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What’s New in the Kitchen?

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Article by: Nashville Home Inspection, August 2012

What are contemporary kitchen designers doing in the kitchen these days? For starters, they are hiding appliances, adding color and using range hoods to make a statement!

In the 50’s a homeowner could purchase aqua or pink refrigerators and no eyebrows were raised. Sixty years later, refrigerators and stoves are generally neither seen nor heard, hidden behind panels that match painted or stained wooden cabinets in a kitchen.

Identifying the dishwasher might be difficult as well, especially when it pulls out like a drawer from one or possibly both sides of the sink. Even if a dishwasher has a more traditional style, new units are often installed ten inches off the floor, making them easy to open, load and unload.

Kitchen islands are still popular, especially with the addition of a warming drawer in the center. The drawer keeps food at the appropriate serving temperature and allows for easy access. Pull-out shelving in the island and throughout the kitchen eliminates hunting for items located in the back of cabinets.

Range hoods are being installed not only for function, but for style, whether they appear underneath cabinets, against the wall or in a downdraft position. Range hoods are available in a variety of materials including copper, stainless steel, wood, glass, limestone and even marble and may more closely resemble mantles or fireplace hearths rather than the older metal range hood.

Kitchens and great rooms continue to be the gathering and entertainment centers in the home. To accommodate extra guests, seating that can double as storage is a sought-after accessory. Benches with underneath storage, bins, baskets, organizers and appliances garages are also incorporated into kitchens to reduce clutter and add efficiency.

Because kitchens have moved to the forefront and are no longer considered “the back of the house,” homeowners are paying close attention to style, color and design. Popular kitchen colors are bolder than in the past, and include shades such as apricot, yellow, red and turquoise, which are considered comforting and appetite stimulators.

Although granite’s popularity has shown no sign of waning, some consumers are individualizing their kitchens through the use of alternative materials such as concrete, glass, aluminum and slate for their countertops.

Lighting in the kitchen needs to do double-duty, illuminating countertops while creating an inviting atmosphere. Layered lighting is the answer in some kitchens, combining ambient (overhead) lighting with a task lighting layer and a decorative layer on top, used primarily to enhance the interior design.

Track-style lighting is still popular, but tracks often curve, rather than radiate in a straight line. Some contemporary tracks also allow for different individual lights to be hung. Under cabinet lighting is popular, and can give a kitchen new energy. Two or three pendant lights over the sink can also make a dramatic statement.

Many of the newer fixtures can accommodate LED (lighting-emitting diode) bulbs, which are popular for their durability and energy-efficiency. The initial cost of LEDs is more expensive, but the light bulbs are rated to last up to 60,000 hours or up to seven years.

Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection, August 2012 Article “What’s New in the Kitchen” | Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee


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