Do you love gray walls in the kitchen? If so, you're not alone. The 2017 Houzz Kitchen Study tracked trends among renovating homeowners and revealed that contemporary styling and a gray and white color scheme led in popularity.
The entire study is fascinating, but we were particularly interested in the primary goals that homeowners had for their kitchen renovation. More than half wanted to create a space that "is more open to other rooms" and 36% simply wanted a bigger kitchen. Other highlights:
Quartz and granite run neck-and-neck as top countertop materials
Pantries have a very slight edge over kitchen islands as top built-in features
Hardwood and tile remain the leading kitchen floor choices
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, roughly one in 10 households undertook a kitchen remodel or replacement in 2015, with two-thirds of them hiring a professional to do the work. When a home is feeling dated, the kitchen is usually part of the problem.At Morse Constructions, kitchens are almost always a main part of our whole house renovations and top the list of single room makeovers.
Kitchens are hardworking spaces that typically also serve as the hub of the home. We want them to both look and work great, but how they should look and work is often very subjective. Design aesthetics are obviously a matter of personal taste, but the way we use our kitchens also varies. What is right for one of Morse's clients may not be right for another. For example, we have clients who entertain frequently and need lots of space for food prep and in-kitchen socializing. We also have clients who eat out a lot and really don't need much more than a bare bones kitchen.
When we sit down with new kitchen renovation clients, we ask questions such as:
How will you use your kitchen?
Do you entertain a lot?
What are your "must haves"? and so forth.
Many of these same questions are raised in an excellent article on Houzz called 5 Trade-offs to Consider When Remodeling Your Kitchen. Since even well-to-do homeowners rarely have unlimited budgets, the article addresses how to decide where to make compromises when creating a dream kitchen within a real-life budget. Just click any image in the slideshow below to view the whole article.
Some people love white cabinetry and others want something with more pop. Some love granite countertops while others prefer the rustic look of a sealed wood. Judging from a recent article in Houzz, some people love swings as stools at their kitchen island, while the mere notion probably makes some people a little queasy.
Kitchens are very personal spaces. What is wonderful for one person might not be ideal for another, which is why it is important to work with a design/build team that takes the time to ask questions and listen carefully to your answers. This customized approach results in kitchens that work hard and beautifully meld with the look of the rest of your home. Here are photos from three kitchen renovations completed by Morse Constructions, each with its own distinctive look.
We love working with clients to clarify their vision, which is why we have been fascinated with an article that appeared on Houzz.com called "Trending Now: 25 Kitchen Photos Houzzers Can't Get Enought Of." You'll see the aforementioned swings for stools, as well as an astounding range of styles. Take a look! [Just click on any photo to go to the full article on Houzz.com]
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) released the results of its 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey in early February. Here are the major trends that the survey revealed:
• Contemporary will be the fastest growing kitchen style in 2014, with 62 percent of respondents saying it’s on the upswing after ending 2013 in second place. Transitional maintained a very small lead as the number one look for kitchens. Shaker styling is a solid third due in part to its versatility, lending itself to traditional or contemporary.
• More than half (56 percent) of respondents included accessible and/or universal design and easy-maintenance features in their kitchens, and demand is expected to continue.
• Two-thirds of NKBA kitchen designers incorporated docking and/or charging stations in their kitchens, as well as a desk or home office area. Some 56 percent included a flat-screen TV in their kitchen projects. These trends show no signs of powering down.
• Outdoor kitchens continue to be popular, with 43 percent of respondents designing them in 2013 and 41 percent expecting an increase in 2014.
• 63 percent of respondents specified energy-saving appliances in 2013, and 60 percent expect to see more demand this year. Almost 40 percent of designers specified water-saving kitchen faucets in 2013, and 47 percent see the market expanding in 2014.
• Furniture-type pieces were specified in kitchens by eight out of 10 respondents in 2013 and 56 percent expect to do more in 2014.
• Approximately 70 percent of respondents see quartz countertops increasing in 2014. Almost a quarter of respondents specified countertops with recycled materials and 40 percent expect to do more in 2014.
• Wood, the most specified flooring in 2013, will grow even more popular in 2014.
• Glass, now number three for backsplashes, is predicted to grow in popularity in 2014.
• Satin nickel, now the most popular faucet finish, is expected to continue to flourish in 2014, as will polished chrome.
• Stainless steel is the most popular sink material with porcelain enamel a distant second. Granite composite, now number three, is expected to grow in popularity in 2014.
Kitchen Features in Demand:
• Induction cooktops
• Steam ovens
• French-door refrigerators
• Bottom freezer refrigerators
• Touch-activated faucets
• Electronic (no touch) faucets
• LED lighting
Trendspotting: A Place for Pets
Dozens of NKBA members reported that they created kitchens with features to accommodate cats and dogs, from day beds to feeding stations, litter box cabinets to doggy faucets.
• Highly ornamented Tuscan and Provincial looks
• Distressed and/or glazed finishes
• Country/rustic styles
• Electric cooktops
• Porcelain enamel sinks
If you are planning to renovate your kitchen in Spring or Summer 2014, now is the time to start planning. Please contact us if we may help you with your project.
Colonial era kitchens often featured a sturdy work table for food prep. Those kitchen tables were the ancestors of today's kitchen islands. Kitchen islands as we know them -- with storage beneath and eating or food preparation space on top -- really began to gain favor in the 1970s. Now they are such a popular feature in homes that they are included as a "must have" in many kitchen remodeling projects.
Kitchen islands are a wonderful way to add counter space, storage and a place for family and guests to casually congregate. However, there are alternatives if your kitchen is too small to accommodate an island, the island hinders traffic flow, or you simply want a different look.
In this Cambridge kitchen, the homeowner used a table to create a wonderful, light, playful look in a smaller space.
We were delighted to see a recent article on Houzz.com that looks at alternatives to kitchen islands. We've shared "6 Ways to Rethink the Kitchen Island" by Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill in the photo gallery below. To view the whole article on Houzz, simply click any of the photos. To move through the photo gallery, use the arrows in the bottom, left-hand corner of each picture.
September has been a wonderful month for us. In addition to some exciting new projects, we were honored to have one of our kitchen renovations featured in This Old House and the Massachusetts Senate passed a visitability bill that Paul had supported with his testimony.
Here are the details:
This Old House One of our projects was included in the September 2013 feature, "12 Color Combos that Really Cook." The article by Megan Baker focused on kitchens with two-tone color schemes.
The article used a photo from one of our Cambridge, MA renovations to illustrate a snappy cornflower blue and yellow color combination. Read the article here
In May 2013, Paul testified at the Massachusetts State House on behalf of what had become known as the "Thanksgiving Bill". The bill called for the creation of a commission to study the viability of adding "visitability" design criteria to all new one- and two-family homes. We are delighted that the Senate passed the bill in early September.
Massachusetts has an old housing stock with many physical barriers that pose problems for those with limited mobility. In addition to posing significant barriers for those with limited mobility looking for permanent housing, our housing supply makes it extremely difficult for those with limited mobility to visit friends and family. Visitable homes allow people with limited mobility to avoid isolation and live an engaged lifestyle with the ability to visit friends, family, and neighbors. Eight states have adopted visitability policies that apply to new single family home construction. Senator Patricia Jehlen’s bill, S.1787, establishing a commission to study home visitability standards and make recommendations about increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of the Commonwealth’s housing stock, has passed the Senate.
Please contact us if you have any questions or need help with a renovation.
You stand for longer periods of time in the kitchen than in any other area of the house, yet the kitchen often has the least resilient flooring. The result? Achy backs and tired joints.
Tile, natural stone and polished concrete may be relatively easy to maintain and look great, but they can take a toll on the body. Houzz recently posted an excellent article on joint-friendly kitchen flooring options. We are pleased to share it below.
Use the scroll bar to access the arrows to see the images as a sidebar, or click any caption or image to review the full article on Houzz.
Just a few years ago, Morse Constructions completed improvements to a lovely Wellesley home. As the owners looked forward to their retirement years, however, the city lights beckoned. They bought a floor in a co-op building on Berkeley Street in Boston’s Back Bay and asked Morse to do a major renovation.
The 3,600 square foot home is located on the fourth floor of a building constructed in the 1920s. The space had been renovated in the 1980s. Not only were the renovations dated, the floor plan did not work for a couple who loved to cook and entertain. Public areas needed better traffic flow, while family areas needed greater privacy.
“We made changes in every room and redesigned sections of the main spaces, touching 85% of their home,” explains Paul Morse, founder of Morse Constructions.
In many cases, the footprints of the rooms did not change, but access to them altered dramatically. For example, a coat closet was relocated to create a kitchen entrance through a butler’s pantry adjacent to the foyer. A bathroom and a laundry room were switched to place the bathroom in closer proximity to the spare bedroom. Meanwhile, access to “his and hers” master bathrooms was reconfigured to maintain privacy.
Among other improvements, Morse also:
Updated kitchen and butler pantries, incorporating extensive food preparation and wine storage areas, multiple sinks, a bar area, professional grade range and range hood, and a large refrigerator supplemented with refrigerator and freezer drawers;
Replaced dated dining room bookshelves with elegant molding and sconces;
Preserved distinctive carved and arched doorways and historic architectural features;
Created walk-in “his and her” closets adjacent to the master bedroom
Added built-in cabinetry in several rooms including the study and master bedroom
Converted large cast iron radiators to smaller steam radiators
Completely updated all bathrooms
According to Paul, the project’s Back Bay location posed some unique challenges. “Just getting materials up to the fourth floor was a trick. We had to crane things in through the windows,” he explains.
Ventilation also required some creative thinking since the Back Bay Architectural Commission prohibits exterior penetrations. The commercial grade range hood in the kitchen is so powerful that makeup air needed to be brought back in to the kitchen to maintain pressure. The solution was change windows to incorporate transoms that could accommodate louvers to hide the ductwork from the street . Ventilation now occurs through the transoms, and an elaborate soffit system carries the air throughout the home.
Morse provided design/build services on the project, working in conjunction with interior designer Nancy Allen.
To view photos: Scroll through the slide show using the arrows at the very bottom of the image or click the image to go to our Houzz site to view images at full size.
First came Formica, then came Corian, then natural stones became all the rage for kitchen counters. Now homeowners can choose from an overwhelming array of materials including concrete, bamboo, glass and -- believe it or not -- paper.
We have not installed a paper countertop, but we are intrigued. A recent article on Houzz, written by Michele Jeresek, states that recycled paper countertops are stout, durable and easy on the environment.