Cathy Gaspar, owner, and Nicole Truesdell, designer, Gaspar's Construction, Seattle “Our clients want high-gloss flat-panel kitchen cabinetry. Other selections include exotic woods such as wenge and zebra. For backsplashes and countertops, they are choosing exotic stone or tiles and mosaics. In our area, we have a lot of stone and tile products from China that will influence our selections,” Gaspar says.
“In the master bath, the shower is getting larger — similar to those found in hotels [that clients] may have visited,” she says. “Dual showerheads have become standard in our market,” Truesdell adds.
Zack Simmons, designer, CKS Kitchens & Design, Raleigh, N.C.
“For kitchens, people want a more classic look, and they are choosing painted cabinets in shades of white with recessed panel doors or even flat-panel transitional door styles, such as Shaker. For modern kitchens, they are choosing flat-panel doors with high-gloss paints or wood veneers such as wenge. Clients want a kitchen with clean lines, then want to add color and style with built-in furniture pieces or chandeliers and decorative lighting. Granite is still popular for countertops, but instead of a polished finish, people want the softer look of a honed or leather finish. In the past few years there has been an explosion of backsplash tile choices. In modern kitchens, clients are choosing glass sheets or brushed-aluminum pattern laminate.
“Similar to kitchens, for baths, clients want traditional painted cabinetry. They also want to create a spa-like atmosphere. The master bath is getting larger. When remodeling, they are adding on for a new suite or pulling space from other rooms.
For countertops and even for shower surrounds we're seeing classic Carrera marble. Inside the shower, people want multiple showerheads, a rain fixture, or shower panels.”
Jeff Knorr, president, JKC Inc., Flagstaff, Ariz.
“Kitchens are getting bigger and the work triangle is not as important as it used to be. A breakfast bar in the kitchen is a very popular feature, and it is usually used to separate the kitchen from the adjacent dining room. As for appliances, five years ago you never heard of two dishwashers in the kitchen. Now it's more common, as are other appliances like warming drawers, wine coolers, and refrigerator drawers.
“We've seen a resurgence in dark finishes for cabinets with richer colors, glazing, and a distressed look. Popular species are maple and alder, as well as knotty alder and hickory. Clients also want to mix surfaces using a combination of butcher block and granite or concrete and granite.
Showers have eclipsed the tub as the center of the bath. I'm putting in steam showers with tiled benches and handheld shower fittings.”
Max Isley, owner, Hampton Kitchens of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C. “With the unstable economy, our clients are going for things that give them a feeling of safety and solidity — more traditional styles and muted, earthy colors. They might have to stay in their homes longer than they thought, so they want to update but are limiting it to small areas. Countertop replacements are big right now, with people choosing real stone, like granite, or manufactured stone, like quartz, or even stone-look laminates.”
Morton Block, consultant, author and trainer, Morton Block Associates, Kennett Square, Pa. “The kitchen is still the hub of a house. Wood cabinets have a range of stains from light to dark, but homeowners prefer matte to high-gloss finishes. Granite still reigns supreme for countertops, and developing countries are taking a role in production so there is a larger selection and more competitive pricing. Running a close second is engineered stone, especially for its low-maintenance quality.
“Bathrooms are being used more as retreats, and clients are willing to steal space from closets. Compartmentalized toilets are a trend. Soaking tubs are popular and, as they are higher and deeper, remodelers need to consider safe entry and exit.”