Photo by Mark
floor plans and clean lines still dominate local home design, Milwaukee
area designers are seeing homeowners increasingly embrace design trends
that may once have been outside their comfort zone.
white and gray may still be the primary colors on the home dťcor
palette, but two-tone cabinets are taking over in the kitchen. White and
neutral finishes still reign for upper cabinets, but homeowners are more
willing to play with color on the lower cabinets and kitchen islands.
venturing into color, especially for islands," says Samantha
Castillo, a designer with Gerhards ó The Kitchen and Bath Store in
are getting in on the act with the recent introduction of black
stainless steel. An alternative to traditional stainless steel, the
black matte finish has become a popular option among shoppers of
premium-priced appliances, from refrigerators to ranges to dishwashers.
really seem to like the black stainless steel," says Mary Lee
Hannan, owner of MLH Consulting, which advises clients on the selection,
use and care of major home appliances. "Itís much richer looking
with an almost matte feel."
For homeowners who
still shy away from color, texture is an equally interesting option.
texture in lieu of bright punchy colors is popular right now," says
Nick Blavat, an architect with Deep River Partners Ltd. "Itís
being used everywhere, from countertops to accent walls to floors and
And with more
diverse tile shapes and sizes available than ever before, Blavat says
there are no boundaries to the looks people can create. Especially
popular is porcelain tile that looks like faux wood or marble.
offers the beauty and variation of natural stone, but itís more
durable and easier to maintain," explains Blavat.
Photo by Tricia
Tiles are also
getting bigger. No longer limited to the standard 12-by-12-inch square,
homeowners are using large-format tiles to create stunning looks in the
kitchen and bath like waterfall countertops.
large-format tiles that are available now are so versatile," says
continues to be integrated into all areas of the home, from touchless
faucets to wireless audio systems to smart appliances. Today homeowners
can control everything from their thermostat and security systems to
their lighting with a tap of their phone.
control their homes from anywhere they want to take their lives,"
says Blavat. "Itís hugely liberating."
embrace the transitional kitchen, a blend of traditional and modern
styles with a focus on practicality and creativity ó clever storage
has become essential. Deep drawers, cabinets with dividers and inserts
to organize pots and pans and tilt-outs for trash and recycling all help
maximize kitchen space and lend greater functionality.
Hannan says the
current focus on clean eating has also impacted the modern kitchen, with
people adding niche appliances like steam ovens and induction cooktops.
for fresh food is changing the way people cook," says Hannan.
Blavat says that
convenience is another factor driving the niche appliance craze. He is
seeing clients add built-in coffee stations, wet bars and designated
beverage centers to spaces reserved for entertaining so hosts donít
have to leave their guests.
At the end of the
day though, the home is still considered a respite ó especially from
todayís increasingly high-tech saturated world. The most restorative
environment in the home continues to be the bathroom, with homeowners
is a place for relaxation and comfort," says Castillo.
That means cool
tones mingled with natural materials like wood and stone and private
indulgences like rain showers and soaking tubs that double as stylish
statement pieces. M