Clean kitchens & bold baths
Between the constant advances of smart technology and apps that incessantly notify of us of details both important and mundane, we live in a pretty fast-paced, information-focused world. And even in slow-paced New Orleans, it can be hard to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest trends, whether in fashion, food, pop-culture or other areas of interest. Home trends seem to change just as quickly as any other, and while many of us strive to maintain the city’s signature historical look through our homes’ facades and architecture, we typically want the luxuries and looks of modern times on the inside. Kitchens and baths are some of the most used and most updated rooms of the home, so this month we’ve explored some of growing and waning trends affecting these rooms.
A full-service interior design studio, Susan Currie Design offers design expertise from kitchen and bathroom renovations to detailing furnishings, window treatments and custom products. According to Susan Currie, Allied ASID, CFRE, color is one of her trademarks. A room may begin with subtle neutral hues as a backdrop before Currie layers in pops of color through fabrics, artwork and accessories.
“Making a kitchen a showplace is key for the most used room in the home. While some still enjoy the brightness and simplicity of a white or off-white kitchen, others are making bold statements by adding colorful cabinets in navy blue, emerald green and other jewel tones,” says Currie. “I like to recommend mixing color with neutrals by having a brightly colored island.”
Currie notes that many people are choosing to make their kitchen space modern through the use of cabinets with clean lines and waterfall countertops on their islands. Contemporary furnishings or midcentury modern pieces such as a Barcelona chair or reproduction sofa complement the look.
Katie Logan Leblanc and Jensen Killen, owners of Sunday Shop, agree with Currie that color is trending upward in the kitchen.
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“While you really can’t go wrong with an all-white kitchen, people are starting to individualize these spaces. The industrial white subway tile with exposed pipe and wood shelving is being replaced with bold colors, unique materials and contrasting finishes,” says Leblanc. According to Leblanc and Killen, kitchens can have a warmer, more tactile feel. They recommend natural stones, handmade tiles and unique paint colors as great starting points.
A lifestyle shop led by the design team of Logan Killen Interiors, Sunday Shop offers a curated selection of furniture, textiles, fine lighting, art and accessories. Leblanc and Killen add that giving your room a warm, tactile feel can be accomplished with layering textiles and accessories such as Turkish towels, baskets and rugs.
While some people are now opting to add in color and texture, Lisa Rickert, Co-Founder & Creative Director of Ave Home and Unfolded, believes that the clean and simply designed kitchen is here to stay. Materials like marble, light cabinets and neutral subway tiles are big examples. She notes that people are also looking to bring in one-of-a-kind pieces and architectural elements that won’t be outdated in a few years.
“On the other hand, bathrooms are a great place to make a statement,” says Rickert. “I notice people taking more risks with bold patterns in small spaces through use of wallpaper, an accent wall or a patterned tile on the floor,” she says.
With Ave Home, a New Orleans-based home furnishings company, Rickert offers a diverse selection of occasional, dining and living room furniture in styles such as midcentury modern, Swedish Gustavian, Hollywood Regency and Louis XV. Additionally, Ave Home offers AVE Raw, a versatile collection of unfinished wood furniture that can be featured on its own or finished for a custom look.
Time and again, paint comes up as the quickest way to make over a room. So, for a new burst of color in a bold bathroom or to freshen up a kitchen wall, painting is a trend that never fades. Many people may not realize, but in addition to serving as a salvage store full of architectural elements, lumber, fixtures and more, The Green Project manages the only paint recycling facility in the Gulf Coast, diverting over 20,000 gallons of paint from our waterways each year.
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“We take that leftover can of paint underneath your sink and process it into new usable paint to beautify another home or art project,” says Executive Director Catherine Crowell. “We have a variety of colors as well as brushes and the tools you’ll need to paint a room.”
According to Crowell, another fun way to spruce up your bathroom or kitchen is through making your own ceramic tile countertop. From simple, all-white tile to a colorful mosaic, tile countertops can achieve a number of looks. This fall, The Green Project will host a tiling workshop to show how easy creative reuse can be while helping the environment.
Whether your countertop consists of stone or tile, tile is undoubtedly one of the most popular materials for a backsplash. At Floor & Décor, Chief Executive Merchant Lindsay Swenson has seen a number of backsplash and kitchen wall tile trends come and go.
“The longstanding trend of creating a small framed focal point above the cooktop is definitely lessening,” says Swenson. “We’re seeing more clients select a single beautiful mosaic and use it throughout the entire backsplash for a more cohesive design.”
According to Swenson, subway tile remains popular with whites and cool grays still prevalent. However, she’s seeing an uptick in graphic designs and the use of bold colors and shapes. And while many people are still sticking with neutrals, colors like taupe and mushroom are growing in popularity.
“Instead of picking a single neutral pallet such as all grey, all white, all cream, clients are embracing the use of multiple neutrals in the same space. We’re also seeing this same trend in bathroom and kitchen hardware, with the use of mixed metal finishes,” she says.
The trend of using neutrals extends beyond the kitchen’s common area and into storage, pantries and butler’s pantries. According to Don Wise, Owner of Louisiana Custom Closets, lighter colors such as gray, white and off-white are currently most popular in these areas as well. These areas of the kitchen are changing in function, too, moving away from being utilized simply for storage of canned goods and non-perishables.
“Customers want more from their pantries than just shelving. In some cases, we’re adding countertop work spaces for coffee makers, microwaves and other appliances, which makes the pantry an extension of the work space in the kitchen,” says Wise. “They also want storage for trays, linens and even wine.”
As a New Orleans general contractor working in homes all over the city and specializing in historical renovations, H. Peter Becnel III, Owner of HB Remodeling, has seen trends come and go. He echoes what a number of design experts are seeing in kitchens: clean lines and simplicity. This includes opening up the space more by removing cabinets above cooktops and refrigerators, opting for single-tiered islands and adding separate pantry/storage space. While tile still remains popular, an uptick in the full painted glass backsplash also adds to the clean, simple look. In bathrooms, Becnel notes a trend away from Jacuzzi tubs in favor of soaker tubs and showers with multiple functions and adjustable shower heads.
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At Nordic Kitchens and Baths, President Randall Shaw also sees built-in tubs giving way to freestanding tubs. Top selling items include spoon-shaped soaker tubs made of easy to clean cast materials instead of acrylics. Floor- and wall-mount fillers are taking the place of faucets mounted on the deck of the tub with a rise in brushed brass and champagne fixtures.
Frameless glass walk-in showers continue to be popular, according to Shaw, with more people opting for rain heads overhead and hand-held shower heads on the wall. Additionally, toe niches (small recesses in the wall about 12 to 18 inches off the ground) are a rising trend that adds convenience for leg shaving.
Marble continues to be popular in bathrooms, and Shaw is currently seeing the introduction of large sheets of porcelain for nearly seamless, solid-surface walls. Popular quartz surface brand Silestone recently introduced solid shower bases, and Shaw expects other quartz manufacturers to follow suit. This enables use of the same material on the shower floor and wall, and even sinks and countertops as well.
So, while some designers and manufacturers are making it easy for you to use one color and texture, still others are giving the go-ahead for a little mixing and matching. For kitchens and bathrooms this season, go bold or go neutral – according to local experts, the trends go both ways.
Susan Currie Design
233 Walnut St.
Sunday Shop / Logan Killen Interiors
2025 Magazine St.
The Green Project
2831 Marais St.
Floor & Decor
2801 Magazine St., Suite A
Louisiana Custom Closets
13405 Seymour Meyer Blvd., Suite 24
H. Peter Becnel III
Nordic Kitchens & Baths
1818 Veterans Blvd.