MidAtlantic Kitchens Open Up – Kitchen and Bath Design News
Design in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is almost as diverse as the region itself. Encompassing Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, homes range from 19th-century Victorian homes to elegant city cottages to coastal cottages.
“We work on a bit of everything,” reports Katherine Dashiell, designer, Reico Kitchen & Bath in Annapolis, MD, “and I think what interests my clients depends on their lifestyle.”
Customers in their 30s and 40s who are raising families, shopping in bulk, and entertaining friends and children’s friends are looking for things like large pantries and bulk storage, observe- she. “For them, the kitchen is a multipurpose room that needs to have a place and space for things outside of the kitchen.”
She also notes that there are plenty of 55-plus communities in her area, and that customers moving into these spaces “usually downsize. They entrusted the big family gatherings to their children,” she explains. “They are preoccupied with entertainment, but usually with smaller groups. They’re more concerned with aging in place and ease of use – most things within easy reach, pull-out trays in lower cabinets and pantries, etc.
Paul McAlary, president of Main Line Kitchen Design in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, agrees that kitchen functionality is critical. “We first try to design the space to be attractive and functional, then adapt the style to the specific taste and needs of the client,” he suggests.
“While design styles change from person to person, most people are looking for the same kind of functionality,” Dashiell notes. “Functionality seems to be the driving force.” She notes that while some people come to Reico for a new kitchen because they think their kitchen looks outdated, “most are ultimately pushed to take the plunge because the kitchen no longer works for them or their family,” she says.
McAlary observes that clients often have preconceived notions about function that aren’t accurate. “Functionality is a very universal concept in kitchen design. Usually the theories explain why they need what they have now and are used to,” he comments, adding that customers will quickly adapt to a good design once they can be convinced of it. to be more open-minded.
At Reico, the majority of customers want an island with plenty of seating, and they want to maximize storage, reports Dashiell. Items on Dashiell’s customer wish lists include cabinet inserts to customize storage and cabinets dedicated to a specific type of storage or use, such as spice drawers, pantry drawers , utensil drawers, coffee stations, charging drawers. , etc. She also sees interest in appliance garages, although the old-fashioned revolving doors have been replaced by drop-down and/or pocket doors. Microwave drawers are popular, and wooden hoods – as well as appliance panels – are also in demand.
While function is clearly important in today’s kitchens, the look and feel of a piece is also part of a winning combination. But, different zones mean different choices for homeowners.
“Where I work, the differences from area to area seem more aesthetic,” says Dashiell. “Annapolis and surrounding areas are more coastal in terms of colors and finishes – not necessarily cottage or traditional, just light and bright with fun colors mixed in. Customers who live in and around Washington tend to lean more towards an elegant contemporary aesthetic, although that might go out the window if they live in a very traditional home. People near Baltimore are more transitional. Depending on their age and the age of the house, they could also be more contemporary.
She continues: “I think people are driven by what they want and what attracts them, but most clients – and all designers – keep the style of the house in mind when choosing finishes. .”
“Metropolitan areas differ the most from suburban and rural areas. Urban kitchens, especially in high-rise buildings and condos, tend to be much more contemporary and use laminate, acrylic, and sheet slab doors,” notes McAlary.
“Suburban areas are trending the most, and while painted shaker and recessed panel kitchens are the most popular, gray, blue, green and natural wood cabinets have started to become more popular lately, in especially for islands. Rural areas always lag far behind suburban trends and never embrace contemporary styles,” he adds. “In rural areas, natural wood cabinets are still more popular than painted ones.” While McAlary notes that Main Line Kitchen Design hasn’t sold an oak kitchen in 15 years, “we hear from our reps that in rural areas oak cabinetry is still common.”
When discussing the types of cabinets and colors customers are looking for, McAlary shares, “White shaker, white shaker, white shaker…” But seriously, he says that after a decade of white shaker, “we’re starting to see other colors – gray, blue, green and wood – and recessed panel door styles are returning. Quarter-sawn and quarter-sawn limed oak cabinets are also recent trends,” he adds.
Over the past decade walls have come down to make kitchens more open to other living spaces.
“Years ago, everyone focused on their living room and dining room, and the kitchen was hidden away. It was a space they reserved for family and close friends,” Dashiell notes. “Now not only is the kitchen the center of the home, but people are taking over the adjacent dining room and/or formal living rooms to make more space for the kitchen.”
“In most cases, and with most customers, the kitchen is a multipurpose room,” Dashiell suggests. “Besides being the place where you cook dinner and prepare lunches, it’s the room where you meet up with your family at the end of the day, it’s where you entertain yourself when you have a party, it’s where your kids do their homework and, more and more, it can be where you sit when you work from home.
“Today more than 50% of our kitchen designs combine the dining room and the kitchen to create a larger, less formal space,” adds McAlary.
While open floor plans remain a major demand, issues have arisen with too much open space. Since COVID, adults and children are spending more time at home, and finding private spaces to work and study has become more difficult.
With the pandemic, “overnight, people went from everyone leaving the house during the day to everyone working from home and going to school virtually,” Dashiell notes.
As a result, she notes that her company has started to incorporate work areas back into the kitchen. “People worry about how to be apart and together at the same time. It has been interesting.
She notes that they’ve turned the dining rooms and extra bedrooms into offices or multi-office spaces for the kids. “People are more concerned about how to hide the noise, which has become more difficult in open plan layouts. The things people could live with before seemed to drive them crazy when they suddenly spent all their time in their homes. The need to give everyone a space, and for all the gadgets/papers/books/etc. having a specific house has become very important. ▪