Summer heat can make us retreat to the kitchen for a cold drink or pop into the bathroom for a cooling shower. In either of those spaces, you might want to look around and consider whether it’s time for an upgrade. What better time than now to think about the hottest new kitchen and bath design ideas?
“One of the biggest trends is shiplap,” said Amanda Fisher, a designer for Markraft Cabinets in Wilmington. Her clients are using richly textured rows of overlapping planks on range hoods, behind shelves, as backsplashes, or incorporating it into the cabinets themselves, she said.
Several cabinet manufacturers supply shiplap planks, from three- to six-inch widths and compatible with their cabinet surfaces.
In a kitchen, shiplap accents may be the same color as the cabinets – white painted looks are very much in favor this year – or contrasting colors.
That gets to another hot trend. While painted accents are still popular, the newest thing is to contrast natural wood with colored surfaces. “We’ll pair clean, crisp paint with warm, more vintage-looking wood” on such features as kitchen islands or floating shelves, Fisher said.
Rich woods such as walnut or cherry are getting a lot of attention, often played against equally rich, deep paint colors. Natural-wood accents are showing up in such places as legs for a faux furniture island, or as a cabinet’s centerpiece.
Fisher recently designed a kitchen island featuring a walnut sink base and walnut feet to accentuate cabinetry in a dark navy blue.
“The walnut piece in the middle really popped out,” she noted.
Aside from being a favorite use for natural-wood accents, floating shelves are another very popular kitchen feature.
“Floating” refers to the fact that the shelves have no visible means of support; the brackets are hidden within the shelving material itself. Most often, these are small shelves used for decorative items. But larger floating shelves are increasingly being used to showcase fi ne tableware.
“It’s a very popular thing to do,” Fisher said, “to have your pretty dishes out on display instead of hiding them in the cabinets.”
A word about designing a floating shelf for heavy items: Be sure to plan ahead, because the hidden-bracket system requires that some structural elements be built into the wall.
Beyond pure design elements, some new technology is helping homeowners with both cleanliness and convenience.
Pull-out trash bins have been popular for years, but also tend to be places that accumulate grime. The solution? A hands-free bin that opens with the tap of a foot.
“It’s an accessory that’s really hot in the kitchen right now,” Fisher said.
The Blum company makes wastebasket enclosures with electrically operated “servo drive” glides. They operate with a very light touch, but if you’re concerned about scuff marks from shoes, a stainless-steel foot control is an option.
One other hot trend that helps keep things cool in the bathroom is cast-concrete trough sinks. Typically integral with a countertop, these are “very popular, with very clean lines,” Fisher said.
These smooth-surface concrete fixtures are durable, easy to clean, and can be made in almost any color. Neutral tones – like grays, taupe, white and tans – are most common, Fisher said, but it’s a simple matter to incorporate other pigments when the sink units are made. Through a partnership with a local contractor, Fisher added, Markraft has the ability to create the trough sink and counter units to order.
See examples of these and other hot trends in Markraft’s Design Center. The professional kitchen and bath designers consult by appointment but drop-in visitors are welcome to browse the showroom. The Design Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road.