Sleek Style & Cool Colors
Trends in Designing, Remodeling and Touching Up Condo Kitchens
By Marcia Bradford, Condo Owner Magazine, January 7th, 2013 (Photo courtesy of Lovelace Interiors)
Sleek, contemporary lines. Lighter-colored cabinetry and countertops. Glass mosaic-tile back splashes. These are just some of the most popular new trends adorning new and remodeled condo kitchens along the gulf coast.
Nick Zargari, president and owner of Marquis Industries, said most people designing or remodeling condo kitchens are looking for more vibrant or exotic- looking finishes.
“Gone are the days of dark solid woods or flocked wood with stain and polyurethane,” said Zargari, whose Santa Rosa, Fla.-based company has been installing kitchen components in condos along the gulf coast since 1995. “Instead, there is a growing demand for more streamlined, flat surfaces that provide a very contemporary look.”
Another popular approach toward updating condo kitchens is to paint cabinets in light shades, such as sea foam or sea glass, said Lindsay Miller, interior designer at Lovelace Interiors in Destin. “Colored glass or polished nickel door knobs and drawer handles also help achieve the new, lighter, brighter look,” she added.
Shades of gray are also gaining popularity, whether used in backsplashes, cabinetry or countertops. “Gray provides a neutral background, with many people also going with a splash of color, such as bright green or dark red,” Zargari said. “We are also seeing people mixing glossy red and glossy black against white marble floors for a really dramatic effect.”
While granite is still the most popular choice for countertops, many people are also choosing to go with lighter shades of white and cream, rather than the blacks and dark greens that were previously very popular, according to Karen Waterfield, interior designer at Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin.
The movement into contemporary design is also changing the look of backsplashes, said Bunny Hall, interior designer at Lovelace Interiors in Destin. “When it comes to backsplashes, people are moving away from granite and marble and going to glass mosaic tiles or classic white subway tiles that are staggered in brick-like shapes.”
Stainless steel continues to dominate when it comes to kitchen appliances, Waterfield said. However, there are many new options being seen in condo kitchens, including shallow-depth refrigerators.
In this issue, Condo Owner takes a closer look at kitchen design and remodeling, the popular design choices now available and the considerations in implementing these trends.
Condo Kitchen Design #1: Planning Your Project
Whether your condo is in a brand new building under construction or you are revamping an existing kitchen, there are a number of steps to take before the actual work can begin, according to kitchen design professionals.
Get Examples Of the Looks You Like
Nick Zargari of Marquis Industries recommends creating a portfolio, with photos of kitchens you like, using your favorite magazines or pictures taken in places you visit.
“Talk with your family and go over the features they would like to have in their kitchen. Visit kitchen showrooms to get inspired.”
Allow Ample Time
Karen Waterfield of Sugar Beach Interiors said that kitchen projects usually take at least three months. The planning often takes four to eight weeks, including about two weeks of meetings with the designer to determine details, she said.
Then, there is the deconstruction, the final measuring and finally the installation.
“Do the research on the front end. Think about what you do in the kitchen. Determine what appliances you want and then plan your cabinets to fit around them.”
Consider Cost-Effective Updates
If you are on a tight budget but want to make some changes, tackle one or two items at a time, suggested Lindsay Miller of Lovelace Interiors in Destin. Replacing an old Formica countertop with a new granite one can make a big difference. Upgrading to new appliances can be more economical if you shop for nice mid-level items rather than the ultra-expensive, top-of-the-line products. And, a new backsplash can have an immediate visual impact, she said.
“The easiest, least-expensive updates that really can make a difference are paint and new hardware, but make sure the work is professional and don’t get too trendy. You can also stock the kitchen with new utensils and decorative items to freshen it up.”
Condo Kitchen Design #2: Getting Started: Reconfiguring the Layout
Karen Waterfield of Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin has been designing and remodeling condo interiors for more than 30 years. Her work on kitchens often includes reconfiguring the space to make it more useful and accommodating to the owner’s needs.
“When condominiums are constructed, builders seek uniformity and simplicity, typically using standard-sized counters and cabinets throughout all the units in a building,” she said. “Many people who consider their condo to be a second home want their kitchens to contain more storage space, reflect their unique cooking needs, and include design features that are personally appealing. That’s where I often come into the picture.”
Waterfield suggested several ideas for redesigning kitchen space in condominiums:
• Soffit area (the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling) can be put to use by cutting into it and adding cabinets or redesigning existing cabinets to fill the entire space, which adds more usable storage.
• Wasted space left in corners can be put to use by redesigning the layout of the cabinets.
• Custom-designed pantry cabinets with rollout drawers can be installed to increase access, efficiency and ease of use while allowing for more storage.
• Ceiling-mounted cabinets between the kitchen and living area and/or foyer closets that block views or create tight, confined spaces can be removed to open up the space and make it brighter.
• Areas that aren’t being used can be re-purposed. One client had a wet bar she never used. It was removed to create more seating space in the living room.
• Consider the way you use appliances and then determine if you want to make changes to them. (This should be done before making any changes to cabinets and countertops.)
• Always consult design professionals who will work with building contractors and engineers to determine whether the changes you desire are structurally feasible.
Condo Kitchen Design #3: Thoroughly Modern Makeover
One way that Nick Zargari of Marquis Industries helps his clients achieve a sleek, sophisticated look in kitchen design is by installing cabinets that use a thermally fused surface material. Using a frameless (sometimes referred to as European) design, these cabinets provide the smooth, flat surface of the contemporary style.
“This is a very sophisticated man-made product that comes in a variety of colors, can be textured or can look like wood veneer,” he said. “It is very popular with people who want to create a streamlined look for their kitchens, as well as those seeking a more exotic design.”
Among the biggest advantages, according to Zargari, whose company manufactures cabinetry in Northwest Florida, are the price point and the easy maintenance. “This is a relatively affordable product, especially for the sophisticated look it offers. Also, it’s basically soap-and-water maintenance; food stains and marks left behind wash off easily.”
Additionally, this material cannot be gouged, scratched or discolored like wood finishes. “It’s almost indestructible,” Zargari said. “But if you do want to replace all or some of the cabinet doors or drawers, it can be done quite easily at a reasonable price.”
Removable aluminum toe-kicks between the cabinets and the floor are another new element of kitchen design that Zargari recommended for making kitchen updating much easier. “These are typically made from PVC material that has an aluminum coating. They are water-resistant, but the toe-kick can be removed easily if you have to deal with any type of leaks or standing water. You can remove it to clean underneath the cabinets. And, if you want to put in new flooring, you can do it without having to tear out your cabinets.”
The silver aluminum finish also matches the look of the stainless steel appliances, completing the contemporary, streamlined approach to the kitchen’s design, he added.