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December 13, 2011

Looking Back: Top Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2011

Last May, The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) revealed the standout design trends gleaned from the 2011 NKBA Design Competition.

"Each year, NKBA member designers exceed expectations and raise the standard we've come to anticipate from their entries in the NKBA Design Competition,” said 2011 NKBA President David Alderman. “NKBA designers continue to find surprising ways to incorporate complex design solutions and the latest technology into incredible kitchen and bathroom designs.”

1. Commitment to Color
“Clients and designers alike are making strong commitments to color. Vibrant colours are showing up in back splashes, counter tops and exotic wood color that’s smooth and fresh, and also refined enough to pair with the contemporary exotic wood cabinetry."

2. Tactile Appeal through Textures
“The use of actual and implied texture offers a tactile and visual feast. Lines, colors, and patterns can act as either a point of interest in a given space or a mellow background to a more prominent component.”

design: Kirsti Wolfe
photo: Paula Watts Photography
3. The Attributes of Glass
"Lighted panels of Mica art glass incorporated into the design of the volcanic stainless steel hood, the window in the door, and a glass tiled backsplash shining from behind granite countertops act as pops of color and light against the warmth of wood. In this example, they also help to provide cohesion, and as glass continues to be used in so many places and spaces, the application appears almost limitless.
MAAX Pearl Series Eterne
4. Freestanding and Angled Tubs
“Large freestanding tubs are taking front and center in bathroom design...freestanding tubs could be considered almost the norm, creating a focal point of near sculptural quality. Rounded, rectangular, and angled tubs are specified as an artistic accent that also provides a soothing soak. Whether situated on stones, wood flooring, or a low stage of sorts, the freestanding soaking tub is an integral part of many master or main bathrooms."
5. Espresso and Chocolate in Cabinetry
"Silky hues of chocolate and espresso are shimmering from the doors and drawer fronts of distinct cabinetry, incorporated into striking kitchens, ranging from contemporary to traditional. Natural finishes—absent glazing, distressing, and overall pomp and circumstance—are now found in many kitchen designs, as simple chocolate browns act as the smooth and understated partner to brighter accents. Whether black coffee or milk chocolate, the cabinetry foundation in the mid to dark brown family of colors appears rooted in the residential design approach."
6. Walk-in Pantries
More wall space means less in the way of wall cabinets and a greater need for a larger separate pantry. Open plan kitchens generally require an alternative pantry or storage solutions.
design: Jodi Hook
photo: Digital Arts
7. Detailed Ceilings
“This sophisticated design has a rustic touch that relies on traditional architectural features paired with sleek contemporary finishes and materials. The rough-hewn barn beam ceiling is beautifully detailed, and although the detail was newly created, it appears as if original to a comfort-worn space. The ceiling is highlighted by cable-strung lighting, which lights the textures and natural intricacies of the rough wood, bringing intimacy to the elongated space. This design feature straddles two trends seen strongly in the competition: detailed ceilings and textures."

design: Lori Carroll
photo: J. Mancuso
8. Natural Elements
"This refined rustic southwestern powder room is the perfect example of the use of natural elements in design. An agate slab became the foundation for this bathroom space that’s as unique and distinct as the elusively elegant stone itself. Polished stone combined with leather-wrapped cabinetry is at the core of this opulent space. When the beauty of nature can be brought inside a home, the impact is unmatched.

9. A Tiered Approach to Proportion
Varying heights of island surfaces, elevated and overlapping dining countertops combined with tall, regal pantry cabinets are used to create asymmetrical proportion.
10. Inlaid Flooring
“Variations of inlaid flooring are being incorporated into many new kitchen and bath designs. Designers and installers are being called on to bring innovation, stretching old boundaries as materials are selected and flooring is installed.”