Now more than ever, the kitchen and the bath are two of the most important rooms in the home. The kitchen remains a central focus: a gathering place for families and a place to entertain guests. The commercial look of stainless steel continues its reign as a must-have for high-end consumers, gracing the surfaces of pro-style appliances whose new technologies provide more control and more options. The master bathroom, meanwhile, still offers an element of escape, with options such as steam, multijet showers, aromatherapy, and furniture-style vanities and storage expanding in variety and reach. Both rooms are seeing an emergence of color, says Kohler Design Center interior designer Diana Schrage, but often with a more sophisticated aesthetic than those of the past, including new visual patterns.
Many high-end kitchens and baths continue to command European style, through both Europe-based brands and Euro-influenced North American products. These styles are mostly minimalist, offering streamlined designs with simple, clean lines. Trends are moving away from “goopy” hand-carved overdone looks, says Chris Cole, president and CEO of vanity manufacturer Cole & Co., but at the same time are not always completely modern. “Modern is too much; modern scares people,” Cole says. “[The newer trends are] more contemporary, [with] clean lines and transitional areas.”
Katy Tomasulo is managing editor for PROSALES and TOOLS OF THE TRADE magazines.
Right as Rain RainSky Balance Modules allow for integration of a shower panel and fittings directly into the ceiling to simulate a true from-the-sky rainfall. Three new options with various rain selections are available; each comes with the xTool module, which allows users to control the rain experience and temperature. The stainless steel panels come in a brushed or polished finish. Dornbracht. 800.774.1181.
Looking Sharp Reflecting understated modernism, UrbanEdge stainless steel geometric sinks feature crisp, exact lines. The sinks include under-mounts ranging from 13 inches by 17 inches to double-bowl units up to 36 inches by 17 inches, farmhouse sinks, worktop sinks (shown), and an island. The units are 10 inches deep and have a wide back ledge. Julien. 800.461.3377.
Joining Forces Designed to merge kitchen and living spaces into a hub for dining, entertaining, relaxing, and working, the +Integration kitchen design includes cabinets that appear to vanish into the wall for concealment and extra storage space; a glass backsplash with LED lighting that changes color; a built-in entertainment center; and a touchscreen computer for whole-house control. The cabinets feature mirrorlike, high-gloss acrylics combined with exotic-wood veneers with interesting grain patterns, along with matte aluminum surfaces. Poggenpohl. 800.987.0553.
Hat Trick The Purist Hatbox toilet features a well-proportioned elliptical shape for a streamlined appearance. The tank-less unit includes the company's Power Lite technology: a 0.2-hp electric pump that provides a powerful flush while using only 1.6 gallons per flush. The pump is enclosed within the bowl, the actuator is on the side, and the water supply line can be attached inside the bowl base. The toilet provides “Comfort Height” seating at just over 17 inches. Kohler. 800.456.4537.
A Touch of Texture The Quiessence bath collection includes lavatory and tub faucets with European styling. The deck-mounted lavatory unit (shown) features a wengewood handle, adding warmth and texture to the otherwise minimalist design. Polished chrome, brushed nickel, and brushed bronze finishes are available. Brizo. 877.345.2749.
Courtesy Diamond Spas
Bath Duet This mid-contoured stainless steel whirlpool bathtub features reclining ends on each side with a slight elevation under the knee and can comfortably accommodate two bathers facing each other. The number and placement of jets can be customized according to homeowner preference. Diamond Spas. 800.951.7727.
Courtesy Cole & Co.
Double Up Custom Doubles bathroom vanities feature his-and-hers sides with a spacious three-drawer bridge or centered kneehole counter space in between. The vanities provide the look of classic furniture, crafted with select hardwood solids and veneers and hand-finished in antique brown or parchment; the granite tops come in a selection of colors. Two designs are available. Cole & Co. 888.653.2284.
Home on the Range This 48-inch side-by-side range maintains its Italian maker's classic European design while offering functional enhancements for the North American market. The gas-and-electric unit features six gas burners, including two center burners for large pots that provide up to 32,000 BTUs; twin stainless steel warming drawers with thermostats and humidity control; and a stainless steel cooktop. De'Longhi. 866.844.6566.