Kitchens are going dark, LED lighting is gaining steam, and trash is getting more attention–all are trends in kitchen designs this year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which surveyed 100 designers at the end of 2012 to reveal the hottest kitchen trends.
The following is a list of what’s cooking in kitchen trends for 2013, based on NKBA survey results of which kitchen designs are increasing in demand and which are losing favor.
Gaining steam: Maple cabinetry
Losing steam: Cherry cabinetry
Gaining steam: Dark natural finishes; light natural and colored painted finishes also remained fairly common, inching up slightly in use.
Losing steam: Medium natural, glazed, and white painted finishes are on the decline and the use of distressed finishes has dropped significantly in the last year.
Gaining steam: Grays, beiges, and bones
Losing steam: Brown tones, whites, and off-whites
Gaining steam: Shaker style, which is characterized by its simplicity, un-ornamented yet functional, finely crafted style. (Shaker overtook contemporary style this year as the No. 2 most popular kitchen design style). Traditional style remains the most popular kitchen design, although it has dropped slightly in popularity compared to last year.
Losing steam: Contemporary style
Gaining steam: Unchilled wine storage (yet undercounter wine refrigerators are losing favor)
Losing steam: Tall pantries, lazy Susans, appliance garages, and pull-out racks are declining slightly in popularity.
Gaining steam: Solid surfaces, a low-maintenance countertop surface, has grown in popularity, but granite and quartz continue to hold dominance. Other countertops surfaces increasing in niche use include butcher block and marble.
Losing steam: Laminate
Gaining steam: French door and side-by-side refrigerators
Losing steam: Freezer-top refrigerators and freezer-bottom models
Gaining steam: Induction cooktops are closing the gap on gas and electric models; double wall ovens are increasing in use.
Losing steam: Gas cooktops are still popular but their use is falling slightly in favor of induction and electric cooktops. Single wall ovens and warming drawers are also on the decline.
Gaining steam: LED energy-efficient lighting options
Losing steam: Incandescent lighting and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights)
Gaining steam: More designers are taking into account trash considerations in kitchen designs, with trash or recycling pull-outs, garbage disposals, and trash compactors on the rise.
Losing steam: Not considering where the trash goes in the kitchen
This article was originally posted here.
The most popular natural stone countertop material, granite is what many homeowners turn to when it's time to upgrade. The sharpest knives won't scratch it, and a bubbling pot won't mar it. Granite is available in hundreds of colors, both bold and muted, including shades of white, black, gray, green, blue, red, pink, yellow and tan. Patterns are speckled, dotted, veined and more. Every piece possesses its own mineral makeup, meaning each countertop is a unique work of art.
A perennial favorite, this stone surface delivers high performance and a high-end look. What is it? An igneous rock (formed by the cooling and solidifying of molten materials) composed chiefly of quartz and feldspar, granite is one of the hardest surfaces on earth. Because of the considerable variation, it's wise to visit the stone yard to choose your own piece if possible to avoid surprises.
Thickness, Overhangs and Edges. Countertop thickness varies by geographic location, from a three quarter inch to an inch and a quarter inches (preferred). Thicker slabs cost more. Standard overhang is one inch to an inch and a half. Larger overhangs—for workspace or seating—may require additional support starting at 8 to 12 inches. A range of edge treatments is available, including straight, beveled and rounded.
Forms. Granite counters can come as slabs or tiles.
Finishes. Three types of finishes are recommended for granite countertops.
Maintenance. Wipe the countertop with a soft cloth and warm water daily. Mild household cleansers are suitable. Certain oils and acids can stain. Most natural granite should be resealed annually.
The Bottom Line. Granite imparts a timeless, high-end look ideal for traditional and classic spaces. Smooth and cool to the touch, it is popular for baking centers due to the ease of rolling out dough.
This article was originally posted here: http://www.hgtvremodels.com/kitchens/granite-kitchen-countertop-buying-guide/index.html
Quartz countertop maker Cambria might have limped through the recession but it's now running full tilt with yet another expansion that will double its Le Sueur, Minn., factory by April.
An army of bright yellow backhoes, 20-wheel spreaders, and compactors descended on the factory off Hwy. 169 two weeks ago to start the building and equipment project that will add 375,000 square feet.
The $121 million expansion is the second in five years for the plant, which is benefiting from overwhelming demand for Cambria countertops. In 2007, the company spent $45million doubling the Le Sueur factory to 325,000 square feet and adding 290 jobs.
The new project will add 220 workers to the 750 now spread across the company. It also will add two production lines and speed up orders. Depending on the stone design, some back orders take four to six months to fill.
"We are rocking. Cambria is doing over 10,000 kitchens a month," said Marty Davis, president of the Cambria entity his family founded after buying stone fabrication equipment from bankrupt Technimar Industries in 1999.
The expansion is the latest in a series of investments for the Davis family, which is involved in an assortment of businesses ranging from dairy to airlines to mortgage financing.
Cambria's 800-pound quartz countertops are snatching market share from companies that make granite, marble and manufactured stone countertops. Five years ago, Cambria had nearly 60 stone designs. Today, it has more than 100 that resemble marble, granite and simple flat stone. Sales have grown from $100 million in 2005 to nearly $200 million a year thanks to brisk business in the United States, Canada, Russia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Dubai.
The spike in demand "is nice, but you have some retailers who are frustrated because we are back ordered on some designs. Hopefully they are willing to wait," Davis said. Jumping from two to four production lines will help.
That's quite a change since the recession when house construction stalled and homeowners put off kitchen and bath remodeling projects that called for Cambria quartz. The company laid off 60 workers.
But by fall 2010, all were rehired and employment grew as the recovery found its footing. Today, "business is up by a multiple of three since the recession," Davis said.
On a recent Thursday, a yellow hopper dropped what looked like cookie dough into a massive molding pan that was shaken, baked, cooled, cut and polished by a series of buzzing, bus-sized machines. Every two minutes, conveyers carried a fresh gleaming slab with shimmering flecks down the factory toward the warehouse.
In a few months, the south wall of that warehouse will be dismantled and connected with the new addition.
"I think that is phenomenal. It's great," said Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. "They are on the cutting edge of quartz technology and it's pushing these granite [companies]," Phillips said.
Plant manager Butch Brey has been with Cambria since its inception, yet he still marvels at the changes. With new stone designs featuring swirls, iridescent pops and "wild" random movement, sales "just cranked up and we've been cranking and running every hour of every day," Brey said.
On a recent visit, Le Sueur Mayor Bob Oberle examined Cambria's blueprints for the addition and beamed.
"We are ecstatic to hear of an economic input of that size into this town. We are just over 4,000 people, but we have a pretty enviable industrial base, which this enhances," he said. "With this project, I am pretty sure this makes their combined family operations the largest employer in town."
Flurry of business activity
And the Davis family has been on quite the tear lately, buying Sun Country Airlines for $34 million 13 months ago and a pet food plant owned by Mars Co. this summer. Cambria will use the site to crush and process quartz shipped in from Turkey and across North America.
The company's mortgage and consumer finance business is also flourishing after a questionable start in 2009. The Eden Prairie-based division now has 70 employees and processes about 100 applications a month for first or second homes and kitchen and bath remodels, said Cambria Mortgage President John Schroeder.
The transition "has been tough, there is no doubt about that," Schroeder said. "But now, the business piece that has really boomed is mortgage refinance. Rates have been really low."
The flurry of activity created by Cambria has rubbed off on other businesses in Le Sueur, Oberle said.
Sanofi is expanding its pet pharmaceutical lab and adding 10 to 20 workers. And Scott's Helicopter Co. just bought the rights to manufacture and design components of the Bell 47 helicopter from a Texas company no longer interested in the aircraft. A few engineers have been hired for that project.
And now heavy construction machines are tearing up the ground by Cambria. Before the news became official, Oberle said, "We just heard rumors. But we knew there was some really good news coming."
By Monica Hesse, Published: February 6 in the Washington Post
In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth, including a form of igneous rock called granite, a mass composed mostly of silica and aluminum that makes up a large part of the continental crust, and comes in all the colors of the rainbow and signifies majesty and serenity. On the kajillionth day, or thereabouts, we mined that granite and we made countertops.
We laid those countertops in kitchens all across the land, in condos and co-ops, in Pittsburgh and Portland. Now that the entire United States has been good and covered, from slab to shining slab, we can take a step back and analyze the age of the granite countertop. Think about what it’s all meant.
It’s meant that we wanted something easy to clean.
What else does it mean?
The Kellys, Paul and Joyce, bought the house 30 years ago, from the ex-wife of the guy who built it. He’d designed it in the spirit of a California rambler, then run off to actual California, leaving his ex to live in his dream. The place was a disaster back then — oh, you should have seen it — powder-blue carpet, white grand piano. And the kitchen? Walls, blocking the dining room, blocking the view down to the river. Formica abounded, or maybe it was another kind of laminate. Paul redid those countertops in the 1990s. He used tile, which was popular then. The Kellys lived with the tile for 20 years, but it was the kind of countertop that you could scrub and scrub and never get to sparkle.
“It was starting to rot, and the grout was all yicky,” explains Joyce.
Some women in her book club were getting new kitchens. Several of them on this Silver Spring block — bip bip bip, all in a row, new countertops. It became a thing as they all decided they wanted to age in place, but not if their places had disgusting kitchens. Joyce looked at her friends’ ambitious kitchen plans, and decided it was time. In October, the Kellys went to a granite dealer. They ordered granite countertops.
“This was the most expensive granite they had,” says Joyce, explaining that they splurged on materials and saved by doing the installation themselves. “It has totally fabulous flow.”
“Joyce walked in and immediately bonded with the granite,” says Paul, a retired mathematician.
“It’s very hip. It has green and rust,” Joyce says, which brings out the cherry in the cabinets. It has a name: Crema Bordeaux. Anywhere in the world, granite of this color is called Crema Bordeaux, just like anywhere in the world, an Ikea Poang chair is an Ikea Poang chair. “Just look at it.”
It looks — it looks like granite. It looks like lovely granite, but granite is in the eye of the beholder, and the unique characteristics of one’s own granite are not immediately apparent to a newcomer. One’s own granite sings a special siren song. All around the country, couples leave parties and get in their cars and say to each other, “I’m so glad we went with the Santa Cecilia instead of the Kashmir Gold.”
Joyce pauses. She looks concerned.
“I would be more comfortable,” she says, “if we were talking about something that was important.” Something that mattered. She is not a frivolous person. She knows the difference between what matters and what doesn’t.
The granite countertop is easier to maintain. It makes the kitchen more pleasant. It makes the Kellys want to spend time there. It is even — she’ll go so far as to say this — inspirational. She’ll say all of this, but she wants to make sure one thing is clear.
It’s just, she says, a countertop.
They’ve gotta have it
Laminate was a countertop. Wood was a countertop. Granite is . . . what? A pursuit. An ambition. A glossy, reflective surface that allows us to gaze at ourselves and know where we stand (we stand in front of the computer watching videos on eHow.com about how to clean countertops).
Granite is . . .
“What’s interesting is how granite has quickly become the one and only material, across the country and across all price points,” says Ron Cathell, a real estate agent in Northern Virginia. It used to be a high-end thing, back in the 1990s when these countertops began making appearances. It was aspirational. “Then, 12 years ago, the first sort of moderately priced homes started using it. Now, every home has to have granite if you want to sell it. Not just sell it, but rent it. It’s become such a thing. It’s almost — ” he searches for the right metaphor. “It’s almost like trying to sell a house without a toilet.”
As the price has gone down, the popularity has gone up; just look at the graph provided by StoneUpdate.com, a Web site dedicated to the natural stone industry. In 2000, 895,000 metric tons of granite slabs were imported to the United States. In 2011, that number was 1.43 million — and that’s down from a high of 2.64 million a few years ago. The recession slowed granite sales — even cheap granite, which can be bought for as low as about $30 a square foot. Less cheap can go for $80, or however much you’re willing to spend, really. The backsplash is the limit.
“Let’s get deep, let’s get psychological,” says Anthony Carino. Carino is the co-host of “Kitchen Cousins,” a renovation show on HGTV, the network that taught the world about recessed lighting and radiant heating, that democratized the stainless steel appliance so it could be enjoyed by New Yorkers and North Dakotans alike. HGTV is the land that viewers visit when they are trying to cultivate a personal design aesthetic by spying on what everyone else is doing. “People wanting granite countertops is people wanting to sound like they know what they’re talking about,” Carino says. “It’s like listening to two guys talk about hot-rod cars.”
The guys don’t know anything about hot-rod cars.
A couple walks into a house, in any city, on any HGTV show.
This house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the real estate agent tells them. It has a fenced-in back yard, lots of light, a good school district, a new furnace. It comes with a unicorn. This house — she thinks they’re ready to hear this news — this house will make them lose 15 pounds from their thighs.
Does it have granite countertops? the husband asks.
Your one and only stone
Let’s get deeper. Let’s get more psychological.
Let’s go to Counter Intelligence, a Maryland granite dealer whose 186 employees organize about 40 countertop installations a day. (They’re not solely a granite enterprise. They do other stones, too). They pride themselves on quick turnaround: two days from order to installation. They strive for low price points — a basic order could cost about $3,000. A man could buy his wife nice jewelry for $3,000. Counter Intelligence wants to persuade this man to buy a countertop instead.
Richard Trimber is the president and chief operating officer of Counter Intelligence (which sold Paul and Joyce Kelly their granite). He’s a ruddy, healthy-looking guy. He used to be a lawyer in Washington before he got out of that business and into the countertop business. Trimber has spent a lot of time thinking about countertops. He knows, for example, that his average countertop installation in Washington is usually between 40 to 43 square feet, depending on how old the house is. He has read “Freakonomics.” He has read “The Culture Code.” Richard Trimber knows that when people buy countertops, they are not really buying countertops.
“Our product is purely emotional,” he says, back in his office at his desk, which is made of granite. “Nobody needs a new countertop.” What the granite does, he says, is make a statement about who you are and where you are in life.
It says: I am not living in a group house in Mount Pleasant anymore. It says: I am not holing up in my parents’ basement. It says: I will throw parties in my open-floor-plan great room, refilling the hummus for the kitchen island while chatting with my guests. I will buy the hummus from Trader Joe’s.
Another thing. “Your stone,” Trimber says, “is the only stone in existence.”
Granite is not like laminate, mass-produced and symmetrical. There is only one of every slab, fulfilling owners’ desire for uniqueness. Granite is nature. Nature in your kitchen.
But backtracking a bit. The laminate countertops? They said something, too, when they first became popular. They said: I am in control. They — and the closed, walled-off kitchens they were installed in — said: When I make dip, I don’t want my guests to see it. I want some privacy. They said: A kitchen should be for the cook. It’s nothing to tweet about, nothing to over-share.
Someday, one speculates, we may return to that mentality. Some day, HGTV buyers will go into a house and say, “I don’t like this open floor plan. Can we close it up? Can we have non-steel appliances? What’s the deal with this raised sink? Ewww, the countertops.”
Looking at the granite kitchen of today is like looking at a museum exhibit of the future, something the Smithsonian will curate.
“Countertop: How where we put our food shows us who we are.”
Seizing the dream
Is that time now? Is the end of an era approaching?
“Granite has taken on the Kleenex brand,” says Carino, the HGTV host. “Now everything’s Kleenex. Most people don’t realize that they don’t actually want a granite countertop.” They might want soapstone. They might want Silestone. What they’re really looking for, Carino says, is “granite-esque.”
The forward-leaning design snobs — the readers of “Dwell” and “Architectural Digest” — have already moved on. They want poured concrete in swirling designs. Carino is trying to turn people on to quartz, which is even harder than granite, even less porous.
Recently, the Dulles Expo and Conference Center held a home and renovation expo. Customers streamed in from around the greater Washington area. In the back, every hour on the hour, a woman wrapped in what looked like papier-mache came out and became the “Living Fountain” display, with water shooting out of her fingertips.
Around this spectacle, people mingled. A young couple, holding hands, bought cinnamon almonds and looked at starter granite. An older couple bickered about whether they were buying countertops or looking at hot tubs. The woman wanted the counter. The woman won.
“What do you call this?” The man asked, running his hands over a granite tile at a dealer’s booth. “Carpe diem, huh?”
Seize it. Seize the countertop.
Bring it home and install it. Styles may fade, but it would take eons and eons for the granite to crumble, returning to the elements from whence it came. Have something permanent. Something dependable. A big, weighty slab of the American dream.
Quality Stone Concepts is proud to announce its ongoing partnership with Artisan Marble and Tile of Nags Head. This strategic partnership benefits both companies by expanding our product lines and geographic boundaries and allows both companies the ability to utilize a combined 60 years of granite, tile, and cabinet experience. This partnership allows QSC to fabricate granite in both South Eastern Virginia as well as the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Additionally customers will benefit from two show rooms, one in VB and the other on mile marker 4.5 in the OBX. Artisan Marble and Tile’s state of the art fabrication facility it will increase the convenience to our clients regionally in areas such as Edenton, Elizabeth City, and the Outer Banks.
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