Christy's recently remodeled kitchen in North
Tustin, Calif., features a large island and new
appliances plus three sinks.
ANA, Calif. — When Michelle and Jon Christy bought
their 1980s-era home in North Tustin, Calif., much of
the residence already was remodeled.
for the kitchen. It was dated. And it was olive green.
wanted to lighten up the kitchen, because the kitchen
had been dark," Michelle Christy said. "I
thought white cabinets would give it a nice, clean,
didn’t stop there. Today, with a demolition behind
them, and new Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances along with a
spacious island, the couple’s kitchen is not just
brighter; it also reflects several current trends in
half of new homeowners undertaking a home improvement
project within three months of buying a residence set
their sights on a kitchen overhaul, according to a
recent report from the National Association of Realtors.
array of choices for big-ticket appliances to even a
simple backsplash can be daunting. But people should
consider what will appeal to a broad range of future
homebuyers. Even a minor remodel can recoup most of the
cost when the owners resell, according to Remodeling
magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value report.
may have a hard time selling your house if it (the
kitchen) is really ‘out there,’" said Debbie
Nassetta, co-owner of Roomscapes, a home design firm in
Newport Beach, Calif.
what’s trendy, but at the same time, has some staying
a survey released by Houzz, a popular home design and
remodeling website based in Palo Alto, Calif. The site’s
Fall Kitchen Trends study gathered responses from 7,812
homeowners either planning renovations or in the midst
of them. Earlier this year, the National Kitchen &
Bath Association came out with survey results from 300
of its member-designers.
list below includes seven trends from the Houzz survey
followed by three from the association. Some Orange
County, Calif., kitchen designers also weighed in, as
well as residents who’ve managed to wrap up their
renovations, as it turns out, just in time for the
Chef’s stoves. A professional-grade range — a stove
with options such as a flat griddle or a cooktop to
accommodate a searing pan or a wok — topped kitchen
wish lists in the Houzz survey; 32 percent of
respondents selected them as their dream appliance.
a consumer looks at, even if they don’t cook, is it
looks cool," Nassetta said.
ovens garnered 18 percent. Other high-end features such
as induction cooktops, wine refrigerators and convection
ovens seemed to matter far less. Only 4 percent of
respondents considered warming drawers a priority.
Eco-friendly features. Nearly half of those surveyed —
49 percent — said using eco-friendly appliances and
materials in their kitchens is important.
a variety of Energy Star-recommended appliances and
green-certified building products are on the market,
eco-friendly changes also can be as simple as using
cloth rather than paper towels, replacing plastic
containers with glass, or using non-toxic cleaners,
Houzz contributors note.
Granite and quartz countertops. Most respondents — 94
percent — said they’re changing their countertops.
Granite still rocks, topping the list at 50 percent, but
quartz is a rising star, coming in at 36 percent. Marble
only drew 10 percent. Tile got a paltry 2 percent.
countertops are resistant to stains and scratches and
are easy to take care of, kitchen designers say.
"They’re pretty bulletproof," said Mike
Close, president of Spinnaker Development in Newport
Beach, which designs, builds and remodels custom homes.
and Apryl Imboden went with Caesarstone, a quartz
product, for the countertops as part of an extensive
kitchen remodel on an Orange, Calif., house they bought
in June. "With granite you’ve got to seal it and
take care of it and can’t put certain things on the
countertop," David Imboden said. "I just
wanted a countertop that you don’t have to think
Christy, however, chose marble for her island top when
she remodeled her kitchen this summer. "I like the
veining in the marble," she said. "I just love
the clean look. It’s a little care. I had a couple of
people say, ‘Don’t do it!’ But I did it and I love
Tile backsplashes. Tile, however, was the top choice for
backsplash accents. Half of respondents preferred it,
with marble, stone slab and other materials trailing far
behind. "A lot of people are using the backsplash
as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen," said Sheila
Schmitz, Houzz.com editor. "That’s where they’ll
put that splash of color, because it won’t be
Imboden said he found the backsplash the toughest
decision of all. "There’s just so many
choices," he said. "The backsplash probably
dates your kitchen more than anything."
Floors. Hardwood floors led the list of choices, but
here’s another area where tiles made a strong showing,
coming in second. Remember good old linoleum? It
garnered only 3 percent. Concrete did worse — 2
Stainless steel. A majority of respondents — 65
percent — favor stainless steel appliances. Some
homeowners are combining appliance finishes or
integrating stainless steel into cabinetry, and 12
percent are choosing white or color appliances.
Islands. They’re popular but not a must. While 61
percent said they’re incorporating an island, for some
others, it would be the wrong choice, either because the
room is too small or the configuration wouldn’t work.
kitchen has to be large enough for an island,"
Nassetta said. "If you squeeze one in and it’s
not the right width or too tight, the client won’t be
happy in the end. If you’re constantly walking around
an island just to have one … it will feel bad."
Imboden did much of the remodeling himself on his
300-square-foot kitchen, complete with a breakfast nook.
He consulted a designer, but in the end Imboden realized
that an island wasn’t the way to go. "It really
didn’t fit right," he said. "It would have
blocked the nook."
Transitional style. This look — a blend of traditional
and contemporary — has grown in popularity, up from 59
percent to 69 percent by the end of 2012, according to
the kitchen and bath association.
White cabinets. Whites and off whites are the top choice
for color schemes, at 73 percent, an increase of 6
percent over the previous year. The popularity of white
cabinetry jumped from 59 percent in 2012 to 67 percent
(clients) say, ‘I want my kitchen to be light and
bright,’" Close said.
Gray color schemes. Grays are coming on strong,
according to the survey and local designers. "In
kitchens, shades of gray have noticeably jumped in use
over the past three years," the association said in
its summary, noting an increase from 9 percent in 2010
to "a remarkable" 55 percent in the last three
months of 2012.
you put in a classic white kitchen, very few people don’t
like that," said Nassetta, who designed the
Christys’ kitchen. But, she confirmed, "Gray is
really hot. It has been for the past couple of years and
it’s still trending that way."
takeaway from all this?
really want easy, clean, unfussy kitchens," Schmitz
remember, don’t get carried away.
try to keep in mind you’re doing the work for
yourself, but at some point, somebody else will be in
the house," Close said. "Don’t do something
so radical, so edgy, that in five years you’ll look at
each other and say, ‘What were we thinking?’"