Put your money where your mouth is—or at least where your meals are—is the advice industry leaders are sharing with those considering a home remodel or redesign. Investing in kitchen spaces, both interior and exterior, continues to deliver the strongest return on your investment. Here’s a snapshot of what’s been trending in the area’s better kitchens throughout 2017.
Marble, granite, and Corian have all had their moment in the spotlight when it comes to kitchen design. But new to the party is quartz. With the look of natural stone, minus the maintenance, quartz gives these other counter surfaces a run for their money.
“Quartz is a modern material with a classic appeal,” explains a designer with LaMantia Design & Remodeling team in Hinsdale. “It can successfully be incorporated into both traditional and contemporary designs. When you choose quartz, you end up with a high-end surface that’s durable and easy to care for, but without the high price tag.”
Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors, including red and apple green, as well as browns, blacks, and creams, with sparkles and veining for the look of granite or marble. Yet unlike natural-stone slabs that are mined, quartz slabs are made in a factory. Their primary ingredient is ground quartz, combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color. The resins help make these countertops stain and scratch resistant—and non-porous, so they never need to be sealed.
“Since quartz is in high demand, installing a marble-look quartz countertop in the kitchen or bathroom is an excellent finish you can highlight when it comes time to selling your home,” the LaMantia designer adds.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Designers of all specialties have taken note of the millennial preference for simplicity. Heavy, traditional designs are making way for clean, straight lines and iconic finishes.
“Everyone wants touch-to-open doors and drawers,” says Iryna Haliy, director of kitchen cabinets division at Studio 41 in Burr Ridge. “This relatively new option offers true handle-less opening. Not only are homeowners able to save money on decorative hardware, which tends to be quite costly, they can now enjoy all the functionality with a minimalistic look, creating kitchens that are comfortable and efficient working environments. With maximum room to maneuver, you can’t snag clothing or bang your hips on door handles.”
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Outdoor rooms have evolved into outdoor living spaces—complete with state-of-the-art outdoor kitchens that can be enjoyed spring through early winter. This means that more and more Midwestern homeowners are creating outdoor cook spaces designed to entertain as long as Mother Nature cooperates.
According to Lake Bluff’s Scott Byron & Co., outdoor kitchens are trending up. Entertaining at home is an affordable way to socialize with friends and family. Far beyond the patio and fire pit, premium outdoor kitchens offer what many interior spaces provide—a stovetop, refrigerator, cupboards, and durable food prep counter. A high-end grill takes this exterior space to another level and creates a coveted feature for prospective home buyers.
Mark Speers, a landscape architect with King’s Landscaping in Hinsdale, agrees.
“Though outdoor kitchens have always been popular, we are seeing even greater demand for kitchen that go beyond the grill,” says Mark Speers. “By incorporating seating opportunities, storage doors and drawers, outdoor kitchens provide much more than a place to grill a burger. They are now a multi-functional gathering destination for outdoor living and entertaining.”