re going to have what we want” attitude that I haven’t seen for awhile. Homeowners are definitely feeling optimistic again…at least in my area.
There’s a lot of revisiting. Again, to be fair, there’s a lot of education on the pros and cons of what will work for the long term. Yes, the homeowners want some cool backsplash but decided they don’t need the expense of the inset sliding doors in the backsplash. they need some light.
And that beginning kitchen above finalizes into something like this:
Okay, this is grossly overstated, primarily because these are the closest photos I can find. *laughing* But there are some major styling changes up to the final designs that I’ve never seen at any other point in my career.
Here’s what I’m now seeing:
- Appliance selections/price/selections are up. Way up. Budgets for appliances have almost doubled and tripled this year alone. There are steam ovens, coffeemakers, refrigerator drawers, microwave drawers, double dishwashers—sometimes in the same kitchen.
- Hands-free/touch kitchen faucets are the norm. Part of that may be due to yours truly owning a hands-free faucet that Brizo generously gifted me back in 2010. I’ve had a few years to use it and discuss the results. (“Hands are all gummy with pastry, I tap the faucet with my wrist!” “The batteries last a bit over 3 years with frequent use.” ) This year so far, almost all of the clients I’m working with are purchasing hands-free/touch faucets. This is not just for the kitchen sink, it’s for the prep/bar sinks as well.
- Door styles are more ornate than 3 years ago. The Shaker door is getting some embellishment – perhaps an applied molding or profiles/edges are softened with some angles.
- LED lighting all the way.
Your mileage may vary, as always. Still, nice to see a few kitchen trends here that I’ll probably chat about at the end of the year if they have some sticking power.
What can you take away from this? Weigh the options for durability, family usage, the style of your home, the colors you like. Don’t choose something because you’re swayed by the novelty. Take your time to choose.