Beauty and function is not an oxymoron. The fact is, great kitchens combine both in a splendor that was once deemed impossible, according to Dan Zimmerle of Cabinet Makeovers.
Kitchens are the heart and the soul of the home, Zimmerle says. The kitchen “is where we spend quality time giving our friends and families the best we have,” he says. “From preparing a simple sandwich to cooking a gourmet meal, a properly designed kitchen can change your life. When kitchens become part of the flow of the home, friends and family can all be a part of the experience. How you go out into your life each day begins with a ‘kitchen experience.’ If the kitchen is glorious, your life will be happier and more fulfilling.”
Kate Fudim of Beth Haley Design says, “We see kitchen design going in two opposite directions—simpler, whiter than ever or bolder than ever before. Those preferring white kitchens generally opt for clean lines, sleek hardware, and minimal adornments. On the other side of the spectrum are those who want a kitchen infused with vibrancy and eclecticism as expressed in intricate patterned backsplashes, uniquely patterned concrete floor tiles, and awe-inspiring hardware.”
According to Jenn Chapman of The Jones Company, “Few rooms convey the personality of the homeowner more than the kitchen, one of the most visible, highly trafficked rooms in the home.” Chapman says lighting, wall color palettes, timeless design, and space planning are essential to the creation of a pleasing kitchen, no matter what your taste.]
Most local experts say that farmhouse style is the most requested kitchen design.
Erin Hurst of French’s Cabinet Gallery says, “The most requested style is of kitchen is modern farmhouse. Often this means white Shaker cabinets with a rustic island or rustic shelving and an apron sink. The majority of our projects are in Brentwood and Franklin which tend to be transitional/modern farm house. We have done some very contemporary projects in the Gulch. Mid Century Modern seems to be a popular style among younger clients.”
According to Kelly Oakley of Refresh Home, “Farmhouse is definitely the inspiration for our clients. It’s our number one request, however 85 percent of our customers are in the Franklin area. Location is absolutely something that plays a role in selections, primarily because if your style is more modern, edgy, or urban, you’re most likely living in Nashville.
“Nashville homes are generally being designed for a younger crowd, for people with different kinds of jobs and lifestyles. Black, gold, and even concrete elements appeal to this customer. In Franklin families are seeking a more comfortable, timeless look that’s going to last, rather than being concerned with the latest trend. We love both styles, but there’s a big difference in what who the customer is.”
Carla Taylor of Hermitage Lighting Gallery says a client’s location doesn’t determine their preferred style. “The client’s taste and vision is what’s driving and directing the style. At the same time, we do look at the architecture of the home when designing the kitchen.
“Homes in East Nashville are typically older homes and the buyers are often younger. We find they are looking for something more artistic with transitional or contemporary styling,” says Taylor. “The homes in the Brentwood/ Franklin area are typically newer homes with buyers of all ages and their style choices lean from transitional toward the traditional.
Stansell Dye of Ferguson reports that not all kitchens are farmhouse style, “but the trend certainly is growing. As the popularity of farmhouse chic evolves, more neutral colors, living finishes, and natural materials blended with modern technology and luxurious details will be on the rise as well.”
Dye suggests that homeowners should anticipate the inventive use of reclaimed wood paired with innovative LED lamping. “The farmhouse sink will continue to make a statement in the kitchen, yet with updated designs, dimensions, and finishes in soft golds and matte blacks to pair with contemporary faucets,” he says.
Melinda Calvert of Dream Kitchens and Bath says farmhouse style mixed is frequently mixed with a beachy open rustic feeling. “It’s really popular now with our clients,” she says. No matter where you look, Nashville is building up, out, deep, big, narrow, and small, all with the utmost character.”
Reporting that kitchen styles for most of her company’s Williamson County homeowners are predominantly transitional or traditional and lean toward Shaker style doors, often with a bevel or raised edge to add a touch of formality to a basic door style, according to Tammy McKinney of Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling.
“We are seeing a lot of farmhouse with a bit of contemporary mixed in,” says Teresa Zilinsky of Teresa Zilinsky Interior Designs. “But it does take on a few twists in various areas of town. You might see the same white and gray shaker style cabinets in an East Nashville home as in Franklin, but in one there will be polished chrome or brushed nickel with industrial or contemporary faucets and fixtures, while in the other traditional or elegant antique brass or nickel fixtures are paired with white farmhouse porcelain sinks.”]
Amy Passantino of Estella Grace says, “Most of the kitchens I am designing today in Franklin have elements of farmhouse, whereas in the urban areas of Nashville, there is a preference for more Mid-Century Modern and ‘green’ kitchen designs working with eco-friendly materials such as cork countertops.
“The great thing about farm house décor is that it can work with a broad range of transitional styles. Apron sinks go with most décor ranging from rustic, eclectic, to high-end glam. Pendants have gotten much larger and are statement pieces now rather than accents, and often incorporate rustic-wood elements with bronze metal or on the opposite end, clean brass or chrome cage lighting. I’ve specifying a lot more cage lights lately and more glass lights with filament bulbs.”
Kristie Barnett of The Decorologist suggests that while transitional is the most popular kitchen style among her clients, “contemporary currently comes in second place. Mid-century modern looks, as well as aluminum doors with glass inserts are trending. Metal cabinets ae showing up, particularly with the younger demographic and for males. Tambour doors are becoming popular, as are high glass cabinets and black cabinets.”
Adding that open and floating shelves are seen in both farmhouse and industrial style kitchens, Barnett reports that a lot of barn wood products are being featured in kitchens, including rolling and pocket doors to close off pantries.
According to Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors, kitchens continue to evolve from the “furniture look” of cabinetry to a fully-integrated look in new open concept homes. “It’s possible to disguise the kitchen as another fashionable room with panels on refrigerators and dishwashers, hide the microwave and coffeemaker behind closed drawers and doors, and even have a porcelain tile topped induction cooktop that matches the countertop, making it invisible,” she says.
Reporting that the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show featured a lot of painted cabinetry, Jones says, “But it wasn’t all white! Blue was the top color for both cabinets and countertops. And gray has definitely made inroads into cabinet colors.
Barnett says she’s seeing a lot of painted cabinets in white, off-white, and gray, as well as light and dark greens and blues. “Black cabinets are back in vogue as well.”
Not only are kitchen cabinets leaning more toward painted finishes, they are getting taller according to Passantino. “In fact, we are seeing double cabinets stacked on top of one another to support the increasing popularity of high ceilings. The cabinet colors range from slate gray to midnight blue, and even more colorful and lighter blue-greens.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing light toasted almond kitchen cabinets in the next couple of years paired with white marble and white 3×6 subway tile for those who want a clean neutral look.”
Stating that white Shaker cabinets will never go out of style, Calvert says many builders are selecting Shaker cabinets in white, espresso, or a new finish she offers that is stained taupe/gray/brown.
“White and gray are still popular kitchen palettes,” says Carla Taylor of Hermitage Lighting Gallery. “But clients are beginning to venture outside the neutral palette. Navy has become a new ‘go to’ color. We have used it for islands and for base cabinetry for an entire kitchen. We have also seen more interest in bolder colors for island. Our most recent one was a color called ‘wintergreen,’ a fresh green color.
“These darker and brighter colors are frequently paired with white cabinetry. We are also using white paired with a warm mid-tone walnut that is gorgeous. Gray has continued to be popular not only in a painted finish, but also as a stain choice on cherry wood,” Taylor adds.
Echoing the refrain of white, Oakley says, “White kitchens are still the overwhelming request. It’s neutral and it’s timeless. We don’t see it going away any time soon. Contrast in color is becoming much more common in cabinets, with white upper cabinets and dark lower cabinets—or light perimeters and dark islands.
Chapman says classic white or off-white cabinetry, the simple lines of Shaker cabinetry, glass doors mixed with wood cabinet doors, beadboard detailing, marble countertops, and farmhouse sinks are the elements of timeless kitchen design.
She adds that kitchen paint and backsplash/tile colors are driven by the cabinetry. “If you have dark cabinets, you’ll want lighter wall colors. High contrast is visually dynamic and energizing, whereas neutral tones convey a more soothing, relaxed atmosphere.
Adding height in kitchen cabinets is huge, according to Zimmerle. “By placing taller cabinets in the kitchen, it creates a grandiose feeling. And when we lower two-tiered island and peninsulas, we create openness in the space without losing function. Also, lowering the two-tiered areas increases the usable area dramatically,” he says.
Hurst suggests that transitional cabinet styles are the most popular. “Many of our clients are requesting flat panel door styles with some detail. This seems to be the best balance of clean lines, but not too modern. White and light gray colors are by far the most popular finishes for perimeter cabinets. Islands can match the perimeter cabinets or be a different color. Navy blue is an emerging accent cabinet color.
“Architectural details such as glass, metal mesh, legs, mullions, ship lap, decorative valances, legs, floating shelves, etc. add to the character of each piece and transforms cabinets into pieces of furniture.”
Storage and organization are another trend in kitchens today. “Great kitchen design makes like easier,” says Zimmerle, who says he generally recomments deep drawers instead of doors on lower cabinets. He also favors cookie sheet pullouts, spice racks, mixer lifts, and trash pullouts
Hurst agrees that large drawers are very popular because of accessibility and are more efficient than a cabinet with doors and a roll out tray. “There are several organizational inserts to choose from. In almost every kitchen I put a trash/recycle pullout and silverware divider, she says. “From there it depends on the specific needs of the client, budget and available space.”
Pullout columns and rollouts for base and tall cabinetry still reign supreme in providing accessible storage in the kitchen, according to Taylor. “Mixer lifts, pullout trash cans, plate drawers, and knife inserts are also widely popular,” she says. “Spices are organized with door racks, slanted drawer inserts or step shelving, while charging drawers with USB and electrical outlets are also gaining popularity. LED lighting can illuminate drawer or cabinet interiors.”
Dye reports that compact design appliances are the newest trend gaining momentum for improved storage in the kitchen. “As manufacturers design more appliances that offer luxurious functionality in a fraction of the space, we expect to see more designers, builders, and remodelers developing creative ways to layer products where homeowners want to use them.
“For example,” Dye says, “compact dishwashers allow for installation in a media room in addition to the kitchen, while a ventless dryer can be placed anywhere in the home. Built-in coffee makers that don’t require a dedicated plumbing line can be installed just about anywhere including a guest room, home office, master closet or all three. Compact design maximizes existing space and allows for clearer countertops and room for more integrated storage.
Oakley says storage is always a number one priority in a kitchen. “We’re doing a lot of kitchens with huge walk-in pantries—almost as if the pantry is a room on its own. We’re always looking for new ways to add more storage to a kitchen.” u
There are a number of local resources for kitchen design including:
Aging In Place
Beth Haley Design
Closets by Design
Decorating Den Interiors
Dream Kitchen & Bath
Ellen Sherwood Design
French’s Cabinet Gallery
Hermitage Lighting Gallery
Jones Company, The
ReFresh Home LLC
Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling
Teresa Zilinsky Interior Design