The Short List: Juliet M. Johnson’s Top Trends in Kitchen Design

by Chicago Agent


Juliet M. Johnson is the brand experience manager for Jenn-Air.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked to Juliet Johnson, an associate kitchen and bath designer, certified aging in place specialist and brand experience manager for Jenn-Air appliances, on how agents can better understand kitchens to sell their clients’ homes.

8. More is More – While the overall size of new homes might be shrinking, kitchen footprints are increasing as homeowners pack more into them. More windows bring in natural light. More appliances, and countertops with varying heights, accommodate multiple cooks. Oftentimes, you’ll see more than one sink, two dishwashers and even multiple islands.

7. Usage – We’re living in our kitchens differently. The popularity of home cooking and cooking as entertainment requires more space, as well as multiple seating and preparation areas; in addition, families are beginning to embrace specialty and hobby cooking. Enthusiasm is increasing for canning and preserving; brewing beer; wine, spirits and soda; smoking meats; making yogurt and cheese; and even growing fresh herbs and lettuces in the kitchen area. Kitchen design needs to accommodate your family’s specific activities.

6. Lighting – Some will tell you it is trending because it makes life easier for baby boomers, and some will tell you it is due to the advancement of LED lighting, but regardless of the reason, lighting is a trend with staying power. From the interior of refrigerators to cabinet drawers which light up when you pull them open to lights on the toe kicks of cabinetry, lighting has progressed past task and ambient.

5. Secondary Kitchens – A really interesting new trend is popping up – secondary kitchens, which are the kitchens behind the primary kitchens. The primary kitchen is where the entertaining is done, and the secondary kitchen is where the “mess” is made and stays. The trend is being driven by some ethnicities that include highly fragrant spices and/or oil frying in their cooking, as well as being driving by the luxury market, where homeowners want the entertaining space to be free of any dirty dishes or clutter.

4. Satellite Kitchens – Today’s discerning consumers are adding coffee stations and beverage centers to their master suites, beverage centers to in-home theatres, wine cellars into the home bar and refrigerator drawers in the family room for easy access to pre-approved snacks and beverages for the kids.

3. Green Living – Homeowners aren’t just buying green; they’re living green, as well. In addition to purchasing environmentally-friendly materials for their kitchens, they’re conserving resources like never before. Once relegated to the garage, recycling centers are built into kitchens or mudrooms. Energy Star-rated appliances are expected. Savvy consumers seek out arsenic-free cooktop glass for health concerns and American-made appliances for the smallest carbon footprint. Cleaning products have gone organic and composting isn’t just for hippies!

2. Cabinetry – Painted cabinetry in muted tones, such as whites and grays, is all the rage, and complementary to both of those, every hue of blue in cabinetry is on trend as well. Wood is sneaking back up in popularity, and consumers want to see texture in it. Whether actual or perceived, we spend so much time in our online, non-tactile worlds that when we add wood cabinetry to our homes, we want to see some texture. Walnut is a top wood of choice in cabinetry, as is oak (yes, oak!). However, oak is revered in quarter sawn and rift cuts, and preferred in white oak. Liming, which is when a white pigment fills in the grain lines of the wood, adds visual texture without impacting the overall color of the finish – and it has only added to oak’s popularity.

1. Appliances – Discerning consumers are demanding more appliances and more from those appliances. Steam ovens with convection elements yield beautifully browned food without the use of added fats. Wall ovens with high-tech electronic touch controls offer photos of doneness levels providing piece of mind for new home cooks. Built-in coffee systems produce coffee-house worthy espresso and cappuccino, and with far less effort than it takes to drive to a coffee house! Two dishwashers provide invaluable support for frequent entertaining, while two cooktops are often requested for kitchens with multiple cooks.

While some trends are just that, some have such staying power, they become part of our daily lives. And regardless of trends, something well designed is always timeless in value.

Juliet M. Johnson is the brand experience manager for Jenn-Air, which involves managing national, regional and local events, along with media relations, product placements, designer/architect outreach and education for the Jenn-Air brand.

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