31 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Cabinetry (Guest Post by Sarah Reep of Masco Cabinetry)

I met Sarah Reep, Masco Cabinetry's Director of Designer Relations and Education, at the 2011 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and found her to be one of the best-informed folks I’ve met about what’s happening in our industry these days.

Chances are, you don’t know the Masco name. But I'll bet you've seen their very popular KraftMaid brand, if not budget-minded Quality or builder line Merillat. When I designed kitchens and baths at The Home Depot, KraftMaid was my most-frequently used brand. I still specify it through local dealers.

I will share that Masco Cabinetry isn’t a cutting edge trend-setter, the way many of the high-end European brands are. (Those trends currently include luxury laminates, integrated handles and frameless construction.) What Masco brands do offer, though, is a reliable indicator of the trends you’re going to see in your neighborhood this year, not just in magazines or design centers. That's why I asked Sarah to pen this post for us.

In Sarah’s words then…


This year, cabinetry will be anything but bland. From finishes to layouts, more and more homeowners are experimenting with cabinetry design. The trends right now are all about style, functionality and customization. If you’re designing or updating your kitchen in 2012, look to these trends for inspiration:

Dark Finish, Contrasted with a Splash of Color

Dark, rich finishes have been increasing in popularity. This trend will continue into 2012 as homeowners choose darker, warmer colors over more traditional natural and mid-tone finishes. Look, too, for painted finishes in vivid tones and colorful door inserts that show off a homeowner’s sense of fun.

Dark finishes like KraftMaid's Onyx with pops of color will continue to trend in 2012

Multi-generational Planning

It’s not uncommon to find relatives at both ends of the age spectrum living together under one roof these days. As the number of multi-generational homes continues to rise, home design will need to take each generation’s needs into consideration. Staggering countertop heights with shorter cabinets is one way to cater to all generations. This variation can create areas for small children, wheelchair users and those who prefer to sit while preparing meals.

A multi-generational kitchen includes counter-height cabinetry, lowered microwave and universal design-friendly Passport cabinets from KraftMaid

More Storage Accessories

According to a recent research study conducted by Merillat Cabinets, 84 percent of consumers consider storage features to be the most important in their cabinetry decision process — in fact, this consideration is second only to price. In 2012, look for an even wider availability of storage accessories to be available for your cabinetry needs.

Pull-outs, roll outs and other great accessories are now available for builder cabinets, as seen in this Merillat kitchen

Soft-Close Doors Now Standard

This year, Masco Cabinetry has made soft-close doors standard on its Kraftmaid and Merillat
Masterpiece lines. This was once a feature available only to custom cabinetry clients. We’re proud to make this anti-slam technology available to more builders and homeowners than ever before this year. Plus, new hardware technology incorporates the soft close feature right into the hinge for a cleaner, simpler look, too.

Soft-close doors, once a custom-only feature, are now standard on Merillat Masterpiece cabinets (shown here) and KraftMaid via Whisper Touch new, integrated hinge


Enjoy more cabinet trends in these Kitchen, Bath and Living Spaces Ideabooks on Houzz.com.

24 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Tiles (Guest Post by Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design)

When I decided that no 2012 trends series would be complete without a tile post, my go-to guy was Paul Anater, editor and publisher of the incomparable Kitchen and Residential Design blog, also a friend and Blogger 19 "godfather."

I knew that Paul had his finger on the pulse of this dynamic specialty, and that he was working with the top trade show for that industry, Coverings, to keep us designers and design writers informed.

I attended Coverings a few years ago and found it to be well worth the time. If I can squeeze it into my schedule this April, you'll see me there again. (The fact that my stepdaughter attends college in Orlando makes it even more appealing!)

There are so many incredible new innovations in tile, beyond just the great-looking designs. It's truly an ancient medium that is ideal for our new era, too. But please let Paul inform you in his own words and share some great images with you, too!


The last few years have brought with them something close to a revolution when it comes to what’s available in the world of tile. The ability of tile manufacturers to print more and more different patterns has led to a great variety of products. These can lend any room a distinctive and long-lasting feel that will be in style for years to come.

Stone looks

The first big trend to come out of Europe and be picked up by manufacturers in North America is tile that looks like stone.

Whether it’s the look of slate, granite, onyx or the grey-green marble shown here from Aparici, the same look can be had in tile. In tile however, you’ll get the maintenance-free characteristics of ceramic tile without the hassles of natural stone.

Wood looks

One of the other big trends is the idea of tile standing in for wood planks. Stand ins for true planks still abound, but tile designers are starting to theme the wood they’re imitating.

This series from Peronda invokes repurposed shipping crates and pallets. The result is an interesting and edgy take on green design.

Format changes

Recent years have seen a move to tiles that are larger, thinner and less likely to be square. Using these large formats brings with it a completely different appearance as this room from Grespania shows. It would be a different room all together if there were 12-inch squares on the walls and floors.

In keeping with that different format approach, some manufacturers are introducing wall tile that dispenses with right angles like this series from Apavisa.

The same manufacturer, Apavisa, has been experimenting with the idea of dispensing with wall tiles that are flat. The effect is spectacular and is about the last thing anybody would expect a tile wall to look like.

Artisinal tile

And through all this modernity, at the same time there’s been an explosion in artisanal tile, such as these hand-cut mosaics from New Ravenna.

And how about these Art Nouveau beauties from DuQuella Tile?

Still more

The world of tile is exploding. Tile’s showing up not just on floors but on building facades, interior walls and structural elements.

Though North America tends to lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to innovations in ceramics, that’s beginning to change as more international brands come into the markets on this side of the Atlantic. North American manufacturers, too, are climbing onboard when it comes to the innovations we’re seeing coming out of Europe.

Get there!

One of the best places to see what’s new in the world of North American tile is the trade show Coverings [JG: Industry professionals only; free admission] Coverings is an international showcase of North American tile and stone and this year it’s being held in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The show runs from April 17th through the 21st.

17 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Faucets and Fixtures (Guest Post by The Home Depot)

What new faucets and fixtures might your kitchen and bath be wearing this year? I asked my former colleagues at The Home Depot, one of the country's largest decorative plumbing retailers, for their insights.

Given their size and market share, what THD buys is a pretty good indicator of mass market trends. No, they're not trendsetters the way a luxury showroom could be -- the way their high-end Expo Design Center once was... sigh.

What they are about is what's here, what's now and what's likeliest to show up in a home near you. Sarah Fishburne, the company's Director of Trend & Design, shared these forecasts for 2012.



Rustic and Country

The rustic look is anything but, and it doesn’t have to be limited to country houses. This farmhouse feel gives that nice “down home” look and warms up a kitchen or bathroom. Oil rubbed bronze, chrome and brushed nickel will continue to be popular in the new year.

Larger, bridge style faucets add an interesting, yet professional look to the room, and also look very proportional when put in kitchens with many appliances.

Clean-lined Bridgeford faucet by Grohe is on trend for 2012

Transitional Lines

While this style never really went away, it is finding its way into many more design trends lately. This look, like the rustic country, is all about subtlety. Streamlined and clean lines are the forefront of this trend, and unique shapes such as modified squares help add a soft touch to the room.

Pfister's Pasadena in new Midnight Chrome finish exemplifies affordable transitional style
(FYI, they dropped the Price from their name)

In addition to adding new looks to your house, consider function. A few simple changes can go a long way toward making your life easier.


Spot Resist Technology

Nothing worse than fingerprints all over your new faucets! Moen’s new Spot Resist technology makes it so that your faucets stay looking new by resisting water spots or fingerprints, and wipes down easy for simple maintenance.

Moen's pull-down Solidad faucet sports contemporary style and a new Spot Resist finish

One Touch Technology

For those with sanitation in mind, this trend is for you. The last thing you want your fixture to become is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Delta's Touch 2O technology only requires a quick tap of the wrist or forearm to activate.

Turn on Delta's sleek Pilar pull-down faucet with just a tap


WaterSense technology helps you save up to 32 percent water use without taking any hits to performance. All bathroom sink faucets carried at The Home Depot are now WaterSense certified.

Kohler's high performance Cimmaron now comes in a WaterSense-rated 1.28 GPF model

[JG Note: WaterSense is a government program much like EnergyStar. When a major retailer like THD embraces it, you know a trend has taken hold! WaterSense is also available in select showerheads and 1.28 gallons per flush (GPF) toilets that go even further than the current 1.6 GPF standard.]


You might also enjoy the 2012 Trends Color guest post by Sherwin-Williams.

10 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Appliances (Guest Post by Ferguson)

An appliance should last 10 to 20 years, so why do trends matter in this category? For one, you want to avoid getting "bisqued," i.e., buying a color on its way out that will make replacements a nightmare. You also want to get the best water- and energy-savings available on the market, wherever applicable. Finally, it makes sense to take advantage of the latest offerings as they're typically improvements on performance, speed and/or convenience in this durable goods category.

I went to one of the leading retailers of high-end appliances, Ferguson, for their 2012 trend forecast. Fred Minnigerode, Corporate Senior Product Manager of Residential Finished Goods, was happy to oblige. I hope you find his predictions as insightful as I did.


Technology, technology, technology! Think about it. The hottest selling Christmas items this year were iPods, tablets, e-readers and smart phones. Surveys show that two-thirds of consumers are planning to make a technology purchase in the next six months.

Appliance manufacturers are capitalizing on this trend and incorporating technology into their new products. They recognize that consumers are using touch technology, memory presets, etc. in their everyday lives and will soon be looking for this functionality in the kitchen and bathroom. In the past, these types of features were only available in high-end, premium appliances. However, now they are being offered at the mid-range level and more commonly available. This is a dynamic shift in the world of appliances.

With technology as the focus, here is our list of top kitchen appliance trends for 2012.

Induction Cooking

Induction cooking has been popular in Europe for a while, but Americans are taking notice and demand is steadily increasing. An induction cooker is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric stove. It also provides the user with instant control of temperature level. Even die hard gas fans are slowly converting. Until recently, induction technology was mainly limited to cooktops. However, slide-in and free-standing models are now more readily available, so no matter what the design of your kitchen, you can enjoy the benefits of induction cooking.

This Gaggenau induction cooktop, introduced at Germany's 2011 LivingKitchen show, is planned for 2012 U.S. release

Intuitive Touch Screen Interfaces

Smart phones were among the first to introduce touch screen technology to the masses. There are millions of smart phone users that are now very accustomed to the functionality. And now you can have that same functionality in the kitchen with touch screen interfaces on dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, ovens and microwaves. Tap the screen one-time to activate and then use the on-screen menu to select the function. The new Jenn-Air Pro-Style Range even allows cooks to program the cooking method, time and temperature of successful recipes and recall them when repeating the recipe.

Smart stove? Jenn-Air's Pro-Style Range delivers a touch screen interface and digital memory

High Tech Design

Not only are appliance manufacturers replicating the functionality of high-tech gadgets, but they are also replicating the style and design. Consumers will eventually be drawn to more streamlined looks in kitchen design and this will influence their purchasing behaviors. Whirlpool will soon be launching their White Ice and Black Ice finishes. The appliances will closely resemble the look of an iPhone or iPad. The finish will feature white or black floating glass accented by stainless steel trim.

I blogged about this Zephyr Arc ventilation hood, designed by a former Apple designer, as another example of technology-inspired design

Steam Ovens

Cooking with steam is a fast, easy way to seal in nutrients and flavors. Since the food only absorbs the amount of moisture needed to cook, there is less chance of overcooking or drying out. Steam ovens are not brand new to the market, but like induction cooking, it is quickly becoming a viable option and alternative to the standard oven. Especially now that the steam oven is available at the mid-range level and is being marketed to health-conscious consumers.

Steam cooking, as in this oven by Thermador, combines health and technology.

[JG Note: Often, space is a limitation in adding steam cooking to your kitchen. If you don't have room for a stand-alone oven, consider a combo steamer with microwave or range.]

Last words

Today’s appliances are smarter, faster and more efficient than ever before. And they have to function that way in order to keep up with consumer’s ever-changing demands. From a cooktop that boils water in a couple of minutes to new multifunctional toilets, today’s modern technology is influencing kitchen and bath trends. 2012 is sure to be an exciting time as we experience a shift from the traditional appliance to a more technologically advanced product, not just at the high-end- but at the average- consumer level.

03 January 2012

2012 Trends Post: Colors (Guest Post by Sherwin-Williams)

Happy New Year, everyone! What are you looking forward to in 2012? I enjoy musing about the year ahead vis-a-vis home design trends at this time of year. So, in that spirit, this month's Gold Notes posts will all focus on 2012 forecasts, and feature industry guests in their areas of specialization.

I called on paint maker Sherwin-Williams for color trends to kick us off, since they have such a large market footprint. Jackie Jordan, S-W's director of color marketing shared these insights on colors you might want to paint your interiors this year, and I've added my own pairing notes to the S-W color swatches from their 2012 Color Forecast...


The Sherwin-Williams color forecast proves a color palette doesn’t need to stray far from its roots to make a big design impact. In 2012, pairing colors within the same color family will be a dominant trend. Whether it’s different shades of red or varying hues of blue, kitchens and baths will display an array of combinations within color families to give a room a fresh look this year.

Forget the expected tone-on-tone pairings. At Sherwin-Williams, we drew inspiration from fashion-forward color-washing and ombré dyeing techniques to experiment with color values and hues within color families to create four vibrant palettes. The colors also embrace the sustainable landscape ― which has become an enduring influence on all aspects of décor and design.

We suggest honing in on one color you love and the ideal, natural complement will be nearby. For example, Sherwin-Williams Upward (SW 6239) is a perfect shade for a bathroom to create a calm, tranquil environment. To add a punch of color with your bathroom linens, Naval (SW 6244) is still within the same color family but is a bolder color to create some contrast and
interest to the room.

Upward and Naval combine beautifully

The 40 hues highlighted in Sherwin-Williams Colormix 2012 stay close to home with earth-inspired, color family groupings: Reds, Blues, Greens and Neutrals.

Brightly Burning Reds

Red will have a renewed dominance in 2012, and the old rules about not being allowed to mix reds with purples or oranges no longer apply.

Red is the color of love, fire and the earth’s molten core, and it stirs raw emotions ranging from the deepest passion to the softest femininity. The broad spectrum included of reds in our 2012 color forecast range from deep gradations of fuchsias to red-oranges, violets to delicate pinks. These colors work together to create a harmonious flow of passionate boldness, and allow you to make a statement with your kitchen or bath color choice.

Forecast Color Red Bay for your kitchen, dining room or office?
Pairs beautifully with blond woods and black furniture
(SW 6321)

Blues Not Washed Out

This soothing palette celebrates a pair of functional and treasured blues: denim and water. It explores the darkest indigo to faded-jeans hues, some with violet undertones, as well as the calm, shimmery shades that reflect rivers, lakes and seas.

As we seek economic blue skies, we’re rediscovering denim, the rugged fabric of the American worker. Clean water is another essential commodity, from oceans to tap. Our serene blue palette pays homage to both of these treasured resources.

Forecast Color Lupine for your living areas?
Pairs beautifully with crisp white and warm, ash-toned woods

Greens Firmly Planted

Casting aside the more innocent yellow-tinged greens of the past, this eclectic palette focuses on greens that are lush, moody and complex. It showcases the depths of the sea and forest; leafy motifs; rustic natural textures; and organic elements such as algae, moss and seaweed.

We’re serious about going green, and our green palette honors our sustainable lifestyle. This trend is observed everywhere, even in dense urban areas, where rooftop and kitchen gardens flourish.

Forecast Color Kendal Green for your powder room or master suite?
Pairs beautifully with walnut and peppercorn finishes

Neutrals Provide Balance

Raw materials continue to influence color trends, especially the more subtle hues. Picture a field of grain, pile of pebbles, weathered wood and earthen clay. Gold tones embody the sun and soft metallics — and warm up this understated yet refined palette. Textural elements, such as linen, unfired porcelain and mixed woods, provide subtle tonal variations.

Steely grays have given way to our neutral palette of warmer gray and natural tones that create a balanced look.

Forecast Color Bosc Pair for hallways and stair cases?
Pairs well with crisp white paint and black accents

For more information about the Sherwin-Williams 2012 Color Forecast and to see how these 40 colors coexist, please visit the S-W Color Explorations Page.

You can also visit Houzz, starting at the end of this week, to see the 2012 Color Trends Ideabooks I put together from Sherwin-Williams, Pantone, Behr, Benjamin-Moore and Yolo forecasts for tips on incorporating Reds, Blues, Oranges, Purple and Greens in your kitchen and bath.

Found Gold: Popular Posts from the Past!

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