Trends in Bath and Kitchen Remodeling

by admin - September 2nd, 2015
Posted in: Community, Design, Home Improvement, Remodeling, Tour of Remodeled Homes

By Judi Russell

Once the domain of harried homemakers, the kitchen now multitasks as an entertainment center, office, family room and, yes, a place to cook. Local remodelers say they are keeping busy turning small, dark, cramped kitchens into cheerful open spaces with plenty of room for friends and family to gather around and enjoy one another as well as a good meal.

Often the first step is removing a wall or two, a move that requires expert advice. “Most clients are aware that to open up walls, you must deal with structural components,” says Teodora Shtinareva, a designer with Silent Rivers Design+Build. Another popular remodel includes adding a large island. The island can give some visual separation to sections of the kitchen, she says, while providing a place for prepping food or doing homework.

Modern Touches-Kitchen View_Project 8

Modern Touches.

Remodeling is also a good time to increase storage. Today’s cabinets and drawers are easier than ever to open and close and often contain dividers for spice jars, baking sheets and other equipment. “We really do look at how to maximize space,” says Marie Herrick, interior designer and marketing specialist for Modern Touches. Pantries can include rollout shelves that hold toaster ovens and coffeepots, she says. The popularity of Keurig coffee makers has led to a drawer that can hold a double set of coffee pods, making for a cleaner countertop.

Homeowners still go for quartz or granite countertops, Herrick says. Subway tile is often their choice for backsplashes; its sleek lines don’t compete with the patterns in the stone counters. Glass tiles remain popular, but Herrick likes to mix it up, using porcelain tiles with some random glass pieces to pull in colors from the countertop. Putting the outlets underneath the cabinets avoids breaking up the backsplash.

When it comes to refrigerators, most clients seem to think that bigger is better. More expensive remodels often include built-in refrigerators, says Zack Fleming of Fleming Construction. Not many people request the separate, free-standing refrigerator and freezer columns, he says; in one recent remodel he did use the two separate units but bolted them together and trimmed around it.

Other kitchen trends popular in the Des Moines area include:

Gas cooktops with five burners.

Double wall ovens.

Improved lighting, including lights under the cabinets and above the sink and island.

Walk-in pantries.

Using one form of flooring, either wood or tile, throughout the open kitchen/dining/living area makes the area flow well. Hardwood floors are durable but can present problems if a homeowner has pets. Even if a dog is small, its claws are sharp, Herrick points out, and over time they lead to lots of scratches. Sometimes clients go for tile, Shtinareva says, because it requires less maintenance. And with Iowa’s cold winters, “a few want heated floors,” she says.

Kitchen televisions are less popular than before, Fleming says. People access the Internet through their cellphones, tablets and laptops and don’t want to sit in front of a television that often anymore.

Better bathrooms on wish list

The master bathroom is also a popular remodeling target, contractors say. Often, that includes ripping out oversized, jetted tubs, a trend that’s come and gone. “They take up a lot of space,” Shtinareva says; many opt for spacious showers instead. “Our clients are at an age where they don’t need to bathe their kids anymore.”


Fleming Construction.

Additionally, ditching the large tub makes room for a longer double vanity, Herrick says, or a tower of storage cabinets. For the client who does like soaking in a bathtub, Herrick might recommend a new type of tub with vibrations that are controlled through music (using Blue Tooth technology). The music generates vibrations, which create a bubble bath experience. The controls are under cover outside of the tub. Another luxe bathroom touch is marble. It can be too high-maintenance for a kitchen, Herrick says, but can look great and be easier to care for in a bathroom.

Sometimes people want hardwood floors in their bathrooms, but Herrick recommends them only in powder rooms, where they have less wear and tear. She prefers tile, and likes using bullnose (slightly rounded) tile pieces instead of wood base trim.

As people feel more confident about the economy, they are starting to spend more on remodels than they did during the recession, Fleming says. He advises people to budget a minimum of six to eight weeks for the job; more involved remodels can take a lot longer.

To make sure there are no surprises late in the job, Shtinareva of Silent Rivers says it’s important to spend enough time upfront telling the contractors exactly what you want and what your budget is. “The more we can nail down upfront,” she says, the more accurate the price is going to be.”

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