Local experts offer suggestions and rising trends for those updating homes or starting fresh.
“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.” As an adult, I’ve begun to understand the value of that often cross-stitched statement. Family and friends always seem to gather in the kitchen, which means it’s one of the most important rooms in the house and one in which we spend hours at a time – cooking, dining and conversing. Another thing I’ve learned as an adult, when words like “resale value” begin to enter conversations, is that kitchens and baths are where you want your updated amenities and fixtures. For those considering an updated remodel and those in the early stages of building, here are some of the latest trends from local experts.
Marchand Creative Kitchens (3517 Division St., Metairie, 888-0695; 2180 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 892-2572; MCKitchens.com) has provided Greater New Orleans with high-quality custom kitchens for over 50 years. From cabinets and countertops to appliances, cabinet hardware, lighting and other products, Marchand supplies everything you need for an indoor or outdoor cooking space. Showroom locations in Metairie and Mandeville highlight the latest trends with numerous kitchen vignettes at each location.
“We sit down with each customer and find out the scope of their project and what they’re looking to do,” says Chris Licciardi, Certified Kitchen Designer and part owner. One of the latest trends Licciardi has seen rise over recent years is engineered stone countertops, a quartz product. Licciardi attributes the rise to its hardness, describing it as often harder than granite, completely nonporous and difficult to scratch.
At Southland Plumbing Supply (2321 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 835-8411, SouthlandPlumbingSupply.com), Showroom Consultant Melisssa Dupre has seen a rise in contemporary stainless steel low-divide sinks and freestanding tubs.
“Since the double-bowl sink divider only goes up halfway, it’s perfect for washing a cookie sheet or a casserole dish conveniently, without getting water everywhere.”
Southland Plumbing Supply is a multi-generational wholesaler and retailer with two premier Kohler showrooms and a recent lighting division.
According to Dupre, one of the biggest bathroom trends they’ve seen recently is the freestanding tub with brush nickel or chrome faucets. These solid-surface, contemporary tubs come in various materials (acrylic, stone, cast iron, etc.) and don’t require feet or a raised base.
As the heat of summer bears down on the city, a lot of people are looking for ways to keep their homes cool. Blythe Wren, third-generation owner of Wren’s Tontine Shade & Design Shop (1533 Prytania St., 525-7409, WrensTontine.com), has been busy this season designing window treatments that help keep the heat out while accentuating a room’s best features.
“Hunter Douglas Duette honeycomb shades are popular because they insulate well – blocking heat in summer and insulating to keep in warmth in winter,” says Wren. “They are versatile and fit anywhere, and they stack up tightly, almost disappearing when you’re not using them.” If you want something decorative, Wren suggests that a balloon shade, while able to block some heat, is often used more for its elaborate look.
Cabinets by Design (5201 Tchoupitoulas St., 899-2300, CabinetsByDesign.com) offers design services for the entire home and office with cabinets by WoodMode, Brookhaven, Executive and MidContinent. Cabinets by Design also carries plumbing fixtures, decorative tile and a large selection of hardware and appliances. They offer comprehensive design services for the home.
Certified Kitchen Designer and owner Monique Poché Bennett has seen a spike in interest in specialty appliances.
“Built-in coffee systems are one of these appliances gaining in popularity,” she says.
“All three Miele systems offer variations in size and setting, so each use can program the system for a custom cup every time,” says Bennett. Specialty accessories such as these are ideal for those who want quality coffee without the clutter and maintenance of an old coffeemaker on the countertop.
Dunleith Designs & Antiques (1537 Metairie Road, Metairie, 272-0879, DunleithDesigns.com) is another great place to visit for adding elegance, ambiance and timeless beauty to your home. Specializing in fine and vintage American, English and French antiques of the 17th through the 20th centuries, owner Ken Rogers has more than 30 years of experience in design, furniture and decorative arts.
Rogers suggests combining a vessel sink with an antique piece for a stunning bathroom vanity. Well-crafted antique dining tables and chairs also add flare and elegance to a kitchen or dining room. Additionally, Dunleith features antique dishes and serving items as well as modern serving pieces in their gift section.
Artisan Kitchen & Bath (5243 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8884, ArtisanNola.com), located Uptown, is a full-service kitchen and bath design showroom.
“We go through the design process, the building process – everything from start to finish,” says Lorri Adams, owner and designer. Cabinets are a true specialty of Artisan’s, and Adams has noticed a rise in interest in two of her exclusive lines: Berloni, an Italian line, and SieMatic from Germany. These lines have grown popular as more and more people look to achieve a sleek European look.
“These are quality products, superior in terms of their craftsmanship and with truly unique finishes, stains and wood grains. Berloni’s Sunny collection has been popular due to its clean lines and contemporary style,” says Adams.
With over 30 years of experience in design, Shauna Leftwich of Ashley Hall Interiors (832 Howard Ave., 524-0196, AshleyHallInteriors.com) has seen a number of trends in home design, and one thing she’s noticed lately is that people are spending more on their bathrooms than every before. What was once a room of limited utility has been redefined as a luxurious retreat.
“I find a lot of people are wanting a spa experience in their bathroom – natural stones, calming and soothing colors with full mirrors rather than smaller individual ones,” says Leftwich. “They want an indulgent experience, and we’re seeing larger showers of marble or travertine with high, ceiling-hung shower heads that provide a rain-like effect.”
In the flooring world, gray is the new beige, according to Lindsay Swenson, General Manager at Floor & Décor Design Gallery (2801 Magazine St., 891-3005, FloorAndDecorOutlets.com). The rustic Tuscan kitchen look is on its way out as clean, linear designs make their way into kitchen and baths.
“A linen or stone look with large, rectangular (12-by-24-inch) porcelain tiles is both beautiful and durable for a high traffic area like the kitchen,” says Swenson. “Also, porcelain tile with a wood look has become popular, which gives the beauty of natural wood but with none of the headaches.”
The same linear and rectangular look goes for kitchen backsplashes as well, as more people lean toward subway (3-by-6-inch) tiles in neutral colors, as they complement a countertop rather than compete with it.
Evelyne Clinton, owner and designer at Source (2103 Magazine St., 561-7558, SourceNola.com) believes both the beauty and functionality are essential in any home design, and each piece, each fixture and accessory should say something about the room and about the home.
“In kitchens, a lot of people are moving towards making statements with lighting, especially over islands,” says Clinton. “We’re seeing a lot of chandeliers and pendants being chosen over cans or recessed lighting.”
Clinton recommends the Visual Comfort Chart House Grosvenor Linear Double Pendant in polished nickel with linen shades as a great way to light up a kitchen island. “Good lighting, like everything, should be both fashionable and functional.”