By Megan Rodriguez
With housing trends constantly changing, it can be difficult for homeowners to know what is best for their next remodeling venture. Stearns Design Build and Beck Construction Inc. weigh in on recent trends in kitchen remodeling.
In recent years, kitchens have received more attention because they are such a popular room for guests to socialize in, according to Hugh Stearns, president of Stearns Design Build. Stearns earned The Big50 Award and the Guild Quality Service Excellence award at the 2017 Remodelers Summit in September.
“One thing we do frequently is remove walls to connect the kitchen to the rest of the house,” Stearns says. “The kitchen is sort of the heart of the house, and it is typically where a lot of activity goes on and people want to be connected.”
According to Stephen Beck, owner of Beck Construction Inc., recent changes in consumer priorities are driving new trends with homeowners. Beck has been in the remodeling business for 30 years and is a founding member and past president of the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Assocaition.
“People are going with more commercial-type ranges and hoods,” says Beck. “I think people are interested in cooking these days, so they get appliances that are commensurate with that.”
Some recent developments in remodeling are tied to homeowners’ desire to be environmentally friendly and to get the most out of their kitchen. From planning to aftermarket additions, there are many ways to make kitchen spaces more efficient.
“I have built a lot more recycle bins because people are a lot more conscious about recycling, and so they want things that help with that,” says Beck. “They are more conscious getting efficiency out of their cabinets. There are a lot of built-ins and different ways to utilize the space.”
Lucky for homeowners, many trends offer high-quality materials that are more readily available than they have ever been.
“Countertops are really improving the quality and variety of countertop materials, most notably in quartz,” says Stearns. “For over 10 years now, we have had good quartz, which is an artificial stone, and even though it felt and looked like stone before, now it’s almost indistinguishable from granite, and the advantag of quartz is that it is more durable and requires less maintenance.”
The overall style of kitchens are also changing from top to bottom, according to Stearns.
“There are lots of different options in flooring in terms of engineered flooring,” says Stearns. “With our clients, cork flooring is a popular option in the kitchen and even tile and the ability to create tile that looks like wood. The most trendy place is typically color. It is almost whimsical with how quickly color schemes change in kitchen trends. We are trending away from the white, but they’re still quite popular.”
People seem to prefer clean lines, clean space, and less clutter for an overall more beautiful kitchen, according to Beck.
“We rarely put in two-handle faucets anymore; everyone wants a pull-down spout instead of the sprayer on the side,” says Beck. “The cabinets are a lot more involved these days with adjustable shelves and all the things you can do to make cookie sheet dividers, and they are rarely just flat on the outside. They have depth with different heights and crown molding.”
While there are many important details that go into a renovation, Stearns says many remodelers who are not focused on design overlook lighting. However, there is so much innovation in this area it should be seen as a top priority. One of the many changes in lighting is the shift to LED.
For those considering a renovation, a clear vision of what you want is essential, says Stearns, though he cautions to be wary of where these ideas originate. “Some of the first steps are identifying what it is you want to achieve,” he says. “What is it you want from your kitchen? Lots of times trends are not in a good direction, so do the research and hire a professional to make sure it’s something that is durable and will last in your kitchen.”
Beck suggests calling a remodeler to get an idea of what the cost of the job will be and asking for an extensive list of references. Beck says he always gives 30 to 40 references so every customer feels at ease putting their home in his hands. Most problems can be alleviated by proper communication, according to Beck, which is why people need to find remodelers who they are comfortable with and fit their personality.