A Designer Looks Back On 2013
The kitchen and bath industry is forward thinking and fast paced with something new always just around the corner. As designers, one of our challenges is staying on top of the continuum of new products and technology while honoring timeless design. Sometimes it’s a balancing act … to be progressive and timeless at the same time … but it’s a challenge we enjoy. That said … it is a good time to look back at the transitions that have occurred over the past year … in trends and technology. These changes have made an impact on our approach to design over this past year and will continue to have an impact in the future. Here are a few observations about 2013…
White kitchens have always been popular in Northland area homes, due to the volume of 1920’s era homes in our region. White kitchens on a national level, however, have become extremely popular with several cabinet manufacturers reporting white paint to be their top selling finish. Added to this classic look is a concept called ‘color blocking’ which introduces a piece of significant contrast to an otherwise ‘white’ space. Color blocking may result in a contrasting hood or island or decorative element, such as upholstery or artwork. A visit to Houzz, a popular home design website (houzz.com), will demonstrate many examples of white kitchens with color blocking as a design element.
Engineered quartz countertops have steadily grown in popularity over the past year, rapidly closing rank on natural stone. On-going introduction of new patterns and colors have resonated with many homeowner’s who like the durability and ease of maintenance quartz offers over natural stone.
2013 witnessed a significant growth in the use of large format digital imagery – a technology that has significantly impacted the design industry by improving the appearance of many long standing materials. Most impressive are the very realistic natural patterns available in porcelain tile and high-pressure laminates, resulting in products that are attractive and affordable, as compared to their authentic counterparts.
Touch-activated faucets have been used commercially for several years, but during this past year several manufacturers have extended ‘touch’ technology to kitchen faucets which operate by simply touching them! They have become popular with homeowner’s who enjoy the ease of operation and hygienic quality afforded by this feature.
We’ve been working with LED lighting for several years … but 2013 seemed to be the year we witnessed great strides in the development of attractive applications at prices which now make it more affordable. LED is not a trend, but a technology here to stay. We are watching very closely and expect to see continued improvements in 2014. It won’t be long before LED becomes the industry standard for lighting design.
Lastly … glass emerged as a major design player in 2013 … found in colorful applications to appliances, kitchen backsplashes, interesting cabinet designs, shelving and countertops … we can only imagine what new and exciting things are lurking around the corner of 2014. So stay tuned … I’ll be reporting in as soon as these products and trends they make themselves known!
I am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland. My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’. The following column was published December 2013.
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