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Practical Beauty

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A kitchen and bathroom, accompanied by their respective appliances, are critical rooms that make up a functioning, feasible house. However, it's the rooms’ style and charm that allow them to cross the threshold of being a house to becoming a home. House & Home magazine spoke with experts in the industry to find out the latest trends in kitchen and bath design.

Much like fanny packs—now more commonly referred to as “belt bags”—are making a comeback in modern-day fashion, mid-century American modernism in home design is having a renaissance, too. The movement, originating in the mid-1940s, remained popular until the late-1960s; today, people are coming back to the simplicity and cleanliness of mid-century modernism as they’re moving away from decorative embellishments and ornate paneling.

David Cerami, the president of Hometech Renovations, says that this style has been prevalent through his 38 years of experience in design, but has been thrust into the limelight now more than ever.

“Mid-century is prevalent and it's always been stylish. It's taken more of a center stage with a lot of the kitchen and bath designs that we're doing now.” Cerami adds that he sees a lot of influence from Frank Lloyd Wright, a popular American architect during the height of the mid-century modern era, in his clients’ dream kitchen and bath designs.

Coordinating Color
Incorporating complementing pops of color is an integral part of the mid-century modern style, and some colors are popping up more frequently than others. Different shades of green, gray and blue are very popular in both kitchens and bathrooms.

There is also a larger interest in black stainless steel appliances, which marks a huge shift from the ubiquitous gray stainless steel that took over kitchens in the 2010s.

As a clean base color to a kitchen, white shaker cabinets give way for bold contrast through accent colors.

“They [white shaker cabinets] are very versatile and have allowed for color trends to shift from warm earthy to cool grays,” says Chuck Bendixen, owner and general manager of Dreammaker Bath & Kitchen.

Lorraine Sterl of Sterl Kitchens agrees, stating that she often sees a mix of colors, whether it’s white cabinets with a colored island or vice versa.

“The most popular color for kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity tops is any variation of a Calacatta White, white with gray veins in it,” Sterl says.

Exposed wood is also a main component of mid-century modern design. Cerami says that his clients often go the route of more “semi-exotic natural woods” and prefer to see the natural texture and colors of the wood instead of painting over it. “I’m talking about white oak, as opposed to red oak or natural red birch, as opposed to standard white birch. We see finishes that are more subtle, almost like waxed finishes or low-luster finishes on a lot of doors,” he says.

“The woodgrain basically becomes the fingerprints of the character of the presentation and we want to see the originality and that genuine aspect shine through in the design.”

Serene Spas
As for bathrooms, they’ve come a long way from simplicity. Gone are the days of quickly showering, brushing your teeth and heading out the door. Now, more and more clients are choosing to spend more time in their bathrooms, turning them into their own private oases.

“In bathrooms, we see more spa-like presentations where we're using natural River stone in certain shower environments,” Cerami says, adding that the sleek look of popular mid-century modern kitchens carries into bathroom design as well.

Bendixen says that there are multiple other elements alongside river stones that give a shower that luxurious feel. “The spa experience is big, using shower systems that provide body spray, rain heads and other accessories.”

While a shower is a major component of any bathroom, Sterl says that many other crucial design elements throughout the room give it that “spa-like style.” Clients often opt for floating vanities and more storage systems, including ways to “display” their items, to open up and make efficient use of space. Such seemingly minor decisions have a massive impact on the overall feel of a room, especially the smallest spaces in a home.

Flooring Galore
Despite being one of the most important and influential aspects of a renovation, flooring is undoubtedly one of the most overlooked. Today, clients are choosing a wide variety of options from oversized tile in bathrooms to luxury vinyl in kitchens.

In bathrooms, large format, black dot and penny tile are widely popular. Bendixen says that some clients go as far as to add heated floors to their bathrooms, making that harsh morning transition from a warm cozy bed to the hard bathroom floor a much more inviting one.

The temperature of flooring plays a large role in what materials to use and where, especially in kitchen designs. Many people are opting for hardwood flooring in their kitchens, with tile the second most sought-after, and luxury vinyl the least popular option. Most of this decision is based on cost, aesthetics and the type of layout a home has. For instance, if a family has an open floor plan and wants tile in their kitchen, they have to decide whether or not that flooring will continue into the living room and other connecting areas of the home.

“Do you want hard porcelain in the living room for your kids to play on, or do you want something a little bit warmer to the touch on the cold winter days?” In situations like this, customers often select other options, like natural wood, Cerami’s personal favorite.

“The best designs are always utilizing natural materials as opposed to synthetic materials because they're real, they're genuine. They have a character and depth of their own.”

While hardwood floors are beautiful, there is a much more affordable and practical way to get that natural and earthy aesthetic. Homeowners can mimic this look by having luxury vinyl installed instead. This option has become very popular the past few years and is quickly taking over the reign of hardwood. Vinyl floors are very durable, easy to clean, more resistant to scratching, typically waterproof and remarkably affordable.

Taking the extra steps, whether they are forward and fresh or backward to visit a recently revived style, is essential to ensure that your living space isn’t just a house, but a home.

RESOURCES
Dreammaker Bath & Kitchen of Burlington County
Moorestown, N.J.
(856) 252-0055
Dreammaker-Remodel.com/BNJ

Hometech Renovations
Ambler, Pa.
(215) 646-7477
HomeTechRenovations.com

Sterl Kitchens
North Bergen, N.J.
(201) 896-1704
SterlKitchens.com

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 23, Issue 1 (October 2022). 
For more info on House & Home magazine, click here
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