“Knock-your-socks-off gorgeous,” is how Jamie Gold, a San Diego, California-based certified kitchen designer and author of “New Kitchen Ideas That Work” describes kitchens at the top end of the market. “It’s about brand. It’s about impression. It’s what the neighbors are doing–only better.”
Today’s kitchens are swoon-worthy showplaces of good looks, high performance and sophisticated wizardry.
Mass market is out. Fresh design interpretations are in. As dominions of personal expression, kitchens are places homeowners put their signature and showcase their style with handcrafted cabinetry and bespoke fittings and finishes.
A recent survey of more than 500 architecture firms by the American Institute of Architects reinforces the role of kitchens as the command center of the home, with a caliber of appliances and appointments that not only reflects homeowners’ tastes but also makes them and their guests feel good.
Sociability is the new word in luxury kitchens. It’s where life happens.
“The first place guests go is not the parlor or the living room anymore. It’s the kitchen island,” says Christian Vermast of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Toronto. These days, homeowners are spending less time at the stove but more time in the kitchen reading, lounging, watching TV and socializing. Some 60 percent of homeowners spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens, according to the 2016 Houzz Kitchen Trends survey. “I don’t think it has anything to do with cooking,” Vermast says. “It’s about ‘How do I project myself entertaining my family, my in-laws and my friends?’”
Fifteen percent of those polled by Houzz spent more than $75,000 to create high end activity hubs that blur the borders of adjoining living spaces. The mantra is bigger, better and built-in with clean architectural detailing to conceal utility. That’s no surprise to Vermast who says buyers prefer open-concept kitchens with hidden appliances that blend in for more of a furniture-finished look. “We have gone from seeing kitchens as strictly utilitarian,” he says, “to very much an emotional lifestyle choice.”
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